books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: May 14 – May 20

I spent a couple of days in Glasgow for work last week – which involved 11+ hours on a train to get up there and back, so I got a bit of reading done and a few long runners ticked off the list (and some progress on a few more too).  I’m almost pleased with myself.

Read:

I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

Fowl of the House of Usher by JR Ripley

Custard Heart by Dorothy Parker

Judge Walden: Back in Session by Peter Murphy

How to Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Started:

J is for Judgement by Sue Grafton

A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver

Still reading:

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Templars by Dan Jones

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Pure Juliet by Stella Gibbons

One book and one ebook bought.  Progress again!

Book of the Week, reviews, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Clean

Taking a break from the run of romance novels as Books of the Week to go for something completely different: Juno Dawson’s new YA novel Clean.  There were a couple of strong contenders for BotW, but this blew me away when I read it.  You will be hearing more of some of the other books from last week though – there’s one on there that’s not out in the UK yet that’s definitely going on one of my summer reading list posts at the very least.

Cover of CLEAN by Juno Dawson

Clean is the story of Lexi Volkov, the socialite daughter of a Russian hotel millionaire who definitely isn’t hooked on hard drugs and really doesn’t need to be in rehab.  Or at least that’s what she’d thinks.  She’s been checked into an exclusive treatment centre by her brother after nearly overdosing and the book follows her as she works her way through her treatment.  This is a Young Adult book, but it is dealing with a properly adult subject matter and in a very upfront way and realistic way.  I think this is one for the older end of the YA market – probably over 14 – maybe a bit older – although I was definitely reading stuff like this by GCSE sort of stage.  I found this so readable that I wanted to keep going – but had to take a break or two because it is a lot to take in and deal with.

Lexi is a brilliant character – at the start she is very abrasive and incredibly hard to like – and that’s by design I think.  It’s her addictions and the selfishness of the addict speaking rather than her real personality.  I only really started to like her about two thirds of the way through – may be later – and started really wanting her to succeed but even then she had her moments.  The book is also packed with interesting characters and great representation.  I don’t have any experience of inpatient treatment, but the book felt like was based on fact and reality – even if sometimes I wondered if there shouldn’t be some more staff around.  But then a bit of artistic licence is definitely allowable, and anyway as I’ve said – I don’t know anything about the reality of an expensive private rehab facility. I did have a few other minor quibbles and thought the ending was really clever – but I can’t say much more about any of that without spoiling things and breaking my rules about that sort of thing.

What I will say though is that this probably needs a trigger warning for pretty much everything – and not just for the drug taking and drug addiction.  As I said earlier, it’s definitely for the older end of the YA market, and I needed to take breaks while reading this.  But then as I’m a massive wimp who often doesn’t read books like this because they’re too dark for me, that’s probably not surprising.

I got my copy of Clean via NetGalley, but it’s out now and available in all the usual formats – Kindle and Kobo (and only £2.99 at time of writing) as well as paperback from all the usual sources.  I’d also expect to be able to find this fairly easily in an actual bookshop and may be even the supermarkets..  I’ve got another of Dawson’s earlier YA books sitting on the TBR shelf along with her non-fiction adult book The Gender Games and this has made me thing that I really need to get to them sooner rather than later.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: May 7 – May 13

Much more like it this week – and I’ve made some progress on some of the other long runners too.  Feeling much happier with myself.

Read:

Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Making Up by Lucy Parker

Lethal Literature by Kym Roberts

Triage by Tara Crescent

Calamity in Kent by John Rowland

Clean by Juno Dawson

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

Joy in the Morning by PG Wodehouse

Dead as a Doornail by Tonya Kappes

Started:

Pure Juliet by Stella Gibbons

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Templars by Dan Jones

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Three books and one ebook, which is not quite as well behaved, but hey, I’m not perfect!

 

Book of the Week, romance

Book of the Week: One and Only

This week’s BotW is another romance – Jenny Holiday’s One and Only.  I impulse bought this after seeing the author tweeting that she’d realised that she keeps putting scenes in her books where her characters eat grilled cheese. Now, I currently have five different types of cheese in my fridge, and when I was learning to talk my word was more, and my first phrase was “more cheese” so I think we all know what it was that got my book buying ban overruled…

Cover of One and Only

Now as the whole book is not about cheese, I should give you a plot outline: Jane is the sensible, organised, responsible member of her friendship group.  So of course she’s the one tasked with keeping her Bridezilla friend’s soon-to-be brother-in-law out of trouble in the run up to the wedding.  Cameron has just been kicked out of the army (with the Canadian equivalent of a dishonourable discharge) after his attempt at turning his life around went awry.  He’s got a list of things that he wants to do now he’s free of the military’s rules and he’s determined to tick them all off before his brother gets married.  The last thing he needs is someone dogging his every move to keep him in line.

Of course we all know what’s going to happen here – these two opposites are going to fall for each other and we’re going to learn that there’s a lot more to Cameron than his bad boy reputation. Hint: he definitely got a rough deal from the army.  Jane needs some one to challenge her and get her out of her comfort zone and he needs someone to prove to him that he is more than other people think he is and that he can have the future that he wants to have.  I would chalk this up as reasonably steamy – there’s quite a lot of bedroom action here, and it’s a little bit more… adventurous than some of the others I’ve read recently.

The other great thing about this book is Jane’s group of friends – they’re fun and supportive, even the Bridezilla (who is also a great comic turn).  I also loved the setting – I can’t remember the last time (if ever) I read a contemporary romance set in Canada and this left me a) wanting more and b) wanting to visit Canada.  It’s the first in the series and the sequel is out in June.  I’m busy resisting the urge to go and buy more of Holiday’s back catalogue to read more of the grilled cheese scenes.

You can get One and Only on Kindle and Kobo and Amazon also sell a paperback edition, although I’ve not worked out if it’s a UK edition or a US one which will affect whether you’ll be able to order it elsewhere.  Summer is coming and with it I know a lot of you will be going to weddings, so get yourself in the mood with this!

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: April 30 – May 6

I was going to say that I don’t know what happened, but to be honest, I do know what happened: a busy week at work – including extra hours for local elections and then a sunny bank holiday weekend with family visiting and friends holding BBQs that culminated in me falling asleep on the sofa at 9pm on Sunday evening after a few glasses of Pimms.  It happens.

Read:

The Bachelor and the Beauty Queen by Carolyn Hector

Walden of Berdmonsey by Peter Murphy

H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton

One and Only by Jenny Holliday

Started:

Making Up by Lucy Parker

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Templars by Dan Jones

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth

A couple of books bought too – I had a weak moment – 3 books and 2 ebooks.

American imports, Book of the Week, romance

Book of the Week: The Duchess Deal

April’s stats are coming up tomorrow, but first we have another Book of the Week post – and for the second week in a row it’s a historical romance novel that has got the nod.  I was lucky enough to go to Sarah MacLean’s London tea party back in February and met Tessa Dare there – but it’s taken a little while for her latest book to come to the top of the to-read pile.

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal is the first in a new series and tells the story a battle scarred duke and his marriage of convenience with a seamstress.  The Duke of Ashbury came back from Waterloo a different man.  Since then he’s hidden himself away as he recovered from his injuries.  When Emma Gladstone turns up in his library, demanding payment for the dress she made for the fiancée who jilted him, he proposes that she marry him so that he can get the heir he needs.  Emma had been relying on the money from the wedding dress to keep her afloat.  Since her father disowned her, she’s made her own way in the world and is determined to succeed.  But the chance to be a duchess could be the solution to all her problems.  They both have rules for the relationship – his are all designed to stop her from getting close to him, hers are about conversation and getting to know each other.  But as time passes, they both realise that this marriage may be the making of both of them.

Emma is feisty and determined, and definitely not a wilting wallflower.  She knows her own mind and is prepared to stand up for what she believes in.  I liked Ash as well.  He is definitely an alphamale, but he’s one who has had to face up to a future he wasn’t really expecting which makes him more my sort of hero.  They have great banter together and the reader gets to see plenty of their relationship in action.  Because this is a marriage got into because Ash wants an heir, there is also quite a lot of bedroom action in this, which I would say is fairly steamy.*

I do love a marriage – or engagement – of convenience novel.  When they’re done well they’re delicious – and this is one of those cases.  I had a brief moment at the end where I wondered if there was about to be one storyline too many on the road to happily ever after, but I really shouldn’t have worried.   There is quite a lot of set up here for the rest of the series – I’m looking forward to book 2, which gets a little meet cute here – but as most of that revolved around group of women being friends I didn’t have a problem with it.

I ended up with two review copies of this – one from NetGalley and then a proper book copy that I won in a competition on Twitter – but it’s out now and I don’t think it will be too hard to find.  It came out in the UK in February (and in the US last summer) so you may have missed it in the supermarkets, but I’m sure it’s orderable and there are also the Kindle and Kobo editions too.

Happy Reading!

*Which is fine by me, but I know that other people like their romances to be more closed door than that.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week In Books: April 23 – April 29

The Sue Grafton kick continues.  It’s all Bettina’s fault.  Anyway, a much slower week this week because I was back at work and very, very busy.  But some good stuff in there none the less.

Read:

F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton

G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton

Left Until Called For At Vivians by Patricia K Caldwell

Under His Kilt by Melissa Blue

Carpe Jugulum: The Play by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Briggs

Going Down by Elise Sax

Man Candy by Elise Sax

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Started:

Eternity Ring by Patricia Wentworth

Still reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

The Square and the Tower by Niall Ferguson

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

The Templars by Dan Jones

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

A couple of books pre-ordered and two ebooks bought, but generally quite restrained!