Authors I love, Book of the Week, women's fiction

Book of the Week: Lost and Found Sisters

Welcome to the first BotW post of 2018.  It feels like ages since I wrote one of these – ad it has been nearly a month –  but I hope you’ve enjoyed all the bonus posts over the festive period.  Anyway,  normal service now being resumed and I’m back to talk about my favourite book that I read last week.  And in keeping with my current obsessions, it’s a Jill Shalvis book.

Paperback copy of Lost and Found Sisters
I was aiming for artistic with this picture. Not sure if it came off!

Quinn is finally starting to get her life back on track after her sister was killed in a car accident.  The two were best friends as well as sisters and after losing Beth, Quinn has lost herself as well.  A sous-chef in a cool restaurant in LA, she’s got a family friend and ex-boyfriend who is desparate to marry her.  But something still feels wrong in her life – something is missing, beyond the fat that she’s missing her sister.  Then an unexpected inheritance throws what she knows about herself up in the air all over again and she heads up the coast to the small town of Wildstone to try and rediscover who she is.  Once she gets there she discovers an even more earthshattering secret that brings with it the chance of a new life.  But is it the life that she wanted?

Lost and Found Sisters is billed as Shalvis’s first “women’s fiction novel” (as opposed to a straight up contemporary romance) and I sort of agree with that.  There is a romance here, and it’s fairly central, but actually the main theme of the book is Quinn’s voyage of discovery.  When I was writing about Sarah Morgan’s Moonlight over Manhattan I said that one of the things that I liked about it was that the heroine fixed herself and found love as a side effect of that and I think this is the next step on from that.  Quinn is more broken than Harriet was and there’s more to her story than just getting over something – she finds out something completely new about herself that reshapes her whole idea of who she is and that takes a lot of adjustment.  The Quinn you see at the end of the book is a very different person to the one at the start, with a whole new set of priorities and responsibilities.

However, Lost and Found Sisters wasn’t as different from Shalvis’s other novels as I was expecting from the women’s fiction label, so I think that if you only read romance, you will still enjoy this – there is a romance here as well and it’s a very nice one, with sections of the book written from the hero’s point of view (he has stuff he’s working out too) – so don’t be put off.  This isn’t the miserable, super-worthy stuff that you might be imagining.  I picked this up from the bookshop on a whim on Sunday morning and polished it off that day – it is a summer-set book but it was a lovely way to spend a couple of train journeys in the miserable January weather.

Lost and Found Sisters came out in June – I found my copy in The Works, but it may also still be in the other bookshops.  Amazon have it in paperback and on Kindle, and it’s also available on Kobo too.  If you don’t read summer books in winter, I suggest you add it to your watch list and see if it drops in price as we get towards the nicer weather  (or when the sequel comes out!).

Happy Reading!

Book News, Prize winners

Noirville winners!

Yes, it’s taken a bit longer than planned, but the Noirville winners have finally been announced.  In case you missed my original post, I was super excited to be part of the competition amongst an illustrious group of judges.

Fahrenheit Noirville: short stories from the dark side banner picture.

You can read the winner’s list here – and I’m thrilled that pretty much all my favourites made the cut.  The standard was incredibly high though and it was really, really hard to separate the stories.  All the judging was done blind, so I was really excited to see who was behind the stories that I’d enjoyed reading so much.   So today I’ve got a whole load of new people to add to my twitter watch list so that I can see what they’re going to write next.

It was such a great experience to have the chance to be a judge on this.  It was also absolutely terrifying – definitely out of my comfort zone! The actual published book will be out in a couple of months and I can’t wait to see the finished book, and obviously hear what everyone else thinks about the collection.

Congratulations to all the winners – and commiserations to the people who missed out.  Here’s to the first Noirville Short Story collection – may it be the first of many!

 

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: January 1 – January 7

New Year, new books and still a few stragglers from last year (which I’m working on it).

Read:

A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward

Second Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Christmas in Cornwall by Laura Briggs

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Started:

A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown

Three books bought on the sly on Sunday morning – one of which I read immediately.  Lovely stuff.  Start as I mean to go on…

Authors I love, book round-ups, The pile

My Big Obsessions of 2017

We’re a few days in to 2018 now, so it’s well past time to tell you about my Big Obsessions of 2017.  I’ve found it really hard to find new obsessions this year – because so much of what I’ve read has been a continuation of things that I’ve been reading previously.  I think that’s partly because I discovered a lot of new authors last year and have continued to glom on them, but also because I’ve been trying to work my way through the to-read pile backlog rather than buying lots of new books.

But if 2017 was anything, it was the year of contemporary romance.  After getting into Sarah Morgan in 2016, I tried a lot of other contemporary romance authors this year.  Some of them weren’t my thing, but quite a few were.  I’ve been on quite a few binges on new authors this year and I suspect it may continue.  I finally read Jennifer Crusie‘s Bet Me, which I’d heard people raving about over and over in Romancelandia. I read nearly a dozen of Jill Shalvis‘s novels and discovered that I really quite like small town romances, eight of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s and got quite into sports romances even when they’re about American football and three Kristen Higgins books and thought about taking a trip to a winery.  I’ve started requesting a few more contemporary romances from NetGalley to see if there are any other tropes that I like.  So far I’ve worked out that I’m not a big fan of biker gangs and I really don’t like billionaires, but I’m hopeful that I’ll find some more that I do like at some point in 2018.

I’m still reading other genres though, especially crime and I’ve worked my way through a few series this year.  I’ve added Nick Bryan‘s Hobson and Choi series to my autobuy list, because I really need more snarky teen and cynical older bloke detective novels in my life.   I’m practically counting the days until the next Vinyl Detective novel from Andrew Cartmel, after reading the first two.  I’ve tried out some more of Henery Press’s cozy mysteries and found a couple of series there to dig into: the Tj Jenson series by Kathi Daley, Susan M Boyer‘s Lowcountry series and Julie Mulhern‘s 70s-set Country Club Murders.  Also in series set in the past, I read all three of the TE Kinsey Lady Hardcastle mysteries and the Christmas novella too and three more Royal Spyness books.

I have expanded my non-fiction reading this year – I’ve been concentrating on finding stories and voices from different perspectives than my own and I’ve really enjoyed it.  Actually that’s one of my themes in general this year in fiction as well.  It’s been a bit of a challenge at times, some times finding the books, but sometimes because I’ve got such a big selection of books to chose from that it means that I can ignore books on the shelf for ages in favour of things that are more familiar.  But I’m going to keep challenging myself in 2018.

So there you have it. It remains to be seen whether my consistency – as witnessed by revisiting my 2016 obsessions – will continue now the latest batch of renovation work is done and the book pile unpacked, but I hope I do add something random and new to my reading in 2018 or I might worry that I’m getting boring in my old age!

Authors I love, children's books, cozy crime, crime, Fantasy, romance

My Big Obsessions of 2016: Revisited

It’s that time of the year when I look back at what I read the previous year and look at whether my habits have changed at all.  And as previously mentioned, this post is slightly later than it should have been because we’re already into 2018.  Sorry about that.

I think this year I’ve grown more slightly more consistent – if I was writing an obsessions post this year from scratch, several of last year’s obsessions would still be on it.  One of those would definitely be Fahrenheit Press. I had their subscription again this year and it’s given me another swath of great books to read.  My Dad is currently working his way through the Christy Kennedy series (and thinks they should be made into a TV series) and I can’t wait to see what they dish up this year.  I do hope the subscription is going again this year…

Another of my 2016 obsessions which has endured is Girls Own fiction. I’ve widened the pool of authors that I read again this year – adding some more classic authors like Elsie J Oxenham to my reading and to my little collection upstairs and some more obscure ones too.  Some were good, some were… not, but I had a wonderful time reading them.

My pace of working through The Chronicles of St Mary’s series has slowed somewhat this year – not because I’ve gone off them, but because I’m catching up to the end of the series – and as we all know I’m a terrible binge reader with no will control who would one click through to the next book without thinking and I’m meant to be regulating my book purchases. I’ve read a lot of the short stories and extras this year but no more of the actual novels.  Writing this has reminded me that I’ve got one waiting to be read on the kindle so you may well see that popping up on a Week in Books post soon!

Well this is one obsession that has well and truly endured this year – I’ve read another eleven of Sarah Morgan’s books this year – ranging from her new releases, through recent series and right back as far as some of her medical romances.  And she’s been the gateway into me reading a lot more contemporary romances this year than I would have expected.  Of that, more in my 2017 obsessions post – which will be coming soon.

And this final obsession is the one that hasn’t really endured.  I don’t think I’ve read a single Book with Brontes in it this year, unless we count Trisha Ashley’s The Little Tea Shop of Lost and Found which is set in Bronte country.  Publishing goes in phases and fads and clearly one of last year’s phases which hit my reading pile was the Brontes. As I’m not a particular fan of the Bronte’s I haven’t been looking out of anything else about them this year, and so I’m not surprised that it’s died off somewhat as an obsession.

So there you had it: Verity is still reading lots of crime and noir, Sarah Morgan and has a lingering fondness for time travelling historians.  Tune in to my next post to find out what I was obsessed with in 2017!

 

books, stats

December Stats

Welcome to the end of year stats.  It was on track to be a record year and then December derailed it somewhat.  But somethings are more important than reading and luckily it all seems to have turned out alright in the end – even if I haven’t managed to get the end of year review posts up as I would have liked.  They are coming though.  Promise.  Anyway – the final month of 2017 is over and the final figures are in:

New books read this month: 22*

Books from the to-read pile: 9

Ebooks read: 13

Books from the Library book pile: 0

Non-fiction books: 2

#ReadHarder categories completed: 7

Most read author: Sarah Morgan (two books)

Books read this year: 340

Books bought: 3 ebooks and 1 proper book

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf:  (I don’t have copies of all of these!)

*Includes some short stories/novellas/comics (3 this month)

Read Harder Bingo card with all the squares crossed off
I did it! I did it! I did it! (and with 2 and a half whole hours to spare!)
books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: December 25 – December 31

Here is the final WiB of 2017 – ending neatly at the end of the year precisely.  And everything that I finished this week was to try and finish ReadHarder – and it worked!  As it’s the end of the year, I’ve rationalised the ongoing books – and given up on the Rushdie – I wasn’t enjoying it and I’ve got lots of other things I’d rather read in 2018.

Read:

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Meridian by Alice Walker

French Poems of the Great War translated by Ian Higgins

Revolutionary Ride by Lois Pryce

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Started:

Second Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown

I was so busy trying to finish ReadHarder that I only bought one book – in the Waterstone’s sale and no ebooks.  Not too bad really.