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 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 Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up 12

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.


January Reads
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Windsor Knot
The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #5)
Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2)
Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

Currently Reading

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.

War and Peace
The Switch

Reading Challenges Update

When Are You Reading
  • 1800-1899 Complete

(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
  • 1980-1999- Complete

(1998) Die Trying (Jack Reacher 2)

Out Of Your Comfort Zone Challenge

Fantasy- Complete

  • Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children: The Conference Of The Birds

Posted in Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up 10

My reading slowed a little this month between The Testaments and A Dark So Deadly– which I loved and can’t recommend enough for fans of crime and mystery novels.

I’ve started thinking about my plans for 2021, and while I’m reluctant to make anything fixed, I’ve decided I’m going to try and finish any abandoned novels by Christmas so I can start the new year from scratch, and get started on all the amazing books I’ve bought and haven’t got round to yet.

Some of them I’ve included below. Let me know if you’re read them and what you thought.

November Reads
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)
Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)
A Dark So Deadly
What I’m Currently Reading

I’m still working my way through War and Peace, a handful of chapters at a time. I’d really love to get it crossed off my tbr because it’s one of the classics I’ve wanted to read for a while and it’s sooo long finishing it would be an achievement in itself.

War and Peace

Book Mail

I’ve seen this book everywhere over the past few weeks and heard lots of positive things so naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Firewatching (Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler #1)

I also treated myself to a copy of the second Jack Reacher book, using my birthday at the end of the month as an excuse- along with the first two Robert Langdon books, Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code.

Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2)

What I’m Watching

After watching the available seven episodes of Take Two, I started the reboot of Magnum PI, which I found myself enjoying more than I expected to.

Maybe that it’s set in Hawaii had something to do with it, and the references to the Hawaii Five-O reboot, which I also loved.

Posted in Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up #9

So it’s safe to say that I’ve surpassed last year’s total of 47 books read; I’m currently sitting at 57, which also beats 2018’s total of 50.

It goes without saying this wouldn’t have happened if 2020 had been like any other year, though I’m pleased by how much reading I’ve managed to get done.

I finally got round to reading The Handmaid’s Tale, which although frightening, was really interesting and I enjoyed it. I’ve got a copy of The Testaments so I’ll be reading that soon, to find out what happened next.

And I also managed to read The Thursday Murder Club, which is a book I’ve wanted to read ever since I started seeing reviews of it on my feed back in September- and I loved it, so I’m looking forward to the second in the series.


October Reads
Prayer for the Dead (Inspector McLean, #5)
Camino Winds (Camino Island #2)
First Class Murder (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #3)
The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1)
A Dark Matter
The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1)

What I’m Currently Reading:

I’ve read A LOT of murder mysteries this year so I thought it was about time I tried something different. I loved I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, so I decided to give the Jack Reacher series a go since they sound vaguely similar.

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)

Posted in Bookmail, Weekly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up #8

So September’s over with, and we’re into October as of tomorrow.

It still amazes me how long this year has felt but how quickly it’s gone in. I’m also amazed by how many books I’ve managed to read, despite a lack of focus.

I think some of them will need to be reread again at a later date, when there isn’t a global pandemic going on, but I have loads of new favourite authors and books, so that’s at least something positive to come out of 2020.

September Reads
Conviction

Quichotte

The Stranger

The Art of Dying (Raven, Fisher, and Simpson, #2)

Good Girls Die First

What I’m Currently Reading:
Save the Date

Book Mail:

This book haul was the result of this year’s Bloody Scotland, which not only introduced to me so many amazing authors, but also provided me with a discount to get money off their books.

How could I pass up an opportunity like that?

The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1)
The Polish Detective (Dania Gorska, #1)
The Less Dead
Hold Your Tongue (DI Eve Hunter, #1)
A Dark Matter