books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: January 11 – January 17

So a strange week. It was my birthday – and we usually go away for my birthday, but this year, like everyone else, we were at home. 2021 is also messing with my brain in the same way that 2020 did, and I’ve been finding it really hard to concentrate on new books. When I’m in a mood like that, it’s almost a waste to read anything new – even stuff I’ve been looking forward to – like the new Stockwell Park Orchestra book – because I’m probably not going to appreciate it the way that I should/would normally. So instead I retreated to my happy place – and re-read some old favourite comfort reads – in this case the Amelia Peabody series, which I first read way back in the days before this blog and have come back to – in books and audiobook – ever since.

Read:

The House on Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams*

Shirley Flight, Air Hostess in Pacific Castaways by Judith Dale

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Slay Ride by Diane Vallere

The Palace Guard by Charlotte McLeod

Lumberjanes FCB 2020 by Various

A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett

Started:

Continental Riff by Isabel Rogers

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: As I mentioned, it was my birthday last week and so this week’s photo is one of my presents – a stationery subscription box! Exciting times.

Contents of a stationery box

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: January 4 – January 10

Well I think we can all agree that last week was something else. And that extreme something else-ness is the reason why my reading list is heavy on the light and fluffy and Asterix. My brain can’t cope with Black Narcissus at the moment. Or anything complicated to be honest. 2021 carrying on where 2020 left off…

Read:

The Power Hour by Adrienne Herbert*

The Art of Showing Up by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

How Nell Scored by Bessie Marchant

If the Boot Fits by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford

Asterix and Cleopatra by Goscinny and Uderzo

Asterix and the Big Fight by Goscinny and Uderzo

Started:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R King

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The House on Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: the latest iteration of my Beat the To-Read Shelf spread in my journal. Last year was *a lot* on so many levels, and I didn’t fill the bookshelf up, but hopefully 2021 will be different…

Drawing of a bookshelf full of lots of blank books

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: December 28 – January 3

Welcome to the first week in books post of 2021. As is traditional at this time of year, I’ve started on the productivity and self-help books as I try to make (and keep) some New Year Resolutions. I’ll let you know how that goes, but here’s how it went at the start of last year, before the world changed.

Read:

You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

The Button Box by Lynn Knight

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Gone with the Ghost by Erin McCarthy

The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferré

When She Was Naughty by Tessa Dare

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant*

The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency by Minna Lindgren

Started:

The Art of Showing Up by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

The House on Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams*

Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: New Year’s Day in the park near my house. This explains a lot about the fireworks the night before – and was by no means the only pile of empty fireworks boxes…

empty boxes of fireworks in the middle of a parl

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: December 21 – December 27

I’m beginning to think I paced my reading wrong this year – I’m still a couple of books off my 50 states challenge and I haven’t filled up my journal spread for books from the to-read bookshelf either and I only have a few days to go before the end of the year. The 50 states challenge might be do-able though, so I’ll give it my best shot in the last few days of 2020…

Read:

The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Hazel and Grey by Nic Stone

Lumberjanes Vol 16 by Shannon Waters et al

The Abbey Girls Go Back To School by Elsie J Oxenham

How Love Actually Ruined Christmas by Gary Raymond*

Rivers of London: the Fey and the Furious by Ben Aaronovitch et al

Shirley Flight, Air Hostess in Fjord Adventure by Judith Dale

Started:

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden

The Button Box by Lynn Knight

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency by Minna Lindgren

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: some of my Christmas cooking…

A large tin full of roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, stuffing balls and pigs in blankets

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: December 14 – December 20

I’m basically at the stage where my brain can’t cope with anything complicated anymore, so it’s all romances and murder mysteries, some of them with a Christmas twist. Sorry, not sorry.

Read:

Rage by Bob Woodward

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Checkmate to Murder by E C R Lorac

40-Love by Olivia Dade

The Wedding Piper by Isabel Rogers

Snapped by Alexa Martin

The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews

Started:

The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency by Minna Lindgren

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: is this the most exciting reading material I acquired last week? Possibly! It’s the Christmas Radio Times, so I can plan my festive viewing

Copy of the Radio Times Christmas edition

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: December 7 – December 13

Started some Christmas reading this week – from the to-read bookshelf – and then carried on with a few other bits and bobs from the shelf.  It’s been cold and miserable and so it’s been prime curl up on the couch with a book weather really!

Read:

Sick as a Parrot by Liz Evans

Diving Adventure by Willard Price

Golden Rules of Acting by Andy Nyman

I Heard the Banshee Sing by Paul Charles

More Golden Rules of Acting by Andy Nyman

Murder at Christmas ed Cecily Gayford

Build Your Own Christmas Movie Romance by Riane Konc

The Fatal Flying Affair by T E Kinsey

The Naughty List by Ellie Mae MacGregor

My Last Duchess by Eloisa James

Started:

The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency by Minna Lindgren

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Checkmate to Murder by E C R Lorac

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: the latest addition to my bookshelves – a copy of Veronica at the Wells in hardback.  This was the first of the Wells series that I read back when I was about 11, and is now the last one to finish off my set of hardbacks. I’m so excited.

Hardback copy of Veronica at the Wells

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, Fantasy

Book of the Week: Guilty Pleasures

As I mentioned yesterday I read a bunch of books last week for my missing states for my Read Across America challenge and today’s Book of the Week was one of them.

Cover of Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures is the first in Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. In a world where vampires have been legalised, Anita is an animator in St Louis, where she raises the dead and she helps kill members of the undead who have gone too far. Then the head of the city’s vampires asks her to solve a series of killings and she’s unable to say no. Soon she’s drawn into a new part of the world of the supernatural.

So, as previously mentioned, I have a mixed record with supernatural stories. I love the first 3 series of Buffy, like the next two and then lose patience with everything except Once More With Feeling and Tabula Rasa after the end of season five*. I raced through the Sookie Stackhouse series (and as I was reading it around the time the final book came out, I didn’t have years to get attached to one particular outcome and so was a rare person who wasn’t angry at the ending) but have struggled to find supernatural series I like outside of Charlaine Harris and Darynda Jones. I think my issues are usually when the series are too dark and angsty and too close to horror. But I do come through with every now and again and try. Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was too horror for me. Alice James’s Grave Secrets had a good set up but didn’t do it for me in the execution. But this one was just about in the sweet spot. It was nearly a bit too violent, and didn’t quite have enough relationships/romance but I raced through it and enjoyed it. It doesn’t waste time with any explanations though – it really just does dump you into the world and leave you to work it out. Which is a choice, and obviously massive info dumps are bad, but when I stopped to think about it I wasn’t always quite sure how everything worked. But while I was reading, I didn’t mind!

For all that I’m only reading it now, this is actually 16 years old (just a couple of years younger than the True Blood series) and is still going, with the 28th book in the series due out in early 2021. This seemed like it was definitely setting up a love interest, so I shall probably read at least one or two more to see where it goes, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to commit to another mega long series at the moment.

My copy of Guilty Pleasures came from the library, but you can get hold of it in Kindle and on Kobo, as well as in paperback – bookshop.org.uk seem to have stock, but I don’t know if you’ll find it in stores.

Happy Reading!

*we’ve recently done a rewatch so I can confirm the accuracy of this.

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 30 – December 6

I think I ticked off six of my missing stars last week so maybe I’ll finish the challenge after all? Anyway, a cold and wintry week mean lots of reading.

Read:

Giraffe and Flamingo by Curtis Sittenfeld

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

Mary Anne Saves the Day by Anne M Martin and Raina Telgemaier

Man Hands by Sarina Bowen

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton

Dakota Born by Debbie Macomber

Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

The Bloomsbury Group by Frances Spalding

Started:

Checkmate to Murder by E C R Lorac

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Sick as a Parrot by Liz Evans

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: my dad took this of sunset out in the village last week. It may look like somewhere exotic, but it is in fact Northamptonshire!

Fiery red, orange and yellow sunset with silhouetted trees on the edge of the sky line

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: November 23 – November 29

Another steady week in reading as I attempt to finish all my reading challenges but get distracted by shiny new books and library holds. And once again, the end of the month is timed to annoy me! Book of the week as per usual tomorrow, Mini-reviews on Wednesday and Stats on Thursday seems to be the order of the day. Where has this year gone and also how has this year been forever?

Read:

Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz*

Can’t Even by Anne Helen Petersen

Well Met by Jen Deluca

Gluten-Free Murder by P D Workman

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich

Started:

Giraffe and Flamingo by Curtis Sittenfeld

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Sick as a Parrot by Liz Evans

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: we’ve reached the Misty, foggy, cold part of the year when I always want a fire in the evenings so I’m cursing that one of the covid-complications has been that the chimney people haven’t been able to come and fix the top of the sitting room chimney so I don’t dare light a fire, because 2020 has already been bad enough without burning the house down…

Misty morning 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

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: November 16 – November 22

Some really good stuff read this week – and I held a pre-December audit of where I am with regard to my reading challenges for the year. Expect to here more about that anon!

Read:

Life, Death and Cellos by Isabel Rogers

Bold as Brass by Isabel Rogers

Steamed Open by Barbara Ross

Help Yourself by Curtis Sittenfeld

First World War Poets by Alan Judd

The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower

Peace Breaks Out by Angela Thirkell

Holidays with the Wongs epilogue by Jackie Lau

Cosmoknights by Hannah Templar

Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood

Started:

Can’t Even by Anne Helen Petersen

Sick as a Parrot by Liz Evans

Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz*

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Murder on Mustique by Anne Glenconner*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: I found this blue plaque for Edward Murrow just up the road from work on a lunchtime stroll. I don’t know how I haven’t noticed it before. If you’ve never heard of him, he was a legendary war correspondent for CBS during World War 2 and then went on to be instrumental in bringing about the downfall of Senator Joseph McCarthy (as in McCarthyism and the Red Scare). Here’s his wikipedia page, but I also reccomend the film Goodnight and Good Luck (named for his famous sign off) about his work on McCarthy – David Strathairn was nominated for an Oscar for playing Murrow and which also has George Clooney in it – here’s the trailer.

Blue plaque on a wall commemorating Edward R Murrow

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