stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: August 24 – August 30

I’ve read some good stuff this week – and I’m desperately trying to make myself read the last Discworld book S-l-o-w-l-y.  Because after all, once it’s over, it’s over.

Read:

The Woman in the Picture by Katharine McMahon

The Duke Can Go to the Devil by Erin Knightley

The Lady of Misrule by Suzannah Dunn

A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy

Red Velvet Revenge by Jenn McKinlay

Started:

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

Still reading:

The Girl of My Dreams by Peter Davis

Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

I bought The Shepherd’s Crown, but that’s it! Progress.

Book of the Week, books, reviews

Book of the Week: The Piano Man Project

I had a really hard time deciding what to pick for BotW this week.  Like really hard.  I read an awesome thriller – but it was for Novelicious so I can’t pick that, although I’ll try and remember to post a link here when that review goes up. I read some nice cozy crime and a bit of romance.  And then three really fun women’s fiction books which it was hard to chose between.  But I’ve gone for Kat French’s The Piano Man Project because sometimes you need a moody, troubled, Alpha hero – and Hal is a really good one.

  
Honeysuckle has a problem – and it’s not that her name is Honeysuckle.  She needs a man to fix a… problem that she’s encountering.  He needs to be good with his hands *wink wink*n- and so her friends decide a pianist may be the answer and start trying to set her up. But then there’s Honey’s new neighbour Hal – he’s anti-social, grumpy and troubled, but Honey keeps coming back to try and help.  On top of all this the old people’s home where Honey works is under threat and she’s got to do something to try and save it.

This is touching and funny and has a darker edge perhaps than my summary above might suggest (I’m not going into why because it would be too much of a spoiler).  It’s also a bit sexier than some of the other books you’ll find alongside it on the shelves.  Author Kat French has an alter-ego who writes erotica and she’s brought some of that to the table in this.  It’s not in 50 Shades territory, but it is a notch above what I’ve usually found in romantic comedies.

Honey does have a strong streak of trying to fix things/people which I guess might rub some readers up the wrong way, but I found her charming and caring and not a doormat.  And there are problems in this book that aren’t fixable no matter how hard she tries – and I liked that.  I found Hal a compelling hero – even though he’s hard work and demanding and doesn’t really appreciate Honey’s efforts on his behalf for a lot of the book.

The Piano Man Project was well in evidence in my local enormous supermarket this week – as you can see from the picture above – so it should be nice and easy to get hold of, but it’s also just 99p on Kindle at the moment so it’s a real bargain (Amazon have the paperback for £3.85 too which isn’t to shabby either).

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: August 17 – August 23

A bumper week of reading – because of a bumper week of train trips!  Lots of good stuff in there, but a few frustrations too.  I’ve mostly been trying to work my way down my NetGalley backlog – and I’m pleased to report that my little yellow post-it notes in the front of my diary have a lot more things crossed off!

Read:

The Piano Man Project by Kat French

The Great Village Show by Alexandra Brown

The Spider in the Corner of the Room by Nikki Owen

Just The Way You Are by Lynsey James

Not Always A Saint by Mary-Jo Putney

Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait

What to Do with a Duke by Sally MacKenzie

Five Go Glamping by Liz Tipping

Hardwired by Meredith Wild

Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Started:

Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Still reading:

The Girl of My Dreams by Peter Davis

A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy

I had a little lapse in the supermarket this week and picked up two ebooks that were on offer and recommended too.  Oops. Hey ho.

Book of the Week, fiction, historical, reviews

Book of the Week: The Paris Wife

This week’s BotW is The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – which has been sitting on my to-read pile for far too long  What’s new.  How many times have I said that now?  But yes, once again, a really good book stuck in the backlog for ages.  You’d think I’d learn by now, and yet The Pile is still out of control. Hey ho. Moving on. 
The Paris Wife tells the story of the marriage between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson.  The novel is told predominantly from Hadley’s perspective, interspersed with occasional diary style snippets from Hemingway.  Hadley and Ernest are clearly very much in love when they get married and this paints a very convincing portrait of a marriage torn apart by genius, ego, Jazz Age Paris, children and other women.  You can see the train wreck coming and they can see it coming – but they don’t seem to be able to do anything to avert it.  But this isn’t a miserable book, it’s sad in places, but it’s also fascinating.

Whilst I haven’t read a lot of Hemingway’s work, I have read a fair bit of F Scott Fitzgerald’s – who is another member of this crew – and as I’ve mentioned before, I love this interwar time period. After reading this, I’ve realised that I’ve got a bit of a glut of books about this set sitting on my shelves – not only Mrs Hemingway, but also Villa America and I think another one that I can’t remember the title of.  I might have to space out reading them so I don’t get too confused/overloaded, but I am looking forward to reading them soon.

I wouldn’t expect you to have too much difficulty tracking this down in the bookshops – it’ll probably be on the shelves rather than the tables by now though. But here’s a link to Foyles and Kindle just in case.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: August 10 – August 16

A couple of issues this week.  Firstly I got to 90 pages from the end of Paris wife in the early hours of Wednesday morning on my way home from work – and then it fell under my rule about not taking books with less than 100 pages to go to work with me* and so it sat unfinished til the weekend.  Then there was an issue with the Spider in the Corner of the Room – I can’t read it when it’s dark.  It’s too scary. So that’s not finished because I haven’t had enough daylight reading time.  This combining together meant at one point this week I had EIGHT books on the go at once.  Which is ridiculous even for me.  I think I’ve done well to get it down to four!

Read:

Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France by Stephen Clarke

I Don’t Want To Talk About it by Jane Lovering

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome**

In The Drink by Allyson K Abbott

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss

Started:

The Spider in the Corner of the Room by Nikki Owen

The Piano Man Project by Kat French

Still reading:

The Girl of My Dreams by Peter Davis

A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy

A couple of books bought this week – so a bit of backsliding, but in my defence, they were bridging a gap in a series (I’ve read books 1 and 2, and have book 5 but can’t read it till I bought the ones in between) so really the purchase is helping reduce the pile.  That’s my story anyway, and I’m sticking to it!

* Because I finish them before I’ve finished the train to work and then have to carry around dead weight for the rest of the day.

** Yes, I’ve read this before, but I haven’t reread it in a decade, and it wasn’t on my goodreads list. And I read it properly as part of Novelicious’s Nostalgic Summer Reread.

Book of the Week, detective

Book of the Week: Death of an Airman

This week’s book of the week is a rediscovered Classic crime novel, Christopher St John Spriggs’ Death of an Airman – first published in 1934 and now re-released as part of the British Library’s Crime Classics series.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I love Golden Age Crime (and re-listen to a Peter Wimsey audiobook at least once a month) and this was right up my alley.

George Furnace is a flying instructor at Baston Aero Club – killed when his plane crashes.  But the people who knew him are baffled – he was a skilled pilot and the plane was in perfect condition.  Although the inquest decides it was death by misadventure, a visiting Australian bishop suspects the truth may be more complicated.  Is it suicide?  Or murder?  Together with Inspector Bray a very cunning scheme is uncovered.

This is brilliant.  I’ll admit that I don’t know enough about flying (and in particular 1930s flying) to be able to tell you how accurate the aeroplane information is, but it certainly all made sense to me – and the titular death is brilliantly contrived.  I didn’t figure out all the solution until very late on – at which point I appreciated how clever Spriggs had been in dropping hints earlier in the book which passed off as totally innocuous at the time.

I’ve now read about half a dozen titles in this British Library Crime series – and have really enjoyed discovering forgotten murder mysteries from my favourite era – which in many cases rival their more well known counterparts – the Wimseys, the Poirots etcs.  The actual paperback copies look lovely (although they are a weird inbetween size) and some serious knowledge of the genre has clearly gone into the selection.  I read two from the series last week – I didn’t enjoy the other one as much, but it was clearly an important book in the development of the genre – and I’ll keep looking out for more.

My copy came via NetGalley – but it should be out now in book shops (I’ve seen and bought titles in the series in both Waterstones and Foyles usually displayed with a couple of others from the series) but if you can’t wait to get to a proper book seller, then here are some links – Foyles, Waterstones, Amazon, Kindle – although I couldn’t find it on Kobo.

stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: August 3 – August 9

A very good week’s reading – both in quantity and quality.  Some truly excellent stuff in there – the highlights of the week were two crime novels – one for Children by Robin Stevens (which I recommended in my Summer Reads post) and the other, well you can find out tomorrow!

Read:

The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams

Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier

The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George

The Rules of Seduction by Jenna Mullins

The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens

Bound to Be A Groom by Megan Mulry

Death of An Airman by Christopher St John Sprigg

Started:

A Very Big House in the Country by Claire Sandy

Wolf Bride by Elizabeth Moss

Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France by Stephen Clarke

Still reading:

The Girl of My Dreams by Peter Davis

So a lot of train journeys at the start of the week (to and from work) means that the to read pile on the Kindle is shrinking – and I’ve been valiantly resisting the urge to request more books from NetGalley after writing out my August Post-It note of NetGalley books and realising I got a bit carried away.  I also got a bit carried away late at night the other day – and ordered four actual books.  And I might have bought a few e-books too.  Backsliding again…