bingeable series

Bingeable series: Harper Connelly

Continuing with the Halloween-y theme from the Recommendsday post, this week’s series is Charlaine Harris’s Harper Connelly series, which as I mentioned in the kindle offers posts, is mostly on offer this month.

So the set up here: Harper was struck by lightning as a child, and she has been left with the ability to sense dead people and see the last moments of their lives. She makes her living helping track down bodies – and across the course of the series she tackles four jobs that get her in more trouble than usual. She’s accompanied by her stepbrother Tolliver – who is her best friend and business manager and Definitely Not Her Blood Relation. Tolliver’s dad married Harper’s mum, blended their existing families and had two more kids together. The parents were also drug addicts and Harper and her sister Cameron along with Tolliver did a lot of the work to bring up the babies, while their older brother Mark moved out and tried to earn money to help. All this came crashing down when Cameron when missing. Eight years on, Harper is still searching for her sister’s body.

I’ve actually tested the bingeable nature of this series this week – because once I started rereading the first one at the start of the week ahead of writing this post, I ended up reading all four of them back to back. If that doesn’t make them bingeable what does. Yes I still have some resignations about the turn the series takes in romance terms – although on the reread the signposting is clearer – and the first sex scene remains not great – but I got sucked back into the individual cases and really into that overarching story of the series.

Aside from Harper’s special ability, there’s not a lot of other paranormal or supernatural action in this – in fact a lot of the time Harper meets with extreme scepticism about her abilities and her job lands her in both trouble and danger quite a lot. But there’s also a connection to one of Harris’s other series: Manfred Barnado appears in this in increasing frequency through the books and of course he’s the main character in the Midnight, Texas series where it becomes clear that Harris is working in an extended universe type situation, which adds to the Halloween appropriate-ness of it all.

Anyway, they’re very readable, and as I mentioned in the Kindle deals post the other day, three of the four are 99p at the moment, so although you will have to pay more for the first one, you can get the whole lot for less than £9, so the average price is pretty good

Have a great weekend everyone.

bingeable series, Series I love

Series I love: Kate Shackleton

The new book officially came out yesterday – and I was lucky enough to pick up a copy in Foyles earlier in the week, so it seemed like an ideal time to talk about Frances Brody’s historical mystery series. I’ve written about a couple of these individually in the past, but not the series…

Kate Shackleton is a private investigator in Yorkshire in the 1920s. The first book is set in 1922 when she is still finding her feet after her husband was reported missing, presumed dead in the Great War. Her father is a fairly senior policeman so she has some connections which can help her at times, but she also has a male ex-policeman assistant who can go to places that she can’t and a housekeeper who also helps in some of the investigations.

I found the first book in the series a little slow going, but they have really grown and developed across the course of the thirteen novels we’ve had so far. The mysteries are on the cozy side of things, but the settings – mostly around Yorkshire – and the set ups are clever and a bit different. They often feature industrial or semi industrial settings and there is a lot less of the rich people problems – more middle class people problems.

In the new book we have reached 1930, when Kate receives a letter from a stranger asking her to meet him because he has important information. But when she arrives in the mill village, his body has just been discovered. What seems like a tragic accident at first is soon discovered to be rather more than that and Kate is soon investigating…

They should be fairly easy to get hold of if you want to – as well as all the usual places to buy them from, I’ve often spotted them at the library.

Happy Friday everyone!

bingeable series, romance, series

Bingeable series: Centre Stage

Now it’s not been that long since Acting Up was Book of the Week, so I wouldn’t normally be writing about the series so soon but, and this is a big but, they are all in Kindle Unlimited at the moment (Adele Buck says for the next few months) so I’m writing about them now!

These are a series of connected romance novels about actors and acting related people. I’ve already written plenty about Acting Up, but Method Acting features a character you only see through emails in that, Alicia, who is performing in a Shakespeare play in Washington when she meets political lobbyist Colin, Acting Lessons is about James and Frederick who we first see having a summer fling in Acting Up and Fast Acting is Kathleen who we met in Method Acting working with Alicia and Russell the law professor who is friends with Colin.

I read them all in order – you’ll see that I binged three in a week – but you could just pick out your favourite trope and start with that – Acting Up is friends to lovers/secret crush, Method acting is bad first impression, Acting Lessons is second chance and Fast Acting is destination wedding Fling that turns into something more. They have fun banter and nice acting and backstage details. I also really enjoyed that Method Acting was set in Washington because it mentioned a bunch of places that I visited when I was there (how is it four years ago!) and I love that sort of thing.

They were a bargain when I picked them up – but they’re even more of a bargain now if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member. Now that does mean that they’re not on other platforms at the moment, but they will be back there are the KU exclusivity is up. Meanwhile, if you’ve already read all of these, Adele’s new book Handy For You – which is the second in her All for You series – came out this week too.

bingeable series, historical, romance

Bingeable series: London Highwaymen

Is it a series when there are only two books? A duology? A pair? A duo? Anyway, to fit in with my titles, I hereby christen Cat Sebastian’s two London Highwaymen books a series and they are definitely a bingeable one, because I read them one after another across the space of 48 hours.

So what we have here are two stories featuring the same characters but focussing on different couples. Firstly we have retired (through injury) highwayman Kit, who is dragged into helping Percy, Lord Holland with a robbery he needs to save his family. Of course it goes wrong, but can they make it work together despite that?

Then there’s Marian, she’s been being blackmailed by a charismatic criminal, but it’s him she turns to when she shoots her husband. No, it wasn’t an accident, no he wasn’t a nice man. So the question is can she escape punishment for the shooting and can she make a new happy ending with Rob the Ex-highwayman.

You need to read these in order. Trust me when I say it will spoil some of the fun if you read Marian first. I don’t read a lot of highwayman stories, but these were right up my street. They’re very easy to read, there is peril but (for the most part) no misunderstandings that could be cleared up by a simple conversation. If you’re after some historical romance that has less of the balls and ton and more of the coffee shops and normal people, these will do the trick for you I think. They certainly did for me.

I got my copies on Kindle, but they are (I think) also available in paperback although I haven’t seen them in an actual bookshop yet.

Happy Reading!

bingeable series, Series I love

Series I Love: London Celebrities

I’ve been running a theatrical theme for a couple of weeks now so I thought I’d start the bank holiday weekend with a bingeable series of romance with a theatrical theme.

Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities books are a series of enemies to lovers type romances set in London – initially in the world of West End theatre but in the fourth and fifth in the series expanding a little to include asetting at a country house and then two rival TV producers and. They tend to have sunshiney heroines and grumpy heroes who are actually big softies underneath and plenty of charming banter. In fact several of them were Books of the Week when they came out and I’ve mentioned them all at some point before, but now I’m finally taking them as a group.

They’re all set in the same world and there is character cross over but – like many romance series – each story is selfcontained and features a different couple. Act Like It has a fake relationship between two co-stars who can’t stand each other to try and help a bad boy fix his image problem. Pretty Face has an actress who’s been pigeonholed as her man-stealing period drama character taking on a West End role and fighting with the director who doesn’t want to give her the part. Making Up has an understudy who takes over the leading role and a make-up artist who is working on thes show after his professional reputation took an unfair battering. The Austen Playbook has a daughter of an acting dynasty taking a role in a new Jane Austen TV series being filmed at the ancestral home of a descendant of someone her grandmother had an affair with. And Headliners has two rival TV presenters who are forced to work together on morning TV to save the show and save their careers. And don’t they all sound delicious? I mean I started reading the series again just to write this post, and that’s a bit of a disaster in itself to be honest, because I have a long list of things I’m meant to be reading and these aren’t on it.

You should be able to get them on all the usual ebook platforms – there’s even an omnibus edition of the first three if you’re feeling ready to commit. Also Lucy Parker’s newest novel Battle Royal – which was a Book of the Week here almost exactly a year ago – is £1.99 at the moment. No news yet on when the sequel to that one is coming though…

bingeable series, detective, mystery

Mystery series: The Affair of… Mysteries

This week I’m going for a trilogy of country house-set mysteries that I’ve been revisiting in audiobook format about a decade or more after I first read them.

First published in the late 1970s, James Anderson is trying to recreate that Agatha Christie, Golden Age crime novel feeling, but with a bit of a knowing twist. In the first book for example, you’ve got a diamond theft, stolen antique guns, a diplomatic incident, unexpected guests and a body in the lake. And as the books go on you have a host who is very aware that every time he throws a house party bad things seem to happen and that’s a delight too!

The second book has a film star and his movie mogul producer, and the third a family funeral that turns murderous. All of them have the local detective Chief Inspector Wilkins presiding over the investigation, telling you all the time that he knows how they do it in books, but it’s not like that in real life! What’s not to love?

These should be fairly easy to get hold of – my original copies were the 2009-ish era Alison and Busby ones, with 1930s inspired covers in red and green and yellow, which you used to see fairly regularly at the library and in the charity shops. As you can see from the picture on the post, there’s another reissue since then (I think this year) with blues and lilacs for the covers. I haven’t seen these in the shops yet, but I will be looking in the crime section for them next time I make it into a bookshop!

Happy Friday everyone!

bingeable series, Series I love

Series revisit: Phryne Fisher

Oh I know. I’ve already written about one Phryne book this week and I did one of my very first Series I Love posts on the series, but today I thought I’d mention some of my other favourites now I’ve been back through them again. I mean obviously start at the beginning for preference – and Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates is also called Cocaine Blues depending on where in the world you are. I have that one on audiobook too and Stephanie Daniel did a great job of the audiobooks (with a few tiny exceptions, mostly around singing!) and it really does set everything up. But with that proviso out of the way, my particular favourite of the rest of the series are coming up!

Murder on the Ballerat Train is a creepy mystery – when an entire carriage of people is knocked out how can it be anything else? – and you also first meet Jane and Ruth who form a key part of the Fisher household going forward. I love a good theatre-set book (see posts passim ad nauseum) and Ruddy Gore is one of these and a good mystery too. I’m not a operetta person really, but every time I read it I think that I must really get a ticket to see a good production of something Gilbert and Sullivan! Plus it has the bonus of being the first appearance of Lin Chung.

Away with the Fairies is another favourite – as I love the women’s magazine and its staff. It has a similar added appeal to me as Pym’s Publicity in Murder Must Advertise (which is on offer this month!) – seeing how things used to be done (or at least how Kerry Greenwood has managed to find out they were done!) as well as solving a mystery. And I like the Phryne out and about books too. I mentioned Death by Water a few weeks ago, but there are several other Phryne on holiday stories – like Dead Man’s Chest which has added early movie making to boot.

And finally the next book in the series looks like it is going to be another house party book – and if it’s anything like Murder in the Dark it will be a lot of fun. That has some Bright Young Yhings having a final hurrah to see in the new year and features threats and kidnapping rather than actual murder, which does make for a nice change.

Murder in Williamstown is due out in the autumn – all the rest are available now and if anyone knows why my kindle doesn’t group Murder by Mendelssohn in the series with all the others, let me know! (I have Death in Daylesford in a different format so that’s also not there).

Happy Friday everyone.

Authors I love, bingeable series, Book of the Week, detective, mystery

Book of the Week: Murder and Mendelssohn

So a slightly cheaty pick this week, as it’s not a book I haven’t read before, but as I finished the Phryne reread last week, I’m going to let myself break the rules!

Murder and Mendelssohn is the twentieth book in Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series and has a lot of the key threads in the series running through it. Inspector Jack Robinson asks Phryne for help investigating the murder of an unpopular conductor. Jack thinks the killer may come from among the choir he has been rehearsing so Phryne decides to infiltrate the choir and find out. But at the same time, one of her old friends from World War One is in town and needs her help keeping a mathematical genius alive.

My favourite Phrynes are the ones with a large cast of suspects, a love interest and a historical connection – and this has all of that. The full Fisher menage is here – with the exception of Lin Chung, and it has has Greenwood’s take on Sherlock Holmes in Rupert Sheffield, former codebreaker and current irritant to all around him except John Wilson.

I wouldn’t suggest you start the series here, because you’ll miss all the fun of getting to this point, but if you do make this your first taste of Miss Fisher, then it will give you a pretty good flavour of what everything is all about. One last thing – a warning: if you’ve watched the TV show, don’t expect this to be the same. I’ve enjoyed the series, but it’s a teatime drama and they have adapted the series to fit that – which means they’ve done a few things to Phryne’s love life, added some running plot strands that don’t exist in the book and reduced the size of the Fisher household somewhat. So treat them as separate entities if you can.

You can get Murder and Mendelssohn in all the usual ebook formats – Kindle, Kobo and the rest – and that’s probably the easiest way to get hold of them.

Happy reading!

bingeable series, historical, mystery

Mystery series: Grantchester Chronicles

Hot off the heels of the vicar mystery recommendsday post, here is another historical mystery series featuring a vicar, written by someone with a clerical connection. James Runcie’s father was the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time when Richard Coles’ novel is set!

The Grantchester of the series title is the village just outside Cambridge where Sidney Chambers is vicar. The books start in 1953 and move through towards the changes of the 1960s. Sidney is a bachelor in his early thirties and Grantchester is his first parish of his own. His best friend in the village is the detective Geordie Keating and the two of them solve mysteries together. The books usually feature a series of smaller mysteries alongside Sidney’s attempts to balance his calling and his previous life. There is also a romantic thread to the series – there are several women who Sidney is interested in at various points, although of course their relationships have to follow the rules because: vicar in the 1950s. In fact the fact that he is ordained is one of the major obstacles to his romantic life. The other major characters in the series are his housekeeper and then a few years in, his curate.

The books have been made into a TV series, which is now onto its third or fourth vicar of Grantchester, still solving crimes with Geordie after they ran out of the plot from the books with Sidney…

Adventure, bingeable series, mystery, Series I love

Series I Love: Vicky Bliss

So I’ve finally finished my Vicky Bliss reread after getting distracted on the Phryne Fisher read. And so today’s series I love is dedicated to the *other* Elizabeth Peters series…

Vicky Bliss is an art historian, who specialises in medieval Europe. Across the course of six books she careers around Europe and Egypt in the search for missing items and trying to solve mysteries. In the first book she is working at a university in the US, but as a result of that adventure, she gets a job in Munich, which becomes her home base for the rest of the series.

In contrast to Amelia Peabody, Vicky is tall and blonde, but the two women share an adventurous spirit and a tendency to attract all sorts of men. In Borrower of the Night Vicky is challenged to track down a missing masterpiece of wood carving in a strange castle in Germany and ends up in competitions with her her sort of boyfriend. Thankfully she sees the light with him very early on and by the end of the book she has acquired a new friend and sidekick and in the second book gets a much more satisfactory love interest who continues through the rest of the series. Across the books there is ancient gold of various types, ancient relics and forged jewellery. You are best reading them in order because characters from one book do pop up in others which will spoil some resolutions for you

They’re set in what you might call the floating now – the first one was originally set when it was written in the 1970s and Peters wrote the first five over the course of about 20 years before returning to the series in the mid 2000s to write one final adventure. Now technology didn’t change that much between the mid 1970s and the early 1990s, so there are a few things but you don’t really notice, or at least it doesn’t really jar.But if you read them all back to back and you get to the final book where there is the internet and mobile phones I suggest you have a little pause (like I did!) before you read the final book and then take heed of Peters’ introduction where she says basically just go with it. It is work it because it has call backs to previous books in the series and more. In fact the final two books both feature Egypt, and there a few Amelia references thrown in there for those in the know!

As we know, I’m a sucker for an adventure caper and these are so much fun. I hadn’t read them since before the Pandemic, and I curse myself for a fool for not having thought to revisit them sooner. I’ve been trying to pick a favourite but I’m unable to chose between them – it comes down to Silhouette in Scarlet and Night Train to Memphis I think, but really they all have things to recommend them.

If you want to read these, there are paperback editions – which Amazon claims to have in stock but I suspect no one else will. But they’re in all the usual ebook places as far as I can see and Borrower of the Night is 99p on Kindle and Kobo atow, so it’s got to be worth a look.

Enjoy!