Summer Reading #2 – The Royal Spyness Series

::: The Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen :::

I am completely addicted to book series. If they are well written, well narrated, historical and a murder mystery or adventure,  then I am smitten.  That’s exactly what happened with Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series. I have listened to them all through my account and I just can’t get enough. In fact I am eagerly awaiting her latest episode, Queen of Hearts to be released next month.

Let me take you back to the beginning. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, is the  daughter of the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. Her father has since passed on, and as a young woman in the 1920’s and 30’s she is of course, penniless, as all wealth would go to a male heir, in her case her brother, even though she is the King’s cousin and is thirty-fourth in line for the throne.  Georgianna has been taught only the things a fine young lady would learn: the perfect curtsey, what fork to use and when, how to dance, and what outfit to wear at each corresponding meal. But her brother (and his overbearing wife, Fig) cuts off her allowance, so she leaves Scotland for London where she begins her journey and winds up a novice sleuth.

                cover_spyness_200     cover_royalpain200    
Keeping in fashion with shows such as Downton Abbey, these books take you back to a time and place that seem to real and alive that you sometimes feel as if you are right there with Georgiana. All the glorious characters are present, just as they are in Downton Abbey, as are the palaces, the opulence, the poverty, the servants, the romances, the fashions, the history, and the hierarchy.  If you are looking for something to fill the void when Downton is off for the summer, this is the perfect filler.
Each book takes you on a foreign journey that is just lovely, and not too gory or lusty. Bowen has the perfect balance that gives each character their moment to shine. Below is the order of books and besides just grabbing all of them at your local bookstore and plowing through them, I highly recommend listening to these on audoibook.  Because if you do, you will be treated to one of the best audiobook narrators in existence, Katherine Kellgren.  (Insert photo here: –> ) KatherineKellgren3 (2)
 Katherine Kellgren has recorded over a hundred audiobooks, including winners of the Audie Award, the American Library Association’s Odyssey Honor, the Earphones Award, the Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award, and ForeWord Magazine’s Audiobook of the Year.
Katherine does ALL the voices, in each and every book in this series. She prepares and studies each new dialect, and person wholeheartedly and authentically. She perfectly performs each job she is give, and really gets in to the heart of each character. They all seem so real, as if we are listening to a blip in time and these people actually existed. Go out and do something nice for yourself and listen to these books! Don’t forget, I told you all about audiobooks in an earlier post, but in case you forgot, check out and my blog post regarding that: Time for Some Summer Reading.
For ease of reference here are the order of the books to date.
  1. Her Royal Spyness (2007)
  2. A Royal Pain (2008)
  3. Royal Flush (2009)
  4. Royal Blood (2010)
  5. Naughty in Nice (2011)
  6. The Twelve Clues of Christmas (2012)
  7. Heirs and Graces (2013)
  8. Queen of Hearts (August 2014)

Coming in August 2014

Time for Some Summer Reading (or Listening)


30 Seconds Of Women Over-Apologizing, Followed By 30 Seconds Of Them *So* Destroying That Stereotype

I was on Facebook yesterday and saw this video on my home page. Why do women say they are sorry all the time? This clip totally reminded me about a segment in a book I recently listened too again, Libba Bray’s The Beauty Queens. (Yes, I said listened to a book.) When I was doing the corporate-commute-manager-work a lot of hours thing, after a year of music I got tired of the same songs. The radio is pretty damn repetitive, playing some songs at least every hour of every day. So the next few years I turned to books on tape.

I started with borrowing some cd’s from my mom. My first one ever was “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and it was astounding. One guy does all the voices and it is truly amazing. There’s just so much more information in a book than they can shove into a movie. I also found that books on tape, especially while driving, kept me calmer and more focused and made the time go by much faster when commuting.  Eventually I started using for all my listening pleasure. You pay a monthly fee and get one credit a month. (Almost all books cost one credit.) You get bonus credits for joining, and they have offers where you can get 3 credits for about $30 bucks, which is a savings of $15, basically a  book for free. They sometimes have free books, and books sales for as low as $4.95; so sometimes I just purchase a book if its less than about $10 dollars. Overall a huge savings from buying the actual CD’s that can cost up to $60 a book! They are yours to download on any mobile device or computer and to listen to as many times as you want. You can even even listen to a free sample excerpt from each book so that you can test drive it. There are some books that the description and reviews sound amazing, but that the narrator is truly dreadful. The narrator makes all the difference!

Now that I don’t commute, I crave the drive. I am dying to know what happens next in my book. I have less driving time now so I don’t get through a book as fast. In addition to listening when running errands,  I also listen when I am  cleaning the house, doing dishes, or cooking; it keeps me entertained and motivated. I still read actual books from time to time, in fact I started two books this summer.  But a book that is performed really well is just as good as watching TV to me.

I’m so sorry,  I started this blog post telling you about how women shouldn’t be apologize for everything then I went off on a tangent, so there must be a rule where I should feel bad and profusely ask for your forgiveness, right? Well that brings me back to what I wanted to share with you today, The Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray who is one of my favorite authors.


Imagine Survivor, Lost, Pirates, and a Beauty Pageant all rolled into one! It’s a very unexpected ride with the survivors of the Miss Teen Dream Pageant plane crash.  It’s completely witty and laugh out loud hysterical at times. I really recommend the book on tape, Libba Bray does an outstanding job at portraying all the character voices herself! My favorite character is probably Tiara. There’s LMAO footnotes, ROFL commercials, and I also love how she handles “The Corporation” which pretty much owns EVERYTHING in the USA. And yes, they have a whole section about why women need to apologize for everything.

The book on tape is done so well, at times I felt like I was watching a movie. It’s rated Mature Teen but adults will totally LOVE this as well. (Aren’t TEEN books the only ones anyone reads anymore?) Besides it’s also the:

  • 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in Young Adult Literature
  • 2012 Audie Award Winner for Best Narration by the Author
  • 2012 Audie Award Nomination for Best Teen Audiobook

If you still don’t believe me just look at these reviews!

“Libba Bray not only breaks the mold… she smashes it and grinds the tiny pieces into the sidewalk. For the record, I’d go anywhere she wanted to take me.” —The New York Times Book Review

“This is Libba Bray, a writer much more interested in subverting that paradigm—girl-on-girl psychological violence as spectator sport—than playing into it…Beauty Queens is a madcap surrealist satire of the world in which her readers have come of age—reality TV, corporate sponsorship, product placement, beauty obsession—but ultimately, it’s a story of empowering self-discovery.” –New York Times Book Review

“{a} hilarious romp into an examination of femininity and feminism, sex and sexuality…sure to be popular.” –Booklist

“Out-there satire…Lord of the Flies with an evening gown competition, anyone?”–Publishers Weekly

“While the foibles of today’s media/celebrity/political culture are the clear target of this stinging satire, the teen cast is funny and endearing in its own right…The humor is both dark and madcap, including footnote asides and commercial scripts that keep the laughs coming.” –Kirkus Reviews

Go out there and LISTEN TO A GREAT BOOK! I’m sorry, you can read one if you want to, I’m not trying to force you to do anything.

If you have the time, also check out this article: An Interview with Libba Bray

2013 Libba Bray

Libba Bray, Author