Saturday, July 31, 2010

July Reading Round Up

The last two weeks have been frenetic.  I started my new position, spent 2 days there and then went to a conference in Wellington for 3 days.  The conference was good - will be blogging about it at Diligent Room - and I got to FINALLY meet Beverley who was good company while we browsed Wellington retail offerings.  And I got some new boots.

But all this stuff combined with newness of work routines has been quite tiring and yes, I have to say, a bit stressful.  It will get better I know.  As soon as I climb down from this wall.
Silent in the grave / Deanna Raybourn.
After receiving a threat, Sir Edward Grey - the darling of London society - dies suddenly. His widow Julia engages the enigmatic Nicholas Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's death.~from the blurb

Silent in the sanctuary : a Lady Julia Grey mystery / Deanna Raybourn.
Lady Julia returns to celebrate the holidays only to find her fathers home crowded with family, friends, and Nicholas Brisbane, the one man she had hoped to forget. The celebrations take a ghastly turn after a guest is found brutally murdered, and one of Lady Julias cousins confesses to the crime.~from the blurb

This is a new author for me and I'm rather pleased to have found her.  Her style is romantic suspense with a bit of Victorian Gothic novel thrown in.  I do like her characters too.  So far I've read these two (2nd one is the sequel to the first) and the two main characters haven't even made it into bed together yet so there is a lot of unfinished business you might say. 

Eat cake : a novel / Jeanne Ray.
Ruth draws on her talent for concocting delectable cakes and desserts when her family begins to disintegrate around her--her husband loses his job, her mother moves in, and her long-estranged father shows up at the door with no place to go.~from the blurb

Honestly?  It is a bit of marshmallow fluff really.  Made me want to eat cake.

The girl who kicked the hornet's nest / Stieg Larsson ; translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland.
"Lisbeth Salander will have her revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and against the government institutions that nearly succeeded in deliberately destroying her life... After sustaining appalling gunshot wounds to her head and her shoulder, she is in Intensive Care, and her most dangerous enemy is in the next-door ward. If she survives, she is set to face murder charges. Officially under police guard, she is allowed contact with only her surgeon or her lawyer. But Mikael Blomkvist, editor at Millennium magazine and Salander's self-appointed guardian angel, will not give up on this strangely compelling girl... With the covert aid of Blomkvist and his journalists at Millennium, Salander must first prove her innocence. Only then can she unmask the people behind the corrupt and secret manoeuvers that ruined her childhood and remain the rotten core of Swedish society"--Publisher description.

The last in the Millennium series and it didn't disappoint.  Really enjoyed this series.

Blogosphere Book Circle | July

Wolf Hall / Hilary Mantel. London : Fourth Estate, 2009.

ISBN: 9780007230181

"England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages."-- Publisher description.

It took me a while to get into the style of this book which is surprising for me given my penchant for historical fiction.  However, once I did tune into the writing style it hooked me.  I particularly enjoyed the glimpses into "everyday" life in Thomas's household.  I think the author brings out the complexities of the age and the struggles that were starting to change society at the time very well.  It is easy to see how a noble person's fortunes could be so quickly turned into fear and suffering all at the change of royal whim.

I was reading some contemporary views of Thomas and the writer opined he was a highly talented statesman in his time.  He was not only a skilled diplomat dealing with foreign policy but also was a talented administrator.

It's a good book - quite long and detailed, but worth reading.


  1. I agree the style took a bit of getting into but it is a great read. Sadly, it might take me until the end of the year to get to the end (I am half-way through).

  2. Anonymous1:36 pm

    The Deanna Raybourn sounds a lot like the Victoria Holt books I used to read avidly as a teenager- romantic suspense with a touch of Gothic horror, usually set in Cornwall. I tried getitng into wolf Hall but was a bit distracted. I'll take another stab at it soon :)

  3. So pleased you liked Wolf Hall - I am going to get it from the library later in the year when I have less time pressure to read it

  4. i actually took quite a bit of tudor english history in college. i probably would enjoy it, but i hadn't gotten into it and owed it back to the library. hopefully i'll give it another shot later.