Posted in Reviewing Habit

Reading and Reviewing in 2016

g reading-2016

 

Well here we are nearly at the end of 2016 and as usual I will soon be posting my top 10 books published this year – but here is a chance for those books not published this year to have their moment in the spotlight as well as indulging me in my love of facts and figures.

So far I have read, and reviewed 148 books in 2016 which add up to a total of 47,624 pages which tells me 2016 has been spent reading even more books than normal! On the whole 2016 if nothing else, has been a fantastic year of books for me.

 

 

Goodreads tells me that the longest book I read was Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain with 562 pages, whilst I am only one person out of five on the site to have read a book set here in Jersey,  Standing in the Shadows by Jon Stasiak.

 

101,541 other Goodreads readers have also read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight with me, making this my most popular read in 2016Psychological Thriller 4*s

Did She Kill HimAs usual my reading matter is crime heavy with 87 books equating to 59% falling squarely into the crime fiction or psychological thriller categories, but of course they can crime also features in my historical fiction section as well as popping up in the non-fiction category. This year I have had the pleasure of reading many true crime books featuring Victorian poisoners including the fabulous Did She Kill Him? by Kate Colquhoun

 

Pictures of perfection.jxrOne of my goals for 2016 was to read more of my own books to get a balance with all the wonderful books I receive for review. In 2015 I only read 34 of my own books, this year I have read an impressive 49 or 33%! I read 20 of these (some very belatedly, as in earlier this month,) for Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer which provided some exceptional reading in the form of Pictures of Perfection  by Reginald Hill

 

In 2016 I read 65 authors who were new to me, down from 71 in 2016 and of course once again, I have met some fantastic Buriel Ritesauthors who I hope will be revisited in 2017, including Burial Rites by Hannah Kent which I finally got around to reading early this year – I was blown away and it is one of my favourite reads of the year so I’m looking forward to The Good People which will be published early next year, aka very soon!

 

I also discovered #49786eBeryl Bainbridge via her book featuring two teenaged girls, in Harriet Said, enjoying a Harriet Saidtotal of three of her books this year alone.

So there’s a small taste of what I’ve been reading. In 2017 I plan to finally hit my target of 40% of my reading to be from my own selection of books with the help of the Mount TBR Challenge on Goodreads and of course Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer Challenge which she’s confirmed she will be running again this year. Funnily enough I have plenty of books to chose from, especially with the Christmas additions.

 

As for you all, the Top Five Reviews of 2016 by viewer are as follows:

  1. My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor
  2. The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish
  3. Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
  4. Kindred by Steve Robinson
  5. The Trespasser by Tana French

top-five-reviews

Coming very soon are my chosen top ten reads published in 2016– you can see all 148 books read and reviewed so far here or for a more compact view check out those books I chose for 2016 book bingo!

I’d like to thank all those authors and publishers who’ve given me a fantastic selection of books, the readers and commenters on this little blog and those who connect with my reviews via twitter, you have all made my world brighter in 2016.
Happy reading everyone and here’s to a Happy New Year full of more fabulous books!

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Distress Signals – Catherine Ryan Howard

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

When this book turned up, beautifully wrapped and with a complimentary book mar and a do not disturb sign I really wasn’t sure what to expect, and so with some trepidation I embarked on another psychological thriller, but this time there was a difference the most obvious being the setting. I’ve not read one yet based on a cruise ship. As a warning for any of you looking forward to a summer cruise, this book may well make you think again!

The book opens with Sarah telling Adam that she’s off to a conference for a few days and will return to Ireland from Barcelona early next week. Despite wanting to go with her, Adam has finally had his big break, his script has been accepted and he needs to spend their time apart re-writing. The young couple have been together for a good decade and finally they will have some money so life is looking good. Having told Adam that her texts and calls may be infrequent Sarah sends just one to say that she’s landed, and he hears nothing else…

This is an incredibly well-plotted tale with realistic and likeable characters, not for Catherine Ryan Howard the instant panic and breast-beating that weaker books indulge in, rather Adam behaves in a normal fashion, starting off by telling himself why everything is ok, getting a tad worried, becoming panicked and cycling between these states until revelations changes his view of their relationship entirely.

In amongst Adam and Sarah’s story we witness life on a cruise ship as told through the eyes of one of Blue Wave’s employees, Corrine. Corrine cleans the cabins, makes friends with a new employee and shows us around the staff quarters. I’ve never been on a cruise ship but it all sounded totally authentic to me. The crew work hard to make the fortunate travellers have a good time, working around shortages and minor mishaps as many a service provider does the world over.

We also hear from a young boy in 1990s France whose relationship with his mother is a little rocky to say the least. There is something very unsettling about these pages and their inclusion serves to enhance the already elastic-band-about-to-snap tension in the rest of the book.

But the really scary bit is the way that crime on a cruise ship is managed based upon would you believe it nationality. The police force responsible for the ship is that in the jurisdiction its registered so our cruise-liner which makes trips between Barcelona and Nice in France is actually the responsibility of the police force of the Bahamas, unless, you happen to come from the US who have their own laws, then any serious crime is investigated by the FBI, fascinating stuff!

What more can I say? The plot was excellent, the writing captivating and the characters realistic. There were a number of heart-breaking moments, a few of those wonderful ‘aha’ moments when bits of the puzzle slid into place and a smooth writing style full of suspense that urged me to keep turning those pages – a brilliant debut from an author I hope we hear a lot more from in the future! Innovative books are what we need and so despite the psychological thriller tag that I won’t repeat but gets added to many book titles these days, this was in fact something different, the type of read that simply can’t be compared to anything else!

I’d like to thank the publishers Corvus for sending me a copy and this review is my unbiased thank you to them. Distress Signals will be published on 5 May 2016 and look out that week as I have a special blog post for the blog tour.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 20)

This Week In Books

Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I am reading one of the older NetGalley books on my list, Found, Near Water by Katherine Hayton

Found Near Water

Blurb

Rena Sutherland wakes from a coma into a mother’s nightmare. Her daughter is missing – lost for four days – but no one has noticed; no one has complained; no one has been searching.
As the victim support officer assigned to her case, Christine Emmett puts aside her own problems as she tries to guide Rena through the maelstrom of her daughter’s disappearance.
A task made harder by an ex-husband desperate for control; a paedophile on early-release in the community; and a psychic who knows more than seems possible.
And intertwined throughout, the stories of six women; six daughters lost. NetGalley

My last read was Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge

Harriet Said

To read the synopsis and a short excerpt please see yesterday’s post

Next I am planning on reading Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard which is due to be published on 5 May 2016 by Corvus.

Distress Signals
Blurb

Did she leave, or was she taken? The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her. Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground… Amazon

What are you reading this week? Do share in the comments box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (April 2)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Having been captivated by the recent true life cases I’ve read about poisoners with Last Woman Hanged by Catherine Overington and then Mrs Maybrick by Victoria Blake I was lucky enough to receive and review The Secret Poisoner by Stratmann which is a comprehensive look at poisoning in the nineteenth century so you’d think that was enough poison for one person, but no, I have now bought a copy of Poisoned Lives: English Poisoners and Their Victims by Katherine Watson!

Poisoned Lives

Blurb

Poisoners from Mary Anne Cotton, the Victorian mass murderess, to Dr Crippen have attracted a celebrity unmatched by violent killers. Secretly administered, often during a family meal, arsenic (the most commonly used poison) led to a slow and agonising death, while strychnine (with its faint smell of almonds) could kill very quickly. Poisoned Lives is the first history of the crime to examine poisoning as a whole. Unwanted husbands, wives or lovers, illegitimate babies, children killed for the insurance money, relatives, rivals and employers were amongst the many victims. Difficult to detect before 1800, poison undoubtedly had its heyday in the nineteenth century. In response to many suspected cases, forensic tests were developed that made detection increasingly likely. The sale of poisons also became much more tightly controlled. Because of this, twentieth-century poisoning became a crime carried out largely by professionals, notably doctors and nurses, including Harold Shipman and Beverley Allitt. Amazon

Through the post I got a surprise package from Corvus; Distress Signals by Irish author, Catherine Ryan Howard which will be published on 5 May 2016.

Distress Signals

Blurb

Did she leave, or was she taken?
The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her. Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get the answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…Amazon

My friend lent me a copy of Standing in the Shadows by Jon Stasiak which she won in the Jersey Evening Post, the way we Islanders keep abreast of all the local news!

Standing in the shadows

Blurb

The discovery of a brutally murdered young woman has shocked a peaceful island community.
Tom Nowak, photographer for the Jersey Evening Post, had been eagerly awaiting his best friend’s visit from the mainland, until accidentally capturing a series of ghostly silhouettes in his pictures.
With few leads, and the impending trial of the island’s most notorious criminal, the local police force seems powerless to help.
Are these ethereal shadows a way to identify and apprehend the murderer, or will Tom’s obsession in seeking justice cost him more than his career. Amazon

From NetGalley I have a copy of The Good Mother by A.L. Bird which I was resisting because I thought it was by a new to me author, and then I found out this is Amy Bird who wrote Hide and Seek, which I really enjoyed!

The Good Mother

Blurb

The greatest bond. The darkest betrayal.
Susan wakes up alone in a room she doesn’t recognise, with no memory of how she got there. She only knows that she is trapped, and her daughter is missing.
The relief that engulfs her when she hears her daughter’s voice through the wall is quickly replaced by fear, knowing that whoever has imprisoned her has her daughter, too.
Devising a plan to keep her daughter safe, Susan begins to get closer to her unknown captor. And suddenly, she realises that she has met him before. NetGalley

The Good Mother will be published by Carina UK on 4 April 2016.

I completely through away the rule book and requested a copy of A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson which is due to be published on 7 April 2016 by Bonnier Publishing.

A Tapping at my Door

Blurb

A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She’s disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven, and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes. DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case. But the police have no leads, except the body of the bird – and the victim’s missing eyes. As flashbacks from his past begin to intrude, Cody realises he is battling not just a murderer, but his own inner demons too. And then the killer strikes again, and Cody realises the threat isn’t to the people of Liverpool after all – it’s to the police. Following the success and acclaim of the Callum Doyle novels, A Tapping at My Door is the first instalment of David Jackson’s new Nathan Cody series. NetGalley

And finally I simply had to have a copy of A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters when it came up on a list of books being offered by Lovereading – this sounded like a unique read and I had it on my wishlist before I was approved by HarperCollins UK, 4th Estate. A Life Discarded will be published on 5 May 2016.

A Life Discarded

Blurb

Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.
A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation. Amazon

How good do these finds sound? I think I have fair bit of variety here; true-crime, a murder set in a local setting, a couple of psychological thrillers, the start of a new crime series and a book about the provenance of a diary!

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 6 books, and gained, 6 so the total has remained the same 172 books!
87 physical books
68 e-books
17 books on NetGalley

 

What have you found to read this week?