Posted in Uncategorized

Six in Six – 2018 Edition


This meme originates from Jo at The Book Jotter and having thoroughly enjoyed participating over the last couple of years I wanted to see what my Six in Six looked like in 2018!
The aim is to sort your reads into six categories – you can choose from the ones Jo suggests or come up with your own. Although the same book can obviously feature in more than one category, I’ve chosen to select one book for each category from my favourite reads of the year so far.

Six new authors to me

I’ve met some great new authors in 2018 who write in a variety of genres.

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

The Dissent of Annie Lang by Ros Franey

And the Birds Kept on Singing by Simon Bourke

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Three Things About Elsie by Joanne Cannon

Close to Home by Cara Hunter



Six classics I have read

As I joined The Classics Club in 2018 it seemed only right to feature some of the books I’ve read for this challenge…

The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Cripsin

Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns

Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton 



Six From the Non-Fiction Shelf

And another selection that aren’t all crime related; I’m doing well this year!

Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox

Bookwork by Lucy Mangan

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards

My Life in Houses by Margaret Forster

Wedlock by Wendy Moore

Common People by Alison Light



Six series of books read or started

Here’s where I remind myself that I read way too many crime fiction series!

Dead if you Don’t by Peter James

Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson

Come A Little Closer by Rachel Abbott

The Killing House by Claire McGowan

The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Lackberg

Come and Find Me by Sarah Hilary



Six books from authors I know will never let me down

A mixture of crime fiction and delightful fiction.

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

Sanctum by Denise Mina

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

No Further Questions by Gillian McAllister

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons

The Cliff House by Amanda Jennings


Six books by authors I am looking forward to reading more of

This is a selection of authors who have made me think in various ways and so I can’t see what they deliver next, or in some instances have already written so I can explore their back catalogue.

The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Smash all the Windows by Jane Davis

Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster

A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward

Watching You by Lisa Jewell





So there are my choices from the first half of 2018 – What would you choose?

My Six in Six




Posted in Uncategorized

My Name in TBR Books

It’s a while since I’ve done a tag and this one has been featured on a number of my favourite blogger sites. And of course it was a sure fire winner as I have a few books on my TBR!

So I present Cleopatra Loves Books in… books


C- Closed For Winter by Jorn Lier Horst







L – Life After Life by Kate Atkinson






E – East Lynne by Ellen Wood






O – The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff






P – Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow






A – The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards






T – This is Not a Novel by Jennifer Johnston

R – Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman

A – American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin








L – The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow






O – Only Child by Rhiannon Navin





V – The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill






E – Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie






S – Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski








B – Beneath the Water by Sarah Painter






O – Our Man in Havanna by Graham Greene






O – Off With His Head by Ngaio Marsh






K – Kill Me Twice by Simon Booker






S – Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon


So there we are – quite a mixed bag! Which one do you think should be moved to the top of my list?





Posted in Uncategorized

Currently Reading Tag

Well April has turned from wintery to summery weather in the blink of an eye and it’s the weekend! I’m hoping to get some al fresco reading done for the first time this year which will be lovely!

I recently found this  this currently reading tag on No Read’s Too Great  and I thought I’d give it a go.

1. How many books do you usually read at once?

I usually only manage to read 1 book  at a time but part of my New Year Reading Resolutions was to read a non-fiction book each month and surprisingly at the moment I have a non-fiction read, a short story read and a fiction book all in progress – go me!

2. If you’re reading more than one book at a time, how do you decide when to switch books?

I read the non-fiction as a day-time read, the fiction is my bed-time reading (a habit I’ve maintained from early childhood) but if I’m very tired I’ll read one of the short stories.

3. Do you ever switch bookmarks while you’re partway through a book?

Only if I loose the first one! I have many beautiful bookmarks to my name but often I use the closest piece of paper to hand so I have all sort of random things saving my place for me, although of course the kindle doesn’t require a bookmark.

4. Where do you keep the book(s) you’re currently reading?

The non-fiction book is on the table by ‘my chair’ along with library books whereas my kindle tends to be with me at all times!

5. What time of day do you spend the most time reading?

In the evening/night time – I’m at work all day and although my kindle travels with me it is a rare day that I pick it up before I get home.

6. How long do you typically read in one sitting?

I read most on the weekend and these sessions will last as long as I don’t need to do anything else but typically about an hour at a stretch. At night-time it is until my eyes droop!

7. Do you read hardbacks with the dust jacket on or off?

I don’t read that many hardbacks as they are too heavy to read in bed but if I do it is dust jacket on.

8. What position do you mainly use to read?

Usually propped up in bed resting the book on my bent knees – although apparently this is annoying if someone else is in bed, so if I’m being accommodating I lie on my side.

9. Do you take the book you’re currently reading with you everywhere you go?

If it’s on my kindle yes as that travels with me!

10. How often do you update your Goodreads progress on the book you’re currently reading?

I only update my Goodreads when I’ve written my review – nine times out of ten I haven’t even marked it as to be read!

So that’s my reading habits – let me know your answers if you care to join in with this tag.

Posted in Uncategorized

I Spy Book Challenge

I love a good challenge and, when I saw this one on Secret Library Book Blog written by fellow Jersey resident Nicki, and I knew I had to give this a go. After all I had those I-Spy books as a child and was always desperate to find the illusive items so hopefully I’ll do better here.


Find a book on your bookshelves that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!! (or longer if you have way too many books on way too many overcrowded shelves!)

1. Food


My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon



2. Transportation


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins




3. Weapon


A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup




4. Animal

The House of Birds by Morgan McCarthy




5. Number



Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate



6. Something you Read


Postcards from the Past by Marcia Willets




7. Body of Water

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish




8. Product of Fire


Burnt Paper Sky by Gilly Macmillan




9. Royalty


The Lost Empress by Steve Robinson




10. Architecture


My Life in Houses by Margaret Forster




11. Item of Clothing


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne




12. Family Member


A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer




13. Time of Day



The Two O’clock Boy by Mark Hill




14. Music


Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett




15. Paranormal Being


The Ghost of Lily Painter by Caitlin Davis




16. Occupation


The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty




17. Season


Dark Winter by David Mark




18. Colour



The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths



19. Celestial Body


Under A Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes




20. Something that Grows

Flowers for the Dead by Barbara Copperthwaite




Yay all twenty items found but perhaps it took slightly longer than five minutes…

How many are on your bookshelf? Consider yourself tagged if you enjoyed this post!

Posted in Uncategorized

World of Books Discount Code

A slightly different post from me today but one that I hope you will all enjoy.


A couple of weeks I was contacted by a very nice man called David who asked me if I’d be interested in some books? Silly question – I love books! Look at the name of the blog!

David had noted that I had a long list of classics on my The Classics Club page and wondered if I needed help finding some of them and invited me to peruse World of Books to see for myself the wide range of pre-loved books that they have on-line.

You can do the same here

Who World of Books Are

World of Books sells quality used books at competitive prices to millions of customers worldwide each year. We want your experience with World of Books to be enjoyable and problem free.

Established by a group of dedicated book lovers, over the past 10 years World of Books has seen inventory grow from 1,000 books to over 2 million in stock.

We appreciate the impact a good book can have and can relate to the excitement of a new page turner or the familiar joy of an old favourite. We all like the idea of saving a little extra cash too, so when we found out about how many good quality used books there are out there, we just had to let you know.

Using an advanced inventory system, World of Books matches good quality used books with those that are looking for them. From popular fiction to rare finds, we find new homes for over 9 million items every year for customers in 90 countries worldwide.

All of our books are checked for quality before they go on sale and we like to think that our prices mean that no book is beyond your budget.

What World of Books stand for

At World of Books we are committed to minimising our environmental impact. Each month we recycle over 4 million books, saving 22,000 tonnes of books a year from going into landfill. All of our paper waste is recycled within the UK and turned into corrugated cardboard.

We strongly believe that it is a travesty to simply throw away a used book when there is nothing wrong with it. We believe in giving each book the chance of finding a new home.

I had a look and easily found some of the books that I need to finish (ok well pretty much start) my challenge.

David, nice man that he is, offered to send me a selection so that I could show you all just how easy it is, and he did,

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The Moving Toyshop by Edumund Crispin
The Red House by A.A. Milne
The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden
Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

No excuse not to power through my list now!



Now I’m tempted to collect all those green penguins and can see myself spending hours searching through the massive inventory to find the ones I want with the right covers – David, you have sparked a whole new obsession which needs feeding!


I’m sure you’re all thinking, well lucky for you and I may just go and take a peek myself.

If so, David’s generosity knows no bounds as he is offering a 15% discount to all my blog followers so you can choose some pre-loved (or even unread) books too – all you need to do is use the code CLEOLOVES15 before 31 March 2018– so don’t dilly-dally now.

To use the discount code once you’ve filled your cart select the cart icon and you will see the screen below

Below the PayPal and Checkout buttons click on the words in blue: VIEW SHOPPING CART

This will take you to the screen where the discount code CLEOLOVES15 can be input and applied before you proceed to pay.

World of Books also have another brand called Ziffit where they source books, and other media, from those looking to sell their collections for some reason or other through the Ziffit website or app.

Visit the World of Books Website here 

On Twitter as @WorldofBooksltd

On Facebook

And they even have their own blog here 

I do hope you all find many books to grow your TBR piles even more from World of Books, I’m sure I will be visiting very frequently.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Bookish Naughty List Tag


The Bookish Naughty List Tag
Time to confess all of my bookish sins!
The tag was originally created by A Page of Jenniely and I was tagged by Minmac Reviews to do it. So, let’s go…


1. Received an ARC and not reviewed it?

Yes most usually those that come unsolicited through the post but I will admit to having a very few old NetGalley books unread and unreviewed. The most common reason is I didn’t read the synopsis properly before requesting.

2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on NetGalley?

No! I’ve got a rating of 92% at the moment and to my knowledge haven’t been below 80% ever!! I’m hoping that now I’ve read and reviewed so many books (318) that it would take a spectacular lack of control to push my rating down that low!

3. Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)? 

I do have books read before I started reviewing that just have a rating but since I have a strict order for review posting – I read, review on my blog, then NG if necessary, Amazon and then Goodreads this doesn’t happen to me.

4. Folded down the page of a book?

No!!! I’m super careful reading my books, so much so when I took a selection into work for other people to take (my bookshelf was too full) everyone said but these books have never been read!! Someone I work closely said, they’ll be from Cleo all her books look like that!!

5. Skim read a book?

Ooh the questions are tough! Not an entire book but if a book gets particularly technical about something I’m not interested in I will be tempted to skim read parts, but not an entire book!

6. DNF a book this year?

I have had one DNF already this year, it was one of my own books and we just didn’t gel… I used to finish every book I started but no more. If a book doesn’t work I put it aside. Sometimes I will try again as it may have been wrong timing but others get passed onto to someone who will appreciate them more.

7. Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it?

No, I am tempted to collect other books in a series so that I have a set of the same but I always intend to read them. I think this may be to do with the fact I don’t read the ‘prettier’ genres of books so I’m not so easily swayed – I’m sure if I did this could easily become another bookish obsession.

8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else?

All the time but reading is so fun and the jobs I am not doing are so boring – housework/reading? There is just no contest! I have frequent cooking disasters where I try and squeeze a few pages in when the recipe says stir constantly – I not only don’t follow instructions very well, I forget what I’m supposed to be doing when I have a book in my hand.

9. Accidentally spilled on a book

I have… and it always makes me so sad! This usually happens when I can’t bear to put a book down to read and then the inevitable (for me) happens and spills occur.

10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal?

No but probably because I set my goal slightly lower than I expect to read anyway! At the moment I am on target for my 2018 reading goal!

11. Borrowed a book and not returned it?

I do have some books that have taken up long-term residence in my house often because I can’t remember who lent them to me! I do say when people hand over a book, that there are lots in my house and if they want it back just to remind me!

12. Broke a book buying ban?

All the time although I would like to stand up and say that the last book I bought was 29 December and therefore I calculate that this book buying ban has lasted a massive 42 days! That definitely deserves a Tigger bounce!


13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about?

Part of my 2018 resolutions for blogging which I’ve kept is to write my reviews when finishing a book. It’s not so much I forget what has happened but character names, well names of anyone and everyone, are not something I ever remember so I’ve been spending a lot of time backtracking to writer reviews.

14. Wrote in a book you were reading?

Are you crazy?? No I never write in books, never!!

15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads?

Possibly because Goodreads is the last bit of book admin I usually do! While we are on the subject of Goodreads; is it just me that spends about an hour to get it to populate the dates read these days? It upsets me to have my book challenge displaying my reads in the wrong order!


I won’t TAG any specific bloggers/blogs but feel free to join in if you want to confess your bookish sins!!

Posted in Uncategorized

The Classics Club

I’ve joined The Classics Club today and therefore aim to read the following list of 50 books by 27 January 2023.

Fortunately the rules are simple, the definition of a classic book is not set in stone, so I have used the easy formula that if a book was published before 1970 it goes on the list.

Some readers may be surprised that I am joining this club, on the occasions when I have talked about them either on my own blog or as a comment on other blogs, I have received surprise that I’m interested in classics at all. Yes, I love crime fiction, psychological thrillers have been a pull and I enjoy a well-written contemporary novel but I have been a reader long before the blog was born. I am a child who read all the childhood classics, as a teenager, I read the popular bonk-busters of the day, but I also read Dickens and Austen amongst a whole host of other classic writers of the era. My dreams were full of Heathcliff and these were in addition to the books we read because they were on the syllabus. Even in the (many) intervening years I have revisited old favourites and found others to enjoy, but, and here is the one of the few downsides of blogging, somehow  my focus has veered away from this area and so one of my New Year Resolutions was to read six classic books this year. Then came the peer pressure principally from FictionFan’s Book Reviews who somehow persuaded me if I was going to commit to six I may as well commit to fifty!!

So to the list – You’ll note this has two sub-sections for Classic Crime which is a larger section and the smaller Author’s of Children’s Classics, Adult Novels. I’ve tried to limit to one book per author except for two notable exceptions and not to include too many re-reads although there are a sprinkling to keep me going.  Quite a few of the books on the list I already possess and as another of my resolutions is to use the library I will be making frequent trips to try and source most of the others.

Classic Fiction

1. The Prime of Miss Brodie – Murial Spark
2. Lady Audely’s Secret – Mary Elizabeth Braddon
3. Miss Pettigrow Lives for a Day- Winifred Watson
4. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
5. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
6. Barsetshire Chronicles (The Warden) – Anthony Trollope
7. The Hireling – L.P. Hartley
8. Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
9. Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolfe 
10. Our Spoons Came From Woolworths – Barbara Comyns
11. A Wreath of Roses – Elizabeth Taylor
12. The Quiet American – Graham Greene
13. We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
14. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
15.Bleak House – Charles Dickens
16. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
17. Mary Barton – Elizabeth Gaskell
18. The Long View – Elizabeth Jane Howard
19. Chocky – John Wyndham
20. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
21. Bonjour Tritesse – Françoise Sagan
22. East Lynne – Henry James
23. The Gowk Storm – Nancy Brysson Morrison
24. Sunset Song – Lewis Grassic Gibbon
25. The Dubliners – James Joyce
26. Nicholas Nickleby – Charles Dickens

Classic Crime

27. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
28. The Sign of the Four – Arthur Conan Doyle
29. The Poisoned Chocolate Case – Anthony Berkeley
30. Off With His Head – Ngaio Marsh
31. The Lodger – Marie Belloc Downes
32. Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm – Gil North
33. The Clocks – Agatha Christie
34. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – Agatha Christie
35. Crooked House – Agatha Christie
36. Five Little Pigs – Agatha Christie
37. A Murder is Announced – Agatha Christie
38. Sussex Downs Murder – John Bude
39. The Moving Toyshop – Edumund Cripsin
40. Calamity Town – Ellery Queen
41. A Pin to See the Peepshow – F Tennyson Jesse
42. The Franchise Affair – Josephine Tey
43. The Wheel Spins – Ethel Lina White

Author’s of Children’s Classics

44. Saplings – Noel Streatfeild
45. The Lark – E Nesbit
46. The Shuttle -Frances Hodgeston Burnett
47. The Greengage Summer – Rumer Goddon
48. One Man’s Meat – E.B. White
49. Who Calls the Tune – Nina Bawden
50. The Red House Mystery – A.A. Milne

It has taken me weeks to build the list because I’m not great at committing quite so far into the future and I’m sure I will veer off at points and choose more of some of the featured author’s works.


Posted in Uncategorized

New Year Book Tag!


I came across this tag on Bibliomaniac UK‘s blog and thought I’d have a go.

I think it originated from Bookables which is a You Tube channel. The questions also echo a few posts I’ve seen from other bloggers about books they’ve not managed to squeeze into 2017 so it seems like a good tag take part in to kick off the new year!

How many books are you planning to read in 2018?

My Goodreads Challenge has been set at 130 for the last few years and I plan to set the same goal in 2018 as this works out at 10 books per month and a bonus 10 for holidays.

This year I have read 150 which is slightly down on 2016’s total of 156 but up on 2015’s of 145.

Name five books you didn’t get to read this year but want to make a priority in 2018?

Only five?? Well here goes!

In no particular order – Dead Souls (and Broken Bones) by Angela Marsons, I love this series featuring Kim Stone and I desperately need to catch up.


When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy – and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

The Dry by Jane Harper that has appeared on a number of Great Read lists in addition to all the fab reviews I’ve read over the year.



I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime. Amazon

The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books by Martin Edwards which I’m a little scared to start as I have a feeling it’s going to make me regret saying I’ll read three books before buying one new one.


The main aim of detective stories is to entertain, but the best cast a light on human behaviour, and display both literary ambition and accomplishment. Even unpretentious detective stories, written for unashamedly commercial reasons, can give us clues to the past, and give us insight into a long-vanished world that, for all its imperfections, continues to fascinate.

This book, written by award-winning crime writer and president of the Detection Club, Martin Edwards, serves as a companion to the British Library’s internationally acclaimed series of Crime Classics. Long-forgotten stories republished in the series have won a devoted new readership, with several titles entering the bestseller charts and sales outstripping those of highly acclaimed contemporary thrillers. Amazon

And the Birds Kept on Singing
by Simon Bourke, again based on some superb reviews, and I love the cover.


Pregnant at seventeen, Sinéad McLoughlin does the only thing she can; she runs away from home. She will go to England and put her child up for adoption. But when she lays eyes on it for the first time, lays eyes on him, she knows she can never let him go.

Just one problem. He’s already been promised to someone else.

A tale of love and loss, remorse and redemption, And the birds kept on singing tells two stories, both about the same boy. In one Sinéad keeps her son and returns home to her parents, to nineteen-eighties Ireland and life as a single mother. In the other she gives him away, to the Philliskirks, Malcolm and Margaret, knowing that they can give him the kind of life she never could.

As her son progresses through childhood and becomes a young man, Sinéad is forced to face the consequences of her decision. Did she do the right thing? Should she have kept him, or given him away? And will she spend the rest of her life regretting the choices she has made? Amazon

A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward the third in the DC Childs series set in Derbyshire and I’ve got a long weekend there later this months so this one already has a bookmarked date for then!


When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.
But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career. Amazon


Name a genre you want to read more of?

I adore crime fiction but in 2017 I read more non-fiction as well as some captivating historical fiction. There were  some books however that almost defied genre type, as with most book readers I’m looking for something different to delight me, whatever genre it fits into but I have pledged to read at least 6 classic reads to up my game in this area.

Three non book related goals for 2018?

Only the normal to try to have a healthier lifestyle, work less and get a dog.

What’s a book you’ve had forever that you still need to read?

Having finally read Room by Emma Donoghue the next longstanding book that’s been with me forever is Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old Jewish girl, is arrested by the French police in the middle of the night, along with her mother and father. Desperate to protect her younger brother, she locks him in a cupboard and promises to come back for him as soon as she can.

Paris, May 2002: Julia Jarmond, an American journalist, is asked to write about the 60th anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv’–the infamous day in 1942 when French police rounded up thousands of Jewish men, women and children, in order to send them to concentration camps. Sarah’s Key is the poignant story of two families, forever linked and haunted by one of the darkest days in France’s past. In this emotionally intense, page-turning novel, Tatiana de Rosnay reveals the guilt brought on by long-buried secrets and the damage that the truth can inflict when they finally come unravelled. Amazon

One word that you’re hoping 2018 will be?


2017 was a hard year for us so I’m hoping that 2018 will give us a bit of a break and allow me to spend more time reading and less time worrying.

Tag a friend…..

There’s still time to join in if you haven’t already…


Happy New Year – I hope 2018 is full of bookish delights!



Posted in Uncategorized

Cleopatra’s Top 10 Books Published in 2017

Once again I have awarded a whole array of books the magic 5 stars which means whittling this down to a mere ten quite a task indeed, one that I have been pondering since the start of December in fact… so without further ado here are the ten books published in 2017 that I consider to have been truly outstanding and memorable reads.

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys 

For those who haven’t heard me endlessly wittering on about this book in 2017 this book sits on my historical novel shelf. Not only is it a brilliant piece of social history depicting life on a ship at the start of WWII, it has visits to far-flung places whilst encompassing a brilliant story with fabulous characters. The closed environment provides a somewhat combustible mix of characters, all bought brilliantly to life by the clothes they wear, their chatter over dinner along with how they chose to spend all their time while their new home, and life, inches closer – and there is a mystery – what more could you want?
And for those of you who haven’t heard, I have a cameo role in the novel following winning an auction run by Clic Sargent in 2016.

The Long Drop by Denise Mina

This book is one inspired by the true crimes perpetrated by Peter Manuel in 1950s Glasgow. It’s atmospheric tackling the weighty topics of innocence and guilt whilst brilliantly depicting a time and place in a way that shows off Denise Mina’s talents to the full. The storytelling is nuanced and assured with details oozing out of each sentence, not just about the crimes but about the characters, the essence of the lives they lived and the Glasgow of that age before the slums were cleared and Glasgow was cleaned up. While this isn’t a linear story telling, it is all the more captivating because we wait for the details; the half-eaten sandwich left abandoned at the murder scene, the empty bottle of whisky left on the sideboard for the police to find after the shock of the broken bodies left in the bedroom have been discovered.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Cyril Avery, the protagonist of this meaty book, has earned a place in my heart. The story which follows one man from shortly after conception until 2015. With its unusual structure, we sweep in seven-year intervals into his life and then onto the next meeting new and old characters along the way. A book that is funny and poignant which took me on a journey from delight to sorrow and back again in this sweeping saga set mainly in Dublin. A book of times and attitudes which is surprisingly uplifting.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase 

You know you’re onto a good thing when you open a book and know before you’ve finished the first page that it’s a book to curl up with. In this story set in 1950s England we meet four sisters one summer, a year that will change their view of the world forever. This is a summer that will have repercussions for years to come as innocence is lost. The mystery at the heart of the book is the disappearance of Audrey, their cousin who vanished five years earlier but this is also a book with recurring themes from the bonds between sisters, the ghosts of the past who can cast shadows over lives, the difficulties in growing up with those relationships between friends and mothers all getting an airing. I closed this book with a tear rolling down my cheek.

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

I wasn’t sure what a mixture between true crime and a memoir would be like but this was a book that I picked up to feature in my excerpt post and simply couldn’t put it down again. When Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich joins a law firm in New Orleans as an intern, whose work is based on having death sentences overturned, she feels she is about to start the career she is supposed to have. The daughter of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti the death penalty. But all that turns when she watches a video of Rick Langley who has been convicted of killing a six-year-old boy, Jeremy Guillory. I’m not going to sugar coat it, the crime is awful but what shocks the author most is that she feels so strongly that Rick Langley should die for the crime he committed. She no longer believes what she thought she did and that has consequences on her life and the more she tries to understand why she draws parallels with her own life. This is a difficult subject but written with intelligence shot through it.

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister

This ‘sliding doors’ scenario is a brilliant way to demonstrate a meaty moral dilemma.Two friends meet for their regular Friday night out at a bar in London and meet a man who is slightly too pushy, deciding to leave they part ways and Joanna walks home taking the route by the canal when she hears someone following her. Now ladies, we’ve all been there – unable to tell whether the threat running through your head is real or imagined. What happens next will change Joanna’s life forever. With sparkling dialogue which is entertaining yet realistic and faultless plotting this book had me captured right from the start and didn’t let me go until after I had turned the last page.

Dying Games by Steve Robinson 

This series features my favourite genealogist Jefferson Tayte. Although the majority of the action happens in the present day the seeds of the action in Dying Games belong firmly in the past. In Washington, DC the FBI are interested in Jefferson Tayte, aka JT, so he breaks off his Scottish trip with his fiancée to return to answer their questions. A serial killer is leaving clues with a genealogical bent and it is now a race against time to stop any more people losing their lives. Steve Robinson has produced a real puzzle within this thriller! Or perhaps I should say lots of mini puzzles which require different aspects of genealogical research to solve. This will ensure that those readers who have hit a brick wall in their own family history research can put things into perspective; unless you are in the unlikely position of having to find a particular person’s details otherwise someone else may die!

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

In He Said/She Said the story moves backwards and forwards from 11 August 1999, the time of the solar eclipse, to fifteen years later when Kit is planning to travel to the Faroe Islands, chasing another eclipse and we learn what an impact that first meeting had on all four characters and the ripples haven’t decreased with the passing years. The story line is gritty, as may be expected from the title the heart of the matter is a trial for rape and the details of what happened are told from a number of perspectives. This is an involved and thoughtful tale, one that really did make me think and I’m delighted to report that Erin Kelly never forgets that she is writing to entertain her reader and she avoids bashing the reader over the head about rape, and the trials that all too rarely follow such an accusation. I believe it is a sign of a writer who has confidence, not only in herself, but of her readers to air the important issues this

The Scandal by Frederik Backman

Despite being no lover of sports and definitely not ice-hockey this book which centres round a small town in Sweden’s obsession with the sport had me captivated. Frederik Backman writes in a style that repeats phrases and themes from one section to another so when the book got tough, and it does, the stylistic flair kept the momentum going forward while the reader comes to terms with what has been revealed. There are issues galore and normally when I say that, I’m not being complimentary because it can feel as if the author is leaping from bandwagon to bandwagon. That isn’t the case with The Scandal where the issues in the book are tightly linked to the players on a personal level. The Scandal turned out to be  thought-provoking, intelligent crime novel.

The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

I’m not going to lie, I was drawn to this book by its striking cover but what I found within the pages exceeded my expectations by far. Olivia Sweetman is making her way to address all two hundred guests gathered at The Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons in London. All those people are amongst the jars of organs to celebrate the publication of historian Olivia Sweetman’s book, Annabel, a study of a Victorian woman who became one of the first surgeons, a woman who also had a sensational personal life too, captured within Annabel in her own words. But, all is not as it should be as we find out as this superior psychological novel unfolds and the intricate storyline full of fascinating detail will stay with me for a long time to come.

So what do you think? Have you read any of these titles or do you want to?

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have visited me here on my little corner of the internet, as well of course as the authors and publishers who have provided me with so many great books to read throughout the year. I look forward to discovering new places, people and dark plots in 2018 and do hope you will all join me on my journey.

You can check out my list of reviews written in 2017 here
Or perhaps you want to check out my Reading Bingo 2017 Edition or you can check out my look back over the past year reading and reviewing along with my goals for 2018 here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Reading and Reviewing in 2017

Well it’s that time for reflection on the old and setting new goals for the new year so I’m going to start in my traditional way with a few facts and figures.

I have read and reviewed 147 books in 2017, one less than this time last year and boy some of those books have been really worth shouting about!

This amounts to 48, 281 pages 657 pages more than last year so obviously I’ve chosen some longer books to delight me in 2017 – that is an average of 132 pages per day!! No wonder I keep saying I don’t have time to do anything – to be honest that figure shocks even me!

Good old Goodreads tells me that my longest read was The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne was the longest book I read at a whopping 592 pages which was my very last review of 2017

The shortest unsurprisingly was a short story  Promises to Keep by Elizabeth Haynes at a mere 41 pages.



of the oldest books on my TBR was Room by Emma Donoghue which I finally read earlier this month – this was the book most read by other readers on Goodreads – 926,679 other readers there have also read this popular book, although I suspect many of them did so a little before I did!

The book I shared with the fewest readers was a debut crime thriller The Last Thread by Ray Britain, written by a former Police Officer not only were we treated to a new Detective but the authenticity of the read shone through – this book deserves a wider audience for sure!

A whopping 92 books fell into the crime fiction/psychological thriller categories although the psychological thriller count was down by 8 from 2016 to a mere 35.

My non-fiction reads declined slightly from 15 to 13 book fitting into this category, including a must-read for book-lovers; The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler although a large proportion of these are also crime related.

As always my goal for the year was to read more of my own books so not only did I participate in Cathy’s wonderful 20 Books of Summer 2017 challenge (which I completed on time – go me!) I chose a number of books that fitted with 2017’s obsession with the variety of ways true crime is presented and books inspired by true crime which was kicked off by the brilliant Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I also participated in the Mount TBR Challenge on Goodreads for the first time where I completed 34 of my aimed 36 books purchased prior to 1 January 2017.


In all I read 56 of my own books or a relatively respectable 38% of my reads for 2017 which is a vast improvement on the 49 books completed in 2016 and very nearly the 40% I was aiming for. I was spurred on by realising how many superb books I already own with The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell being an early delight.

Of course though I’m a book lover and so this is exactly the time and place to say thank you to all the authors and publishers who have given me copies of your books to review – there are simply too many outstanding reads of the year (although tomorrow I will pick my top ten published in 2017) a whole 92 books read in 2017 were ARCs including Shelter by Sarah Franklin a historical novel set in the Forest of Dean where I lived from 1979 to 1987 – a setting that was also used in The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer

As for you all, what you seemed to enjoy most in 2017 were the following Top Five Reviews of the year were:

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
Painkiller by N.J. Fountain
Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham

Two of these are from my own bookshelves proving that it isn’t just the newest releases that captures reader’s attention!

Finally at the beginning of December I completed the annual filling in of the Reading Bingo squares with some choices of the year.


2018 Goals

Beyond the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I don’t normally go in for bookish goals but I am going to break with the tradition and set myself some (gentle) targets for 2018.

  1. In 2017 I discovered what a wonderful array I have already in my possession and so the target is to read 40% of my own books in 2018. To give me some motivation I have decided to allow myself to buy one book for every three of my own that I read – of course there are some get-out clauses – the annual book sales held on the island are exempt and I will be visiting the library for any must-reads that I don’t own.
  2. The latter clause is important as I really want to up my reading or re-reading of classic novels, I shelved just one book in this category in 2017 although two others could have been put there but I felt they belonged better elsewhere. My target is to read at least 6 so one every other month and the library is the place to go for these. Despite being a library member all of my life, I haven’t visited anywhere near enough in more recent years which is something I feel guilty about.
  3. I am taking part in the Mount TBR Challenge again with an aim of reading 36 books – let’s see if I make it in 2018.

On the blog

  1. I am (very) slowly amalgamating the tabs with the aim of putting all the reviews for 2013-2015 onto one tab – this ongoing project must be completed by the end of March 2018.
  2. My about me page is in dire need of an update especially as it is visited far more often than I expected with 660 views in the last year.
  3. And of course I will shortly display an updated shelf as my header to welcome in the start of 2018.
  4. I always used to write my book review before starting a new book and this habit is being resumed in 2018 – this has been a very busy year and as much as I love blogging it has been a real struggle to fit everything in and I’m hoping this will help me get a better balance, rather than frantically writing reviews at the weekend when I need to endlessly check names (I have a real blind-spot in this department) as well as other elusive details.
  5. Finally I will remember to post each review to Cleopatra Loves Books Facebook page which at best has been intermittent since I set it up earlier this year.

That just leaves me to thank you all for visiting, commenting and writing your own entertaining posts and reviews that has me constantly rationalising my book choices!