American imports, Book of the Week, cozy crime, new releases

Book of the Week: Lowcountry Bonfire

As you’ll have seen from yesterday’s Week in Books, I had a less productive week in reading last week, but that didn’t give me a problem when it came to picking a BotW –  because after I read Lowcountry Bonfire, I went and bought myself another book in the series straight away.

The cover of Lowcountry Bonfire
I kinda like this cover – its simple but stylish.

Lowcountry Bonfire is the sixth book in the Liz Talbot cozy crime series.  Liz and her partner Nate Andrews run a private investigation agency on an island in South Carolina.  Their bread and butter cases are suspicious spouses and adultery cases.  They’re not expecting Tammy Sue Lyerley’s case to be any different.  But when her husband Zeke turns up dead in the boot of the car that Tammy Sue has just filled with his stuff and is trying to set alight, they end up smack bang in the middle of a murder investigation.  Soon they’re trying to work out the truth behind Zeke’s tall tales and uncovering buried secrets.

After a disappointing run of cozy crime novels during my holiday*, this was a breath of fresh air. This is just the sort of cozy crime that I like – a great cast of characters, a quirky setting and a satisfying murder mystery.  And to top that off, Liz is one of my favourite things – a sleuth who has a legitimate reason to be snooping around.  The plot is perhaps a little bonkers at times, but the book is so pacey that you don’t really have time to think about that – which is exactly what you want really.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I liked this so much that I went off and bought myself the first book in the series so I could see how Liz got to where she is.  I finished that on the train home on Monday afternoon and can report that that’s also a lot of fun – although the mystery and pacing isn’t quite as good as in Lowcountry Bonfire.  Admittedly that may be partly because I could spot which townspeople were no longer about in book six and extrapolate some of the solution from that!

My copy of Lowcountry Bonfire came from NetGalley, but it’s out now and available on all the usual platforms, like Kindle and Kobo.  But if you want to start at the beginning, Lowcountry Boil was £1.99 on Kindle and Kobo at time of writing, as was book two, Lowcountry Bombshell, (although only on Kindle) which I may have just bought myself.  Naughty Verity!

Happy reading.

*Written in Dead Wax (in my book at least) is not a cozy crime.  And even if it was, I read it at the start of the week – it was the mysteries afterwards that were a disappointment!

cozy crime, detective, new releases

Recommendsday: No Way Home

Today’s Recommendsday book is Annette Dashofy’s latest cozy crime No Way Home, which came out yesterday and which I’m currently reading.  This is the fifth novel in her Zoe Chambers series about a paramedic and deputy coroner who gets entangled with the crimes in her neighbourhood. No Way Home sees a rash of teen drug deaths in Zoe’s home town, the death of a popular town commissioner and the disappearance of Zoe’s best friend’s son in New Mexico – which sends Zoe out of her comfort zone and across the country to try and help find him.

Cover of No Way Home
The cover definitely does the New Mexico end of the story well!

This is the second book in the series that I’ve read (I read the first a few weeks back now) and they’re well-put together murder mysteries with an interesting cast of characters and a “detective” who has a great excuse for getting involved in investigations and a job that gives her access to information.  Having skipped a couple of books there are some developments in this that I’ve missed, but nothing that means I can’t follow this book (and no spoilers so far for the plots of the other books).

Catnip wise, they’re set in small town, rural Pennsylvania with farms and horses and there’s also a slow burn romance going on too.  As yet, no crafting or bakeries! Zoe is a little foolhardy at times, but never quite into Too Stupid To Live territory so far and I’m really quite enjoying this.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t all go wrong in the final quarter.

My copy came from NetGalley and although I think it is an actual physical release, it’s super expensive over here, but it’s more reasonable on Kindle.

Happy Reading!

The pile

State of the To-Read Pile: 2016 edition

Well it’s that time of year again where I consider the state of the to-read pile, given that the stated aim of this blog is to try to conquer it.  The literal state of pile is that it’s mostly in boxes at the moment, because we were meant to be having a new fireplace installed in the sitting room, which has ended up being more complicated than we thought, so we now have a hole where the fireplace used to be and a Victorian fireplace in the cellar while we wait for some more work to be done. (And breathe)  But that’s not the point is it.  What you want to know is how many books are in the backlog at the moment.

Gulp.

So I have two big boxes of books full of waiting to be read and a third big box that’s about half full.  I had got it down somewhat with a session of 50-pages and out a few months back, but there’s been a spate of book sales at work, and the shelf of free books is a constant temptation as a means of acquiring new release hardbacks that I couldn’t justify buying.  I think I have got the pile so that it is slightly smaller than it was this time last year, but it’s not a massive difference.  And to make it worse, looking back at the state of the pile post I wrote when we had the windows done 18 months ago, I think it’s grown.  Which is less than ideal.  Looking at the pictures of the books I thought I was mostly to read first, all bar 4 have now been read, which is better than I feared it would be because of my terrible habit of jumping new acquisitions to the top of the pile and because the books I review for Novelicious come in hard copy and get priority as well.

So what am I going to do about it?  Well deny everything if Him Indoors sees this post for a start.  No, in all seriousness, I think it’s time for another session of 50 pages and out when I unpack the boxes and be ruthless about it, even if it affects my book totals for that week (and month) because the pile needs to shrink.  I’ve read slightly fewer books this year than I did last year, both in actual book count and page count and the world is not ending.  In fact part of the reason for the reduced page count is probably my pile weeding session back in the summer when I got a couple of dozen lingerers off the pile which don’t count in my total for the year (duh) or in my page count.

I’m also going to try really hard not to buy any books in January.  I’m not going to attempt a book-buying ban because I know I’ll fail because there is a new Eloisa James out on the 31st.  But I do already have advance copies of two of the other books that I might have been tempted to buy in January so I’ve got a fighting chance.  The other reason for me not to do a book-buying ban is because it invariably leads to me having a buying spree before the appointed date for the start of the moratorium which defeats the object entirely.

On top of that, I’ve already started requesting less books from NetGalley.  Although NetGalley’s books are e-proofs, I try and read them all before they come out – or at least in the month that they come out and that means I read more ebooks than actual books.  But with another year of Fahrenheit Press, there’s no danger of me running out of ebooks to read on the train. So on that basis, I’m trying to only request things that I really, really want to read, by authors that I like (that I’ll buy the paperback of when they come out) or books I’ve heard lots of buzz about that sound like my sort of thing.  This should mean that my at-home reading time can go towards the pile more as well as taking a paperback with me on the train when I have space in my bag.

Will 2017 finally be the year I get the to-read pile under control?  We can but hope.

PS I apologise for the lack of pictures in the posts at the moment – it’s a combination of being away from home, having a sitting room that’s a mass of boxes and dustsheets, and reading lots of e-books which means not a lot of photographic options.

Authors I love, Book of the Week, Chick lit, reviews

Book of the Week: The Day We Disappeared

So this week’s BotW is Lucy Robinson’s latest – The Day We Disappeared.  And this is likely to be quite a short post because I’m terrified of saying too much about this.  You may remember Lucy Robinson from previous posts – about The Unfinished Symphony of You and Me which was one of my books of the year in 2014.

The Day We Disappeared tells the stories of Annie and Kate.  Annie has a secret and it’s caused her a lot of problems – but now there’s someone who wants to fix her.  Kate is running away and she’s not going to tell you why – because that would defeat the object the reinvention that she’s trying to pull off.  And there are undercurrents.  Lots of undercurrents – of different types – and there are complications.

And that’s all I dare say.  Which isn’t much more than the back of the book says.  But that’s because to tell you more would Give Too Much Away and Ruin It All.  And Lucy Robinson’s clearly worked really hard in writing this not to do that and I don’t want to spoil it.  Because this book blew me away – in a really good way.  As you can tell, I loved Unfinished Symphony, and I think I like this more – even if there isn’t a side-kick as funny as Barry.  This is a bit different though.  The last book had me in tears – of both types, whereas this one had me holding my breath and totally gripped.  I did laugh and I nearly cried, but there’s so much suspense and tension in this as well that wasn’t in the last one.

It did take me a while to read this – but that’s mostly because I was worried about ending up in tears in public again.  Crying on the train is so embarrassing. To be honest, my only problem with this book is that the cover does not match the rest of Lucy Robinson’s books – which is more about my issues with matching books than anything else.  And I read this on my e-reader. So it’s not really a problem at all until I buy a paperback version for completeness…

My copy came from NetGalley* (yes, I know, I’m behind again) but you can get yours from all over the place – like Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles, Kindle (for a bargain £1.79 at time of writing), Kobo and hopefully the supermarkets too.  It’d be a great book to take on holiday,** as long as you don’t have any pressing plans to do anything other than reading it because you’ll be glued to your sun lounger!

*With the usual provisos – honest review, only write about stuff on here I do genuinely love etc.

** Yes I know, I promised a holiday reads post.  It is coming. It really is. I’ve even started working out what I’m going to include.  But there are a few more books that I need to read before I can be sure I’ve covered all bases.