Book of the Week

Book of the Week: One For The Money

I know, I know.  I’m repeating an author again, but Janet Evanovich’s One For The Money was my highest rated book that I read last week – and it seemed churlish not to give it book of the week.  Trouble is, as I said a week or so back, I think Evanovich may be my new obsession, so there’s no guarantee that one of her books won’t crop up here again in the near future.  Here’s hoping that the to-read pile also contains lots of other really good books so that I can get some variety going on…

My retro looking Penguin edition of One For The Money


So, One For The Money is the first book in the Stephanie Plum series – which has now run to twenty-one novels – with a twenty-second due out this year.  As a side point, I love discovering a series like this when it’s been going a while – it means you have lots of time with the characters and lots of things to discover, before you reach the point where you have to wait a year for the next book to come out so you can get your fix.

Anyhow, I digress.  When we meet Stephanie Plum she has lost her job as a lingerie buyer for a very third-rate company.  Her flat is emptying of possessions as she hocks them to make rent, and a repo man is following her trying to take her car back. Her mum sends her over to her cousin Vinnie – who needs a secretary for his bail bond company, but Stephanie ends up blackmailing him into letting her take on a case to try to make some quick cash.  Trouble is the man she’s trying to bring in is her high school crush come hate figure.  And he’s a cop on the run from some very dangerous people…

I laughed out loud on the train reading this – several times – drawing a level of scrutiny from my fellow passengers that I try to avoid.  It’s a bit out of my comfort zone in terms of my usual type of crime novels (you’ll have noticed by now that I tend towards the cozy and the Golden Age end of the spectrum) but it’s so funny that it didn’t bother me that the violence and suspense level was a step up from what I usually read.*

Stephanie is a little bit too dependent on getting herself helped out of trouble that she’s walked herself into for my liking, but I’m putting that down to the fact that she’s walked into bounty hunting with no clue what she’s doing and without the requisite skills – which is naive and foolhardy almost beyond belief, but I went with it because the book swings along at such a pace that you only really think about that once it’s over – because you’re laughing and turning pages too fast to notice!

I put an order in for book two within 24 hours of finishing book 1 (it’s been dispatched!)and I’m hoping that as Steph wises up, she doesn’t lose the humour and fin that I’ve enjoyed so much in this first book.  Cross your fingers for me!

You should be able to buy your copy of One for the Money from the usual suspects –  Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles – although I haven’t been able to find it on Kindle or Kobo.

* And it’s not much worse, really, than some of the crime-y thriller-y sections that you get in some of Charlaine Harris’s novels.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: April 20 – April 26

A real mix of books this week – some good and some bad – with a bit of a run on Geek Girl and mysteries of various types.


Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood

The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Model Misfit by Holly Smale

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Picture Perfect by Holly Smale

Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez


The Devil You know by Elisabeth de Mariaffi

To Wed a Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

Still reading:


I gave up on The Kadin by Bertrice Small – too old school romance for me – I got a quarter of the way through and just couldn’t cope with it.

I bought the next Stephanie Plum and one e-book mystery – quite good for me…

Book of the Week, historical, literary fiction

Review: Letters to the Lost

Another bonus review on the blog today – Iona Grey’s Letters to the Lost.  This was my Curtis Brown Book Group book for March – and it would have been my book of the week back when I read it – except that it was a month from it’s release at the time, and I hate reading reviews of books and then not being able to buy them *rightnow*.  So here we are, the book comes out today and I can tell you about it.

Iona Grey's Letters to the lost
My copy was an advance copy – so my cover is different to the “proper” one

In modern day London, Jess breaks into an empty house to hide after running away from her violent boyfriend.  The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives at the house, and after opening it, Jess is drawn into the story of two lovers in 1942 – Stella and Dan, who is a US airman.  And in keeping with my no spoilers policy*, that’s about all I’m going to tell you about the plot.

I’m not usually one for a weepy – and you know from very early on that there are going to be tears involved in this – but I absolutely loved this book.  The characters felt real, the places felt real and the crying was definitely very real.  I had very definite views about what I wanted to happen to some of the characters (which didn’t always come true) and wanted it to be longer – even though it’s already really quite long.

So if you like timeslips, weepies, World War 2 set epic romances and non sappy saga-y type books, this may be for you.  It’d make a great holiday read – and if you’re a “normal” reader (which apparently I’m not, the speed I go through stuff) it’d probably last you a few days at the beach!

As I said, I got my copy in advance because I’m lucky enough to be in Curtis Brown’s Book group, but you can get your copy from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and for a bargain £3.99 (at time of writing) on Kindle.

* A policy which I’m increasingly realising means that I can’t say a lot of things that I really want to about books, but which stops me from being that person I hate, who ruins plots and shocks and reveals and spoils people’s enjoyment of books, so it stays!

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

Book of the Week: Prudence

This week’s BotW is Gail Carriger’s latest – Prudence – and you can’t say that I didn’t warn you that this might happen.  Because I did, even if it’s a few weeks later than I thought it might turn up here.  And that’s because I took an executive decision to save it for my holiday book – for our trip (to Vienna in the end) to mark a Significant Birthday for The Boy.  A holiday book should be a treat, preferably something that you know you’re not going to hate, and as it was already on the to-read pile, saving this meant I didn’t incur the wrath of The Boy for buying books again…

Gail Carriger's Prudence
I really like the purple and pink theme. And I’m not usually a pink person…

Anyway, Prudence is the first book in Carriger’s new series – the Custard Protocol.  Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School books, there are some familiar faces, not least Prudence herself – last seen as a toddler in the Parasol Protectorate series. When Rue is given a dirigible, she names it The Spotted Custard and heads for India on a secret mission.  But the situation there is not as simple as she had been lead to believe (and that wasn’t that simple to start with) and before long she’s dealing with dissidents, kidnappings and a pack of Scottish werewolves and it will take all her metanatural skills to deal with it.

Now, I’ve read all (I think) of Carriger’s other series, but I don’t think it would spoil your enjoyment of the book if you haven’t read them* as Carriger has been very careful not to give away too many spoilers for the plots of her previous books.**  However, for those of us who have read the previous books, you get the delicious enjoyment of being better informed about the past than our heroine, and equally delightful anticipation of confrontations and revelations yet to come.

When I read Timeless, I spotted a few dangling threads left that I hoped were teasers of stuff yet to come – and I was on the right track.   Again, my spoiler policy makes it difficult to be more specific than that, but I really like the direction that this series looks to be heading in.  The only problem with having read Prudence in fact is that I now have to wait (probably) a year to find out what happens next in Imprudence – and it’s still more than six months until the final Finishing School book – Manners and Mutiny – where I finally get to find out how Sophronia’s world became Alexias.

You can buy Prudence from all the usual sources – like Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles and Kindle.  I’ve also spotted it in  my local library already – which I haven’t seen before – and is brilliant, because hopefully it’ll introduce more people to Gail Carriger and then they can fall in love with her world like I have.

* Although the Parasol Protectorate is the more relevant to this book if you want somewhere to start

** Although the identity of Rue’s parents is a bit of a spoiler for Souless, there’s no way to avoid that!

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: April 13 – April 19

No work this week –  we went to Vienna for five dates to celebrate a Significant Birthday for The Boy with Wiener Schnitzel and Art Nouveau.  The reading was mostly light and fluffy and frivolous.


Geek Girl by Holly Smale

All Fired Up by Vivian Arend

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

The Murder at Sissingham Hall by Clara Benson

Prudence by Gail Carriger

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

Stanley Chambers and the Problem of Evil by James Runcie


The One and Only by Emily Giffin

The Kadin by Bertrice Small

Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood

Still reading:


I may have had a weak moment on Monday night and ordered some Janet Evanovich after last week’s revelation…

Book of the Week

Book of the Week: Wicked Business

This week’s BotW changed on Sunday afternoon – which is quite last minute for me. As is usual by that stage in the week I had a novel in mind as my favourite of the week – and had even got as far as thinking about what i was going to say (but not as far as drafting it!).  Then I picked up Janet Evanovich’s Wicked Business which I’d borrowed from the library the previous day…

My hardback library copy

This is the second book in Evanovich’s Lizzy and Diesel series,* following a cupcake baker with special powers and her mysterious and supernaturally gifted partner in crime. I’m clearly missing some of the back story, because I’m pitching up in a well established universe midway through a series which I think is a spin off in its own right. But golly I had a ball reading this and I’m residing the urge to go out and buy a whole load more of Evanovich’s books. I read this in one sitting, curled up under the blanket on the sofa, ignoring the rest of the world! It perfectly fitted my state of mine after doing a nightshift on Saturday night.

They’re not at all the same thing really, but this reminded me of the feeling that I get from reading a good Charlaine Harris novel. But funnier and with less biting! Several people have recommended Janet Evanovich to me at various points and if they’re all as much fun as this, I think her books may be my next obsession. And that is not good news for reducing the to-read pile because a new obsession always ends up with me going on a buying binge…

* I thought it was the first, but the books were listed in reverse order in the front and I didn’t notice, which is stupid of me because Evanovich’s other series has numbers in the titles!

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: April 6 – April 12

This week I have been mostly tackling some of the longest standing overdue books from my NetGalley list. The good news is, that everything that is left on the list is now something that was published this year.  Which is a big step forward!


Mapp and Lucia by E F Benson

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

All About Love by Stephanie Laurens

The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

The Importance of Being Alice by Katie MacAlister

It Girl by Nic Tatano

The Affair by Gill Paul

Spirits, Stilettos and a Silver Bustier by Deanna Chase

Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Summer at Castle Stone by Lynn Marie Hulsman


Stanley Chambers and the Problem of Evil by James Runcie

Still reading:


A one-off Saturday nightshift lead to a little bit of book purchasing, but I’ve been very good really.  I even took some library books back (after reading them).  Although I did then borrow some more…


Blog tours, books, reviews

The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café (Blog Tour)

Well here we are, in a first for Verity Reads Books, I’m part of a blog tour.  Isn’t this exciting!  Today I welcome Jenny Oliver to the blog.  She’s going to tell you why she loves the arrival of  Spring, and then I’m going to tell you what I thought about The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café – which is the first book in her new Cherry Pie Island series.  So, over to Jenny:

Hurray it’s Spring!

Every season I think, ‘This is my favourite season!  So naturally, right now, I’m thinking that Spring is my definite fave. Here’s my rational…

1. What could be better than a bright yellow flower with a trumpet that costs less than a pound a bunch? They’re happiness in a vase. Right by my parents’ house in Cornwall there are daffodil fields and I think I’m right in saying they leave them to bloom the first year after planting. Last year it was amazing to see this huge yellow field of happy little flowers.

2. This is not to say that I don’t love winter food – stews and casseroles and lasagnes – but I really love a good salad. I’m talking about crispy lettuce, maybe a bit of rocket, and some tiny new potatoes, crispy bacon, feta and lemon juice. Eaten sitting on our back step (because we don’t have a garden) with a glass of really lovely white wine.

3. The smell of the air when you walk out the door in the morning. The warmth of the sun mingling with the cold of the night, the scent of cut grass and daffodils and the sound of birds and cars and people getting up and starting their day happy because it’s not raining or cold!

4.Not wearing a coat! Don’t get me wrong, I really like my coat but after months of wearing it non-stop it’s a pleasure to walk out the house in only a jumper.

5. The knowledge that summer is just around the corner…

Thanks Jenny!  Now on to my review…

Dandelion Café tells the story of Annie’s return to island that she grew up on to take over the family café.  Annie’s got some issues, and she’s not thrilled to be back on Cherry Pie Island where everyone remembers (and won’t let her forget) her youthful mistakes and misadventures.  But it does have the added bonus of Matt-the-millionaire (not the cliche that it sounds, trust me) who she had a massive crush on when she was at school.

Jenny Oliver manages to get a lot of plot into a short book, but it never feels rushed or forced.  I got swept away in the world of the island and was rooting for it all to turn out right in the end.  And for Annie’s brother to end up getting a dunking in the sea!

I read this on the way home from a nightshift (the last of three), desperately needing some light relief that wouldn’t overtax my frazzled, sleep-deprived brain.  The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Café put a smile on my face (helping counteract the purple dark circles) and perked me up nicely.  It also didn’t send me into the simmering rage that some partworks/serialisation-y type things do by ending on a cliff hanger which I can’t find out the resolution to for weeks/months/years.

There are some loose ends left at the end of this book – don’t get me wrong – and I need to find out what happens to them, but the main plot of this part of the series is resolved at the end, and the next book in the series is set up neatly – with the prospect of keeping track of how Annie gets on as the next story unfolds.  And since reading Dandelion Café, I’ve been back and found a Jenny Oliver book that had been sitting in the Kindle backlog for a while (I’m not looking to see how long – I don’t want to know!) and read and enjoyed that too.

The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe is available now from the usual e-book based outlets.  My copy came from NetGalley – but I liked it so much I’ve shelled out my own money to pre-order the next in the series!



Book of the Week, romance

Book of the Week: Four Nights with the Duke

This week’s BotW is the new novel from Eloisa James – who is one of my favourite historical romance authors.  Four Nights with the Duke is book 8 in her Desperate Duchesses series.  My first Eloisa book was Desperate Duchesses 3 – Duchess by Night – which I stumbled across at the library back when I still lived in Essex (so 5+ years ago) and when she returned to the series to add a 7th book last year I was thrilled.  Although I’m still really annoyed that we only got a UK paperback release of books 1 – 4 – I had to buy 5 and 6 from the US to read them as they weren’t on Kindle at that point – and then the paperbacks started again with 7. And of course none of them match…

Romance paperbacks
The Historical Romance bookshelf – three difference sizes across the same author in some cases. Your basic nightmare.

Four Nights with the Duke is the second story in the second generation of the Duchesses –  which appears to be subtitled “Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers”.  Four Nights tells the story of Mia and Vander.  Mia needs to get married (no, not because of that) and the only person she can turn to is a man she swore that she would never marry (and he was there when she did the swearing).  Vander definitely doesn’t want to marry Mia – after all her father was his mother’s mistress and he’s still Very Angry* about that.  But Mia has a rather incriminating piece of paper that means that he’s going to have to do it, or lose everything.  So he offers her a deal – he’ll marry her, but he’ll only spend 4 nights a year with her (if you know what I mean) and she’s going to have to beg him for them…

Now that sort of set up is totally my sort of thing** – this is a plot device that totally floats my boat – the spouses at war/married because we had to trope is one of my favourites – right up there with fake engagements and you’ve been like a sibling to me until…x.  Not an accidental pregnancy in sight (yay!).  Add to that the fact that Mia has an alter ego as a romance novelist and I’m in historical romance heaven.  And Eloisa James is such a safe pair of hands.  There’s never an anachronism that I can spot, or a jarring word (except when I’ve got the American editions with the Wrong Spelling) or something that seems just too improbable – even for romance.


I read this practically in one big gulp on Easter Sunday – pausing only (with less than 50 pages remaining) to go to the big family meal at my auntie’s in the evening – and if I could have put off leaving to finish it, I would have done.  The only problem with that is that I’ve now got to wait a year until there’s another one, and I think I’ve practically read the whole of the Eloisa James back catalogue now – as evidenced by the Kindle folder and the romance folder…

picture of kindle screen
The Kindle folder for Eloisa James books is three pages long

Having read some Historical Romance recently that I was less than crazy about – and a couple of books that weren’t as good as I was hoping they would be as well, I was really pleased that this totally lived up to the hype that I had given it in my head.  It’s not my favourite in the series (a toss up between a Duke of Her Own and Duchess by Night) but it’s still really, really good. If you’re not a historical romance reader – and want to see what the genre is all about, Eloisa James along with Julia Quinn and Sarah MacLean are the authors I recommend as starting points (they’re also the authors that keep hold of after I’ve read them – as you can tell from the romance shelf).

You can get your copy of Four Nights with the Duke from all the usual sources – it’s got a paperback release – so Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles are all stocking it – and you never know, it might even make it into WH Smiths and the supermarkets too.  And obviously, like me, you can buy it for Kindle or ebook.

And in the interests of full disclosure, I bought my copy of Four Nights – but I am in Eloisa’s fan outreach-y group on Facebook.  But I’m posting this because I loved the book – not because they told me to.

Eloisa James books
BONUS PICTURE: Another brilliant example of the difference between UK romance covers and US ones…

* Sorry, I was watching Pretty Woman over the weekend – and writing that sentence made me think of this quote: “I was very angry with him. It cost me ten thousand dollars in therapy to say that sentence: “I was very angry him.” I do it very well, don’t I? I’ll say it again: I was very angry with him. “Hello, my name is Mr. Lewis, I am very angry with my father.”  Although obviously Vander is angry with his mother and Mia’s Father, not his father.  But still.  It’s a good line.

** The Smart Bitches would call it my catnip.  I’m not sure whether I can pull off calling something my catnip.  I think I might be too British/dull/self conscious.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: March 30 – April 5

A good week of reading – some really good stuff in there – and the kindle backlog slightly reduced too.  I do love a long holiday weekend…


Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

The Julius House by Charlaine Harris

The Little Things by Jane Costello

Expecting the Earl’s Baby by Jessica Gilmore

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

The Harlot Countess by Joanna Shupe

In For a Penny by Rose Lerner

Four Nights with the Duke by Eloisa James


Mapp and Lucia by E F Benson

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

Still reading:

The Affair by Gill Paul

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

One book bought – the Julius House on Kindle – after I read Midnight Crossroad last week and felt the need for some Aurora.  But I valiantly resisted the urge to buy the next book.  And I went into The Works on Saturday and emerged EMPTY HANDED!  That’s practically superhuman willpower for me!