books, Chick lit, cozy crime, fiction

Bargain Book Deals

Now I know that not everyone is like me in having a to-read pile a mile high, so if you’re in the market for some more reading material – here are some of my favourite bargain deals around at the moment.

If you haven’t read Jane Lovering’s Please Don’t Stop The Music yet – where have you been?  It was the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year in 2012 and it’s only 99p on Kindle this month.

Christina Jones is another of my favourite authors – and the older parts of her back catalogue are being republished as e-books at the moment.  My backlog is such that I haven’t managed to read them all yet – but I did really enjoy Tickled Pink a few weeks back – £1.53 on the Kindle at the moment

Previously reviewed on the blog, Trisha Ashley’s Every Woman for Herself is currently £1.49 for Kindle – I loved it, if you haven’t read any of Trisha’s books before, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start (although my favourite is still A Winter’s Tale which is a fairly bargainous £1.99).  If you want a paperback Trisha fix, the paperback of Good Husband Material is available on sale for £2.99 on The Works’ site – which leads me nicely onto…

If you’re an M C Beaton fan, The Works have a selection of her books including Hamish Macbeth, Agatha Raisin and some of her historical romances for around £2 or £3  and a bundle of five Hamish books for £7.99 here.

Also on The Works website there are all three of Carola Dunn’s 1960s set Cornish mysteries for £2.99- ideal if you want a bit of cozy crime for your autumn nights – the first in the series is Manna from Hades.

I’m a big Lucy Dillon fan – and The Works have several of her books – not only A Hundred Pieces of Me – which I read and adored earlier in the year in the pre-blog era (you can see my rave review on Goodreads here) – but also Walking Back to Happiness and Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts – all for less than £3 each.

And the goodies just keep coming on the Works site (and they’re doing 6 for £10 so you can really splurge) with Laurie Graham’s A Humble Companion.  I love her books – although my favourite Gone with the Windsors is hard to get hold of – and this was her 2012 book which is an insider look at the Royal Household during the time of George III.  Well worth a look.

I’m hoping this list has something to tempt you – if you’re heading to the supermarket this weekend, I’m hoping some of the new releases I’ve reviewed recently will be in their deals – certainly Daisy Goodwin’s The Fortune Hunter should be.  I did try to find out what the deals were this week in WH Smith, but drew a blank.  If you spot any good bargains you think I might like – post them in the comments below!

Edited – I originally posted that Gone with the Windsors was out of print, I’ve since found some copies in some places – so I’ve upgraded it to hard to get hold of.  It’s definitely not on Kindle though, which is a big loss.

fiction, reviews

Review: The Secret Paris Cinema Club

When I replied to this intriguing tweet from Quercus at the start of the month, I didn’t know what to expect.

I did try and work out what the book in question might be (and failed spectacularly) and settled down to wait for the package, which duly arrived bearing a copy of The Secret Paris Cinema Club by Nicolas Barreau – which is out today in its shiny English language edition.  With the author name and the subject matter, I was surprised to find that this is a novel in translation from the German – not from French.  I went looking because I would have loved to have read this in French back in my university days when I had to review a French language book a term (my choices back in those pre-e book days tended to involve dry French classics which I struggled through and did not enjoy).

So, a plot summary:  Alain owns and runs Cinema Paradis – an arthouse cinema in Paris.  He is a man after Mark Kermode’s heart – his cinema doesn’t sell popcorn and he has strict rules about the sort of films that he’ll show.  He’ll also do anything for his customers – particularly one of his regulars – a woman in a red coat. But just after he eventually plucks up the courage to ask her out, she unexpectedly vanishes just as his cinema gets a new lease of life…

This book reminded me in some ways of one of my favourite French films – Amelie.  It’s fun, it’s quirky, it’s almost ridiculous in places and the city of Paris is practically a character in its own right.  Despite Quercus’ tweet, I’d say it’s more about films and acting than it is about theatre – and it’s about secrets and coincidences as well.  The Secret Paris Cinema Club is a little gem of a romantic comedy, which will bring a smile to your face as autumn arrives.  It’s also chock full of film references and quotes – I’m sure I didn’t spot them all – and it’s given me some really good ideas for French films to watch.

This book wasn’t on my radar until I won a copy from Quercus – but it brightened up my commute during nightshift week and I’m hoping that it’ll find an audience beyond sleep-deprived Francophile chick flick fans.  You can find the Secret Paris Cinema Club here and on Kindle here – and if you’re in the US be aware it was published as One Evening In Paris in the States.

books, Uncategorized

Liebster Awards

Thank you very much to Amanda at ChocolatePages for nominating me for a Liebster Award – and sorry it’s taken me so long to post this.  I’d never heard of them before – so I had to have a google to find out about more.  There appear to be a few variants of the rules, but the rules I was nominated under are:

1. Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Write 11 random facts about yourself.

3. Answer the 11 questions you have been asked from the blogger who nominated you.

4. Nominate 11 bloggers with under 200 followers and set them 11 questions to answer.

So here are your random facts about me:

1. I’m a journalist in my day job

2. I really don’t like violent films or horror movies – The Boy had to stop Pulp Fiction half way through because I was so upset.  This surprises people because as part of the aforementioned day (and sometimes night) job I sometimes have to watch really horrible videos.

3. I have a large collection of Chalet School books – old paperbacks and new reprinted (unedited) ones from Girls Gone By. They were one of my favourite series when I was younger – and I’m still working to complete my set!

4. My first job was a bell-ringer at church weddings – £5 per wedding (back in the late 90s) was much better than the hourly rate in a shop at the time!

5. I’m a massive theatre fan and write about it here – although I don’t post on that as often as I do over here, books being somewhat cheaper than the theatre!

6. I lived in France for a year when I was at university – I was at university in Tours

7. As a child I had an obsession with Queen Victoria.  I used to play pretend games where I was her.  Or her daughter Victoria.  This means I (still) know some really random stuff about her and the royal family.  Like the fact that Edward VIII’s name was actually Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David and that he was always known as David.

8. My Granny loved Mills and Boon books.  When I was about 12 I had a phase of borrowing them and reading them.  I thought they were like Sweet Valley High, but with sex.

9. My favourite movie – ever – is Pillow Talk. Although this trailer does it no justice at all.

10. I’m a massive motorsports fan – Sunday afternoons during the season will find me camped on the sofa watching Formula One or MotoGP.

11. I don’t really have a claim to fame – I’m very jealous of people who do.  The best I have is that my Grandad stood as a candidate to become an MP in the 1960s.  He didn’t win.

And my 11 answers:

1. Sweet or savoury? Savoury – especially anything involving cheese

2. What made you start blogging? A need for more than my twitter account to express myself?! Seriously though, Verity Reads Books came about as part of a concerted effort to reduce the to-read pile – I thought if I was telling the world about it, I’d be less likely to ignore the backlog.  It hasn’t always worked.

3. Cats or dogs? Cats

4. Who is your favourite author? This is really tough for me, because there are so many people that I love reading.  I think either Dorothy L Sayers or Terry Pratchett – because I have one or other of their books as an audiobook on my headphones almost all the time and that’s got to mean something right?! Apart from that, I buy everything that Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley, Laurie Graham and Christina Jones publish.

5. Tell me one interesting fact about you? I used to be a breakfast sidekick on a local radio station.  I started off as the newsreader, and ended up spending the whole show in the studio chattering away.

6. Who would be your 3 ideal dinner guests, (dead, alive, famous or not)? Doris Day, Freddie Mercury and Cecil Beaton.  Who knows if they’d get on or not…

7. What would you serve them? My speciality (and the one dish I’ve never messed up so far) is Mary Berry’s Chicken Taleggio – originally from her book Cook Up A Feast but now widely available on the web.  Here for example.  So that, then a crumble and a cheese board probably – because I’d hate to do something that didn’t turn out right!

8. What’s your all time favourite tv show? Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Particularly the High School seasons.  Every time I watch an episode I remember how much of my vocabulary comes from there – and how it shaped my teenage years. I used to try and wear my hair like Buffy’s (style not colour) was during Becoming Part II *all the time*.  I can still quote BTVS extensively…

9. What’s your ideal date? A night out at the theatre with a nice meal beforehand – something My Boy has got the hang of now – usually arrange the theatre – he buys the dinner! A Dream date would be going to see some Formula One or MotoGP – The Boy took me to the MotoGP at Silverstone last year and it was amazing.

10. Who is your celebrity crush? Oooh.  Tough. Patrick Dempsey maybe – not only is he hot and in one of my favourite shows, but he’s a racing driver in his spare time. I also like Benedict Cumberbatch – the various series of Cabin Pressure are also on frequent rotation on my mp3) and I still have a massive soft spot for David Boreanz and James Marsters from Buffy.

11. Tell me 2 of your favourite bloggers? The first blog I ever encountered is still one of my favourites – and that’s Dooce.  I’ve been reading her since just after Leta was born (and she’s 10 now) – which is longer than I’ve known some of my best friends!  I also love The mighty mighty Monkseal whose blogs on various reality shows are so funny they’ll make you cry. I nearly put him as one of my 11 – but he’s not a well-kept enough secret to be under 200 followers!

Here are my 11 questions to be answered:

1. What was your first job?

2. What’s your claim to fame?

3. What was your favourite book when you were a child?

4. What’s your favourite film?

5. Who was your teenage crush?

6. What’s your embarrassing childhood secret?

7. What’s your favourite TV show?

8. What was your first pet

9. Have you ever lived abroad (aka not the country you come from) if so – where

10. Favourite Sweet?

11. And is there one book you think everyone should read?

And my bloggers and this is where I had problems – so it’s not the full 11 I’m afraid.  I didn’t want to use anyone who I don’t actually read – and I found a lot of the blogs I read didn’t fit the criteria.  In fact it’s a shameful three – but I’ve had this post sitting in draft form all ready to go bar the bloggers for nearly three weeks.  So as it was starting to look rude, I thought I ought to swallow my pride, admit my failings and post as is so to speak.

1. Nutley One

2. A Small Mind at the Theatre

3. The Lovely Emma Louise from EmmaLouBookBlog (I apologise if you’ve done this before and I couldn’t spot it)

So there you go.  I promise I’ll try and do better in future.

books, stats

August Stats

On Good Reads to-reads shelf (I don’t have copies of all of these!): 399 (I’ve had a weed)

New books* read in August: 28

Books from the Library Book pile: 1

Books from the to-read pile: 16

E-books: 10

Books read as soon as they arrived: 1

Most read author in August: Ngaio Marsh

Books* read this year: 157

Books bought: 5

Books acquired: 2

Ebooks acquired: 10 Netgalley 3 free ebooks

Net progress down the physical to read pile: 9 less books on the pile

Gosh.  I don’t think I’ve ever done this well before – and definitely not on a nightshift month – which usually ends up in me splurging on books in the early hours!  Instead – as you’ll see I acquired a lot of Netgalley books – which has pushed my unread folder on the Kindle to almost epic proportions.  But I can ignore that because The Pile in the corner of the living room is smaller!


* Total includes some short stories (1 this month – Part 2 of A Place for Us by Harriet Evans – review here)


stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: August 25 – August 31

Hopefully I’ll be asleep in bed when this posts recovering from round 2 of nightshift hell.  Again, lots of nice light reading, with a side order in some of my NetGalley books.


Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

High Heels and Bicycle Wheels by Jane Linfoot

A Difficult Term for the Chalet School by Lisa Townsend

A Place for Us (Part 2) by Harriet Evans

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

The Secret Paris Cinema Club by Nicolas Barreau

The Lost Staircase by Elinor M Brent Dyer


The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello

Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell

Still reading:

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve bought two books this week – the next Meg Langslow as a treat for finishing nights and a “classic” American romance novel (of the Harlequin/Mills and Boon persuasion) for a book group.

Two pieces of housekeeping, firstly, because the start of the month falls on a Monday this time, August stats are going to be posted tomorrow.  Stay tuned to see if I’ve done any damage to the to read pile.  Secondly, I’ve got a rash of new release books that I’m going to review, so the posting schedule (Mondays, Wednesdays Saturdays) may be a little out of whack the next few weeks and there may be some more extra posts – because I do try to post reviews as close to the book’s release date as possible (I get very frustrated when I read reviews of books that I can’t buy yet, so I try not to do that to you!).