Posted in Reads Rated

Mini Reviews: Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

The Duke and I (Bridgertons, #1)

I’d heard a lot about the Netflix adaptation of this book series by Julie Quinn, so when I started the book this month, I knew the outline of the story: regency-era boy and girl pretend to date, end up together for real and are very surprised by this shocking turn of events.

I even managed to watch an episode earlier this year before I got a copy of the book and decided I was going to read it first, because I never seem to learn my lesson.

Unsurprisingly, the TV version is different to the book, as the book focuses solely on Daphne and Simon’s fake courtship, told through their perspectives, with a couple of scenes each chapter from the points of view of Daphne’s family, while the TV series also covers her family as well as some of the other society families.

That being said, time is still spent developing the dynamic of the Bridgerton family members, and I found it refreshing that all the siblings got along together and Lady Bridgerton was the complete opposite of every upper-class regency era fictional mother (i.e. nice).

There were a few encounters which were questionable (I have chapter 18 in particular in mind here), but on the whole, the simple plot made it very easy to read, and the ideal cure for my reading slump.

Four stars.

Posted in Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up #17

September felt like it lasted a lot longer than a month, so I’m glad it’s over.

I was starting to feel a bit disheartened with work, because it’s been so busy lately and the customers seemed to be getting more and more short tempered, which in turn made me start dread talking to them and put me in a bit of a low mood.

I know it’s only going to get busier in the run up to winter, but it does help having nice colleagues to work with, and nice managers.

Coming home at the end of a crap day to a good book also helps, so here are my September reads.

The links in the book titles will take you to their pages on Goodreads.


Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

I really thought I would love this book.

It’s historical fiction, which at the moment is one of my favourite genres, and the main female character wanted to be more than somebody’s wife, and was very vocal in her beliefs that women should be given the same opportunities as men.

Unfortunately, that same female character was also the main reason I didn’t enjoy the story, because she mentioned at least once EVERY chapter that she ‘wasn’t like other girls’.

The first couple of times I could forgive, but after three times, it got too much to ignore.

Other than that, I’m torn about how I feel about the book. On the one hand, I liked the idea of Audrey Rose defying society and convention to get an education for herself and to use that knowledge to try and solve the Jack the Ripper murders- on the other, I felt the mystery was sidelined by Audrey Rose’s family and was more of a vehicle to explore how Unique and Ahead of Her Time she was.

Maybe the sequel would be better with the characters already established in STJR, but I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get a copy.

Three stars.

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Easily one of my favourite books of this year, and maybe ever.

I loved the way the story was told, and the glimpse we got into the world of cinema and fame.

Five stars.

Holy Island by LJ Ross

I think the most accurate word I can use to describe this novel is “okay.” Which sounds a bit harsh, but a few days after reading it, I wasn’t still thinking about the story or the characters or desperate to read the rest of the series.

Don’t get me wrong. The story was interesting, and I liked the premise of it. But there were a lot of issues I couldn’t get past to commit to reading more of DCI Ryan’s investigations.

The main character, Ryan, who’s on Holy Island as an escape after a recent case ended badly, barely seemed affected by it outside the occasional thought of that case and its victim being triggered by something random, like a passing comment or another character having similar hair colour- and yet, he’s supposed to be so affected that he had to take a break in the first place.

(He had one nightmare, which admittedly was quite graphic, but that was it.)

And Dr Anna Taylor, who’s called in to consult with the police on the ritualistic aspects of the murders, had (to memory) 1 conversation with Ryan, and that just felt like the author wanting to share their research into the subject.

Their feelings for each other developed super quickly considering they’re in the middle of a murder investigation and both dealing with some ‘demons’, but Ryan’s concern for Anna’s safety came off as sexist, and Anna always caved when he asked her to stay at home because he would look sad or afraid while doing so.

Three stars.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

Loved loved loved.

This was such an enjoyable story to read, and completely worth the wait.

Five stars.

Posted in sixforsunday

#SixforSunday – 2021 books I’m excited for

I found this prompt when I was catching up on some blog posts this week and it looks like a lot of fun.

This prompt in particular caught my attention, because there are so many books I’m excited to read this year.

It’s hosted by A Little But A Lot and August’s theme is 2021 books.


Thursday Murder Club 2

The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club, #2)

I loved The Thursday Murder Club, and I have my copy of its sequel, The Man Who Died Twice, pre-ordered so I can get my hands on it as soon its publication date arrives in September.

Nighthawking

Nighthawking (Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler #2)

The first novel in the DS Adam Tyler series, Firewatching, became one of my favourite books of 2021 before I’d even made it halfway through.

The use of present tense and the chapters being broken up into smaller scenes made it refreshing and so easy to read, and I went out straight away to buy a copy of Book 2.

The Devil and The Dark Water

The Devil and the Dark Water

I’ve realised there’s a common theme to the books I’ve picked so far and that they’re all second novels by new authors.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was very trippy (I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers for anyone who’s yet to read it) but it was incredibly clever, and I’ve heard good things about Stuart Turton’s next book, The Devil and The Dark Water.

The Dying Squad

The Dying Squad

I bought this book after seeing it constantly on Twitter, being praised highly by some authors and bloggers lucky enough to get hold of an advanced copy.

The plot sounds very interesting, though I’m not sure if the detective’s surname being Lazarus is a little too on the nose. But I’m definitely going to read it anyway and soon, hopefully, because I have lots of questions.

The Murder of Graham Catton

The Murder of Graham Catton

Podcasts aren’t something I listen to much of. There’s probably only about 5 I’ve stuck with for the full episode, but I am intrigued by the idea of a true crime podcast being a central part of this story.

The Appeal

The Appeal

A mystery novel where the reader is given the evidence usually only available to the detective and is to try and solve the crime themselves?

Yes please.

Posted in Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up #16

After another unintentional hiatus, I have returned with my wrap up for June and July.

It’s been quite a busy year for me, though I couldn’t actually tell you half of what I’ve done or been doing. I feel like I’ve been constantly on my feet and either rushing off somewhere or getting ready to rush off somewhere.

One thing I have definitely done a lot of is read. And I have finally managed to cut back on the amount of books I’ve bought, which I’m really pleased with.

I still haven’t managed a complete ban for a whole month, but progress is progress.

So in this post you’ll find some of my reads for June and July. These aren’t all the books, because for some of them I couldn’t think of anything to say.

The lines in the book titles will take you to their Goodreads page.


June and July Reads

Dead Simple by Peter James (Roy Grace #1)

I mentioned in my last post that I’d watched the TV adaptation of this book before reading it, so I was expecting the book to be totally different.

It turns out the adaptation was pretty faithful to the source material, so I already knew most of what happened- though something which struck me about the book and which kept me from enjoying it was the way the female characters were described.

I’m not sure if this was down to the male characters who were doing the narrating or if it was an author thing, but I’ve put off reading the second book in the series for now.

Three stars.

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

I’d seen a lot of this book on Netgalley before its release, and when I finally got my hands on a copy, I wasn’t disappointed.

It was very easy to just keep reading and not put down, because the chapters alternated points of view among some of the characters, so you’d just get to a good bit and then have to wait a few pages before you find out what happened- which is by no means a bad thing, although if you have anything planned when you start reading, you might find yourself procrastinating.

My overrall takeaway is that I would love to read more by Katherine Faulkner, and I found the main character Helen’s behaviour just as questionable as Rachel’s, who in the synopsis seems to be the obvious antagonist in the story.

Four stars.

Firewatching by Russ Thomas (DS Adam Tyler #1)

This was another book I’d heard lots about, but unlike Greenwich Park had been on my shelves for a few months before I finally got round to reading it.

And I completely regret not reading it sooner.

The main character, Adam Tyler, is a bit younger than the average lead in a crime novel, which made him slightly more relatable, and he was also gay, which was not handled as just a trope or a plotpoint.

I really liked the rest of the characters, particularly Tyler’s new partner Constable Rabbani, and his superior officers Doggett and Jordan.

The case and the story were addictive, and the short chapters made it easy to get through the book quickly.

Five stars.

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

Dear Mrs Bird was hands down my favourite novel of 2019, so finding out there was a sequel due for release this year made me very happy.

Getting to read it and loving it every bit as I loved the first one made me even more so.

Five stars.


Reading Challenges Update

Out Of Your Comfort Zone Challenge

Completed goals & updated list

L1_ Dreamer
L2_ Traveler
L3_ Explorer

Contemporary – Complete

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Romance – Complete

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Fantasy – Complete

Legendborn by Tracey Deonn

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children: The Conference Of The Birds by Ransom Riggs

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

A Court Of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

A Court Of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

A Song Of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown

Sci Fi – Complete

Last One At The Party by Bethany Clift

Halfhead by Stuart Macbride

Slay by Brittney Morris

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Rise Of The Red Hand by Olivia Chadha

When Are You Reading

1500-1699 Complete

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

2000- Present Complete

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Posted in Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up #15

So it’s been a few months…

I hope everyone is well and enjoying all their reading.

My total for the year so far has just reached 50, which is half of last year’s total, so I’m thinking I might surpass that by the time we reach December.

I’d like to get to 100 again, but I also don’t want to put pressure on myself to achieve a certain number. Though it wouldn’t be any more trying than my goal to get my tbr list down into double figures.

And on that note, here are some of the books I’ve read since my last monthly wrap up.


April and May Reads

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This was a reread but I enjoyed it all the same. It was a bit silly, though I think that’s what made it so fun.

Four stars.

Last One At The Party by Bethany Clift

Maybe not the best of books to read in the middle of a global pandemic. But it was incredibly addictive, and I really wanted to know if the main character (who remains nameless throughout the story) managed to survive.

What made the story so easy to get into for me was the beginning in which the character finds she’s the last person alive and, while understandably struggling to process that fact, does all the things she couldn’t before- i.e. visit all the museums in London, dance on theatre stages, go to the fancy department stores and eat all the food out of the fridges.

This holiday of sorts from reality doesn’t last for long, and there are plenty of grim, horror-movie moments afterwards, but it is gripping, and a really good story.

Four stars.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

I liked this book. It had a feel of an Agatha Christie locked-room story about it. Elin was an interesting choice of main character, but I couldn’t invest in her or her goal of uncovering the truth of what happened to her brother when she was a child, or her more recent trauma after a case at work ended badly.

But the story itself was easy to get into, and to follow, and had a few twists along the way to keep things interesting.

Three and a half stars.

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Loved loved loved.

Beth O’Leary is amazing.

Five stars.


Currently Reading

I’m a tad late to the Roy Grace series, but after watching the adaptation of the first book starring John Simm as the lead character, I really wanted to read it.

Dead Simple (Roy Grace, #1)

Reading Challenges Update- Mid Year Progress So Far

Out Of Your Comfort Zone Challenge

Contemporary – Complete

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Romance – Complete

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Fantasy – Complete

Legendborn by Tracey Deonn

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children: The Conference Of The Birds by Ransom Riggs

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Sci Fi – Complete

Last One At The Party by Bethany Clift

When Are You Reading

1800-1899 Complete

The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

1920-1939 Complete

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

1940-1959 Complete

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

1980-1999 Complete

Die Trying by Lee Child

Posted in Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up #14

March was a pretty decent month, in comparison to others. We’re still in lockdown here in Scotland, but I started a new job and I’m settling in, which is nice.

It’s also a bonus that it’s so easy to leave everything there and not be worrying about what my next shift will be like- which I realise now is all I did in my old job.

Another highlight of March was that we finally got some answers in the finale of WandaVision, and the first two episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

I won’t say much about either because I don’t want to spoil them for anyone, but I now have a new love for Wanda and Vision as characters, and I am so happy Bucky and Sam are finally get some screen time and the first episode delivered on that by showing us how they’re faring in the new world after the snap.


March Reads

The Damage Done by James Oswald

The sixth Inspector McLean novel was a little different to its predecessors- because halfway through McLean gets moved over to a new cold case unit.

I really liked where the story was heading when it ended, so I have my fingers crossed Book 7 continues with some of those ideas.

Four stars.

Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

This was a recommendation after a readalong I took part in, and for the most part I enjoyed the story.

What kept me from enjoying it completely was all the swearing (which I felt was a bit too frequent, but maybe that’s just me)- though I adored the relationship that developed between Chloe and Red.

Three and a half stars.

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Despite this book being way outside my usual reading material, I liked it.

The main character, Kenzie, didn’t have much going for her, so I was indifferent to her for most of the story, but there were plenty of supporting characters to invest in, and I think I might enjoy the rest of the series a little more since there should be less time spent on world-building.

Three stars.

One Of Us Is Next by Karen McManus

I loved One Of Us Is Lying, so I was excited to start the sequel- and it delivered.

While set in Bayview like its predecessor, One Of Us Is Next revolves around a deadly game of Truth or Dare instead of a murder, and at the same time develops further some of the supporting characters from OOUIL.

Getting to know those characters better made this book even more enjoyable for me, and I’d happily read a whole series set in Bayview since there never seems to be a dull moment.

Four stars.

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This was a good book in that it covered a lot of big themes and really got me thinking about them, but what kept from loving it is that I didn’t feel like the main character, Emira, was developed much.

She never seemed to react to much, including during the main event of the story which takes place just a few chapters in, or even at the end when she makes a big decision about her life.

Three and a half stars.

Currently Reading

The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1)

Reading Challenges Update

Out Of your comfort zone challenge

Contemporary – Complete

  • Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Sci Fi – Complete

  • Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Posted in Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up 13

So that’s two months gone of 2021, which feels quite surreal.

I’m still making good progress with my tbr, though, which I’m happy with. The book-buying ban, on the other hand, isn’t going so well, but I’m justifying it because I got an interview and a job offer in the same week- which means from March I’ll have some kind of routine back in my life again, and venturing out of the house.

Somehow I’ve made it through another month without writing a single book review, so I’m going to share my thoughts on my February reads here in my wrap-up.

I’ve also changed the layout of this post so instead of book covers, I’ve just put the title of the books I read and linked them to Goodreads. I don’t know if this layout will stick. We shall see.


February Reads

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Adorable. Heart-warming.

Five stars.

Slay by Brittney Morris

Thought-provoking. Immersive.

Five stars.

Cream Buns and Crime by Robin Stevens

I didn’t realise this was a collection of short stories until I started reading it, but I liked that we got to see the Junior Pinkertons in action, and some mini cases that were set between the main stories.

Four stars.

Titanic and Other Ships by Commander Lightoller

Fascinating and detailed. Reading about the Commander’s travels and adventures around the world was the perfect escapism right now, and his account of the Titanic’s collision and sinking was so vivid and tragic.

Four stars. (Would have been five but there were a ton of technical terms which meant I had to keep putting the book down to look them up in a dictionary- plus the super outdated language and opinions which is offensive.)

The Holiday by T.M. Logan

Aside from the synopsis being misleading, this was an addictive story. It was easy to get caught up in Kate’s suspicions of her friends and I did not expect it to end the way it did.

Four stars.

The Less Dead by Denise Mina

Made for some grim reading, but it was a good story and had a good resolution.

Four stars.

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin

Dark. Twisted. Addictive.

I did not want to put this down.

Five stars.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

This was a reread for me but I think I enjoyed it a little bit more than I did the first time.

I wouldn’t say it was fast-paced (despite the bulk of the story occurring during the space of a few hours) but it was addictive and shocking, and had several different subplots going on in the background so there was plenty going on.

Four stars.

Instinct by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

I enjoyed the TV series adaptation (which I watched first) and surprisingly found the book to be pretty similiar, with one or two minor changes.

I didn’t like that when Dylan learned something the chapter would end and we didn’t find out what it was until a few chapters later, or that he didn’t do much analysing of the serial killer the NYPD wanted him to help them find, but it was still a good story.

Three and a half stars.

The Rules For Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

Although this book went in a different direction from what I’d expected, the premise was interesting and the solution at the end was surprising.

Three and a half stars.

Currently Reading

Uncommon Type

Reading Challenges Update

When Are You Reading
  • 2000- Present- Complete

(2020) The Switch

Out Of Your Comfort Zone Challenge

Romance- Complete

  • The Switch

Historical Fiction- Complete

  • Cream Buns and Crime

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #16

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, and to take part, all you need to do is answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

IMG_1384-0

What are you currently reading?

This is another case of ‘Bookstagram made me do it’.

I’ve been seeing so many positive reviews for If I Can’t Have You that when Tandem Collective announced that they were hosting a readalong, I really wanted to take part.

I’m getting Girl On The Train vibes, crossed with You, so I’m really enjoying the story and looking forward to find out what happens with Constance and Samuel.

If I Can’t Have You

What did you recently finish reading?

The Holiday

I binged The Holiday by T.M. Logan over two days, and really liked it. (Although I felt like the synopsis was a teensy bit misleading about the story’s contents.)

Slay

I also read Slay by Brittney Morris, which was so good, and The Less Dead, by Denise Mina, which I didn’t enjoy so much.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’d just started Angels and Demons when the readalong started so I’ll be returning to Robert Langdon’s first adventure when I’ve finished If I Can’t Have You.

After that, I’ll be moving onto either The Rules For Perfect Murders or The Damage Done, which is the sixth Inspector McLean novel.

Rules for Perfect Murders: The 'fiendishly good' Richard and Judy Book Club pick

Posted in Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Series I Haven’t Finished

Given how up until last year I actively avoided sequels, I’m really pleased with myself for being able to make this list.


Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Meeghan Reads.


Inspector McLean series by James Oswald

I read half of this series during Lockdown 1 last year and loved every book, so the remaining five are on my tbr for 2021, which worked out quite nicely since Book 11 is being published this month and now I can complete the series up to date.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The Mirror & the Light (Thomas Cromwell, #3)

I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, so I’m hoping I’ll get round to reading the final book in the trilogy soon.

I know what happened historically with Thomas Cromwell, but I’m really excited to see how Hilary Mantel puts her spin on it.

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

I also started reading these during the first lockdown, and have just four more books to go.

Jack Reacher by Lee Child

There’s over 20 books in this series so while it’s unlikely I’ll get anywhere near finishing them all this year, I’m hoping to make a bit more progress with it.

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Desolations of Devil's Acre (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #6)

The sixth and final book in the series is due for release this year, and I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens to the Peculiars and the residents of Devil’s Acre.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #15

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, and to take part, all you need to do is answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

IMG_1384-0

What are you currently reading?

Slay is described as Black Panther meets Ready player One, which made me want to pick it up immediately.

I haven’t seen a lot of reviews, but those I have read are filled with praise, and I have to say I’m really liking it so far.

Slay

What did you recently finish reading?

I finally finished Volume One of War and Peace, which feels amazing.

I’d planned to start The Less Dead, but I was seeing a lot of Legendborn on my Instagram timeline so I reshuffled my tbr, and read it and The Switch.

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

The Switch

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m planning to choose between Two Can Keep A Secret, and The Less Dead.

The Less Dead