What’s on my bookshelf #18

It is a lovely, hot sunny day and I am sitting in shorts writing this post. Apologies to those of you with snow…but remember we will have winter when you have summer! Anyway, welcome to this month’s what’s on your bookshelf challenge hosted by fellow bloggers DebSueDonna and Jo. The idea is to share what you’re reading, what you’ve enjoyed lately share – why they resonated with you, how they made you feel, who are your favourite authors and what you recommend.

I confess to not having read as much as I had hoped over the holidays – I’ll put it down to having visitors and reading cook books! It has been a bit of a mixed month. I was looking forward to the second book about Arthur Less, author and traveller, but just could not get into it. There were some funny bits, and the story was as I expected, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one.

New Zealand author Kirsten McDougall’s She’s A Killer is a funny, intriguing thriller about a thirty-something woman, Alice. with a near genius IQ who lives in Wellington. The book is set in the near future. The climate change has worsened and the rich are moving to New Zealand (wealthugees), buying up land and living luxurious lives while the rest of the population has to live with rationed water and food shortages. Her mother lives in the same house, and they communicate by Morse code (hence the cover design). Alice has an imaginary friend, Simp, who reappears just at the time she meets one of the ‘wealthugees’, Pablo. As she is getting to know him, he departs for China we believe, leaving her to look after his teenage daughter. What happens next is a whirlwind of events, which made me laugh and then gasp. I would say don’t expect a normal read, but this “eco-thriller” is great fun.

If you are a fan of Richard Osman’s previous two books about the Thursday Murder Club, you won’t be disappointed with the third book in the series The Bullet That Missed. I think this was probably my favourite of the series so far and look forward to number four which I believe is coming out later this year.

So to the non-fiction I read this month. First up. the annual collection of essays on food The Best American Food Writing. I say the same thing every year – some of the pieces are excellent, some of the pieces are so US based I just don’t get the references. Anyway, it is always worth dipping into and reading some recent food writing.

Finally, Nina Burton’s Notes From a Summer Cottage is a delightful little book about her summer house in the Swedish countryside and the flora and fauna she encounters there. It is book that is lovely for a summer morning, when the day looks like it is going to be slow and peaceful.

I also listened to two audio books: Val McDermid’s 1979 and 1989. I enjoyed 1979 a lot more than 1989 which was just a little far fetched. Anyway, they were fine to have on while I cleared clutter in the kitchen cupboards and did some cleaning.

And so the ratings..out of three, with a symbol relevant to the book as we do in the book club I am part of:

  • Andrew Sean Greer Less is Lost – 2 camper vans
  • Kirsten McDougall She’s a Killer – ***–
  • Richard Osman The Bullet That Missed – 3 murder mysteries
  • Sohla El-Waylly (editor) The Best American Food Writing – 2 restaurants
  • Nina Burton Notes From a Summer Cottage – 2 Swedish summer houses

That is me for this month – what have you been reading? #whatsonyourbookshelf

Thistles and Kiwis is a Wellington, New Zealand based blog written by Barbara, who likes cats, summer, good food and pretends to garden.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Richard Osman’s second book! I have just finished reading an outstanding non-fiction by Lucy Adlington called ‘The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: the true story of the women who sewed to survive’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am reading Andrew Taylor’s historical novel Ashes of London series, which is set in the 1600s. Wonderful series. Notes from a Summer Cottage sounds delightful and She’s a Killer is right in my wheelhouse. I will be checking both out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, The Bullet That Missed is the best yet in the series – although got slammed by some critics…what do they know? Notes From A Summer Cottage sounds delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, Barbara – Thank you for joining us for #WOYBSC. I haven’t read anything on your list but they all sound interesting – especially The Best of American Food Writing. I greatly appreciate your reviews and ratings.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. HI, Barbara – WOYBS is the third Friday at 8 am AEST (third Thursday 2 pm PST). Here are the remaining dates for your side of the world:
        January 20, February 17, March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, Aug 18, Sept. 15, Oct 20, Nov. 17 and Dec.15. We greatly appreciate you joining in!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t caught up with the Richard Osman books, but I have been meaning to. This book you mention sounds great so I have now put them on my list. Enjoyed reading your post. I also love books about food. There was a time when I read them regularly so I must get back to them again. Time is my downfall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Time for reading can be luxury but well worth trying to find. Oh and do start with the first Richard Osman book as it makes more sense once you get to know the characters.


  6. I enjoyed the Richard Osman books too, light and fun with interesting older characters. Thanks for joining us for WOYBS, I always enjoy your reviews Barb!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve had the first Thursday Murder Club book on my TBR list forever, and I keep not getting to it. Maybe this will be the year.

    Notes from a Summer Cottage sounds lovely. Years ago I read a book that sounds a little bit similar, in which an Amish woman takes the reader through a year in her garden. Definitely perfect for peaceful weekend days.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never heard of “The Best American Food Writing” and I’m American lol. I have a foodie book club and would love to suggest it for the group!

    Liked by 1 person

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