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Moonlight Reader

Welcome to 2019! 

Currently reading

Crooked House
Agatha Christie
Progress: 11/242 pages
An Artless Demise
Anna Lee Huber
Patricia Wentworth
Bleak House
Charles Dickens, Hablot Knight Browne, Nicola Bradbury
Progress: 54 %

PSA - Kindle sale

The Chronicles of Narnia are all on sale for $1.99 each, in the U.S. kindle store.


Just an FYI.

My reading plan for the week

The Floating Admiral - Helen Simpson, Agatha Christie, The Detection Club, Milward Kennedy, Margaret Cole, Henry Wade, Clemence Dane, John Rhode, Anthony Berkeley, Victor L. Whitechurch, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, Ronald Knox, Dorothy L. Sayers, G.D.H. Cole, G.K. Chesterton Decision at Delphi - Helen MacInnes Death on Doomsday (Pollard & Toye #4) - Elizabeth Lemarchand Silverhill - Phyllis A. Whitney

I am in the middle of Bleak House, which is a struggle for me - as Dickens always is. I don't know why, but he is the Victorian that I find the most difficult to read. I am behind on a buddy read that I am doing on twitter, with an old online friend.


I'm also in the middle of A Question of Upbringing, but that shouldn't take me long to finish. I'd like to wrap that one up in the next couple of days.


Then I am ready to start on my four main books of the week: The Floating Admiral by the members of The Detection Club, Silverhill by Phyllis Whitney, Decision at Delphi by Helen MacInnes & Death on Doomsday by Elizabeth Lemarchand.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 309 pages.

The Floating Admiral - Helen Simpson, Agatha Christie, The Detection Club, Milward Kennedy, Margaret Cole, Henry Wade, Clemence Dane, John Rhode, Anthony Berkeley, Victor L. Whitechurch, Freeman Wills Crofts, Edgar Jepson, Ronald Knox, Dorothy L. Sayers, G.D.H. Cole, G.K. Chesterton

I haven't actually started this one yet, but I have dug out my copy and I am ready to start reading tomorrow!


Is anyone in addition to Lillelara, BrokenTune and me reading this oddity?

Announcing: The Indigo Buddy Read

Indigo - Beverly Jenkins

The votes are in, and Indigo prevailed with 6 votes to Forbidden's 2 votes. Destiny's Embrace brought up the rear with one vote.


Sourcing information: Indigo is $5.99 for kindle in the U.S. store. If you prefer audiobooks and happen to have the audible romance package, you can listen for free (and if you have an audible membership, but not the romance package, there's a free trial available). It looks like print copies are a bit more difficult to source - I checked both amazon and abebooks. Amazon's used copies are really expensive and the copies available on abebooks are all POD versions, which I personally refuse to buy. My library has a lot of Beverly Jenkins available, but not Indigo, unfortunately. If too many of us can't get our hands on the book, we may have to drop back to Forbidden, which seems to be much more widely available.


The plan is to start reading on 4/15.


Tag your posts Indigo Buddy Read so we can all follow along.


If you can't get your hands on a copy of the book, comment below. I read kindle books, so I'm okay, but there are a lot of print readers out there. The discussion continues...



A Romance WOC Buddy Read

Anyone on twitter who also reads romance or follows any romance authors has watched the controversy about RWA's problem with representation by authors of color unfold over the last week. In reality, this issue has been prominent for as long as I've been on twitter, but it will periodically surge to the forefront again, usually because a well-known (white) author does something stupid and offensive and then doubles down (triples down) (quadruples down) and does way too much talking and not nearly enough listening.


The most recent representative of this is Cherry Adair.


In response to this, I'd love to read a romance by Beverly Jenkins. Ms. Bev, as she's known on twitter, is one of the grand dames of romance, and is a woman of color who writes historical romance about black men and women falling in love throughout history, in an effort to ensure that their stories aren't erased - and that readers can enjoy them.


Beverly Jenkins buddy read
Destiny's Embrace
Created with QuizMaker



Beverly Jenkins:


Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of the 2018 Michigan Author Award by the Michigan Library Association, the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance. She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured in both the documentary Love Between the Covers and on CBS Sunday Morning. Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for multicultural romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR. 


Ms. Jenkins goes by @authorMsBev on twitter, and is well worth following. She is outspoken, articulate, and infinitely supportive of young authors of color. When I asked which of her books would be a good starting place, she pointed me to Indigo, which is one of our choices, and is a book that I will read whether or not it wins the poll!


The choices:




As a child Hester Wyatt escaped slavery, but now the dark skinned beauty is a dedicated member of Michigan's Underground railroad, offering other runaways a chance at the freedom she has learned to love. When one of her fellow conductors brings her an injured man to hide, Hester doesn't hesitate even after she is told about the price on his head. The man in question is the great conductor known as the "Black Daniel" a vital member of the north's Underground railroad network, but Hester finds him so rude and arrogant, she begins to question her vow to hide him.

When the injured and beaten Galen Vachon, aka, the Black Daniel awakens in Hester's cellar, he is unprepared for the feisty young conductor providing his care. As a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has turned his back on the lavish living he is accustomed to in order to provide freedom to those enslaved in the south. However, as he heals he cannot turn his back on Hester Wyatt. Her innocence fills him like a breath of fresh air and he is determined to make her his, but traitors have to be found, slave catchers have to be routed and Hester's refusal to trust her own heart have to be overcome before she and Galen can find the freedom only love can bring.




Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .


Destiny's Embrace:


Award-winning romance author Beverly Jenkins offers up another high-stakes historical romance that is sure to make you swoon.

With Destiny’s Embrace, Jenkins brings readers back to the American West, where Logan Yates, a self-important ranch owner, must confront his feelings for his beautiful, free spirited housekeeper, Mariah Cooper. While they bicker incessantly, their sexual tension is palpable, and only rises when Mariah's former lover arrives on the scene. Will she accept Logan's heart?

Set in 19th-century California, Destiny's Embrace features unforgettable characters and a satisfying mix of adventure and passion from nation's premier writer of African-American historical romance.


The Details:


If you are interested in joining me (and hopefully Obsidian Blue & Chris' Fish Place as well) for a romance buddy read, we'd love to have you! Please don't vote if you aren't going to read, though! I think that all of these books look great, so I'm ready to read whatever is picked. They should all be fairly widely available!


I'd like to schedule this for around April 15, before the Crooked House BR begins, to allow everyone to get their hands on the book!

“It seems queer to me now to think that once I was a scholar . . .”

Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers

This book is only nominally a mystery. What it really is is Dorothy Sayers's manifesto, which holds that educating women is valuable, that women can be scholars, that work is work whether it is done by men or women, that intellectual work is valuable in it's own right, and that women should have agency to do the work that they feel they are best suited to do, whether that work involves marriage or children or not.


The mystery is engaging, but it's Oxford, and intellect and the sisterhood of academia (sometimes backbiting and nasty, like all sisterhoods can be) that makes a home for an odd set of women who have turned their backs on the traditional sphere of womanhood that is the heart and soul of this book.


Anyway, I loved this book. I love Harriet Vane. Peter Wimsey is fine, but it's Harriet that I love. And Miss Lydgate, who knows everything and, as Peter said:


“Miss Lydgate is a very great and a very rare person."


I will read this one again. And again.

Reading progress update: I've read 229 out of 502 pages.

Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers

This is delightful. 


A 'gaudy', at the University of Oxford, is a college feast, typically a reunion for its alumni. The term 'gaudy night' appears in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra: "Let's have one other gaudy night: call to me / All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more / Let's mock the midnight bell".


I expansively love this book, and all the characters in it. Well, maybe not all of the characters, but most of them. And even the ones I don't love are delightful in an unloveable sort of a way.

Reading progress update: I've read 2 out of 591 pages.

Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers

This is exactly my mental impression of Oxford:


A grizzled woman don crossing the turf with vague eyes, her thoughts riveted upon aspects of sixteenth-century philosophy, her sleeves floating, her shoulders cocked to the academic angle that automatically compensated the backward drag of the pleated poplin. Two male commoners in search of a coach, bareheaded, hands in their trousers-pockets, talking loudly about boats. The Warden—grey and stately—and the Dean—stocky, brisk, birdlike, a Lesser Redpoll—in animated conference under the archway leading to the Old Quadrangle. Tall spikes of delphinium against the grey, quiveringly blue like flames, if flame were ever so blue. The college cat, preoccupied and remote, stalking with tail erect in the direction of the buttery.

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

Gaudy Night - Dorothy L. Sayers

I begin.

Touch Not The Cat by Mary Stewart

Touch Not the Cat - Mary Stewart

As you can see from my rating, I liked this book quite a lot, which is a bit of surprise since the elements of the book really didn't work for me all that well. The thing is that Mary Stewart can just WRITE, you guys. I love reading her books because she is able to create these evocative settings that gently carry me away . . . to beautiful, crumbling manors where people can communicate through telepathy with their cousin, whom they refer to as "lover."




I really, really, really hate the term lover. It immediately makes me think of wife-swapping, leisure suit wearing, eye-brow waggling dudes from the 1970's, swathed in gold chains over their hairy, hairy chests. Why must you do this to me, Ms. Stewart? Every time our heroine, Bryony, uses the word lover, I basically see this:



and this



Not this:



or this



So, that happened.


But, anyway, aside from the whole cousin-love as plot point (ergh) and the yucky 1970's sex vibe, this book was a lot of fun. Oh, and did I mention that Bryony is dumb as a post?


What DID I like about this book again?


I really don't know. I just know that I really enjoyed it, in spite of all of the things I disliked about it. And that pretty much describes my relationship with Mary Stewart. 

Dark Threat by Patricia Wentworth

Dark Threat - Patricia Wentworth

This isn't a top tier Miss Silver mystery. I liked it, but I figured out whodunnit at about the 50% mark, and the reveal was disappointing. There was a long scene where the murderer kidnaps a character and then subjects the kidnap victim to a long, villain-in-a-movie explanation of the murders that was very:
















which was, sigh, sort of annoying.


Overall, a mediocre installment that started strong but collapsed at the end. 

Reading progress update: I've read 46%.

Dark Threat - Patricia Wentworth

Ugh. I strongly dislike Miss Janetta:


After a minute or two his eyes cleared and he discerned Miss Janetta amidst pink bed-linen with an embroidered coverlet drawn up to her waist. She appeared to have sufficient strength to sit up. She wore a bed-jacket trimmed with a great many yards of lace, and not a hair of her elaborate curls was out of place. A boudoir cap composed of about two inches of lace, a rosebud and a bunch of forget-me-nots nestled coquettishly amongst them, and she wore several valuable rings. He reflected that she looked a good deal more like a Dresden shepherdess than a mourning invalid.



Reading progress update: I've read 42%.

Dark Threat - Patricia Wentworth

This one has quite the twisted plot. 3 deaths so far, all linked, but not exactly sure how.

Like an episode from a television show

Killer's Wedge (87th Precinct #7) - Ed McBain

More than any of the books so far, this book reminded me of an episode from Homicide, Life on the Streets, with two separate storylines that are set to converge.


In one story line, we have Virginia Dodge, who has taken the squad room hostage, waiting for Steve Carella to arrive back at the station so she can kill him. Her husband, Frank, had murdered a store clerk, and when he was convicted and sentenced to prison, she blamed Steve Carella. When Frank died of tuberculosis, her blame became hate, and she decided to exact revenge.


Steve Carella, on the other hand, is out at the scene of a suicide, trying to determine if it might have been murder. This part of the story is a classic locked room mystery that could've come straight out of a John Dickson Carr book. It's delightful.


Unfortunately, the Virginia Dodge story drove me nuts. I simply wasn't convinced that this particular woman could have managed to take a squad room full of trained police officers hostage for hours to simply wait for one of their colleagues to show up and be gunned down in cold blood. Rather than feeling tension, I felt annoyance.


Not one of my favorite entries so far. 

Reading progress update: I've read 17%.

Dark Threat - Patricia Wentworth

The three year old disappearance of Henry Clayton on the eve of his marriage to Lesley Freyne is intriguing.

Reading progress update: I've read 14%.

Dark Threat - Patricia Wentworth

I have high hopes for this one, given the first 14%. Judy Elliott is likeable seems to be quite a bright young thing, and there is romance abrewin' between her and Detective Sergeant Frank Abbott.


This one was published in 1946, on the heels of the German surrender in 1945. The war is still very much present - Judy has taken on responsibility for her niece, the four-year-old Penny, after Penny's parents both died in an air raid.