books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: September 12 – September 18

Yeah. It’s been another one of those weeks. Work has been crazy busy, I’m exhausted and some impulse purchasing may have taken place. 2022 is really proving to be quite something.

Read:

Make It Sweet by Kristen Callihan

Marple: Twelve New Stories by Various authors based on Agatha Christie’s character

Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall

Death and the Brewery Queen by Frances Brody

Round Up the Usual Peacocks by Donna Andrews

Coq au Vin by Charlotte Carter

Bats in the Belfry by E C R Lorac

Started:

A Step so Grave by Catriona MacPherson

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

One book in Waterstones Piccadilly, a couple more from Amazon and two preorders appeared too. I said the restraint wouldn’t last!

Bonus photo: a little mews near where I was staying last week. Charming.

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

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: September 5 – September 11

I mean if you don’t know what happened in the UK this week, then I sort of envy your ability to avoid the news. It’s been a long, strange week. And no surprise that you can probably tell that in this post.

Read:

Stirring Up Love by Chandra Blumberg*

A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie

The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish*

There’s Something About Merry by Codi Hall*

Started:

Make It Sweet by Kristen Callihan

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

A couple of preorders arrived – on the kindle and on the doorstep, but I think that’s it. But my brain is a little frazzled right now.

Bonus photo: Sunday evening calm in the park.

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

Book of the Week, detective, Forgotten books

Book of the Week: Til Death Do Us Part

There were a few options for this post this week, but in the end I’ve settled on a really good locked room mystery, because those are so satisfying when done right – and this is really done right!

Dick Markham is in love (again). The object of the crime writer’s affection is Lesley Grant, a new arrival in his village. But when she accidentally shoots and injures a fortune teller at the village fete, he is told a story about her that is very different from the one that she tells about herself. Cast into confusion, he is asked to take part in a scheme to expose her as a serial poisoner – only for the person accusing her to be found murdered in exactly the way that he was told Lesley kills her victims: in an impossible locked room set up. Then Gideon Fell arrives on the scene to try and untangle the mystery.

It’s been a while since I read a locked room mystery, and this one is so clever. It is the first Gideon Fell mystery that I have read – although I read another of John Dickson Carr’s novels earlier in the year, and gave another Fell lined up already. But I can see why this one in particular has such an impressive reputation. It’s really pacy and makes you feel completely off balance as a reader because it twists and turns around so much you’re never really sure what you think – or what you’re meant to think. And I can’t really say any more about it than that because it gives too much away – even writing the plot summary was tricky! Anyway, give it a look for yourself.

My copy of Til Death Do Us Part came via my Kindle Unlimited subscription, but it’s a British Library Crime Classic, so when it cycles out of KU it should be available on all the major ebook platforms. And of course you can buy it in paperback direct from the British Library Bookshop online.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 29 – September 4

Another busy week. It started with the end of a nightshift on Bank Holiday Monday morning and then had two nights away from home. I can confirm that the nightshift affected my brain power and concentration as it always does, so it took until the end of the week to make some progress on the long runners. But I have made progress. I’m also trying to pace myself with the new Taylor Jenkins Reid and try and make it last. We’ll see how long that resolution lasts, although it is helped by the fact that I own it in hardback and not on Kindle!

Read:

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

Knit to Kill by Anne Canadeo

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian

Death in Soho by Emily Organ

Til Death do is Part by John Dickson Carr

Started:

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Stirring Up Love by Chandra Blumberg*

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

One book bought, one preorder arrived. Still controlling myself admirably after Bristol

Bonus photo: I’m still very cross about the one day I missed 500 odd days ago, because who knows how long the streak would be otherwise given that the weekly streak is over four years… when did they start gathering this data anyway? I’ve had a kindle a decade now and I think I’ve probably used it every week of that decade…

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

Adventure, Book of the Week, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Piglettes

We’re rocketing towards the end of the month, and after a delightful week of reading last week, I’m finishing the BotW selections off with a YA novel which I picked up on my buying spree at Foyles at the start of the month.

Piglettes tells the story of Mireille, Astrid and Hakima who are voted the ugliest girls in their school by their fellow students. None of them are happy about it – but for Mireille it’s not her first time on the list – which was started by a boy she used to be friends with – so she decides to befriend her fellow Piglettes rather than sit around and be miserable. What ends up happening is an epic summer cycle trip from their town to Paris to try and go to the French President’s garden party on Bastille Day. Each of the three girls has their own reason for going, but what they don’t expect is to become the centre of media attention as the country starts to follow the three girls as they cycle towards Paris selling sausages on the way.

This is a modern twist on the adventure-without-adults sort of books (see Swallows and Amazons etc) that I really loved when I was younger (and still do to be honest). Ok, Hakima’s brother comes along with them and he’s an adult, but he never really seems like an intruding adult presence restricting the girls, he becomes more like part of the gang. The idea of cycling across France selling sausages sounds a little bit bonkers – but it’s actually perfect – the girls have a goal, they get to meet loads of people and they get to find out new things about themselves and each other. But as well as being about friendship and self discovery, this is also quite a foodie novel. The pork sausages they’re selling are made by a local butcher. Mireille’s grandparents own a restaurant and they make their vegetarian sausages there themselves – as well as their special apple sauce to go with it. At the places they stop at on the way there’s often local food – including when Mireille detours them to go through the town where her favourite cheese is made (Crottin de Chavignol if you’re interested).

Clementine Beauvais has translated this herself from the original French, and if you can get past the envy of being good enough to write novels in two languages (and it did give me a touch of the green-eyed monsters), she’s given it a whole load of humour but it also still feels distinctly French. I would love to see the original for comparison to see what the jokes and references were in the original and what if anything she’s changed for a non-French audience. It’s clever and funny and I really enjoyed it. Also it made me want to go on holiday to France and eat some regional produce. Maybe I’ll have to settle for buying some speciality cheese to keep me going until we can get over there again.

I bought my copy of Piglettes on a trip to Foyles but it’s also available on Kindle and Kobo. As I found it in store, I’m hoping that you could be similarly lucky if you look in a bookstore, even if Foyles’ website isn’t currently showing any click and collect copies…

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 22 – August 28

I mean I said writing the London Celebrities post had started me on rereading them, but it may have got a little out of control… Anyway, a good week in reading, ending in a bank holiday weekend with an overnight shift at work, so we’ll see what happens as my brain tries to deal with that! I have made some good progress on the long runners too, just not enough to get them off the list!

Read:

The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery

Star Trap by Simon Brett

Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Making Up by Lucy Parker

Venetia by Georgette Heyer

The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

Headliners by Lucy Parker

Quick Curtain by Alan Melville

Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais

Started:

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

A restrained week in purchasing – which we can chalk up to lingering guilt after the spree that was Bristol and the fact that I didn’t walk past Foyles when I was in London last week!

Bonus photo: an aperol spritz and curly fries. So orange, but so good!

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

Book of the Week, Children's books, Forgotten books

Book of the Week: A Time to Dance

It’s been a couple of weeks of Girl’s Own type books, so I’ve no regrets about making another of them this week’s Book of the Week and carrying on the theme of theatres and dancing.

A Time to Dance is a standalone ballet career book about the first couple of terms of a newly established ballet school in the north of England. It follows a selection of the pupils as they study dance, help promote the school and try and work out if dancing is really what they want to do. It’s quite gentle and there’s no peril really at all – even less than usual in these books if anything, but I particular enjoyed the fact that it focussed on several of the girls and the different challenges they faced.

Most of the time in ballet books you have a school-age heroine who is convinced that she is destined to dance and that there is nothing she would rather do with her life. But this has a couple of older pupils who have left school are trying to balance learning to dance with jobs and the need for cash. And it’s got several girls who are studying even though ballet isn’t going to be their career. Of course it does have a desperate to dance or two too, but I appreciated the variety and the realism it added to the mix. This was written in the early 1960s and has a more modern feel to some of the other books – the potential distractions for the students include television adverts and modelling.

I haven’t read any Robina Beckles Willson before but this was charming. Goodreads only has this and a couple of picture books under her name, and I didn’t get a chance to look her up to see what else she might have written that hasn’t made it into Goodreads database!

I got my copy at one of the book sales at conference, but I suspect that most of you aren’t going to be interested enough in the genre to want to buy it! If you do, you’ll probably need a specialist bookseller or a lot of luck.

Happy reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 15 – August 21

The week started in Bristol at the end of conference and then had more nights in London than usual because of the train strikes. But the list is actually pretty good – the new to me books include a couple of my conference purchases, a new release, the latest Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes book and a whole bunch of romantic comedies. The extra nights away from home explain why the still reading list is so long – a lot of the stuff on it is actual books – some of them hardbacks – which are at home and I was not!

Read:

Dimsie Carries On by Dorita Fairlie Bruce

The Twist of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz*

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis

Donut Fall In Love by Jackie Lau

Castle Shade by Laurie R King

A Time to Dance by Robina Beckles Willson

Death and the Dancing Footman by Ngaio Marsh

Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters

In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer*

Started:

The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais

Four books at the National Trust secondhand bookshop on the way home from conference. And another one at Foyles. And then a couple of ebooks. Oopsie daisy.

Bonus photo: the gardens at Dyrham Park, the aforementioned National Trust house on Monday. It was delightful.

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

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!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 8 – August 14

Two nights in London for work? Check. Three nights at book conference? Check. More chatting than book reading? Check. I mean I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about my weekend talking Girl’s Own books, but today basically all you need to know is that I mostly listened to talks about books and bought books rwther than actually reading them!

Read:

Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan

No Castanets at the Wells by Lorna Hill

Started:

Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

Castle Shade by Laurie R King

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Twist of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz*

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

About 20 actual books and a couple of ebooks too. And I’m not even sorry about it!

Bonus photo: a return to student life for the weekend!

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