Book of the Week, mystery, new releases, reviews

Book of the Week: Judge Walden – Back in Session

Another change of direction for this week’s BotW pick.  I read a lot last week, and a lot of it was good, but Judge Walden: Back in Session seemed like a fairly obvious pick – even if it is the second in a series, and not just because it is out on Thursday.  And I know I keep saying it, but the summer reading reccs post is coming up, so more of last week’s books may yet get a mention!

Cover of Judge Walden: Back in SessionBack in Session is the second book about Charlie Walden, resident judge (that means he’s in charge) at Berdmonsey Crown Court.  His main aim in life is just to get on with his job – trying criminals – without attracting the attention of either the press or, even worse, the Civil Servants.  He calls them the Grey Smoothies and is constantly on the watch for their latest targets or cost cutting idea.  He also has to manage his three fellow judges – who all have different ideas about the law and how it should be applied and aren’t afraid of expressing them.  Charlie’s wife – a vicar – is also a regular character who offers insight and support depending on what’s going on at court. The book is broken down into a series of cases, each covering one trial but which either have some relevance to wider life at the court or which have something happening in the background at the same time.  Each case is about novella length and as you get to the end of the book all the threads that have been bubbling along build to a satisfying conclusion.

I bought the first book in this series after reading the first case in it (which is free on Kindle) and both the books really, really worked for me.  The characters are interesting, the setting is fun and different and it’s all knitted together so well.  The author is a former resident judge himself and so presumably knows exactly what he’s talking about. As a journalist in my “proper” job,  I’ve done my share of court reporting over the years, and all the court scenes in this really worked for me – except with all the boring stuff taken out!  Because it’s broken down into cases, I think it would make a great book to read on the train or on a plane – it’s easy to pick up and put down without losing the sense of what’s going on.

Back in Session does build on the framework from the first book – so I definitely suggest reading Walden of Berdmonsey first – but if you don’t, I don’t think it would be the end of the world.  My copy of the new book came from NetGalley, but I bought book one on a Kindle deal, so it might be worth adding that to your watchlist as the price may drop when book two comes out.  If you want to get hold of a copy for your very own, Back in Session is available to pre-order in Kindle, Kobo or in paperback from Amazon, your friendly local bookshop or Big Green Books.  The first book is also in all the same places (Kindle/Kobo/Amazon paperback/Big Green Bookshop) or if you want a free taster, you can try Walden’s First Case, but I could only find that on Kindle.  I’m hoping we haven’t heard the last of the Judges of Berdmonsey Crown Court.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: May 14 – May 20

I spent a couple of days in Glasgow for work last week – which involved 11+ hours on a train to get up there and back, so I got a bit of reading done and a few long runners ticked off the list (and some progress on a few more too).  I’m almost pleased with myself.

Read:

I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

Fowl of the House of Usher by JR Ripley

Custard Heart by Dorothy Parker

Judge Walden: Back in Session by Peter Murphy

How to Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Started:

J is for Judgement by Sue Grafton

A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver

Still reading:

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Templars by Dan Jones

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Pure Juliet by Stella Gibbons

One book and one ebook bought.  Progress again!

Book of the Week, reviews, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Clean

Taking a break from the run of romance novels as Books of the Week to go for something completely different: Juno Dawson’s new YA novel Clean.  There were a couple of strong contenders for BotW, but this blew me away when I read it.  You will be hearing more of some of the other books from last week though – there’s one on there that’s not out in the UK yet that’s definitely going on one of my summer reading list posts at the very least.

Cover of CLEAN by Juno Dawson

Clean is the story of Lexi Volkov, the socialite daughter of a Russian hotel millionaire who definitely isn’t hooked on hard drugs and really doesn’t need to be in rehab.  Or at least that’s what she’d thinks.  She’s been checked into an exclusive treatment centre by her brother after nearly overdosing and the book follows her as she works her way through her treatment.  This is a Young Adult book, but it is dealing with a properly adult subject matter and in a very upfront way and realistic way.  I think this is one for the older end of the YA market – probably over 14 – maybe a bit older – although I was definitely reading stuff like this by GCSE sort of stage.  I found this so readable that I wanted to keep going – but had to take a break or two because it is a lot to take in and deal with.

Lexi is a brilliant character – at the start she is very abrasive and incredibly hard to like – and that’s by design I think.  It’s her addictions and the selfishness of the addict speaking rather than her real personality.  I only really started to like her about two thirds of the way through – may be later – and started really wanting her to succeed but even then she had her moments.  The book is also packed with interesting characters and great representation.  I don’t have any experience of inpatient treatment, but the book felt like was based on fact and reality – even if sometimes I wondered if there shouldn’t be some more staff around.  But then a bit of artistic licence is definitely allowable, and anyway as I’ve said – I don’t know anything about the reality of an expensive private rehab facility. I did have a few other minor quibbles and thought the ending was really clever – but I can’t say much more about any of that without spoiling things and breaking my rules about that sort of thing.

What I will say though is that this probably needs a trigger warning for pretty much everything – and not just for the drug taking and drug addiction.  As I said earlier, it’s definitely for the older end of the YA market, and I needed to take breaks while reading this.  But then as I’m a massive wimp who often doesn’t read books like this because they’re too dark for me, that’s probably not surprising.

I got my copy of Clean via NetGalley, but it’s out now and available in all the usual formats – Kindle and Kobo (and only £2.99 at time of writing) as well as paperback from all the usual sources.  I’d also expect to be able to find this fairly easily in an actual bookshop and may be even the supermarkets..  I’ve got another of Dawson’s earlier YA books sitting on the TBR shelf along with her non-fiction adult book The Gender Games and this has made me thing that I really need to get to them sooner rather than later.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: May 7 – May 13

Much more like it this week – and I’ve made some progress on some of the other long runners too.  Feeling much happier with myself.

Read:

Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Making Up by Lucy Parker

Lethal Literature by Kym Roberts

Triage by Tara Crescent

Calamity in Kent by John Rowland

Clean by Juno Dawson

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

Joy in the Morning by PG Wodehouse

Dead as a Doornail by Tonya Kappes

Started:

Pure Juliet by Stella Gibbons

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Templars by Dan Jones

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Three books and one ebook, which is not quite as well behaved, but hey, I’m not perfect!

 

Book of the Week, romance

Book of the Week: One and Only

This week’s BotW is another romance – Jenny Holiday’s One and Only.  I impulse bought this after seeing the author tweeting that she’d realised that she keeps putting scenes in her books where her characters eat grilled cheese. Now, I currently have five different types of cheese in my fridge, and when I was learning to talk my word was more, and my first phrase was “more cheese” so I think we all know what it was that got my book buying ban overruled…

Cover of One and Only

Now as the whole book is not about cheese, I should give you a plot outline: Jane is the sensible, organised, responsible member of her friendship group.  So of course she’s the one tasked with keeping her Bridezilla friend’s soon-to-be brother-in-law out of trouble in the run up to the wedding.  Cameron has just been kicked out of the army (with the Canadian equivalent of a dishonourable discharge) after his attempt at turning his life around went awry.  He’s got a list of things that he wants to do now he’s free of the military’s rules and he’s determined to tick them all off before his brother gets married.  The last thing he needs is someone dogging his every move to keep him in line.

Of course we all know what’s going to happen here – these two opposites are going to fall for each other and we’re going to learn that there’s a lot more to Cameron than his bad boy reputation. Hint: he definitely got a rough deal from the army.  Jane needs some one to challenge her and get her out of her comfort zone and he needs someone to prove to him that he is more than other people think he is and that he can have the future that he wants to have.  I would chalk this up as reasonably steamy – there’s quite a lot of bedroom action here, and it’s a little bit more… adventurous than some of the others I’ve read recently.

The other great thing about this book is Jane’s group of friends – they’re fun and supportive, even the Bridezilla (who is also a great comic turn).  I also loved the setting – I can’t remember the last time (if ever) I read a contemporary romance set in Canada and this left me a) wanting more and b) wanting to visit Canada.  It’s the first in the series and the sequel is out in June.  I’m busy resisting the urge to go and buy more of Holiday’s back catalogue to read more of the grilled cheese scenes.

You can get One and Only on Kindle and Kobo and Amazon also sell a paperback edition, although I’ve not worked out if it’s a UK edition or a US one which will affect whether you’ll be able to order it elsewhere.  Summer is coming and with it I know a lot of you will be going to weddings, so get yourself in the mood with this!

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: April 30 – May 6

I was going to say that I don’t know what happened, but to be honest, I do know what happened: a busy week at work – including extra hours for local elections and then a sunny bank holiday weekend with family visiting and friends holding BBQs that culminated in me falling asleep on the sofa at 9pm on Sunday evening after a few glasses of Pimms.  It happens.

Read:

The Bachelor and the Beauty Queen by Carolyn Hector

Walden of Berdmonsey by Peter Murphy

H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton

One and Only by Jenny Holliday

Started:

Making Up by Lucy Parker

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Templars by Dan Jones

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth

A couple of books bought too – I had a weak moment – 3 books and 2 ebooks.

books, stats

April Stats

New books read this month:  39*

Books from the to-read pile: 7

Ebooks read: 30

Books from the Library book pile: 1

Non-fiction books: 5

#ReadHarder categories completed: 7

Pop Sugar categories completed: 12

Most read author: Sue Grafton – the first SEVEN books of the Kinsey Milhone series!

Books read this year:  129

Books bought:  2 books and  13 ebooks (1 book preorder, 3 ebook preorders)

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf: 566 (I don’t have copies of all of these!)

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