Weekly Reading Round-Up

One of the perks of being an author is getting first crack at new books.


I’ve been reading my way through an embarras d’ARCs. This week, I dug into:

–Alyson Richman’s The Velvet Hours. Do you remember that Paris apartment that was discovered intact a few years ago? It had belonged to Marthe de Florian, a little known Belle Epoque courtesan, and had been abandoned and sealed up in 1939, just as the Nazis were marching into Paris. Alyson Richman takes the contents of that apartment and the few facts known about Marthe de Florian and her granddaughter, Solange, and weaves them into something rich and beautiful. Warning: it packs a very strong emotional punch!

— M.J. Rose’s The Secret Language of Stones. If you’ve read her The Witch of Painted Sorrows, this is the second in her Daughters of La Lune series, about the descendants of a seventeenth century witch who, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, discover their own talents in both art and the occult. Painted Sorrows is set in Belle Epoque France, Secret Language of Stones in Paris in the midst of World War I, painting a vivid picture of a Paris gray with rain and with mourning, as citizens struggle to come to terms with their grief and fear. The heroine, a jeweler, finds herself drawn into the intrigues of a group of Russian emigres– and into secrets of love and magic.

Right now, I’m taking a brief ARC break with a re-read of Georgette Heyer’s Arabella— and then back to the ARC pile!


What have you been reading this week?


  1. Christina on February 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    I finished Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. It was meh. But I agree with Miss Eliza’s post last week that the movie is excellent. My 11 yo son and I loved it. It was like a gothic Jane Austen with elements of an old B horror movie. Very entertaining! Also Matt Smith was hilarious as Mr. Collins.

    I also read The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev. I have loved both her books and can’t recommend her enough. I had a stuffy nose after reading it from crying.

    Next up was We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Just watch her TED talk on the issue and skip the essay.

    I also read Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans – WW II orphan refugee meets small time con artist.

    Last up was The Highland Rogue for the Old School Romance Book Club on Facebook. The hero is a duke with 4 illegitimate daughters all around the same age. I loved the girls. They made the book for me.

  2. Miss Eliza on February 19, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Matt Smith ROCKED that movie!

    I’ve been reading Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown, which is basically Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell with more of an emotional connection to the characters. In other words, I’m loving it! Can’t wait to finish, but at the same time I want it to last forever!

    • Christina on February 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Sorceror to the Crown is on my weekend reading pile.

      • Miss Eliza on February 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

        It was so so good! The author is going to be on my blog the beginning of March so stop on by!

  3. Christine on February 19, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve finally had some reading time and I’m totally in love with “Letters to the Lost.” Fantastic love story. I can’t wait to see what happens!

  4. Lauren H on February 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I just started Karen White’s The House on Tradd Street. It’s my first of hers, after The Forgotten Room, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    Also, continuing with Mary Balogh’s Bedwyns series. And 2016 seems to be the year for Fantasy. Finishing up N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is really beautiful.

    I am also working on Great Expectations and an early digital copy of Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, a sort of violent take on Jane Eyre. I believe the tag line is, “Reader, I murdered him.”

    • SuzanneH on February 19, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Lauren, after reading The Forgotten Room, which I loved, I thought I would try one of Karen White’s too. So I have The House On Tradd Street on my kindle ready to read. I probably won’t get around to it until late March because I am reading Beatriz William’s Tiny Little Thing, and then the sequel will be next. Then the new Sebastian St Cyr is coming out on the 1st of March along with Rhys Bowen’s latest Molly Murphy Mystery and The Fall Of Poppies. All so exciting!

      The House On Tradd Street intrigued me because I remember either Cooper or John mentioned that they lived there in Forgotten Room. Is there possibly some connection? Rather like Kate’s connection to the Schyler family in Beatriz Williams’s books. I will be really interested to hear what you think of it after you have read it.

      • Lauren H on February 21, 2016 at 12:18 pm

        Suzanne, so far it’s wonderful! I haven’t been able to put it down.

        • SuzanneH on February 23, 2016 at 4:10 am

          That sounds good. Thanks Lauren!

      • Betty Strohecker on February 22, 2016 at 9:46 am

        I picked up a Karen White, but not that one. Does Tradd St look good?

        • SuzanneH on February 23, 2016 at 4:12 am

          According to the reviews on Amazon it sounds very interesting. I won’t get to read it until after we have finished Candy’s new book.

    • Betty Strohecker on February 22, 2016 at 9:44 am

      I loved the Bedwyns – especially Aidan’s story and Wulfric’s and Morgan’s – oh well, they were all great. Do you have a favorite?

  5. Amy on February 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I read something I really didn’t like.
    But I also read Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep which was good. I recommend starting with Touch of Frost if it looks good.

  6. Sheila on February 20, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    I read a wonderful older book by Marjorie Farrell called Jack of Hearts. A very traditional regency, yet with the twist of an exploration of early reform in the Industrial Revolution. Sounds dreary, but delightful.

    I loved Lauren’s novella, The Record Set Straight. Also another Beatrix Potter mystery, The Tale of Holly How.

    The Guest Room by Chris Bohljalian was a spectacular expose’ of the sex slave trade, and how a decent guy can make one mistake that changes a wonderful life into a nightmare. There are very graphic language and depictions, but not inappropriate for the scenes they are in. Very moving in many ways.

  7. Courtney on February 20, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    I’m currently reading The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory. My first literary love was books about the Tudors, but somehow I never read one about Catherine (or Kateryn as her name is spelled in this book) Parr, and so far it’s really good.

  8. Heather on February 20, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I just finished “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. I’ve been feeling the itch to re-watch “Gettysburg” lately, but had never read the source material. This was also my choice for “a classic from the 20th Century” on Popsugar’s 2016 Reading Challenge. I’m now trying to decide between “a graphic novel” (still figuring out what to choose there) or “a book translated to English” (which will be “Battle Royale” by Koshun Takami.)

    I’ve also just finished “Somerset” by Leila Meacham. It’s the prequel to her debut novel “Roses.” Definitely a worthy follow-up – I couldn’t put it down!

    Finally, on my Nook, I’m reading “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” just so I can see what all the hubbub is about. So far, it hasn’t been as gripping as I’d thought it would be.

  9. Kristen Allen-Vogel on February 20, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    I read A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles and Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan, and now I’m reading Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier.

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