Six degrees of separation: from Alexander McCall Smith to Sherlock Holmes


Six degrees of separation:
Alexander McCall Smith
Sherlock Holmes

This is really cool!
Using my own rules for this fun meme hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest (see there the origin of the meme and how it works – posted the first Saturday of every month), I started with a mystery and indeed on one.
Here are my own quirky rules:

  1. Use your list of books on Goodreads

  2. Take the first word of the title offered and find another title with that word in it

  3. Then use the first word of THAT title to find your text title

  4. Or the second if the title starts by the same word

So here the result. After the covers, you can find the links of my reviews or the title on Goodreads:

  The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency marie-antoinettes-darkest-days
onfessions of Marie Antoinette Ex Libris
Studio Saint-Ex  Uno studio in rosso


1. The No. 1 Ladies’s Detective Agency
2. Marie Antoinette’s Darkest Days:
Prisoner NO. 280 in the Conciergerie
3. Confessions of MARIE Antoinette
4. Ex Libris: CONFESSIONS of a Common Reader
= on my TBR
5. Studio Saint-EX
6. Uno STUDIO in rosso
= ok, I cheated here. I couldn’t find any title with ‘studio’ in it,
but then, this popped up… !!
I did read A Study in Scarlet (actually all of Sherlock Holmes),
so I judge myself allowed to use it… in Italian!!




2013: September wrap-up

Lots of things going on in September, with a week off the grid, where I actually did more bird watching that reading, believe it or not!!

So my September reading totaled only 6 books, with 1307 pages, that is,  43.5 pages/day.
Part of those 6 were 2 audiobooks, [thanks to a very long drive!]: 23:46 hours as a whole, that is, an average of 47 mn/day

I’m again extremely late in my reviews, but my work schedule is changing in October, and I hope this will help me catch up.

I read:

3 historical fiction:

  1. Sutton, by J. R. Moehringer – audiobook
  2. Confessions of Marie-Antoinette, by Juliet Grey – ebook
  3. The Strangled Queen, by Maurice Druon – ebookupcoming review, October 10

2 non-fiction:

  1. The World’s Strongest Librarian, by Josh Hanagarne – audiobook
  2. The Year of Grace of the Lord, by Lev Gillet

1 mystery:

The Greenland Breach, by Bernard Besson – upcoming review, first week of November

My favorites this month:

  The Strangled Queen Sutton


Reading Challenges recap

Around the World in 12 books:  6/12
Audiobook: 10/12
Books on France: 25/12 – COMPLETED
Cozy Mysteries: 4/10
Ebook challenge: 21/10 – COMPLETED
European reading challenge: 10/5 – COMPLETED
Historical fiction: 27/15 – COMPLETED
Japanese literature: 1/1
New authors challenge: 51/25 – COMPLETED
TBR challenge: 4/12
What’s in a Name: 5/6
Where Are You Reading?: 9/50
Australian Literature: 1/1 – COMPLETED

Total of books read so far in 2013 = 73

Number of books added to my TBR in Septmber = only 24, lol!


Blog recap

  1. 1 of the 6 books mentioned here was received for review by the publisher
  2. 33 readers signed up for my Books on France Challenge, and 101 reviews have already been posted. Don’t forget to post your reviews, and it is never too late to join!
  3. Every month, France Book Tours has a giveaway for the book(s) of the month. Have you checked yet the October giveaway? There are 2 books to win!
  4. France Book Tours already completed 13 book tours, and there are 10 more already scheduled! If you are interested in reviewing books on your blog for France Book Tours, just fill in this short questionnaire. 59 book bloggers have already done so! You can find all kinds of genre: historical fiction, romance, mystery, LGBT, nonfiction, etc.
  5. The big highlight for September was definitely my 3rd blogiversary. Thanks for all the visits and nice comments. I posted about my 3 year stats, a fun A to Z survey, and the winner of the blogiversary giveaway!
  6. And I was thrilled to be interviewed by the Examiner, for my HF reviews!
  7. The big disappointment was not being able to take part in Bloggiesta, with too many things going on. C’est la vie !

Most popular recent book review

The Bones of Paris2nd month in a row!
click on the cover to access my review

Most popular recent post – non book review

Historical Fiction Giveaway Hopwith 3 awesome HF to choose from!

Plans for October

  • Right now there’s a fun HF Giveaway Hop going on – see picture right above
  • I plan to catch up with lots of book reviews to write and read several books for various book events: The Mona Lisa Speaks / Unravelled / Gracianna
  • On October 10, I will be featured on Book Bloggers International! If you would like to be featured there as well, you just need to fill in this form here.
  • Sometimes soon, I will also be interviewed by Chris at WildmooBooks. And I will interview her the same day on Words And Peace.


How was YOUR month of September?
And what are your reading plans for October?

Confessions of Marie Antoinette: review. I love France #67



I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.


Confessions of Marie Antoinette
(Marie Antoinette #3)


Juliet GREY

Release date: tomorrow, September 24, by Random House/Ballantine

464 pages

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book as an egalley for free from  the publisher
via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.

onfessions of Marie Antoinette

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France          hf-reading-challenge-2013   2013 Ebook Challenge


rating system

As I read the first volume of this trilogy, Becoming Marie Antoinette, then the second, Days Of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, I thought I had to read the last one: Confessions of Marie Antoinette.

My favorite of all three remains the first. Though it sounds like the author read my review of the second: in the third volume, there are far less French words used, and with fewer mistakes as well. There are still some, but not as many as to make me list them as I did in my 2nd review!

In this book, we are just before and during the French Revolution, and eventually the arrest and death of both Louis and then Marie Antoinette.

I’m very divided about this book. I do acknowledge that the author seemed to have done a lot of serious research about her main character. But sometimes I had the feeling she wanted to crammed in all the information she had found, and it didn’t seem she was too successful at integrating these data in the novel format.

I guess there’s also a good sense of urgency and suspense, though having studied over and over again these events in history classes, I could not feel any effect of surprise.

Not sure the character of Louison, a young sculptress witness to the events, was all that necessary, at least the way she was presented. When she appeared in the story, I could not but think of how Michelle Moran used another artist, Madame Tussaud, to draw her majestic painting of the French Revolution. Madame Tussaud was at the heart of the story, stuck between royalists and revolutionaries, therefore telling the story from her point of view was pure genius. Louison here is not enough present to make her a significant voice.

The art of historical fiction is very difficult, and I have run into fantastic writers recently, so I guess I’m getting very choosy, and I expect a perfect merge of data into a novel form, not suddenly a few pages that look like my French history text books.

Also, if I consider the whole trilogy, I’m not sure I’m in the presence of the same character. People evolve, definitely, but I did not feel any smooth transition between the superficial Marie Antoinette of the 2nd volume and the mother so loving towards her children in the third.

Again, I may be comparing Juliet Grey to too high a standard, as I remember the amazing evolution of the character of Cromwell between the first and second volumes by Hilary Mantel. But, hey, if someone is able to do it at perfection, it IS possible to attain and repeat, maybe.

Having visited La Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette was held a prisoner at the end of her life, made some scenes very real to me. My friend guide at the Basilica of Saint Denis, where she has been reburied, (have you seen my pictures of this gorgeous church?) even told me that every week, some devotees bring red roses to put on her tomb!

So whether this book really tells Marie Antoinette’s confessions or not, she is still dear to the heart of many people!

Conciergerie 1

secretary officeThe secretary office . He kept a record of all the belongings of the prisoners as they entered

Marie Antoinette’s cell has been reconstituted:

Marie-Antoinette's cell 1As you can see, she was under the constant vigilance of a guard, after she tried to escape – she almost made it!
Juliet has many pages on these guards and Marie Antoinette in her cell.

Marie-Antoinette's cell 2I wrote a special post on La Conciergerie, with more pictures, and more details on its history.


 Confessions of Marie Antoinette, the riveting and sweeping final novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy on the life of the legendary French queen, blends rich historical detail with searing drama, bringing to life the early years of the French Revolution and the doomed royal family’s final days.

Versailles, 1789. As the burgeoning rebellion reaches the palace gates, Marie Antoinette finds her privileged and peaceful life swiftly upended by violence. Once her loyal subjects, the people of France now seek to overthrow the crown, placing the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty in mortal peril.

Displaced to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the royal family is propelled into the heart of the Revolution. There, despite a few staunch allies, they are surrounded by cunning spies and vicious enemies. Yet despite the political and personal threats against her, Marie Antoinette remains above all a devoted wife and mother, standing steadfastly by her husband, Louis XVI, and protecting their young son and daughter. And though the queen and her family try to flee, and she secretly attempts to arrange their rescue from the clutches of the Revolution, they cannot outrun the dangers encircling them, or escape their shocking fate. [Goodreads]


Juliet Grey

Juliet Grey
has extensively researched European royal history
and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette.
She and her husband divide their time
between New York City and southern Vermont.




Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)