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

My Husband’s Son – Deborah O’Connor

Psychological Thriller 4*s
Psychological Thriller
4*s

Sometimes I just want to be swept away by a story but what does it for me isn’t a great romance, no my getaway is fraught with angst and secrets, a quest for the truth and a bit of action. Deborah O’Connor must have known this when she wrote My Husband’s Son!

We first meet Heidi when returning from a sales pitch she walks into an off-licence for a bottle of wine! So far so typical but in the back of the shop is a young boy who she thinks is the spitting image of her husband’s missing son, Barney.

Heidi has also lost a daughter, although the details of her daughter’s murder are left fairly sketchy throughout the book. Jason’s loss is different, he firmly believes his son is still alive and he still deals with the double-edged sword which is the press interest in the story. His study, holds the age progression pictures that have been generated to keep the public aware that Barney is still missing. Jason and Heidi got together after his marriage to Barney’s mother Vicky withered in the year after losing Barney.

I like a book with secrets and this book is dripping in them, and most are not where or what you expect at all but what the reader has to decide is the boy Barney or is Heidi just seeing what she wants to see? And all the while as the story of the disappearance is poured over while Heidi’s obvious distress at the loss of her daughter and her longing for another child is ever present. This is a relentless tale and one that I got completely caught up in. Quite often when plots are fairly unrealistic either in the events or the character’s actions, I get pulled out of the story which ruins the experience for me but even though Heidi’s actions seemed at best a little disordered, I was able to buy it. Perhaps because of the circumstances she found herself in.

Unusually, and I only realised this when I was reading My Husband’s Son, there is a fair amount of sex in this novel – not overly salacious in detail but enough to take me by surprise because I realised that the books I read rarely have sex-scenes in them at all, rest assured though this is all linked with the main story-line!

With Heidi trying to get Jason to believe she’s found his son and forced to take devious routes to get to the truth it is unsurprising that she finds herself in a spot of bother more than once. That does mean of course that there is plenty of action as well as a general feeling of unease that pervades once you realise that everything is not quite what it first appeared to be!

What My Husband’s Son is, is a perfectly paced piece of psychological suspense. A book that drives on unremittingly dragging the reader along in its wake. I found myself reassessing what I thought was going to happen as another piece of information was slipped into a scene and that continued without the dreaded dip up until the end.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Twenty7 Books for another excellent debut novel, and for allowing me to read a copy of My Husband’s Son before the eBook publication date of 16 June 2016.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (June 1)

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

Well it’s June 1 2016 which can mean only one thing; I am starting my month of reading books from my own bookshelves, including some that I’ve picked for 20 Books of Summer 2016

So I’m about to start The Poison Principle by Gail Bell as recommended to me by Hayley of Rather Too Fond of Books following this year’s random interest in poisoners!

The Poison Principle

Blurb

When Dr William Macbeth poisoned two of his sons in 1927, his wife and sister hid the murders in the intensely private realm of family secrets. Like the famous poisoner Dr Crippen, Macbeth behaved as if he were immune to consequences; unlike Crippen, he avoided detection and punishment. Or did he?
As time passed, the story of Dr William Macbeth, well-dressed poisoner, haunted and divided his descendants. Macbeth’s granddaughter Gail Bell, who grew up with the story, spent ten years reading the literature of poisoning in order to understand Macbeth’s life. A chemist herself, she listened for echoes in the great cases of the 19th and 20th centuries, in myths, fiction and poison lore.
This intricate story, with a moving twist at the end, is a book about family guilt and secrets, and also an exploration of the nature of death itself – as Bell turns to her grandfather’s poisonous predecessors, from Cleopatra, Madame Bovary and Napoleon, as well as looking at Harold Shipman. Amazon

I have just finished My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor, a psychological thriller, that thrills!

My Husband's Son

You can read the synopsis and a couple of excerpts in yesterday’s post

Next up.. and I hope you appreciate how difficult this post is to write, as I haven’t scheduled my choices as normal, the spreadsheet is still there but it simply has a list of books so chaos and disorder reign… will be Bloody Women by the wonderful Helen FitzGerald. Bloody Women has been on my kindle since February 2014 so it deserves to be read especially as I’ve enjoyed the three books I’ve already read by this author; The Cry, The Exit and Viral

Bloody Women

Blurb

Returning to Scotland to organise her wedding, Catriona is overcome with the jitters.
She decides to tie up loose ends before settling permanently in Tuscany, and seeks out her ex-boyfriends.
Only problem is, they’re all dead. Goodreads

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (May 31)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening this week comes from My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor, a book which will be published by Twenty7 Books on 16 June 2016.

My Husband's Son

Blurb

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . . Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Prologue

He appears from behind the door like a gift. He is alone, his stare daydream-soft.
She sees a chance, steps forward and puts a finger to her lips in warning. Keep quiet. His gaze narrows. But he is not scared, not yet.
She hesitates. Despite everything, he is not hers to take. then, he smiles. Gap-toothed and cresting a thick patch of blond hair. His eyes are dark, almost black brown. A beautiful child. She reaches for him.
‘Let’s go.’
He tilts on his heel wary.
Her hand around his wrist, she leads him into the corridor. She decides against the lift and heads for the stairs. Before they descend she checks to see if they have been followed.

Chapter One

The day I stumbled upon him was just like any other. I’d been out of town, at a sales presentation, and I was on my way home. I was tired and I wanted to get some wine to have with dinner and so, even though it wasn’t the nicest of streets, I stopped at the first place I could: an off-licence.

These extracts comes from a proof copy.

So what do you think? Would you keep reading?

Please leave your thoughts and links in the comments box below!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (May 22)

Weekly Wrap Up

 

Last Week on the Blog

I started the week with a review for one of my favourite contemporary crime series; Play Dead by Angela Marsons which I awarded five stars for this brilliant fourth book.

On Tuesday I featured the intro from my favourite series of all time featuring Roy Grace in readiness for publication of the twelfth book in the series later in the week.

And on Wednesday I kept you updated on my reading choices for the week which include the exciting looking My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

My review of Love You Dead by Peter James went up on publication day 19 May 2016 and this book met all my expectations and more – a superb read!

Friday saw me looking at the recent phenomenon of authors producing short stories to tie-in with longer novels. What’s your opinion?

Yesterday I looked at book discoveries I’d found by chance and for which I’m eternally grateful.

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News

Bloggers Bash Awards 2016

On Thursday I was thrilled, and quite frankly amazed, to find out I’d been nominated at 2nd  Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2016 in the category Best Book Review Blog Award

Which book reviewer do you love? This isn’t about being prolific this is about quality reviews. Who’s the most thoughtful reviewer? Perhaps their thoughts on a book persuaded you to read it, maybe they use their blog as a platform for authors as well, or perhaps you love them for their scathing honesty!

If you click on the logo you can view all the categories and the nominees.

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Stacking the Shelves

I’ve had a few additions to the TBR this week – I confess to a NetGalley splurge but in my defence the publication dates are for the most part way away.

First up I have a genealogy mystery which the author M J Lee kindly gave me called The Irish Inheritance and it will be published on 16 June 2016

The Irish Inheritance

Blurb

June 8, 1921. Ireland.
A British Officer is shot dead on a remote hillside south of Dublin.
November 22, 2015. United Kingdom.
Former police detective, Jayne Sinclair, now working as a genealogical investigator, receives a phone call from an adopted American billionaire asking her to discover the identity of his real father.
How are the two events linked?
Jayne Sinclair has only three clues to help her: a photocopied birth certificate, a stolen book and an old photograph. And it soon becomes apparent somebody else is on the trail of the mystery. A killer who will stop at nothing to prevent Jayne discovering the secret hidden in the past
The Irish Inheritance takes us through the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence, combining a search for the truth of the past with all the tension of a modern-day thriller.
It is the first in a series of novels featuring Jayne Sinclair, genealogical detective. Amazon

I also pounced before the sale ended in the kindle sale and bought the second in the Callum Doyle series; The Helper by David Jackson on the strength of my enjoyment for A Tapping At My Door

The Helper

Blurb

An anonymous caller is willing to give you clues that will help you solve a series of murders.
But there’s a catch: You can’t tell anyone about the help you’re getting.
What do you do?
If you turn the offer down, you will have nothing to go on, and more people could die.
But if you accept it, and fail to interpret the clues correctly, they will still die, and you will have concealed information that could have stopped a killer.
Such is the dilemma faced by New York detective Callum Doyle.
The decision he takes will have consequences that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Amazon

Too Close by Gayle Curtis is to be published in eBook format on 30 June 2016 by Twenty7 books, who publish debut novelists.

Too Close

Blurb

A devastating and unsettling story of a powerful and unshakeable twin bond, Too Close is a twisty and gripping tale of secrets and lies. For fans of The Twins by Saskia Sarginson.
Cecelia and Sebastian have a connection like no other – more than just brother and sister, they’ll go to any lengths to protect each other. Growing up in a bleak old farmhouse, their mother gone and their father violent and abusive, the twins have only each other to keep them alive.
But when the secrets of their mother’s disappearance start to emerge, and truth and lies are thrown into question, events take a terrifying turn . . .
As Cecelia tries to break away from the ties that bind her to her brother, Sebastian is determined that the twins should be together – whatever the costs. Amazon

I also have another from Twenty7, this time due for publication in eBook on 16 June 2016; My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor, another psychological thriller

 

My Husband's Son

Blurb

Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . . NetGalley

From the publishers Zaffre (also part of the Bonnier publishing house) I have yet another psychological thriller The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe – so my vow to cut back on this genre seems to have fallen by the wayside! But how could I resist this compelling sounding synopsis?

The Ice Beneath Her

Blurb

The Ice Beneath Her is a gripping and deeply disturbing story about love, betrayal and obsession that is impossible to put down. Fast-paced and peopled with compelling characters, it surprises at every turn as it hurtles towards an unforgettable ending with a twist you really won’t see coming . . .
A young woman is found beheaded in an infamous business tycoon’s marble-lined hallway. The businessman, scandal-ridden CEO of the retail chain Clothes & More, is missing without a trace.
But who is the dead woman? And who is the brutal killer who wielded the machete? Rewind two months earlier to meet Emma Bohman, a sales assistant for Clothes & More, whose life is turned upside down by a chance encounter with Jesper Orre. Insisting that their love affair is kept secret, he shakes Emma’s world a second time when he suddenly leaves her with no explanation. As frightening things begin to happen to Emma, she suspects Jesper is responsible. But why does he want to hurt her? And how far would he go to silence his secret lover? NetGalley

Lastly from NetGalley I was extremely surprised and excited to be invited to read a copy of I See You by Clare Mackintosh, the author of I Let You Go which was a huge hit last year.

I See You

Blurb

You do the same thing every day.
You know exactly where you’re going.
You’re not alone.
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.
Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . . NetGalley

I See You will be published on 28 July 2016!

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH
Since my last count I have read 2 books, discarded 1 as I’d already read it and shifted 3 shorts – I have however gained 6 books – the total this week is now standing at 178 books!
94 physical books
68 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week? Please don’t tempt me too much!