Book of the Week: The Best of Dear Coquette

This may well be a slightly shorter than usual BotW post – the dodgy elbow is making typing hurt and I’m not sure I’m at my finest.  But I’m going to give it a go because this was hands down my favourite book that I finished last week and it deserves a big old mention here.


This a collection of the best bits of advice from the Dear Coquette blog which I happened upon felicitously at a time when I needed a pep talk and cheering up.  It did a marvelous job of both – and there is now a waiting list to borrow my copy.   I got told off by The Boy for reading too much of it out loud to him because “there’ll be nothing left for me to read myself”.  A few selected quotes also went down a storm on Litsy and on Twitter.

Most of the advice in here is about relationships in their various forms – the book is split into sections – on things like love, family and dating.  The Coquette is smart, witty, brutally honest and very, very frank.  It’s like the advice you wish your friends would give you, but would be too afraid to hand out yourself in return.  I don’t always agree with the Coquette’s world view, but it’s always well argued and thought provoking.

I’m not sure I’ll be lending my copy to my mum (not that she’s asked for it yet) but I can see myself giving this as a Christmas book to a few people who I think might appreciate The Coquette’s view of the world.  My copy was a proof copy (which the Coquette said she was mortified it still existed on Twitter!), but you can get a shiny proper hardback copy now – get it from Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles or on Kindle or Kobo.  The paperback is out in April.

 

 

The Week In Books: November 21 – November 27

Ok. So I went ice skating on Monday and fell over and now I have a little fracture in my elbow.  The hospital don’t like to immobilise elbows (you lose movement fast and it’s hard to get it back) so until the giant bruise appeared on Saturday I had no evidence of my injury, but I have had lots of sympathy and I’m hopped up on painkillers so it’s fairly ok.  I’ve been taking it easy (mostly on the sofa) but I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything serious – or hold heavy books.  I called time on The #MonuMeta Social Media Book this week – I’ve tried and tried and tried (I’m not sure the pain helped when I gave it another go in A&E), but I just couldn’t get into it.  It’s got great reviews on Goodreads though, so it’s clearly me that has a problem not anyone else!

Read:

The Season by Sarah MacLean

Burke’s Last Witness by C J Dunford

It Must Be Christmas by Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward and Mandy Baxter

Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig

The Best of Dear Coquette by The Coquette

Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James

Started:

The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang

Duck the Halls by Donna Andrew

Still reading:

The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead

Perhaps unsurprisingly given my weakened state, I had a kindle spending spree from my sick bed on Tuesday and Foyles were doing 20% off for Black Friday so I bought myself a book along with the ones I was buying as presents, but apart from that I’ve been remarkably restrained.  Or at least I think that I have.

Book of the Week: Lumberjanes Vol 3

As I mentioned yesterday, I did a lot of hours at work last week and not as much reading as I had been hoping, but graphic novels featured heavily in what did get read.  But before I talk about this week’s BotW I just wanted to mention that I’m reviewing on Novelicious again today – if you want to see what I thought about Mary Balogh’s latest Someone to Love you can click here.  With that shameless bit of self-promotion over, lets talk about Lumberjanes Volume Three: A Terrible Plan.

Lumberjanes Volume 3

Do you like my pretty checked table cloth? It was my granny’s and seemed appropriate!

I’ve mentioned Lumberjanes here before in last year’s Christmas books for kids post and it continues to be a great fun, hundred miles an hour journey through summer at a slightly eccentric camp for girls.  The adventures are bonkers, the characters are great and the underlying messages are nothing but positive.  In this volume we join our intrepid heroines as they try to earn badges and escape from dinosaurs (which totally makes sense in the context of the book) whilst we find out more about what some of the girls’ lives are like at home and their feelings about themselves.

This has some different artists to some of the previous issues and at times I didn’t like the drawings as much as I have previously – but that is more about my dislike of things changing in general (which all ties into my dislike of non-matching sets of books, and changes in cover design) because the art work is still beautiful.  I’m not the target market for this, but I still enjoyed reading it a lot and want to get the next volume asap.  I also want to give it to all the little girls I know as an example of female friendships and that girls can do whatever they want to do without boys to help them.  I’m even debating lending my copies to the nieces – and I’m not a big lender of books!

You should be able to get Lumberjanes from any good comic shop – and please do find a comic shop to support.  Amazon are only offering 31p off the RRP on this at time of writing – so why not go and support an independent shop – go to the Comic Shop Locator and put in your post code and it’ll tell you.  My local store is incredibly friendly and happy to get anything in for me that isn’t in stock – and you can order online from him too if you really don’t want to leave your house.  And either way it’ll give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside for supporting the little guy not the corporate giant!

The Week In Books: November 13 – November 20

I did a lot of work this week – a lot of nights away from home and only one day off in the last seven.  Consequently a lot of sleeping and not as much reading time!

Read:

Charlaine Harris’s Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris, Royal McGraw and Ilias Kyriazis

Baron by Joanna Shupe

Hero in the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch

Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood

All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

Lumberjanes Vol 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson et al

Started:

Potent Pleasures by Eloisa James

The Best of Dear Coquette by The Coquette

Burke’s Last Witness by C J Dunford

Still reading:

The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead

The #MonuMeta Social Media Book by Roger Warner

The Season by Sarah MacLean

A slight shopping spree in the comic book store – and a few secondhand books to get some free delivery from a well known online retailer, but over all fairly restrained given that I was wandering in Foyles on Tuesday night!

Book of the Week: Cheerfulness Breaks In

As you may have seen, I didn’t read much last week.  It was a busy, stressful week at work and my brain was fried.  And then there wasn’t a lot to chose from for BotW.  And I know I’ve done an Angela Thirkell BotW before (not that long ago) but although this has its problems, it was still my favourite of the books I read last week.

 

Cheerfulness Breaks In sees the start of the Second World War and all the changes that brings.  It starts with Rose Birkett finally getting married (after having been engaged goodness knows how many times) and is very funny as that flighty damsel wonders if she can squeeze in a trip to the cinema on the morning of her wedding.  Then she’s off abroad with her serviceman husband and everything starts to change.  Some men are conscripted and go away, some are left at home fretting about how they’ll be treated because they haven’t been conscripted.  All the jolly hockey sticks girls throw themselves into nursing and the war effort and waves of evacuees arrive.  There are some very funny and poignant sections in here.

But – and there is a but – it does feel a bit dated because of some of the scenes with the evacuees and the Mixo-Lydians.  Thirkell’s view of the upper class/lower class divide is not as simplistic as some, because there are good people among the evacuated people – and some real idiots among the posh ones, but it is quite broad strokes, and strokes that favour the country people over the urban people.  But then Thirkell was writing this at the time these things were actually happening, so I’m chalking it up as having attitudes “of its time” and giving it a slight pass.  I suspect this is the reason why this one is an ebook only re-release from Virago rather than a pretty paperback like a lot of the others have had.

It’s available on Kindle or Kobo or you can pick up a secondhand paperback copy – but it’s not the best of Thirkell so don’t start here – go with Summer Half for some of the characters from this or Northbridge Rectory (actually the book after this in the series) or start at the beginning with High Rising.

The Week In Books: November 7 – November 13

What a crazy week.  As you might expect my working life has been very busy and I haven’t got a lot of reading done.  Most of what I have read has been short stories with only two full length novels on the list this week, one of which I actually started last week.  Fingers crossed normal service will soon be resumed.

Read:

Cheerfulness Breaks In by Angela Thirkell

The Lady Always Wins by Courtney Milan

The Haunted Season by G M Malliet

The Perks of Being a Beauty by Manda Collins

This Wicked Gift by Courtney Milan

Started:

Charlaine Harris’s Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris, Royal McGraw and Ilias Kyriazis

Baron by Joanna Shupe

Still reading:

The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead

The #MonuMeta Social Media Book by Roger Warner

The Season by Sarah MacLean

On the upside, only one ebook bought and no real books.

Book of the Week: Mistletoe and Murder

I know, you all looked at my list of books I read last week and just knew that this was going to be my pick for BotW didn’t you?  So sue me.  Today feels momentous and a little terrifying with what is going on in the world, and what better way to take your mind off what may or may not be about to occur than a charming children’s novel about school girls solving mysteries.

Mistletoe and Murder

A Christmas book in early November? Bite me.

Long standing readers will be familiar with my love of Robin Stevens’ Wells and Wong series (see here, here, here and here) and Mistletoe and Murder (which incidentally shares its name with a Daisy Dalrymple mystery which is also very good) is the fifth installment in the series and sees the girls spending their Christmas holidays at Cambridge visiting Daisy’s brother.  But of course the girls can’t help but run into an investigation – this time in competition with their rivals at the Junior Pinkertons.  But soon suspicious accidents have turned deadly and the girls are in a race against time to figure out who did it and why.

I’ve said before that these books are the perfect blend of Agatha Christie and St Clares stories and I stand by that – they’re brilliant and inventive and I wish they’d been around when I was the “right” age.  I practically gobbled this up in one sitting, which was a mistake  because I’d already read the Halloween short story and now I have to wait months and months and months for the next one.  This would make the perfect Christmas book for the young reader in your family – or the big kid if you’re like me.  It’s the perfect escape from the trials and tribulations of the grown-up world.


But if you’re not into middle grade fiction (more fool you) and still want some escapism, I can also heartily recommend Gail Carriger’s latest novella – Romancing the Inventor – in which we see one of the most beloved side characters in her steampunk world, Madame Lefounx, finally get over the pesky Angelique and find love again.  It probably works best if you’ve read the Parasol Protectorate series, will work even better if you’ve also read the Finishing School series.  I loved it – it’s a great, fun love story with some guest appearances from old favourites.  What more could you want?

Robin Stevens’ Wells and Wong books should be available where ever children’s books are sold (if they’re not, ask them why), but here are links to Mistletoe and Murder on Amazon, Kindle, Waterstones, Foyles and Kobo.

Romancing the Inventor is one of Gail Carriger’s self published works – so it’s not quite as available in the shops, but you can get it on Kindle and on Kobo or special order it in paperback from AmazonWaterstones and Foyles.

Happy reading!