not a book, tv

Not a Book: Wednesday

Back at Halloween last year I wrote about the Addams Family films from the early 90s and now I’ve watched the new Netflix series about Wednesday and can report back!

So the premise of this, as you can probably tell is Wednesday Addams Goes to Boarding School – and it’s a boarding school for outcasts. Now given my fondness for boarding school stories I could very much get on board with this. And obviously because this is Wednesday we’re talking about – allergic to colour, incredibly morbid, not really into emotions – this is going to pose some challenges. On top of that, this is the school her parents attended and to say there is some history there is to understate the situation. And then there’s the fact that there appears to be a monster killing people and the pupils of the school, with their special powers/skills are the prime suspects. So a fish-out-of-water school story with a murder mystery/thriller twist, brought to you by Tim Burton. Sounds good right?

There is also good news for those of you who are as sentimentally attached to the Julia/Huston Gomez and Morticia as I am, that although the parents appear in the show, they are only in a couple of episodes. And though I have a few issues with Catherine Zeta Jones’ Morticia (not least the wandering accent), Luis Guzman’s Gomez is brilliant in a different way to Raul Julia and I really, really liked it. And as Wednesday, Jenna Ortega is fabulous, she’s got the creepy, disconnected affect down as well as the deadpan delivery. And the plot and script are really clever too. There are nods and winks to the various different incarnations of the family previously (not least Christina Ricci as Wednesday’s dorm mother) whilst still making it feel its own thing.

Wednesday has Thing with her at school – which shows how far CGI/Special effects have come in the last 30 years that it’s now super easy to have lots and lots of Thing, and Uncle Fester pops up too. But for most of the characters are new – Enid, Wednesday’s roommate, a crowd of popular kids including a siren and a pupil whose drawings come to life and a group of townies who have a very, very mixed relationship with the boarding school on their doorstep which adds another level of tension to everything. And then there is Wednesday’s special gift – which causes her even more issues. In short – plenty of plot strands to keep everything moving along and to keep you guessing about how it all might tie together.

We watched it across about four days – there are eight episodes – and were really sad when it was over. And clearly we’re not the only people who have made it to the end of the series (which seems to be the metric which Netflix bases stuff off) as they announced a second season last month. I’m interested to see where they take the show next, as the plot for this was self contained enough that it wouldn’t have left viewers mad if it didn’t get a second series but equally left you with a tease for what might happened next. And don’t worry, the teaser trailer below doesn’t give any spoilers away.

So if you need something to binge watch, and you haven’t already, I recommend this for your next duvet day on the sofa.

Happy Sunday everyone!

book related

Books in the Wild: Back at Foyles!

We’re into February and there have been plenty of new books since I last hung around in Foyles, so here’s a little update…

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow still getting a good spot after its (deserved) success on so many end of year lists. But it’s now got new company. I’ve seen a lot of buzz about Wayward, but not going to lie, I’m not sure I’m ready for witch hunts at the moment. But I reserve the right to change my mind at any point in the future!

On the side of the same pillar, we have the Monica Heisey, which I may already own a copy of, and three new historical novels that I hadn’t heard about!

I’m always interested in what’s in this front corner – because it’s always such a mix. I’ve got Becky (a modern Vanity Fair) but that’s about it and I hadn’t come across many of the others – except the Colleen Hoover of course!

The crime and thriller shelf has the new Janice Halley which looks really interesting and the Tom Head which I hadn’t heard of and nearly bought! Basically after months of seeing the same stuff on the bookshelves it’s all started refreshing again and it’s delightful – if potentially expensive for someone like me with poor impulse control when it comes to book buying. And I did buy three books – but from the paperback section, and I’ll show you them another day!

Happy weekend everyone!

American imports, cozy crime, series

Series: Library Lovers

This Friday it’s another cozy crime series – and another from Jenn McKinlay. I wrote about her Cupcake Bakery series about a year ago, and now we’re on the other side of the US with her Library Lovers one.

Our sleuth is Lindsey, library director in the small coastal town of Briar Creek. At the start of the start of the series she is recently arrived in town and getting to grips with her new job and the characters and rivalries at the library. As the series progresses Lindsey gets more and more established in town and develops a group of friends and love interests. Obviously there is also a murder each book – not always in the library thank goodness, because otherwise who would dare borrow a book – but some how Lindsey is always involved enough to start detecting – I mean it wouldn’t be a cozy otherwise, would it!

I’m only seven books in to the series – there are fourteen – because they’re relatively hard to get hold of over here – but so far there’s enough progression in the running strands to stop them getting repetitive (or annoying) and the murders are pretty varied too. I don’t like them as much as I like the Cupcake mysteries, but they still make for a nice comforting read when you need that sort of thing.

If you’re in the US, you should be able to get hold of them fairly easily. If you’re in the UK, it’s trickier because they’re not available on Kindle if you have a UK account. But I think I have spotted them in bookshops on occasion- and obviously Amazon have the paperbacks…

Happy Friday!

books, stats

January Stats

Books read this month: 30*

New books: 13

Re-reads: 17

Books from the to-read pile: 4

NetGalley books read: 2

Kindle Unlimited read: 3

Ebooks: 15

Audiobooks: 6

Non-fiction books: 0

Favourite book this month: Of the new stuff, probably The Three Dahlias

Most read author: Donna Andrews – 11 Meg Langslows, only one left in the reread now

Books bought: I mean I’d rather not talk about it to be honest. Probably about 20!

Books read in 2023: 30

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf (I don’t have copies of all of these!): 669

Minor tweaks to the format of the stats for 2023 – taking out library books, for now at least. Aside from that the new year continued as the end of the old – with the Meg Langslow binge. But as I only have one left now, that can’t really continue so I look forward to seeing what I replace it with in February!

Bonus picture: from our day out in Wells as part of our trip. You may recognise this as a location from Hot Fuzz, and yes we were intermittently muttering lines from the movie at each other all day!

*includes some short stories/novellas/comics/graphic novels – including 4 this month

Recommendsday

Recommendsday: January Quick Reviews

Only two books this month, you’ll probably understand why when you see the stats tomorrow. There was nearly a third, but I fell asleep with 50 pages to go on Tuesday night and didn’t finish it before the end of the month and I do try not to cheat!

Death Spins the Wheel by George Bellairs

It’s been a while since I mentioned an Inspector Littlejohn mystery, as I’ve read nearly all of the ones that are easily available at the moment. But Death Spins the Wheel popped up and it’s a good one. Once again on the Isle of Man, it features an elderly lady who comes to the island to gamble at the casino and then turns up dead. There’s one strand of the plot that I’m wildly dubious about (if you know me and read it you’ll know what!) but I liked the actual resolution and the familiar characters. Maybe don’t start here, but if you’re reading them as they pop up on Kindle Unlimited then it’s definitely worth a look.

Vermeer to Eternity by Anthony Horowitz

Another author I’ve written about relatively frequently, but this is another KU read – this time a really quite satisfying short story with a really neat premise and two interesting characters. If you’ve read the Hawthorn novels, you’ll probably see some similarities to “Anthony” as seen in them, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

And that’s it for stuff I haven’t already talked about in January – or at least it is unless you want repeats or rereads! I wonder if I’ll manage more than two in February?

Happy Reading!

Book of the Week

Book of the Week: Georgie, All Along

Continuing the Kate Clayborn theme of the last few days, but I’m not even sorry about it because this was delightful and it’s new and it deserves a bigger mention than just Thursday.

Georgie is back in Virginia after years away working as a PA in LA. Most of the time she’s too busy to think about anything except the next job on her list. But suddenly there are hours and days and weeks stretching out in front of her. She’s meant to be helping her best friend – who has just moved back to their home town too ahead of having her first baby – but it doesn’t feel like she really needs Georgie. And then they find a diary they wrote in high school full of plans for the future. Are these the ideas Georgie needs to figure out who she is and what she wants? And then there is the problem of Levi, her unexpected roommate and former town bad boy and current dock builder and semi recluse, who offers to help her on her quest…

This was a really lovely, calming read – and also romantic. There is very little peril (maybe no peril?), just two people trying to figure out who they are and what they want in the world. And if you’ve ever wondered what you’re doing with your life and why everyone seems to have things better planned than you, this may well speak to you on a cellular level. I often say that I’m very lucky because I knew what I wanted to do for my job at a very young age, and turned out that be good enough at it that I’ve been able to earn my living doing it (so far!). But I don’t really have a grand plan. I’m much better at knowing what I don’t want to do, than what I *do* want to do and so I really enjoyed watching Georgie working out what she wanted from life and also the way it all resolved – and I can’t really say more, because: spoiler.

So if you want a charming romance that will make you swoon-y happy but without making you anxious, then this may well be it. My copy came from NetGalley, but it’s out now in various formats: in Kindle and Kobo in the UK – it looks like the paperback option is the US version (at the moment at least).

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 23 – January 29

So I’m realising that the problem with some of the long runners (I’ll let you work out which) is that they are books I need to concentrate on, and also a bit miserable. And this means that I need to be in the right mood for them (and one of them is also a hardback) and my brain is a bit frazzled right now, so it’s been happy to carry on down the Meg Langslow binge reread (only one left now!) as well as romance. I’m working on it though. I’ll get there in the end.

Read:

The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson

Death in Ecstasy by Ngaio Marsh

Missing Christmas by Kate Clayborn

Twelve Jays of Christmas by Donna Andrews

Vintage Murder by Ngaio Marsh

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn*

Round Up the Usual Peacocks by Donna Andrews

Started:

Irish Coffee Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross*

Still reading:

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

Rogues by Patrick Radden Keefe

Exes and O’s by Amy Lea*

Well I may have picked up a couple of books (one ebook, one actual book) but that’s much, much better than last week so I’m counting it as a total win!

Bonus photo: A new plant, to soothe my wounded heart after I killed off a couple a few weeks back. Say hi to Fern-mino!

*next to a book book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley.

not a book

Skating Sunday!

It’s been an excellent weekend for Team GB in winter sports – with a whole bunch of medals on snow and in sliding. But it’ll be no surprise to you that the medal I’m most excited about is the silver that Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson got at the European Figure Skating in Espoo in Finland. I saw Lilah and Lewis at Sheffield back in December where they got beaten by Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri – the same couple who won the European title. So have some skating to brighten up your Sunday afternoon!

And as a bonus, here’s the Italians too:

The pile

Books Incoming: January Holiday edition

Mixing it up a little bit with the photo for this one (although I have included the flat lay too at the bottom of the post). Here is the collection from the holiday. I don’t think I’ve bought so many books on one trip since the year we went to Haye on Wye – also in January! Nine books from five different shops. The British Library Crime Classics came from Falmouth Bookseller, where I could have spent a lot more but it was only the second day and I was trying to pace myself. The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels and A Race of Love as Death (which is really for Him Indoors but I include it for completeness because I found it and paid for it for him and may read it too) came from Lyme Regis Bookshop. The rest came from assorted charity shops – including Oxfam in Wells and the National Trust at Knightshayes.

As for the actual books, well. I’m working my way through the Mrs Bradley series as I see them at an appealing price – see also the British Library Crome Classics and the Janet Evanovixh. Technically I’ve read the Laurie Graham before – but it’s one I didn’t own a physical copy of so I’ve fixed that. And the Wisteria Society… is just one I’ve seen mentioned a lot and saw in person and just bought it. What can I say: poor impulse control is my middle name. Except it’s not but you know what I mean!

Have a great Saturday everyone.

romance, series

Romance series: Chance of a Lifetime

With a new Kate Claybourn novel out this week, it seemed like the perfect time to talk about her Chance of a Lifetime series which I read over the last couple of months – and yes, like so many things it would have been quicker if I hadn’t gone on the Meg Langslow rampage. So sue me.

So this is a trilogy featuring three friends who win a lottery jackpot after buying a ticket on a whim. Each book features one of the women finding love and a happily ever after. Beginners Luck is about Kit, a materials scientist who has spent her adult life building herself the stability that her chaotic childhood didn’t have. She uses some of her lottery win to buy a fixer-upper to turn into her first real home. But standing in her way is Ben who has returned to his home town to try and recruit Kit for a corporate gig. Book two is Luck of the Draw, featuring lawyer Zoe who uses her winnings to quit the job she hates and to try and make it right for some of the people whose cases she was involved in. Aiden’s brother died in a wrongful death case that Zoe worked on – but when she turns up at the family home to try to make amends instead of sending her away he asks her to pretend to be his fiancée to try and help him buy a campground as part of his brother’s legacy. And finally Best of Luck is Greer who uses her winnings to go back to college and try and finish the education that she missed out on and to prove to her overprotective family that she’s independent. But when she discovers a problem that might stop her graduating. Alex is a world renowned photographer and Kit’s brother – and back in town for her wedding – and finds himself agreeing to help Greer with the photography projects that she needs to complete to get her degree.

I had trouble picking my favourite – I lurch between Kit and Zoe, but maybe give it to Zoe because the set up for her romance is so difficult that I wasn’t sure it was going to be fixable. I mentioned the fact that Ali Hazelwood has blurbed Georgie, All Along yesterday and if you like heroines with jobs in Stem, definitely go for Kit and Beginner’s Luck. I liked Greer’s story – but I did mostly want to strangle her family who take infantilising her to whole new levels, even if there is some reason for it. Of course there is a chance that I came to Greer’s story having read too much Meg Langslow where there is a tight knit family, but it all has a humour about it, that these don’t have so it may be a me thing.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a romance trilogy to read, these would be a good choice. Equally if you’ve just read the new Kate Claybourn and want more – these would be a good place to go to. As you’ll see I managed to buy one of the series twice, but I got them all on offer so I don’t begrudge it. And it made me laugh that I managed not to have a matching set despite owning one of them twice. Anyway, these are easily available from your ebook vendor of choice – Kindle has the three book omnibus for £3.99 at the moment, but the single books are £1.99 for book one and three or 99p for book two as I write this.

Happy Reading!