Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: February 21 – February 27

Well. It really was quite a week wasn’t it. I mean so much going on. So very, very much. And as you might be able to tell, I’ve plunged into a massive Sookie Stackhouse re-read to deal with it all as well as listening to Georgette Heyer and Amelia Peabody. It’s been delightful, but I have actually no idea what I’m going to write about tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll work it out though.


Death by Intermission by Alexis Morgan

Pat’s Pantry by Rhoda Baxter

The Case of the Late Pig by Margery Allingham

Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris


Silver Street by Ann Stafford

The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson*

Still reading:

The Story of a Life by Konstantin Paustovsky*

Worn by Sofi Thanhauser*

Paper Lion by George Plimpton

Sex Cult Nun by Faith Jones

Fire Court by Andrew Taylor*

Bonus photo: We went to London on Sunday for a day out and so here is a picture of Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial looking delightful in the wintry sunshine, just after the Changing of the Guard finished.

Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial on Sunday Morning

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley


not a book, Uncategorized

Not a Book: LulaRich

Oh we’re back in the weird American stuff corner of my world this week. I’m on a big documentary kick at the moment by the way and it’s taking some effort on my part to spread out the posts about all of them!

LuLaRich is about the rapid rise and the somewhat fall of Lularoe, a multilevel marketing firm based out of Utah. In case you’ve never heard of them, they rose to fame for their “buttery soft” leggings and the collapse came when they had some…quality issues. If you haven’t already, there are a lot of articles about it – Stephanie McNeal (then of Buzzfeed) wrote this one and it won’t spoil your enjoyment of the documentary if you read it first.

And I know that might sound strange, but that’s because the big selling point about this doc (or at least it was for me) is that it has interviews with the founders DeeAnn Brady and her husband Mark Stidham so you can see what they have to say about it all. And it’s also got plenty of people who were involved in selling Lularoe too. It’s really quite something.

MLMs are such a peculiarly American thing too – I mean I remember my mum going to Tupperware and weekenders parties and buying stuff from Avon when I was little, but its by no means the same thing as in the states – I’ve seen people talking about having to run a gauntlet of MLM vendors at church, there are several reality TV stars who seem to make their main income from selling MLM products online (like Meri Brown from Sister Wives who is a Lularoe seller – and one of the top tier) so stuff like this fascinates and horrifies me in equal measure. I watched all four parts of this in one sitting with my sister the other week and it sort of blew my mind.

Anyway, if you’ve got any more good documentary series suggestions for me, please put them in the comments. I don’t want gore or sexual violence, I want more stuff like this or like the Man Who Stole Cricket about Alan Stanford. Thanking you!


Bookshelfie: Mostly Mystery?!

I had no idea what to call this shelf. Let’s start though with the fact that there’s almost nothing on this shelf that I haven’t already written about! There are Series I Love posts about Thursday Next, Rivers of London and Tales of the City. Death of an Angel, Death at Dukes Halt, Crooked Heart, Old Baggage and V for Victory were Books of the Week. But what do they have in common? Ummmm. Well they’re all books I like to keep handy downstairs but I’m not going to lie, this started as a shelf of mystery books with the Thursday Nexts and Nursery Crime books, the Rivers of Londons and the Peter Wimseys. But that was five Rivers of Londons ago and they didn’t fit on one shelf any more and I hate splitting series across shelves. So then it was a question of what do I have that has pretty covers that takes about the right amount of space. So the Tales of the City books got moved along with Crooked Heart and a few stray romances. And as the other books in that trilogy came out they got added and the other romances moved. So not the most logical but I think it looks pretty – and it doesn’t offend my principles of book organisation even if it is hard to figure out what to call it!

Happy weekend!

Series I love

Series I love: Master list

Well hasn’t this been a bit of a week so far. Real life is interfering madly with all of my plans for writing posts, so instead for this Friday I humbly offer you a master list of series I love posts so far…

Golden Age Crime:

Peter Wimsey

Albert Campion

Roderick Alleyn

Historical Mystery

Amelia Peabody

Phryne Fisher

Daisy Dalrymple

Royal Spyness

Veronica Speedwell

Pink Carnation

Murder Mystery

Charles Paris

Cupcake Bakery



Rivers of London

Thursday Next

Other Fiction

Miss Buncle



Tales of the City



Squee: New Taylor Jenkins Reid coming!

Do you remember when I said the other day in my preorder post that hopefully the release calendar would start to fill up soon? Well days later, just days later, guess what? Taylor Jenkins Reid announced she has a new book coming this summer!

And as you can see from the Instagram post, it’s tangentially related to Malibu Rising – in that it’s about someone that we met in that book – albeit some years later. I am *very* excited. But I will admit I haven’t preordered it yet – because I’m waiting to see if there is a signed edition coming somewhere or if she’s going to do any in person events for it because as you may remember, back in the beforetimes, I went to see her talk about Daisy Jones and the Six in the basement of Waterstones in Gower Street in March 2019 – I even paid money to go!

I do sort of love the idea that it’s the TJR universe and that the people in her books could run into each other. But that’s because I love it in romance series where you get to see the couple from the previous books pop up and being happy! Anyway, I suspect that this time if there is a tour it may be in a slightly bigger place – and again, I’ll happily pay money for it – especially if there’s a chance of getting some weird merch with it – the fake festival bracelet I got for Daisy is on one of my shelves next to my home office desk – along with my collection of bookish badges and postcards and the like.

Book of the Week, book round-ups, romance

Recommendsday: Secret identity/double identity romances

Off the back of yesterday’s book of the week, today we’re talking romances where one (or both) partners are living a double life or have a secret identity

Let’s start with Georgette Heyer – because she has a few of these of various types. The Masqueraders has a cross dressing brother and sister who are trying to lie low after the Jacobite rebellion, False Colours has one twin pretending to be his missing brother and These Old Shades – one of my all time favourites has Leon the page who is actually Leonie. And that’s before you get to The Corinthian (girl runs away from home dressed as a boy and drops out of the window into the hero’s arms), and Arabella (heroine pretending to be a great heiress). Is it any wonder I love this trope so much?

Duchess by Night was my first Eloisa James – and I picked it up at the library because it mentioned the heroine in disguise. Now it’s much, much more steamy than Heyer – but as all you get in Heyer is a kiss, then that’s not a surprise. This’ll anyway, our heroine dresses up as a man to sneak into the house of a notorious rake to see what his debauched parties are actually like. You see where this is going (and why it’s not closed door!). Anyway, as an introduction to the series it was great – although I haven’t reread it in a few years so I hope it holds up!

I came to Eloisa James after discovering Julia Quinn and after James I moved in to Sarah MacLean who I have now written about a lot but has a secret identity type – but telling you what it is is a spoiler and a reveal and you need to have read the rest of the series to get the most out of it. I had to go back and read the Rules of Scandals series again after the shock twist at the end of No Good Duke Goes Unpunished because I was so convinced that MacLean must have slipped up at some point and she hadn’t. It is a master stroke.

Let’s go contemporary! And Jen De Luca’s Well Played which has a heroine who has been emailing back and forth with someone all year who actually turns out to be someone else. It just about manages to stay on the Cyrano side rather than the catfishing, the latter of which is the risk in all the modern day twists on this and obviously I love the Ren Fair setting because I made the first book in the series a BotW – and I read Well Matched (which is the third book) in two giant gulps last week. And maybe the aforementioned catfishing situation is why I can’t think of any other contemporaries to include here – it’s hard to come up with a twist on this that doesn’t create an insurmountable issue on the romance. Which is maybe why I was so impressed with Playing with Love! So please – if you have more, put them in the comments!

Happy hump day!

Book of the Week, new releases, romance, romantic comedy

Book of the Week: Playing for Love

After a few weeks of murder mystery picks of various types, I’m back with another romance book for this week’s BotW – and it’s even a new release! Check me getting new books read in a timely manner. I know. Astounding

Ever since her mum died, Samadhi has watched YouTube streams of video gamers to help her destress. Sam plays games herself as well, so when she’s selected in a contest to partner her all-time favourite streamer, Blaze, in a competition to promote a new game, it’s her lucky day. Except that in real life she’s trying to get her fashion business off the ground and she needs all her time to do that. Blaze is a swashbucking pirate type – with a big following and as well as wanting to make sure she doesn’t embarrass herself in front of the internet, she’s also got a bit of a crush. Ok, make that a lot of a crush. But what she doesn’t know is that in real life, Blaze is actually Luke – the shy guy from her office who has been helping her with her crowdfunding campaign. And of course Luke doesn’t know that Sam is Bravura. And every day as Luke is working up the courage to ask Sam out, Sam is falling a little bit harder for Blaze. How will the competition end – and will Sam realise who Luke is before it’s too late?

So I love a double identity/mistaken identity romance which is something I could list a whole bunch of historical romances with that trope but I’m going to save that til tomorrow (!) and obviously there are also films like You’ve Got Mail, Pillow Talk and Some Like it Hot. And this is a delight. I really appreciated that Luke never took advantage of the fact that he realised who Sam was first (which is my problem with You’ve Got Mail and Pillow Talk if I think too hard about it) and there is also plenty of competency porn and calling out of people being icky to women in the gaming world and in the bottom half of the internet. But the slow burn romance is the main attraction here – and it’s a delight to watch especially as I wasn’t quite sure how it was all going to work out.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Jeevani Charika – but she also writes as Rhoda Baxter and I’ve heard her interviewed before on the Smart Bitches podcast and have been meaning to try and read some of her books. And I enjoyed this so much that I’ll definitely be doing that. If they’re all as much fun as this, I’ve got some really good reading in front of me. I complain a lot about wanting more romantic comedies and how hard it is to find them – so I really enjoyed finding one and I’m hoping that the act of buying some of the back catalogue will help the algorithm put some more my way!

My copy of Playing for Love came from NetGalley, but it’s out now and is a bargain 99p on Kindle and £1.99 on Kobo as I write this. And it’s also coming out in paperback, but not until April – and don’t worry Foyles will let you preorder it.

Happy Reading!

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: February 14 – February 20

An interesting week in reading – revisiting an old friend in Sookie Stackhouse and also re-reading Thrones, Dominations for the first time in a few years and in the light of my newly intensive listening of the proper Peter and Harriet books. Then I got a couple more states ticked off the map of America with a couple more books in cozy crime series that I like – and when my library hold for Well Matched came in. Really quite a satisfying week in reading.


Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanna Fluke

Home Work by Julie Andrews

Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy L Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh

The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories by Charlaine Harris

Playing for Love by Jeevani Charika*

Pumpkin Spice Peril by Jen McKinlay

Well Matched by Jen De Luca


Sex Cult Nun by Faith Jones

Fire Court by Andrew Taylor*

Death by Intermission by Alexis Morgan

Still reading:

The Story of a Life by Konstantin Paustovsky*

Worn by Sofi Thanhauser*

Paper Lion by George Plimpton

Bonus photo:  I went to the theatre – again – last week, so it’s another gratuitous theatre photo – this time from the Six the Musical tour.

Shot of a the stage for Six the musical before it started

An * next to a book title indicates that it came from NetGalley. ** indicates it was an advance copy from a source other than NetGalley


children's books, not a book

Not a Book: Matilda the Musical

Another post from my trip to London the other week. As well as the Elizabeth and Mary exhibition and a wander around the national gallery, we went to see Matilda, the musical based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book of the same name.

So I want to say that this isn’t the first time that I’d seen Matilda – I actually saw it in its original incarnation at the RSC in Stratford a decade ago, but it was the first time I’ve seen it in the West End. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to my memories of it – especially as I’ve got the CD (yes I know, it’s that long ago) and have sung along to it in the car a lot, but actually it really did. There are a few bits of staging that have definitely changed since that Christmas run, but that’s probably not a surprise given that the stage at Stratford was much more of a thrust stage than the Cambridge theatre is. We bought our tickets on the day (from the theatre) and were sat in the middle of the Dress Circle, which was really good value and a really good view. There is some running around in the aisles in the stalls that you can’t see, but for me it wasn’t worth paying an extra £50+ for.

In terms of the book vs the show, Matilda’s own story is fairly similar, but there’s a secondary plot strand added to tie in (that really works, don’t worry!) and you see less of the telekinises than you get in the book – but given that you have to try and make that work on stage, it’s not a surprise. I’ve always thought that picking Tim Minchen to do the music was inspired – he’s funny and clever and a little bit dark and sly. And like the book it’s funny but funny and suitable for children – there aren’t any jokes here that parents are going to get awkward questions about. And I know it’s a children’s show so you’d think that there wouldn’t be, but actually you’d be surprised!

Anyway, we had a blast, five out of five, would recommend, just maybe don’t go on a Saturday (or in the school holidays) if chatting children during the show are going to annoy you!

book round-ups, previews, Uncategorized

Books incoming: February edition

Honestly I am amazed at my own restraint. No seriously. And actually I’m also pretty transparent. The Jenn McKinlay is the book I told you I bought in the Cupcake Bakery post. Poison for a Teacher is because of Death Goes On Skis. Lions of Fifth Avenue is because I was shopping for a birthday book for my mum (hi mum!) and bought this for myself at the same time, and the Unforgettable Guinevere St Clare is something I had my eye on for the 50 States Challenge last year so I treated myself to it for this year’s edition. There are two more books that haven’t arrived yet – I put in an order for the Antony Sher memoir and also a book about musicals, but everything else has been an ebook or a preorder…