Weekly Reading Round-Up

Now that the draft of the next stand alone is in the hands of my editor, I’ve been catching up on reading the large pile of ARCs (advance review copies) that accumulated next to my desk over the past few months. It’s been an eclectic and fascinating mix of reads, including:

The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo. This debut novel (coming out in January 2017) is hands down one of the best books I’ve read in a while– even though it will make you cry, possibly in public places. A vivid and heart-wrenching look into the lives of two nurses during World War II, one in Europe, one in the Pacific, each enduring the unendurable. Brilliant, heart-breaking, and redemptive.

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni Walsh (coming out May 2017). Did you know anything about Bonnie and Clyde? I didn’t. But I still found this tale of a young woman’s transformation from church-going future teacher to gangster’s moll compelling and convincing. What really caught me about it was the way a person can be tugged by circumstances into a life entirely different from the one she imagined.

The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells. This one is currently out in Australia, but not yet in the U.S. (Although it looks like it might be available stateside on audio?) Pure candy for anyone who likes 18th century courtroom drama or books about secrets in great houses with attractive but brooding owners. The story goes back and forth between the present day, an Australian lawyer who finds herself helping to prop up a fading mansion on the Isle of Wight, and the 18th century, when a marriage of convenience goes very, very wrong.

Christmas in Paris, by Anita Hughes (coming out in October). Paris seen through a snow globe: a modern fairy tale romance set in Paris at Christmas, complete with haute couture, fancy hotels, and a light dusting of happily ever after.

I also seized the chance to sample from a pile of books a friend had sent, including:

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets a cocktail menu, with frightening paranormal creatures, magical drink mixes, and a whole arcane history of booze.

What have you been reading this week?


  1. CĂ©line on July 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    There are some books in this list that greatly interest me!!!

    As far as I am concerned, I dived back into Outlander, starting again with the first book in the series, after a few weeks of reading mangas! 🙂

    • Paula on July 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      I’ve been rereading Oulander too. I’m on Drums of Autumn.

      • Beth F on July 22, 2016 at 7:58 pm

        I’m reading Drums of Autumn right now, too. I’m enjoying it more than Voyager.
        Last night I also started Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty just to mix it up a bit. It’s definitely a page-turner.

  2. Sheila on July 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Of all the books I have read recently, the most interesting is a biography, Wedlock, by Wendy Moore. Mary Eleanor Bowes, Countess of Strathmore, an ancestor of the current Queen, led the most amazing life. Not far into it I realized that it encompassed every element of historical and romance novels. We have a social climbing industrialist, the richest girl in Britain, the strong but silent earl, a ne’er do well half pay officer, trials, kidnapping, lovers, poetry, faithful retainers, a female botanist of note, etc. etc. Moore’s writing is novelistic in style, but there copious notes and sources. She was a contemporary of Austen and her story and divorce were very well publicized at the time. An absolute treat, especially for those who doubt these ancestors were so rowdy.

    I also enjoyed Julianna Gray,s The Duke of Olympia Strikes Back…more of him please Beatrice, and Michael Robertson’s latest, The Baker Street Jurors.

  3. Lara Naregatsian on July 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I discovered Eleanor Kuhns – she writes a series about a weaver during the late 1790’s in the Shaker period in Maine. He has a knack of solving mysteries; however the stories are intermingled with his personal situation, which isn’t always perfect since he’s torn between his commitments and his desires. I’m on the second book. Seriously good.

    The other book I’m reading is Lucy Robinson’s A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger. I’m a fifth of the way through but still not sold on it….keeping an open mind.

  4. Lauren H on July 22, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    You had me at Buffy. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge has now been requested from the library.

    As for me, I’ve been reading the latest Janet Evanovich/Lee Goldberg Fox and O’Hare novel, The Pursuit. Also a couple digital galleys, Sherri L Smith’s Pasadena, and R Dean Johnson’s Californium. Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places for book club, which is in a dark place I just haven’t wanted to go to, so I also started Jennifer Crusie/Bob Mayer’s Don’t Look Down to give me something fun to counter the darkness.

  5. Christina on July 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    City of Ashes and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. I can’t disagree with the criticisms she received but they are fun reads. I started The Girl of Fire and Thorns but it was a DNF for me.

  6. Tiffany on July 23, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Has anyone read “The Shoemaker’s Wife?” I have started it a bunch of times, of can’t seem to get into it…yet it has received so many high ratings on goodreads. Do I just soldier on?

    • Calli on August 6, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Yes, soldier on! It IS good… and it also took me a little time to keep me interested.

  7. Joan on July 23, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I too tried “The Shoemaker’s Wife” several times before finally finishing it and it WASN’T worth the time!! I just finished The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick and enjoyed very much even though the time period (1100 England) isn’t my favorite. My daughter is wrapping of GRR Martin’s Game of Thrones series, looking forward to a change of pace with One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.

    • CĂ©line on July 24, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I LOVED One plus one!!! It has a little miss sunshine flavour to it and it’s very very good. As are all of Jojo Moyes’ books!

  8. Alice on July 23, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Finished the latest Lady Darby, “As Death Draws Near.” I’m a big fan of the series, but this was just meh for me. The history of Ireland was fascinating, but I found the overall plot to be slow, and the ending rather anticlimactic. Also the latest Sebastian St Cyr which was excellent. Finally, started a new to me series, “Medicus” by Ruth Downie. Set in ancient Great Britain with a Roman doctor as our hero. Reminds me a bit of the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsay Davies which I love. Thus far, I am enjoying it!

  9. Suzanne H on July 25, 2016 at 4:18 am

    I am currently re-reading my collection of Mary Higgins Clark novels. As she has been writing at least one per year for nearly forty years I have a lot of them. I didn’t like all of them on the first read way back when, so I don’t have all of them, but she has about a 90% hit rate with me, so I do have a lot. Actually, most of my favourite authors have written at least one book that just didn’t grab me, but they are still my favourites. Some of them I have read many times and some I haven’t read for several decades and have forgotten a lot of the stories so it has been really enjoyable. So, some are like revisiting old friends and some are like reading for the first time.

    Thanks, Lauren, for doing the review of The Wife’s Tale. It sounds like just the sort of book I like and I have downloaded it to my kindle.

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