Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (January 2011 to 2015)

5 Star Reads

As I have now been reviewing for over five years I thought I’d highlight my favourite book for each month from 2011 until 2015 to remind myself of the good ones. When we are talking five years ago, they must be good if I still remember them!


This Perfect World by Suzanne Bugler a book which is all about consequences and one that horrified me as I read it on a freezing cold January evening wrapped up in my duvet!

This Perfect World


Heddy Partridge was never my friend. I have to start with that. Heddy Partridge was never my friend because I was pretty, popular, clever and blonde and my friends were pretty, popular, clever and generally blonde, too. Heddy Partridge was none of these things.
Laura Hamley is the woman who has everything: a loving and successful husband, two beautiful children, an expensive home and a set of equally fortunate friends. But Laura’s perfect world is suddenly threatened when she receives an unwelcome phone call from Mrs Partridge, mother of Heddy – the girl Laura and her friends bullied mercilessly at school. Heddy has been hospitalized following a mental breakdown, and Mrs Partridge wants Laura’s help to get her released.
As Laura reluctantly gets drawn back into the past, she is forced to face the terrible consequences of her cruelty. But, as her secrets are revealed, so too is another even more devastating truth, and the perfect world Laura has so carefully constructed for herself begins to fall apart. This Perfect World is the debut novel from a brilliant dark new voice. Goodreads

2012 yr

In January 2012 I read The Missing by Jane Casey a standalone read by the author of the fantastic Maeve Kerrigan series.

The Missing


Jenny Shepherd is twelve years old and missing…Her teacher, Sarah Finch, knows better than most that the chances of finding her alive are diminishing with every day she is gone. As a little girl her older brother had gone out to play one day and never returned. The strain of never knowing what has happened to Charlie had ripped Sarah’s family apart. Now in her early twenties, she is back living at home, trapped with a mother who drinks too much and keeps her brother’s bedroom as a shrine to his memory. Then, horrifically, it is Sarah who finds Jenny’s body, beaten and abandoned in the woods near her home. As she’s drawn into the police investigation and the heart of a media storm, Sarah’s presence arouses suspicion too. But it not just the police who are watching her.


Worthless Men by Andrew Cowan is a mesmerising and thoughtful book about World War I, one that deserved far more prominence than it received in my opinion.

Click on the book cover to read my review

Worthless Men


It’s market day in an English city two years into the Great War. The farmers are coming in from the country, the cattle are being driven through the streets and that evening a trainload of wounded soldiers is due to arrive.
At the local mansion, its new hospital tents to the ready, waits Montague Beckwith, himself a psychological casualty of the war. In the town’s poorest quarter, Winnie Barley prays that Walter, her missing son, will be on the train (but that her violent husband is not). In the pharmacy, Gertie Dobson dreams of romance while her father keeps unsuitable men at bay. And everywhere is Walter, a ghostly presence who watches as the girl he loved from a distance is drawn into Montague’s orbit.
Weaving together multiple viewpoints, Andrew Cowan creates a panoramic, extraordinarily vivid portrait of a place as individual as it is archetypal. Here is a community where the war permeates high and low; where the factory now produces barbed wire, the women are doing the men’s jobs, and the young men are no longer so eager to answer the King’s call. And here is the tragic story of a casual betrayal, and a boy who proved that those at the bottom of the heap – the worthless ones – could be the most valiant of them all. Goodreads

A psychological mystery about a stalker is 2014’s favourite/most memorable read and my choice has now been endorsed making it a Spring 2015 choice for the Richard and Judy Book Club! The Book of You by Claire Kendal

Click on the book cover to read my review

The Book of You


Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.
Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.
Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined. Amazon


My top read for 2015 is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins picked for the compulsive reading experience. The story is told from the viewpoints of three women. The main plot unfurls over a gripping month and a half where the reader is treated to a twisty turny read full of suspense.

Click on the book cover to read my review

The Girl On The Train


Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train. Amazon


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

59 thoughts on “Five of the Best (January 2011 to 2015)

  1. What a brilliant idea, Cleo! Would you mind if I copied it? With full attribution to you, of course. That’s just about the same time I started reviewing too, though it was April/May of 2011 that I really started reviewing every book.

    The Suzanne Bugler looks good – did she go on to write any more? I haven’t come across her name. The Jane Casey of course is one of my favourites too. And I remember being intrigued by the Claire Kendal when you reviewed it last year – hmm! I wonder why it didn’t make it onto my TBR…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course you can borrow my idea, in fact I’d be honoured! I had great fun looking through the books I’d read over the years although my earlier reviews aren’t anywhere near as comprehensive as the later ones!! Suzanne Bulger wrote a couple more books The Child Inside and The Safest Place but the one featured is my favourite.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! 😀 Yes, your post sent me back to look at my own and it was great fun seeing what I was reading back then – especially some first novels by people who’ve stayed firm favourites ever since. Haha! My own reviews used to be 200-300 words max – the good old days, eh? I can use as many words as that now on my introductory paragraph… 😉


  2. This was such a good idea! Although I have read some amazing books, so it is usually so hard to pick just one favorite for the year. I have The Girl on the train on my TBR for sure!


  3. Wow, you have been blogging for a long time, Cleo, well done! I love the idea. I’ve only been around for 3 years, and wasn’t doing regular book reviews when I started out, so I can’t copy the idea, but it’s such a great way to see what you were thinking then/now. Do you think you would still love them as much now?


  4. This is great! I have that Suzanne Bugler, haven’t read it, must resolve that! And I’ve still to get round to The Book Of You. Worthless Men sounds great, I’ve never heard of it before. Will look out for it.


  5. Cleo – Oh, this is an absolutely great idea! I love it! And you’ve got some excellent reads there, too. Not surprised at the Casey – she has such talent. And you’ve reminded me that I want to read The Girl on the Train.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great idea! I love how you did this and am looking forward to these posts for the rest of the year. I liked The Girl on the Train also – didn’t love it though. I posted a spoiler discussion for that one…will check out your review.


    1. Thank you Sarah! I did go and add my comment to your spoiler discussion, every now and again I enjoy a compulsive read, and for me this fitted the bill perfectly. Already have my choices for February (except 2015) so watch this space 🙂


  7. I read THE MISSING this last year. Loved it. Just reviewed THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN. Hmmm…let’s say liked it sorta. 🙂

    And I want to read THE BOOK OF YOU. It’s nice to have 5 years of blogging. Congrats.


    1. I have to admit I looked through the entire list for the month for each year and could easily recall those I gave 5 & 4 stars to, less so the 3 star reads which seems to imply my instinctive star rating appears to stand the test of time 😉


  8. Clever idea – i never used to keep track of what I read but its fun to look back isn’t it. Of these five the only one I’ve heard of however is last month’s selection


    1. I do like looking back and part of the reason why I started reviewing was so that I didn’t confuse books with similar names with the wrong storyline. I did have great fun picking my favourites and remember some of my previous great reads.


  9. I haven’t read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins yet, but it has been so hyped and lots of bloggers keep saying how great this books is… So, I actually learned that a local bookstore is having Paula Hawkins at an author signing event this week and I’m planning to attend!! I’m so excited!


      1. Ditto for me – and I always seem to read about my favourite authors doing events in Glasgow. I’d love to go to the Edinburgh Book Festival, and I’ve no excuse as my friend Polly lives really centrally, and is always asking us down. She’s one of these people who will read ANY book, irrespective of genre, and finish it. Bloody Scotland is always VERY tempting, too. Plus it’d be a great way to meet other bloggers who are up for going! Be a trek for you, though Cleo. And I love this idea, 5 from every month of the last five years…


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