Every year I write a post about my obsessions of the year, which usually boils down to which authors did I discover years late and then binge my way through. This year is no exception. Yesterday I looked at how last years obsessions have fared, and discovered that crime series and romance series continue to be the staples of my reading diet along with a strong strain of non-fiction. So, here are the authors whose work I have been obsessed with this year…
The Kinsey Milhone series by Sue Grafton
I only discovered Sue Grafton after seeing the obituaries and tributes after her death. And this year I’ve read 19 of the 25 books in the series – the only reason I haven’t read all of them is that I’m trying to slow down and pace myself so that it’s not over too quickly. Kinsey is a great heroine, a private detective who is very aware of her own strengths and weaknesses, and the mystery plots are clever and twisty. What more could you want in a mystery series. It’s such a shame she didn’t live long enough to write the last book in the alphabet.
The Charles Paris series by Simon Brett
This was a late on in the year discovery – I read my first one of these while I was in Washington and I’ve now read nearly half of the 20 book series. Charles Paris is a probably-alcoholic jobbing actor who seems to stumble on murders on every job he takes. The series started in 1975 and the most recent installment came out this year. There have also been two different radio adaptations over the years – the most recent one which stars Bill Nighy as Charles (and has been somewhat modernised) is a lot of fun and available on Audible.
One of the joys of being in the US was being able to read some of the authors that I’ve heard a lot about but who are harder/more expensive to get hold of in the UK. Cat Sebastian is one of these. She writes mainly Male/male historical romances – which is part of the genre that I haven’t really read a lot of before and I haven’t really been able to try because it is really quite expensive to buy over in the UK. I had been able to pick one up on offer on Kindle and luckily my local library had a whole stack of them. I think there’s a limit to the number of different tropes available to male/male historicals, so it takes a bit of creativity to come up with scenarios with a potential for happy endings, but Sebastian has a knack for it. I also really liked Unmasked by the Marquess, which features a non-binary heroine, where the conflict isn’t about the heroine’s presentation, rather it’s about her deception and the obstacles in the way of a happy ending for the hero and heroine. Sebastian’s first male/female romance is out in 2019 and I’m really looking forward to it.
After glomming on Jill Shalvis, Susan Elizabeth Philips and Kristen Higgins in 2017, I’ve continued to expand my contemporary romance horizons in 2018. I’ve read even more Shalvis, Morgan and Crusie and added Alyssa Cole, Jasmine Guillory and Talia Hibbert to the list. There no-go tropes are still there – billionaires, biker gangs, secret babies – but there’s plenty that I do like and they make a great way to relax and get away from the stresses of the newsroom after a long day of breaking news.
As you’ll see from the 2018 obsessions post tomorrow, I’ve read a whole stack of new crime series this year. The new Hobson and Choi was a Book of the Week and it’s a bit of a spoiler for my Books of the Year post to tell you how much I liked the new Vinyl Detective book. I’ve also continued to work my way through the Royal Spyness series – which I love, despite the title and the fact that I have to not think too hard about the premise – but some of the other series that I discovered last year have faded a little this year as they’ve got longer and deeper. I’m not naming names though.
I’ve probably read more non-fiction books this year than any year before. And yes, a lot of that was preparing for my Washington posting, but I’d already read a fair bit of non-fiction by that point. There was more Mary Roach but also more celebrity memoirs than previously. I’m continuing to try and expand my world-view and the perspectives that I get on the world through my non-fiction reading and it’s been a lot of fun. However, I haven’t read a lot of straight up history this year, so I’m hoping to change that a little bit in 2019.
I said in this post last year, that my obsessions tend to be quite consistent – and that I was hoping for something new and random in 2018. I think I’m still working on similar themes to previous years, but the breadth and variety of my non-fiction reading is helping me from becoming boring in my old age!
It’s nearly the end of the year and I promised you some extra posts looking back at the year didn’t I? Well, here’s my look at five of my favourite books of the year. Looking back on my Goodreads stats to write this, I realise that I’ve been very stingy with the 5 stars this year – which has made this very tricky to write because there are a lot of 4 star ratings and I’ve had to workout which ones were my real favourites. And because of the way this blog works, you’ve heard about most of these before – either as Books of the Week or in other roundup posts – because when I like stuff this much, I tell you about it!
A Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge
This was part of my pre-Washington reading and although I read a lot of good books in that particular reading jag, this one has really stuck with me. A snapshot of all the children and teens killed by guns on just one day in America, it is meticulously researched and will break your heart. If you are in any doubt about the scale of gun deaths in the US, this will put it all into perspective -this is just a normal day – no mass shootings, just ten dead young people ranging in age from 9 to 19.
Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
Lets get all the sad books out of the way to start with. This is a middle grade continuation/follow on to E Nesbit’s The Five Children and It book. I think I read the 5 children (maybe even more than one of them) after the 1990s BBC TV series was shown and it had never occurred to me that these were the children who would be the young men and women of the Great War – and of course when Nesbit was writing the books, she had no idea what was in their future either. This is really, really good, but also quietly devastating. There are a lot of Second World War middle grade books, but not so many (or at least not that I’ve come across) Great War ones – this is a very good addition to the genre. It came out a couple of years ago, but reading it this year with the centenary of the Armistice, felt very timely. It wasn’t my BotW at the time -I was in a historicalcrimegroove back in at the start of the year, but I’ve recommended it a few times since and it’s quietly crept up my list of best reads of the year.
The Victory Disc by Andrew Cartmel
The third in the Vinyl Dectective series is right up there as one of my favourite detective stories of the year. This time our unnamed hero is on the hunt for records by a wartime swing band. The Flarepath Orchestra were contemporaries of Glenn Miller, but their recordings are incredibly rare. After one pops up unexpectedly, the Detective and his gang are asked to track down the rest. But there are still secrets and lies at the heart of the band and soon a great deal of danger is threatening the gang. This wasn’t a Book of the Week at the time – because it’s the third in the series and you’ll get the most from them by reading them in order. The first in the series, Written in Dead Wax was a BotW last summer though – and I thoroughly recommend starting with that. My Dad has read these and practically snaps my hand off to get the next one from me! Good reads doesn’t have any details for a fourth yet, but I’m hoping that we’ll get more adventures in vinyl in 2019.
Anyone for Seconds by Laurie Graham
Regular readers know how much I love Laurie Graham (and if you don’t, herearethepoststoproveit) but I remember saying to a friend before this came out that if she was going to write a sequel to one of her novels, this wasn’t the one that I would have picked. How wrong I was, because this is my favourite of her contemporary novels in ages. It snuck out a bit under the radar in August and I nearly missed it. We rejoin Lizzie Partridge, the heroine of Perfect Meringues, some twenty years after we last met her. Lizzie was a TV-chef on the regional news, but after The Incident she has mostly worked in print. But when her last paying gig is pulled, Lizzie decides to run away in the hope that it’ll get her some attention. But no-one notices. It does however, set in train a series of changes in Lizzie’s life. It was a BotW and it’s still one of my favourites this year.
Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
It was a long wait for a new book by Jasper Fforde – my big Fforde discovery and binge actually happpened before I started this blog, but Early Riser was worth it and it was a BotW. Set in a world where humans hibernate for four months every winter, this follows the adventures of one man in his first year as a Winter Consul – one of the people who watch over the sleeping masses. This is completely standalone from his other books, but if you’ve read other Fforde novels you’ll spot that this world has some elements in common with Thursday Nexts. It’s fantasy and sci-fi but at the end of that spectrum that I like.
The Birth of South Korean Cool by Euny Hong
And another non-fiction book to round out this list. Euny Hong’s family moved back to South Korea in the 1980s when she was at school so she is ideally placed to take a look at how South Korea turned itself into a big name on the world stage through the course of twenty years. This is a really, really interesting and readable guide to the Korean pop-culture phenomenon and the policy behind it. Although some of the section dealing with North Korea is now slightly dated that doesn’t detract from the overall impact of the book. I would happily have read another 100 pages. It had been on my to-read list for ages – but I finally got around to getting hold of a copy after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics at the start of the year (although it took me another few months to get around to reading it!). I’ve recommended it a number of times – and used knowledge I learned from it to look smart when talking about K-pop with younger colleagues. A winner all around!
Let me know what your favourite books of the year have been in the comments – and coming up over the next few days we’ve also got my reading obsessions of the year – and how 2017’s obsessions have lasted as well as the books that I’m looking forward to in 2019.So here you are, six of my favourite reads of 2018. There were a few five star reads this year that aren’t on the list – but they are very much from favourite authors – new installments in the Wells and Wong series and from GailCarriger and the Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang that I’ve already talked about so much already over the years that I’d be boring you to tell you about them again.
I’ll admit I haven’t managed to read as many Christmas-set books this year as I usually do. This is mostly because the period in November when I usually start doing my Christmas-reading coincided with my last few weeks in Washington and my mad dash to read all the books that I’d got hold of there that I hadn’t been able to get hold of in the UK. But I’ve still got some Christmas recommendations for you.
Campion at Christmas by Margery Allingham
I realised when I was writing item that I haven’t really talked my about Albert Campion love nearly enough here. If you’re looking at Golden Age Detective series, Albert is probably number five after Miss Marple, Poirot, Lord Peter Wimsey and Roderick Alleyn. I started reading them when I lived in Essex – because Margery Allingham was from the county and the library system there had a huge stock of her books. This is four short stories with a Christmas theme – two of which feature Albert at various points in his life. It’s not a massively long read – but it’s new this Christmas and only £1.99 on Amazon or free if you have Kindle Unlimited (my copy came from NetGalley).
Lark! The Herald Angels Sing by Donna Andrew
I feel like I’ve writen a lot about the Meg Langslow series this year (there’s been a BotW post as well as mentions in otherroundupposts) but Donna Andrew consistently writes excellent festive installments to this series. At the start of this Christmas’s book, Meg discovers a mystery baby has been abandoned in the manger midway through a rehearsal for the town nativity play. The note left with the baby implies that Meg’s brother Rob is the father and when she attempts to track down the baby’s mother, it soon becomes apparent that this may be part of a bigger mystery. And as well as all this, it seems like there may be a war brewing between Meg’s beloved Caerphilly county and their arch-nemeses in neighbouring Clay County. What is so clever about this, is that although this is the 24th book in the series, Andrew has managed to keep mixing up her settings and mysteries enough that it doesn’t seem like Meg is a murder magnet. And this is no exception to that. It’s not cheap though – it’s brand new – and just under a tenner on Kindle, which is a lot I’ll admit and even more on Kobo. But the good news is that the most of previous years’ Christmas Langslows are cheaper – at £3.85 on Kindle at time of writing.
Christmas with the Sheriff by Victoria James
Moving away from crime to romance – this is a novella featuring a bereaved heroine who returns to her home town for Christmas several years after the death of her husband and son and finds the man who helped her through her loss is still there waiting for her. Chase is the town Sheriff and he’s had a thing for Julia ever since he first met her, but his best friend got there first. He’s hoping that she might now be ready for a second chance at love. I was worried this was going to be a bit too miserable, but it wasn’t – and I liked Julia and Chase’s developing relationship. And Chase’s little girl is cute. Free on Kindle and Kobo at the moment for everyone
Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis
And it wouldn’t be a Christmas book list without one by Jill Shalvis. This is last year’s one from her – in her Heartbreaker Bay series. It follows tech genius Spence and Colbie who is a best selling author under her writing pseudonym. Spence doesn’t think that he can have a long term relationship with anything except his work – he’s failed at it before. Colbie is running away from the pressure of fame, of her publishing career and of her emotionally dependent family. In the run up to Christmas in San Francisco the two of them stumble towards a discovery. It’s flirty, it’s fun and Colbie and Spence are perfect for each other. And it’s 99p on Kindle and Kobo at the moment – which makes it a bargain
What else am I reading this Christmas? I’ve got another Jill Shalvis on the pile – this year’s Heartbreaker Bay Christmas novel, Hot Winter Nights, as well as Sarah Morgan’s The Christmas Sisters and I’m fairly sure there’s going to be at least one Christmas book I’ve forgotten about sitting on the bookshelf or the kindle.
Let me know what you’re reading this December in the comments!
It’s nearly Halloween and since I’m in the US where it is such a massive thing that it’s blowing my mind, I thought a round up of some spooky/halloween-themed reading might be in order. I was aiming for it to be recent Halloween-y reading – but you know how these things go – you get a stack of likely books together, you read them – and then you don’t like some of them enough to recommend them. And I’m always honest. Which is why I’m telling you up front that there’s no horror here – because I’m too scared to read horror. My brain is good enough at coming up with things to scare me without ready scary books. Thrillers are about as much as I can deal with. And some times I can’t even deal with that. So expect my usual mix of mystery, romance and fantasy with a dash of classic thriller thrown in.
The One with the sweet tooth
I read The Candy Corn Murder right after it came out three years ago and it sees a local reporter covering a Halloween Festival. But when her husband becomes the prime suspect in a murder, she steps in to investigate. This is the 22nd(!) in Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone series – and there are other Halloween-themed installments among the other 24 (!!) books in the series if you like Lucy’s world and want to spend more time there. I’ve read one, maybe two others and have my eye on a couple from the library to see how there series has evolved.
The one that’s a creepy classic
I’m slowly working my way through Daphne DuMaurier’s works – and there are several of hers that would be good for giving you chills on a dark night. The obvious one is Rebecca, but Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel are also properly atmospheric and creepy. Those two also have recent tv or film versions should you want to be a person who likes to watch the movie of the book and complain compare. I also have a massive softspot (if you can call it that for something so creepy) for the Charles Dance and Emily Fox TV version of Rebecca from the late 1990s.
The One with a creepy doll
Barbara Early’s new book, Death of a Russian Doll is mostly about the murder of the local police chief’s wife, but it’s also got a matroshyka doll that’s moving on its own to up the creep factor. Your amateur sleuth is Liz, the owner of the vintage toy shop next door to the murder scene and the sort-of ex-girlfriend of the police chief (he didn’t tell her about his estranged wife) who’s retired cop father is called in to investigate the crime. This came out this month and is the third book in the series, but it’s the first of them that I’ve read and I liked it enough that I’ll be keeping an eye out for more by this author.
The One with the Embarassing First Date
This is slightly tangentially Halloween-y because Carter and Evie, the hero and heroine of Christina Lauren’s Dating You, Hating You meet at a Halloween party being held by mutal friends. From that awkward beginning, a promising relationship starts until their companies merge and the two of them find themselves in competiton for the same job. I really liked Evie, but I had a few issues with Carter and I felt their prank war was just a little bit unprofessional. However the dialogue is sparky and the chemistry is there so I’m still mentioning it here because I know that I can be a bit of a curmudgeon sometimes and I know a lot of people who really loved it and didn’t have the same issues!
The One with that’s spoofing a Vampire Craze
I couldn’t help but include this. Lauren Willig’s the Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla sees Sally Fitzhugh investigating whether the Duke of Belliston is an actual vampire after a rumour takes hold in London in 1806. He’s not of course, but he doesn’t mind the reputation that he’s got, that is until a woman is found with the blood drained from her throat and it looks like he’s going to get the blame. This is the eleventh in the Pink Carnation series, which I would say to read in order to get the full force of the present-day story line (which runs through the whole series) but the nineteen century one is really the star here, so I think you could make an exception for Halloween. And it’s got a stoat. What more could you want?
The One with the Actual Vampires
If you haven’t read Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampires series (aka True Blood), Halloween might be a good chance to start. And now the series has been finished for a while if you like them you can glom your way through all thirteen of Sookie Stackhouse’s adventures. Just remember not to get too invested in any one outcome for Sookie in particular – because there was a lot of upset when the last book came out about which of her beaux she ended up with. I won’t give anything away, but I think the clues were sort of there about what was going to happen – or at least I didn’t think the ending ruined the whole series for me (which a lot of people did!). And if you like that world, there’s plenty of other Charlaine Harris novels, most of which are set in (what turns out to be) the same world of vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures.
The One with the Haunted House.
You all know how much I love Meg Langslow because I keepwritingabouther, but Lord of the Wings, the 19th book in Donna Andrews’ long running series, is a Halloween one and I really liked it. There’s a massive Halloween festival going on in Caerphilly when first the Haunted House burns down and then a body is discovered in the wreckage. The usual Langslowian mayhem ensues – including Meg’s Grandad running a special exhibit at his Zoo – and then there’s the Goblin Patrol. Probably best appreciated if you’ve read some of the others in the series, but this is still worth a look.
If you’ve got any Halloween recommendations for me – and remember that I don’t do horror because I’m a scaredy cat – then put them in the comments!
As you may remember from last year’s post about the History Books on the Keeper Shelf, As a child I had a serious Queen Victoria obsession. Other children were obsessed with My Little Pony, Lego or Beanie Babies, but I had a thing for the Empress of India. I could recite all her children’s full names in order. Where other kids wanted to go to Alton Towers as a treat, I wanted to go to Osborne or Frogmore (and my parents took me to both, bless their hearts). One of my favourite dressing up games was to be her eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, with my little sister taking on the role of Princess Beatrice. I think you’re getting an idea of the scale of the problem. Anyway over time it developed into my love of history and the history degree that I enjoyed so much. These days I love a good nonfiction history book as well as historical fiction and I’m particularly susceptible to books about Queen Victoria and her family.
Earlier in the year, I read Deborah Cadbury’s Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking, which I was hoping would be right up my street as it was billed as an examination of her role in using her granddaughters’ marriages to exert international power and influence. Sadly for me, it was more a of a group biography of the various grandchildren and what happened to them after her death than an examination of her machinations. It would make a great introduction to the subject, but if, like me, you already have an interest in the subject, there wasn’t a lot of new information here. It did get me thinking though about other books that I’ve read around the subject and reminded me to fill in a few gaps and read some books I had on the list and then it spawned this post. There’s a little bit of cross over from the aforementioned Keeper Shelf post, but there are some new books on the list too. So, if you’ve read Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking and want to know more here, are my suggestions (which I hope would work equally well if you’re just interested in the subject).
If you want to read a group biography about the principal granddaughters, my choice would be Julia Gelardi’s Born to Rule, which examines the intertwined lives of the five of the granddaughters who went on to become queens of other European countries and gives you a good jumping off point if you want to find out more. Spoiler: they don’t all get happy endings. You’ll probably have come across one of these before – Alexandra, the last Tsarina of Russia. If you end up with a to find out more about the Romanov’s there’s Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Romanovs, which I’m still working my way through on audiobook. I’m still only in the nineteenth century and I can vouch for the fact that it’s incredibly gruesome well before you get to the execution in Yekaterinburg. I listen to it while I’m out running, because it makes me go faster listening to all the terrible ways the Romanov’s found to kill people.
I wrote about Hannah Pakula’s An Uncommon Woman back in that Keeper Shelf post, and if you can get hold of it and want to find out what was going on in Prussia in the second half of the nineteenth century it’s still worth a read and is marginally more cheerful than a book about Kaiser Wilhelm would be. But only marginally – it’s still a story of what might have been and ominous portents of what is to come.
If you want to find out how Edward VII turned into the Uncle of Europe, but in a light and fun way, Stephen Clarke’s Dirty Bertie shows how the playboy prince turned into a shrewd manoevering diplomat who was able to help keep the peace in Europe during his lifetime, and why it all fell apart after he wasn’t there to hold it together any more.
And if you don’t mind me breaking my own rules about repeating authors too frequently, and want some fiction about one of the granddaughters, there’s Laurie Graham’s The Grand Duchess of Nowhere, about Ducky, aka Princess Victoria Melita, one of the daughters of Prince Alfred – who comes up in passing in Cadbury’s book, but who actually had a fascinating life, even if she didn’t marry a king. I reviewed it for Novelicous back in the day, but it’s like having a drink with an indiscreet, drunken elderly auntie. I still need to find a proper biography of Ducky to find out how much of it is accurate.
Still sitting on my to read list, hoping that I’ll get to them one day are The Mystery of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley and Three Emperors by Miranda Carter as we head into the twentieth century. If you’ve got any more books that I should add to the list, let me know in the comments!
And now for the links. I got my copy of Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking via NetGalley but it is out now in hardback and Kindle. Born to Rule is harder to get hold of – there’s no Kindle edition and it’s 10 years old – but there are reasonably priced secondhand editions available on Amazon and Abebooks. Dirty Bertie is available on Kindle and is still in print in paperback so you may be able to find it in an actual bookshop as well as on Amazon.
The World Cup is well underway and although I do like football, I know that there are a lot of people out there for whom two or three matches a day is far too many and will be heartily fed up of the tv schedules being disrupted for 22 men running around after a ball. And so to help out I’ve got a selection of books for you to read while you’re avoiding the football (or sat on the couch with it on in the background).
I’m going to start off with a sports romance because just because you don’t like football doesn’t mean you don’t like all sports and sometimes you need a sporty hero or heroine can really hit the spot. I read a lot of winter-sport themed romances in the run up to the Winter Olympics in the hope of writing a post about them, but there weren’t enough that I liked enough to recommend and so it’s the other type of football that I’m going for here. You may remember that I went on a Susan Elizabeth Philips kick last year and her Chicago Stars series, about an American Football franchise are a lot of fun. Depending on what your romance genre favourites are, the best fit in the series will be different, but I think mine is Natural Born Charmer which starts with a feisty artist encountering a star quarterback while she’s dressed in a beaver costume. It’s fun, sparky and flirty. And if that doesn’t sound like your sort of thing, try Match Me If You Can, which was a BotW last summer.
Fed up with laddy banter and jocks? Try reading Juno Dawson’s The Gender Games to get some facts in your arsenal about toxic masculinity and how everyone – not just transgender people – are having a number done on them by gender. You might remember that her latest novel Clean was a BotW a few weeks back, but this is nonfiction – part memoir of her own journey to realising who she is and part examination of our society today and its attitude towards gender and gender roles. I learnt a lot from it and I know I’m going to be lending it and recommending it to people who want to expand the voices and viewpoints they’re hearing – but while the World Cup is on, it’ll also provide you with some handy ammunition next time someone on twitter moans about women commentators or pundits having no place at the tournament…
Want to get completely away from sports? I can do that for you too. Perhaps some old-school crime fiction might be the thing. I read June Wright’s Murder in the Telephone Exchange a few weeks back and was absolutely swept up in the world the phone operators in late 1940s Australia. When Maggie finds one of her unpopular colleagues with her head smashed in, she finds herself drawn into the mystery – not just because she was the person who found the body, but because she’s not sure that the police are on the right track. But soon the danger is increasing and someone else turns up dead. If you like Phryne Fisher, then this might scratch that itch while you wait for a new book (and we’ve been waiting a while now) or the much promised feature film. This was a best seller in Australia when it first came out in 1948 and I can totally see why. I was astonished – and annoyed – that it hadn’t come my way sooner.
Or you could pick a new series to glom on. I’m currently working my way through Colin Watson’s Flaxborough series – which are the sort of gentle murder mystery books that these days would be called cozies. They were written from the late 1950s through to the 1970s, have been a bit forgotten and are in the process of being republished. The first one – Coffin, Scarcely Used – is only 99p on Kindle at the moment, so that’s got to be worth a punt. Or I read the first in the Inspector Richardson series a couple of weeks back. Published in the 1930s, their author, Basil Thomson, was the head of CID at New Scotland Yard for eight years, so the insight into police life may be assumed to be fairly accurate! The first one – the imaginatively named Richardson’s First Case is also 99p on Kindle at the moment – and so are the rest of the series. I have book two cued up and ready to go.
How about a non-sports romance? How does a fake relationship that might actually turn into the real thing sound? In Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date, Drew and Alexa meet when they’re trapped in a lift together during a power cut. He needs a date for his ex’s wedding and she agrees to do it. But when that actually turns out to be a fun weekend they wonder if they should carry on seeing each other. The only trouble is, his job is in LA and her job is in Berkley. Alexa is a feisty heroine with a great career, that she’s passionate about and Drew is a caring hero, who is also passionate about his job. AND they get to find romance without compromising who they are in themselves. I liked this so much I’ve already got Guillory’s next book preordered. This one is £1.99 on Kindle and Kobo at the moment.
If you really want a change of scene, how about Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. This is the first in a YA trilogy (I think) and the film is already in development by the people who brought you Twilight and Maze Runner. Set in a west-African inspired world where magic seems to have been destroyed, it follows a teenage girl who has the chance to bring it back and the crown prince who is determined to stop her. It’s fast, furious and so, so filled with terror that I found it really hard to read. This is not my genre and I had to take a lot of breaks because it’s so filled with peril. But if you want to get swept away to another world, this lives up to all the hype. But – be warned – if you love it, you’re going to have to wait until next year for the sequel – and until 2020 for the conclusion…
And finally if you do want something football-y but not quite – you could join me as I reread Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals. I don’t think I’ve read this since it came out, so I’m planning to borrow the copy from dad so I can revisit the world of the Ankh-Morpork football. I may even treat myself to the audiobook so that I can listen to Stephen Briggs do all the voices as I trot around the park. Luckily the hardback version of this with the lovely illustrated cloth covers doesn’t seem to be out yet, because I am valiantly resisting starting buying them as we all know that once I get one, I’ll end up with the lot…