Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 22 – November 28

So I can confirm, that this was the week where I realised that I have just over a month until the end of the year and a lot of states to still tick off from my Read the USA challenge this year. Thus, a bunch of books got abandoned midway through while I started a scramble to try and get some more states ticked off. And I actually did ok – with three more off the list and some stuff ordered for some of the other missing states so things are feeling a bit more possible again. But I can feel a theme for the next few weeks reading coming along…

Read:

Garment of Shadows by Laurie R King

Fangirl Vol 1: The Manga by Rainbow Rowell, Sam Maggs and Gabi Nam

Educated by Tara Westover*

Snowbound Squeeze by Tawna Fenske

The Ex Hex by Erin Stirling

If the Fates Allow by Rainbow Rowell

Model Home by J Courtney Sullivan

Started:

Blood at the Bookies by Simon Brett

Still reading:

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne*

Theroux The Keyhole by Louis Theroux

The Tormentors by George Bellairs

As I’ve already mentioned it at the top, I can’t lie – there have been a few books bought this week because of the aforementioned reading challenge and the fact that the tbr bookshelf isn’t going to help me with some of my missing states! I did pick up books for a few of them via Kindle Unlimited though, so that’s something right?!

Bonus photo: some comfort cooking for the picture this week, because there’s nothing like coming home from a sunny holiday into top temperatures of 4 degrees to make you want to eat something that will stick to you ribs…

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, romance

Book of the Week: The Love Hypothesis

I read a lot of books on holiday last week including a lot of mysteries but breaking with recent trends I’m going for a romance novel. But as I said yesterday there were lots of things I want to talk about, so I suspect you’ll be hearing about more of them soon anyway.

Olive needs to convince her best friend that she’s over her ex (because her best friend fancies him and won’t date him until Olive has found someone else). Because they’re all PHD students, Anh is demanding empirical proof of this, so Olive has a bit of a panic and kisses the first man she sees. Unfortunately the man in question is Adam Carlsen – a rising star in the science world, a professor at the uni and also known as a tyrant towards his PHD students. But for some reason, he agrees to her proposal that he be her fake boyfriend. But the more time they spend together, the more Olive finds that she may actually quite like him. But that wasn’t the deal was it? But what really is going on between them – and can it survive a science conference where Olive’s career takes a bit of a turn?

Goodness me I love a fake relationship romance and this one works really well. It’s all told from Olive’s point of view, which I wasn’t expecting, but it means that you *think* you know what’s going on with Adam, but you’re never quite sure. I don’t know a lot about the world of academia, but I did like the fact that the book explicitly addressed the issues of a relationship between teacher and a student and spelled out the reasons why it was ok and what they had done about it. I was worried for a little while that the denouement was going to rely on a Stupid Misunderstanding or People Not Having Basic Conversations which are two of my pet peeves in the romance genre, but it doesn’t and it’s actually really neatly done. I raced through it in an evening and was really sad when it was over. I was always an arts and languages person at school and not a STEM one, so I loved the details about what it’s like working in labs and working in higher levels of academia. This is Ali Hazelwood’s debut novel and I am really looking forward to seeing what she writes next.

My copy of The Love Hypothesis came from the library, but it’s out now in paperback, Kindle, Kobo and audiobook. The paperback isn’t showing any click and collect on Foyles’ website, so I suspect it may be an order it in thing – at the moment at any rate. One last thing: helpfully there are some content warnings for the book on Ali Hazelwood’s website – mild spoilers ahoy.

Happy Reading!

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 15 – November 21

So I have a confession. I’ve been on holiday again. I valiantly went to Gran Canaria for a week to help Him Indoors use up some leave before the end of the calendar year. And it was delightful. Very chilled out and lovely and warm. I also did a lot of reading. I’m making good progress on the Barbara Pym biography – but it’s very long, and I have been reading it on the iPad and my kindle wouldn’t hook up to the Wifi to sync so I couldn’t read it on the beach – so it’s not finished yet. And I didn’t take Almost English and Heroine Complex with me so they’re still ongoing (since last holiday – eek!). But I did read really quite a lot and lots of it good. Plenty of stuff to talk about. I just need to figure out when I’m going to do it. This week is back to normal really – I just need to catch up on everything I’ve missed in the last week… wish me luck!

Read:

Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville

IQ by Joe Ide 

Home for a Cowboy Christmas by Donna Grant*

Wish Upon a Cowboy by Donna Grant*

Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris*

Death Under the Dryer by Simon Brett

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiassen

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Sealed Off by Barbara Ross

Shucked Apart by Barbara Ross

Started:

Garment of Shadows by Laurie R King

Theroux The Keyhole by Louis Theroux

The Tormentors by George Bellairs

Still reading:

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne*

I have been very restrained and haven’t bought anything since the two books at the airport last weekend. Check me out!

Bonus photo: Of course it’s from the holiday. What else would it be. Here’s the lagoon by the beach at Maspalomas. And it was as lovely and sunny as this looks.

Lagoon and sand dunes with glorious blue sky

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

 

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 8 – November 14

For some reason I’m on a mega murder mystery kick at the morning  even more than usual I mean. I’m putting it down to there being lots of good options in Kindle Unlimited at the moment, but it could just be that it’s autumn and I want to be curled up on the sofa with a good book and the mystery options have appealed more than the romance ones so far!

Read:

These Names Make Clues by E R C Lorac

The Body in the Attic by Judi Lynn

Murder in the Basement by Anthony Berkeley

Resorting to Murder ed Martin Edwards

The Stabbing at the Stables by Simon Brett

What Child Is This by Rhys Bowen

Take the Lead by Jessica Simpson

Started:

Home for a Cowboy Christmas by Donna Grant*

Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville

Death Under the Dryer by Simon Brett

IQ by Joe Ide 

The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris*

Still reading:

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne*

Two actual books and an ebook. Positively restrained!

Bonus photo: somewhat unoriginal this week I have to say, but here’s a misty morning in London.

Fitzroy Square on a misty morning

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, cozy crime, crime, detective, Forgotten books, mystery

Book of the Week: These Names Make Clues

I mean I would say that this is slightly cheating but you know that already because I told you yesterday that I hadn’t quite finished this because I went to see Jools Holland, so you already know that I finished this on Monday. But I did read most of it last week and it is my favourite thing I (mostly) read last week so it’s fair game for this.

These Names Makes Clues is a classic closed group mystery. Detective Inspector MacDonald is invited to a treasure hunt at the house of a well-known publisher. Along the other guests are writers of mysteries, romances and other books all with pseudonyms to hide their identities as part of the game. But before the night is over, one of the guests has been found dead in the telephone room and MacDonald is suddenly involved in an investigation filled with fake names and complicated alibis.

I really enjoyed this. I’ve recommended some books by E C R Lorac before and this is right up there. There are plenty of mysteries among the cast of suspects, even though some of them are revealed quite late on which is verging on cheating for the rules of Golden Age mystery writing but I forgave it because it’s a proper thrill ride towards the end as it all unravels. If you have kindle unlimited this is definitely worth a look as it’s currently in the rotation of British Library Crime Classics included in your membership in the UK.

My copy of These Names Make Clues came from the British Library bookshop during my book buying spree on my London trip in mid-October, but as mentioned above it’s available on Kindle Unlimited at the moment – which means I can’t find it on other ebook vendors, but when the unlimited period ends it may well pop up on Kobo again.

Happy reading!

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 1 – November 7

Such a busy week. And sort of more like the old days in some ways, in that I stayed three nights down in London – except that the nights were in a Travelodge not a Youth Hostel (the hostels are still doing one booking one room and the only room they had left had 8 beds so the hotel was cheaper!) and there were two parties in the evenings. Less like the old days in that I managed to fall over on Wednesday lunchtime and turn one ankle over and graze the opposite knee, leaving me with one ankle larger than the other, a limp and the laughter of the builders who saw it happen ringing in my ears. Still at least my tights weren’t ruined – that would have made my embarrassment even more acute. It turns out there is something to be said for expensive opaques after all. Any way, all the partying had a bit of an effect on the reading. Never mind, at least nothing is broken. Oh and if you missed them last week – don’t forget the Mini Reviews from October!

Read:

The Witness at the Wedding by Simon Brett

Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

A Surprise for Christmas edited by Martin Edwards

Isn’t it Bromantic by Lyssa Kay Adams

A Cup of Joe by Annabeth Adams

Started:

The Stabbing at the Stables by Simon Brett

These Names Make Clues by E R C Lorac

Still reading:

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne*

Nothing – except for an ebook copy of The Unknown Ajax, which I already own in paperback, hardback and audiobook so can hardly be said to count…

Bonus photo: I could have used a picture of my injured ankle, but no one wants to see my Foot of Many Colours, so instead, here’s my Sunday night out at Jools Holland – a gig I booked two years ago and that should have happened a year ago but also the reason why I didn’t finish These Names Are Clues on Sunday…

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

 

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 25 – October 31

So I’m getting there on getting that still reading list down. The sticking points are the ones with physical copies – and the fact that my bag is full enough for the commute without adding one of them in. Excuses, excuses. And as today is the first of the month, a bumper crop of posts this week – we have Book of the Week tomorrow, mini reviews on Wednesday and October Stats on Thursday. Check me out with the organisation. I both love and hate when the first of the month falls on a Monday.

Read:

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi*

All The Feels by Olivia Dade

The Black Pages by Nnedi Okorafor

Stealing the Crown by T P Fielden

The Hanging in the Hotel by Simon Brett

Pirate King by Laurie R King

Index, A History of the by Dennis Duncan*

2043: Merman I Should Turn to Be by Nisi Shawl

Started:

The Witness at the Wedding by Simon Brett

Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Still reading:

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne*

A pre-order arrived – but I don’t think I actually bought anything…

Bonus photo: a misty Tuesday morning in London last week – as previously mentioned, this is Fitzroy Square – sometime home to the offices of Maisie Dobbs in Jaqueline Winspear’s series.

Fitzroy Square in London

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

 

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 18 – October 24

Am I reading the Fetherings series at a pace that looks like it could be a classic Verity Binge? Why yes. Should I be reading other stuff? Almost certainly. Do I care? Well, slightly, but not enough to exert any will power! Another busy week as well – with two more trips to the theatre (!) and a bit of socialising too. How did I use to fit all this in?!

Read:

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman*

The Torso in the Town by Simon Brett

One More Christmas at the Castle by Trisha Ashley*

Murder in the Museum by Simon Brett

Peggy of the Chalet School by Elinor M Brent Dyer

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Marilyn Monroe by FX Feeney

Started:

The Hanging in the Hotel by Simon Brett

Stealing the Crown by T P Fielden

Still reading:

Index, A History of the by Dennis Duncan*

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne*

Pirate King by Laurie R King

I mean I was going to say that I bought less books than last week, but that might be a lie, as I put in two more preorders, the Chalet School on the list was a preorder that I ended up reading straight away and another preoreder arrived to. And on top of that it was a good week for cheap kindle books…

Bonus photo: This is from &Juliet on Monday night, which was truly the most astounding musical I have seen in a long time. I have a lot of thoughts, upper most of which is that I need to go again because David Bedella was off when we saw it!

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

 

Authors I love, books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 11 – October 17

Did I finish all the books I had on the go from last week? No. Did I make progress on them? Yes. Did I spent a weekend in London doing activities rather than on my sofa reading? Absolutely. I regret nothing. I’ve absolutely had a blast.

Read:

A Time to Die by Hilda Lawrence*

Death on the Downs by Simon Brett

Fear in the Sunlight by Nicola Upson

The Visit by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is Your Time by Ruby Bridges

Started:

The Torso in the Town by Simon Brett

Still reading:

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman*

Index, A History of the by Dennis Duncan*

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym by Paula Byrne*

Pirate King by Laurie R King

One More Christmas at the Castle by Trisha Ashley*

Four actual books because I went into many bookshops and ended up buying stuff in the British Library shop, Skoob books and Foyles. And a few ebooks as well earlier in the week. What can I say. I just can’t help myself.

Bonus photo: one of the real life things I did was the Paddington exhibition at the British Library which I thoroughly thoroughly recommend. And the theatre was good too.

A model Paddington sitting outside the door to Windsor gardens

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, cozy crime, detective

Book of the Week: The Body on the Beach

Despite all the books I really ought to be finishing, I started a new series last week and it was fun so that made my choice today easier – because the other option was V for Vengeance and not only have I written about Kinsey Milhone before, I’m nearing the end of the series and I feel a series I love post on that in my future!

Carole Sedden is sensible. She makes sensible decisions about what to do with her sensible retirement from her sensible house in the desirable but slightly insular village of Fethering on the south coast. She doesn’t want to get drawn into the petty rivalries of her neighbours or draw too much attention to herself. Her new neighbour Jude is clearly not a sensible person. She wears clothes that waft and encourages visits to the pub and day drinking. Carole isn’t going to encourage her. Except that Carole found a body on the beach while she took her dog on it’s morning walk, the police can’t find the body and don’t believe her and a woman has turned up at her house and waved a gun at her. She’s not quite sure why she told Jude about it, but soon the two of them are investigating the (potential) murder and Carole is doing some very un-sensible things indeed!

So I was recommended this as a “if you like Richard Osman try this” series* and I would say that that’s not a bad call. They predate the Thursday Murder Club series by about twenty years and the protagonists are not quite as old, but this is a fun and clever mystery with two interesting central characters and a cast of eccentric secondary characters. I love Simon Brett’s Charles Paris series, and they have a similar sense of humour in the writing style, although Carole is nothing like the probably alcoholic, grass is always greener, not as successful as he would like Charles. But if you like Charles, definitely try these.

The Body on the Beach is in Kindle Unlimited at the moment and also available on Kobo. If you want a paperback, you’ll probably have to dig around a bit or go second hand (or both!

Happy Reading!

*yes I am aware of the irony of reading this start to finish whilst not having finished the new Richard Osman, but there are a lot of these in the series and I’ll have to wait another year for the next Osman.