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2017 – WHOLE year without buying books

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Audiobook

Battle of the ‘Beauty Queens’…

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Firstly an apology… I called her Ida May, she is actually Ida Belle. I was obviously and appropriately excited about the first book and may have gotten this wrong in my haste. So just in case Jana DeLeon ever reads this (I appreciate that is highly unlikely) and for reasons of accuracy, she is in fact, Ida Belle.

Moving swiftly on, I know that you know that I finished this book a while ago, but I feel I had to break up the cheese with something a little bit more intellectual. The time has come though, to tell you all about ‘Lethal Bayou Beauty’ by Jana DeLeon, the second ‘Miss Fortune Mystery’ and it’s just as funny, ridiculous and enjoyable as the first one.

For anyone that knows me or has a vague impression of what I am like in real life, they will understand that the idea of a beauty pageant is horrific. I don’t like make-up or being the centre of attention and Fortune is very similar. Due to her cover as Sandy Sue, former beauty queen turned librarian, she has been roped in to helping arrange a junior pageant.  As if this wasn’t enough to contend with, she has to cooperate with Pansy, Celia’s prodigal daughter.

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That is until someone kills her.

Just Fortune’s luck, in her second week in the Bayou when she is trying to lay low, she is being framed for murder.  Can the Sinful Ladies get her out of this one? Can she keep her director in the dark or will her cover be blown? How many times will Carter see her in a state of undress this time?

More Ida Belle and Gertie hilarity, there’s more of Ali’s cakes and despite the mournful tone of the subject matter it is funny! Marie is back and as panicky as ever. The character development of Walter is wonderful and again I just lapped it up. It easy to listen to; fun to be part of and just a bit of silly escapism in a world for of really serious stuff. Somehow during this investigation Fortune finds time to educate herself on some ‘cultural’ references… i mean who knew Lady Gaga wasn’t royalty?!

Dear Reader I have already finished book 3 but I am keeping that in my back pocket for another day. These books make me laugh out loud on my commute which I am not sure is appreciated by all but I think they are classic ‘beach books’. I should really be reading as its lunch time and I have borrowed something completely different (so far S&M, kidnapping and assassins) so until next time… Happy Reading.

Max, Matthew and maps…

So I can’t help but think it’s all over. That this is it, this is the last St Mary’s book.  The last chance we have to see Max watch the world go white.

The blurb of this book says ‘She’s no safer at St. Mary’s. Tragedy strikes not once but several times, and with no Leon, no Markham, and no Peterson at her side, Max’s personal life slowly begins to unravel. From the Egyptian desert to the Battle of Hastings, and from Bayeux Cathedral to the Sack of Constantinople, Max must race through time to save the ones she loves’. 

Whats brilliant Dear Reader, is that although I have listened to 7 of these full stories and several, erm…let’s call them novellas, I honestly thought his name was Malcolm, not Markham… the disadvantages to listening to a book rather than reading it I suppose. I have to say that all those years ago I might have had deliberations of how to pronounce Hermione Grangers name, so the written word isn’t always clearer.

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It was fantastic… Ronan, Max and Peterson where in fact amazing. I missed certain dynamics that had changed and I like this new side of Max. We’ve seen her as a student, adjust to responsibility and grow in strength, we seen her love and survive loss and we’ve seen her as a wife. Now we see her as a Mother… a hopeless, lost, confused but wonderful mother. A strong, faithful and dedicated mother and it was brilliant.

The history was still there, the humour was still there and Jodi Taylor captured the magic of the earlier books. I was reminded of adventures with Kal, it had some of the early carefree jumping but equally the ‘new’ historians kept things interesting. Matthew seemed to fit right in and it was bizarre that i forgot he was a child sometimes.

Did I miss Leon? Kind of. but I love, LOVE LOVED!!! that this was focussed on Max. Everything from the jumps, to pods antics and worry to the tears, joy and anger throughout. It was amazing.

I should say that as much as this is probably FULL of spoilers, it is book 8 in the Chronicles of St Mary’s series and if you haven’t read them, (or listened) you should.
I have 2 more reviews to write so I’m off. Happy Reading!

Absences snd guilty pleasures…

BOOK-FEELINGS: Hello Dear Reader, I appreciate it has been a while. I have just completed week 4 of my new job and finally have a rhythm to my day and naturally to my reading opportunities.  I am still making the most of my 2 hours on a bus everyday with an audiobook or two but am yet to master the art of actual reading… to be honest with you I try my best to sleep when I can. This leads to many missed chapters and subsequent the confusion but the ability to do my job and make attempts at conversation when i get home!

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THIS WILL BE ACHIEVED!!

REVIEW: So its review time, and as the title might give away I have been listening to some easy listening “trash”. I mean its not a rubbish story and for the most part the characters are well rounded and show signs of growth and development. I simply mean it would be a beach book, that’s right Dear Reader, I have indulged in a guilty pleasure. I’m not only talking about the book(s) but also the fact the sun is out and I’m sitting typing this in the garden with a chilled diet coke!

This book involves no thinking, long southern accents and the feistiest pensioners you are every likely to meet. ‘Louisiana Longshot’ by Jana Deleon is the first of the ‘Miss Fortune Mystery’ series and it really sets the scene. Fortune is in trouble, she is in the CIA and has just killed the brother of an International Drug Lord. Her boss has sent her to the bayou to pretend to be his niece, an ex beauty queen turned librarian. For those of you that have seen Miss Congeniality (this blog is full of guilty pleasures) you can imagine the picture of her I built up in my head. She has long blonde extensions glued to her shaved head and is under strict instructions to keep a long profile in the sleepy town of Sinful.

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It turns out the town is anything but sleepy, Sinful by name and sinful by nature. On her first night of being ‘Sunny Sue’ her lacklustre dog Bones digs up a human shin bone in her back garden bank of the bayou. She is roped in to competing for Banana pudding and she is befriended for better or worse by the ‘Sinful Ladies’ founders, Ida May and Gurdy.  She has a ropey start with town deputy Carter and soon realises that keeping a low profile in this town just isn’t going to happen.

Can they work out who framed Marie for the murder of her husband? Will Fortune keep her true identity safe? and who will win the banana pudding next Sunday? This is a silly story, I can quite happily put my hands up and say it, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. Vietnam vets, Alligators and hidden identity, what more could you want? I loved the narration, the silliness and the characters.

In fact I loved them so much as soon as I finished this I downloaded the second one! Review coming shortly but until then Happy Reading!

 

Maps, Magic and Marriage prospects…

So I started this as soon as I finished book 1. I couldn’t help it… I needed more. India Steele and Mr Matthew Glass…. what trouble are they up to now? As it happens Dear Reader, they have been recruited by Commissioner Munroe to find his illegitimate son, Daniel.

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So Daniel is arrogant, the Mapmaker Guildmaster’s apprentice and his is missing. Kidnapped, killed or has he just run away to make his fortune? The magic is back in various forms, as is Aunt Letitia. She has Matthew’s future in her sights… how many of London’s finest (and their daughters) will come visiting?  Matthew seems less than impressed by all of this as does India. Is Letty missing something? are we?

This story revolves around the missing apprentice but shades of the Watchmakers Daughter is there. The Guild are still after India, Matthew is still after Chronos and India wants to know all Matt’s secrets. I liked this story for the influence of magic, the strong-willed India getting her way and getting into far too much trouble. Apparently she wants to prove herself, which indeed is wonderful! In so many way this reminds me of Gail Carriger and the Parasol Protectorate.

The Guild don’t want Daniel to keep showing off his map-making talents, mainly because his magic can be used against him. There is a treasure hunter, a Roman coin horde and a missing map maker. Strangely, or not as the case may be they are in fact linked…

This is fast paced, over lapping and full of steam punk references.  I need the next instalment, which obviously isn’t out on audiobook yet. Luckily I have a few to keep me going!

Happy Reading.

Bus journeys, watches and Americans…

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Dear Reader, I know I am useless.

I am sorry. I started a new job this week and in reality finished this book on Thursday morning but I got home from work and went to type but actually just slept. I have been getting up at 5am and getting home at 8pm. I think once I’m in a routine I might blog at lunchtime from work and you WILL GET MORE REVIEWS!!

So here it is. I started listening to ‘The Watchmakers Daughter’ by C.J Archer. Meeting Miss India Steele, was different. She isn’t the weak, feeble, lady of leisure we are used to. She’s a shop keepers daughter in the late 1800’s. She wants to run her father’s shop, she is glad that her former fiancee Eddie Hardacre doesn’t want her. She is out spoken, adventurous and far too curious!

The story is that of India and Mr Matthew Glass on the hunt for Chronos, an old watchmaker who helped saved Matt’s life. He is over from the States with his cousin Willie, a fierce hustler who smokes a pipe and kills at poker, who doesn’t want to conform by wearing aTheWatchmakersDaughter_ebook_Final_small1 skirt. Duke, his butler/cook/best friend and Cyclops the one-eyed coachman. Miss Letitia Glass, Matt’s spinster aunt is very excited about his return to the Uk and is trying her best to set him up with an intelligent lady of social standing.

This is wonderfully narrated (more on that later), fast paced and full of the unexpected. The purple glow will fill you with joy and so many questions. I enjoyed the pace, the turns in the story and the strong characters.

This was easy to listen to, the narrator was amazing and really understood the differences in tone and pace of each.

I have started the next one in the series and although the story is wonderful, the narrator has change and this makes me a little sad. This book and series in magical. Happy Reading!

End of an Era, in more ways than one…

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So this is it… The Parasol Protectorate Book the Fifth. I have reached the end; the end of Alexia and Connall shouting at each other, the end of the Tunstell’s and their acting troupe, the end of Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akledama.

The end of the protectorate series was indeed wonderful, so many things I had been hoping for happened. Madame Lefoux is back, the infant inconvenience is quite frankly anything but, and Biffy has found his place in the pack. It might not be place ANYONE was expecting but its his place. The return of Doove and Alpha, Lady Kingair adds more depth and subplot than we have seen before. The link to Alessandro and all previous ‘villians’ was nicely tied up with a character twist that was just wonderful.

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Lady Maccon has a new Parasol and she means to use it. When the abomination is invited to an Egyptian Hive, Alexia cannot very well send her shapeshifting  toddler alone. There has to be a reason that the world’s oldest vampire needs to meet Akeldama’s adoptive daughter. He is suspicious of his creators intentions but reluctantly lets them go. There wasn’t enough of ‘Dama in this book for me but I understand the development of other characters in the role he normally provides.

This has all the elements of a true adventure action novel; a chase across the country, a kidnapping, a plague and tiny vampire causing havoc. The airsick Lord Macoon, falls out with his wife again as the truth about Lyall comes to light and who would have thought Ivy Tunstall finds motherhood as exciting as she does. As usual Madame LeFoux is up to something but at last this time she’s on the right side of the investigation.

Alexia was in wonderful form throughout and even fainted, a first for her but wonderful all the same. All her theories about Preternatural’s came to pass and after the last Mummy incident I was surprised but elated she wanted to head to Egypt. The links to cultural references we all understand about Alexandria and the myths and legends of the Pharaohs was charming. Primrose and Percy were useless for most of the book and simply provided contrast to ‘Dama’s wigglepuff, but additionally they helped with Ivy’s newest issue.

All the happenings and developments at home with the pack vs the Egypt expedition was a interlinked story full of adventure, romance and supernatural politics. I loved it. It was a fitting ending to a wonderful series. 1200x630bf

BOOK- FEELINGS: The end was bittersweet, not because of the plot but because as with any good series, I wasn’t ready for it to be over. As the final chapter was echoing round my car and I had explained the plot of the whole series to my other half as they were driving I realised how much I had enjoyed it. For anyone that is interested I have the story of Prudence and her adventures when she’s grown up to read later in the year. As much as I loved it, I want a break, a chance to enjoy this story. A chance to say goodbye to Alexia, Connall and Biffy before they are forgotten.

Equally for you dear reader, I wanted to say I am back. I have had a few busy weeks with my course and last week the only thing I really read was job descriptions, now I feel like I had a nice break and I’m back. We will hopefully go back to 3ish blogs a week and when the job hunt is resolved I will work out a new routine to keep you captivated. until then…Happy Reading!

60 day chip…

According to WordPress I started this page about 51 minutes ago, and in that time I have managed to download a picture and write a mildly witty title (which I have now changed). Since I started this project I haven’t had any issues in actually writing about the books I am rapidly working my way through. I have had a book I struggled to get through, and a day or two where I have waited to or been forced to wait to tell you all about it but today I don’t really feel like writing about the most recent book I have finished.

BOOK FEELINGS: 2 months in and I haven’t bought a book, I haven’t visited Waterstones just to pine for at least 2 weeks and I am happy with the books on the ‘to read shelf’ and by shelf I mean book case obviously. The reading part of this challenge is keeping me content, the writing part has been difficult for the past 2 weeks due to intermittent wifi and now although I’m back at home it feels difficult for another reason. I feel like I don’t have to write, it’s always been a joy to write down my thoughts and share them with you.

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To be fair, today it’s not like I don’t want to write I just don’t want to right a review. Is that ok? I have just taken ‘Dear Amy’ out of my bag, despite having it with me everyday for a week I haven’t actually focused on it yet. I am nearly two thirds of the way through’Timeless’ the Parasol Protectorate Book the Fifth by Gail Carriger and I have started re-listening to a supernatural series due to too many hours in the car. I don’t want to write about any of them today…

I want to write about how job hunting hard, and staying in bed reading all day is easy, I want to write about escaping into another world helps me forget this one for a bit. I want to write about how things are really hard at the moment but I’m coping…but more importantly I want to write and for you Dear Reader to enjoy it. I want you to feel my passion for literature through my words and be inspired to read,  and I hope you are expanding your own libraries through my ramblings.  I like to think that this helps someone out there, someone like me who needs an escape and the support you can sometimes only get from growing up with a character from a book…whether that is Ginny Weasley, Jane Eyre, Edward Cullen or John Watson.

So with that, I think it’s time for a cup of tea and shutting the world out for a while.

Happy Reading.

On your marks, Get set, Sue…

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Those of you with good memories are aware that I was listening to ‘Spectacles’ by Sue Perkins with my partner (if not, this is a shameless plug to prior wit), and as such I had to wait until we were together to finish it.  We are mid road-trip from the deepest darkest depths of Cornwall (St Kew) to somewhere in the Essex off the A12. So here we sit in Costa, (a standard writing location for me), sat side by side taping away on laptop keys, I am writing to you Dear Reader, she is looking at statistics.

So the scene is set, now for the review. I think it is safe to say,  we laughed so much we cried (and nearly crashed the car).  As much as it was written as book, which I think I would have probably read in her voice too, it felt like Sue was talking to us directly, not like it had be written for mass reviews or audience. It was funny, brutal, honest and all together heart-warming. From meeting her famous partner in Comedy Mel, to her long romance with Kate and the beginning, the middle and the end of poor Pickle.

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Yes the truth about Sue was wonderful, the ‘gastric gymnastics’ of Parker was not but the best thing about this book was that I got to share it. I have bored my friends, partner and family with recommendations of books, stories and series of great adventures so the fact I got to enjoy this one with someone was great.

It was a refreshingly honest memoir, I liked that she wasn’t afraid to talk about difficult things or share embarrassing stories of childhood or drunken mishaps. I related to so much of it, it gave me hope. The truth behind Light Lunch, the Great British Bake Off and I’m now itching to see ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Roads’ just to Sue and Lisa cover a small child in poo…(Spoiler).

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I just included this picture because the hypnotherapy stories were hilarious! I loved this book and know everyone that loves comedy, Bake Off or Sue MUST read it.

Happy Reading!

 

P.S Dear Reader, I am back home and have wifi so posts will be coming thick and fast!

 

 

The naming of the Protectorate…

No one would expect Templars to be so violent, French inventors to be so enthusiastic or Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channing’s to be such a magnificent Wolf.

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The Parasol Protectorate Book the Third ‘Blameless’ picks up three weeks after Alexia’s return from Scotland, where she and the infant inconvenience are back with Squire Loontwill and his clucking ladies. As the news of her alleged indiscretions hit the papers and Captain Featherstonehaugh breaks off his engagement to Eyvlin, Alexia’s mother has had enough. Lord Akeldama sends a cryptic message and does the closest thing to swarming a flamboyant male queen can do. How will our favourite Preternatural survive without her pack?

Alexia takes off across Europe in search of answers with her trusty Butler, Floote and Madame LeFoux. In this whistle stop tour of France and Italy, we meet a French inventor, a German scientist and lots of angry Italian Templars.

51xo41k4l9l-_sx309_bo1204203200_Where is Lord Maccon in all this you might ask? Well to put it politely, he is inebriated on Formaldehyde, with long suffering Beta Professor Lyle trying to hold the pack, BUR and the country together. Randolph Lyle is stressed, stretched and luckily for his Alpha strong enough to do it all.
Genevieve again proves to be a wonderful travelling partner, especially with all the Vampires trying to kill Alexia. Will Floote ever tell of Alessandro’s work with the Templars? Why did they cease the Preternatural breeding programme? What does this have to do with the ice blue eyed wolf?

Biffy, Boots and Ivy  (and Tunny of course) are all involved with this European adventure. I wish there had been more in London after the last installment being firmly in Scotland but I like that the series isn’t limited. The crazy inventions, ‘female specimen’ and embroidery red crosses keep you absorbed right to the end. Most importantly dear reader, we find out where ‘The Parasol Protectorate’ comes from!!

I am definitely wrapped up in this supernatural world. Gail Carriger’s books are funny, engaging and totally captivating. I finished this one with a sense of expectation and longing; I want more.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

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