It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

I knew when I brought home my latest haul from the library last week that a couple of those books would be too tempting to leave alone.

The fourth book of C.S.Harris' Regency mysteries had been sitting in my TBR pile for a while. I'd read the first two ages ago, but left this one untouched as I felt this is a series that needs to be read in order. So when I finally grabbed the third book, I found I was in the mood to follow Sebastian St.Cyr through his next two investigations. Both these books were quick, enjoyable reads and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Another book I was excited about was Barbara Erskine's latest release, Sleeper's Castle. I've read most of her novels and always look forward to them. Only two chapters read so far. Too early to form an opinion, but I don't think I'll be disappointed.

Only a few chapters to go to the end of The Moon in the Water. While I'm enjoying this story I didn't find it as gripping as I thought I would. Pamela Belle's other English Civil War series (Wintercombe) was so much better. I am basing this statement on a distant memory, so I think a re-read is probably due.

The other book that is also a carry over from last week, All For Nothing, is not as depressing as I thought it would be. Perhaps that comes later, the further I get into the story. At the moment I'm finding this a novel of contrasts and unusual characters, which makes it a very interesting read.

My plans of what I'm going to read next still include the two books I've been mentioning for weeks but never quite getting around to, but my latest addition to this mini TBR pile are two very different books by authors I've not read before, Simon Tolkien and Elizabeth Davies.

What I Read Last Week

Why Mermaids Sing by C.S. Harris

It's September 1811, and someone is killing the wealthy young sons of London's most prominent families. Partially butchered, with strange objects stuffed into their mouths, their bodies are found dumped in public places at dawn. When the grisly remains of Alfred, Lord Stanton's eldest son are discovered in the Old Palace Yard beside the House of Lords, the local magistrate turns to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help.

Ranging from the gritty world of Thames-side docks to the luxurious drawing rooms of Mayfair, Sebastian finds himself confronting his most puzzling--and disturbing--case yet. With the help of his trusted allies--young servant Tom, Irish doctor Paul Gibson, and his lover Kat Boleyn--Sebastian struggles to decipher a cryptic set of clues that link the scion of a banking family to the son of a humble Kentish vicar. For as one killing follows another, Sebastian discovers he is confronting a murderer with both a method and a purpose to his ritualized killings, and that the key to it all may lie in the enigmatic stanzas of a haunting poem...and in a secret so dangerous that men are willing to sacrifice their own children to keep the truth from becoming known.

Where Serpents Sleep by C.S.Harris

London, 1812. The brutal slaughter of eight young prostitutes in a house of refuge near Covent Garden leaves only one survivor- and one witness: Hero Jarvis, reform-minded daughter of the Prince Regent's cousin, Lord Jarvis. When the Machiavellian powerbroker quashes any official inquiry that might reveal his daughter's unorthodox presence, Hero launches an investigation of her own and turns to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, for help.

Working in an uneasy alliance, Hero and Sebastian follow a trail of clues leading from the seedy brothels and docksides of London's East End to the Mayfair mansions of a noble family with dark secrets to hide. Risking both their lives and their reputations, the two must race against time to stop a killer whose ominous plot threatens to shake the nation to its very core.

What I'm Reading Today

All For Nothing by Walter Kempowski

Winter, January 1945. It is cold and dark, and the German army is retreating from the Russian advance. Germans are fleeing the occupied territories in their thousands, in cars and carts and on foot. But in a rural East Prussian manor house, the wealthy von Globig family tries to seal itself off from the world. Peter von Globig is twelve, and feigns a cough to get out of his Hitler Youth duties, preferring to sledge behind the house and look at snowflakes through his microscope. His father Eberhard is stationed in Italy - a desk job safe from the front - and his bookish and musical mother Katharina has withdrawn into herself. Instead the house is run by a conservative, frugal aunt, helped by two Ukrainian maids and an energetic Pole. Protected by their privileged lifestyle from the deprivation and chaos around them, and caught in the grip of indecision, they make no preparations to leave, until Katharina's decision to harbour a stranger for the night begins their undoing. Superbly expressive and strikingly vivid, sympathetic yet painfully honest about the motivations of its characters, All for Nothing is a devastating portrait of the self-delusions, complicities and denials of the German people as the Third Reich comes to an end.

The Moon in the Water by Pamela Belle

Orphaned at ten, Thomasina Heron is sent to her new guardian, Sir Simon of "Goldhayes" in Suffolk. There Thomasina will spend a happy young girlhood with her cousins: the Heron heir Simon; kind solid Edward; young James; friendly Lucy; and Francis-- who is imaginative, daring, apt to be cynical, who talks about unicorns and usually gets into trouble. The cousins are faced with many challenges as they grow up, and conflict between King Charles I and Parliament leads to civil war.

Sleeper's Castle by Barbara Erskine

Hay-On-Wye, 1400 – War is brewing in the Welsh borders, Catrin is on the brink of womanhood and falling in love for the first time. Her father is a soothsayer, playing a dangerous game playing on the mixed loyalties and furious rivalries between welsh princes and English lords. For two hundred years, the Welsh people have lain under the English yoke, dreaming of independence. And finally it looks as though the charismatic Owain Glyndwr may be the man legend tralks of. In the walls of Sleeper’s Castle, Catrin finds herself caught in the middle of a doomed war as she is called upon to foretell Wales’s destiny… And what she sees, is blood and war coming closer…
Hay, 2015. Miranda has moved to Sleeper’s Castle to escape and grieve. Slowly she feels herself coming to life in the solitude of the mountains. But every time she closes her eyes her dreams become more vivid. And she makes a connection with a young girl, who’s screaming, who’s reaching out… who only Miranda can help. Is she losing herself to time?

What I Hope to Read Next

To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson

Summer 1874, and Launceston teeters on the brink of anarchy. After abandoning his wife and child many years ago, the Black War veteran Thomas Toosey must return to the city to search for William, his now motherless twelve-year-old son. He travels through the island's northern districts during a time of impossible hardship - hardship that has left its mark on him too. Arriving in Launceston, however, Toosey discovers a town in chaos. He is desperate to find his son amid the looting and destruction, but at every turn he is confronted by the Irish transportee Fitheal Flynn and his companion, the hooded man, to whom Toosey owes a debt that he must repay.
To Name Those Lost is the story of a father's journey. Wilson has an eye for the dirt, the hardness, the sheer dog-eat-doggedness of the lives of the poor. Human nature is revealed in all its horror and beauty as Thomas Toosey struggles with the good and the vile in himself and learns what he holds important.

Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware

In this resplendent love story a dazzling era comes vividly to life as one woman's passionate struggle to follow her heart takes her from the opulent cotillions of Edinburgh to the London court of half-mad King George III . . . from a famed salon teeming with politicians and poets to a picturesque castle on the secluded, lush Island of the Swans. . . .
Best friends in childhood, Jane Maxwell and Thomas Fraser wreaked havoc on the cobbled streets of Edinburgh with their juvenile pranks. But years later, when Jane blossoms into a beautiful woman, her feelings for Thomas push beyond the borders of friendship, and he becomes the only man she wants. When Thomas is reportedly killed in the American colonies, the handsome, charismatic Alexander, Duke of Gordon, appeals to a devastated Jane. Believing Thomas is gone forever, Jane hesitantly responds to the Duke, whose passion ignites her blood, even as she rebels at his fierce desire to claim her.
But Thomas Fraser is not dead, and when he returns to find his beloved Jane betrothed to another, he refuses to accept the heartbreaking turn of events. Soon Jane's marriage is swept into a turbulent dance of tender wooing and clashing wills--as Alex seeks truly to make her his, and his alone. . . . 

No Man's Land by Simon Tolkien

From the slums of London to the riches of an Edwardian country house; from the hot, dark seams of a Yorkshire coalmine to the exposed terrors of the trenches, Adam Raine’s journey from boy to man is set against the backdrop of a society violently entering the modern world.
Adam Raine is a boy cursed by misfortune. His impoverished childhood in the slums of Islington is brought to an end by a tragedy that sends him north to Scarsdale, a hard-living coalmining town where his father finds work as a union organizer. But it isn’t long before the escalating tensions between the miners and their employer, Sir John Scarsdale, explode with terrible consequences.
In the aftermath, Adam meets Miriam, the Rector’s beautiful daughter, and moves into Scarsdale Hall, an opulent paradise compared with the life he has been used to before. But he makes an enemy of Sir John’s son, Brice, who subjects him to endless petty cruelties for daring to step above his station.
When love and an Oxford education beckon, Adam feels that his life is finally starting to come together – until the outbreak of war threatens to tear everything apart.

The Spirit Guide by Elizabeth Davies

Seren has an unusual gift – she sees spirits, the shades of the dead.
Terrified of being accused of witchcraft, a very real possibility in twelfth century Britain, she keeps her secret close, not even confiding in her husband.

But when she gives her heart and soul to a man who guides spirits in the world beyond the living, she risks her secret and her life for their love.


  1. Sounds like you have some good books waiting for you. Enjoy and have a great week!

    1. The weather here is cold, wet and windy. Lots of time to spend indoors with my books. Hopefully I'll get through some of them this week.

  2. What a great assortment of books. I've read the first two St. Cyr books and have 3 and 4 on my TBR stack. I am trying to finish the Pink Carnation series before I tackle another series. Once I start, I really want to read the whole series. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    1. The only other series I'm following at the moment is Ashley Gardner's Captain Lacey Regency mysteries. I like to give authors a head start so that if I like a series I'm not waiting too long for the next book.

  3. These lovely books are all new to me! Enjoy....and thanks for sharing.


  4. I haven't read Barbara Erskine but do have one of her books on my TBR. Hope you enjoy your latest release.

    1. Today's definitely an indoor day so I'm looking forward to spending time with it.

  5. I loved The Moon in the Water (and the sequel, Chains of Fate) but I haven't read the Wintercombe books yet so don't know how they compare. Thanks for reminding me about the Sebastian St. Cyr series! I enjoyed the first book and am looking forward to the next one.

    1. I'm going to continue with the Heron series, at least with Francis and Thomazine's story. I've read that the third book in the series is about their children.

      I really enjoy the St. Cyr books. I have the next two on hold at the library.