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.
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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
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 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.
Considering how quickly January disappeared, my wrap-up is surprisingly busier than I expected it to be.
I’d intended to take this month a little slower to avoid burning out, but I ended up bingeing Die Trying and Legendborn to get them finished in the same month that I started them in, so now I’m just embracing it and reading whenever I have the time.
I’ve made progress with both reading challenges I signed up for (When Are You Reading & Out Of Your Comfort Zone) and I’ve completed 3 categories in all, which I think is a good start.
Another bonus is that I loved all the books I read in January, and now I get to look forward to the sixth Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children novel and the sequel to Legendborn.
I’ve finally finished Volume One of War and Peace, which I’m really pleased about. After I finish The Switch, I’m going to be starting Volume Two.
Reading Challenges Update
When Are You Reading
(1800-1899) The Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes:
The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
(1998) Die Trying (Jack Reacher 2)
Out Of Your Comfort Zone Challenge
Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children: The Conference Of The Birds