Monthly update: September 2017

Month in review

A few days later than in the real world, I am virtually saying goodbye to September and the books I read and reviews I wrote.  It’s been an odd month and I have to say I’m glad it’s over – especially as my horoscopes are promising great things to come.  Read More »

Month in review: August, 2017

Month in reviewSo it’s here – September – the time of year in my neck of the woods where the weather turns (or not, the last couple of years we’ve had indian summers), the nights draw in, and the sweaters come out of hiding.  I quite like it to be honest.  It makes the world a little snugglier (if that’s a word) and I’m sure I get more reading done as I’m not taking time off to enjoy the sun (well, when there is sun!).

Saying that, I didn’t do too bad in August with some great reads.  In fact, there wasn’t one duff book amongst them.  Here’s what I read, and how I felt about it…Read More »

Month in review: June, 2017

Hi All – and welcome to the end of June.  I’m hoping you had a good month.  Mine has been a bit up and down in that I’ve been feeling more than a bit grumpy – I think I’ve been waiting for my holidays and then leaving work so I can start my new adventures.  That I started off with a few so-so books didn’t help I have to say – though it has ended with a bit of a bang with two brilliant books, making me just a little bit happier.

loved-it

Forgotten by Nicole Trope, and a frantic search for a stolen baby which left me on the edge of my seat and staying up late into the night to finish.  Can’t recommend this one enough and it’s my book of the month!

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, another corker from one of my favourite authors who has crafted a twisty, turny, thriller that left me guessing until the end.

Black Hornet by James Sallis, with it’s wonderful noir tale of a sniper on the lose in 1960’s New Orleons.

liked-it-a-lot

Buried Secrets by Lisa Cutts, where I return to the rather seedy East Rise and the death of  high ranking police officer and his wife and the secrets they were hiding.

Guiltless by Viveca Sten, my third visit to Sandhamn island with it’s small population and high murder rate.

Cold Kill by P. J. Tracy, an enjoyable crime novel with conspiracy at it’s heart and a cold Minnesota winter to keep the tension high.

Roots, Radicals, and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World by Billy Bragg, a fascinating walk through a musical genre that rocked Britain for two years and was responsible for bringing us the Beatles.  Now no one has heard of it – well, hardly anyone!

liked-it-a-little

My Sister by Michelle Adams, a good debut with plenty of twists and turns but – unfortunately – I just couldn’t get away with characters that were too unreliable, even for me.

The People at Number Nine by Felicity Everett, another book where the characters let it down for, or at least one – whose story it was I was reading.  Plus, I felt I had been promised more suspense than I actually got.

Again, there were not books I really disliked this month, so overall a good month which has ended with quite a bang with my favourite read of the month.  Here’s hoping July is as good!

How has your month in reading been?  Good, I hope.

Emma x

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Monthly update: May, 2017

Hello June, goodbye May…yes, it’s monthly update time again.  I have to say, for me, May has been a long month but a good one.  I mentioned last month I have been making some decisions and these are all now falling into place.  I hope to start writing more about how things are going over the next few months (if I’m brave enough to share that much) but in a nutshell, I have quit my job and am setting out on my own.

It’s not immediate as I have to give three months notice but I have a plan for what to do next with my life and it feels exciting.  I’ll be staying in my comfort zone at first (I do project management and write funding requests) but I am hoping to go beyond that with the help of a little (maybe a lot) of retraining.  Wish me luck!

Now, onto the important bit…the books I have loved, liked and just weren’t for me this month…I have to say it was a good reading month…

loved-it

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Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley, which put a human face on a writer who has written some of my favourite books but whom I knew very little about…and that little turns out to not be true.

As this is the only book I loved this month, it’s no competition for book of the month!

liked-it-a-lot

Viral by Helen Fitzgerald, which looks at the nastier side of the internet with a young woman’s sexual exploits becoming a viral video and the fallout for her and her family.

Dead Calm by Inge Löhnig, my first foray into german crime / mystery and a good one with the murder of a well known doctor and suspects who are all in the family.

Mercy Killing by Lisa Cutts, an involving police procedural but with the not so nice subject matter of child abuse.

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier , a modern day retelling of Othello which is small and perfectly formed.

Tarot Court Cards for Beginners by Leeza Robertson, a bit of a different read for me but also a hobby I wish I was better at…this book will definitely help!

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The Dinosaur Feather by Sissel-Jo Gazan, which was one of those books that wasn’t just long (over 500 pages) but felt long.  At the heart was (I think) an interesting mystery but there was so much else I got lost.

And that’s it for me…how has your reading month been?

Emma x

 

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Monthly update: April, 2017

A few days later than the actual end of the month, I’m finally saying goodbye to April with this post and I have to say it’s been a pretty good month – life and reading wise.  Life wise I got to take a lovely holiday to the seaside (sun included…you don’t get much better than that in April) and I also made some pretty big decisions which I’m now trying to figure out the logistics of (more on that to follow once it’s all clear in my head I’m sure).

Reading wise, this is what I loved, liked and didn’t really care for…

loved-it

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh, where a murderer seems to be back on the lose after twenty years since his last “kill”…the problem is he’s in prison.  It’s a close call but this is definitely my book of the month.

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza, another cracking episode in the Erika Foster series with Erika back in the murder investigation team and on the trail of a serial killer.

Driven by James Sallis, visiting one of my favourite characters eight years after I first met him in Drive – add to that it’s one of my favourite authors, it felt like nothing could go wrong with this book.

liked-it-a-lot

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley which looks at the aftermath of a plane crash on the survivors and the all pervasive (can you say evil) nature of the press.

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger, the first book by this author that I’ve read but it won’t be the last – this is a clever thriller with plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing.

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly, a thriller with a difference; it makes you think – not just about what is going on but your attitudes toward sex and sexual assault.

What Goes Around by Julie Corbin, another thriller (yes, I read a lot I know) where two women battle wits over a man I’m not sure is worth it at all.

liked-it-a-little

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson, which I had high hopes for (possibly too high) and just didn’t hit the mark for me, character-wise especially.  Shame.

The Lauras by Sara Taylor, where a young girl goes on the run (aka a road trip) with her mom.  Or it might be a young boy and his mom.  It isn’t clear, which is true of a lot of things in this book (for me at any rate).

Fell by Jenn Ashworth, which left me perplexed in how to rate it (it’s so close to liked a lot but not quite there).  The story left me wanting but the writing – beautiful!

not-for-meNone – yay!

And that’s it for me.  How was your month – what’s worth adding to next months to read pile?

Emma x

 

 

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Monthly update: March, 2017

How organised am I.  It’s only March 30th and I am writing my monthly update.  There must be something in the air…or I have too much time on my hands! How was March for people? Mine wasn’t bad, though it felt a lot longer than February (figuratively and literally).  Work was crazy busy and we’ve had lots going on at home (will the painting and decorating every be finished).  Still, I managed to fit in reading some book, good, bad and a bit blah…

loved-it

Human Acts by Han Kang, if it’s possible to love a book with such a hard subject matter – the brutal taking down of a popular uprising in 1980’s South Korea.

Let The Dead Speak by Jane Casey, a book that kept me on tenderhooks throughout thanks to it’s great plot and compelling characters.

These books are so different but if I had to choose I would say Human Acts is my book of the month.

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The Murder Game by Julie Apple, a.k.a. Catherine McKenzie, one of my favourite authors, where four law students plan the perfect murder and then try to get away with it (or do they?)

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, a book I was scared to read because I’d loved her last one so much…I am glad to report I wasn’t disappointed.

The Escape by C. L. Taylor, which finds a young mother (and her small child) on the run and fighting to have herself believed.

 

The Stranger by Saskia Sarginson, a psychological thriller with a bit of a difference and a strong female character I couldn’t help but like.

The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, another great piece of crime writing and Nordic Noir, this is the start of a new series I can’t wait to read more of.

The Dead Room by Chris Mooney, a book that had been sat on my kindle for five years before I got round to reading it, immediately wishing I hadn’t waited as long.

Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary, another great outing for Marnie Raine looking to solve a crime she seems to be increasingly connected too.

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You by Caroline Kepnes, a book I think I might have waited too long to read as it didn’t live up to expectations (but was that might fault for having such high hopes?)

 

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None! (yay!)

And that’s it for me for March – pretty good I think – with only one book I just don’t think I can bring myself to recommend. What about you – how was your month, reading and otherwise?

Emma

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Monthly round-up: February, 2017

So it’s time to say goodbye to February, the shortest month of the year and supposedly the most depressing.  For me, though, it really hasn’t been that bad.  I had a week and a bit off work, got to spend quality time with friends and family and read some really good books…

loved-it

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields, a truly excellent debut set in Edinburgh but with a French detective on the search for a serial killer who doesn’t seem to put a foot wrong.  This kept me up late turning pages.  If it wasn’t for Evil Games, this would have been my book of the month.

Evil Games by Angela Marsons, the second in the DI Kim Stone series and set in my former stomping ground of the Black Country.  Here Kim is head to head with one of the most twisted characters I have come across in a while.  This is probably the best book I read this month.

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The Accidental Life of Greg Miller by Aimee Alexander, which turned out to be a romance with a difference (or at least I thought it was different because love stories are so not my normal read).

Where My Heart Used To Beat by Sebastian Faulks, one of my favourite authors.  Here he looks at love, life, death and the ravages of war.  Not the most light-hearted book but beautifully written and heart-wrenching.

Captive on the Fens by Joy Ellis, where I got to spend time with one of my favourite detectives, Nikki Galena.  This is her fifth outing (and the third book I’ve read) and it was a good one as Nikki is on the trail of a serial kidnapper.  What I especially liked was getting to know her team as well, people who are often side-lined in this genre for the main detective.

The Breakdown by B. A. Paris, where a single female makes a single decision on a rain swept night that seems to be coming back to haunt her in this tense thriller with a great twist at the end.

 

liked-it-a-little

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The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle, which was spoilt for me by the fact I have too many TV versions of Sherlock running round my head.  Even without this, I’m not sure there weren’t too many holes in a plot that seemed to hope the pace would make me miss them.

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All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford, a book I had such high hopes for but that just left me confused and frustrated as the story moved back and forth in time – maybe if I had liked the characters more I would have been more forgiving but this just wasn’t for me.

There was one book I didn’t rate Unlocking Italian with Paul Noble which was a guide more than a book but still a fun way to try and get my Italian language skills back on track.

And that’s it for me for February – like I said, not bad – with only one book I just don’t think I can bring myself to recommend. What about you – how was your month, reading and otherwise?

Emma

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Monthly round-up: January, 2017

So I swear this is the only time I’m going to say this this year but where did January go?  In a flash it seems and now we are here in February already.  The good news in this, though, is that I have holidays booked this month so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.  Plus, January was a good reading month for me (for the most part anyway).  Here’s how it went….

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Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner, which sees a welcome return of Quincy and Rainie – two of my favourite Lisa Gardner characters.  This time round they are trying to keep their adoptive daughter safe from a brother who has suddenly reappeared in her life and seems to be on a killing spree.

The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni, the fourth in the Tracy Crosswhite series of books and probably my favourite January read.  I love Tracy, her passion for her job and her friends, her ability to relate to the victims (as she does here) and her unwillingness to let go of a case when she knows a killer is out there.

Wedlock by Wendy Moore, a non-fiction book which looks at the fascinating life of Mary Eleanor Bowes and her abusive husband Andrew Stoney.  The Bowes are a well known name in part of because of the Queen mother but I had no idea of what Mary had to live through in order to protect herself and her children.  If you read this, you’ll never say a domestic thriller plot is far fetched again.

 

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Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt , another detective series I have a feeling I will be getting hooked on by one of my favourite authors.  Sherratt has created an interesting character in Detective Eden Berrisford and a compelling read in this story that manages to combine thrills and suspense whilst at the same time highlighting violence against women and how harmful it is.

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton, was a book I read almost 20 years ago and decided to revisit in advance of it’s 25th birthday.  This is one of the only series I have read all the books for (and we are up to X I think, so it’s a lot) and I love the central character Kinsey Millhone. She’s a good old fashioned private investigator in the days before mobile phones and the internet and I enjoyed slipping back into that world.

Liar Liar by M. J. Arlidge, the fourth in the DI Helen Grace series where she is on the hunt for a serial arsonist who may be turning into a serial killer because he doesn’t seem to care who is in the houses he sets fire to – or does he.  It’s up to Helen to figure that out and stop him before he kills someone.

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, an Icelandic thriller with a supernatural / spooky twist, this one had me turning pages and trying to figure out just what was happening.  Iceland is a great place to set this type of book and Sigurdardottir writes in a dark, claustrophobic, way that I really like.

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land, a book that is supposed to be one of the books of the year and I can see why.  It’s the story of a 15 year old daughter of a serial killer and how she comes to terms with not only what her mother has done but what she has done to survive.  Compelling.

Duplicity by Sibel Hodge, where I had to suspend belief somewhat but as this was so well written I didn’t mind doing that.  I loved the detective in this one and the twists and turns, which kept me guessing right through to the end.

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Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis, which I just couldn’t get away with because a) I didn’t like the central characters and b) the one I liked best out of the two disappeared two-thirds of the way through just when I was starting to sympathise with him.  Frustrating.

The Missing by Caroline Eriksson, which I also couldn’t get away with, again because of the characters but also because of holes in the plot and a twist at the end which just didn’t make any sense to me.  Not one I can recommend I’m afraid (though I do still like the cover).

And that’s it for me for January – like I said, not bad – with only two books I just don’t think I can bring myself to recommend. What about you – how was your month, reading and otherwise?

Emma

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Monthly round-up: November, 2016

O.k. so one more day till I need to start panicking about Christmas…November how can you have gone by so quickly?  Overall though, you were a pretty good month.  I got to see friends, spend time with family, became addicted to at least two new TV shows thanks to Netflix (How To Get Away With Murder and iZombie), and finally managed to finish the left-over Halloween candy – just in time for the last minute rush to lose weight before putting it all on again on the 25th.

Book wise, you were pretty good too.  Here’s what I read, loved and liked (there were not I really didn’t this month I am pleased to report)…

Loved it

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Only one this month in the loved column and that was Find Her by Lisa Gardner,  an author I really, really, should read more of.  Find Her is what happens when a young woman is kidnapped, locked in a box and survives, or at least makes it out alive.  I couldn’t put this one down and couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

 

Liked a lot

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Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni, the second in the Tracy Crosswhite series this sees Tracy back in Seattle and on the trail of a serial killer with a difference – he gets the victims to kill themselves…a clever twist in the tale.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, which I wanted to love but couldn’t because of the feeling I was being beaten over the head with the message.  This focuses on race relations in America, a difficult subject to tackle but done well for the most part.

The Doll’s House by M. J. Arlidge, the third in the Helen Grace detective series.  This was another cracker with Helen desperately searching for a missing girl only to come across a serial killer.

The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies, a great collection of short stories that took me from Wales to Australia via Birmingham and Siberia and introduced me from some interesting, heart-warming and intriguing characters.

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood, a modern retelling of The Tempest with a prison replacing the island and a play within a play.  Interesting and involving but maybe not for everyone.

Liked a little

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Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris, a good debut that shows we never really know what happens between a couple when the doors and curtains are closed – this was a real page turner, I would just have liked a little more character development.

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt, which opens with a brutal scene of violence and shows just how cruel teenagers can be.  Personally, I couldn’t get away with the annoying teenagers in this one but it wouldn’t stop me recommending the book.

The Exit by Helen Fitzgerald, a book I had high expectations for after reading The Cry but was left feeling disappointed in because of one scene (I know but sometimes that’s all it takes) that meant I no longer believed in the story.

Along the way I also wrote about…

What books I’d be willing to fight for on Black Friday

My A to Z of books

Night time reading (how late doI stay up?)

and created a page (in part of my ongoing efforts to organise my blog) of Reviews by author.

So, like I said, not a bad month.  How was yours? What did you read?

Emma

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This month I’m linking up with Kathryn at The Book Date for her month in review.  Head over and see what she and others have been reading too.

 

Monthly round-up: October 2016

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, time moves too quickly the older I get.  Where did October go and how is November already here?  On a plus note, it does mean all the leaves have changed and the ones outside my house are giving me a gorgeous display of reds, yellows and oranges.  It might not last long but it’s so pretty whilst it does.  Anyway, I digress, here is my round-up of my October reads – the good, great and wish I hadn’t bothered abouts…

Loved it

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza, the third in the Erika Foster crime series that just keeps getting better and better. This one looks at a cold case, a missing girl who is found decades after she went missing with no trace.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, this may well up being one of my books of the year (not that it came out this year, just based on when I read it).  So many twists and turns I didn’t see coming.  I couldn’t put it down.

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie, another book that is up there as a book of the year, this looks at friendship, family and society through the eyes of one small neighbourhood.  Another I couldn’t put down.

Liked it a Lot

Stalker on the Fens by Joy Ellis, the fifth in the Nikki Galena series, though only the second I’ve read.  Nikki is a great character and a great detective leading her team and trying to protect her best friend from a potentially deadly stalker.

Himself by Jess Kidd, a murder mystery with a supernatural twist set in a small Irish village where everyone has secrets, some of them deadly.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one and didn’t think I’d like it quite as much as I did.  Jess Kidd is someone to watch – a great debut.

Pop Goes The Weasel by M. J. Arlidge, the second in a crime series I am way behind on but determined to catch up with.  This one features Helen Grace, a troubled but determined detective you can’t help but like on the trail of a serial killer you end up having some sympathy for.

The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill, a ghost story perfect for the season and read as part of a Halloween readathon.  It’s got plenty of bumps in the night – just what I want in a ghost story – and no gore, also a plus for me as I’ve gotten more squeamish as I’ve gotten older.

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, the third and last of the Miss Peregrine trilogy this was a fitting end to a great series of young adult books with everything tied up nicely and everyone living happily ever after (well the good guys at least!).

Liked it

The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly, about a woman who can’t seem to make good choices, the worst of which is sleeping with a married man for money.  You know no good can come of it – and it doesn’t.

Call for the Dead by John le Carré, the first book featuring George Smiley, this was a cracking spy novel – not something I normally read – and didn’t feel dated at all despite being written in the 60s.

Not for Me

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A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson, my second foray into true crime and nowhere near as successful as my first.  This one focuses on the Lord Lucan murder – or should I say doesn’t focus as for me it wandered too far from the main subject matter too often and I lost interest.  A shame.

And that’s it’s for me for October.  All in all a very good month with some great books. How was your reading month? Anything I should put on the list?

Emma