What We Are Reading!

Christina here with this month's summary of what the Wenches have been reading — and we have read a lot! As always, it's an eclectic selection and hopefully some great suggestions for everyone, but we appreciate your input so please let us know what you'd like to add. We can never have enough book recommendations!

Murder at the Serpentine BridgePatriciaMURDER AT THE SERPENTINE BRIDGE by Andrea Penrose

Another brilliant historical mystery in the Wrexford and Sloane series … Conducted against the pageantry of the 1814 Peace Celebrations in London, the intrepid earl and his artist countess unwind a treasonous plot involving the plans for a revolving pistol every nation wants to lay hands on. So much for celebrating peace! In the process of investigating the murder of the pistol’s inventor, the pair acquire the inventor’s brilliant nephew, Peregrine, as a companion for their own wards Hawk and Raven. I love the ongoing family sagas that continue despite the murder and mayhem in the world beyond their safe walls. The history is impeccable and one can truly imagine the scheming that probably did take place with so many powerful men in one place. Highly recommended!

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What We’re Reading–June 2021

Pat here: I think this is our favorite post every month. The wenches all madly grab up each other's recommendations, then eagerly await what our readers are loving. Good thing for credit cards!

DeadeditorThis month I'm recommending INTERVIEW WITH A DEAD EDITOR (Book#1 in the Lucky Lexie mysteries.) I’ve always enjoyed Shanna Swendson’s books, and I was delighted to realize she was writing mysteries now.

Lexie had just been laid off from her reporter’s job when she surprisingly gets a call for an interview for an assistant editorship in the most perfect small town in Texas one could ever find. Sure, half the town is descended from a freak show that got side-railed there a century ago. And unfortunately, the editor who was supposed to interview her is dead upon arrival. But the food is great. The ghosts—well, the original newspaper owner from the 1930s smokes too much. When a snowstorm and a mysterious car ailment prevent Lexie from turning around and leaving, she gets caught up in solving the former editor’s murder, of course. Shanna is a great writer with a sense of humor, and even though I figured out the killer early on, it’s a fun tale, and I’ll be back for more.

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What We’re Reading!

Hey there, Pat here, bringing you the Word Wenches comments on what we’ve been reading this Pratchettmonth. I’ve been hunkered down trying to fine tune my new release while reading up on the next book set in Victorian Edinburgh–my main reading this month. I really don’t think you want to hear about the archives of the University of Scotland, although they are fascinating!

But I discovered I’d missed a Terry Pratchett book and grabbed a copy of RAISING STEAM when it crossed my radar. This is one of the later volumes written with his wife, so the puns aren’t there except in some of the names. What was really interesting about this read is that I started it in e-book format and was feeling a bit let-down and disappointed by it. We have all my favorite characters (except the witches!) and Disc World has just discovered steam engines, which is throwing everything into a tizzy. But I just wasn’t getting into it. Because we have a library of Pratchett books, we ordered a print copy to fill the missing gap. So I opened the book to where I was in the e-reader and tried reading on the page and lo and behold, the experience was utterly different.

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What We’re Reading in February

White horse booksNicola here, introducing the Wenchly reading recommendations in the month of February. As ever we have a big mix of books for you and look forward to hearing what you've been reading too! the picture on the left is the rather gorgeous old bookshop in Marlborough, a town just down the road from me, where I love to browse. Sometimes you might even meet the resident bookshop ghost, which seems appropriate for Pat's first recommendation today!

Pat writes:


Ellie Wilde is a cynic, for good reason. As the youngest of triplets, she’s paying to keep her comatose sister in the best nursing home available by using her limited skill set—tricking people. To be fair, she also gives them comfort—by ridding their homes of ghosts she doesn’t believe in. People might call her a psychic medium, but in reality, she’s a great problem-solver and people reader. She has to be, or her sister will be out on the street. Her brother is a gym teacher and can’t possibly afford the cost of nursing care, so it’s up to Ellie. When she’s offered a small fortune and the opportunity to fly to England and live in a mansion while she rids the house of its resident ghost, she happily takes the job.

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Summer Reading List

TheDevilishMontague-low-res Pat here. Devilish Montague, my latest Regency romance, will be coming out in a few weeks and I’ll have to plug it hither and yon then, but self promo is tedious. Since I’m scheduled to blog both Bookviewcafe and Wordwenches today, I thought I’d gift our readers (and myself) with a summer reading list. I’ve gathered the list from among the wordwenches and BVC members, but we’re remaining anonymous because there are so many good books and we can only recommend so many. As it is, I’ll have to cut all the suggestions in half and do more later. Below is an eclectic mixture of recommendations from my reading buddies…

Anything by Terry Pratchett. He writes fantasy, but if you don't like fantasy, don't be put off. It's down-to-earth, witty, funny fantasy. It's really hard to pick one, but women will probably enjoy Witches Abroad, and most men seem to really like Pyramids. But really, anything. http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/

Jo Beverley’s An Unlikely Countess, historical romance  set in 1765, tells the story of the impoverished daughter of a scholar who becomes entangled with an equally impoverished ex-soldier, but fate makes him an earl, and life becomes very complicated indeed.

The Attenbury EmeraldsJill Paton Walsh's third novel based on Dorothy Sayers' beloved Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.  It's a powerful and entertaining story where the mystery exists mostly as a structure for the family, social, and romantic relationships and an elegiac look at post WWII England.

Hunting and Gathering, by Anna Gavalda. French and a little quirky, about four people, pretty much adrift in the world, damaged by life and barely surviving — but before you screw up your nose and say, 'not for me,' it's not at all grim. It's the kind of book that makes you smile, and the ending leaves you feeling all warm and 47780 fuzzy. The French title is "Ensemble, C'est Tout" which means  "Together is Everything" and that's what the book is about — people needing people, forming families by chance and though random acts of kindness. And it's a romance.

Vienna Waltz by Teresa Grant (the new pen name of Tracy Grant), an historical murder mystery set at the Congress of Vienna, and is a fabulous mix of political intrigue, complex psychological layering rich historical detail and scintillating dialogue.

For delicious urban-fantasy-done right: Desdaemona by Ben Macallan (BVC’s own Chaz) and Katherine Kerr's Water To Burn (an August release).

Immortal by Pati Nagle, a contemporary elves and vampire romance in both print and digital, and a darker paranormal/fantasy romance by Pati Nagle, Heart of the Exiled in ebook.

Thistle Down by Irene Radford, a light and fluffy paranormal romance masquerading as urban fantasy.  Pixies in the park. Good for YA.  Thistle

Vampire Chef #1: A Taste of the Nightlife by Sarah Zettel comes out July 5.  Humorous, paranormal, mystery with vampires.  And food!

Trey Shiels, The Dread Hammer, "An enthralling, darkly comic fairytale of love, war, murder, marriage, and fate."

Martha Well's The Cloud Road. Epic fantasy/adventure with a PW starred review

Sherwood Smith, The Trouble With Kings, a romantic fantasy from Samhain

Madeline Robins: Althea, an old-fashioned "sweet" Regency, which will be followed in July by My Dear Jenny (also Regency, also sweet), ebooks from bookviewcafe. Also, her Sarah Tolerance books: Point of Honour and Petty Treason, a fusion of Regency, noir, and swashbuckler set in a slightly-alternate England in ebook format

The Iron Druid trilogy by Kevin Hearne, a new urban fantasy author with a light, intelligent touch.  The first two books, HOUNDED and HEXED are out, and HAMMERED will be along in a few weeks.
Evil GSilk_enius by Patricia Rice–mystery, romance, and a wickedly colorful cast of eccentric characters in this e-book only story.
  SILK & SHADOWS, & SILK AND SECRETS by Mary Jo Putney–these are e-book editions of the exotic Silk Trilogy.  The third, VEILS OF SILK, should be out soon.  I loved reading these books, and it's great that they're available again.

Katherine Kerr, License to Ensorcell , a Nola O'Grady urban fantasy,

Among Others, by Jo Walton, a wonderful combination of fantasy, coming-of-age, and modern historical (girl with magic in her extended and peculiar family, growing up in the 70s in Wales).

Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides–"Whether or not the Pirates of the Caribbean film satisfied, try the original novel by Tim Powers. Almost nothing of Powers magnificent yarn was taken for the film, so you won't feel as if you're reading anything tied to a movie.  Adventure, romance, pirates, and supernatural wonders abound.  Highly recommended."

Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion and its sequels—fantasy

And as the weather gets hot, nothing is more cooling than to read works about British explorers freezing to death: The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge, a Booker finalist.

Speak to Our Desires by Brenda Clough, mystery/thriller set in the Summer of Love in the 60’s, for those looking for e-fiction.

We, Robots  by Sue Lange, a humorous fantasy novella about a young girl who is given a robot nanny. The story is told from the viewpoint of the robot and explores what effect  technology has had on  the meaning of life

Vonda McIntyre, The Moon and the Sun: Nebula Award winner.  Set in the court of Louis XIV, a secret history revealing what happens when the king's natural philosopher, Yves de la Croix, captures a sea  monster — a mermaid — or is it something more? 

Ashley Gardner's Gabriel Lacey regency mysteries. They're not "light" exactly, but very engaging—rather perfect for long summer evenings when a bit of London fog is just the thing. Book One is The Hanover Square Affair.

Maya Bohnhoff: Taco Del and the Fabled Tree of Mystery is a good summer eBook read and The Meri (in print fantasy) and Star Wars: Patterns of Force (in print SF)

Kelley Armstrong's Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic, urban fantasy 

K.E. Kimbriel’s Nuala SF novels contain romance, but are easier to find in e-book and usually cheaper.

Jennifer Stevenson’s completely light, romantic comedy about blue-collar men and the women who pursue them: 
King of Hearts and Fools Paradise

Andrea Penrose, Sweet Revenge, Regency mystery  (Deception with a dash of murder is a recipe for disaster…)

Cara Elliott, To Surrender To A Rogue, a historical romance RITA finalist (Lady Alessandra della Giamatti arrives in Bath to excavate newly discovered Roman ruins-only to find herself caught in a web of evil intrigue . . .)

Susan King, The Black Thorne's Rose, medieval historical romance, now on Kindle and Nook

Susan Fraser King, Queen Hereafter, Scots historical fiction about saintly Queen Margaret


Wow, and that was just the start of the suggestions I've collected! Please, add more below if you like. Give a little bit about them so readers know if they're the kind of book they like to read. There are so many amazing books out there, it's so very hard to choose among them. Hope we've given you some choices!