book adjacent, books

Book related: The Three Musketeers

Let’s start by saying I have a soft spot for adaptations of Alexander Dumas’s band of sword fighting soldiers. I think it probably started with Dogtanian and the Muskerhounds – the original, not the film a couple of years ago and possessor of a deeply catchy theme tune (I’ve put it right at the bottom of the post, press play if you dare) but there have been many others since, including when my favourite skater at the time did a routine to the music from The Man in the Iron Mask to win his Olympic gold! Anyway today we’re talking about the new French movie – the first of a duo.

So they’ve done some… adjustments to the plot of the book, but if you’ve read the book D’Artagnan takes you to roughly the halfway point of the novel in a very easy to enjoy two hour romp. There are sword fights galore along with chivalry and banter and some great stunt work – including a man jumping from one horse to another, which I always love to see.

It’s got a top notch French cast – including Vincent Cassel and Romain Duris among the musketeers and Eva Green as Milady – who spends a lot of time in a huge hat smoking a long stemmed pipe. Iconic stuff. Him Indoors came with me to see it and he described it as “nonsense – but very enjoyable nonsense” and then started to speculate on how the French film industry manages to make such impressive looking movies on such a consistent basis!

If you’re a purist and want something that follows the book completely, this may not work for you – one man left out screening sucking his teeth and telling the usher it wasn’t very accurate – but if you enjoyed the BBC series Musketeers, then I think you’ll like this. We’re definitely going back for part two, which is called Milady, when that arrives here at the end of the year.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

books, The pile

Books Incoming: mid May edition

So technically two of these arrived last month – but were delivered to my parents so weren’t at home for last month’s post – I’ve already written about Romantic Comedy at length, but the actual book is very pretty – although I do like the US version too. The other late arrival is the beautiful hardback Virago edition of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. Yes I already own a paperback copy AND the audiobook (read by Meryl Streep no less!), and no I don’t know whether I will manage to part with the paperback now I have this to add to my collection of Designer Classics.

Then we have a bunch of new releases and preorders. My copy of William Lee Adams’ Wild Dances came direct from the author, but The Tobacco Wives and Dressed to Drill were preorders – although they arrived later than I was expecting, especially the new Fixer-Upper which was nearly two day after release, but then it’s a US book so even though Amazon UK said they had it, they probably didn’t!

Then we have another Goldy Schultz as I continue to pick up second-hand copies of the ones that aren’t on Kindle, the next Cupcake Bakery that I haven’t read and a couple of impulse purchases: Beach Read which I bought after I finished Happy Place and The Golden Hour which I’ve had my eye on for ages. And then on Sunday I was in Sainsbury’s and couldn’t help myself when I saw a historical mystery series I hadn’t come across before. Poor impulse control.

And that’s your lot for this month!


Series redux: Josephine Tey

To Love and Be Wise this week was the first time I’ve read any of the actual Josephine Tey books since I read Nicola Upson’s series that features the author and as various of the Nicola Upsons have appeared in my Kindle daily deals email at reduced prices, I thought it was a good time to remind you of my post from this time last year about the series – read all about them here. And as far as I can see, there’s no news yet on whether there is going to be an eleventh.

Book previews

Out this week: New Summer Romances

I wanted to mention two books that are out this week – firstly the new Jenn McKinley is out on Kindle, no not new entry in her cozy crime series, but her latest romance which is set on Martha’s Vineyard. As you can see from the picture, it’s blurbed by Annabel Monaghan who wrote Nora Goes Off Script, which is still one of my favourite reads so far this year, and I have high hopes. I’m about halfway through it at the moment – so you may yet hear more about it. Fair warning: if you’re in the UK and want a physical copy, that doesn’t arrive here until July.

Also out this week is the latest Christina Lauren and as I mentioned in my Book of the Week post for The Soulmate Equation, it’s the story of Fizzy who is the heroine’s best friend in that. Fizzy is a romance writer who has never been in love and who finds herself starring in a reality TV show and the hero is a single dad who is one of the people making the show. I am very excited to see how this one works – I loved The Soulmate Equation and when Christina Lauren did TV show adjacent in The Honey Don’t List I also enjoyed it. So basically I really want to read this, stat!

books on offer, Recommendsday

Recommendsday: May Kindle Offers

Slightly later than usual because I like to keep you all guessing, but here’s this month’s Kindle offers, as lovingly researched and selected by moi.

Cover of No Life for a Lady

Lets start with stuff I’ve talked about recently and Hannah Dolby’s No Life for a Lady is 99p at the moment – or free if you’re in Kindle Unlimited, which is a total bargain. If the Coronation wasn’t enough Royal content for you this month, A Three Dog Problem from the HM The Queen Investigates series is 99p, Stacy HallsMrs England is on offer again. Much less recently, but still recommended is Jasper Fforde’s A Constant Rabbit – also 99p as is V for Victory by Lissa Evans

There’s also an all time children’s classic on offer because the film comes out shortly – Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I’ve been listening to Dan Jones on audiobook recently, and the next one I have cued up to listen to Power and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages is 99p at the moment. He’s a very good narrator if you get the audio book, but if you find it easier to do monster history books in written form, this is a bargain. Rachel Lynn Solomon has a new book out soon, but one of her older ones, The Ex Talk is 99p – I prefer Weather Girl but if you’re not a journalist, you may be able to ignore the massive ethics violation in this – I know lots of other people have loved it.

If you’re collecting series, the Pratchett offers this month are The Truth (one of my favourites), Eric and The Science of Discworld III; the Julia Quinn is What Happens in London which is not a Bridgerton book but was my first ever of hers; the Wimseys are Five Red Herrings (which I listened to just last week) and the first one, Whose Body at 99p and Unnatural Death at £1.69 although that does look like a weird edition. Talisman Ring is the only Georgette Heyer on offer at 99p, but there are a few at £1.99 including Devil’s Cub.

And finally, here’s the books I bought whilst writing this post section: The Secret Barrister’s Nothing But the Truth which is 99p to mark it’s paperback release; TJ Klune’s Under the Whispering Door which I’ve been wiating to come down in price for ages and I think must be because of the release of In the Lives of Puppets; Africa Is Not A Country by Diplo Faloyin; Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu and The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Book of the Week, books, detective, mystery

Book of the Week: To Love and Be Wise

Three weeks in a row with a crime pick it is not, but this week we’re back with classic crime and one of Josephine Tey’s Inspector Grant series.

At a party to collect a friend and take her out for dinner, Alan Grant meets a startlingly good looking American photographer. A few weeks later, he finds himself investigating that same photographer’s disappearance. Did he drown, commit suicide – or has someone killed him? I’m not going to say any more about the plot because is a really ingenious mystery and I don’t want to give anything else away, but it has got a really nice setting – a rural idyll that’s been invaded by a flock of artistic types – writers, actors, dancers and performers of various types – and is seething with potential rivalries that makes it a really good read.

This is the fourth the series, but as it’s been five years since I read any of the series and it didn’t give me any issues I don’t think it matters if you haven’t read any others or if you’re reading out of order. If you’re reading in order, this follows The Franchise Affair, which is also really good. There are six in the series and I’ve read half of them – and reading this has made me want to read the rest!

This was first published in 1950 and there are plenty of editions out there. Be warned if you’re buying on Kindle: they’re are two different versions – including a recent reissue – and if you click for the series it takes you to the new edition which has the link severed with the previous versions – which is why I discovered that I now own two copies of this when I came to take the picture for this post. Luckily the second copy was really quite cheap so I don’t feel too annoyed about it. But check your device before you buy. It’s on Kobo too, but it appears to be only the older version – so far at least.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: May 8 – May 14

Well as expected, Eurovision week put a dent in my reading time. But I regret nothing. I also went to Tony! The Rock Opera on one of the non-Eurovision nights, which was fun, but also no reading time! Will normal service be resumed this week? We will see.


Death at the Dolphin by Ngaio Marsh

Prime Cut by Diane Mott Davidson

Famous for a Living by Melissa Ferguson*

Have His Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers

To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey


Proper English by K J Charles

Sticks and Stones by Diane Mott Davidson

Still reading:

Wild Dances by William Lee Adams**

The Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes by Kate Strasdin*

The Empire by Michael Ball*

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd

Reach for the Stars by Michael Cragg

Five books bought – including ebooks but also a preorder or two – and a couple of preorders arrived as well.

Bonus photo: it’s wisteria season again!

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

not a book, tv

Not a book: Eurovision II (again!)

So Eurovision is over for another year. And what a year this has been – having the contest here has been a real experience, even if the UK entry didn’t do very well. But hey, the host often doesn’t do that great. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. It was quite a show though – Liverpool did us proud. I’ve put the winning performance at the bottom in case anyone hasn’t watched yet, but I wanted to highlight my favourite bit of the night: the interval act:

Obviously Liverpool has a great musical heritage, and I loved the way Eurovision paid tribute to that in the most Eurovision way ever. If you haven’t watched it, click play and I defy you to be unmoved by it. I loved all of it – and also that Dadi Freyr finally got to perform on the Eurovision stage having been the favourites to win the 2020 contest that was then cancelled because of Covid and then coming back in 2021 only to be unable to perform on the night because of a Covid case in the group. Honestly just wonderful. The best interval act since Mans and Petra did Love Love Peace Peace.

And the other thing that has come out of this week has been the world getting to see Hannah Waddingham do her thing and just loving her. I’m a big theatre nerd as you all know, and she’s been on my radar for years and years now, but it’s only since Game of Thrones (she’s the shame nun) and Ted Lasso that she’s really hit the big time beyond us theatre nerds. And I love it when a theatre person gets the notice they deserve – see Mark Rylance but in a different way for him of course. Anyway, if you watched Hannah this week and wondered what else she can do, have this video of her performing as part of the cast of Spamalot (along with Tim Curry!) at the Royal Variety performance back in the day.

Anyway, here is this year’s winner:

I don’t love Tattoo the way I loved Euphoria so I’m trying not to be bitter that my favourite didn’t win, but I can’t be too angry about being back in Sweden for the 50th anniversary of Waterloo. And what was my favourite I hear you ask? Well, for once my favourite did rather well – even though as usual it was one of the wilder and more “novelty” songs – no not Croatian Monty Python guys (who threatened to perform naked if they one) but Finland and Cha Cha Cha.

They won the popular vote, but the juries didn’t go for them so we’ll see you in Sweden next year Eurovision fans!

book related, books

Books in the Wild: Euston Station

Ok so it’s not an airport, but another place where you often find yourself buying a book at the last minute is the railway station, so I took a wander around Euston’s W H Smith bookstore (it’s separate to the newsagent one) to see what you might be able to pick up if you’re heading to the Midlands, North West England or Scotland!

Firstly let’s take a moment for the window display for Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons in Chemistry, one of my favourite books of last year and now in paperback and still getting plenty of publicity and prominent placement. And yes, I know that some of this stuff is paid for sometimes, but I’ve seen displays in the indies as well (Bookends in Carlisle had one too).

This is the front and centre display as you come in – and you may notice that I’ve read three of these new releases already: Romantic Comedy, Happy Place and Pineapple Street which is quite something even for me given that they all came out in April!

I’ve read only one on the back where they’ve got the non-fiction – and although I didn’t love I want to die but I want to eat ttchbokki, I’m glad to see it getting some shelf time.

Lots of the usual suspects here – like Daisy Jones, the Richard Osmans, a stack of Colleen Hoover, some Lee Child, a load of thrillers, the big literary fiction books and the Richard Coles, but it’s nice to see The Three Dahlias in its shiny new paperback edition.

On the non-fiction front, Prince Harry’s book is still there – but so is the parody Spare Us! I’ve mentioned Femina before and I also have The Premonitions Bureau, Village in the Third Reich and Nazi Billionaires on the Kindle. But it’s very self help heavy apart from that and we know that’s not what I read very often!

It does feel like a very curated selection aimed at travellers – which isn’t a surprise – but it is a much better selection than the old W H Smith ever had – so from that side of thing I suppose the chaos and disruption while they were remodelling it all is mitigated a little!

book related, books

Series Redux: Amory Ames

Montage of covers of Ashley Weaver novels

Ashley Weaver has a new book out this week in her new series, so it seems like a good time to remind people of her last series – the inter-war set Amory Ames mysteries. I wrote about them last summer – so you can see a bit more about them here, but they’re historical cozy mysteries with a romantic subplot to them. As I said in that post, the closest comparator is probably the Royal Spyness series – the romantic relationship at the centre of this gives you some similar vibes to the one in that, although Georgie’s Darcy is more mysterious behaviour open to misinterpretation than Amory’s Milo is. Amory is more worldly wise (in some ways at least) than Daisy Dalrymple, but not as genuinely open minded let alone as feisty and independent as Phryne Fisher. The first two are still in Kindle Unlimited, and they are the sort of series that used to show up at The Works so you have a fighting chance of finding them in the shops too. I still haven’t read any of Weaver’s new series, which are set in World War Two, but I’m sure I’ll get around to it at some point!