Posted in Uncategorized

Reading Bingo 2016


This is one of my favourite posts of the year so there was no question of me repeating this following my relative success in filling in the squares in both 2014 and 2015

I purposely don’t treat this like a challenge by finding books to fit the squares throughout the year, oh no! I prefer to see which of my (mostly) favourite books will fit from the set I’ve read.  As you can imagine this becomes a bit like one of those moving puzzles where one book is suitable for a number of squares… and then I’m left with empty squares which I have to trawl through the 136 books I’ve read and reviewed to see if any book at all will fit! This keeps me amused for many, many hours so I do hope you all enjoy the result.

Click on the book covers to read my reviews

A Book With More Than 500 Pages

Small Great Things

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult clocks in at 512 pages covering the injustice of a Ruth Jefferson, the only African-American nurse on duty when a baby gets into difficulty. With the parents white supremacists who want to blame someone Ruth is charged with murder. Not a comfortable read and I applaud the author for wanting to address racism and using an absorbing tale to do so.

A Forgotten Classic

Harriet Said

I came late to Beryl Bainbridge so I’m going to count this as a modern classic. I’ve read three of this author’s books so far, my favourite being Harriet Said. The story is based upon a murder case involving two teenaged girls in New Zealand, a case that was also the inspiration for the film Heavenly Creatures. The author creates two young teenage girls using them to reveal the push and pull of their relationship which is ultimately their undoing.

A Book That Became a Movie

Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain has lots to recommend it although I admit some of the politics towards the end, went over my head, but the tale of a young woman nursing through World War I, having put her hard one academic ambitions on hold, was incredibly poignant. With the inevitable loss of friends and family her grief for herself and her generation is palpable The film was released in 2014 to great acclaim.

A Book Published This Year

The Ballroom

As a book reviewer I have read lots of books published this year but decided to feature one from my historical fiction selection. The Ballroom by Anna Hope tells the tale of life in an asylum in West Riding, the year being 1911. With a mixture of men and women housed in the asylum the author not only writes us a great story, but has accurately researched what life was like from the perspective of inmates and attendants.

A Book With A Number In The Title

The One in a Million Boy

I give you not one but two numbers in this title: The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood is a book I denoted  ‘quirky’ but I’m so glad I read it. The story concerns the relationship between Ona Vitkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who has lived in the US since she was just four, and a boy Scout with a passion for the Guinness World Records. Touching without ever being overly sentimental this is one that will linger in my mind for quite some time.

A Book Written by Someone Under Thirty

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

Five Rivers Met On A Wooded Plain was written by Barney Norris who was born in 1987. This book not only touches on the history of Salisbury but weaves stories of five fictional characters in a literary, but oh so readable way. An accomplished novel that doesn’t let an obvious love of language interfere with a great story.

A Book With Non Human Characters

Little Stranger

Well I’m giving you double for your money with this book, not only is there a ghost in The Little Stanger by the fabulous Sarah Waters, there is also a Labrador that plays a key role in the subsequent downfall of the Ayres family. This spooky story is narrated by a country doctor in 1940’s Warwickshire and has plenty of other themes to enjoy even if you, like me, are not a fan of ghostly goings-on.

A Funny Book

A Man With One of those Faces

A Man With One Of Those Faces is a crime fiction novel written by stand-up comedian Caimh McDonnell. I know crime mixed with humour doesn’t sound as if it should work, but it does! A Man With One of Those Faces is full of observational humour with some truly entertaining characters without sacrificing a great plot with a whole heap of action to keep you on the edge of your seat.

A Book By A Female Author

My Husband's Wife

So many great books by so many fab women – in the end I chose My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry which falls into one of my favourite genres, psychological thrillers of the domestic variety. This tale mixes past and present with a whole heap of flawed characters and is told by two separate narrators Lily and Carla and they reveal more and more about themselves, and those around them. An extremely tense read which was utterly satisfying.

A Book With A Mystery

Pictures of perfection.jxr

What better mystery can there be than that of a missing policeman on Dalziel’s patch? Pictures of Perfection is the fourteenth in the Dalziel & Pascoe series written by the outstandingly talented Reginald Hill and this book was an absolute delight to read. With a horrific opening scene, the book then switches to the more genteel setting of a country fair in 1980s rural Yorkshire. Fear not though this isn’t window dressing, the plot is superb with a proper mystery to be solved.

A Book With A One Word Title


Like last year I have read six books that have a single word as their title but I have chosen Viral by Helen Fitzgerald because of the very contemporary storyline. Viral examines what happens when a sex act carried out in Magaluf ends up online for all Su Oliphant-Brotheridge’s friends and family to see but despite that taster, this story didn’t go in the direction I expected it to.

 A Book of Short Stories


Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel is a collection of five novellas all looking at manipulators and the effect on the lives of those they choose to manipulate. The author picked five different characters and settings to explore this theme and I have to admit, not being a huge fan of short stories, the common thread was far more appealing to me than some other collections.

 Free Square

Lying in wait

For my free square this year I have decided to go with the book with the best opening sentence; Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent:
My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’
With the rest of this book more than living up to the first line there was so much to love not only does the author keep the tension stretched as taut as could be, despite that opening revelation we have a wonderful Irish setting as background.

A Book Set On A Different Continent

The Woman on the Orient Express

The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford is a novel that ends up in Baghdad recreating a trip to an archaeology dig that Agatha Christie made following the divorce from her first husband. This wasn’t so much of a mystery rather a historical novel using Agatha Christie herself as the centre of the story of three woman all making this trip for very different reasons. An unusual and rewarding read with an exotic setting along with a fantastic mode of transport.

A Book of Non-Fiction

Did She Kill Him

I have read some brilliant non-fiction books, mostly about murders, and a fair proportion about poisoners, my interest (or obsession) of the year, so I am going with Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun. Florence Maybrick is the subject of this book, a middle-class woman living in Liverpool in 1889 when she stood trial for the murder, by arsenic, of her husband. While the majority of the book is relatively sympathetic to Florence, the author cleverly takes apart the arguments in the last section leaving the reader to make up their own mind if she was guilty or not.

The First Book By A Favourite Author

In Bitter Chill

I enjoyed In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward so much earlier in the year that I had to buy the second in the series, A Deadly Thaw. The setting in Bampton Derbyshire was stunning which made the awful tale of the disappearance of two girls back in 1978 all the more shocking, especially as only one of those girls returned home. Rachel Jones went  home but now an adult a suicide prompts her to find out what really happened all those years ago.

A Book I Heard About Online

The Versions of Us

Since blogging I find most of my new author finds on-line and to be honest, it is fairly easy to persuade me I must read crime fiction or psychological thrillers, I’m more resistant to other genres. But all the rave reviews about The Versions of Us by Laura Bennett, a sliding-doors novel had me intrigued – and what a great find this was. The incident that kicks off the three different lives in The Versions of Us is a student falling off her bike whilst studying at Cambridge University in October 1958 and the three tales that follow are all equally brilliant. This was an absorbing read especially taking into consideration the complicated structure.

A Best Selling Book

Love You Dead

Peter James’ Roy Grace series consistently makes the best seller list, and also happens to be my favourite police procedural series so it is only right and fitting that Love You Dead is featured for this square. For those of you who also enjoy not only the mystery but also reading about Roy Grace (and his beautiful wife, Cleo), some key story arcs are cleared up in this, the twelfth book in the series. Mystery fans don’t need to worry either, the key plot is a good one featuring a pretty woman at its heart.

A Book Based Upon A True Story

Buriel Rites

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year! With the Icelandic landscape as a backdrop to Agnes Magnúsdóttir’s final months awaiting trial for the murder of two men, we see the family she had been sent to stay with learning to adjust to the stranger in their midst. Be warned if you haven’t read this book, it is devastating, I had grown to love Agnes and yet her fate was sealed and no amount of wishing can change the course of history.

A Book At the Bottom Of Your To Be Read Pile

The Mistake

The Mistake by Wendy James is a book inspired by a true event rather than based upon it and one that had been on my TBR for a couple of years.  In The Mistake we meet Jodi Garrow whose comfortable life as the wife of a lawyer unravels when a nurse in a small town hospital remembers her from years before when she gave birth to a little girl, there is no sign of that baby and Jodi does her best to cover up the truth but the media are determined to find the truth.

 A Book Your Friend Loves


I introduced a friend to the wonders of DI Kim Stone this year and she loved the series, in fact, despite not being a book blogger, she told me about the upcoming release of Blood Lines by Angela Marsons before I knew it was happening!  This series goes from strength to strength and her characterisation underpins a fantastic multi-stranded mystery as our protagonist tries to find the link between the stabbing of a compassionate, well-loved woman and a prostitute.

A Book That Scares You

A Tapping at my Door

I rarely get scared by a book but from the opening excerpt of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe this book had me well and truly spooked by A Tapping At My Door by David Jackson. With opening scenes of a woman hearing a tapping sound, I was glad I wasn’t reading this on a dark night on my own. But this isn’t just a spooky police procedural, it is incredibly clever – I can’t tell you exactly how as that would spoil it but this was a book with a superb plot, probably one of the best I’ve read this year. That with a lively and interesting character in DS Nathan Cody, a Liverpool setting and more than a dash of humour, means it was an all-round great read.

A Book That Is More Than 10 Years Old

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

I decided to pick the oldest book that I’ve read this year and this one was first published in 1926 so in fact 90 years old; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is considered by many to be one of the best written by Agatha Christie and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book narrated by a doctor and one of my very favourite detectives, Monsieur Poirot leading the search for the murderer of Roger Ackroyd, killed in his very own study if you please – oh and of course the door was locked!

The Second Book In A Series


I have a love of 1920s London and Fiona Veitch Smith’s creation Poppy Denby, journalist at The Daily Globe had her second outing in The Kill Fee, this year. The mystery had its roots in Russia and the revolution and Poppy romps her way around extricating herself from ever more tricky circumstances made for a delightful and informative read.

A Book With A Blue Cover

The Museum of You

I can’t let this square go without asking has anyone else noticed the increase in blue covers? The one I’ve chosen was my surprise hit of the year; The Museum of You by Carys Bray – a story about a twelve-year-old girl putting together an exhibition about her mother wouldn’t normally make it onto the TBR, let alone be loved so much… but the lack of overt sentimentality in this book along with an exceptional array of characters made it a firm favourite for 2016.

Well look at that, for the first time ever I have completed every square!

How about you? How much of the card could you fill in? Please share!


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

86 thoughts on “Reading Bingo 2016

  1. Well done for completing this. I resisted taking part because I knew I’d have to go buying just to complete some squares. You reminded me I have Burial Rites on an audio version…


  2. Delighted to hear that you enjoyed The Versions of Us. It’s such a clever book although I know that some people were irritated by the three intertwined stories. Perhaps reading crime novels with convoluted plots helped with that!


  3. Thankfully, I have most on your chart so not as expensive a post as I feared. Heading off to buy The Versions of Us though as it’s 99p today. Might have to check up on few others. This looks fun as a yearly round up as an alternative to Top 10 or 20.


    1. Haha now I know you got The Versions of Us – it is a great read so I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I always do a Top 10 of those books published during the year so this is a good opportunity to highlight some of the other books I’ve read this year – I always enjoy doing it so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is both fun and creative, Cleo! I’m very impressed, too, that you filled up all of the squares! You’ve got a real diverse group of book, and, including some I’ve been meaning to read (Did She Kill Him being one of them). What fun!


    1. Thank you Margot. One of the reasons why I love doing post is that it always throws up such an interesting mix of books – Did She Kill Him? was up there with the best of my non-fiction reads this year, and I read far more than normal.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Had a look at my list so far this year and I have got 23/25. I don’t think I’ve read any forgotten classics this year. Jane Eyre is about the only classic I’ve read and it’s definitely not forgotten! Also struggling with the non-human characters although I suspect if I think about it long enough. I’ll find a ghost!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Impressive work there, Cleo. I see several books that I MUST have, now (My Husband’s Wife, The Mistake, The Versions of Us, to name a few)…and some that I’m reminded that I have on my list somewhere. (Little Stranger). Thanks!


  7. I love reading bingo, I’m definitely going to take part in one. If only I could win at real bingo, the way you won at reading bingo lol. Did you look at my TBR before deciding what books to read, I’m may have to reorder my TBR based on your reviews! 😊


  8. Well done!! Yes, I have indeed noticed the blue and grey covers this year – isn’t it funny how covers seem to follow trends? I do think covers have improved a lot over the last couple of years though, some have been really great. I haven’t done the poll yet because I’ll need to give it some thought, but if I can’t get the full house, hopefully I’ll be close. My pick of your choices (that I haven’t read yet) would be the Beryl Bainbridge which is on my wishlist since you reviewed it…


  9. Ah you’ve reminded me I have ‘The Versions of Us’ must read it! But not for a while as now into ‘The Chemist’ … obsessive detail ( don’t worry not the chemistry … well not as yet?) , yet addictive.


  10. Such a clever idea. Ten out of ten for who ever thought the bingo book idea up. I will join you and have a go at completing these bingo questions.


  11. Definitely going to try this – and, as we’ve been reading similar books, try to pick different ones. To include Carys Bray and Barney Norris in the same boxes would feel like cheating!


  12. Great idea, Cleo! I’m surprised that I managed to fill 21 spaces, definitely gives me ideas for next year’s reading! And thanks for the reminder to read Liz Nugent’s “Lying in Wait”! I’ve been meaning to for ages, and something else constantly captures my attention:-)


  13. This is amazing I will definitely do this… next year probably because I haven’t read as much as I would have liked to this year CRIES


  14. I like how you handle the bingo, it sounds funnier and easy on the pressure! It would take the fun away if I chose the books to fit a case and not go by my moods. I might follow your example next year. I would have filled 24 spaces this year!


  15. I much prefer your way of doing this to trying to do it throughout the year and stressing about it! I don’t think I’d have quite a full house, but I probably come close. I’ll have to go through and see.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Three marvellous books we shared this year (and one I read earlier) – The Picoult, the Bainbridge, the Ballroom – and Burial Rites which I obsessively chomped up when it came out.

    I might have to have a go and see what I end up with. I fear I might have spaces……I don’t tend to read many series, so that might be one…….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes and all of those were powerful – I couldn’t believe I left it so long to read Burial Rites because I’d had my copy for some time. Go on see what you can fill – this was the first year I completed every square!


      1. Well I find I have (without any cheating) done all but on – that second of a series did for me, as its rare for me to read series.

        One of the books I want in is one I have read, but not yet reviewed (I’ve got a stack of 6 read-but-not-yet-reviewed waiting, so I think I’ll leave the Bingo to later in the month so I can get that one in – especially as it is a category which I can easily fill anyway with something else, but it gives it two blasts of the cherry so to speak, and it will be a 5 star.

        However, not everything read has been reviewed because some of the books were 3 stars or less.

        I’ll start with the same one as you though, because I didn’t record which books were the big ones over 500 pages!


  17. Argh! I made it to 22 – couldn’t find anything for author under 30 (two authors I read turned 31 this year but they were the youngest). Also had nothing for ‘First Book By Favourite Author’ – reckon I would have to go out of my way to fill that category.


  18. Pingback: Reading Bingo 2016

Leave a Reply, I love hearing what you have to say

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.