Foanna’s 2014 Reading Roundup – Part 2

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This is a bittersweet moment for me. After nearly eight years with the Romance Bandits, this will be my last post. As you’d know from Cassondra’s moving and funny post at the start of the month, changes are afoot in the lair. One of the changes is that I’m going to devote my attention to other forms of social media other than blogging.

I’m still on Facebook:

And on Twitter as @AnnaCampbellOz.

Thank you to the wonderful Bandits for so many fabulous years together. I wish you all the best in your new endeavors. And thank you especially to the fabulous Bandita Buddies. I’ve always felt among friends here and your comments have informed and delighted and amused and moved and interested me more than I can ever tell you. Thank you for being such a vibrant part of this community.

Now, back to normal transmission and a discussion of my favorite reads from 2014.

Welcome back to part 2 of the survey of my favorite reading in 2014. By the way, happy Valentine’s Day!

In part 1, I covered my pick of the romances I’d read last year. Now I’m covering the other stuff, mysteries, nonfiction and a fabulous piece of women’s fiction that could easily have gone into the romance list last month.

I’m going to start with the oldest book, MISS PYM DISPOSES (1946) by Golden Age English detective writer Josephine Tey. I picked up this book after seeing a really interesting list of the top 10 classic mysteries: They all sounded pretty interesting and I also tried THE MOVING TOYSHOP, but this was the one that really caught my fancy.

rr 11I love Golden Age detective stories and I read a lot last year, including a couple of Ngaio Marshes and Margery Allinghams, and nearly all Josephine Tey’s books. Sometimes the attitudes in them are a little hard to take, but Miss Pym is a treasure. An independent woman takes up a temporary post at a girls boarding school and becomes involved in a murder. But in this particular story, the characters are the most interesting part, especially Miss Pym’s journey towards recognizing that she might be more than she first thought.

The next is another mystery, THE OUTCAST DEAD, the sixth Ruth Galloway book by British crime writer Elly Griffiths.

rr 12I just love this series. Ruth is a rather cranky single mother forensic archeologist who lives in a very atmospheric part of Norfolk on the English coast. In this story, she gets involved in a dig that sets out to prove the truth of a notorious 19th century murder trial. Things turn creepy when current events offer an eerie echo of the past. While it was a good read, I was a little disappointed with the previous entry in the series, A DYING FALL. But this one’s a real cracker and definitely worth a look.

The last mystery on my list is the latest in the wonderful Claire Fergusson-Russ Van Alstyne series by Julia Spencer-Fleming. THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS. I think JSF would currently vie for the spot at the top of my list of favorite writers. She writes the most amazing characters and high stakes dilemmas – I can’t put her stories down once I start them. In this one, a fatal fire leads to all sorts of complications for Claire and Russ and their friends and colleagues in Millers Kill. And with a brutal winter descending on the town, there’s danger from nature as well as man. Great stuff!

rr 7I read a lot of nonfiction, especially when I’m working on a story. I can put a nonfiction book down and get a good night’s sleep whereas if a piece of fiction has grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, I’m still turning the pages at 3am.

My first pick, STARGAZING: MEMOIRS OF A YOUNG LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER by Peter Hill is a book I’ve had sitting on my bookcase for about 10 years since a friend gave it to me as a birthday present. Silly me! It’s wonderful! It details the months the author spent as a lighthouse keeper on the west coast of Scotland in 1973, just as the old manned lighthouses became mechanized. The descriptions of the wild, spectacular coastal scenery are great and you’ll fall in love with many of the characters, but the strongest impression is one of sadness that a whole way of life is just disappearing under our eyes. A lovely book.

rr 13My next nonfiction choice is another older book, ENDURANCE: SHACKLETON’S INCREDIBLE VOYAGE by Alfred Lansing, published to immediate acclaim in 1959. I’m a bit of a sucker for accounts of polar exploration – the environment is just so unforgiving and fascinating. And I’ve long had a great admiration for Sir Ernest Shackleton who faced a situation that would have meant disaster for most people and came out on top. When Shackleton and his party are stranded in the Antarctic ice in 1912, death seems certain, but through courage, brilliance, luck, faith and, yes, endurance, they all get out alive.

This account of the real-life adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat. As part of his research, Lansing was able to interview people who had actually been part of Shackleton’s expedition so you really feel like you’re getting a true account of these astonishing events.

rr 9My last nonfiction choice isΒ  a fascinating ramble through German history, culture and landscape with English writer Simon Winder. GERMANIA: IN WAYWARD PURSUIT OF THE GERMANS AND THEIR HISTORY is full of strange and intriguing facts and made me want to go back to Germany (I visited briefly in 1985 but after reading this book, I think I’d get a lot more out of traveling there!). It’s funny and sad and erudite – I bet Simon Winder would be an interesting person to sit next to at a dinner party!

My last choice from my reading in 2014 is the fabulous THE SHADOWY HORSES by Susanna Kearsley. This is probably best classed as women’s fiction, although there’s a strong romantic subplot.

rr 10It features another archeologist, Verity Grey, who becomes involved in a dig on the wild east coast of Scotland in search of a major Roman encampment. She finds herself surrounded by fascinating and potentially sinister colleagues, including eccentric Peter Quinnell, the head of the dig, and charismatic historian David Fortune who attracts her as no man ever has before. Throw in a little boy with psychic gifts and a ghost or two, plus a couple of other characters with their own agendas, and the scene is set for a compelling story. This was my first Susanna Kearsley, although people have told me for years I’d enjoy her stuff. They were right – this would probably be my favorite book from last year. If you haven’t read it, rush to get it!

So there you go, some reading recommendations to keep you out of trouble!

Do you read outside the romance genre? What genres do you like? Any recommendations of books I should try?

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  • flchen1 says:

    ANNA!!!! I will miss you as part of the Banditas’ blog! But I’m very thankful to be connected with you elsewhere and will look forward to staying in touch that way!

    As for reading outside romance, I do some, mostly in scifi or some literary fiction (although much of that is a little too depressing for me :/ ) and of course non-fiction πŸ™‚

    I do love Dave Barry’s fiction just for the laughs, although he is NOT for those prudish about profanity πŸ˜‰

    • Fedora, I think like somany of us, there’s increasing demands on my time and attention these days so sadly something had to give. Thank you so much for all your lovely support here and elsewhere (I love that a couple of the Brenda Novak auction lots went to you!). You’ve been wonderful.

      Dave Barry used to do a newspaper column, I think, didn’t he? I vaguely remember someone who made me laugh who was syndicated all the way over to Brisbane, Queensland.

  • Amy Conley says:

    He’s going to get cold.

  • Jane says:

    Hello Anna,
    I love mysteries and I really enjoy Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike books. I used to read Nelson DeMille. I liked Plum Island and The Charm School. Don’t read much nonfiction, but would love to pick up more history books.

  • Deanna says:

    Anna, so sorry to see you go, but I’m glad we will still be able to hang out on FB and TW. All the best to whatever new endeavors you are planning.

    As to reading outside the romance genre, it’s rare. I used to read some fantasy and some political thrillers but haven’t in a long time. I blame the endless TBR!

    • Thanks so much for the lovely good wishes, Deanna. I’ve had such a lovely time here!

      I hear you on the TBR pile. I always swore that when I bought an e-reader, I wouldn’t get a pile of more books than I could reasonably read.

      You know what happened to that particular resolution…

  • Helen says:


    Have fun with your plans I know that we will always see you on facebook and Canberra very soon you bought me her to The Bandits and I have never looked back thank you for being such a friend πŸ™‚

    I only read romance LOl although I do read across all of the romance genres and I very much enjoy a cosy mystery here and there so I don’t have any recommendations for you

    See you soon

    Have Fun

    • Helen, you’ve been such a major supporter right from the beginning, both for me and for the wonderful Bandits. Thanks so much for your generosity and your sense of humour and being such a chum!

      I think there’s a reason I enjoy both mysteries and romances – they both have very satisfying endings. I like an ending that makes me smile.

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        Hear, hear! On both counts. Thanks, Helen for being such a staunch supporter. Thanks, Anna for showing Helen the way to the Lair. Grins.

        And love me some romance and some mystery too, for just those reasons!

  • Amy Conley says:

    OMG Anna! You brought me here. Thank goodness for fb, so I can still follow you around. Goodness knows where you’ll take me next πŸ˜‰

    I read a bit of everything. A lot of times I switch off to autobiograpies/bios to get mine brain cleaned out. I have a couple of favorites. The bio of LAURA INGALLS WILDER, written by her daughter Rose, is amazing.
    Another fav is a bio of Dean Martin written by Jerry Lewis, A LOVE LETTER TO DEAN is the title, I think. But it is lovely and written from the heart.
    And a really cool autobiography is by Robert Wagner. WOW! All I can say.

    • Amy, thanks so much for being such a stalwart supporter of the Bandits. And yes, please, definitely keep in touch via Facebook.

      Thanks for those recommendations. I love actor biographies – I actually find them useful for character development in my own stories. I haven’t read any of those three. I missed out on LIW when I was a kid – a lot of my friends are crazy about those books still.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Amy, you’re a rock! Thanks, Anna for once again leading a fab reader down the hidden path to the Lair! Grins.

      Amy, that bio of Dean by Jerry sounds great. I’ll have to look that one up.

  • Jennifer Tanner says:


    I’ve been watching a lot of mysteries on the public broadcasting station lately. Becke and I had a mad email exchange about Midsomer Murders, Miss Marple, and Inspector Lewis. I’m on a mystery reading tear as well. Thanks for the recommendations! Big hugs, Jen

  • Barb says:

    Hi Anna
    I haven’t been here lately but I had to come and comment on your last blog here…. Of course my friend Helen started me on this blog…. I only tend to read romance but I do occasionally read autobiographies… Have fun with your new plans and will see you on FB and not long until Canberra … See you there

  • Gosh, I have to say it’s a sad day. I think it will truly hit me tomorrow that we are finishing. What a great run we’ve had and I second everything you’ve said about the blog and the community that has formed around it, Anna.

    What an interesting mix of books you’ve given us here. I have to admit, when it comes to arctic exploration, I run a mile, mostly because it’s so unforgiving. Makes me very uncomfortable for everyone involved. But it’s good for me to step out of my comfort zone now and again. Love the sound of the forensic archeologist and the others you mentioned. Totally agree on THE SHADOWY HORSES. Thank you for that recommendation. I loved it, too!

    • Christina, we’ve had a lovely time at the Bandits, haven’t we? I’ve loved being a Bandit and I’m so grateful for all the friendships the blog has given me.

      Isn’t Shadowy Horses fantastic? I read Named of the Dragon yesterday and just loved that too. You’ve read the JSFs, haven’t you? I’ve recommended them to every other friend but you, if you haven’t! And you’d love the Elly Griffiths books. You need to read them in order, though.

      • No, I haven’t read the JSFs–maybe you haven’t recommended them to me because I usually take your recommendations! Must rectify that. I’m in the mood for a bit of mystery. Listening to Lisa Gardner’s latest at the moment.

        • Christina, astonished I haven’t lent these to you. A couple of mutual close friends are crazy about these books. You need to read these in order too! And please let me know what you think of them.

          • OK, will do! Also meant to recommend to you Jennifer Donnelly’s “Rose” books if I haven’t done so before. Historical fiction about strong women around the turn of the 20th century and following decades. My favourite is The Winter Rose, about a female doctor. I picked that one up on a book exchange somewhere we stayed in New Zealand. Very pleased with my find!

          • Christine, I remember Jennifer visiting here and her books sounded great. I’ll check them out. Thanks for the recommendation!

          • Jeanne Adams says:

            *raises hand* I”m taking the recco, and am glad to know that I need to read them in order. :>

            Christine, I’m taking YOUR recco too on the Rose books. Just reserved it at the library

        • Jeanne, let me know what you think of the JSF’s. Both Annie West and I have gone absolutely mad on those books. And AW is a VERY picky reader.

  • Gillian says:

    I haven’t been by this wonderful site in a while, but everyone here will always hold a special place in my heart. Your genuine warmth and friendship, fostered by the shared love of optimistic, uplifting happily-ever-afters in all their wonderful variety, is something I’ll treasure.

    So we’ll see you on Facebook!

    The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R King and it’s sequels are awesome! As is everything by Elizabeth Peters, bless her.

    • Gillian, always lovely to see you. And thank you for those lovely words!

      Oh, I love the Elizabeth Peters books! I’ve got the Tomb of the Golden Bird at the top of my TBR pile. I love her Vickie Bliss books too – they’re such fun.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Aww, Gillian, what a lovely thing to say. I’ll say thank you as well.

      And I’ve had my eye on the Beekeeper book. Will take the recco!

      And I’m an Elizabeth Peters fan from way back. I’m bummed that there will be no more. *sniffle*

  • Mozette says:

    I have a massive collection of biographies and autobiographies… and I have never read them.

    Strange, I know! πŸ˜›

    So, this year, I’m going to try to read some of them. The reason why I don’t read them and only collect them is because it’s interesting to find a book on somebody instead of watching a movie about them; mainly because the screenwriters and directors miss out on vital and deeper meanings you get in books.

    So, this is why I collect these books. I have no idea why I don’t read them.

    • Mozette, I love bios and autobiographies. Got about 10 sitting on my Kindle right now as we speak (lots of historical ones). Definitely think you need to pick them up and read them! Suspect you’ll get hooked on them.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    First of all, we will miss you, hate to see you go! Will follow on FB. I love thrillers – medical thrillers, legal thrillers, police procedural, etc. Some of my favorite authors are Alex Kava, Lisa Gardner, David Baldacci, J. A. Jance, David Rosenfelt, Lee Child, Andrew Gross, Laura Lippman, and Tess Gerritsen.

    • Debbie, yes, please, I’ll be on Facebook (actually I”m on FB FAR too much! LOL!). Would love to see you there.

      I have a love-hate relationship with thrillers. Sometimes I love them. Sometimes it’s too stressful to read them. I bought my first Tess Gerritsen at the suggestion of Bandita Anna Sugden this week. Looking forward to that!

  • Oh, Anna, this makes me want to cry! I totally understand about the demands on your time – I haven’t made it to the Lair nearly as much as I used to, and I miss you all! I’ll just have to be content with seeing you on FB and I’ll try to get here more often to keep up with the rest of the Banditas!

    I was excited to see a Susanna Kearsley book on your list. I only discovered her last fall, and I’ve been reading everything of hers I can get my hands on. I highly recommend her book THE ROSE GARDEN, too. It’s wonderful!

    Have you read WILD AT HEART by Patricia Gaffney? That’s another one on my keeper shelf. I stumbled on it by accident, and I loved it. They share shelf space with all the wonderful books you’ve recommended to me. Thank you so much! ((hugs))

    • Becke, you’ve been such a wonderful supporter of the Bandits (and me) during the years. Thank you. I love your comments – you always come up with something really interesting.

      Oh, lovely to meet another Susanna Kearsley fan. I just read Named of the Dragon this week and loved it. I’ll give the Rose Garden a go – I’m gradually making my way through her backlist and I haven’t ordered my next one yet. Oh, I love Wild at Heart! That’s a real keeper for me. I think she did Michael just so beautifully! By the way, glad you enjoyed my recommendations. Always love passing on great new stories. Did you see my romance list from 2014 from last month? I’ll dig up the link.

  • P.S. Josephine Tey and Julia Spencer Fleming – also wonderful! I want to read that lighthouse book now!

  • Deb says:

    Anna, I am so happy for you to follow other endeavors, but am very sad that you will not be a regular Bandit blogger….Perhaps you will be popping in at the Lair to try and nab that pesky rooster?
    Reading other than romance…well, yes and no. Being a teacher, I have Lit Circles with my kids. We read SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL just last week; and, in a way, it is a romance.
    How-to reading is always on the agenda at school….yuck…you know, Common Core Writing, Steps To Implement This Or That, blah, blah, blah, etc.
    The ENDURANCE book sounds very good. On my list is KILLING LINCOLN; my stepson read it and thinks it is good.
    But, I mainly read historical romance.
    Take care, and will look forward to your FB posts, Anna!! Big hugs!!!

    • Deb says:

      I like nonfiction…I am a geek in that way; always looking up info and such.

    • Deb, firstly can I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your lovely support over the years? I’ve always enjoyed your visits to the lair (and our contact on other social media) so please don’t be a stranger!

      Killing Lincoln looks great. Oh, dear, another one for the groaning TBR pile. I loved the Endurance book – there’s a miniseries about Shackleton with Kenneth Brannagh that’s worth checking out. I’m sure it would be available on DVD. I have fond memories of subtitling Sarah Plain and Tall. It featured Christopher Walken as the hero and he was surprisingly effective. Glenn Close was Sarah and she was great too.

  • catslady says:

    Change is inevitable but that doesn’t mean I have to like it – so sorry to see you go!!!

    I read a bit of everything but historicals are my favorite. I’ve been reading a lot of Grace Burrowes and have never been disappointed.

    Best wishes and hope to see you around the blogosphere.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Doesn’t Grace Burrows tell a hell of a story? I love her stuff.

      And don’t think we’ll be letting Anna actually “GO” – once a Bandit, you know. Grins. We’ll all be present on FB both on our own pages and on the RB page as well.

      And we’ll still be hanging here sometimes too.

      • Jeanne, sob, I’m sorry – but basically I’m not going to be a Bandit anymore. Although I’ll always be an ex-Bandit. I’m sure I’ll be around occasionally on the Facebook page, etc., and I look forward to supporting my Bandit sisters in their endeavours but my official connection is no longer going to be operative. WAAAAAAAH!

    • Catslady, Grace sounds so nice too – I’d love to meet her one day. Lovely to see her historicals doing so well.

      Sorry I’m leaving – something had to give, unfortunately. Thanks for being such a lovely contributor to the lair. And make sure you follow me on social media! I’d hate to lose touch.

  • Deb Meredith says:

    Anna, I am so sorry to see you leave. I don’t get to comment much but I adore reading your posts and most definitely your books! Big hugs and best of luck!

  • pjpuppymom says:

    It’s the end of an era and that makes me very sad. But, if it gives you more time to write your wonderful books that will make me very happy. Change is inevitable but not always easy. I’m comforted knowing that you will still be visible around social media, Anna and looking forward to hearing about – and seeing photos of – all the new adventures in your life.

    I read mostly romance these days but still enjoy non-romance books as well. It’s a matter of available time for me. The lighthouse book sounds fascinating. I’m definitely going to give that one a try. I like non-fiction as well as suspense/political/military thrillers.

    • PJ, definitely give the lighthouse book a try. I remember when I travelled in Scotland how fascinating I found those graceful white pillars. The story of their construction is amazing too. Robert Louis Stevenson’s family built most of them (there’s a great book called the Lighthouse Stevensons that’s well worth picking up).

      I’m sad to go but I’ve got such lovely memories of the lair, it will always be alive in my mind, whatever happens. Thank you so much for being such a lovely friend to us all. You’re one of the nicest people I know!!!

  • Anna, you reminded me I need to read more nonfiction. I found some new reads in your list and think my eldest would love the Germania book.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Angelina, I’m with you on that! I’m eyeing that Germania one too. I have ancestors there and would probably enjoy the “walk” in Germany. Grins.

    • Angelina, Germania is one of those lovely grab-bags of a book. You could dip into it or read it in one go (I did because it was just so entertaining). He was a new writer to me and I’ve read his other stuff which is good, but Germania is definitely the best.

      Thanks for checking out the recommendations.

  • Guys, have to go out for a couple of hours but I’ll be back to respond to comments! See you then.

  • Anna, I think you and I enjoy a lot of the same types of stories, such as our shared love for Nevada Barr’s mysteries. I love survival stories so I bet I’d like Endurance. Have you ever read Ice Bound by Dr Jerri Nielsen, the doctor who diagnosed herself with breast cancer while working at the South Pole? I found the stories3of daily life there fascinating.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Oh! Thank you Trish! I’ve been trying to figure out the name of that book for ages. I knew it was about a doctor, and diagnosing herself, but I couldn’t remember anything else about it! Arrgh.

      Of course, it isn’t as bad as the time I went into Barnes and Noble and said, “It was a book with a black cover and a skull and crossbones – no, not a pirate book – and it was about death and the Victorians, and it was RIGHT HERE ON THIS TABLE” Snork.

      Believe it or not, they FOUND that one for me! Hahahah!

    • Trish, I’ve read several of the Nevada Barr books and enjoyed them. I am really not Outdoors Woman, but I love the way Barr uses the different national parks as backdrops. Her book about wildland firefighters were excellent, if a bit intense in places for me.

    • Trish, I think you’d like Endurance. As you say, our tastes are often very similar. And I’m so grateful to you for pushing me in Nevada Barr’s direction. I love those books – one day I’d love to visit the parks she describes. They all sound so beautiful and fascinating. Although hopefully there won’t be any murderers lurking in the bushes when I go. I remember that lady with breast cancer – what a story. I must check out the book. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Drat! Doesn’t seem to be available in Oz. Will have to search further.

  • Joan Kayse says:

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Anna’s not going anywhere…just not here to the blog. She’ll still visit on our Romance Bandits FB page, her own “pun” derful page and twitter!

    I mean seriously, we can’t let one person with access to TimTams out of our sight!

    I DO tend to read mostly romances…historical and paranormal…but do love a good biography. Esp. of old Hollywood. Shelly Winters was a real eye popper!

    I also would recommend The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee. Written around turn of century England. AWESOME characterization, awesome setting.

    Now, BB’s just start planning your stalking of us at our FB page….the rooster’s already made a nest!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Snork! This is so TRUE! Anna and Christine are our dealers. Bwahahahah!!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Too fast on the trigger there… I meant to ask what was eye popping about Shelley? I read a great Henry Fonda one and a Jimmy Stewart one too. SO good!

      • Joan Kayse says:

        Shelly? She made men’s eyes pop…and any number of other things randy men would like.

        She was a grab the bull by the horns kind of gal without concern about social mores…like Mae West in many ways. Affairs? She had every kind EXCEPT a Family Affair πŸ˜€

    • Joan, really sorry – there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding somewhere. I’m actually leaving the Banditas. I’m sure I’ll pop up now and again as a commenter on the Facebook page but I’m now an ex-Bandita (they call me the Norwegian Blue!)

    • I hadn’t heard about the Typewriter Girl book. Sounds great. Thanks for the recommendations.

      Ooh, I’ll check out that Shelley Winters bio too. Sounds great. I love books about old Hollywood too. Over Christmas I was lucky enough to see a lovely exhibition of costumes from the 30s, 40s and 50s from Hollywood including the curtain dress from Gone with the Wind and Cyd Charisse’s red fringed bit of nothing from the ballet in Singin’ in the Rain (one of my fave films).

  • Anna, I’m going to miss seeing your posts on the 10th of every month. I often find new authors to try when you share your reading list. Other people have recommended Susanna Kearsley, and someone gave me a couple of her books, but I haven’t gotten to them. Your post is like a little nudge. *g*

    You know I read many kinds of books, from history to science fiction. I just discovered Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones books, which skate the PNR/UF line. I love them but am not sure that’s your cup of bookish tea.

    I read a good bit of British history and love Liza Picard’s books about London in different eras. I bought her Restoration London at Foyle’s on Charing Cross Road, back when I was writing historical set in the Restoration. I took it as a sign, but I’ve come to think the romance world isn’t quite ready to embrace that period. (and really, the men’s clothes were ghastly)

    I have Kate Sedley’s Roger the Chapman mysteries (15th c. England) in the TBR pile and am sure I’ll get to them one of these days. For lush, sometimes heartbreaking, historical fiction, it’s hard to beat Sharon Kay Penman. She has finished her trilogy on Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, so I’m trying to find the time to dive into it.

    We’ll miss you around here, Ms. Campbell, but will see you around the Web. And I hope you post reading lists there!

    BIG hugs!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      I’ll second that request! Between you and the other Bandits and Buddies I get the BEST reccomendations!!

      Nancy, I am SO snorking about the abysmal clothes in the Restoration. Snork!

    • Nancy, I’ve read a couple of the Liza Picard’s. You’re right, they’re fabulous. Have you read Judith Flanders – she writes wonderful social history too, mainly focused on the Victorians. Isn’t it interesting how fashion plays such a part in what makes an attractive historical romance period?

      I haven’t heard of the Roger the Chapman books. They sound right up my alley. I”ll check them out. Hope you enjoy the Kearsleys. I think my fave so far is Shadowy Horses but I’ve really enjoyed the other three I’ve read.

      • Judith Flanders is new to me. I’ll have to check her out.

        Yes, the effect of fashion on the air of romance in a book is strange. I have to wonder if that’s also why Elizabethans went out of vogue–those short, round, puffy breeches are really kind of strange.

  • Anna, speaking of Josephine Tey, you should check out The Daughter of Time. πŸ˜‰

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Anna, I’m telling you, you cost me SO much when you post one of these lists. Grins. I love that about you. Hahah!

    We have very similar reading tastes, so I’ll be off to Amazon or the library website to get some of these for my reading delectation.

    I’m in the midst of a jag reading about creativity and marketing….thanks to another list you provided! Ha! Right now, I’m reading Creativity, Inc. by Catmull. He’s one of the original founders of PIXAR, the animated movie studio. OMGosh does he have some WONDERFUL insights. I also, from that list, found a fabulous book, Start With Why, by Simon Sinek. He did some TED talks which I really liked, and his book was wonderful mindshift to thinking about where ideas come from and how to keep yourself on track of writing what means the most to you. I just got Orbiting the Giant Hairball, which is about creativity, the workplace and finding your center within all the chaos of corporate life. I’m not corporate anymore, but this book is hysterically funny. A mix of Revenge of the Nerds, the kid’s Dork Diaries and Wimpy Kids books, and Big Bang Theory of managment. Great fun.

    In fiction, I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries as well. I tend not to read a lot of romantic suspense when I’m writing it actively, so mystery’s the next best thing. Kate Carlisle’s latest, High End Finish, and Dixie Lyle’s Fur series. Grins. Total fun.

    • Jeanne, so glad I’m costing you money. Bwahahahahaha! Seriously, I think you’d love both the Elly Griffiths books and the JSF. One proviso – do try and read them in order. There’s revelations timed to come out and I think it would spoil things if you knew ahead of time what was going to happen.

      I’ve loved all our talks about books and of course they will continue! By the way, I really liked the Brain that Changes Itself – definitely worth checking out the latest thoughts on…thoughts!

  • Susan Sey says:

    It is a bittersweet moment indeed! I’ve always loved your blog posts, Anna, & will continue to enjoy you on FB!

    As for what I’ve been reading outside romance lately, I’ve been quite enjoying a nonfiction work on hallucinations by Dr. Oliver Sacks (I think that’s his name. ) He wrote The Man Who Mistook His Wife for A Hat, & writes engagingly on how common hallucinations really are, & their neural origins. It’s fascinating, & I’m hardly a neuroscientist! Two thumbs up from me!

    • Smoov, I’ll definitely be following your progress. You have such a deft comic touch in all your writing. Rarely I’m not snorting tea all over the keyboard when I read one of your posts.

      Oh, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Oliver Sacks. I think I’ve read everything he’s written. He has such humanity in his writing. It’s gorgeous. I also loved Uncle Tungsten and Musicophilia which is about why humans love music. It’s fascinating and moving.

  • Caren Crane says:

    I cannot believe it’s your last blog post, Anna. So sad! I love your posts. They are always so fun! I do love to read in lots of different genres and will read most anything that comes highly recommended. I enjoy mystery, suspense& thrillers, in particular. I read more literary fiction than I normally would because of a bookclub I am in at work. Because of that, I discovered some good books like Gone Girl and The Girl On the Train. I especially loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and The Night Circus. There are so many great books in the world and so little time!

    • Caren, I’m really sad it’s my last post too. But I’ll still be in touch with all you girls and a lot of the Bandita Buddies pop up on my Facebook page on a regular basis, thank goodness. It’s been a lovely eight years but all good things must come to an end.

      I really have to read Gone Girl. Everyone tells me it’s great.

  • Awww, I’ll miss your wonderful posts and your incredible, wild launch parties, Ms. Anna! But I’m delighted to know we’ll still see each other on Facebook and the Twitter machine.

    Thank you so much for recommending the Susanna Kearsley. I’m off to order it right now. I’ve heard about for a while and you make it sound even more fabulous. Can’t wait!

    Big hugs and kisses to you. Wishing you health, wealth, and happy times going forward. xoxoxo πŸ™‚

    • Kate, my darling Bandita sister, getting to know you has been one of the absolute gifts of being part of this group. Congratulations on all your wonderful success – you are truly an inspiration and it couldn’t happen to a nicer person. Do you remember that night at Washington where sort of tagged along together, drinking every place we stopped? What fun! We must do that again some time.

      Thank you for saying you enjoyed the posts. And please let me know what you make of the Susanna Kearsley.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Aww it is a sad day, but all our BBs know we won’t be going far. Plus, they’ll be able to follow what we’re up to via the FB feeds back onto the blog and the RSS feed. You always post the most interesting stuff, Anna.

    As for reading outside romance, I tend to read thrillers and mysteries. Quite a few by authors who started life as romance writers like Tess and Lisa and, of course, JD Robb. You and Christine put me onto CS Harris in her various guises, Nancy put me onto Jon Land and Doc C got me into some great writers like Thomas Perry. My latest is a thriller series which features a protagonist who solves murders and plays hockey, by Bryan Gruley! Lol ideal mix. Oh and we can’t forget the Mr and Mrs Darcy mysteries!

    • Anna, you put me onto the Carrie Bebris Mr and Mrs. Darcy mysteries – I must admit I was a bit doubtful at first. And then I just loved them. I’ll let you know how I go with the Tess Gerritsen.

      Thanks for saying you enjoy what I post. I enjoy digging out fun stuff – even if there’s a pre-PUN-derance of puns there!

      Hey, that sounds like a fab idea for the new series. Can’t wait to read them. Throw in a penguin or two and you’ve got all your bases covered!

  • Anna,

    We’ve had a good run, haven’t we? You and I met before the Romance Bandits ever did when we played around on the Avon Fan Lit boards! Now look where we are. πŸ™‚

    As for other genres, I used to read Robert Ludlum as my literary sorbet between romances, but now it’s Steve Berry. Only because I’ve read everything Ludlum wrote. πŸ™‚

    • Suz, I remember how brilliant your entries in Fan Lit were! Not surprised you finalled in the Golden Heart that year. Your stuff was great.

      Oh, it’s been a lovely eight years. And I look forward to being involved if only at a distance in the continuation of the Bandits. Always happy to cheer from the sidelines even if I”m not part of the team on the field anymore!

  • Pissenlit says:

    Oh noes! Well, um, Happy Last Blog Post Day? πŸ™‚

    Aside from romance, I’m pretty much just all about genre fiction. It’s a bit simpler to just to say that I usually steer clear of literary fiction, non-fiction and books that are really heavy on the sex (if I read non-fiction, I’d be interested in that book about Sir Ernest Shackleton). At the moment, I’m reading a lot of romance, mystery and urban fantasy and also some fantasy and sci-fi. For some of those, I could break it down even further by subgenre but that would just get messy πŸ™‚ I think mystery, as a genre, has been with me since I first discovered it as a kid. No matter what genres I’m interested in at any given time, I’ve always also read mystery. Some of my older favourites are Dick Francis, Rex Stout(Nero Wolfe series) and Bruce Alexander(Sir John Fielding series) while some of my more recent finds include Victoria Thompson(Gaslight Mystery series), Julie Hyzy(White House Chef series), Linda Castillo(Kate Burkholder series), Maureen Jennings(Detective Murdoch series) and Brad Parks(Carter Ross series).

    • Pissenlit, I hear you on genre fiction. I think I started branching out into nonfiction when I joined a library back in my 20s. They always had these fascinating ‘true’ books sitting on the recommended shelves when I walked through the doors. I remember lugging a 2000 pager about Lawrence of Arabia around on public transport for a couple of weeks. Nearly gave me a hernia! Good book, though!

      Thanks for the mystery recommendations. Someone else recommended the Nero Wolfe books to me yesterday – clearly I’m meant to read them! I read one of the Kate Burkholder books last year – it was a freebie in a conference goodie bag. Loved it and meant to read more. Thanks for the reminder.

      Lastly, thanks for being such a lovely part of the blog during my time here. I’ve always enjoyed your posts – so thoughtful and interesting. xxx

      • Pissenlit says:

        Oooh, those Recommended shelves are totally dangerous. I’ve totally left the library with random books because of those.

        Thanks for being “Foanna”. You have no idea how much I enjoy saying that(or how many times I’ve said it today already). Foanna. Foanna. I just find it so amusing to pronounce. πŸ˜€

        • Pissenlit, I think with libraries (and I’m discovering with the 99 cent Amazon specials), you feel you can be a bit more adventurous because you’re not investing a lot of money. There are things I picked up that I’d NEVER have bought but which turned out to be really interesting. And often with those big nonfiction books, they’re so expensive anyway. I’d rather let the library make the investment.

          Ha to the Foanna. I’ve loved being Foanna too. I think I’m going to write a heroine called Joanna but in my heart she’ll be Foanna – that will be our secret!

  • I’m talking about a couple of other Susanne Kearsleys on the My Favorite Things page on my website this month if you want to hear about more books by this wonderful writer:

  • Shannon says:

    I am sorry to see you go, but I hope that you’re going to a good place. Change can be good. Thanks for your books and the blogs over the past year and a half.

    I’ve read some of Susanne Kearsley’s books and enjoyed them.

    My 2014 odd book was Peter Hamilton’s Great Road North, a futuristic mystery.

    • Shannon, I’ve never heard of the Peter Hamilton. What a great title, though. Really gets my imagination going.

      I’ve been making a few changes in the last year or so to get things moving more smoothly in life and sadly, blogging is something that has to go. A couple of months ago, I had three regularly monthly gigs as a blogger. Now I have none. I think we need to be able to move to fit new circumstances in our lives. Thanks for the good wishes!

  • Wow, guys, thanks for the lovely send-off! Hope to see a lot of you on Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, happy Valentine’s Day and thanks for being such a great crowd!