WWR — What we read in October

Anne here, hosting our monthly "what we're reading" post, and have we got some great recommendations for you, from contemporary magic realism, to English women's fiction/rom com, medieval historical romance, rock romance, crime fiction of various sorts, and fantasy romance. Read on — and then add your own recommendations in the comment stream.

Blackbirdcafe_

We begin with Pat: For fans of magical realism and Barbara Samuel—MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACK BIRD CAFÉ by Heather Webber is a lovely, heartwarming, “wrap up in a cozy blanket and dream pleasant dreams” story. There is enormous heartbreak and death, but the book is not just about learning to cope, but to overcome and become stronger through forgiveness and love.

For tragic reasons, Anna Kay has never lived in the town her mother called home, until her grandmother dies and leaves her a café. Anna has no intention of staying. She’s on her way to medical school. But the will requires that she stay and run the café for two months before she can sell it, and she desperately needs the funds. Over those months, she learns about the rare blackbirds inhabiting her backyard, the mulberries that bring magical dreams, and about the father she never knew. And while Anna is changing, the whole town is changing with her. Every character shines like a polished gem, and I wanted to root for all of them to have their happy endings. Definitely a feel good story for a dreary evening!

CountryEscapeChristina says: Jane Lovering writes the quirkiest rom coms I’ve ever read – and I mean that in the best possible way! – so when I noticed that she had a new book out, I downloaded it immediately. In The Country Escape, heroine Katie has moved herself and her teenage daughter to a ramshackle cottage in deepest Dorset following her recent divorce because it’s all she can afford. Her ex-husband was French, rich and selfish, so the change in circumstances is particularly noticeable. With jobs harder to come by than she’d thought (she is a French teacher), their prospects for the coming winter look bleak until a couple of chance encounters. One with a pony, who turns up in her orchard one morning (together with an abandoned gypsy caravan), and the other with a man called Gabriel. Jane Lovering’s heroes are always unusual and unique, and Gabriel is no exception. Despite being very handsome, he’s not your average alpha hero, and he has been scarred by things that happened when he was young. But although Katie tries to resist, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Quietly witty and resourceful, as well as self-deprecating, Katie is the kind of heroine you can’t help but root for, and she is hiding some secrets of her own.

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What We’re Reading: April Edition

Pat  Jojo Mayesby Mary Jo

We Word Wenches love doing these posts because we always find new authors to try! 

Starting off with Pat Rice:

One Plus One by  JoJo Moyes  I love the way romance has expanded into women’s fiction, and One Plus One by JoJo Moyes is a masterful example of how it’s done. It’s clear from the very first that we have a conflicted hero and heroine. Ed is owner of a software company about to go mega-huge. Jess is his housekeeper—and he doesn’t even know she exists because she cleans his vacation home, and he never takes vacations.

But this is not the usual meet cute or billionaire-sweeps-heroine-off-her-feet. They both come with so much baggage that it takes most of the book to unload it, with bits exploding along the way—in suitably dramatic fashion. She comes with a math genius daughter and a goth teenager who isn’t even hers, plus a giant slobbery dog. He has a dying father, a screaming sister, a girlfriend he tried to get rid of by handing off insider stock info, and an ex-wife who helps herself to his bank account whenever she likes.

 

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What We’re Reading in August

Joanna here with a look at What the Wenches are Reading this recent little time here.

Me — I’ve gotWenches for the king a couple of books toI recommend.  First off is the non-fiction Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross.  While it’s one of many books that look at Regency customs and manners through the lens of Jane Austen’s works, this one is particularly readable and correct.  

Second book up for a recomment is Catherine DeLors’ For the King. Historical Fiction, here, rather than Historical Romance. It’s an atmospheric novel set in 1800 based upon an attempt on Napoleon’s life. Fun even for those not fascinated by the period.

And, finally, a bit of an outlier.  I’m reading a new-to-me paranormal author, Wenches midnight riotBen Aaronovitch. (You will probably find him in the upper left hand corner of the bookshop shelves.)  The work is titled Midnight Riot which seems to have nothing to do with the plot at all.  This is a police procedural set in Modern day London when part of police work is dealing with murderous magic.  Very funny voice. Well done.

Andrea says:

I’m finally settling back into a normal routine after all the upheaval of moving earlier this summer. And as usual, I’m doing my ying and yang style of reading. For fiction, I’ve gone back to a book I set aside the first time I tried it—the backstory on that is I recently spent the day with my roommates from college, and as we’re all avid readers, the book recommendations were flying fast and furious (As were our fingers! Everyone was busy typing TBR lists on their Wenches Wolf Halli-phones!) Wolf Hall was mentioned, and I said I had given up on it, whereupon I was implored to give it another go, and assured that I would end up loving it. So I am. I want to love it—and I’m warming up to it, but the style/voice is still hard going for me. But I vow to stick it out. (How did everyone else feel about it?)

For non-fiction, I’m reading a very entertaining history of Wenches broadsides the Age of Fighting Sail entitled Broadsides, by Nathan Miller, which covers the time period between the American Revolution and the end of the Napoleonic Wars. It’s very well-written, and along with detailed descriptions of the battles, it highlights the personalities of the captains and admirals, and gives a fascinating picture of life aboard a British warship.

From Nicola we have:  

Wenches silkwormThis month I have been reading The Silkworm, JK Rowling’s second crime novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. I enjoy a good old-fashioned whodunit and the first two books in the Cormoran Strike series have been great – intricately plotted, clever, and with some well drawn characters. I am enjoying the way that the relationship between Cormoran, the rather eccentric PI and Robin, his feisty sidekick, is developing and the hints of romance between the two of them. The Silkworm is particularly fun as it’s set in the writing world and contains some very sharp observations about authors, agents and publishers!
 
In contrast I’ve also been reading Prince Rupert, The Last Cavalier, a Wenches rupertbiography of Prince Rupert of the Rhine by Charles Spencer. It’s background reading for my current book and although I’ve read it before I’m finding it equally interesting the second time around. Charles Spencer paints a vivid picture of a fascinat
ing man.

Pat says:

Argh, I’m reading old manuscripts, attempting to ready them for e-book production. I think all that editing late in the evening has jaded my reading for pleasure. I picked up Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea, a fabulously written book with meticulous historical detail, set in Scotland in both contemporary time and early 1700s. But once I saw where the history was headed, I skipped to the end because there was only one way that story was going to unfold. Apparently Wenches winter seaI’ve lost the ability to lose myself in the story.

So now I’m reading a Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line mystery by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. If you’ve never seen the TV show— it’s about a teen struggling with some serious angst while helping her father in his private detective work. I wish we had more shows where the sex and violence is minimal, and the characters and stories are so well developed. The book starts ten years after the TV story, after Veronica has earned a law degree. It sounds just like the show, catches us up on old characters, and is a good strong mystery. Now I need to hunt another distraction that I won’t be editing in my head …

Anne here:
First up for me is Eloisa James's  Three Weeks with Lady X. I think it's now my favorite of all her books, just beating When Beauty Tamed the Beast.  The banter between the hero and heroine is witty and delightful, with some laugh out loud chuckles along the way, and the sizzle builds beautifully to a delicious climax. My only problem with the book is that I bought it as an e-book and now I'll have to get it in hard copy as I know it's one I want on my keeper shelf. Wenches Raven-Flight

Another historical I enjoyed recently was Mary Balogh's A Secret Affair. On the plane home I devoured Juliet Marillier's Raven Flight, the second in her YA fantasy series that started with Shadowfell. I  can't wait for the third in this series. After that I read Kristan Higgins's Waiting For You, a lovely, fun, contemporary small town romance.

Susan here:  Like Nicola, I'm also reading The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka JKR), and very much enjoying it. The first one, The Cuckoo's Calling, was a great read, and turned me into a Cormoran Strike fan. I love the flaws in this British gumshoe, his honest if chaotic lifestyle, his laid-back wit and depth of intelligence, and the novels have many interesting layers of character and story. Wenches the moor

I'm also reading The Moor, another in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King. I'm way behind in reading this series, and I've only just started this one so don't have much to say, except that I liked the first three Russell-Holmes books (Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment and A Letter from Mary) so much that I am continuing. While that's hardly unusual for some, it's highly unusual for me. I am not much for keeping up with a series – but so far, so good! King likes King. What can I say. 😉

 

So that's the reading round-up for this month. 

What are you reading? What are you excited about in the world of literature.

One reader drawn from the comment thread will win any one of my books they desire, (including the not-yet-released Rogue Spy … though you'll have to wait six weeks or so till they send me my copies.)

 

What We’re Reading

 

 

W-DeskLady2MA13757499-0003Pat here, rounding up the word wenches list of what we've been reading lately. I've been reading an Advanced Reading Copy of Katharine Kimbriel's Night Calls, a newly edited version of her highly acclaimed Alfreda books that will be out on 9/17 at Book View Cafe. The protagonist in this volume is a precocious but likable 11 year old, just discovering both the natural and supernatural worlds in an alternate America where George Washington is king and werewolves are diseased. I don't generally read YA but like Harry Potter, this book has enough to keep an adult interested. I can't wait for the next volume!

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