books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: July 1 – July 7

After all the nonfiction reading of the last few weeks, this week was thoroughly fiction centric.


Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Proud ed Juno Dawson

It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Thrill Me by Susan Mallery

Hot Head by Damon Suede

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery


The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

Sharp by Michelle Dean

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby

Still reading:

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

One book bought – but it’s a replacement for a Laurie Graham that I’ve lost – so it totally doesn’t count at all.

Bonus picture: The Coliseum on Saturday night, in the middle of the Pride parade party – I was on my way to see On Your Feet!

St Martins Lane in London


book round-ups, holiday reading

What I read on my holidays: Summer 2019 edition

It’s already July and I haven’t posted this, so I thought I ought to get my act in gear.  I had a fabulous week in the glamourous south of France in mid-June and took full advantage of my sun lounger time to read.  As the school summer holidays are not far off now, here’s a few of my favourites from the week for some inspiration for your holiday.

Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

Cover of The Van Apfel Girls are Gone

This is an atmospheric and chilling story of the events of one boiling hot summer in a small Australian town when three young girls went missing. Told through the eyes of Tikka – eleven years old at the time and still haunted by the events when she returns to her home town years later – as an adult you have a massive sense of foreboding and quiet horror at the events in the lead up to the disappearance.  This is so well written and the descriptions so good that you can feel and almost touch the heat and the unexplained smell of the town.  It’s also funny and endearing and if I didn’t find the ending entirely satisfying, I think that may have been part of the point of it.

Fumbled by Alexa Martin

cover of Fumbled

Intercepted was a Book of the Week and this was a runner up in my best new books of 2019 so far but Fumbled deserves more than just a passing mention.  As regular readers will know, I’m not a big fan of the secret baby trope, but this one is actually one that worked for me and without making either parent seem like a bad person.  The heroine is feisty, the hero actually listens to her and respects her point of view and they talk about their problems rather than ignore them.  And I liked that it dealt with the issue of brain injuries in the NFL and in (American) football generally. I like Alexa Martin’s voice and her connection to the game (her husband is an ex-pro) really shines through.

An Act of Villany by Ashley Weaver

Cover of An Act of Villainy

This is the fourth in the Amory Ames series of murder mysteries set in the 1930s.  This is right in my Daisy Dalrymple/Phryne Fisher sweet spot and with a smart bright young thing married to a reformed (we hope) philanderer.  This has a theatre-centric plot that reminded me (in a good way) of the theatre-set installments of Ngaio Marsh’s Alleyn books. The banter is good, the characters are fun – and the central relationship between Amory and Milo is more complicated than the usual husband doesn’t want the wife involved dynamic that you get in a lot of these series.

And on top of all of these, there were lots of Susan Mallery books (mostly from the Fools Gold series), Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents (after I bought it while writing the where to start with Pratchett post), the latest Rivers of London (which is excellent but really needs to be read in series order) as well as BotW pick Maud West.

I haven’t done specific links for purchasing each book today – but these should be easy to find on Kindle or Kobo or to get hold of from your local independent bookseller or Foyles or Waterstones or similar.


books, stats

June Stats

New books read this month: 33*

Books from the to-read pile: 5

Ebooks read: 12

NetGalley books read: 4

Library books: 10 (all ebooks)

Non-fiction books: 3

Most read author: Susan Mallery (5 books – all Fools Gold ones)

Books read in 2019:  203

Books bought: 0!!!!!

Books on the Goodreads to-read shelf: 589 (I don’t have copies of all of these!)

I can’t believe I’ve finally managed a month where I didn’t buy a book! And without realising that I’d done it too.  Amazing.  Thank you baggage tag mix up for keeping me away from the bookshop at Luton airport!

Bonus picture: Aix-en-Provence’s cathedral – from my holiday in the middle of the month.  If there’s an architectural style – from Roman to Gothic – this has got it.

Aix-en-Provence cathedral front

*Includes some short stories/novellas/comics/graphic novels (4 this month)


Book of the Week, non-fiction

Book of the Week: Seduction

June’s stats coming up tomorrow, but first, this week’s Book of the Week – where we’re still firmly in non-fiction (that’s three BotW posts in a row now!) and in a different part of my historical sweet spot: classic Hollywood.

Cover of Seduction

As the subtitle suggests, this is an examination of the machinations of movie mogul Howard Hughes.  A controversial and massively famous figure in his day, if you’re not into Hollywood history you’ve probably still seen Howard Hughes references in all sorts of stuff – like the episode of The Simpsons where gambling is legalised and Mr Burns turns weird, or Willard Whyte in Diamonds are Forever or the fact that Stan Lee cited him as an inspiration for Tony Stark.  And of course there’s the Martin Scorsese film The Aviator in which he’s played by Leonardo DiCaprio.  But like Hallie Rubenhold in The Five last week, Karina Longworth is coming at this from the perspective of the women in the case – and there were a lot of them – she examines what Hughes’s obsessions with sex, power and publicity meant for the women in his orbit and how it affected them. Hint: he was a real piece of work, even more than you might already be thinking.

This was where the majority of my commute reading time went last week (five of my six train journeys) because although it’s fascinating it’s also super long. I’m a recent* convert to Longworth’s podcast, You Must Remember This, and was a little bit worried that this was going to be covering some of the same ground that that has already covered, but actually that’s not a problem. Some of the stuff has been touched on, but this is much more in depth and with more space to develop an overarching theme and narrative.

Obviously #MeToo has been much in the news over the last few years and if you want an illustration of what powerful men in Hollywood have been getting away with since the silent era then this is it. It would also serve as a great starting off point for a wider journey into Hollywood lore – I know there’s a few more lives I want to explore and a couple of books off the bibliography that I’ll be keeping an eye open for.

My copy of Seduction came from the library, but it’s out now in hardback, Kindle and Kobo as well as audiobook read by Longworth. NB: if you haven’t listened to her podcast, she’s got a very particular way of talking which can take a bit of getting used to and I know doesn’t work for everyone.  I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be to find in bookstores – it’s available to buy from Waterstones’ website, but not on click and collect – ditto Foyles.

Happy Reading!

*as in a couple of series ago.


books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: June 24 – June 30

It’s the start of July and it’s a Monday so we have the traditional conundrum about how to juggle the schedule for the stats post, but don’t worry, it’s coming.  Anyway, a nice and varied list of books for the last week of June – although it got a bit interupted in places – that’s why there’s a lot of books on the started list!


The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Seduction by Karina Longworth

We’ll Meet Again by Cathy Bramley

Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery

Why Do You Wear A Cheap Watch by Hans Fallada


It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

Proud by Juno Dawson

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Still reading:

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

No books bought – but quite a few audiobooks in Audible’s birthday sale. But they don’t count to they?!

Bonus picture: the heatwave in Fitzroy Square!

A sunny day in a Georgian square