Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #13

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?

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What are you currently reading?

I’m a little over 100 pages into War and Peace, and also working my way through The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett, which was an impulse buy.

I don’t know why the premise of the Queen secretly solving crimes works, but it just does.

The Windsor Knot

What did you recently finish reading?

Karen McManus’ fourth book was every bit as addictive and brilliant as its predecessors.

The Cousins

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m going to be starting either The Switch, Two Can Keep A Secret (which would be a reread, but after finishing The Cousins, I really want to go back to Karen McManus’ previous books), or The Less Dead.

The Less Dead

Posted in Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Bookish Resolutions

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Meeghan Reads.


Make time to read

It feels like all I did in 2020 was read and watch TV, but that was only because it was far from a normal year. In 2019 it was the opposite, so my goal for this year is to make time to read no matter how it turns out because I have loads of amazing books to look forward to.

Reading Challenges

I’ve signed up for The Out Of Your Comfort Zone & the When Are You Reading challenges because I did my Owls last year and had a lot of fun with it.

These challenges are a little different from the Owls, but taking part in them will mean reading books that wouldn’t ordinarily be my first choice of reading material, and I’m excited to try new genres and discover new authors.

Limit My Book-Buying

I made a list at the beginning of last year of all the books I hadn’t read yet and wanted to try and get to during lockdown, but the list was added to almost every month because I was buying so many new books.

So I’ve decided that this year I’m going to limit myself to 2 or 3 books a month- though I will let this carry forward if for some reason I don’t reach my limit.

Remember Netgalley

I sort of forgot I had a Netgalley account last year, which meant I missed out on loads of books I would have loved to have advanced-read before their publication, so I’d like to fix that in 2021 and remember this wonderful website.

Support independent book shops

My favourite book website (Book People) went into administration last year and I was gutted.

I’ve been on the lookout ever since for an alternative, and I’m determined to find a new favourite book shop.

As alternatives to Amazon, I’ve been using Lowplex Books (which have loads of book bundles) and The Works, but I’d like to try and support other smaller stores with my purchases. (So if anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.)

Posted in When Are You Reading Challenge

2021 When Are You Reading Challenge- Sign Up Post

I’ve been blogging on and off for three or four years as of writing but somehow I missed the When Are You Reading Challenge that’s been running since 2014.

The idea behind it is to read twelve books from twelve time periods, and I had made up a reading list before realising that I’ve already signed up to one reading challenge already- but I really want to take part in both, so here we are.

The When Are You Reading Challenge was created and hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words.


My Reading List

Pre-1300

The Odyssey or Macbeth

1300- 1499

Game Of Thrones

1500-1699

The Other Boleyn Girl

1700-1799

The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice and Virtue or The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy

1800-1899

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

1900-1919

His Last Bow or Fall of Giants

1920-1939

The ABC Murders

1940-1959

Dear Mrs Bird

1960-1979

To Kill A Mockingbird

1980-1999

Die Trying

2000- Present

Beach Read or The Da Vinci Code

Future

Divergent or The Hunger Games


Posted in Out Of Comfort Zone Challenge

Out Of Your Comfort Zone Reading Challenge- Sign Up Post

I took part in my first ever reading challenge this year, and I had so much fun that I wanted to try another one.

The Out Of Your Comfort Zone reading challenge was started by Caro @ bookcheshirecat and I love the idea behind it of trying to read more books that are out of your comfort zone.

You can sign up to take part over on the blog which I’ve linked above and in the header image below, and there are loads of pretty graphics that you can use in your posts, too. (Aside from the pink one with the cat below, the blue ones after that are mine.)

Out of my comfort zone 2021

2021 #outofcomfortzonechallenge TBR

I’ve read contemporary novels in the past without realising that’s what they were considered, but it’s not a genre I’ve actively sought out. (mostly because I’m not entirely sure what contemporary means.)

My list of contemporary novels is pretty short, but it might grow if I can find more books to add to it.

  1. Girl, Woman, Other- Bernardine Evaristo

Science Fiction is another genre I don’t read a lot of, even by accident. But Stuart MacBride is one of my favourite authors and this book of his is considered sci-fi, so I’m going to give it a try.

  1. Halfhead- Stuart MacBride

It turns out I own quite a number of historical novels, so this list was by far the easiest.

  1. The Other Boleyn Girl- Philippa Gregory
  2. Washington Black- Esi Edugyan
  3. Parade’s End- Ford Maddox Fod
  4. Vanity Fair- William Makepeace Thackeray

Another teeny list…

  1. The Switch- Beth O’Leary

And another.

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell- Susanna Clarke


What’s on your 2021 tbr list?

Posted in Book Tags, Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books of 2020

I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to making this list. There have been so many amazing books I discovered for the first time this year, and others it was fun to revisit.

Below are my five favourite reads of 2020. Included are their links to Goodreads.


Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Meeghan Reads.


A Dark So Deadly

The thing I love about MacBride’s writing is that it’s funny, but without making light of the darker aspects of the story he’s telling. (Which are some of the grimmer crime novels I’ve read.)

A Dark So Deadly was no exception, and draws first with my next book on this list for my favourite book of the year.


The Flatshare

The Flat Share was adorable. There’s no way it wasn’t going to be on this list.


Hamnet

I’m kind of surprised that Hamnet made this list, since I’d taken a bit of a break during reading, but in the end, I didn’t want to put it down and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Maggie O’Farrell’s work in the future.


Natural Causes (Inspector McLean, #1)

This was a series I’d found by accident when I was in a bookshop a few years ago, and I picked up books 1 and 2 because they were set in Edinburgh and I hadn’t read many Scottish crime novels.

Admittedly I didn’t start reading them until this year, but I enjoyed them, and as the first book series I’ve actively followed, they’ll always have special meaning for me.


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

The Thursday Murder Club was everywhere on its release, and I saw praise after praise for its story and its characters.

It didn’t disappoint.


And there you have it. My top 5 reads of 2020.

Were any of these on your list?

Posted in Reads Rated

Mini Reviews: Hamnet, Crashing Heat, First Class Murder and Jolly Foul Play

For the first time ever, my mini reviews are actually miniature.

And there are four books in this post, which is also a first for me.


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Hamnet

O’Farrell takes the known facts of Hamnet’s life and weaves them through a narrative that is descriptive and immersive and tragic, and the result is a beautiful story about family and love and loss.

If you have this on your tbr, I’d highly recommend it.

Rating: 5/5


Crashing Heat by Richard Castle (aka Tom Straw)
Crashing Heat (Nikki Heat, #10)

I enjoyed the previous nine books in this series, but the tenth instalment just did not deliver for me.

Aside from the glaring plot-hole that was a character who’d died in an earlier book being alive again, the case Heat and Rook investigate was thin and convoluted and had no stakes for me invest in.

I’d love to be able to say that the references to the TV show on which this series in a spin-off (the show being ABC’s Castle, starring Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion) saved the day, but those were few and far between.

Rating: 2/5


First Class Murder by Robin Stevens
First Class Murder (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #3)

Three adventures in and the Detective Society are still going strong. Hazel and Daisy are on the Orient Express for their holidays, and find themselves another case when a passenger is murdered.

There are plenty of suspects (as in the previous novels) and a satisfying conclusion.

Rating: 4/5


JOLLY FOUL PLAY BY ROBIN STEVENS
Jolly Foul Play (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #4)

Back at school, and almost a year on from their first case, Daisy and Hazel are mere feet away when a murder takes place during a fireworks display.

In spite of that echo back to their first investigation, the pair have grown up a lot since then. Hazel does some investigating on her own and even questions Daisy’s orders, which she wouldn’t have done in Book 1, while Daisy herself is less about the uncovering of secrets and more trying to prevent an innocent person from being accused of the murder, which shows a massive development in her character.

An old-fashioned, enjoyable YA mystery.

Rating: 4/5

Posted in Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Covers of 2020

One of my favourite things about following book blogs is getting to see all the pretty book covers.

Here are some of my favourites from this year.


Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Meeghan Reads.


Hamnet by Maggie o’farrell

I thought I was over my phase of buying books because they look nice, but that was before I kept seeing the hardcover edition of Hamnet all over my social media feeds.

Hamnet

The Devil and The Dark Water by stuart turton

This one doesn’t have much going on with it, but I love the colours and the little compass on the front. Plus the hardcover edition has matching sprayed edges, which I just love.

The Devil and the Dark Water

Beach Read by emily henry

Beach Read is easily one of the brightest books I own. I love the vivid colours and the beach design, which ties in with the title and the story.

Beach Read

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

I loved this story, and seeing the cover makes me remember it.

The Flatshare

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Technically I’m cheating a little for this last one since I didn’t read this book in 2020, but I couldn’t include it.

Three Things About Elsie
Posted in Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books On My Holiday Wishlist

While I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I’d intended to when we went into lockdown at the end of March, I have been doing a lot of reading. And adding to my wishlist.

I’ve had more book hauls this year than ever, so this prompt for today’s Top 5 Tuesday seemed like a good excuse to look over all the books I would love to own and try and prioritise them a bit.


Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Meeghan Reads.


The Cousins by Karen McManus

There aren’t many authors whose books I’ll buy/ pre-order without knowing anything about them, but Karen McManus is one of them.

I loved One Of Us Is Lying, and One Of Us Is Next, and Two Can Keep A Secret, so I’m really excited to get my hands on this latest addition soon.

The Cousins

What Will Burn by James Oswald

Ignoring the fact that I still have five books in the Inspector McLean series to read before I can get round to Book 11, I really really want to get a copy soon. Preferably hardback, and signed, like the copy of Book 10 I got before remembering I have the rest of the series in paperback.

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Am I collecting all of Beth O’Leary’s books? Possibly. But I adored The Flatshare and I’m excited to read The Switch, so I couldn’t really not add The Road Trip to my wishlist.

The Road Trip

The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel

After buying Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies for their rrp then finding Wolf Hall for sales at The Works for £2, I’m not rushing to buy the third book in this series.

But I do really want to read it, and hopefully soon before I forget who all the characters are and what’s happened.

The Thursday Murder Club 2 by Richard Osman

I haven’t heard what this sequel is about or seen it available to request on Netgalley as an arc, but I really enjoyed the first one and I was happy to find out there was going to be a follow-up.

The Thursday Murder Club 2

Posted in Book Tags

The End Of The Year Book Tag

I found this tag over on Stephanie’s blog at Adventures of a Bibliophile and I really wanted to take part because I thought it would be fun to have a look over the reading I’ve managed to get done this year, and consider plans for 2021.


Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I’d like to finish War and Peace before January, but I doubt that’s going to happen since there are over 1000 pages and I don’t think I’ve reach the 100 mark yet. I haven’t abandoned it, though, but progress is slow-going because for some reason I got myself a physical copy of the book instead of getting it on my Kindle, and it weighs a ton.

I still have the second Outlander book, Dragonfly In Amber, on my Goodreads Currently Reading shelf, which I started either earlier this year or last year and never went back to, so that’s another one I’d like to finish.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

No, but I do have a collection of short stories called Twelve Days Of Winter by Stuart MacBride, which is the closest I’m going to get.

Twelve Days of Winter: Crime at Christmas
Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Karen McManus’ latest book, The Cousins, which is due for release at the beginning of December.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

I’ve been thinking about rereading Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes trilogy, but I’d also really like to get round to Beth O’Leary’s The Switch soon, and the sixth Inspector McLean book.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I’ve had a pretty decent year of reading so far, mostly because I’ve only been reading books I want to read and abandoning those I haven’t been interested in, so I don’t think there are any wild cards on my shelves- but I think A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride is probably going to be my favourite book of the year.

It already is, but there’s still a month of 2020 left so it’s still possible it might get knocked off the top spot.

A Dark So Deadly
Have you already started making reading plans for 2021?

I didn’t make any for 2020 other than to try and read more than I did last year. My Goodreads goal was set at 20, and I’m currently at 74, so I don’t think I’m going to beat that if next year returns us to normal life.

So far, all I’m planning for 2021 is to work through all the books I hauled this year, and get my tbr down to double figures.