My TBR pile is currently a teetering towering work of art. I’ve been doing my best to reduce it to manageable proportions, but it seems for every book I read from it, I manage to add 2 more. At this point, I’m either going to need to move or add on a room sometime in the near future.
Fortunately, I’ve spent a bit of time in waiting areas, on public transportation, and trapped in conference hotels recently – all venues more suited to reading than to writing. That’s convenient since, in addition to the aforesaid preponderance of unread books, my writer’s brain seems to have short-circuited with all the new information that I acquired in the past month.
So, here’s what I’ve read lately:
A book by a favourite author
As I mentioned before, I finally rectified an appalling oversight in my history by reading some Georgette Heyer. I started with her mystery stories and then next turned my attention to her Regencies; starting with The Grand Sophy (you can see my comments on that story here). Yesterday I finished Frederica, the story of an almost-on-the-shelf sister who brings her siblings to London and entangles her distant cousin (Lord Alverstoke) in her plans to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful younger sister. As one would expect from a Heyer story, there is wit, humour, and characters that you can really care about.
At 437 pages, the story went on a bit too long for me and the vast amount of slang, cant, and unfamiliar phraseology made it a little more challenging for the modern reader than some of her other stories. What saved the story for me, however, was the characters. I’m always hesitant about stories that include children, but the younger brothers in this story were not just adorable plot-moppets. They were fundamental to the transformation of the hero from rich, bored, and self-indulgent to someone who would do whatever was necessary to ensure the happiness of the woman he loved.
Their relationship developed very believably over time and I loved this little bit near the end, exclamation points and all:
“. . . Is it like that? Being in love? You see, I never was in love, so I don’t know. . . Is it being – not very comfortable – and cross – and not quite happy when you aren’t there?”
“That, my darling,’ said his lordship, “is exactly what it is!”
“Oh – !” Frederica gasped, as she emerged from an embrace which threatened to suffocate her. “Now I know! I am in love!”
A variety of eBook Freebies
Okay, these titles did little to reduce the TBR pile, but I’m pretty sure they still count as reading. I get the BookBub emails every day, so my Kindle always contains a number of titles to choose from. Recently I went through several of them including:
A Zen for Murder, by Leighann Dobbs – a cozy mystery set in Mooseamuck Island, Maine that includes the death of a local psychic and a couple of retired police consultants. It was a good setting and the murder plot was okay, but the elderly investigators didn’t quite work for me, nor did the clichéd bumbling police official.
Sourdough Wars, by Julie Smith – a cozy mystery set in San Francisco involving the theft of a fabled sourdough starter, and auction, and of course, a dead body. The mystery plot was fun and the story contained a lot of details about San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. The description on Amazon says it is an “easy choice for fans of . . . Jennifer Crusie,” but I don’t think I’d go that far.
The Seven Steps to Closure, by Donna Joy – a contemporary romance set in Sydney. I liked the premise of the story – a 30-year old heroine (Tara) following a magazine’s recommended seven steps to get over a failed relationship. The story was fun and the characters likeable, though it didn’t really click for me until it got to the later steps. The part I liked best was when Tara went on vacation (one of the steps) and wound up travelling with the man who eventually became her HEA. There was a misunderstanding near the end that I could have done without, as well as some slap-stick like moments throughout, but they were balanced out by the heroine, her terrible luck with pets, and some great images during the travelling section. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but I’d definitely read another.
Next up: A Theme
I’m debating what my next reading selection will be. Looking at the stack of books I brought back from RWA Orlando, I seem to have a bit of a Scottish theme going on, with Sabrina York’s Susana and the Scot and Grace Burrowes’ Too Scot to Handle. I’ll be heading to Scotland and the Scottish Writer’s Museum later this year, so maybe I’ll try something a little more traditional first, like Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley. That one is often referenced in Regency romances and has been gathering dust on the shelf for a dog’s age (or longer).
What have you been reading (or trying to read) recently? Any recommendations to add to my overflowing queue (or suggestions to skip)?