Book of the Week, detective, mystery

Book of the Week: Aunty Lee’s Deadly Delights

With all the holiday excitement over and my reading pretty much back to normal, we’re in the murder mystery end of my reading for this week’s BotW, Aunty Lee’s Deadly Delights by Ovidia Yu. I picked this up on a whim from a charity bookshop in Westminster on my lunch break from my local elections results shift back in May and I’m really glad I did.  In fact that bookshop trip provided a few books from authors that I hadn’t heard of before that really, really appealed to me.  I think it’s location meant that it had a different selection of books from a lot of the charity shops I’ve been in recently.  And I’m always after new voices and new ideas for reading material!

Cover of Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials

When her client and her sick son are found dead in his bedroom during a garden party that she is catering, Aunty Lee finds her food under suspicion. The intrepid widow starts to investigate, but when her restaurant and kitchen are shut down because of the influential connections of the victims, she redoubled her efforts. Meanwhile the police officer in charge of the investigation finds his efforts hampered by an officious and over zealous junior officer as well as political pressure to blame the food and let it go. What really killed Mabel Sung and her son Leonard, how does a dead Chinese man fit in and who is it that is so desperate to cover everything up?

I’ve been describing this to people as Crazy Rich Asians meets cozy crime. It’s got some of the elements of the super rich privileged lifestyle that you find in Kevin Kwan’s novel but also the amateur detective trying to save their business element that I love in so many small town cozy crime novels. Aunty Lee is a great character – an older widow who talks to photos of her dead husband that are on the wall in every room of her house and restaurant, she has an annoying stepson and daughter-in-law and a band of loyal friends. This is the second in the series and I still feel like I’m missing a bit of Aunty Lee’s back story, but I enjoyed this so much I didn’t care!

I hadn’t come across Ovidia Yu before – my copy of this is also clearly a US edition – but having read this I’m really keen to read more from her. This is a well-written page turner with a clever plot and a brilliant cast of characters.  I also loved the setting – Singaporean life and culture is brought to life so vividly in this – with the mix of cultures, backgrounds and languages with a lot of what felt like really good insider detail.

Aunty Lee’s Deadly Delights is available on Kindle and Kobo and in paperback – although I suspect it’s going to be an order it in to the bookstore sort of book rather than a find-it-on-the-shelf one.  I’ll definitely be looking for more from Ovidia Yu – there are three other Aunty Lee books and she’s written other books that I like the look of as well, because of course what I need is more books on the to-read shelf…

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: July 9 – July 15

A fairly steady week all in – and given that I was working all weekend, I’m quite pleased with what I got read.

Read:

Lord Rayven’s Revenge by Trisha Ashley

Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu

The Milliner’s Hat Mystery by Basil Thomson

Elizabeth’s Lists by Lullah Ellender

Lumberjanes Vol 7 by Shannon Waters, Noelle Stevenson et al

A Murder is Arranged by Basil Thomson

In Pursuit of… by Courtney Milan

Started:

Dating You, Hating You by Christina Lauren

Plaster Sinners by Colin Watson

Still reading:

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

The Templars by Dan Jones

Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

Slay in your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

Three ebooks bought and three book-books.  A touch naughty to be honest!

Book of the Week, reviews, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Yes. I know. I’m so far behind the curve it hurts.  This always happens.  You know this always happens. This is the problem with giant to-read backlog.  It’s the whole raison d’être for the blog.  Anyway.  As you will have seen yesterday, I read a lot of stuff on holiday last week, and I’ve already written about one of last week’s books, so that’ was ruled out.  And some of the other books that I read were out for this because of a) other posts I’ve got planned or b) not liking them enough to want to recommend them.  I’m honest like that.  But luckily, at the end of the week I found my copy of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda again and read it pretty much in one sitting, so I feel like I can genuinely make it a BotW.

cover of Love Simon

In case you’ve missed it somehow, this is the story of Simon Spier.  He’s sixteen and he knows he’s gay but he’s definitely not out at school.  But he’s got an email correspondence going with another boy at his school who is also in the same boat.  Simon doesn’t know who it is, and Blue doesn’t know who Simon is, but they’re getting on really well.  But when some of the email correspondence falls into the wrong hands, Simon finds himself the target of a blackmailer and on top of this, his friendship group starts to get really complicated.  How can Simon sort it all out?

In case you’ve missed it, this was recently turned into a film, under the title Love, Simon, and originally I was going to read this before the film came out.  Well we all know how well that’s turned out.  But having read the book, I can totally see why the film has struck a chord with people and got the almost universally positive reviews.  It’s a relatable, readable, page turner about a young man trying to navigate High School.  It’s a story we’ve heard before and which has always been my catnip.  The difference here is that the hero is gay and that’s not a story I’ve really seen done before.  And Becky Albertelli has done a great job for my money.  Obviously I’ve never been a gay teenage boy, but for me it captured the experience of being a teenager – how everything is life and death and how school is a complete minefield that has to be carefully navigated – but with an experience outside my own that I was really interested to read about.  I’m not a big YA reader, but would happily have read another 100 pages of it – and not just because it doesn’t involve teens killing each other or dying of cancer.

As previously mentioned, I’m way behind the curve, so you should be able to get a copy of Love, Simon anywhere – my copy is the movie tie in edition as you can see so watch out for the two different titles kicking around.  Try the supermarkets and the secondhand bookshops for sure.  The Kindle edition has also popped up as a Daily Deal more than once as well. And the DVD of the movie is out in August, so it’ll probably be popping up on the streaming services soon too. Albertelli has a sequel of sorts out now too – Leah on the Offbeat – which focuses on one of Simon’s friends and which I’ll definitely be looking out for.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: July 2 – July 8

In case you can’t tell from the length of the list, I was on holiday last week!  And although we did a bit more sightseeing than usual for a beach holiday which meant a bit less reading time, I still managed a fairly good total.  All in all it was a marvellous holiday – I thoroughly recommend Croatia, especially while they’re on a World Cup run! And if you missed it you’ve already read about one of my books I read last week coz in a bit of a cheaty move, I made The Kiss Quotient last week’s BotW.  All that heat clearly went to my head…

Read:

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Dartmoor Enigma by Basil Thomson

Beneath This Mask by Meaghan March

Love Under Contract by Dean Hodel

An Unfinished Murder by Ann Granger

Strictly Business by Sheryl Nantus

O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton

Who Killed Stella Pomeroy? by Basil Thomson

Emperor Mollusc vs The Sinister Brain by A Lee Martinez

Beaches in Paradise by Kathi Daley

Lumberjanes Vol 6 by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson et al

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli

Started:

Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

The Milliner’s Hat Mystery by Basil Thomson

Lord Rayven’s Revenge by Trisha Ashley

Still reading:

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

The Templars by Dan Jones

Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

Slay in your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Four ebooks and one book bought.  And the three of the ebooks were the Thomson books on this list because I’m reading them one after the other…

Book of the Week, new releases

Book of the Week: The Kiss Quotient

I said in the Week in Books that I had some interesting choices to make for this week’s BotW, and it turns out that my pick is a bit of a cheat: I finished it yesterday (Monday). But as it’s out in paperback on Thursday here, I thought I’d give myself a pass and let myself pick Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient.

Cover of The Kiss Quotient

Stella has a problem: her parents want her to settle down and start a family. But although she’s been very successful in her career, Stella hasn’t had much luck with dating. What she’s good at is analysing data, and the data – and a lifetime of learning to navigate the world with Asperger’s – tells her that she needs to practice dating and learn how to get good at it. So she hires Michael, a male escort, to teach her everything she needs to know. Michael is good at his job – that’s why he turned to escort work when he needed extra cash – but he’s got a firm no repeat customers rule because he’s had problems before. But there’s something about Stella and her proposal that tempts him to break all his rules. And the more time they spend together, the more complicated it all gets…

As you may have worked out, this is sort-of gendered flipped Pretty Woman, but if Richard Gere’s character had autism. And it is brilliant. Stella is a great character and I loved spending time with her and understanding how her mind worked and what made her tick. And Michael is a great hero too. He has his own baggage to deal with but kind and caring and talented. I really liked that neither of them were judging the other one either. Stella has flashes of jealousy about Michael’s romantic history, but only because she’s worried about how she measures up, she’s not concerned about his career choice. And for his part, once Michael has figured out (or been nudged in the right direction) what Stella’s deal is, all he wants to do is figure out what that means he needs to do and how he needs to adapt to make their relationship work better. There’s also a great cast of secondary characters and some fun set pieces. I could have read another 100 pages easily.

There’s been a fair bit of hype for this boom- I’ve heard about it on a bunch of the bookish podcasts that I listen to and and on bookish Twitter as well as Litsy. I requested it on NetGalley and then managed to pick it up for free on Kindle while I was waiting for NetGalley approval. And it totally lived up to the hype for me. I can’t wait to see what Helen Hoang writes next.

The Kiss Quotient is already available on Kindle and I’m hoping that you’ll be able to get The Kiss Quotient all over the place once the paperback is on sale.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: June 25 – July 1

Some familiar names on this week’s list – which poses some problems for a BotW post…

Read:

Richardson Scores again by Basil Thomson

The Case of Naomi Clynes by Basil Thomson

Blue Murder by Colin Watson

N is for Noose by Sue Grafton

Seared by Suleika Snyder

The Case of the Dead Diplomat by Basil Thomson

Started:

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton

Still reading:

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

The Templars by Dan Jones

Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe

A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

Slay in your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Two ebooks and one book bought.

books, stats

June Stats

New books read this month:  24*

Books from the to-read pile: 9

Ebooks read: 15

Books from the Library book pile: 0

Non-fiction books: 1

#ReadHarder categories completed: 8

Pop Sugar categories completed: 12

Most read author: Basil Thomson  – three (and a bit) Inpector Richardson mysteries ( runners up Colin Watson with 2 more Flaxborough books and 2 more of Sue Grafton’s Kindey Millhone Books.

Books read this year:  181

Books bought:  1(2 books and 7 ebooks)

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf: 567 (I don’t have copies of all of these!)

*Includes some short stories/novellas/comics (1 this month)