Archive for the ‘Weekly Reading Round-Up’ Category

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, February 16th, 2018

How did I ever get through the 80s without reading Jackie Collins? I read the rest of the glamour epic squad: Judith Krantz, Danielle Steele, Sidney Sheldon, et al, but somehow missed Jackie Collins. I finally remedied that over a couple of long plane rides with Lovers and Gamblers, about a rock star and a rising actress and the cast of thousands that surrounds them. It made me realize how much I miss those sweeping, over the top sagas that were, where you feel like you’ve lived years in eight hundred pages– then realize for the characters it’s only been six months. But in those six months, careers are made and broken, kingdoms rise and fall, and goodness only knows what else.

For something completely different, I’ve moved on to the latest in Elly Griffiths’s Ruth Galloway series, The Chalk Pit, British mystery involving murdered rough sleepers and a set of mysterious bones (because with Ruth Galloway, there are always bones).

After this, I think I might finally, finally read Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells, which has been on my to read list for years now.

What have you been reading this week?

p.s. if you’re in the Chicago area, come join me for the last stop on The English Wife Tour on Saturday! I’ll be at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park at 3:00 with Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lennox mysteries. Hope to see you there!

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Do you ever have those weeks where you can’t remember by the end just what you were reading? This was one of those for me. I started and put down a few books that just didn’t quite work for me and finally settled on a re-read of Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner, about an unemployed librarian who loads up a van with books and moves to the Highlands to start a mobile bookshop. Because, books. And the Highlands.

But now it may be time for me to venture out and try something new….

What have you been reading this week?

Also, I’m back off on book tour! I’ll be speaking in Connecticut this weekend, in Georgia (with Deanna Raybourn) next week, and in Chicago (with Charles Finch) on Presidents’ Day weekend– so if you’re in any of those places, check the Have Author Will Travel panel for details!

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, January 26th, 2018

When you’re dealing with cranky small people with flu, only comfort re-reads will do.

This week, I resorted to Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook, which passed the test of being just as amusing on a second read. A sci fi/mystery combo, the book follows a woman, highly placed in a top secret paranormal organization, who comes to without her memory and a series of letters from her old self to her new self, apprising her of her duties and warning her that she’s being targeted by a traitor. All I can say is that the writing is brilliantly, tongue-in-cheek, snort-your-honey-and-lemon-tea funny, and if you like the humor of the Pink books, you’ll probably enjoy this.

Also on the list of the week’s comfort reads: Georgette Heyer’s The Quiet Gentleman, in which the earl returns home and is promptly faced with both a very commonsensical heroine and a series of murder attempts. (If you’re going to be targeted by a murderer, it’s good to have a commonsensical heroine about.) It lacks the madcap humor of some of Heyer’s other novels, but there’s something very soothing about the mix of mystery, romance, and Heyer wit.

Right now, I’m just starting Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday, Maybe, about a struggling actress in New York in 1995. It’s a love letter to a New York I remember well (my senior year of high school!), a New York of hair in scrunchies and tokens for the subway and Caller ID being a new and novel thing. It’s also making me want to binge watch Gilmore Girls. If only I didn’t have a book to write…. Must. Resist. Gilmores.

What have you been reading this week?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Hello from book tour!

One of the best parts of book tour is the long flights. Not because of the airplane coffee or those little cookies in wrappers. No. It’s having five or six uninterrupted hours to read.

As I zigzagged back and forth across the country this week, I read:

— Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers, about a family from Cameroon seeking a new life in New York right before the financial crisis, with all the ups and downs that entails. The dialect and the details of immigrant life were fascinating, and the way the story played out in the end was not at all what I had expected;

— Kristan Higgins’s Now That You Mention It. This was my book tour treat to myself. You can never go wrong with a Kristan Higgins novel, and her latest, set on a small island off the coast of Maine, about a doctor returning home to the town she’d fled long ago, was no exception;

— Tana French’s In the Woods. My original copy of this book was purchased from a book vending machine (best idea ever) at Heathrow an insanely long time ago, but I’d loaned it out and never got it back so…. I did wish I didn’t know who dunnit, but the writing and character development was just as beautifully done a second time around.

And now I’m in a book drought! What should I read next? All suggestions welcome….

What have you been reading this week?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, January 12th, 2018

It’s been a very seasonal week for me. I finished up a re-read of Trisha Ashley’s A Winter’s Tale, skipped spring, and went straight on to Jamie Brenner’s The Forever Summer, a multi-stranded narrative set in a B&B in Cape Cod about finding family and oneself. Because sometimes you just need a little summer in the middle of winter….

forever summer

But mostly I’ve been running around signing copies of The English Wife!

I’m so grateful to everyone who came out for the launch of The English Wife at the Corner Bookstore in New York this past week, and to the lovely people at all the New York Barnes & Nobles.

Corner Bookstore window Union Square B&N

You can find me tomorrow (Saturday) in Georgia at FoxTale Book Shoppe with Karen White; on Sunday in Scottsdale at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore with Tasha Alexander and Deanna Raybourn; and on Wednesday in Houston at Murder by the Book with Tasha and Deanna (Charlie’s Angels are together again!).

If you would like a signed copy, but can’t make it to any of the tour stops, the good folks at FoxTale, the Poisoned Pen, or Murder by the Book would be more than happy to oblige. If you contact them before my appearance, they’ll have me sign your book while I’m there and then ship it out to you, whether you’re the next county away or in Timbuktu.

If you already have/ have ordered a copy, but would like it signed, just email me at with “Bookplate” in the header, and I will be more than happy to pop a signed bookplate in the mail to you.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Weekly Reading Round-Up….

What have you been reading this week?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, December 29th, 2017

There’s something about the week between Christmas and the New Year, when the world goes calm and still, that invites curling up with a blanket, a steaming cup of something caffeinated, and a pile of books. There are so many books I associate with this particular week of the year, although the one that leaps to mind first is Dorothy Sayers’s The Nine Tailors.

This week, I continued my Jenny Colgan binge with Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe . (These books are perfect for being up at two a.m. with baby. They almost make me not mind being awake. Almost.)

I took a break from books about baked goods with Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. Is it horrible to admit that I like Agatha Christie better on the screen than on the page? Her writing is very spare and very cinematic, with quick breaks between viewpoints. I love her stories for the story of them, but when it comes to style, I much prefer Dorothy Sayers.

After my little excursion into crime, I returned to my Colgan marathon with Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe (self-explanatory). This one has the added bonus of being partly set in my own New York, and being very recognizably my own New York (which isn’t always the case in books).

Now, with the new year approaching, it’s just about time for me to really knuckle down on my new book. Which means finding a series to read while I work. I’m thinking of giving the Dresden Files a go. Any thoughts?

What have you been reading this week? And are there any books you particularly associate with this time of year?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

As the countdown to Christmas continues, I’ve been on a Jenny Colgan Christmas book binge, reading the two sequels to Sweetshop of Dreams: Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop and The Christmas Surprise.

Now that I’m approaching the end of the last one, I feel quite at a loss for what to read next. I have a few Very Dark and Serious Books I’ve been meaning to read, but that might be too much shock to the system– rather like going from being bundled up with hot cocoa to jumping into an icy river.

So… does anyone have any recommendations for good Christmas-themed British chick lit? (Or mystery. I could move sideways to cozy mystery, as long as there’s a village involved. Preferably with thatch.)

What have you been reading this week?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, December 15th, 2017

It’s the most reading-ful time of the year? If not that, it’s certainly a good time of year to brew a cup of tea and read over the head of a (hopefully) sleeping baby while the wind wuthers around the windows and the radiator creaks and groans.

On my list this past week? A Bed of Scorpions, the second mystery in the London-set Sam Clare series, about an editor turned accidental sleuth. This one involved a mysterious death in an art gallery, and, of course, plenty of snark about publishing.

I stayed in England, but moved from London to Cornwall and mystery to chick lit with Jenny Colgan’s Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery. It’s been my experience that sequels generally don’t work well in chick lit/women’s fiction, but this book was an exception for me. There was enough that the characters still had to resolve, really, seriously resolve, that it didn’t feel like a thin follow-up. Also, Christmas. And puffins. And baking. It was just the right book at the right time for me.

I meant to move on from there to Laurie King’s Justice Hall, or to Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent, which I’ve been meaning to read forever (or at least since October), but once you’re in a certain sort of small village British chick lit sort of mood, nothing will do but more small village British chick lit (possibly with a side of Midsomer Murders and the odd episode of The Vicar of Dibley), so I am currently in the middle of Jenny Colgan’s Sweetshop of Dreams, which has the added bonus of not one, but two Christmas themed sequels waiting in the wings.

What have you been reading this week?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Happy December!

There’s something about that post-Thanksgiving lull (and working on revisions) that just calls for comfort reading. For me, that means mysteries and British chick lit.

I dipped into Laurie King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series with A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary, in the latter of which one of my absolute favorite characters from another series (ahem, Lord Peter Wimsey, ahem) makes a surprise guest appearance.

Of course, I was so happy to see him there, that I hopped over to the Dorothy Sayers section of my shelves for a re-read of The Nine Tailors, which isn’t my favorite Wimsey (that would be the Harriet Vane ones, especially Gaudy Night), but has the benefit of having been re-read less recently.

Now I’m into my seasonal British chick lit reading, starting with Trisha Ashley’s The Magic of Christmas. My two favorites are A Winter’s Tale and The Twelve Days of Christmas, both of which will probably show up here later this month. Because ’tis the Season….

What have you been reading this week?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, November 17th, 2017

There’s something about crisp fall weather and new (or new to me) books that just go together. This week, I’ve dipped into:

— Laurie King’s Pirate King. I leapt over several intervening books to get to this one, but how could any lifelong Pirates of Penzance fan resist the lure of Pirates AND Mary Russell? For context, the very first show I ever saw on Broadway was the Keven Klein Pirates of Penzance when I was four years old– after which I regularly embarrassed my parents by stripping to my frilly petticoat at parties, announcing I was Mabel, and warbling “Poor Wand’ring One”. Sadly, singing G&S songs at parties is not a habit that has entirely gone away with age. I do still have to go back and read the earlier books in the series, but this one can absolutely be read out of order, and is a great deal of tongue and cheek fun. Highly recommended for other fans of G&S and for Miss Gwen, who would have adored Mary Russell. (By a Miss Gwen definition of “adore”, i.e. grimly approve.)

— Louise Miller’s The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, about a purple-haired pastry chef from Boston who relocates to a small inn in rural Vermont. They had me at the blurb that said, “Okay, it’s Gilmore Girls.”

And now I’m thinking about doubling back and reading Book 2 in Laurie King’s Mary Russell series…

What have you been reading this week?