books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: March 29 – April 4

Belated Happy Easter to those of you who are celebrating. I’ve had a long weekend, where the weather has swung between cold and sunny, colder and less sunny and hail and snow. Current status: Cold, clear and sunny.  If you missed the April stats, you can find them here. Coming up this week as well as Book of the Week, there will be mini reviews on Wednesday too.

Read:

Me and Carlos by Tom Perrotta

Women vs Hollywood by Helen O’Hara

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

Billion Dollar Loser by Reeves Wiedeman

Black Light by Jo Perry

Holy Disorders by Edmund Crispin

The Second Marriage by Gill Paul*

Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer

Death of a Sinner by Derek Farrell

Started:

Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual by Luvvie Ajayi-Jones*

Love is a Rogue by Leonora Bell

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Soloman

Still reading:

n/a

I’m quite pleased with my progress this week – I finished the longer runners, and the books I started last week and read some other interesting books too. The observant among you may have noticed that there’s a strong vein of Georgette Heyer rereading (and relistening) coming through at the moment – I’ve been revisiting some of my old favourites. I don’t know what it is about my mood at the moment that necessitates Heyer’s most alpha-y heroes, but I do know that when I finished Sylvester this week, I then went back and relistened to the final few chapters another three times. There is just something about Phoebe, Edmund, Sir Nugent and the button – and Sylvester messing up proposing that did exactly what I wanted this week.

Bonus photo: this month’s flower delivery turned out to be a wreath for me to make. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, so it’s this week’s picture so I can show off a little!

Spring flower wreath

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, historical, new releases, romance

Book of the Week: Wild Rain

More romance this week – but this time historical. I’ve also recommended Beverly Jenkins before – but for her contemporary Blessings series. This is also pretty new – it came out February so I’m fairly up to date for the second week in a row!

Cover of Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

And so the plot: self-sufficient and self-contained female rancher Spring finds Garrett injured in the snow, and takes him back to her cabin to escape the storm. Garrett has travelled to Wyoming from Washington DC to write an article about Spring’s doctor brother. But soon he’s finding Spring much more interesting. Spring, however, is not interested in men or relationships – after a traumatic incident in her past she just wants to be left alone to raise her horses in peace. But as the attraction between the two of them grows, will they be able to overcome their differences and find a happy ending?

Well it’s a romance so you know they will, but it’s a really interesting journey to get there and I really liked that it was Garrett who did most of the adapting. All too often it’s the woman in a romance – particularly in a historical romance who has to do all the changing to fit the man’s circumstances. Garrett may fall for the community he finds in Wyoming, but he has to do some thinking about what he wants from life as well. I don’t read many western-set romances – mostly because there’s a lot about the American West that makes me uncomfortable- but if someone was going to tempt me, of course it would be Beverly Jenkins. She creates such interesting characters and worlds and I love her writing style. This did everything I wanted it to do – The peril with the villain ends up wrapping up a little quickly, but then the romance is what you’re there for so, actually it was fine by me.

My copy of Wild Rain came from the library, but it’s available now on Kindle and Kobo and if you’re in the US it should be able to buy fairly easily in paperback. I suspect in the UK it will be harder but several stores seem to have it available to order – although it’s a bit confusing as Book Depository say they can send it to you now, but Waterstones and Bookshop.org.uk have it as a preorder.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: March 22 – March 28

So this week has mostly been reading library books that we’re coming up for due and reading some physical books because we’re nearly a quarter of the way through the year and I am not a quarter of the way through my best the TBR shelf spread in my journal yet!

Read:

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

Crewelwork by Justin Torres

If You Are Lonely and You Know it by Yiyun Li

The Summer House by Cristina Henriquez

Glitterland by Alexis Hall

Happy Singles Day by Anne Marie Walker

The Twenty-Third Man by Gladys Mitchell

Regency Buck by Georgette Heyer

What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

Started:

Billion Dollar Loser by Reeves Wiedeman

Still reading:

Women vs Hollywood by Helen O’Hara

The Second Marriage by Gill Paul*

Bonus photo: this week’s book post – the new Duncan MacMaster book from my old friends at Fahrenheit Press.

Copy of Drop the Mikes by Duncan MacMaster

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: March 15 – March 21

A very busy week – which involved a really interesting author event on Tuesday for the launch of the new Rivers of London novella. Lots of short stories on this weeks list – but also some cracking new releases too. Lots of stuff which I’m sure you will be hearing more about, because I have a lot of thoughts about things!

Read:

Currency by Emma Cline

Simplexity by Kiley Reid

The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear

I Would Be Doing This Anyway by Jia Tolentino

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R King

Fatality in F by Alexia Gordon

Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert*

Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh

Started:

What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

The Twenty-Third Man by Gladys Mitchell

Still reading:

Women vs Hollywood by Helen O’Hara

The Second Marriage by Gill Paul*

Still not really counting, still don’t care – but new arrivals this week included signed copies of What Abigail Did That Summer and Namina Forna’s The Gilded Ones (after that virtual book launch event I mentioned at the top), both of which are really very attractive looking books.

Bonus photo: it’s finally started to feel a bit spring-like this week, so here are some blossoms from my walk around the neighbourhood midweek

blossoms on trees and hedges

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: March 8 – March 14

Such a strange week of weather, coupled with a reoccurrence of an old injury and an interesting new rash on my hands that means that I look like a plague victim at the moment, means that I made some interesting reading choices last week – a bit of YA, a graphic novel, an old favourite in crime fiction. And I also put some time in on Saturday night to reading some kindle samples and either buying the book or adding them to my price-watch list if I liked them or jettisoning them if I didn’t. So actually sort of productive too.

Read:

Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Philips

The Legal Affair by Nisha Sharma

Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman

Flake by Matthew Dooley

Artists in Crime by Ngaio Marsh

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M Cameron

Started:

Women vs Hollywood by Helen O’Hara

Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert*

The Second Marriage by Gill Paul*

Still reading:

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R King

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: It’s been a while since I put an actual book as the bonus photo for this week, so here is my pretty hardback copy of Women vs Hollywood – with signed bookplate – which arrived this week.

Hardback copy of Women vs Hollywood

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: March 1 – March 7

A really busy week last week – but lots of reading done in the end.

Read:

If We Were Us by K L Walther*

Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera

The Tomorrow Box by Curtis Sittenfeld

Pansies by Alexis Hall

The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer

The Legal Affair by Nisha Sharma

A Deception at Thornecrest by Ashley Weaver

You’re History by Leslie Chow*

Started:

Heroes are my Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Philips

Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R King

Still reading:

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: Some very cheerful tulips that I treated myself to.

Bunch of Tulips

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: February 22 – February 28

We’ve reached the end of another month and we’re about to be back in March – even though it sort of feels like we’ve never left last March! Anyway, coming up this week, Book of the Week tomorrow, some mini-reviews on Wednesday and the stats on Thursday. May this March be shorter than last one!

Read:

We are Bellingcat by Eliot Higgins*

Hare Sitting Up by Michael Innes*

Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers

The Sugared Game by K J Charles

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R King

Biased by Jennifer L Eberhardt

The Holdout by Graham Moore*

Started:

A Deception at Thornecrest by Ashley Weaver

Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera

If We Were Us by K L Walther

Still reading:

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: My mum is a big snowdrop fan, so this one is for her – this is from my Sunday afternoon stroll.

Some snowdrops in a park near my house 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

Book of the Week, LGTBQIA+, romantic comedy

Book of the Week: Boyfriend Material

Another week, another contemporary romance pick for BotW.  This time it’s Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material, which has been much buzzed about, to the point where it took months for my library hold to come in, but it was totally, totally worth it.

Cover of Boyfriend Material

Luc’s parents were rockstars – and back in the day they made some of their best music together. And then they made him. And it means that he’s sort of famous – even though his dad walked out of his life when he was small and his mum hasn’t made any new music in year. But now his dad is making a comeback – and that means more interest in Luc as well. After an unfortunate picture of him tripping up coming out of a club puts his job (fundraiser at a charity trying to save the dung beetle) at risk, Luc decides that the solution is to get himself a nice normal boyfriend. That’s where Oliver comes him. He’s as normal and sensible as it comes – a barrister, an ethical vegetarian and absolutely scandal averse. The only things that they have in common are the fact that they’re single, gay, and they both need a date for a big event. So they come up with a deal. They’ll be fake boyfriends until Luc’s job is safe and Oliver’s family party is over. Then they’ll never see each other again. Simple. Except this is a romance and we all know these sort of arrangements never go to plan!

I loved this so much. I’ve written a lot here about my quest to find more of the funny but romantic books that I love reading and which seemed to be everywhere in the early 2000s, but which seem to have vanished off the face of the planet these days, in favour of really angsty books where everyone has a miserable backstory or comedies where the comedy is based on humiliation or people being terrible at their jobs (and either not really caring they’re rubbish at their jobs or not realising they are) which is really not my thing. But this was just in that sweet spot. It’s witty, it’s fun, the characters are charming and good at their jobs and the secondary characters are hilarious. It’s just a joy to read. I could have read another 200 pages of Luc and Oliver trying to work out how to have a proper relationship. It really was exactly what I needed last week.

It’s had loads of buzz, been various bookclub and magazine picks and so clearly I’m not the only person who wants to read books like this, and fingers crossed it’s the start of a renaissance. If you’ve got any recommendations for books that do the same sort of thing, please drop them in the comments, because the Goodreads and Amazon suggestions aren’t helping me any! This was also my first Alexis Hall book, so I’m off to dig into the back catalogue, although having chatted to my romance reading friends, I think that the steam levels on some of the others is much higher than this – this is kissing and then pretty much closed door. I’ve already pre-ordered Hall’s next book – Rosaline Palmer Takes All the Cake, which is out in May because a romance set on a baking show is exactly what I didn’t realise that I need in front of my eyeballs!

My copy of Boyfriend Material came from the library, but it’s available on Kindle and Kobo and as an audiobook. It’s a paperback too, but the shops have been closed so long now I’ve lost all sense of what is going to get stocked where and so don’t know how easy it will be to get hold of if you’re trying to order from your indie, but Foyles have it available to order if that’s any indication.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: February 15 – February 21

Well it’s been another rollercoaster week of 2021. But then I don’t know why I’m even surprised by that any more because it’s been nearly a year of it now. I’m hoping that the worst is behind us now, and that soon I’ll have more to do than just working, reading and running around the local park. But I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, because 2021 just keeps kicking. Anyway, a fun week of reading, including the latest Chalet School reissue – Jo Returns, in which Elinor M Brent Dyer, notorious for mixing characters up and changing people’s names (sometimes even in the same book) makes Jo confuse some characters in her first school story and tells us about the importance of making list. Truly, a gem.

Read:

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham

A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde*

You’ve Got Mail by Kate G Smith*

Jo Returns to the Chalet School by Elinor M Brent Dyer

Teach Me by Olivia Dade

Sanctuary by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Started:

We are Bellingcat by Eliot Higgins*

Hare Sitting Up by Michael Innes*

The Sugared Game by K J Charles

Still reading:

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R King

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: collected from the framers this week, the Theatres of London print I was given for my birthday. I miss the theatre so very much, any given day one of my Facebook memories will probably be about going to the theatre or buying tickets or thinking about a show. My last show in the West End was a year ago last week (the 18th) when I went to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, but after that before everything shut down I also did a fringe show about The Navy Lark, a talk at the National Theatre marking Michael Billington’s retirement as chief critic with readings from Simon Russell Beale, Oliver Ford Davis and Penelope Wilton, and some comedy. I miss sitting in a room with people watching other people perform. As the pandemic went on, shows have been bumped, cancelled or rearranged and my ticket box has been far far emptier than I would like. The next thing is due to be Hairspray at the Coliseum in early June (rearranged, twice, from last Easter) and I’m really hoping it will go ahead.

An illustrated map of London Theatres.

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: February 8 – February 14

Another busy week – and a working weekend. I’ve been saying for months that my brain can’t cope with anything complicated, but never has that been more true than at the moment. A few pages of Mrs Tim at bedtime, some romance, a mystery to solve, that’s about all my brain can cope with. This is the first week in a few that there hasn’t been an Amelia Peabody book on the finished list – but they’re still there in the background too.

Read:

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras

Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

Death in the Beginning by Beth Byers

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh*

Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

A Taste of Honey by Rose Lerner

Started:

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R King

A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde*

Still reading:

Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: A snowy morning in Fitzroy Square last week. This is the row of houses that you see in all sorts of films and costume dramas – there’s a really good shot of it at the start of Phantom Thread – and I walk through it on my way to work (and back to the station) every day I’m in the office. It’s not the first time I’ve had a photo from the square on the blog – it’s also the location of Maisie Dobb’s office so it has a bookish connection too. I keep meaning to go back through the Maisie books and see if it mentions which number Maisie’s office was meant to be in, but I only ever remember while I’m walking through the square – and then I forget again!

Snowy railings and the fancy houses behind them

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