WWW Wednesday (01-23-13)

WWW Wednesday. This meme is from shouldbereading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?


• What are you currently reading?

I’m listening to Midwinter of the Spirit (Merrily Watkins 2),  an English mystery series by Phil Rickman. I thought I’d read this kind of series before–Anglican vicar and parish priest as sleuth. I was so wrong. Rickman says: “I knew very little about vicars or how they worked. The last thing I wanted was to write series about one. I’m not much of a churchgoer… not when there’s a service on, anyway. But suddenly there she was, and I realised what a risky, uncertain occupation she’d taken on.

By the second book, that occupation is established. “Merrily Watkins has been appointed Deliverance Consultant,or Advisor on the Paranormal, for the Diocese of Hereford. This is a real job; there’s at least one in every diocese in the UK. They work with psychiatrists, social workers… and also the police (inevitably, in this series, this is the aspect of the job that predominates.) And their own beliefs are often tested. Which is what I wanted. There are few certainties in this series. The borderline between psychology and the unexplained is laid out in barbed wire.

You might know this job better as exorcist. From wikipedia:

In 1974, the Church of England set up the “Deliverance ministry“.[10] As part of its creation, every diocese in the country was equipped with a team trained in both exorcism and psychiatry. According to its representatives, most cases brought before it have conventional explanations, and actual exorcisms are quite rare; although, blessings are sometimes given to people for psychological reasons.[10]

Anglican priests may not perform an exorcism without permission from the Diocesan bishop. An exorcism is not usually performed unless the bishop and his team of specialists (including a psychiatrist and physician) have approved it.


So, a bit of paranormal. A bit of mystery. A bit of spiritual testing. And the fact that she has a pagan daughter. Ingredients blended and tossed really, really well by a very good writer. Which may explain why I’ve listened to the first book and most of the second since last week’s WWW, and yet–

I am still reading the same books I was reading last week,  The House of the Seven Gables and11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King and Blackwood (Strange Chemistry) by Gwenda Bond. Okay, I’m lying. I haven’t actually started Seven Gables but am going to read a chapter of it before beginning my next Kindle book once I finish Blackwood. Hawthorne’s waiting by my bed, and King can wait for me to start Hawthorne before I dive back into his time travel tome, right? Right.

• What did you recently finish reading?

As I said above, I just finished Wine of Angels (Merrily Watkins 1) by Phil Rickman. I discovered this series by exploring Ben Aaronovich’s site. Since I have told you before that I love Ben’s urban fantasy series set in London that begins with (US title) Midnight Riot, I decided to follow his lead here and I am loving Phil Rickman’s series, too.  I even love Merrily’s name, which might have seemed too twee in other circumstances, but she is not a twee character. The explanation, that she was born on Christmas Day and her mum hated the name Noelle. Her dad’s favorite Christmas carol, however, was “Ding Dong Merrily On High.” Well, that’s one of my faves, too. Anything that lets me sing “glorias” to my heart’s desire is a very good carol in my book.

This is not as common a carol in the US as it is in England so if you don’t know it, you can listen to the most traditional form here by the Choristers of King’s College Cambridge and a sassier form here by Celtic Woman. I don’t usually like people taking liberties with Christmas hymns and carols and prefer them the way I learned to sing them, but this is a very light, lovely rendition. Is this a new carol to you or had you heard it before? I first sang it in the 9th grade, had never heard it before then.

I also finished listening to Surrender to the Devil by Lorraine Heath, another of the Fagin’s Lads romances inspired by Oliver Twist. I really do love that premise, as I’ve said, and I think there may only be one left to read/listen to. I am totally perplexed at why these are marketed as “The Scoundrels of St James” rather than as “Fagin’s Lads.”  I think the hook that they were all raised together as thieves and pickpockets under Fagin’s care is fascinating and handled really well. I think it’s a much more compelling hook than the generic one used. Makes me wonder if somebody thought a reference to Charles Dickens was too literary for a romance series?  This was Frannie Darling’s story, who got her name because that’s what Fagin always called her, “Frannie, darling, will you fetch me my jug?” and so she thought it was her name.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Will I nab the next Merrily book, the next Fagin’s Lad? Will I finally finish Lymond? Will I read something totally different? I do have some totally different books waiting in the wings. I don’t know. I don’t know!

Don’t ask me these hard questions unless you want me to lie.

Wait, I asked the question, didn’t I?

Oh hush.

I’m keeping a running total of my reading challenges–the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (see banner at the bottom of the right sidebar) and my own challenge, the Embarrassment of Riches Challenge –and will post a January wrap-up on those on the 31st, in which I’ll ask everybody who is participating to respond with their current numbers in comments.

$20 Amazon Gift Certificate to one lucky Amazon reviewer!

And I have to remind you–it’s here! The chance for you to win a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate for leaving an Amazon review of Scandalous (available at Book View Cafe, Amazon and now, at Kobo) before February 14. Details here.

What about you? What have you been reading lately? Put the link to your WWW Wednesday entry in comments, or just tell me!





Filed under Anglican, Books, Reading, Reading Challenges, WWW Wednesday

15 responses to “WWW Wednesday (01-23-13)

  1. I want to read the Merrily books too! Those sound awesome. And I am still trying to get my hands on Midnight Riot, I have book 2 on my shelf as I randomly picked it up sometime last year. Fun stuff going on over there 🙂

    • I find Rickman’s handling of the spiritual aspect of being a vicar in today’s Church of England deft and real-feeling, even though he isn’t religious himself. Very interesting stuff.

  2. I didn’t blog about this today, so here goes:

    What are you currently reading?

    Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I’m completely captivated by the Sherlock Holmes books right now, and it’s only partially because I can envision RDJ as Sherlock 😀

    Still reading Dragonfly in Amber — I only have like the last 40 pages (still).

    Re-reading Lightning Rider 🙂

    • What did you recently finish reading?
    Revving Her Up by Joy Daniels — OMG secret guilty pleasure. INHALED it one night when I was supposed to be going to bed. Read it the whole way through — super, super sexy and well written.

    • What do you think you’ll read next?
    I have SO many on my TBR. I’m knee-deep in edits for a buddy, but in between edits for my own stuff, so I have a ton of time right now. I’m thinking of reading Ender’s Game by OSC

    • Have you seen the Cumberbatch Sherlock series? Guh! I have the canon Sherlocks on my Kindle waiting to be read this year. I’m looking forward to it! Thanks for stopping by!


    still reading AFTER THE RAIN by Karen White,not sure what’s on my TBR next

  4. I’ve had my eye on that Phil Rickman series for awhile now and have heard such good things about it, but I could only find e-book editions of most of them so I never started the series. (I’m a paper book gal all the way.) Will have to continue my search!

  5. I am a huge SK fan so I love it when I see people reading his books. I loved 11/22/63 – a different kind of book for him.

    Here’s my WWW.

  6. The Paul Rickman series sounds like something I’d like to read, too.

    I’m currently reading “Armadale,” the third of Wilkie Collins’ “big three” novels (“The Woman in White” and “The Moonstone” being the other two.) First, of course, I love that it’s a big fat Victorian novel, and second I love it because it has the complex plot and excellent character development he’s known for. It’s just the kind of book to curl up with by the fire, a nice cuppa and a snoozing four-legged critter nearby.

    I finished reading a Victorian by Elizabeth Gaskell called “North and South,” and am trying to figure out why some reviewers on Goodreads say it’s one of their favorites that they’ve read more than once. I thought a couple of hundred pages could have been cut, easily, and that the ending was a huge letdown. Just goes to show … something. It’s about the differences between Northern and Southern England, and has much social commentary on the differing attitudes of the manufacturers vs. union workers in the north and the more genteel agrarian society of the south (the opposite, direction-wise, of the US during the civil war era.) Interesting and informative, but it isn’t something I’d want to keep and re-read.

    Also recently finished two short non-fiction ebooks that were very fine: “Ayn Nation Under God” by Hart Williams, and “Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All” by David Fitzgerald.

    Next? Probably the first volume of Susan Wise Bauer’s “The History of the Ancient World.” This volume covers a period I’m particularly interested in, which is also the subtitle, “From the Earliest Accounts to The Fall of Rome.” I ordered “The Histories” by Tacitus at the same time, so I may read that one first. Don’t know yet!

    Pooks, thanks for having this series!

    • I saw the BBC miniseries of North and South with Richard Armitage. It was good. I still need to read some Wilkie Collins. Which do you recommend first?

      And why don’t you put these in your blog? Do it. Do it. Doo eeeeeet!

  7. “The Woman in White,” definitely. It’s considered the first of the “detective” genre. The mystery story itself is a good read, but it’s also a joy to read from a novelist’s standpoint because of Collins’ tremendous skill. Here’s the Wiki about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilkie_Collins

  8. Correction: now that I’ve re-read the Wiki article, “The Moonstone” is actually considered the first of the “detective” genre. Anyway, I still recommend “The Woman in White” first. As fine as “The Moonstone” was, I felt just ever-so-slightly let down in comparison to TWIW.

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