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Topic: September Reads as the Leaves Fall

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Subject: September Reads as the Leaves Fall
Date Posted: 9/1/2014 9:27 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,880
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Wow!  I get to start this time.  Read The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig.  Quite liked it.  She does use a similar pattern as she used for the spy series but it's more complex.  I guess it's called time slip according to Lynne.  For me, it was a good read.  Also finished The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell.  It's the tale of a young woman who takes in her "aunt" who had been in an asylum for over 60 years.  Gothic?  Yes.  Disturbing?  Yes.  That this could and did occur in our past is heart breaking.  Nevertheless I enjoyed it!  Had fun reading The Pindar Diamond by Katie Hickman.  Earlier this year I read The Aviary Gate which precedes Diamond.  Now I wonder when the author's next novel will appear!  The two are very good reads but I did like Diamond better.  Finished The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear.  I have enjoyed this series but I find that I'm becoming less excited about reading another.  Hopefully, it's just this one that became more of a chore than a joy to read because returning to a series one enjoys is like pulling on a favorite comfortable sweater that one cannot bear to put aside for a new one.  At any rate, two more from this series remain on my TBR.  A very good read is U700 by James Follett, a WWII novel told from two views - German and British.  It's another from my TBR shelves which keep growing I whether I read from them or not!  Surprisingly, I found it very good - historical fiction with no romance and no royalty but I really enjoyed it. Discovered that Follet has authored others similar to this one which I will have to check out.  

The classic,  One Day in the Lifeof Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, was excellent.  I had been rather intimidated by this author but now I wonder why.  He writes so well, with such clarity and simplicity.  Enders Game by Orson Scott Card was every bit as good as the reviewers said.  Why, oh why, did I wait so long to read it?  I truly enjoyed it.  And, the gentle warm rendering of The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne by Catherine Reef was so very well researched.  Loved the in depth view she gave of their lives and works including the poetry she chose to include from their pens.  The list of references is pages and pages long.  I need to read more by this sensitive and thorough author.  What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris was a well done first novel.  I had some issues with the key character's actions which did not seem appropriate so I have rated it 4.5 stars which I downgraded to 4 stars when I wrote about it.  Another new author for me is Anchee Min who writes about her native country.  Empress Orchid is HF but I couldn't help wondering of women from that time and culture would react as Orchid did.. It when a time when Britain invaded and demanded the opening of many seaports to exploit the opium market.  The depiction of different women of royalty was probably true in many ways.  Well done and fascinating from a cultural viewpoint!   Am wrapping up my last read in the Maisie Dobbs series.  Enjoyed Among the Mad.  Began An Unholy Alliance by Susanna Gregory.



Last Edited on: 10/1/14 2:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 24
Date Posted: 9/1/2014 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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I'm reading Scent of Cloves by Norah Lofts. 

Date Posted: 9/1/2014 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,891
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I spent all day reading Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell. I am a floating sub for 10 libraries and when I get to one of the branches that doesn't get a lot of traffic I go pluck one off the shelf I know I already have at home so I can continue reading without having to check out the library copy.  Shadow on the Crown just happened to be the first one I came across at the library I was at on Saturday and I couldn't put it down.  I'm now reading Ruth's Journey by Donald McCaig-the back story of Gone with the Wind's Mammy.  

Date Posted: 9/2/2014 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I finished The Goldfinch over the weekend.  I really liked the first 500 or so pages, but felt it took a negative turn at the end. 

I am working on The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp, about Matilde Kschessinska, who I just discovered was born 100 years to the day before me.  It's kind of dense and not a quick moving story, but interesting.

Date Posted: 9/6/2014 1:45 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,502
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I'm reading some NF right now...specifically a bio of Lewis Carroll. What an odd man he was. I will try to pick up some HF soon, but I've been working a lot lately and haven't been able to churn through a lot of reading material.

Date Posted: 9/6/2014 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,394
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Just finished I Always Loved You, by Robin Oliveira, about Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, and also  quite a bit about Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot.  Enjoyed this novel, I love reading about artists and their works.  Of course, I spent an lot of time googling names of other artists mentioned, and oohing and ahhing over the pictures. Thanks to Alice for sending us this wonderful book.

Linda

Date Posted: 9/6/2014 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,458
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I'm just about finished reading A King's Ransom by SKP and I've also been reading God is an Englishman by R.F. Delderfield on my kindle.  I think I read this years ago when I was a freshman in college.  I've really been enjoying it the second time around.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 9/6/2014 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,746
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I finished reading Out of the Easy :: Ruta Sepetys. It is a YA book set in 1950s New Orleans very good. Not a bunch  of whiny teens that you get in many YA novels. Well written characters and a plot line that keeps you turning the pages. If you enjoy YA this is a good one.

Alice

Date Posted: 9/7/2014 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,394
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I have both God is an Englishman and Out of the Easy sitting on my shelves; but for now, I'm reading Martyr by Rory Clements. Have just barely started, but it has all the makings of a good one!

Kelly

 

Date Posted: 9/7/2014 7:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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@ Cheryl, hope you got the Costco sized tissue for the end of King's Ransom.

I've started Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley.

Date Posted: 9/8/2014 10:50 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,458
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Cathy:  Because I knew historically what was going to happen I actually had to push myself to the end of the book.  I almost couldn't bear to read it, but it was so movingly written that I'm glad I did.  This one was a toughie at the end, no doubt.

Date Posted: 9/8/2014 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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Wooooh, it seems like FOREVER since I've posted here.  It's been the summer of Outlander for me, so I didn't want to bore you all with repeated posts about Outlander.  I've been reading or re-reading books and short stories form the Gabaldon's Outlander series since the 8th book came out earlier this summer - and will continue to do so until at least December 5th.

But I have squeezed in a few other books here and there ...

REK - I read The Ashford Affair last April or May.     Now keep in mind that I LOVE the Pink Carnation series and was really looking forward to Willig's first stand-alone historical fiction novel (as opposed to the PC books, which are a blend of historical fiction, historical romance and contemporary chick list).  So actually bought The Ashford Affair in hardback when it first came out.  But surprisingly I lost interest in it about 150 pages in.  Maybe I was expecting something like the PC books.   But other than the fact that this is also told in a time-slip format, it's nothing like the PC books  But I picked it up again in spring and this time it "caught" me and I really liked it.   I expect to be getting her 2nd HF stand-alone from the library soon (That Summer).

And I listened to the two most recent Pink Carnation novels this summer also (The Garden Intrigue and The Passion of the Purple Plumeria).  And I hope to get the audio from the library soon for the newest Pink Carnation novel, The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla  - which is the penultimate book in the series.  You can tell that this series is coming to an end, as the last two books have dealt with two of the major spies in the PC spy ring getting out of the spy business.

Date Posted: 9/8/2014 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I'm reading Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen, about the poet Frances Osgood, Edgar Allan Poe, and Poe's wife.  I am not loving the relationship at the center of the novel, but the setting and people are interesting. 

Date Posted: 9/8/2014 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,891
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Reading The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber.  Loving Lady Darby and Gage :)

Date Posted: 9/9/2014 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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I am about to begin Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall--I have high hopes for it

Date Posted: 9/10/2014 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Finished Mrs. Poe and read The Giver by Lois Lowry.  Now I'm working on a contemporary fiction While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax that my mom sent to me.

Date Posted: 9/10/2014 5:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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FINALLY. Have finished listening to the seemingly-never-ending Fiery Cross. FINALLY. I liked parts of it tremendously; other parts, not so much. But, I'm still in love with Jamie (he can hang his kilt in my closet anytime -- heck, he can even throw it on the floor)...and am now starting A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which is 48 CDs.

Also, still reading Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena -- it's very good, even though it seems to be taking me awhile to get through it.

Date Posted: 9/11/2014 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,502
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Finished an audio of The Lost Sisterhood: A Novel by Anne Fortier. Overall pretty decent - an interesting story, although I found her language and vocabulary a little "high-falutin" at times. That's saying a lot for me, because I like fancy language. But it was 19 discs of entertainment.

Started a new audio - A Triple Knot  by Emma Campion. So far, so good.

wink

Date Posted: 9/15/2014 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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NO sign of leaves falling here yet (Charlotte, NC--we usually keep our leaves until mid- to late- October), but I just finished Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. It's been published in the UK and Canada as The Book of Negroes, and is being made into a mini-series---absolutely awesome historical fiction. First person (fiction) narrative of a young African girl from her capture into the slave trade, through the 'middle passage', to her life on a SC Indigo plantation, to her run for freedom and eventual return to Africa---really, really well done. The kind of HF where as you read it, you forget it's fiction.  It prompted me to go and read some primary sources--slave narratives done during the Roosevelt (FDR) administration--and it seems to me like it was meticulously researched and that the history is dead on accurate. Five stars.

Date Posted: 9/15/2014 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Colleen - that reminds me, I want to watch the PBS show about the Roosevelts, which I know started last night. I'll stream it on the laptop.

I am just about to finish a contemporary fiction, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax. Pleasant chick-lit. Not deep

Date Posted: 9/17/2014 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,502
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Coming to a close with A Triple Knot - good story. I have some NF up next, but picked up some new HF at the ever-infamous UBS by the airport, so I have a bunch of new choices bleating for my attention. As if I needed more...snerk!

Date Posted: 9/18/2014 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,458
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I've started The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst; very good so far.

Date Posted: 9/18/2014 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I'm in the middle of The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Joesphine B, the first of Sandra Gulland's Josephine Bonaparte trilogy.  I read the middle one a few months ago, and am enjoying this one as well.

Date Posted: 9/18/2014 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I loved the Josephine series, Mimi. 

Date Posted: 9/19/2014 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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After finishing A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Marra, which was superb, I read some more non-HF: 

Personal by Lee Child -- fairly typical Jack Reacher fare; a bit far-fetched but mindless and engaging (3 stars)
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Zevin -- a delightful, charming story about a bookseller (4 stars)
This is Where I Leave You by Tropper -- a humorous, entertaining, and surprisingly insightful novel about the dynamics of a dysfunctional family (4 stars)

Now onto Ari Shavit's My Promised Land (for book club). Am getting my HF fix by listening to Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes narrated by the brilliant Davina Porter. Have been listening to this series, starting with Outlander, straight through since March with no other audio books in between to distract me (from Jamie). It's been verra nice. Despite my annoyance with the apparent absence of editorial expertise and a few plot lines that should have been dropped, Gabaldon is a terrific storyteller.

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