Reading my Collection

2017 – WHOLE year without buying books


Gail Carriger

Two girls went partying, only one came home.


BOOK FEELINGS: Through this whole experience, I have tried to get into different books and went through solid 6 months of binge listening to Steampunk (see Gail Carriger and CJ Archer), I read some Autobiographies (On your marks, Get set, Sue…) and even reread Harry Potter for the billionth time. The truth is I love a mystery, there I said it, I am a murder junkie. Different authors bring different twists to the genre, Elly Griffiths adds the archeological element, Chris Brookmyre is witty but clever and Ali Carter is my new detective love. I did not expect this to be so good, so gripping or brutal, I didn’t expect to want to turn it off as much as I wanted to turn it up. I needed to listen to this…and yes it is a psychological thriller!!genre-map-genres1

REVIEW: ‘Their Lost Daughters’ by Joy Ellis was brilliant. I’m worried my review won’t do it justice, so many twists, turns, and wonderful characters.

This starts with a missing girl found dead, a drugged shoeless girl found on the fens and the relentless pressure of a cold case by Kenya Black’s mother. DI Rowan Jackman and his DS, Marie Evans are suddenly in the spotlight and tracking a series of illegal parties rife with underage drinking.

Jackman and Evans are trying to work out if the girls are linked, why a local legend is haunting them and who is responsible for the ‘children’s ward’!


Rowan Jackman is honest, relentless and everything you want your detective to be; he looks after his team, works too hard and never gives up. Marie is astute, Amazonian and goes everywhere on a motorbike, she cares too much and wants to catch the killer just as much as Rowan. In this installment, local boy Gary joins their team and Rosie goes undercover with her great attention to detail crazy memory and baby face!

This team takes on a prolific case and takes the reader with them. The whole cast is strong, everyone adds something and I found this a great start to the series (although technically book 2). There were light elements to keep the tension real and I can’t wait to hear more!

I’m enjoying my birthday week off and its board games time so…

Happy (or not so happy in this case) Reading!

Love on The Spotted Custard.

BOOK FEELINGS: I love Gail Carriger books, the fact she quoted one of my reviews in her chirrup newsletter was amazing and so when I found out ‘Competence’ was being released, you can bet on the fact I pre-ordered it.


It would be wrong of me to write about Gail Carriger or her books without including a picture of a cat. It turns out Billie can’t read but she didn’t attack this book so I’m taking that as a win.

This book starts with 2 most peculiar things, Rue is not in London. The Spotted Custard and its motley crew are in Singapore and secondly, Prim is running. yes, Dear reader, you read that right, perfect prissy posh Prim is RUNNING. I would love to talk about some of the other major events but firstly you know I don’t do spoilers but also this book has bee out about 4 days so I wouldn’t do that to everyone that hasn’t had the chance to finish it yet.  Minor events include running out of hats, Christmas pudding with extra lard and a mushroom called porcini.

I’m going, to be honest, I didn’t think there was enough Rue in this. I liked RPim’s development in this and even Percy wasn’t quite as insufferable as usual. I liked the layer that Formerly Floote brings to the mix and Tash has well established herself as part of the crew. Spoo in a dress was my favourite silly detail in this book.

Part 3 of the custard protocol, made me laugh. I think I will always miss ‘Dama’ and if he was to make a guest appearance in a later adventure, I for one would love that. Some of the subplots were very soft and endearing. I needed more Quesnel, I needed more Rue and I think I needed more tea. That being said, I loved it. I love the adventure, I loved the story, I loved the development and I am still invested in and addicted to this world.

I’m off to play board games with a friend, but Happy Reading to you!

Old favourites, New series and my ridiculous cat.

Good Morning readers,

the last time I wrote to you I was in fact off work. so you guessed it. I have taken a study day and rather than doing my essay I decided it was blog time. I have a big cup of tea and several books and audiobooks to tell you about. I have decided to write a few and publish them over the next few weeks rather than you guys getting loads today and then nothing for weeks (uh…months).

So I was working in Bath delivering training about 3 weeks ago and the weather was glorious. it was reaching 31 degrees every day, so in the evenings I was reading in the garden. I got so engrossed I realised I was going to finish before my train journey home, so I utilised my free Amazon Prime trial (other book subscriptions are available) and ordered 3 more books to be delivered to my hotel. I slightly overdid it but I am loving reading proper books in this heat.

I have been on a reading mission, so Dear Reader let us talk about some of those stories. I have read Vinyl Detective book 3, The custard protocol Book 3, ‘Want you gone’ another Jack Paralabane book and last night I finished ‘The Crossing Places’ by Elly Griffiths.  Apparently, I’m back on a murder mystery kick!!


So time to write my reviews. My cat isn’t going to make this easy but Happy Reading!

French engineers, Spotted custard and a lioness.

BOOK FEELINGS: I love Gail Carriger’s books. I have tried to read other things but this steampunk extravaganza is in fact addictive, I currently have several books on the go, which I don’t like doing but they keep calling me back.

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So I have had this book since very early this year, but i have had the sequel for over a year, and i have finally got round to reading it. After all the Parasol books, I took a break with other books, a few of the audio variety and few with real pages. The recent beautiful weekends have been helping, sitting in the garden with sun beating down and a cold one (to be honest normally a cup of Redbush) and a good book. Feet up, eyes down and lost in another world.

Life has been very busy, I have in fact bought a house. Not alone, but I will soon be moving to a house with a garden, a desk (so I can work from home) and most importantly with all my books! This is an amazing but terrifying prospect but equally i can’t wait to live with Carol.

download (3)REVIEW:  This book is ridiculous, wonderful and fantastic. This series revolves around the adventures of Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama, or Rue to her friends. The metanatural is going on an adventure, with Queen Ivy’s daughter Primrose and son Percival and Madame Lafoux’s adoptive son, engineer Quesnal. The purpose of this adventure… well obviously it is for the greatest treasure in the world. Tea.

Having loved the ‘Parasol’ series, I had great expectations but was equally wary. I made the mistake of reading the comments, and there were a few people that were not too impressed by this series. I think the critics are wrong. I loved the journey to India on ‘The Spotted Custard’, I mean what a great name for an airship, did I mention it was decorated like a giant ladybird. prudence-fan-art

In India, Rue is frivolous with Prim’s reputation, daring with her wardrobe and finds more supernaturals to transform into outside the standard werewolf and vampire. Percy and Quesnal fight over everything, Prim can’t handle anything but tea and Spoo is the wonderful boy that isn’t, well a boy that is.

I didn’t like putting this down, or putting it aside and when I did the most catastrophic thing happened… I BROKE THE SPINE. I took this to mean, that I shouldn’t put it down until I finished it.

It was a delight reading the adventures of the grown up children of characters I came to love. The limited touches of Alexia, Paw and Dama added a hint of the old days, the unexpected joy of reading that Uncle Lyall was also in India was wonderful and made me smile far too much. That is enough for any protectorate lover to read this book, but if need more there is were-monkeys, a lioness, and of course Tea.

Can the nation’s newest Sundowner follow in her parents footsteps? Is it even possible for her to cause more trouble then her mother? My dearest readers, I have even started the sequel.

So for now… 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.

End of an Era, in more ways than one…


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.


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.


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.

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.



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!




A ‘Pack’ short of an Alpha…


So I sat in Yo Sushi borrowing WiFi so I could download this ASAP. I finished Soulless and immediately needed to hear what happened next.

We pick up essentially a month after they left off and Alexia is happy, working for the Queen and in a position of great power and influence with the Werewolves and Vampires. Book 2 of the Parasol Protectorate is funny, free flowing and introduces another set of wonderful characters.

Madam Genevieve LeFoux, a French inventorwith the penchant for wearing Men’s clothes and relationships with women. Needless to say, I love her. She’s a wonderful character with lots of depth, with a Ghost for an Aunt and an adoptive son.  She saves lives, makes beautiful hats and knows her way round a parasol.lefoux

Sidheag Maccon, the Lady Kingair, the closest thing to a pack Alpha in human form. She os bold, head strong and the only living relative of Lord Maccon, the only other woman to Alexia that can get her way over him. The pack Beta is an arse much like the Woolsey Gamma but they all work. The relationships, the story and the fateful attempts on many lives.

Why you might ask are we headed up North to the Kingair pack? Well not only have they lost an Alpha but also their ability to change. All supernaturals are essentially mortal. First London, now the highlands. Lord Maccon suddenly has to worry about shaving, grey hairs and adjusting to day light hours. Everyone thinks our favourite preternatural is to blame… is she?

Her travels up North with dearest Ivy, her annoying sister Felicity and Tunstall (the ginger haired Ladies man claviger) are fearsome, funny and most wonderful. Books 3, 4 and 5 have all been downloaded and I’m ready.

Happy Reading!




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