books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: September 26 – October 2

Another hectic week. I’m working on that huge ongoing list and I will get there eventually. If only so many of them weren’t hardbacks! Still at least September is over. Please, please, please can October be a better month. Please.

Read:

Dead Room Face by Simon Brett

The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger

To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

The Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie

The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

A Visible Man by Edward Enninful*

Started:

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

Yeah – at least six. But I’m not counting. I deserve a treat.

Bonus photo: I feel like my empty pill packets for the antivirals make a good metaphor for how empty I feel after September!

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 19 – September 25

I have shingles. It’s horrid. If I thought my concentration was shot before, it is even worse now. I’ve basically been sleeping and watching easy to understand TV – or rewatching old favourites like Howl’s Moving Castle, the Joan Hickson Miss Marples and the Inspector Alleyns from a couple of years later. September has really been a doozie – only five more days to get through. I do hope that October is a better month.

Read:

Murder by the Book ed. Martin Edwards

A Step so Grave by Catriona MacPherson

Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

Started:

N/a

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Inverts by Crystal Jeans

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

A few impulse buys while my will power was low. But really who can blame me.

Bonus photo: I haven’t left the house all week. Well except to go into the back garden. So maybe I should more accurately be I haven’t passed the front door? Anyway, that means that this week’s picture is of my house plants. In honour of the retirement of the Goat and my favourite ever tennis player, this is Roger the Swiss Cheese plant.

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, detective, Forgotten books

Book of the Week: Til Death Do Us Part

There were a few options for this post this week, but in the end I’ve settled on a really good locked room mystery, because those are so satisfying when done right – and this is really done right!

Dick Markham is in love (again). The object of the crime writer’s affection is Lesley Grant, a new arrival in his village. But when she accidentally shoots and injures a fortune teller at the village fete, he is told a story about her that is very different from the one that she tells about herself. Cast into confusion, he is asked to take part in a scheme to expose her as a serial poisoner – only for the person accusing her to be found murdered in exactly the way that he was told Lesley kills her victims: in an impossible locked room set up. Then Gideon Fell arrives on the scene to try and untangle the mystery.

It’s been a while since I read a locked room mystery, and this one is so clever. It is the first Gideon Fell mystery that I have read – although I read another of John Dickson Carr’s novels earlier in the year, and gave another Fell lined up already. But I can see why this one in particular has such an impressive reputation. It’s really pacy and makes you feel completely off balance as a reader because it twists and turns around so much you’re never really sure what you think – or what you’re meant to think. And I can’t really say any more about it than that because it gives too much away – even writing the plot summary was tricky! Anyway, give it a look for yourself.

My copy of Til Death Do Us Part came via my Kindle Unlimited subscription, but it’s a British Library Crime Classic, so when it cycles out of KU it should be available on all the major ebook platforms. And of course you can buy it in paperback direct from the British Library Bookshop online.

Happy Reading!

Adventure, Book of the Week, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Piglettes

We’re rocketing towards the end of the month, and after a delightful week of reading last week, I’m finishing the BotW selections off with a YA novel which I picked up on my buying spree at Foyles at the start of the month.

Piglettes tells the story of Mireille, Astrid and Hakima who are voted the ugliest girls in their school by their fellow students. None of them are happy about it – but for Mireille it’s not her first time on the list – which was started by a boy she used to be friends with – so she decides to befriend her fellow Piglettes rather than sit around and be miserable. What ends up happening is an epic summer cycle trip from their town to Paris to try and go to the French President’s garden party on Bastille Day. Each of the three girls has their own reason for going, but what they don’t expect is to become the centre of media attention as the country starts to follow the three girls as they cycle towards Paris selling sausages on the way.

This is a modern twist on the adventure-without-adults sort of books (see Swallows and Amazons etc) that I really loved when I was younger (and still do to be honest). Ok, Hakima’s brother comes along with them and he’s an adult, but he never really seems like an intruding adult presence restricting the girls, he becomes more like part of the gang. The idea of cycling across France selling sausages sounds a little bit bonkers – but it’s actually perfect – the girls have a goal, they get to meet loads of people and they get to find out new things about themselves and each other. But as well as being about friendship and self discovery, this is also quite a foodie novel. The pork sausages they’re selling are made by a local butcher. Mireille’s grandparents own a restaurant and they make their vegetarian sausages there themselves – as well as their special apple sauce to go with it. At the places they stop at on the way there’s often local food – including when Mireille detours them to go through the town where her favourite cheese is made (Crottin de Chavignol if you’re interested).

Clementine Beauvais has translated this herself from the original French, and if you can get past the envy of being good enough to write novels in two languages (and it did give me a touch of the green-eyed monsters), she’s given it a whole load of humour but it also still feels distinctly French. I would love to see the original for comparison to see what the jokes and references were in the original and what if anything she’s changed for a non-French audience. It’s clever and funny and I really enjoyed it. Also it made me want to go on holiday to France and eat some regional produce. Maybe I’ll have to settle for buying some speciality cheese to keep me going until we can get over there again.

I bought my copy of Piglettes on a trip to Foyles but it’s also available on Kindle and Kobo. As I found it in store, I’m hoping that you could be similarly lucky if you look in a bookstore, even if Foyles’ website isn’t currently showing any click and collect copies…

Happy Reading!

American imports, binge reads, Book of the Week, fiction, new releases, reviews, romance, romantic comedy

Book of the Week: Thank You for Listening

Taking a break from the Girls Own and book conference related content for this week’s book of the week. This is another recent release – the same day as Husband Material in fact – and one that I had heard a lot of buzz about and discovered was on offer while I was writing the August offers Recommendsday post.

Thank you for Listening is a romantic comedy about a former actress who became an audiobook narrator after an accident halter her on screen career. When Sewanee is sent to an audiobook convention by her boss she has a whirlwind night in Vegas with a mystery man. But when she returns to California, she finds an offer to narrate a beloved romance novelist’s final book. The trouble is, she doesn’t do romance novels any more, but money could pay for her beloved grandmother’s nursing home care so she resurrects her old pseudonym and starts recording the book with one of the genres hottest and most secretive male narrators, Brock McKnight. There’s a steady back and forth of chatter between them, but as secrets are revealed, can Sewanee get the happily ever after that she doesn’t believe in?

Julia Whelan is a renowned audiobook narrator so this is is filled with insider titbits from her experience as well as being a love letter to the romance genre. They even joke about how many tropes they’re ticking off more than once. And it’s a delight. Swan is an intriguing leading character, with a complicated family and some issues to deal with. And the shadowy and mysterious Brock has great banter. And, well, it’s very well put together – with a swoony ending and a nod and a wink to fans of the genre. What more could you want.

If I could have read this in one sitting I would have – but unfortunately I had to go to work, so instead I decided not to go to the theatre one of my London nights and instead read this on the sofa at the hostel, and then in my bunk when it got too noisy. No greater testament really.

My copy of Thank You For Listening came from Kindle for the bargain price of £1.99. It’s also on Kobo for the same price and available in paperback from Thursday – although how easily it will be to actually find I don’t know – Waterstones (Foyles’ owners) are having some distribution issues. I will try and remember to check Foyles’ romance section a few weeks after release…

Happy reading!

books, stats, The pile, week in books

The Week in Books: August 8 – August 14

Two nights in London for work? Check. Three nights at book conference? Check. More chatting than book reading? Check. I mean I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about my weekend talking Girl’s Own books, but today basically all you need to know is that I mostly listened to talks about books and bought books rwther than actually reading them!

Read:

Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan

No Castanets at the Wells by Lorna Hill

Started:

Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

Castle Shade by Laurie R King

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

The Twist of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz*

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

About 20 actual books and a couple of ebooks too. And I’m not even sorry about it!

Bonus photo: a return to student life for the weekend!

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 1 – August 7

Two nights away from home, three theatre trips and an evening at the Commonwealth Games. Truly it is a miracle I read anything this week! But I did, go me. This week is looking equally frantic, so goodness knows what next week’s list will look like too.

Read:

Husband Material by Alexis Hall*

Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

The Beckoning Lady by Margery Allingham

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver

A Dream of Sadlers Wells by Lorna Hill

Veronica Goes to the Wells by Lorna Hill

Started:

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra*

The Twist of the Knife by Anthony Horowitz*

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

Castle Shade by Laurie R King

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Two books in Foyles on Monday. I said the willpower wouldn’t last!

Bonus photo: theatre trio three – Glass Menagerie, which I studied at school but had never seen.

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: July 25 – July 31

Well it’s been an amazing week – Martha Wainwright, Commonwealth Games Gymnastics and then England won the women’s Euros. Is it any surprise that the list is slightly shorter that usual this week? It’s the end of the month too so we have the usual array of review posts coming up this week too. You’re welcome.

Read:

Mean Baby by Selma Blair

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer

Infamous by Lex Croucher*

The Affair of the Blood Stained Egg Cozy by James Anderson

Riviera Gold by Laurie R King

Rhode Island Rooster by Charlotte Carter

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

Started:

Husband Material by Alexis Hall*

Castle Shade by Laurie R King

Going With the Boys by Judith Mackrell

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

No books bought – despite that visit to Waterstones. Don’t worry. It won’t last!

Bonus photo: the giant bull from the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Birmingham city centre on Friday.

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: July 18 – July 24

Check me out. A remarkably good and varied week in reading by recent standards. Non fiction, new fiction, contemporary romance, adventure and golden age crime. This week I have two nights away (only one last week) and a day out at the Commonwealth Games so who knows how much reading time I have. This could be the high point of the whole month!

Read:

Dead Water by Ngaio Marsh

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters

That Woman by Anne Sebba

Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh

Method Acting by Adele Buck

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin*

Acting Lessons by Adele Buck

Fast Acting by Adele Buck

Started:

Infamous by Lex Croucher*

Femina by Janina Ramirez*

Riviera Gold by Laurie R King

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Mean Baby by Selma Blair

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Positively restrained – two Adele Bucks to enable the binge, but that’s it.

Bonus photo: The British Museum on Thursday evening as I walked past on my way to a gig at the Museum of Comedy. We’ve just started The Deeds of the Disturber as our next Amelia Peabody relisten so it seemed apt for this week’s photo!

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: July 11 – July 17

So a shorter list this week. Partly because I finished the Phryne Fisher re-read rather than read new stuff, partly because of an overnight in London where I went out, but mostly because of a nightshift on Friday, that made my brain tired and not great at concentrating, and also meant I slept through part of the weekend. What I will write about tomorrow I do not know. And we’ve got a mega heatwave continuing this week, so that may also fry my brain!

Read:

Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood

Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood

Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood

Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy by Chynna Clugston Flores et al

Heartstopper Vol 2 by Alice Oseman

Started:

That Woman by Anne Sebba

Still reading:

Godemersham Park by Gill Hornby*

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

Mean Baby by Selma Blair

Another Time, Another Place by Jodi Taylor

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin*

Three actual books bought and two ebooks

Bonus photo: hostel life! Before the nightshift at the end of the week, there was a night away in London at the start of the week. And things are starting to get back to normal at the hostels – this was my first time back at my second favourite/choice one since October 2021 before the Omicron wave hit.

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