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September Reading in October (& a Butterfly)

It has been observed before (by me, I don’t think anyone else is watching that closely) that I do not plan my reading.

I mean, I don’t plan my writing. Expecting me to plan my reading would be like expecting the cat to let you know before it vomits on the rug.

You know. Against the laws of the universe or something.

Which means that I tend to read either erratically, from any sort of genre that takes my fancy, or else I get fixated on one particular theme (like that time I read only quite bloodthirsty novels for a month). And September was a month of not just one genre, but one series.

It was an excellent series, but having only one lot of reading to talk about didn’t exactly make for a thrilling book chat vid (as far as any of my book chat vids can be thrilling). Which is my excuse for it being two months since the last one. Oh, and there was a book launch, so that kind of took up some time. 😉

So now I get to talk about one series and three other books, which is at least a little better. Although there were all urban-fantasy-ish, and two of them have the word dead in the title, so I feel the theme is continuing.

Plus now I get to show off the lovely paperback cover of Coming Up Roses, which is so pretty that it brought the Monarch butterfly out. Which seems like a very fitting compliment.

Watch on below!

The Rivers of London series, Ben Aaronovitch. This was one of those series that I started years ago, read the first few books, then promptly forgot to go back to. Not because I didn’t like it – I absolutely do – but because I get distracted and sometimes I’m just not in the mood to keep reading the same series. But, having snapped up the first seven books in a Kindle deal, I very happily romped through six of them. Each book is a standalone mystery, but threads connect them all, all pointing to a greater conflict coming. Full of deep, earthy, and very tangible gods and magic, they’re also very evocative of place. London has her own power, and the books are steeped in it, but I really loved book five, Foxglove Summer (despite finding the ending a bit lacking), which was not a London novel. And maybe that’s why I decided I needed a break after returning to London in book six. It felt a little grey and gritty after the heat and wild of the country, and I wasn’t ready for it yet. A large pudding (preferably not one of Molly’s) and a series-sized pot of tea.

“There’s nothing quite like Latin for disguising the fact that you’re making it up as you go along.”

― Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer

The Undead Mr Tenpenny, Tammie Painter.  I came across Tammie’s work a while back, and mentioned her short story Mrs Morris in a previous post, but it took me a little while to get to Mr Tenpenny. It was, however, very much worth the wait. It’s a fun read with some darker edges, revolving around Cassie Black, who rather unexpectedly finds bodies waking up on her mortuary slab. The first two she manages to return to their rightfully dead state, but the third – Mr Tenpenny – proves more problematic, and before long Cassie is popping through portals into a magical, alternative Portland. With more trouble to come, obviously. The world’s well-drawn and the characters are fun – Cassie comes across as annoyingly stubborn at times, but as her backstory unrolls it because clear why. Oh, and magic is powered by sugar. Yes. I’ll take a full tray of brownies and a large coffee.

“Much like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects the Zombie Apocalypse.”

– Tammie Painter, The Undead Mr Tenpenny

The Library of the Dead, T.L. Huchu. A near-future, decaying Edinburgh, a secret (and rather snobby) underground library, and an MC who talks to ghosts for a living? Well, I was hardly going to miss that, was I? Throw in missing children, a terrifying milkman (yes, milkman), and some fantastic world-building, and it’s a great read. The villain was pretty obvious, and the end felt a bit abrupt and a little too tidy, but I still really enjoyed it. A large plate of all the cakes from the library cafeteria (paid for by someone else), but I’ll pass on the milk, thanks.

“We’re all what we are because of circumstances larger than we are.”

T.L. Huchu, The Library of the Dead

Since the tūī won’t play when I’m doing the book chat, I tried to catch them singing in the bush the other day. Which they did, a little.

Now, over to you, lovely people – do you plan your reading? How do you choose what to read next? And what have you been reading this last couple of months that you can recommend to me? Let me know below!

ben aaronovitch, book chat, books, bookworm, library of the dead, rivers of london, T.L. huchu, tammie painter, undead mr tenpenny, urban fantasy

  1. Stewart Russell says:

    Loved your recent book blog. I still love Ben’s rivers of London books. However that said, Gosh I do certainly enjoy certain dragon and cat books… I’m even wishing I would be allowed to join an exciting W.I (probably for the cake). Have recently introduced a friend of mine to the Gobbelino London books, which means I now have someone to talk to about them (which is always nice to do). Recently got into the Inspector Hobbes books (These are fun as well… Though a little mad as well). You are a bit of an inspiration to me and although I have always dabbled a bit in writing, I never had the discipline to actually knuckle down and just write. I love the process and it always comes through that you also enjoy the creation and blooming of your wonderful stories, so thank you for that. Looking forward to your next book and maybe finishing mine.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Thank you so much for such a lovely comment! I’m so glad you enjoy my stories – that’s wonderful to hear. And I wonder if we need to establish some sort of Cake Lover’s Institute that welcomes all people …? A little baking, a lot of tea, maybe a few dragons …

      And yes, I honestly have so much fun writing these stories – even when they don’t go to plan. I always think that writing needs to be fun, at least in that first creation of the story. If you’re not having fun, I don’t see how the reader’s going to. But that’s wonderful that you’re writing too! Whether dabbling or missioning on a ten-book epic, it’s all writing. Keep having fun with it. It’s absolutely the most important part.

      And thank you so much for coercing – I mean, introducing – new people into the world of snarky feline PIs! It’s important to spread the word – how else will we know to remain well-stocked with custard? 😉

    2. Linda says:

      First of all, absolutely love coming up roses! And in the rivers of London series Foxglove Summer is one of my favorites. His last one, What Abigail Did That Summer you’ll enjoy, as it’s set in the wilds of Hampstead Heath. I mean talking foxes that have a spy Network, and are obsessed with Molly’s cheese puffs, what’s not to love? If you haven’t listen to the audio books, please, please at listen to a sample. Kobna Holbrook Smith is an incredibly talented narrator and gives so much life and depth to all the characters. He’s amazing with accents (his American accent has gotten much better LOL), but his voicing of Peter’s Sierra Leone-ian mum is worth the price of admission. I just finished the Lady Hardcastle mystery series by T E Kinsey, and thoroughly enjoyed them! Very witty banter and a great relationship between Lady Hardcastle and her “tiny servant” Miss Armstrong. They’re on Kindle Unlimited AND audible narration (which was very well done), so, double yay! Kindle Unlimited has the Death Before Dragons, so I can add that to TBR pile ;> while I await my next Cranky Cat & his human PI fix (go little green snake!)

      1. Kim Watt says:

        Spy foxes who love cheese puffs? I definitely need to get to that one! I’m still taking a wee break from the series, but that makes me want to pick them up again 😁 I haven’t listened to the audiobooks – I’m not an audio person at all. I can never focus on it – the closest I get to it is podcasts when driving, and even that I go in and out with a bit. To be fair, I’m a bit the same with TV too, unless it’s something I’m really interested in. Reading’s the only thing that holds me!

        And there will be more Gobs next year! I’m looking forward to going back to the rough draft soon and getting it into shape. I always have fu writing them ❤️

        1. Linda says:

          It’s a standalone novella so you don’t have to read the series to enjoy it. I really think you’d get a kick out of it, especially the way Mortimer likes his Agatha Christie and Poirot. I love audiobooks specifically because I don’t sit still for TV and tend to bounce in and out. Sometimes I do the same with audiobooks if the narrator isn’t outstanding, but Kobna and Ben are a match made in heaven

          1. Kim Watt says:

            I’ll have to see if I can pick up the ebook! I’m afraid I know my attention span for audio is so dire that it’d be wasted on me, but it sounds fantastic. Thank you for the recommendation!

  2. Joanne says:

    I’ve been busy bottle feeding and raising four kittens so I’ve only had eyes for “Coming Up Roses”.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Oof, that sounds exhausting! But wonderful, too. I hope you get some sleep soon – and that Roses is making the feeds a little more bearable ❤️

      1. Joanne says:

        Roses? My daughter’s name is Sherry and she’s been a big help. Thank you.

        1. Kim Watt says:

          Roses as in Coming Up Roses 🙂 And that’s lovely that your daughter’s been able to lend a hand too!

          1. Joanne says:

            Oh my! I’m a little slow sometimes 🤪

          2. Kim Watt says:

            No, it’s always a pain with these delayed exchanges! It’s so easy to lose the thread of the conversation.


    My reading is totally random unless I get sucked into a book that, blessedly happens to be a series and then I’m totally obsessive about reading everything in that series and then hunting down anything that author has ever written. My phone currently sports a cover that says…”I was born with a reading list that I will never finish”. It really feels like it. I was torn, when that cover was gifted to me between thinking, “Drat! They’re onto me!” and ” Hmm, that is totally me.” I frequently feel like everything I read is really just a placeholder while I wait for favorite authors to put something new out. Like, ahem, snarky felines and patient human partners for instance 😉

    I recently finished a series by Lindsay Buroker called “Death Before Dragons” that was a ton of fun. Not only a snarky heroine but an unintentionally snarky dragon. I giggled my way through it.

    I also reread Garth Nix’s “Old Kingdom” series so I would be up to speed when the next book releases in November. I am ridiculously excited about it since I love that series so much and it seemed as though he was done with it 🙁 You might also like that series since it’s about people who are trained to keep the Dead from coming back into Life. I’ve read it many times and it still has the capacity to give me chills.

    And since I too apparently am drawn to fantasy and urban fantasy which can sometimes be pretty grim, I also like books like Nancy Warren’s “Great Witches Baking Show” to lighten things up some.

    Just a small example since I really like to read….a lot, so if I have a second of free time I have a book or a kindle in front of my face. Thank you for some new suggestions of authors to look into!

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Ha, I resemble that phone cover strongly! I keep telling myself I won’t buy any new books, then the daily deals pop into my inbox, and I think, well, it’s only 99p … It’s a good thing I can’t actually see all the unread books piling up. They’d threaten the stability of the house, anyway.

      And I really likes Death Before Dragons! I’ve read the first three (I think?), and it’s another one I want to go back to. I haven’t connected with all her books, but her writing’s always reliable. And she’s so prolific! I need to find out what brand of coffee she drinks and make the conversion from tea. My rate of snarky cat output is painfully slow 😉

      I must try some Garth Nix, too. I have The Left-Handed Booksellers of London in my kindle somewhere, which sounded really fun! And my pleasure on the book recommendations – thank you for yours, in return!

  4. Cathy Murray says:

    I don’t plan my reading. I read mostly mysteries, and historical mysteries. One of my favorite authors is Juliet Blackwell. Both series ,Haunted Home
    Renovation, and her Witchcraft mysteries. Cathy

    1. Kim Watt says:

      I haven’t read any of hers – that’s another one for the list! And I’m glad I’m not the only one tackling my reading plan-less… 😉

  5. Susan York says:

    “Scales and Sensibility” by Stephanie Burgis. First in a new series about an AU similar to Regency England, but where pet dragons are status symbols for well-bred young ladies. Dragons are little understood in this world, and clearly we are going to learn more about their true nature and abilities in future installments of the series. Quite an enjoyable read!

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Oh, I like the sound of that! Someone else mentioned it the other day, too, so it’s obviously a sign that I need Regency-era dragons in my life 😉 Have you read A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan? Not the same set-up, but it’s told in a wonderful memoir style by a retired dragon naturalist of the Victorian era. It was most fun!

      1. Susan York says:

        Just took a look at the Marie Brennan series, and it looks very intriguing! I gulped just a bit over the price of the Kindle editions (because I am a cheapskate, and I have just piles and drifts of unread books already on my Kindle). I visited a couple apps that have associations with my local library, and I can borrow audio editions of this series for free, but not ebooks. I may try the first one out as an audiobook! Thanks for the suggestion!

        1. Kim Watt says:

          Oof, yes – the price of some ebooks really does make the bank balance quail! I think I picked the first one up on sale, and have yet to read the others – probably for that exact reason! That’s great news on the audiobook, though – I hope you enjoy it!

Comment away! (Points awarded for comments involving cats, tea, or baked goods)

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