Authors I love, Book of the Week, fiction, Series I love, Thriller

Book of the Week: Plum Spooky

This week’s BotW post has been really tricky.  If I picked my absolute favourite book from last week – can I then still include it in my holiday reads post (which is why I was reading it in the first place)?  If I don’t pick my favourite, all my other options are going to be repeating previous favourite authors.  If I do pick my favourite it’s a repeat as well.  Tricky.  So people, this week’s book of the week is Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich.  Yes.  I know.  But There Were Reasons.

Plum Spooky
I do love a foil cover – but they’re really tricky to photograph

Plum Spooky is the fourth (and last as it stands) in the Between-the-Numbers Stephanie Plum books – which means it’s a bit like a normal Stephanie Plum but with a supernatural twist.  They’re also the books where you meet Diesel – who goes on to get a series of his own (the second of which was my Evanovich Gateway Book back in April – see previous BotW post).  Plum Spooky is the longest (a proper novel rather than a novella) and best of these fill-ins – it has the balance right between NormalSteph and SupernaturalStuff – and is a good read in it’s own right – not just because you like the other Plum books.

In Plum Spooky, Steph’s FTA has got messed up with the guy that Diesel is trying to find – and it all gets a little bit scary/weird in the Barrens – an area which reminds me a lot of the were-panther area in Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Series.  Spooky is very good at balancing the supernatural element of the story with the normal bounty hunter storylines from the regular series.  Having Diesel around does mean less Ranger and Morelli action – but as these are meant to be slightly outside the mains series you couldn’t really have any action that impacts those relationships without causing ructions.

This is great fun – but probably best enjoyed with a bit of existing knowledge of the series – or if you know you like this sort of book. You should be able to get it from all the usual places – and probably your second-hand book store too.

This week I’ve planned my reading better.  And that Summer Reading post is nearly ready, I promise. Just a few more books to read…

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: July 20 – July 26

I’ve admitted defeat this week on The Weightless World.  It’s been lingering for more than a month – and it didn’t grab me.  I shall hold on to my copy and maybe try and come at it again at a later date.  Just not for me at the moment.  The Boy rattled through The Year of Living Danishly this week – and spent so much time chuckling over it that I’m going to have to read it soon to see what he was laughing at.  I had six days off work this week (!) and there seems to be a correlation between train journeys and amount read.  I’m working a lot this week – so we can put this theory to the test! As I was at home, most of my reading this week was actual books from the pile – so that’s progress of a sort at any rate!


The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig

A Woman of Consequence by Anna Dean

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Bricks and Mortar by Ann Granger

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn


The Girl of My Dreams by Peter Davis

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

Still reading:

The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George

I *may* have bought a couple of e-books this week, but I nobly resisted the urge to buy actual books – despite a trip to the supermarket and to the charity shop.

Book of the Week, Chick lit

Book of the Week: The Cake Shop in the Garden

This week’s BotW is Carole Matthew’s latest – The Cake Shop in the Garden.  Last week was a heavy detective fiction week, and as my highest rated book on Goodreads was the second Peter Grant book and it’s only a couple of weeks since the first was my BotW, I thought a fun summer read should be my Book of the Week.

Fay runs a cake shop from her garden, next to the canal near Milton Keynes.  Her mum is difficult and cantankerous and her sister is thousands of miles away in New York, getting up to antics her mum isn’t meant to know about.  Then Danny Wilde arrives at the bottom of the garden on his boat and she starts to question her decisions.  When tragedy strikes, it looks like everything is going to change.  Will Fay have the courage to make the decision that’s right for her?

This is a fun, romantic summer read which is set not far from where I live (which I’ll admit added to the attraction of the book for me).  I thought it was well set up and the plot worked really well – with a few twists that I wasn’t expecting.  The only downside for me is that I found myself wanting to give Fay a shake sometimes and tell her to man up and stand up for herself.  But I know that that’s easier said than done, particularly in the situation that she found herself in.  I was happy with the resolution – although I was worried for a while that I wasn’t going to get the ending that I wanted.

So, another week, another great book for your holiday*.  OK the Costa del Keynes (as Matthews calls it) isn’t quite as hot as a beach in the Med, but I think this might be the perfect for a staycation in the UK – I can see people reading this on canalboat holidays or on the beach in Devon.  It’s not my favourite of Matthews books – that title still belongs to Welcome to the Real World – but this is a good page-turner.

The Cake Shop in the Garden should be fairly easy to get hold of – the paperback came out in April** – but here are some links to Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, Kindle and Kobo incase you can’t wait to go to a real shop.

* I promise the summer reads post is coming. Soon.  Before August starts.  There’s just a couple more books I want to read first…

**My copy came from NetGalley to coincide with that, but as usual, I’m behind on the NetGalley list.  Also, insert usual honest review disclaimer here.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: July 13 – July 19

Not massive amounts read this week – family wedding, jobs to do etc – but I enjoyed what I did read, which was a little murder mystery heavy…


Wallis: My War by Kate Auspitz (I say read, it was actually an audiobook)

The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews

Hand in Glove by Ngaio Marsh

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Dead Water by Ngaio Marsh

Death at the Dolphin by Ngaio Marsh



Still reading:

The Weightless World by Marcus Trevelyan

The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George

Only one kindle book bought this week – I’m trying to behave myself.

Authors I love, Book of the Week, Chick lit, reviews

Book of the Week: The Day We Disappeared

So this week’s BotW is Lucy Robinson’s latest – The Day We Disappeared.  And this is likely to be quite a short post because I’m terrified of saying too much about this.  You may remember Lucy Robinson from previous posts – about The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me which was one of my books of the year in 2014.

The Day We Disappeared tells the stories of Annie and Kate.  Annie has a secret and it’s caused her a lot of problems – but now there’s someone who wants to fix her.  Kate is running away and she’s not going to tell you why – because that would defeat the object the reinvention that she’s trying to pull off.  And there are undercurrents.  Lots of undercurrents – of different types – and there are complications.

And that’s all I dare say.  Which isn’t much more than the back of the book says.  But that’s because to tell you more would Give Too Much Away and Ruin It All.  And Lucy Robinson’s clearly worked really hard in writing this not to do that and I don’t want to spoil it.  Because this book blew me away – in a really good way.  As you can tell, I loved Unfinished Symphony, and I think I like this more – even if there isn’t a side-kick as funny as Barry.  This is a bit different though.  The last book had me in tears – of both types, whereas this one had me holding my breath and totally gripped.  I did laugh and I nearly cried, but there’s so much suspense and tension in this as well that wasn’t in the last one.

It did take me a while to read this – but that’s mostly because I was worried about ending up in tears in public again.  Crying on the train is so embarrassing. To be honest, my only problem with this book is that the cover does not match the rest of Lucy Robinson’s books – which is more about my issues with matching books than anything else.  And I read this on my e-reader. So it’s not really a problem at all until I buy a paperback version for completeness…

My copy came from NetGalley* (yes, I know, I’m behind again) but you can get yours from all over the place – like Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, Kindle (for a bargain £1.79 at time of writing), Kobo and hopefully the supermarkets too.  It’d be a great book to take on holiday,** as long as you don’t have any pressing plans to do anything other than reading it because you’ll be glued to your sun lounger!

*With the usual provisos – honest review, only write about stuff on here I do genuinely love etc.

** Yes I know, I promised a holiday reads post.  It is coming. It really is. I’ve even started working out what I’m going to include.  But there are a few more books that I need to read before I can be sure I’ve covered all bases.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: July 6 – July 12

A better week of reading – although there’s a fair few novellas in there.  I’ve had a blast reading stuff this week though and having reorganised the to-read bookshelf I’m feeling reinvigorated in my quest to get the backlog down…


The Wedding Reject Table by Angela Britnell

How to Manage your Slaves by Marcus Sidonius Falx by Jerry Toner

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

Wellies and Westies by Cressida McLaughlin

Sunshine and Spaniels by Cressida McLaughlin

The Great Allotment Proposal by Jenny Oliver

One Summer Night at the Ritz by Jenny Oliver

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson


The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Still reading:

The Weightless World by Marcus Trevelyan

A bit naughty on the purchase front – 4 novellas and two ebooks – and I preordered the new Harper Lee book because I couldn’t restrain myself.  I’m seriously debating just returning it after reading the early reviews.  I don’t think I can bear it.

The pile

The Pile: July 2015 update

So. It’s been 11 months since I did an update on the to-read pile. Which is shocking to be frank, because the whole point of this blog when I started was to try to get me to get a grip on the pile and bring it down.  While time has got away from me somewhat, I’ve also been a bit embarrassed that the pile hasn’t really shrunk.  There’s been turn over, don’t get me wrong, but it’s still huge.

The top layer of one of the boxes

But last week I had to pack it all away so that the men could come and replace our windows.  I took the opportunity to have a bit of a weed of the pile – getting rid of books that have been sitting on the pile for ages that I know deep down I won’t get around to and sending them on to the charity shop.  Despite this, the books that I’m waiting to read still took up the vast majority of two 65 litre crates.  Oops.

The book crates
Yes, that really is two 65 litre crates full of books waiting to be read….

Now the windows are done and the post-window cleaning is done (mostly) I’ve unpacked.  I’ve reprioritised the pile – the 40 books that I want to read next (or think I’m likely to read next) are now on the bookshelf next to me, along with the little stack of books I’ve borrowed from people – to remind me to read them.  Then next to the bookshelf is the pile of books that I’ve been sent to review for Novelicious and then next to that are the complicated series of piles that make up the rest of the to-read pile.

to-read bookshelf
The reassembled to-read bookshelf – whith the stuff I think I’ll read first.

I didn’t count how many there are waiting to be read, beyond what’s on the actual shelves, but I think as well as the shelves there’s probably another 50ish hidden out of sight of The Boy.  I’ve been better at not buying books recently – although I’m still on the Janet Evanovich jag and I’ve just discovered Ben Aaronovitch as well which I suspect may not help on the purchase restraint front.  Here’s hoping I can restrain myself a bit and get the pile down to manageable proportions soon!

Book of the Week, new releases, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Fire Colour One

This week’s BotW is Jenny Valentine’s Fire Colour One.  I do try to mix my choices up a bit – although when I go on a massive reading jag of one author that doesn’t help – so here’s some new YA fiction.  I got my copy via NetGalley and raced through it in two train journeys.

Iris likes lighting fires.  She doesn’t like her mum – or her mum’s boyfriend.  She’s lost touch with her best (and only) friend Thurston. Then the dad that she hasn’t seen for years gets in contact to say he’s dying.  Her mum is delighted – she wants Ernest’s art collection to fund her lifestyle. Iris is angry.  But her dad has things he wants to tell her.

Now, it took me a while to warm to Iris.  She’s a bit difficult to like at first, but then you see what she’s dealing with.  And she’s dealing with a lot.  Her mum sees her as an inconvenience and really isn’t on her side.  Her mum’s partner is the most narcissistic guy I’ve come across in a book this year.  Iris can control the fires.  She can’t control her life, or stop her dad from dying (and she’s not sure she wants to either).

Death is such a theme in YA literature at the moment, that I was worried that this book was going to leave me miserable and upset*, but I got to the last page with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.  Then I went back and read the last chapter all over again.  I can’t really say much more about why the end worked for me, without giving it away and that would really spoil the book, but it’s clever.  Really clever.  And I’m desperate to know what Iris does next.

So, I didn’t read a lot last week, but I’m still thinking about this one – and I’m wondering if there are any teenagers in my life that I can buy it for (I’m not sure there are).  I know that I’ll go back and read it again too, which is unusual for me and YA fiction that’s not boarding school stories.  I’ve added Jenny Valentine’s other books to my to-read list too

Fire Colour One came out last week – get your paperback from Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones or on Kindle or Kobo.


* A la the 3am Fault in Our Stars crying jag.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: June 29 – July 5

Home improvement works have disrupted my reading schedule this week!  Lots of packing up and cleaning to do and no time for books, but I’m sure the new windows will be worth it when they’re done.


The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

Mr Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons

The Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate

Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine


How to Manage your Slaves by Marcus Sidonius Falx by Jerry Toner

The Weightless World by Marcus Trevelyan

Still reading:

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

A little bit of backsliding on the purchase front this week – three books – after prices dropped on a couple of things I’ve been hankering after. But I did have a bit of a cull of the physical pile as I was packing everything away for the window fitters so the pile has actually shrunk really!

books, stats

June Stats

On Good Reads to-reads shelf (I don’t have copies of all of these!): 457

New books read this month: 32*

Books from the Library Book pile: 0

Books from the to-read pile: 15

Ebooks read: 11

Most read author: Janet Evanovich (again)

Books read this year: 186

Books bought: 3 ebooks – no paperbacks!

A miracle has occured.  I didn’t buy any physical books this month!  That almost excuses the continuing failure on the library book New Year’s Resolution and the non-fiction one – although I have got a non fiction on the go, I just haven’t finished it yet!  I caught up slightly on the NetGalley list and tried to control the Janet Evanovich obsession so I’ve done better than I did last month.  Here’s hoping the improvement continues…

*Includes some short stories – 1 this month