bingeable series, romance, series

Bingeable series: Centre Stage

Now it’s not been that long since Acting Up was Book of the Week, so I wouldn’t normally be writing about the series so soon but, and this is a big but, they are all in Kindle Unlimited at the moment (Adele Buck says for the next few months) so I’m writing about them now!

These are a series of connected romance novels about actors and acting related people. I’ve already written plenty about Acting Up, but Method Acting features a character you only see through emails in that, Alicia, who is performing in a Shakespeare play in Washington when she meets political lobbyist Colin, Acting Lessons is about James and Frederick who we first see having a summer fling in Acting Up and Fast Acting is Kathleen who we met in Method Acting working with Alicia and Russell the law professor who is friends with Colin.

I read them all in order – you’ll see that I binged three in a week – but you could just pick out your favourite trope and start with that – Acting Up is friends to lovers/secret crush, Method acting is bad first impression, Acting Lessons is second chance and Fast Acting is destination wedding Fling that turns into something more. They have fun banter and nice acting and backstage details. I also really enjoyed that Method Acting was set in Washington because it mentioned a bunch of places that I visited when I was there (how is it four years ago!) and I love that sort of thing.

They were a bargain when I picked them up – but they’re even more of a bargain now if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member. Now that does mean that they’re not on other platforms at the moment, but they will be back there are the KU exclusivity is up. Meanwhile, if you’ve already read all of these, Adele’s new book Handy For You – which is the second in her All for You series – came out this week too.

Book previews

Out today!

The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatio Sancho by Paterson Joseph is out today! I’ve started this but I haven’t finished it yet but I’m really enjoying it. This is another fictionalised real person novel – and you know how I love them. This time it’s a writer and composer who lived in Regency London. I hadn’t heard of him, but he’s been on a postage stamp, on a list of Great Black Britons and was a google doodle on October 1 2020 to mark black history month. His Wikipedia page is quite something. Obviously I need to finish it, but so far I think it would make a great candidate for your Christmas book list.

book round-ups, Recommendsday

Recommendsday: September Quick Reviews

As previously mentioned September was a very strange month, with a somewhat truncated reading list, so I don’t have a lot to talk about this month at all. After all I skipped a whole bunch of Books of the Weeks for various reasons. And so there are only two quick reviews for you today – sorry about that.

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

When Bee gets her dream job working at NASA, her celebrations are cut short when she discovers that the co-lead on her project is Levi, her grad school arch-nemesis. When she arrives in Houston, her equipment is missing and the other staff are ignoring her, but maybe Levi might be on her side after all? I read this in The Week of Shingles and although I didn’t love it the way that I loved The Love Hypothesis, it was still exactly the book that I needed to read at the time. I’m a little fed up of Teeny Tiny heroines and Great Big Heroes – but that may be because I am 5’10” and no one is ever picking me up and carrying me around! I will never be tired of competency porn though, and Bee (and Levi) are very, very good at their jobs. I was expecting one strand of the plot to be A Bigger Thing in the resolution, but actually the whole of the end wrapped up very quickly – but it was very satisfying.

Bats in the Belfry by E C R Lorac

I’ve recommended a few E C R Lorac books now – and this is another good one. For some reason I don’t have a photo of the British Library Crime Classic edition that I read, so you’ll have to make do with this Crime Club cover that the kindle edition has. Anyway this is the story of the mysterious disappearance of Bruce Attleton. Bruce had a dazzling start to his literary career but has fizzled ever since. He’s been receiving threatening phone calls and then when he’s suddenly called away to Paris he seems to vanish completely – until his suitcase is discovered in an artists studio in Notting Hill. Inspector MacDonald is the man in charge of figuring out what has happened. It’s clever and intricate and worth sticking with – also it appears I’ve read three of these that are next to each other in the series – this comes immediately after These Names Make Clues, which comes after Post After Post Mortem.

That’s it. I said there were only two. I don’t even have a lot of links for the month either, so rather than depress myself further at how badly September went, let’s end it here.

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Book of the Week, reviews, romance

Book of the Week: The Dead Romantics

Did I finish this on Monday? Yes. Am I still writing about it? Absolutely. After the dumpster fire that was my late September I’m giving myself a pass on a lot of things. Anyway, this is fun.

Florence is a ghostwriter with a problem: after a messy breakup, she doesn’t believe in love any more – but she still has a book she has to finish and her new editor won’t give her an(other) extension. Then she gets a call from her mum: her dad has died and she needs to go home to help prepare for the funeral. But she’s been running from her small home town for a decade and she’s still not ready to deal with her issues with it. And then on her first night home, there is a knock at the door: it’s her editor. Except he’s a ghost and he doesn’t know why he’s there either.

Now regular readers will know that I’m not a paranormal or spooky reader usually. But I really liked Ashley Poston’s Beauty and the Geek series, I’ve heard a lot of hype about this and it was 99p and my defences are low at the moment so I couldn’t help myself. And I’m so glad I did. This is fun and funny and I loved Florence and her family and their funeral home and quirky ways. And Ben is lovely too I will admit that I was worried about whether there could be a happy ending (because he’s a ghost!) but I shouldn’t have been because it just works. And bonus points for the surprise Mulan reference.

We’re coming up to Halloween (I mean it’s October!) and if you want something seasonally appropriate but not scary or overly paranormal, this might well be the book for you. Especially if you like romance novel’s getting name checks. And if you’ve read the Beauty and the Geek series there are some Easter eggs for you too. Just delightful. Yes it made me cry, but if it hadn’t there would have been something wrong right? And it was worth it if you know what I mean.

As I said earlier, this is 99p on Kindle at the moment and it’s the same on Kobo. It came out in June so it’s still relatively new – but I haven’t spotted it in any of the bookshops yet* but Foyles have click and collect copies at the moment so I clearly haven’t been looking hard enough and you might be lucky.

Happy reading!

*and yes I did go back through my Waterstones Piccadilly photos, and no I didn’t take a picture of the P section of the romance shelves to double check

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: September 26 – October 2

Another hectic week. I’m working on that huge ongoing list and I will get there eventually. If only so many of them weren’t hardbacks! Still at least September is over. Please, please, please can October be a better month. Please.

Read:

Dead Room Face by Simon Brett

The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger

To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

The Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

A Visible Man by Edward Enninful*

Started:

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Yeah – at least six. But I’m not counting. I deserve a treat.

Bonus photo: I feel like my empty pill packets for the antivirals make a good metaphor for how empty I feel after September!

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

not a book, tv

Not a Book: Luxe Listings Sydney

I worked my way through a lot of TV during my shingles situation, and today’s Not a Book is for one of the series I watched – which has a new season out this week.

We watched the first few series of Selling Sunset and then got fed up that it was turning into all drama and no property. Luxe Listing Sydney has – so far – resisted that urge and serves up plenty of expensive properties to gawk at with a side order of rivalries between rival agents. You’ve got Gavin and D’Leanne who work at rival sales agencies and then Simon who is a buyers agent. In series two we added another rival sales agent in Monica – and who knows who they might add in to series three, although the trailer is promising (more) Delta Goodrem…

Basically if you need a bingeable property show, with plenty of multimillion dollar properties, this ticks a lot of boxes. Although I couldn’t work for anyone on it except maybe D’Leanne!

books, stats

September Stats

Books read this month: 23*

New books: 18

Re-reads: 4 (3 audiobooks, 1 books)

Books from the to-read pile: 6

NetGalley books read: 4

Kindle Unlimited read: 4

Ebooks: 5

Library books: 0

Audiobooks: 3

Non-fiction books: 1

Favourite book this month: Hard to tell – either one of the Cat Sebastians or Love on the Brain.

Most read author: Cat Sebastian probably – with the two London Highwaymen novels

Books bought: a few. Honestly it was mostly going OK until the shingles set in. And then it all went downhill

Books read in 2022: 286

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf (I don’t have copies of all of these!): 654

September has been quite something. Probably the biggest story that I will ever cover made half the month insanely busy at work and then I had shingles. And the reading list reflects that.

Bonus picture: me and my ice pack at peak shingles.

*Usually includes some short stories/novellas/comics/graphic novels – although this month it doesn’t!

bingeable series, historical, romance

Bingeable series: London Highwaymen

Is it a series when there are only two books? A duology? A pair? A duo? Anyway, to fit in with my titles, I hereby christen Cat Sebastian’s two London Highwaymen books a series and they are definitely a bingeable one, because I read them one after another across the space of 48 hours.

So what we have here are two stories featuring the same characters but focussing on different couples. Firstly we have retired (through injury) highwayman Kit, who is dragged into helping Percy, Lord Holland with a robbery he needs to save his family. Of course it goes wrong, but can they make it work together despite that?

Then there’s Marian, she’s been being blackmailed by a charismatic criminal, but it’s him she turns to when she shoots her husband. No, it wasn’t an accident, no he wasn’t a nice man. So the question is can she escape punishment for the shooting and can she make a new happy ending with Rob the Ex-highwayman.

You need to read these in order. Trust me when I say it will spoil some of the fun if you read Marian first. I don’t read a lot of highwayman stories, but these were right up my street. They’re very easy to read, there is peril but (for the most part) no misunderstandings that could be cleared up by a simple conversation. If you’re after some historical romance that has less of the balls and ton and more of the coffee shops and normal people, these will do the trick for you I think. They certainly did for me.

I got my copies on Kindle, but they are (I think) also available in paperback although I haven’t seen them in an actual bookshop yet.

Happy Reading!

Recommendsday

Recommendsday: Fake Relationships

For recommendsday this week, I have for you a selection of fake relationship romance novels. Which I’ll have you know was a bit of a challenge, because I love a fake relationship book when it works and that means they often end up being BotWs. More of those at the end…

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

I’m going to start with one of my lesser mentioned Georgette Heyers. Cotillion was actually one of the very first I read of hers and writing this has made me think that I need to go back and read it again. Kitty’s Uncle Matthew says he will leave his fortune to her – if she marries one of his great-nephews. Two of them promptly propose to her – but not Jack who is the one she likes best. So Kitty asks Freddy to pretend to be engaged to her for a month – partly to make Jack jealous. Of course complications ensue and it all goes from there. This is at the witty and comic end of the Heyer oevre (think Frederica or Arabella) rather than one of the big emotion romances.

Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

I mentioned this in the quick reviews back in February, but I’m going to give it another quick shout out here: the third in DeLuca’s Ren Faire series is about April who agrees to pretend to be her friend Mitch’s girlfriend at an event with his family which starts a chain of events that threatens to derail her long held plan for what she will do when her daughter leaves for college..

If I Never Met You by Mhairi MacFarlane

Another one I’ve mentioned before – but this time two years ago (I actually read this at the start of our last holiday before the pandemic when we had no idea what was about to happen!). Laurie’s boyfriend has just broken up with her but because she still has to work with him everyday it’s all the office can talk about, Jamie needs a girlfriend to impress his new boss. The two of them come up with a plan to pretend to be a couple to solve both of their problems. This comes with a slight warning that the heroine’s break up at the start is very bleak, but the fauxmance between Laurie and Jamie is really good and well done and the resolution works out really neatly.

And now, fake relationship books that have been Books of the Week (an inexhaustive list): Boyfriend Material, Roomies, the Love Hypothesis, Take a Hint, Dani Brown, Kiss Quotient, The Unhoneymooners,