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

Book of the Week, Children's books

Book of the Week: How Nell Scored

Last week was a lot. I thought hard about what to pick today, but eventually decided that the craziness that is this Bessie Merchant book was the thing I wanted to write about.

How Nell Scored is not a long book, but it packs a lot in to under 100 pages. Nell lives on an isolated farm in New Zealand along with her extended family. At the start of the book her parents leave for the nearest town, to look after her older brother David who is sick. Nell and her sister Sue are left in the care of their aunt, the magnificently named Angelina Ann. No sooner are the parents gone, than a ship is wrecked on the rocks near the house and Nell and Sue (but mostly Nell!) has to rescue two of the crew from the wreckage. One man has a broken leg, the other is your stereotypical Girl’s Own “bad lot” – he tries to get out of helping rescue his shipmate and then when they’re back at the farm acting suspiciously while alone in the room of his colleague. When the sick man wakes up, he confides in Nell that he has a belt full of pearls that he needs to get to the nearest town or – and here’s a real shocker – Nell’s brother will be ruined. Yes. In one of those weird Girls Own coincidences, Nell’s brother stood surety for the mystery man and if he doesn’t get the money to town soon the bank will come to collect. This is the mystery reason why David has fallen ill. With me so far? A lot of plot isn’t it – and we’re not even halfway through! The latter part of the book involves a quest to find a doctor which turns into a 30 mile trek to New Plymouth.

It’s a lot. It’s mad, it has so very much plot and yet is strangely missing a final confrontation between Nell and the villain. It didn’t really matter though – I was too bamboozled to care. It was the bonkers adventure book I needed last week. My first Bessie Marchant, but I suspect not my last.

I have no idea where you’ll get this from. Honestly. My copy came from the local vintage emporium. It cost me a pound. And it was money well spent. Honestly the most bonkers book I have recently read – and it will take some beating to be the maddest book of the year!

Happy Reading!

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

Book of the Week, crime, detective

Book of the Week: Sick as a Parrot

A big of week in reading last week, with some Christmas stuff you’ll hear about anon. Or at least I hope you will. Anyway, back to some old school crime this week for my BotW pick.

Copy of Sick as a Parrot on the Crime bookshelf

Sick as a Parrot is the fifth book in Liz Evans’s series featuring somewhat unconventional private investigator and ex-cop Grace Smith. Grace’s latest client is Hannah Conti, a young woman who has recently discovers that she is adopted and that her natural mother was convicted of murder. Hannah wants Grace to clear her mother’s name. And so Grace is drawn into the very messy murder of a school teacher two decades ago that no one wants re-examining. Meanwhile Grace is also pet-sitting a neurotic parrot and despite all her best efforts she also has an incredibly unreconstructed former colleague sleeping in her spare room.

This is the second book in this series that I’ve read (the other one being Who Killed Marilyn Monroe, the first in the series) and they’re both on the edge of gritty with an enjoyable side of black humour. They were written in the mid 2000s and that gives them an enjoyably low tech and low fi edge. Grace is a fun heroine – enjoyably flawed and smart in someways – but not in others. There are some common threads in this book from the first one too which have clearly been developing nicely in the interim which I’d like to go back for. And there’s an interesting romantic thread in this that means I really want to read the sixth and final book in the series.

So this is where it gets tricky. This is an older book which I picked it up secondhand, I think at a National Trust book stall. So you’ll have to hunt for it. But you never know, you might find one of the other books in the series while you’re at it. Some of the series have been republished on Kindle with new titles – you can find the box set of the first three here and some of them are even in Kindle Unlimited, if that’s a thing you have. Who Killed Marilyn Monroe is available on Kobo, but it’s the only one I could find there sadly.

Happy Reading!

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

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