books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: October 24 – October 30

A bit of an odd week.  I had a couple of days off work and went away for a bit of sightseeing and then the nightshifts caught up with me and I was exhausted for the rest of the week and didn’t get as much reading done as I would have wanted.

Read:

You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

Blessed is the Busybody by Emilie Richards

Forbidden Fruit by Kerry Greenwood

How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare

The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet

Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Started:

The #MonuMeta Social Media Book by Roger Warner

Still reading:

The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead

On the brightside, I didn’t buy any actual books this week, although I did have a bit of a spree on novellas – in particular historical ones – and a few preorders.  I need to start making a list and asking for things for Christmas instead.  And all the books I ordered during nightshifts have turned up now and I need to start reading them, pronto!

Book of the Week, Children's books, new releases, non-fiction

Book of the Week: Wonder Women

I know, I know, I know.  This is a day late.  I have excuses – relating to post nightshift haze and then a few days away and only remembering I hadn’t written this post at 11pm after a couple of cocktails.  And as drunk blogging doesn’t end well, I thought it could wait til the cool light of day and rational thought, especially as this week’s pick is Important to me.

So this week’s BotW is Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors and Trailblazers who changed history.  Written by Sam Maggs, this is a series of potted biographies of women who you may not have heard of, but who have played an important role in various areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Espionage and Adventure  – aka areas that tend to be seen as traditionally masculine.  There are 25 featured women – but at least the same again get bite-sized mentions too.  I’m a history graduate (admittedly specialising in British and European history) and there were a lot of names here that I had never come across before – and many fascinating stories.

I’m definitely not the target market for this – which is written (I think) very much with tweens/early teens in mind – and some of the language started to annoy me a little, but that’s because it’s written in a vernacular that is not really mine, although I do think that the choice of language will appeal to the intended audience. It’s got lovely illustrations for the 25 women, which is a nice touch.  My copy was an e-galley for my kindle e-reader so I don’t think I got the full effect, but from what I’ve seen the actual book itself looks attractive and appealing.

This would make a good book for an upper-primary school/middle school age girl and would also be a great addition to school libraries for that sort of age of child.  I’ve said there that it would be a good book for a girl – because I think young girls need reminding that they can have adventures too, and be brave and daring and that careers in things like science and tech aren’t just for boys.  But boys need reminding that too – and that there have been women through history doing important things, often against the odds and against societal expectations.  I saw this video last week, and it may have been the nightshifts, but it got me all emotional.  And it’s an important message for children to get – girls can be anything, do anything – nothing is a man’s job – or a woman’s job.

Anyway, lecture over.  As I said, my copy was an e-galley via NetGalley, but this is out now and you can get it from Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles as well as on Kindle and Kobo – although I think it would look best in the hardback actual book.

Happy reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: October 17 – October 23

 Nightshifts are over! Hurrah! I spent most of the week sleeping, and staying away from home, both of which means I didn’t read as much this week as I usually do on nights (not much commute) but there’s some quite good stuff on the list of stuff I did read. Also, as a side note, Novelicious is back – and I’m reviewing for them again, so more on that soon!

Read:

Eggnog Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and Barbara Ross

Front Page Fatality by LynnDee Walker

A Killer Location by Sarah T Hobart

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver

Wonder Women by Sam Maggs

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse by Alan Bradley

Started:

The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet

Still reading:
The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead

 So, nightshifts. I might have gone a little crazy with the book buying in the early hours of the morning. Twice. Oops. I’ve more than replaced everything I read from the pile this week!

Book of the Week, cozy crime, historical

Book of the Week: A Royal Pain

Where did that week go?  Blimey. This week’s BotW is A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen – slightly by default, as I’m working on a post about cosy crime series and don’t want to repeat, and can’t tell you about Corinna Chapman again (oh the perils of binge-reading series).  Anyhow. A Royal Pain is book 2 in the Her Royal Spyness series.  The series name makes me cringe, but I picked this (and another in the series) in The Works the other week in the hope that it would help scratch my Daisy Dalrymple/Phryne Fisher itch as I wait for new books in either of those series.  And in the most part it did.

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
Due to nights, this week’s photo comes courtesy of my Instagram train books photos…

The Royal Spyness of the title is Lady Georgie, 34th in line to the throne and flat broke. She’s trying to make her own way in London with a secret job as a maid-in-disguise when the Queen lands her with the job of babysitting a Bavarian princess and accidentally-on-purpose putting introducing said princess to the Queen’s playboy son.  Along the way they discover two bodies, and Georgie discovers that Princess Hanni drinks like a fish, has a vocabulary strongly influenced by American gangster films and keeps getting herself tangled up with the Communist party…

This isn’t ground breaking or perfect, but it is good fun and rattles along at enough of a pace that you don’t notice its flaws too much. I had the culprit figured out fairly relatively early on, but that’s not too much of a problem for me as long as I’m enjoying the story (which I was).  I did feel like I was missing a few bits of backstory coming into the series in book two – and i suspect they are bits of backstory that couldn’t be explained without giving away too much about the previous book.  A Royal Pain never hits the heights that the best of the Phryne Fisher and Daisy Dalrymple books do, but it avoids most of the pitfalls that some other books in this sub-genre suffer from which can induce book-flinging levels of rage in me and put me straight into hate-reading mode.

As I mentioned at the start, I have another in this series sitting on the to-read pile which I’ll happily read when I get a chance, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more in the series.  You can pick up a copy of A Royal Pain from Amazon, Kindle, Waterstones, FoylesKobo or The Works – which has the best price I’ve spotted and the very tempting 6 for £10 offer…

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: October 10 – October 16

I’ve had a busy week – and lots of different shifts, working my way towards nightshifts – so I’m actually quite pleased with how much I’ve read.  We’ll see what happens now the nightshifts are underway…

Read:

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait

Geek Girl: All Wrapped Up by Holly Smale

Devil’s Food by Kerry Greenwood

Wallace at Bay by Alexander Wilson

Sidney Chambers and the Dangers of Temptation by James Runcie

A Killer’s Guide to Good Works by Shelley Costa

Started:

Wonder Women by Sam Maggs

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver

Still reading:

The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

And I resisted the urge to buy any books too.  I’m almost proud of myself!

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

Book of the Week: Judith Teaches

Gosh this was so hard this week.  My favourite book I read last week was one I read to review for Novelicious (which is returning to the internets in full force very shortly) and my rules dictate that I can’t make that my book of the week here as well.  My second favourite book of last week was the second Corinna Chapman book – and my rules dictate that I can’t pick that because I picked that series last week.  So after that it’s not so much Book of the Week as Book I Quite Liked of the Week.  And that’s not really in the spirit of the thing.  I was prepared to cheat if I managed to finish one of the books I had on the go on Monday morning, but I didn’t so I couldn’t justify that either.

So what I’ve decided to do is write about Judith Teaches by Mabel Esther Allen – which I read last week and which interests me on a few levels.  Judith Teaches was part of a series of career books for girls published by Bodley Head in the 50s.  Various different authors wrote the books which each feature a different career suitable for young ladies to do before they got married (and had to give up working to look after their husbands).  Other titles in the series cover jobs like floristry, farming and modelling as well as some  becoming a doctor or being a veterinary student.

Judith Teaches by Mabel Esther Allan
My newly reissued paperback copy of Judith Teaches. Check out the retro!

Judith Teaches covers the first year of the teaching of Judith and her friend Bronwen who get jobs at a secondary modern school straight out of training college.  They have a friend who is already teaching at the same school who they share a flat with, and although the book mostly focuses on Judith you hear about the other girls lives as well.  The three are clearly Nice Well Brought Up Grammar School/Boarding School girls who have a bit of a culture shock with the pupils at their new school (dirty! desperate to leave school to go work in the factory! not interested in reading! can’t spell!) and some of these sections feel very of their time.  But it does cover the potential ups and downs of teaching in a way that would have given the school girls that it was aimed at a realistic look at what they might be letting themselves in for – not all the children will be clever, not all the other teachers will be friendly, it will be stressful and tiring and you won’t be able to please everyone – in a way that you don’t get in boarding school books (which as regular readers will know Mabel Esther Allen also wrote along with my beloved Drina books).

I don’t think I knowingly read a career book as a child – unless Shirley Flight, Air Hostess counts – as the only ones I ever remember seeing were about nursing and that only interested me (as a weekend job, while being a teacher during the week) for a few days when I was about 6, so I’m not sure how representative this is of the genre, but Judith Teaches gave me several interested hours of reading – and a few wry smiles.  It also made me realise how far the world has come for women in 50 years.  After all, no one’s going to expect me to give up my job if I get married and I don’t think anyone would think I’m over the hill yet.  There’s still a long way to go – but I like to hope that my sort-of-nieces who are at primary school today won’t need a book to tell them that they could be a doctor if they wanted to.

Anyway, Judith Teaches has just been republished by Girls Gone By if you’re geeky like me and want to have a peruse for yourself.

Happy reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: October 3 – October 9

Not a bad week’s reading – and a bit of a better mix of stuff – some romance, some crime, some non-fiction, some very retro career fiction for nicely brought up girls…

Read:

Lethal Lifestyles by LynDee Walker

Death at the Cafe by Alison Golden

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan

Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood

Dustbowl Girls by Lydia Reeder

Judith Teaches by Mabel Esther Allan

Started:

Devil’s Food by Kerry Greenwood

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

Still reading:

The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead

Sidney Chambers and the Dangers of Temptation by James Runcie

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Oh dear.  I went into The Works on Tuesday and they had an awful lot of books I wanted.  And when they’re 3 for £5 they’re just so hard to resist.  I filled in a few gaps in my Christina Jones collection* (did you see my post about how much I love her books ) and picked up a few that I’ve been coveting for a while and a couple of new series to try.  Whoops.

 

*Stuff I’ve already read but don’t own