American imports, binge reads, Book of the Week, fiction, new releases, reviews, romance, romantic comedy

Book of the Week: Thank You for Listening

Taking a break from the Girls Own and book conference related content for this week’s book of the week. This is another recent release – the same day as Husband Material in fact – and one that I had heard a lot of buzz about and discovered was on offer while I was writing the August offers Recommendsday post.

Thank you for Listening is a romantic comedy about a former actress who became an audiobook narrator after an accident halter her on screen career. When Sewanee is sent to an audiobook convention by her boss she has a whirlwind night in Vegas with a mystery man. But when she returns to California, she finds an offer to narrate a beloved romance novelist’s final book. The trouble is, she doesn’t do romance novels any more, but money could pay for her beloved grandmother’s nursing home care so she resurrects her old pseudonym and starts recording the book with one of the genres hottest and most secretive male narrators, Brock McKnight. There’s a steady back and forth of chatter between them, but as secrets are revealed, can Sewanee get the happily ever after that she doesn’t believe in?

Julia Whelan is a renowned audiobook narrator so this is is filled with insider titbits from her experience as well as being a love letter to the romance genre. They even joke about how many tropes they’re ticking off more than once. And it’s a delight. Swan is an intriguing leading character, with a complicated family and some issues to deal with. And the shadowy and mysterious Brock has great banter. And, well, it’s very well put together – with a swoony ending and a nod and a wink to fans of the genre. What more could you want.

If I could have read this in one sitting I would have – but unfortunately I had to go to work, so instead I decided not to go to the theatre one of my London nights and instead read this on the sofa at the hostel, and then in my bunk when it got too noisy. No greater testament really.

My copy of Thank You For Listening came from Kindle for the bargain price of £1.99. It’s also on Kobo for the same price and available in paperback from Thursday – although how easily it will be to actually find I don’t know – Waterstones (Foyles’ owners) are having some distribution issues. I will try and remember to check Foyles’ romance section a few weeks after release…

Happy reading!

binge reads

Binge reads: Maine Clambake mysteries

It’s a bank holiday weekend in the UK, so for my Friday post I thought I would recommend a series that you could binge on over the three day weekend!

Barbara Ross’s Maine Clambake series focus on a small seaside community in Maine. Your detective is Julia Snowden, recently returned to her home town of Busman’s Harbor to try and save her family’s Clambake business. The family business is run on an island off the town and several of the mysteries are based there, others are in the town and wider surrounding area. Alongside the mysteries Julia finds out more about her family and the community and starts to build her life in the town.

There are nine books in the series with a tenth coming in the summer.

binge reads

Bingeable series: Fool’s Gold

I finished the new Jill Shalvis this week and it got me to thinking about reliable romance authors, which got me thinking about when the next Susan Mallery is due out (turns out there was a woman’s fiction novel that came out on Tuesday and there is another non-series title out in May before the next wishing tree in October) which made me think that Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series makes for an excellent binge read. And so here we are. You’ve had an insight into the way my mind works, so now on to the books!

Fool’s Gold is a small town romance series set in a community at the foot of the Sierra Nevada hills. Across the series you’ll find an above average number of world class athletes living there and also that it’s big enough to have its own radio station – but this is small town romance, all such things are allowed. In the first in the series, the town is short of men and heroine is a city planner brought in by the town’s Mayor, Marsha (who is a great recurring character through the series, a bit like a fairy godmother), to try and bring things around. There are 20 books in the series and they come in groups. So in the first book you get meet the character who will feature in the next couple and then you move to a fresh group of people. You get the idea. It’s charming.

Looking back through my reviews, there are more pregnancy/baby plots that I would usually go for, but they are all still fun. I think my favourite set are the three books about the Hendrix triplets, but I also like the set about the ex NFL players and their business. Anyway, there are 20 full length books to chose from as well as about the same again in novellas – all of which means you can have a good old binge on them. And it looks like they’ve all had a bit of a cover redesign since I last read them too – I suspect because of the success of Virgin River on Netflix and people looking for similar books to read.

My goodreads ratings for these are fairly consistent – I’m not giving any five stars, but they’re mostly threes, with a few fours and they only drop off towards the tail end of the twenty. In fact romance series like this make for a perfect binge to be honest. When I was writing about Sookie Stackhouse last week I talked about spotting the formula. Well you don’t have that problem with a series like this – because each book is about a new couple and you can do different tropes each time. You don’t even need to read them in order because it’s different characters in each book. The only thing that’s going to happen is spoilers for previous books when you encounter them in their happily ever afters – but as you know from the blurb of a romance that they’re going to end up together, that’s not much of a spoiler really! As long as the writing and the characters are good you’re all set for many happy hours of reading.