Book of the Week: Rivers of London

So, last week was a holiday week and I read a fair few books (some of which will feature in a holiday reads post in the near future) but my favourite book of the week was Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London.  This appeared on my radar as an if you like then you might like recommendation from someone/somewhere and I laid in a copy and saved it for one of my paperbacks for the holiday and it was so, so good.

I love the cover illustration, but I’m not sure it actually reflects the sort of book this is

Peter Grant is a newly non-probationary police constable in the Met.  He’s just been assigned to the unit which does the paperwork so everyone else doesn’t have to, when he tries to take a witness statement from a ghost after a particularly unusual murder in Covent Garden.  Then Chief Inspector Nightingale turns up and he’s suddenly an apprentice wizard.  And that’s where the fun begins.

This book is a total mash-up of some of my favourite things – it’s a police procedural (but not too thrillery chillery) with a strong fantasy element (magic! ghosts! spirits!), which knows exactly how its world works and isn’t going to dump it all on you at once, with a cast of intriguing and complex characters and a load of humour too.  So Urban Fantasy Crime Comedy. Maybe.  Anyway, it’s fabulous and I need to read the next one, not least because there are still some fairly important questions unresolved about the characters and the wider world.

You should be able to get a  copy of Rivers of London at any good bookshop – I checked a mid-sized WH Smith in a local supermarket shopping centre* and they had two copies and 3 other books from the series.  If you have poor impulse control (like me) the kindle edition is just £1.99 at time of writing. Or you can buy actual copies from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and the like.

* The sort of shopping centre that is based around a giant supermarket.  Like you get in France, but less classy as this particularly shopping centre was on the front page of the Daily Mail website the other week as the Tesco shoppers went a bit nuts over reduced price meat.

The Week In Books: June 22 – June 28

This week I was on holiday – as in out of the country, on a beach sunning myself – for six days – so I had plenty  of time to do some reading – although we did do some sightseeing too, so it wasn’t entirely a reading-on-a-sunlounger kind of holiday.  It does mean that you’ll be getting a holiday reading suggestion post in the next little while too!

Read:

Three Times the Scandal by Madelynne Ellis

The Mangle Street Murders by M R C Kasasian

Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

The Norma Gene by M E Roufa

The Art of Sinning by Sabrina Jeffries

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

The Doris Day Vintage Film Club by Fiona Harper

The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronvitch

False Scent by Ngaio Marsh

Started:

The Day We Disappeared by Lucy Robinson

The Rhyme of the Magpie by Marty Wingate

Still reading:

Mr Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons (which I started last week and accidentally left off the list in my pre-holiday excitement)

The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

No books bought!

Book of the Week: Stealing the Show

This week’s BotW is Christina Jones’s Stealing the Show.  Now Jones is a long time favourite author of mine – back since I discovered Heaven Sent via the Melissa Nathan Prize (god how I still miss Melissa Nathan.  I bought everything she wrote.  I cried in Tescos when I read that she’d died).

Stealing the Show is an early CJ book – and if you’ve been reading the later  books in the series, this one is the origin of the Memory Lane Fair that crops up in so many.  It’s a look at the life of travelling show people – and it’s a great love story.  I absolutely gobbled it up.  It’s maybe not as funny as some of her later books, but it’s dealing with more serious issues than they are – there’s domestic abuse tangled up in this as well as inheritance and family pressures.

But don’t let me make that sound like it’s a weighty tome that’ll drag you down.  It’s totally not.  It’s so much fun.  If you haven’t read any Christina Jones before, this really might be a good place to start – even if Heaven Sent is still my favourite.

Accent Press have been republishing some of the harder to find Christina Jones novels as ebooks – so this is easier to get hold of than ever. Go read some of her books – you won’t regret it. 

The Week In Books: June 15 – June 21

Not a bad week of reading really – and a nice mix of genres too.  Exciting times.  Even if Chateau on the Lake is still Awol…

Read:

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

Full House by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughe

Stealing the Show by Christina Jones

Spelled by Betsy Schow

The Comforters by Muriel Spark

Soulless the Manga III by Gail Carriger and REM

Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

Started:

Three Times the Scandal by Madelynne Ellis

The Mangle Street Murders by M R C Kasasian

Still reading:

The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

No books bought!

Book of the Week: Death at the Opera

This week’s BotW  Death at the Opera and also is a bit of a compare and contrast.  I read of Gladys Mitchell’s Mrs Bradley Mysteries last week – this one I loved and the other I could barely get through.  As I didn’t read a huge amount last week – and two of them were books I’m reviewing for Novelicious (which I can’t preempt here) – I’ve made Death at the Opera my book of the week.  Death at the Opera ticks a lot of my boxes – it’s a murder mystery set in a girls school – but Mrs Bradley is a bit different to a lot of the Golden Age Sleuths.  She’s going to track down whodunnit, but she’s not necessarily going to hand them over to the authorities when she does.  And that’s what makes her interesting – she wants to know, but often without having a yearning for justice for the victim – she’s more detached and curious than some of the other dectectives of the time.

Death at the Opera is fulled with interesting and intriguing characters, some of whom have very modern attitudes, and a twisty turny plot that I didn’t work out until right at the end.  I absolutely zipped through it and went straight on to another Mrs Bradley from the to-read pile (I picked up three from the charity shop a couple of months back) – and what a contrast that was.  I really struggled with Come Away, Death.  I didn’t like the characters or the setting and I found it really difficult to get into.  I finished it, but only just – and only because I liked the Death at the Opera so much I was hoping it would improve.  But I guess when a series is so long running there’s bound to be a few duds.  Hey ho.

The Week In Books: June 8 – June 14

This week’s big question: Where has my copy of Chateau on the Lake gone?  I can’t find it anywhere.  Also, not a very productive week reading wise.  Bad Verity.  On the bright side, I managed to control my urges and only started a Janet Evanovich book late on Sunday night.  So, points to me!

Read:

Fetch Nurse Connie by Jean Fullerton

Death at the Opera by Gladys Mitchell

The Saffron Trail by Rosanna Ley

Off With His Head by Ngaio Marsh

Come Away Death by Gladys Mitchell

Started:

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

Still reading:

The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

Only one book bought this week – a Christina Jones that I haven’t read from a charity shop.  So it doesn’t really count does it?!

Book of the Week: Mary Ann in Autumn

This week’s BotW is Armistead Maupin’s eighth book in the Tales of the City series – Mary Ann in Autumn.  I discovered the series last year as book nine came out and have loved every installment so far.

  In Mary Ann in Autumn our favourite characters have reached middle age with new challenges and old ones.  Mary Ann has never been my favourite character in the series, but in this she comes across as the most human and real that I’ve seen her.  It does make me sad that Mrs Madrigal is much older and frailer in this book, but that’s life and that’s aging.  And it means we get more of Jake.

I think it’s a real testament that Maupin has been able to keep the series feeling fresh and real and relevant 30 years after it started.  Not all authors would have been happy to keep bringing their characters up to date – and still less of them would have been able to do it and make it beliveable and true.  The “final” book in the series is just out in paperback and I need to get my hands on a copy asap.  Although with the current state of the to read pile I may try to hang fire on that for a week or two.

You should be able to get Mary Ann in Autumn from all the usual sources, but do yourself a favour and start from the beginning of the series. Even The Boy likes them!