Weekly Reading Round-Up

The first half of this post was originally meant to go up last week– but the arrival of a small person intervened. So let’s call this fortnightly round-up instead of weekly round-up today? (Also because I just love the word “fortnight”.)

I started last week old school, with a murder mystery from the early 80s: Isabelle Holland’s Flight of the Archangel. Many of the Holland books tend to be in the Elsie Lee mode– first person narratives in which the 1970s career women heroines find themselves taking on international conspiracies, drug cartels, and the like– but this was not one of my favorites, for various reasons. For vintage Isabelle Holland, I much prefer the somewhat spookier Tower Abbey, which has less distressing gender politics.

Needing something a little less grim, I moved on to Jenny Colgan’s The Cafe by the Sea, in which a London paralegal finds herself heading back to the remote Scottish island she’s avoided since her mother’s death– and finds, unexpectedly, that you can come home after all. The Colgan books have become my happy place (who doesn’t want to move to Scotland… or Cornwall… or wherever else?)– so lots of thanks to whoever it was over here who first recommended them!

Then it was back to Francine Matthews’s Nantucket mystery series for Book Four, Death in a Cold Hard Light. There’s only one more left in the series now, so I’m going to have to pace myself– in the hopes she’ll write more!

And since I have a great deal of reading time right now at odd hours of the night, I decided to revisit some old favorites, starting with Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion— which is one of those books that never stales however many times I read it. It’s like a more upbeat Game of Thrones, or, possibly, Game of Thrones with a moral center, and less violence, where you can trust that good will eventually triumph. Court intrigue, curses… what’s not to love?

Moving from pseudo-medieval court intrigue to Parliamentary scheming, I picked up another fat old mass market paperback: Jeffrey Archer’s First Among Equals, the story of four men as each vies for the ultimate place in British government. I’d read and loved it back when I was in college. What struck me about it now is what a period piece it is, set primarily in the 60’s and 70’s, with the fictional politicians woven into the real political issues of those days. (You can just picture the hair and clothes of the day as you read it.) Definitely a read for people who have been enjoying House of Cards or who have chortled over Yes, Minister re-runs.

And that’s it for me for the moment! What have you been reading this week?


  1. Jean on August 11, 2017 at 11:37 am

    The second title in Francine Matthews’s Nantucket mystery series. I went straight from the first to the second!

    Off to check out the Jenny Colgan mystery.

    • Lauren on August 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Nantucket mysteries, too. The Jenny Colgan books are more chick lit/women’s fiction, not mystery….

      • Jean on August 11, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        Thanks for clarifying. I think I put two and two together and ended up with seven! I read “remote Scottish island” and think in my mind “mystery”!

        The Jenny Colgan books are definitely something I think I will enjoy. I plan to start with The Bookshop on the Corner.

  2. Laura on August 11, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Right now I’m reading Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook which I’m enjoying more now that we’ve moved from world building to PLOT!

    • Laura on August 11, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Also, congratulations on the new tiny person! My newest one just turned 9 months yesterday!

      • Lauren on August 11, 2017 at 12:07 pm

        Thanks, Laura! Also, I loved that book– and its sequel. I hope there are more!

        • Lauren on August 11, 2017 at 12:10 pm

          And congrats on the 9 month old! : )

  3. Lora Lynn on August 11, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Congrats!!!! Welcome, Small Person!! Hooray for random reading time! (Albeit at weird hours.)

    Trying to catch up on Joanna Bourne so I can read the new one. Finished Black Hawk. Catching my breath before I start the next.

    And a lot of student essays for work.

  4. Heather H. on August 11, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Congratulations on the little one! Random reading times will be fun, I hope.

    I’m currently catching up on the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I’m on “Feverborn,” debating whether to wait for “Feversong” in paperback (coming in October) or to head to the library to pick it up.

  5. LynnS on August 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I’m between books, so I’m going to look for the Jenny Colgan book. After all, it’s not like I have multiple stacks of TBR books.?

  6. Ellen Sheffer on August 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Congratulations on the arrival of the Small Person!
    I’ve discovered Marie Andreas, Warrior Wench, which I read as a Kindle Unlimited and enjoyed so much I bought it and the next book, Victorious Dead. If you like Lindsay Buroker, you will love these.

  7. Christine on August 11, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I read “The Woman in Cabin 10” and loved it. I’m hoping for a sequel.

  8. DJL on August 11, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Realized I was 3 behind on the Her Royal Spyness series (eek!), so just finished Malice at the Palace, which was very enjoyable. Now only 2 behind 🙂

    • Lara Naregatsian on August 11, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      I love Lady Georgiana!

  9. Jodi K on August 11, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Congratulations on the new small person! I just finished The Identicals which I really enjoyed.

  10. Lauren H on August 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Right now I’m working on Connie Willis’s “Doomsday Book,” a young time-traveling historian from mid-21st Century Oxford goes back to 1320 and gets stuck. An epidemic breaks out in her native time period and only one person is aware that something might have gone wrong with the time travel drop and because of the epidemic can’t get any help in locating her. Really good sci-if/historical fiction. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I’ve ever met.

    I’m also working on Janet Fitch’s new saga about the Russian Revolution that’s set to come out in November, called “The Revolution of Marina M.”. It’s every bit as elegantly written as I remember “White Oleander” being and compulsively page-turning, which is good since it’s over 800 pages long. Very much enjoying it.

  11. Miss Eliza on August 11, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I finished The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville for book club… and it was… well, seeing as I was an art major and studied a ton of surrealism and I thought it came off as too smug on the art front making the whole narrative suffer to name dropping I’d totally avoid it.

  12. Lara Naregatsian on August 11, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    FĂ©licitations Mlle Lauren!

    Just finishing off the fourth book in the Liberty Lane series. I love her!

  13. Tara on August 12, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Congrats! I am reading the prequel to the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas called The Assassin’s Blade.

  14. Sheila on August 12, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity and the Widow’s Curse. She had kind of a dry spell, thisis her best in years.

    Ashenden by Wilhide, it was wonderful. The house is the main character, and beautifully written.

    Dave Schroeder’s The Congruent Apprentice. I usually avoid fantasy, but this one is a romp, and I loved it.

    • Sheila on August 12, 2017 at 10:07 am

      And many congratulations on your new little one!

  15. Sheila on August 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

    And many congratulations on the new little one!

  16. Betty Strohecker on August 12, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Finished A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray, pen name for Beatriz Williams and was somewhat disappointed after loving the prequel.

    Now reading Overseas by Williams and loving it so far.

  17. Carla on August 13, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Reading a most extraordinary pursuit.
    Congrats on the baby!

  18. Lynn Spencer on August 15, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Congratulations on the new small person!

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