Book of the Week, fiction, new releases, reviews, Uncategorized

Book of the Week: Midnight Crossroad

I really struggled to pick a favourite book from last week.  Not because I didn’t like anything, but there wasn’t one book I really wanted to shout about – except my book club book – and that’s not out til next month, so I’ll tell you about that when you can actually buy it!

In the end, I have settled on Charlaine Harris’s Midnight Crossroad – which I got through NetGalley*.  It’s the first book in her new series (I think it’s pegged at three books) – and her first post-Sookie creation.  I’ve now read all of the Southern Vampire series, all of the Harper Connelly series, all of the Lily Bard series – and three of the Aurora Teagardens** so I guess you could say that I’m a fan.  I find her books really easy to read, her world building ticks my boxes and although each series clearly does have a formula, they are original enough that they don’t seem like the same book with new names if you know what I mean.

So Midnight Crossing is the convergence of the supernatural world of Sookie – and the worlds that we’ve seen in her other series – and to me it seems to try to root them all firmly in the same universe – which is something I’ve always wondered about.  There are some familiar faces from the previous series – and I’ve had trouble writing this without giving you spoilers.

The residents of Midnight might look normal (mostly), but they’re all hiding something.  Manfred has just moved to town and is about to discover that still waters really do run deep.  Ummmm.  And that’s about all I can say without giving too much away.  The story has multiple points of view, which can be a bit confusing at first, but it does work to establish the different characters and set up the town from the inside out as well as Manfred looking in.  But that’s not to say that by the end of the book you’ll know all the answers.

It’s not perfect, it’s not the best thing I’ve ever read – but it really is a nice way of passing an afternoon, especially if you’ve read the previous series.  It’s not the same genre really as the True Blood books – but it’s closer to them than any of her other series are.

As I said, my copy came from NetGalley – in advance of the UK paperback release on April 9 – you can pre-order that from Amazon or Foyles.  I can hear you pointing out the contradiction in not having my Book Club book as BotW because it’s not out yet – and then reviewing this which isn’t out for another week, and to that I offer you the Kindle link (and for the US readers, the link because the paperback is already out there!) – although I’m sure the price will drop once the paperback comes out.  But you can get a sample now to see if you like it, while you can’t even get a sneak peak of my Book Club novel yet – it’s not out for three and a half weeks (or indeed the end of May in the US).  And it’s cruel to recommend something and make people wait that long!

* Having been reading the Dear Author palarva over the weekend, I’ve resolved to make sure I’m even more upfront about where my books come from – I already say on Goodreads if my copy was from NetGalley or similar, and I try to here, but I’m redoubling my efforts.  Transparency is key…

** I’ve bought book four after reading Midnight Crossing.  I suspect the second Omnibus is in my future…

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: March 23 – March 29

Another fairly good week’s progress – despite a lot of real life stuff getting in the way so to speak.  Some really good books in there – some that were a little disappointing.  But hey, c’est la vie.


Pluto – A Wonder story by R J Palacio

Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Dream Cottage by Harriet J Kent

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

The Visitors by Sally Beauman


The Affair by Gill Paul

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Still reading:


One book and one e-book bought this week – and a few requests on NetGalley too.  But overall not too bad.

Book of the Week, books, Children's books, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Wonder

This week’s BotW is RJ Palacio’s Wonder.  It was hands down my favourite book of last week’s reading –  I was enjoying it so much I nearly took it to London when I went down for work at the weekend – even though it was a hardback library copy!  And the first thing I did when I got home on Sunday afternoon was to curl up on the sofa and finish it.

Wonder is the story of Auggie – born with a terrible facial abnormality and starting school for the first time after years of home schooling.  With multiple narrators, you see the world from his point of view and from those of the people around him as he tries to fit in and make friends and be “normal”.

If I could have read this in one sitting, I would have done (don’t you just hate it when real life gets in the way of reading?!), it’s that kind of book.  It really is one of those novels where you fall in love with the characters and the world and don’t want to leave it behind. And you can insert my usual comment about the state of my to-read pile meaning I don’t get to good stuff soon enough – because this has been on my to-read list since it was mentioned in an Emerald Street mailing soon after it came out.

I need to get my own copy – firstly because my library copy didn’t have “The Julian Chapter” in the end of it and secondly because I want to lend it to my sister and my mum.  And I want to read it again.  It’s that sort of book.  And don’t be put off by the fact that it’s a children’s/YA book if you don’t usually read that sort of thing.  It’s really worth it.

You can get your copy of Wonder from Amazon, Kindle, Foyles, Waterstones etc.  You won’t regret it.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: March 16 – March 22

A good week this week – and some really good books in there too.  I haven’t finished my book club book yet though, which is both naughty and concerning – as the discussion is rushing upon us…


The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne

The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro

A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris

A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jeffries

The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys

Emily and Colin’s Wedding – Tears of Pearl prequel by Tasha Alexander

Wonder by RJ Palacio


The Visitors by Sally Beauman

Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

Still reading:


I bought one book – and my pre-ordered copy of Prudence also arrived.  I’m not allowed to read it until I’ve finished my book club book though!

Authors I love, Book of the Week, Fantasy, Series I love

Book of the Week: Timeless

I had real trouble choosing the BotW this week – because I don’t like repeating – and Gail Carriger has a new book out  on Kindle TODAY and in paperback on Thursday (and my pre-order hasn’t dispatched yet – Amazon I’m watching you – you didn’t use to delay posting pre-orders to those of us who refuse to pay postage…) and if Prudence is half as good as her other stuff, it’s going to be a candidate for BotW as well.

But I’ve enjoyed Timeless and the whole Parasol Protectorate series so much, it would have been disingenuous not to pick it as a BotW – especially as it was the my favourite thing I read last week.  It’s my own fault for saving Timeless because I didn’t want Alexia’s story to be over.

Timeless by Gail Carriger
I don’t love this cover shot – although the costume is one from the book, I think the face is… odd!

Timeless is the fifth and final volume in the story of Alexia Tarabotti – a preturnatural in steam punk Victorian London.   And I can’t really say much more than that about the plot of Timeless because anything else would be Spoiling The Previous Four Books.   Ms Carriger was on my list of Discoveries of 2014 – and I said then that she was well on course to be on my automatic pre-order list if Timeless didn’t do something dreadful and disillusioning.  And it didn’t.  It’s not my favourite of the series, but it is still pretty darn fantastic and ties up a lot of the dangling threads from the previous books and then sets up a few new questions too.

Alexia is a fabulous creation – and the world that she lives in is equally brilliant.  Carriger has worked out how her world works and wears that very lightly – in fact she’s a big old tease.  She really doesn’t want to tell you her secrets – unlike some authors who can’t wait to dump all the rules of the world on you.  Even in this last book in the series we’re still discovering new things about Alexia’s abilities – and you get the feeling that Carriger has had this planned all along – none of it comes across as invented for this book.  Which either means she’s brilliant at long term plotting – or she’s really good at faking it.

I’ve read all the Finishing School books* that have been released so far – and I can’t wait to see how that pans out – because the world of 20 years before Alexia is very different.  And I’m so excited to read Prudence and see what happened next.

The Parasol Protectorate books
My soul is so outrage that the set doesn’t match I can’t shelve them like this

Gosh this review is gushy.  Sorry.  Now this is where I would usually put links to the book of the week so you can run away and buy it.  But if you haven’t read the other four books in the series first, you really won’t appreciate it – so go and buy Soulless from Amazon or Foyles or Waterstones or on Kindle and get started on Alexia’s story.  I’m off to re-read them.  And don’t tell me off if there’s some more Carriger on here soon…

* In fact Etiquette and Espionage was my first Carriger book – thank you NetGalley for throwing that one in my path – and after I read that and Curtsies and Conspiracies  and then started on The Parasol Protectorate.  NB in light of the Wrong Size issue in my Parasol set, I am reading Finishing School on Kindle – and waiting til the end of the series to buy myself a matching set.  What kind of crazy person am I?!

My Shelving solution
My Shelving Solution – but I cannot allow a repeat of this situation with the Finishing School books!
stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: March 9 – March 15

Not as much read this week as last – I got a bit derailed by work and life in general.


Timeless by Gail Carriger

The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar by Gail Carriger

We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist

The Courtesan Duchess by Joanna Shupe

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Itch by Simon Mayo


The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro

A Hellion in Her Bed by Sabrina Jeffries

Still reading:

The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne


Oh dear – a bit of backsliding this week – thanks to a trip to The Works and the charity shop.  I’d been doing so well.

Authors I love, tribute

Sir Terry Pratchett

We all knew that this was how this would end. Ever since Sir Terry announced he had early onset Alzheimer’s, we knew he would be gone too soon. But I had still hoped it was further away.

Alzheimer’s is always cruel, but it seemed particularly unfair that it should hit a man whose mind was so sharp, so bright, so inventive. I’m terrified of death, but I understood his passionate fight for assisted dying. Pratchett created a flat world carried on four elephants on the back of a giant turtle, where dwarves, trolls and golems lived side by side with people. Why would he want to carry on when his mind was no longer capable of remembering what day it is, or recognising people. I hope it never progressed that far for him.

I was introduced to Discworld by my school librarian when I was about 13 – Jingo was the newest book at the time – although the first I read was Wyrd Sisters. I loved Star Trek, but didn’t really see myself as a fantasy reader. Discworld changed that. I had always read a lot, but Sir Terry’s books introduced me to something new and opened the doors to books I would never previously have considered. Even if few other worlds could compare to the Disc.

Choosing a favourite is near impossible, I love Rincewind, Vimes and the Witches. Tiffany Aching is a joy. Any book is improved by the presence of The Patrician. But Moist von Lipwig was a late arriving treat. I’ve listened to the audiobooks of Going Postal and Making Money more times than I care to count. I wanted the Moist the tax collector book – but Raising Steam was brilliant.

I can’t believe there will be no more.

Thank you Sir Terry, for all the joy and pleasure your books have given me and millions of others. I will sit down and read them all again, just as soon as the thought of it doesn’t make me cry.

Book of the Week, historical, Thriller

Book of the Week: Black Roses

This week’s BotW is Jane Thynne’s Black Roses – a Nazi Germany set spy thriller – and another example of why I need to get the to-read pile under control.  Clara Vine’s mother is German and she heads to Berlin to find acting work at the famous Ufa studios.  She gets drawn into a circle of high-ranking Nazi wives – and is soon recruited by British intelligence to report on the goings on in the elite.

Nazi Germany is possible one of my least favourite historical settings as a general rule.  I like World War Two settings – but usually from the British side of the fence as anything involving Germany itself has potential to be tremendously depressing. But this has an interesting concept and is also book one in a series (more on this later) so I was fairly confident going in that the heroine would still be alive at the end of the book*!

Clara’s adventures are tense and atmospheric and Thynne paints a vivid picture of what it was like in Berlin in 1933.  As I’ve mentioned, I don’t usually “do” Nazi Germany – and it’s a period of history that I’ve always managed to avoid having to study in any depth, so I can’t really pass comment on whether it all fits with the facts – but the historical note at the end was useful for clarifying some of the bits that I had thought were the most bizarre.

I mentioned at the top that this is another lesson in why I need to deal with the book backlog – and this is a particularly ridiculous example.  I bought this on Kindle in October 2013 (!) and it’s been sitting in my unread folder forgotten about since then. In October this year I picked up book 2 in the series in Tesco and then picked out book 3 on NetGalley. When I came to update my Goodreads, I realised that I had book 1 and went back to read in order.  I’m really glad that I liked it so much – as I already have the other two!  And as I said, another example of why I need to get my to-read pile under control.

You can get Black Roses from Amazon, Foyles and Waterstones and on Kindle.

* One of my least favourite book tactics is the book which kills off the hero/heroine at the end.  I’m not saying it isn’t a valid plot device, I’m just saying that, for me, nothing takes the shine off a book that I’ve enjoyed than flood of tears because a character that I liked has been killed off to shock/prove a point.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: March 2 – March 8

Started the week off with some promising progress on the Kindle backlog, but progress slowed towards the weekend – despite late shifts all weekend and lots of long (for me) train journeys. But there was some good stuff in the reading, and that’s the most important thing.


The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley

The Grand Re-opening of the Dandelion Cafe by Jenny Oliver

Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Blood Stains by Catriona McPherson

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus

Death in Devon by Ian Sansom

Black Roses by Jane Thynne

A Vintage Wedding by Katie Fforde

Tempest by Lisa Henry and JA Rock


Itch by Simon Mayo

The Winter Garden by Jane Thynne

Still reading:


A couple of books pre-ordered – the new Gail Carriger and Eloisa James books – and a few Kindle books too.  Naughty Verity

Book of the Week, books, Chick lit, new releases, reviews

Book of the Week: Creature Comforts

Regular readers to the blog will be unsurprised to discover that this week’s BotW is the new novel from Trisha Ashley.  The first review on this blog (and one of the earliest posts) was of her last book Every Woman for Herself  and I’ve been waiting eagerly for Creature Comforts ever since. And I managed to control myself – and read the book across three days, rather in one sitting.

Creature Comforts tells the story of Izzy, who returns to her childhood home of Halfhidden, after years travelling around the world.  She’s just broken up with her fiancé Kieran and is looking for answers about a tragic accident she was involved in as a teenager.  On top of that, she’s starting a new business and helping her friends with a plan to regenerate the village by getting more tourists in.  And her aunt’s dog rescue centre is in a spot of bother – with money and with the new owner of the estate that owns the land…

I love the corner of Lancashire that Trisha Ashley has created – and Halfhidden is a great addition to it.  I liked the dynamics of Izzy and her gang of friends – and there’s some fun supporting characters (as usual) who are quirky in a non-irritating way.  The plot’s a good one too – as Izzy tries to discover what happened that fateful night.  Trisha’s heroines always have a bit of baggage behind them to overcome – and I liked that Izzy’s wasn’t a husband/ex-partner as it so often is with books in this sort of genre.  I also really empathised over her ex-fiancé – who reminded me of one of my ex-boyfriends* with his attitude towards her and her life.

As usual, after reading on of Trisha’s books, I wanted to go back and read the earlier ones – this is partly because there are always little references to them, enabling you to catch a glimpse of what’s going on with some of your old friends, and reminding you how much you enjoyed reading about their lives.

Creature Comforts is Trisha’s first book to get a hardback release – you can buy it on Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and hopefully in stores too.  The Kindle edition is available too and you can pre-order the paperback too if you can control yourself and wait until June.


*Although my exboyfriend didn’t cause me any of the trouble that Kieran causes Izzy!