Posted in 5 Of the Best

Five of the Best (September 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

My favourite read of September 2011 was one that I still recommend widely today, for those who missed it the first time around! Into The Darkest Corner was the debut novel by  Elizabeth Haynes and it is a book that has haunted me ever since with its realistic portrayal of domestic violence and OCD.

Into the Darkest Corner

Blurb

When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Until the day the phone rings . . . Goodreads

2012 yr

In September 2012 my favourite book was by an author whose work I’ve enjoyed over many years, don’t let the pretty cover fool you, this book covers some serious issues; The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson

The Rose Petal Beach

Blurb

Every love story has a dangerous twist.
Tamia Challey is horrified when her husband, Scott, is accused of something terrible – but when she discovers who his accuser is, everything goes into freefall. Backed into a corner and unsure what to think, Tamia is forced to choose who she instinctively believes. But this choice has dire consequences for all concerned, especially when matters take a tragic turn.
Then a stranger arrives in town to sprinkle rose petals in the sea in memory of her lost loved one. This stranger carries with her shocking truths that will change the lives of everyone she meets, and will once again force Tamia to make some devastating choices… Goodreads

2013yr

My choice for September 2013 is a really emotional book, I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington, a story told exceptionally well and mainly by letter, in reverse.

I Came To Say Goodbye

Click on the book cover to read my review
Blurb

It was a crime that shocked the world.
The CCTV footage shows a young woman pushing through the hospital doors.
She walks into the nursery, picks up a baby and places her carefully in a shopping bag.
She walks out to the car park, towards an old Ford Corolla. For a moment, she holds the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smells her.
Then she clips the baby into the car, gets in and drives off. This is where the footage ends.
What happens next will leave a mother devastated, and a little boy adrift in a world he will never understand. Amazon

2014yr

In 2014 I revisited an old favourite, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, sadly no other books stand the test of time quite so well as this one.

Murder on the Orient Express

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Goodreads

2015yr

For a change choosing my favourite read of the most recent month has proved simple, without a doubt it has to be The Night Watch by Sarah Waters!

The Night Watch

Click on the book cover to read my review

Blurb

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners—three women and a young man with a past—whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event. Goodreads

I hope you have enjoyed my trip through my June reads, if you missed the previous months you can find them here although sadly I didn’t manage to do the list for July and August so it looks like this series may continue into 2016 after all!

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (October 9)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading

 

The Doll’s House by Louise Phillips. Really enjoying this crime novel with multiple strands.

I have just finished Sixteen Sixty-One by Natalie Lucas which tells the tale of an inter generational relation, much more to this than I anticipated!

Next I will read The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (October 2)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham

The Dying Hours

Blurb

It’s been twenty-five years since Tom Thorne last went to work wearing the “Queen’s cloth” but now, having stepped out of line once too often, he’s back in uniform. He’s no longer a detective, and he hates it.

Still struggling to adjust, Thorne becomes convinced that a spate of suicides among the elderly in London are something more sinister. His concerns are dismissed by the Murder Squad he was once part of and he is forced to investigate alone.

Now, unable to trust anybody, Thorne risks losing those closest to him as well as endangering those being targeted by a killer unlike any he has hunted before. A man with nothing to lose and a growing list of victims. A man who appears to have the power to make people take their own lives.

I have just finished I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington

I came to say goodbye

Click the book cover to see my review.

I think I will read The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Diner

Blurb

An evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet for dinner.
They need to discuss their teenage sons.
The boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on CCTV.
They remain unidentified – except by their parents.
How far will each couple go to protect their child?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

I Came To Say Goodbye – Caroline Overington

Contemporary Fiction 5*'s
Contemporary Fiction
5*’s

Blurb

The CCTV footage shows a young woman pushing through the hospital doors.
She walks into the nursery, picks up a baby and places her carefully in a shopping bag.
She walks out to the car park, towards an old Ford Corolla. For a moment, she holds the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smells her.
Then she clips the baby into the car, gets in and drives off. This is where the footage ends.
What happens next will leave a mother devastated, and a little boy adrift in a world he will never understand.

This book starts with a woman taking a baby from a hospital but the reader should take note of the ‘From the Author’ before this where Caroline Overington explains that she has been a journalist reporting on child neglect and child murder.

I’ll be honest the beginning of this story confused me slightly. Med Atley has been asked to provide a witness statement about his grandchild but how does this link to the stolen baby? All soon becomes clear with the majority of this book taking the form of a letter to the judge thereby telling the story in reverse. This letter written in a realistic style of a man born in the 1950’s, not a sophisticated telling, but one man’s view of the truth of what has happened to lead up to this court case. It all starts with Med’s family as a boy, follows him through to how he marries and onto his own children. Slowly the reader is able to put parts of the jigsaw into place.

I couldn’t stop reading this book which although sad is never mawkish. Few judgements are made by the author, despite it concerning a court case. What you take from letter and how you believe things should have happened is down to the reader to decide. Unfortunately it appears to be only too real. Although this is set in Australia could actually be anywhere in the Western world. We have all, only too often, read or seen on the news aspects of the events in this novel.

Despite the difficult subject matter I really did like this book with its gentle characterisation and Med’s successfully understated responses to the actions of himself and others.
I received a free copy of this book in return for this honest review.