Massive thanks to Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for nominating me to do this mid-year book tag. 2017 is whipping by and it’s interesting to reflect on which books I’ve enjoyed this year so far.
So, here goes…
- Best book you’ve read in 2017 so far: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Shonda, writer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, challenged herself to say yes to every opportunity she was offered for a year. As an introvert who lacks self-confidence, I enjoyed this book immensely. I loved reading about Shonda’s writing process, her family life and her challenge. Oh, ok then, I loved it all. I’d love to hang out with this fierce woman.
- Best sequel you’ve read in 2017 so far: The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay. I read the three books from the Promise Falls trilogy this year. Linwood Barclay is my favourite crime writer and I was impressed with the way the final instalment tied things up.
- New release not yet read: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
- Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017: A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena.
- Biggest disappointment of 2017: Thankfully I haven’t had one yet!
- Biggest surprise of 2017: Exquisite by Sarah Stovell. I first heard Sarah talk at Newcastle Noir this year and I was so taken in with the themes she talked about that I just had to read Exquisite. It was a surprise because I hadn’t heard anything about it prior to Newcastle Noir. It’s a story that keeps you second guessing until the very end – very cleverly done.
- Favourite new author: Bizarrely, I’d never read Stephen King until 2017 but I read Bazaar of Bad Dreams which is a collection of short stories. I think I bought it because it was on offer and I liked the look of the cover – yes, I did judge a book by its cover – but when I read it, I really enjoyed the stories.
In fairness, though, Matt Wesolowski is my favourite new author. I want to tweet him every day and ask when we can expect his next novel.
- Newest fictional crush: Haven’t got one as I’m pretty taken with my husband – we got married in March this year.
- Newest favourite character: Archie from Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland. Everyone should have an Archie in their life.
- Book that made you cry: Year of Yes and Lost for Words.
- Book that made you happy: Year of Yes.
- Best book to movie adaptation of 2017: I haven’t seen any film adaptations although I’m looking forward to seeing My Cousin Rachel. I am loving The Handmaid’s Tale which is currently being shown on Channel 4.
- Favourite review you’ve written in 2017 so far: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. The book just really captured my imagination and I loved writing about it.
- The most beautiful book you bought / received in 2017: The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards. I bought it for myself last weekend at Barter Books. I just love the colours and shading on it. As previously mentioned, Bazaar of Bad Dreams is also a very colourful book. I think this has established how vacuous I am.
- Books to read by the end of 2017: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Girls by Emma Cline, It Devours: A Night Vale Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout… The list goes on. I’d also like to read more Agatha Christie.
I’m passing the Mid-Year Review Book tag onto Emma Welton @damppebbles, Juliet @bookliterat and Sheila Howes @thequietgeordie. I look forward to finding out what you choose!
Posted in About Me, Blogging, Books
Tagged book, Books, character, characters, imagination, Newcastle Noir, novel, read, reading, writer, writing
Following C.L. Taylor’s appearance at Newcastle Noir in April, I downloaded The Escape as I thought the premise sounded interesting. I wasn’t disappointed.
A stranger asks Jo for a lift and Jo, too polite to refuse, acquiesces but quickly wishes she hadn’t when the stranger reveals that she knows Jo’s name, Jo’s husband’s name and also has a mitten belonging to Elise, Jo’s little girl. A warning is issued and things quickly spiral with the authorities involved and Jo’s husband Max turning against her.
The Escape deals with a number of issues which give this novel real depth. It’s such a cracking yarn that I found The Escape difficult to put down.
I will definitely be seeking out more of C.L. Taylor’s work.
When Jo and Claire were young, they were involved in a life-changing incident. When a familiar face arrives at the bookshop where Jo works, the painful memories that left her friend wheelchair-bound are stirred up – as is her lust for revenge. Meanwhile, the small town of Banktoun is shocked by the appearance of a masked man who is terrorising women on the disused railway. We’re introduced to Sergeant Davey Gray who links the current
Black Wood is SJI Holliday’s debut novel and it twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe! The characters in this book are believable which makes it all the more unnerving. Told through a split narrative, Black Wood describes the events that changed Jo and Claire’s lives. It’s pacey and tremendously atmospheric and the layers within Black Wood add real pathos.
I’m really looking forward to visiting Banktoun again soon, I’ve got Willow Walk – the follow-up to Black Wood – on my TBR pile.
Posted in Books, Review
Stephanie Butland’s third novel, Lost for Words, is being touted as a book lover’s dream book and I’m rather inclined to agree. Loveday Cardew works in a second-hand bookstore and prefers books to people. She has her favourite first lines tattooed on her body and an acerbic wit to keep people at bay.
Loveday is prickly to say the least but I, like several of the characters in this book, love her. The relationships between the characters are really intelligently written and are therefore totally believable. The attention to detail in this novel really adds to the story. I loved the scenes in which Loveday would discover notes in the margins of books or past treasures hidden in between the pages.
Stephanie Butland has created a compelling yarn, combining romance with deeper, darker questions and a well-drawn cast of characters that I was fully invested in. The flashbacks are skillfully woven into the present-day narrative to give the reader just enough information to keep them guessing.
I absolutely loved this book, for a bibliophile, it really has it all – performance poetry complete with original poems, relevant literary references everywhere you look in addition to characters to care about. It, like the bookshop, is utterly charming.
And as a Spotify fan, I’m thrilled to say there’s a playlist to listen to as you read.
In the words of Shelley Harris: ‘I cried like a motherf***er.’
Posted in Books, Review
Tagged book, Books, characters, narrative, novel, poems, poetry, relationships, story, written
A small Scottish university town is in thrown into chaos following a grizzly murder and a targeted bombing. Rumours abound of a terrorist plot which may or may not be linked to the disappearance of a soldier and lecturer.
DCI Jim Carruthers, having recently moved back to Castletown to get over his marriage break-up, finds himself dropped into the middle of a seemingly ever-expanding investigation.
In order to stop the violence and solve the crime, Carruthers must work with DS Andrea Fletcher – who has her own problems – to catch the perpetrators. However, the appearance of Jim’s old enemy, terror expert McGhee, adds further complications to the investigation.
Robbing the Dead poses many interesting questions particularly in our ever-changing world. Recent events – Brexit, the attack on London last week and the death of Martin McGuinness – added so much depth to this story.
There are lots of narrative strands to keep the reader interested and
Tana Collins has created two really compelling characters in Carruthers and Fletcher and there is plenty of potential for them to appear in more books.
Posted in Books, Review
Tagged book, novel, plot
I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I’ve encountered lots of people who are obsessed with LJ Ross’s DCI Ryan series – and the man himself. Having read ‘High Force’, I can understand why.
‘High Force’ may be the fifth DCI Ryan novel but don’t worry if you haven’t read the other books in the series, this novel can be read as a standalone.
Set in Newcastle, Northumberland and County Durham, ‘High Force’ follows DCI Ryan and his team as they track ‘The Hacker’, Ryan’s nemesis who has escaped from prison and appears intent on settling some old scores. Not content with having previously killed Ryan’s sister, ‘The Hacker’ has taken one of Ryan’s team hostage and continues to taunt him with a number of grisly murders.
I really enjoyed this compelling narrative which combined police procedural with criminal psychology. LJ Ross evokes place very well and the dynamics between the characters make this a really believable novel that I didn’t want to put down.
I will definitely be reading more LJ Ross.