Posted in Uncategorized

My A-Z of Books

I saw this on Portebello Book Blog and By The Letter Book Reviews  and felt compelled to do this myself!

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From

This has to be Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine when you take into the stand-alones and the Wexford series I have devoured a fair few of her books.

Best Sequel Ever

This is really hard but I’m going to pick The Lewis Man by Peter May which is the middle book of the Lewis Trilogy – if you haven’t read these, you are missing out.

Currently Reading

Play Dead by Angela Marsons the fourth in the amazing Kim Stone series

Drink of Choice While ReadingCoffee

Coffee, coffee and coffee – I’m addicted

E-Reader or Physical Book
I love my kindle and couldn’t live without it for ease and space reasons but I now accept that I prefer a physical book

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School

At the time I was in high school it would have been Rupert Campbell-Black from Jilly Cooper’s Riders although he would have been far too old for me of course!

Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

There are loads but most recently, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris was an amazing read, one that has softened my opinion of literary fiction considerably.

Hidden Gem Book

White Lie by Andrea Gillies which blew me away with its deep and dark secrets that shaped generations of the Salter family in Scotland.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life

Being invited to join the Amazon Vine program which meant that I was offered books that I might previously have ignored which really expanded my reading.

Just Finished

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

Kind of Books You Won’t Read

No fantasy novels or sci-fi – I’ve tried to embrace the genre but it just isn’t me!

Longest Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure this is the longest in all time but about six years ago I read London by Edward Rutherfield which came in at a whopping 1152 pages – it took a long time for me to read but it was worth it to travel through London’s history and witness the changes.

Major Book HangoverBuriel Rites

Ooh this is hard, possibly after reading Burial Rites by Hannah Kent where I had immersed myself in Agnes’s story in Iceland where she awaited trial for murder with the Jonsson family – heartbreakingly sad!

Number of Bookcases You Own

Four but I desperately need a new one, I can’t part with any of the books currently residing in my abode!!

One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

Margaret Forster’s Shadow Baby a book which underlines the fact that mothers come in all shapes and sizes and not always in a good way! Better still this is one of those dual time-line stories which I love!

Preferred Place to Read

If I could be on holiday all year round it would be by the pool on a sun-lounger with a fruity cocktail – reality designates my dear bed though.

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read

I’m not sure that this inspires me so I’m going for the second half of the question from The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

Reading Regret

That I will never have time to read all the books that I want to! TBR cupboard

Series You Started and Need to Finish

Lots and lots, including those that I started part way through! The one I am most compelled to finish is Camilla Läckberg’s  Patrik Hedstrom and Erica Falck series– I’m up to book eight, Buried Angels but I think I still need to read book four too!

Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to choose just three, I will but on the proviso that I can change my mind at any time to include the three-hundred books which would be a far fairer question.

Asta’s Book by Barbara Vine

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brook

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

Three books

Unapologetic Fangirl For

I’m not really a fangirl in the long-term way, maybe I don’t have the stamina but everyone who talks books to me gets told about the aforementioned Lewis Trilogy by Peter May

Very Excited for this Release more than All Others

This has to be Love You Dead by Peter James which is out later this month! Considering I am fairly rubbish at reading series, this is one I always pre-order and make space in the reading schedule for!

Worst Bookish Habit

Buying far too many books that deep down I know I will never have time to read.

X Marks the Spot: Start on the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, which is a ‘sliding-doors’ novel; Irina McGovern’s destiny hinges on a single kiss. Whether she stays with her reliable partner Lawrence, or runs off with Ramsey, a hard-living snooker player.

Your Latest Purchase

Pariah by David Jackson, the first in Detective Callum Doyle series bought because although I have the fourth in this series, Cry Baby, I enjoyed A Tapping at my Door so much I wanted to start at the beginning of his previous series.

Zzzzz-Snatcher Book (Last Book that Kept You up Way too late)

White Is The Coldest Colour by John Nicholl which was not only compulsive reading, the subject matter was so dark sleep wouldn’t come easily anyway.

 

Reading silhouette

Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (October 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!

2011

In October 2011 I was introduced to a series which is now a firm fixture on my reading list when I was offered a copy of The Reckoning by Jane Casey by Amazon Vine. I was so captivated by Maeve Kerrigan I instantly got myself a copy of The Burning which was the first in the series.

The Reckoning

Blurb

To the public, a killer who targets paedophiles is a hero. And even the police don’t regard the murders as a priority. Maeve Kerrigan is shocked by the violence inflicted during these kills – the victims were made to suffer. She believes no-one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. However, as this serial killer’s violence begins to escalate, she is forced to decide how far she’s prepared to go to ensure justice is served … Goodreads

2012 yr

My choice for October 2012 is a tough one as I was on holiday during this month and, as always, had spent an age choosing the best books for the trip. The book that made the most impact was The White Lie by Andrea Gillies, a story that spans many years where a number of secrets are slowly but oh so assuredly revealed.

The White Lie

Blurb

On a hot summer’s afternoon, Ursula Salter runs sobbing from the loch on her parents’ Scottish estate and confesses, distraught, that she has killed Michael, her 19 year old nephew.
But what really happened? No body can be found, and Ursula’s story is full of contradictions. In order to protect her, the Salters come up with another version of events, a decision that some of them will come to regret.
Years later, at a family gathering, a witness speaks up and the web of deceit begins to unravel. What is the white lie? Only one person knows the whole truth. Narrating from beyond the grave, Michael takes us to key moments in the past, looping back and back until – finally – we see what he sees. Goodreads

2013yr

My choice for October 2013 was also made from my holiday reading choices, so competition was again fierce but in many ways easier as I read one of my favourite psychological thrillers of all time; The Burning Air by Erin Kelly. If you haven’t read this yet, now is a good time as the storyline spans Bonfire Night!

The Burning Air

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.
The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.
The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on – but when they leave her looking after Sophie’s baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest… Goodreads

2014yr

In October 2014 I read Good Girls Don’t Die by Isabelle Grey, a rich book with multiple storylines all rounded up with a good plot – a complete banquet of a book. It has recently been announced that the second in this series, Shot Through The Heart, will be published in March 2016

Good Girls Don't Die

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

You’d know if someone close to you was capable of lethal violence, right?
Dead wrong.
Accused of grassing up a fellow officer and driven brutally out of home and job, Grace Fisher is thankful to survive some dark times and find haven with the Major Investigation Team in Essex.
One female student is missing, last seen at a popular bar in Colchester. When a second student, also out drinking, is murdered and left grotesquely posed, the case becomes headline news.
Someone is leaking disturbing details to a tabloid crime reporter. Is it the killer? Or a detective close to the case?
With another victim, and under siege by the media, the murder enquiry hits a dead end. The review team brought in to shake things up is headed by Grace’s old DCI. Who is going to listen to her now? Amazon

2015yr

October 2015 has been a good reading month but my favourite is The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell which was a rich and engrossing read. With the ‘past’ element of the story was set in 1980 to 1981, years that I clearly remember events from, I felt slightly disconcerted that my lifetime is being portrayed as history… A deeper book than I would have suspected from the cover!

The Shadow Year
Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again.
Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?
The Shadow Year is a story of secrets, tragedy, lies and betrayal. It’s a tale that explores the light and dark of human relationships and the potential the past has to not only touch our present, but also to alter our future. Goodreads

January Five of the Best
February Five of the Best
March Five of the Best
April Five of the Best
May Five of the Best
June Five of the Best
September Five of the Best

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay – Andrea Gillies

Contemporary Fiction 3*'s
Contemporary Fiction
3*’s

This is a somewhat melancholy book that tracks the marriage of Nina and her boy next door.

Nina is hit by a bus in Greece and after surgery is taken to a small island hospital where she begins telling the story of her life to her under-worked doctor, Christos. She talks at length about her marriage to Paulo, her neighbour and friend since early childhood. Paulo has a younger brother Luca and all of their lives have been entangled throughout adulthood. Now twenty-five years after their honeymoon, on the same Greek island, Nina’s support structure has crumbled and she needs to learn the lessons from the past to start afresh.

Although the roots were in childhood Nina only married Paulo when Luca marries Francesca and the two couples spend time together although in the telling it appears that poor Francesca’s position is slightly outside the early shared experience of the other three.

The characters are well described and although I felt some sympathy with the young Nina her actions later on had me shaking my head at the fool-hardy way she behaved and made me feel that the endless adoration she had received from both brothers meant that only now, all these years later does she reflect and begin to learn from her actions. Does she succeed? Well you’ll have to read the book to find out.

This book is rich with fluctuating feelings as the book travels backwards and forwards through time, detailing in particular the shared bond between Nina and Luca and by default the impact that this has on Nina’s marriage to his brother Paulo.
For anyone who read Andrea Gillie’s superb debut The White Lie, this is a very different type of book so comparisons are hard to make. What I can say is the writing is just as evocative, although the description of the Greek Island more muted due to the fact that Nina spent most of her time in the hospital, but the range of feelings, often contradictory were exceptionally well described.

Underlying themes of loss, guilt and the transient nature of even the most powerful feelings means this book would lend itself well to a book club read but the intensity of the subject matter and the style of writing means that this could not be categorised as ‘chick-lit’

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (April 18)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

First up today is The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar, I really enjoyed her last novel Accidents Happen and her debut The Playdate so I’m hoping this will be equally good.

The Hidden Girl

Blurb

Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start. Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream. Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic, who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will’s behaviour is severely testing the bonds of trust. Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she’s ever wanted at risk. But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her . NetGalley

If this sounds good to you too it is due to be published on 22 May 2014 by Macmillan

I have also got a copy of The Murder of Harriet Krohn by Karin Fossum. I’ve not read anything by this author before so this will be a new to me read.

The Murder of Harriet Krohn

Blurb

Charlo Torp has problems.
He’s grieving for his late wife, he’s lost his job, and gambling debts have alienated him from his teenage daughter. Desperate, his solution is to rob an elderly woman of her money and silverware. But Harriet Krohn fights back, and Charlo loses control.
Wracked with guilt, Charlo attempts to rebuild his life. But the police are catching up with him, and Inspector Konrad Sejer has never lost a case yet.
Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterwards? NetGalley

This is due to be published 5 June 2014 by Random House Vintage.

Next is a book by Sabine Durrant, Remember Me This Way. Her previous book Under Your Skin has been on the TBR for a long while so if I enjoy this I will have to read that one too.

Remember Me This Way

Blurb

Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.
A year after her husband Zach’s death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.
As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.
At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.
Lizzie loved Zach. She really did.
But she’s starting to realise she didn’t really know him.
Or what he was capable of . . . Amazon

Due to be published on 17 July 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton.

I Read Novels has a great review of The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay by Andrea Gillies, another author whose debut novel, The White Lie, hit all the right spots is firmly on my TBR

The Enlightenment of Nina Findlay
Blurb

Nina Findlay, alluring, accomplished, deluded, always the heroine of her own life, has found an irresistible safety in being adored by two men, brothers she’s known since childhood. But when her sister-in-law becomes gravely ill, the triangle that Nina’s depended on becomes catastrophically unstable. The life she’s known begins rapidly to unravel, and odd things begin to happen which those around her insist are all in her mind. Separated from her husband, she goes on holiday to a tiny Greek island, the honeymoon island of 25 years earlier, and is involved in a serious road accident. There, while recuperating, she becomes close to her doctor, who’s also on the point of divorce. A new relationship seems possible – but what’s real in the situation, and what’s imagined? Pressed in at all sides by other people’s truths, how can Nina be sure of identifying her own? A diary that was her mother’s proves to be a turning point. Perhaps romantic love is always a kind of undiagnosed madness. Face to face with the facts behind her assumptions, the time has come for Nina to unravel the taut knot of her past. Amazon

My resolve weakened and I bought a copy of Snarl by Celina Grace, the fourth in the Grace Redman Mystery series.

Snarl
Blurb

A research laboratory opens on the outskirts of the West Country town of Abbeyford, bringing with it new people, jobs, prosperity and publicity to the area – as well as a mob of protestors and animal rights activists. The team at Abbeyford police station take this new level of civil disorder in their stride – until a fatal car bombing of one of the laboratory’s head scientists means more drastic measures must be taken…
Detective Sergeant Kate Redman is struggling to come to terms with being back at work after a long period of absence on sick leave; not to mention the fact that her erstwhile partner Mark Olbeck has now been promoted above her. The stakes get even higher as a multiple murder scene is discovered and a violent activist is implicated in the crime. Kate and the team must put their lives on the line to expose the murderer and untangle the snarl of accusations, suspicions and motives. Amazon

What have you found to read this week?