Book of the Week, cozy crime, detective

Book of the Week: Merit Badge Murder

As I said yesterday, last week was a much better week all around. And as today is a week to go before Election day in the United States, I’m conceding defeat – I’ve read as many electiob books as I’m going to and it’s soon going to be too late, so there is a Recommendsday post coming up tomorrow. Meanwhile, as far as today’s post goes, I started a couple of new mystery series last week, and as I read two from the Merry Wrath series, I thought I ought to pick it for my Book of the Week this week, as I clearly like them and we all know I have rules (albeit flexible ones) about book series, reading orders and spoilers as the affect recommendations…

Cover of Merit Badge Murder by Leslie Langtry

Former CIA agent Merry Wrath is used to being undercover, but after her identity was unmasked and she was forced into (very) early retirement, she has to reinvent herself as a normal person with a fresh identity in a small town in Iowa. And while she is figuring out what she wants to do next, she’s helping run a Girl Scout group. But when dead enemy agents start turning up on her doorstep (literally), she has to try and figure out who is trying to frame her, all while preserving her cover. Add into the mix her ex-handler who the CIA send to help her, and her new neighbour across the street who happens to be the investigating police officer and suddenly Merry’s new life is getting really, really complicated.

I love a cozy mystery and I love a Steph Plum-style comedy thriller and this is pretty much in the Venn diagram of those. Merry is a fun heroine – massively clueless about normal life and how to be a regular person and you’re rooting for her as she hides behind her Dora explorer sheets-cum-curtains to see what is going on in her neighbourhood. The Girl Scout troop is a really nice touch – adding an extra level of complications to everything – and there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot. I raced through it and then went straight on to the net one – which is always a sign that I’ve enjoyed myself. It’s quite a long running series – so there are plenty more for me to read, just as soon as I get the rest of the TBR-pile down a bit!

You can buy Merit Badge Murder on Kindle and Kobo. Physical copies are listed on Amazon, but it looks like it’s an Amazon inhouse publisher, so you won’t be able to get hold of it in stores.

Happy Reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 19 – October 25

A much better week in reading and in life. And check me out for reducing the number of books on the still reading list. But Sweet Dreams by Dylan is nearly 500 pages long so that might be on the list for a while!

Read:

Merit Badge Murder by Leslie Langtry

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Jeeves and the Leap of Faith by Ben Schott*

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody by Barbara Ross

Mint Cookie Murder by Leslie Langtry

The Killing at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah

Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Started:

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

The Body on the Train by Frances Brody

Still reading:

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik*

Sweet Dreams by Dylan Jones*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: An autumnal photograph from the park on Sunday.

A tree with the sun shining through it's remaining yellow leaves, with loads more on the ground around 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

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: October 12 – October 18

So it’s been a bad week in my Real Life. I’m not going to bore you with all the details, but I’m fine. I’m hoping that next week will be better, but given the way 2020 has gone so far, I’m not holding my breath. Still I ticked another two states off my 50 states challenge list, I’m nearly halfway through my NetGalley list for the month and I’ve got a couple of Bonus posts nearly finished. So lets count them as small wins. Onwards and upwards.

Read:

Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges*

Lumberjanes: Campfire Stories by Shannon Watters et al

Grave Secrets by Alice James*

Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie

Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie

Too Much and Never Enough by Mary Trump

Started:

Sweet Dreams by Dylan Jones*

Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik*

Jeeves and the Leap of Faith by Ben Schott*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: I spotted this postbox on my walk the other day – and it seemed like an apt photo for this week. Why I hear you ask? Well I’ve been sending a lot of post to people through the pandemic – including a whole bunch of cards to people last week, I’m in a research study about covid antibodies in the general population that involves me sending blood samples by post and one of the things that keeps coming up at work at the moment is postal voting in the US Election. This isn’t the flashiest or biggest postbox – but it is a King George one – which means that it’s at least 68 years old, but could be 100. A pillar of stability in a crazy world.

A red postbox in a wall

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: October 5 – October 11

Another week where I had a lot of trouble concentrating. But I did read a lot of non-fiction and that always takes more time and brainspace so can’t really complain.

Read:

Baby-Sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey by Anne M Martin and Raina Telgemaier

Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

The True Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale*

Team of Five by Kate Andersen Brower

Growing Up by Angela Thirkell

The Memory of You by Jamie Beck

Started:

Too Much and Never Enough by Mary Trump

Jeeves and the Leap of Faith by Ben Schott*

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges*

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: My show posters (and the corner of the to-read bookshelf), newly back from the framers. The best thing that happened in my week last week, despite the cost!

Six show posters

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: September 28 – October 4

We’re into October and it feels like this year has both flown by and been never ending. If you missed it last week, her are the September stats. Coming up on Wednesday are the Mini Reviews. As far as my week in reading goes, I’m trying a new tactic around my NetGalley reading – I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of the month!

Read:

A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody

Baby-Sitters Club: Kirsty’s Great Idea by Anne M Martin and Raina Telgemaier

Furious Love by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger

Money by Jacob Goldstein*

Loud Black Girls by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené*

Bear Markets and Beyond by Dhruti Shah and Dominic Bailey

Mistletoe and Mr Right by Sarah Morgenthaler*

Started:

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik*

The True Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale*

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges*

Team of Five by Kate Andersen Brower

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: My copy of Bear Markets and Beyond, written by my friend and colleague the wonderful Dhruti Shah.

Hardback cover of Bear Markets and Beyond

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: September 21 – September 27

I got my reading mojo back a bit this week – which is good. A couple of fun new releases, a buzzed about book or two and a glom on a series. The still reading list is still too long, but I’m working on it. And yes I know, I always say that, but I mean it every week!

Read:

Doing It Over by Catherine Bybee

Hoax by Brian Stelter

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

The Duke who Didn’t by Courtney Milan**

Naughty Brits by Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, Louisa Edwards, Tessa Gratton and Sierra Simone**

Staying for Good by Catherine Bybee

Lumberjanes Vol 15 by Shannon Waters et al

Making it Right by Catherine Bybee

Started:

Team of Five by Kate Andersen Brower

Baby-Sitters Club: Kirsty’s Great Idea by Anne M Martin and Raina Telgemaier

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody

Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges*

Still not counting, still don’t care

Bonus photo: Sunny autumnal afternoon 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: September 14 – September 20

I lost all motivation and ability to concentrate at some point this week. And it coincided with a weekend at work which are always tricky for me. I don’t know why or what did messed with my reading mojo, but hopefully it’s not going to last. Cross your fingers for me.

Read:

Lumberjanes Vol 14 by Shannon Waters et al

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

A Duke, the Lady and a Baby by Vanessa Riley

Starboard Secrets by Hope Callaghan

Started:

Doing It Over by Catherine Bybee

Vanishing Act by Charlie Hodges*

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Hoax by Brian Stelter

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody

Still not counting.

Bonus photo: a Bloomsbury mews at dusk on Saturday night. Way out of my price range, but so pretty!

London mews close, with cobbles

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: September 7 – September 13

So it wasn’t to somewhere hot and abroad, but we did go away for a few days last week. And during our appropriately socially distant break, I got a bit of reading done. After making a really good start on my NetGalley reading this month, I’ve fallen back a bit – not only did I buy a couple of books for the holiday, I have library books coming due and  I’m behind on the bookshelf (check out the August Stats if you don’t believe me) and I’m trying to catch up. I’m also trying to pace myself with Rodham and make it last a bit, but who knows how long that will last for.

Read:

Tales from the Folly by Ben Aaronovitch

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi*

Dover One by Joyce Porter

Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody

A Leader in the Chalet School by Elinor M Brent-Dyer

Mrs Pargeter’s Pound of Flesh by Simon Brett

The Art of Drag by Jake Hall, Sofie Birkin, Helen Li et al

Murder on a Girls’ Night Out by Anne George

Started:

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams

A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Hoax by Brian Stelter

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Still not counting.

Bonus photo: This was our home for our little break – a log cabin in woods in Yorkshire. Isn’t it gorgeous? Not the place to be reading anything creepy though!

A log cabin with a grassy plant covered roof in woods

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: August 31 – September 6

The schools are going back and the holidays are over. Normal life is resuming. Or is it? Can it ever? Well who knows, but these are still quite strange times. However, I’ve used whatever back to school energy I could summon to reduce the number of books on the Still Reading List a bit. I’m quite pleased with me. In relative terms anyway.

Read:

Real Men Knit by Kwana Johnson

She Represents by Caitlin Donohue*

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman*

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

Uneasy Lies the Crown by Tasha Alexander

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

Started:

Hoax by Brian Stelter

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Murder on a Girls’ Night Out by Anne George

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi*

Still not counting.

Bonus photo: the latest addition to the to read pile. Isn’t it beautiful? And it’s signed. And I got a Reading is Fundamental print too. Thank you Foyles.

Copy of The Art of Drag

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: August 24 – August 30

 I can’t believe that it’s the end of August today. I mean. Where did the summer go? Anyway, book of the week coming up tomorrow, mini reviews on Wednesday, August stats on Thursday and that’s your week. Or at least I think it is!

Read:

Paper Girls Vol 6 by Brian K Vaughan et al

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor*

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Fall into Death by Emily Toll

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Toll the Bell for Murder by George Bellairs

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Started:

Uneasy Lies the Crown by Tasha Alexander

Still reading:

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward*

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

 Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi*

Real Men Knit by Kwana Johnson

Still not counting.

Bonus photo: my cousin’s dog’s puppies are growing, and their mum has the haunted, sleep deprived, what on earth hit me look of new mums every where.

A cocker spaniel and her puppies.

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