May 2021 Wrap-Up

That’s nearly half of 2021 done and dusted. What!? At the start of the year it seemed to be moving incredibly slowly but now time seems to be speeding up again and finally we’ve got some warm weather where I am in the UK. It’s been so good to get some freedoms back over the last couple of months. I haven’t been going mad, but it has been great being able to meet friends and family again, which is something we just took for granted before all of this started.

At the start of this month I finished the first draft of my new novel which is complete at 93,323 words. I’ve put it away for a month now nearly so I’ll be looking at it again in a few days; I’m hoping that I’m not going to hate it when I read it. My blog also turns five years old tomorrow. That’s crazy to think that I’ve been blogging now for half a decade. Look out for a special giveaway on my blog tomorrow.

I’ve now read 75 books towards my Goodreads challenge of 100 books by the end of the year. This month I took part in six blog tours and I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any:

The Rapunzal Act by Abi Silver

All My Lies by Sophie Flynn

The Assistant by Kjell ola Dahl

Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

You Had It Coming by B.M. Carroll

The Pact by Sharon Bolton

In June I have seven blog tours coming up, The Forever Home by Sue Watston on the 7th, The Cursed Girls by Caro Ramsay on the 8th, 20/20 by Carl Goodman on the 17th, Fragile by Sarah Hilary on the 20th, A Cut for a Cut by Carol Wyer on the 29th, Truth or Dare by M.J. Arlidge on the 29th and Invisible Victim by Mel Sherratt on the 30th.

I did receive some exciting bookpost this month. I received copies of Truth Games by Caroline England, The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen, The Beresford by Will Carver and The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson.

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That’s all from me this month. Let me know what you’re currently reading in the comments. I’m currently reading In Her Bones by Kate Moretti and Invisible Victim by Mel Sherratt.

April 2021 Wrap-Up

It’s hard to believe that a quarter of 2021 is now done and dusted. I’ve read some great books so far this year and I’ve found a few already which I’m sure will be in my top ten reads of 2021. I’ve made a lot of progress with the manuscript I’m working on at the moment and I’ve nearly finished the first draft. I’ve so far written 90,051 words. I think it may still need a lot of work but I’m really pleased with it so far and I’m really excited about it.

It’s also been so good to visit bookshops again this month. I can literally spend hours just browsing in them. And of course I had to make an obligatory book purchase while I was there. It’s also been so good to finally get out and start seeing people again this month.

I’ve now read 62 books towards my goal of 100 books in 2021. I took part in four blog tours this month and I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any.

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith

Trust Me by T.M. Logan

The House of Hidden Secrets by C.E. Rose

This month I have six blog tours coming up, The Rapunzel Act by Abi Silver on the 4th May, All My Lies by Sophie Flynn on the 10th, The Assistant by Kjell ola Dahl on the 11th, Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons on the 14th, You Had It Coming by B.M. Carroll on the 21st and The Pact by Sharon Bolton on the 24th.

I received some exciting bookpost this month, The Prank by L.V. Matthews, Rachel’s Story by Leigh Russell, The Maidens by Alex Michaeledis, The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan and The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry.

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That’s all from me this month. What are currently reading at the moment? I’m currently reading The Assistant by Kjell ola Dahl and The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan. Let me know in the comments.

January 2021 Wrap-Up

Has anyone else felt as though January has just dragged? January always goes slow but this year it has really been a tough month to get through. Here in the UK we’re still in lockdown and it looks as though that’s set to continue for the next two months at least. I have made the most of my time at home by getting on with the first draft of my second book which I have now completed. The current word count is 91, 498 words. Now I need to put it away for at least a month before I look at it again. I think it’s always best to come back to it with fresh eyes. But I am really happy with what I’ve written.

At the beginning of the year I set a goal on Goodreads to read a 100 books in 2021. I have now so far read 17 books.

This month I took part in five blog tours and I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any.

The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello

Dishonoured by Jem Tugwell

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

The Captive by Deborah O’Connor

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor

I have a busy month in February and I’m taking part in seven blog tours. Coming next month, I’ll be taking part in the blog tours for An Eye for An Eye by Carol Wyer on the 3rd February, The Art of Death by David Fennell on the 3rd February, Black Widows by Cate Quinn on the 5th February, Shadow of a Doubt by Michelle Davies on the 5th February The Last Snow by Stina Jackson on the 5th February, Deity by Matt Wesolowski on the 9th February and Smoke Screen by Thomas Enger and Jorn Lier Horst on the 14th February.

I received a couple of exciting books in the post this month, Future Perfect by Felicia Yap and I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp.

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That’s all from me this month. Let me know what you’re currently reading in the comments. I’m currently reading Shiver by Allie Reynolds and Out in the Cold by Stuart Johnstone.

December Wrap-Up

Finally, here we are at the end of 2020. At the start of the New Year I had so many things I was looking forward to this year, which, of course, had to be cancelled or put on hold due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Hopefully things will start getting much more closer to normal at some point in 2021. There are so many people who I want to catch up with. Although Zoom and mobiles makes it easier to keep in contact with people, it certainly isn’t quite the same as meeting up and seeing someone in person.

I have made some more progress on the current novel I am writing and I have now written 58,031 words. It is still only a first draft and I suspect it may change over the coming months. But I’m happy with what I’ve written so far.

With just a day to go until the end of the year I’ve now read 159 books towards my goal of 160. I’ve nearly finished my current read so I should have that finished before the start of 2021.

I had a quieter month on the blog, blog tour wise. I took part in three blog tours this month and I’ve included the links below, in case you missed any.

Body Language by AK Turner

The Last Resort by Susi Holliday

Winterkill by Ragnar Jonasson

I have a busy month coming up in January and I’m taking part in five blog tours. The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello by Chris McDonald on the 12th, Dishonoured by Jem Tugwell on the 16th, The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse on the 17th, The Captive by Deborah O’Connor on the 21st and The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor on the 26th.

I also received some exciting book post this month. I received a copy of The Last Snow by Stina Jackson, Trust by Chris Hammer, The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, The Locksmith by Linda Calvey and The Appeal by Janice Hallett.

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That’s all from me this month. I hope you have a great year in 2021. At the moment I’m currently reading The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. Let me know what you’re currently reading in the comments. Are there any books which you can’t wait to read in 2021?

October Wrap-Up

Just two months left of 2020, what? Although I’m sure there are many who will be pleased to see the back of this year, me included. I’ve already seen signs that people are starting to get ready for Christmas, although there are some people I know, who have been getting excited since August. When I was younger I used to get excited about Christmas throughout the year, but now I don’t want to even think about it until late November. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that book events will be able to start up again next year.

Here in the UK we are going back into lockdown for a month this week. It was something I’ve been expecting for a while now, particularly with other countries in Europe taking similar action.

I managed to read eighteen books this month. In total, so far this year, I’ve now read 131 books towards my Goodreads challenge of 160.

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Some of the books I read in October

On the blog this month, I’ve taken part in five blog tours. I’ve included the links below in case you missed any.

The Choice by Alex Lake

Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir

A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury

Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten

The Girls in the Snow by Stacy Green

One thing that has been unusual for me this month is that I’ve hardly bought any new books. Six new titles is a small number to me. These are the books I have purchased, Somebody’s Daughter by Carol Wyer, Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza, Perfect Kill by Helen Fields, The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells, The Housewarming by S.E. Lynes and Inside Out by Chris McGeorge.

I did also receive some bookpost this month. I received a copy of The Last Resort by Susi Holliday which I’m bumping right up to the top of my TBR pile.

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For November, I have five blog tours coming up, Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons on the 15th, The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard on the 23rd, Out for Blood by Deborah Masson on the 24th, 33 Women by Isabel Ashdown on the 26th and The Chalet by Catherine Cooper on the 29th.

Don’t forget First Monday Crime is taking place live on Facebook this evening from 19.30. The authors who will be speaking are, David Young, Vicki Bradley, S.W. Kane and Chris McGeorge. The panel is being moderated by Claire McGowan and you can access the event by clicking here.

At the moment I’m currently reading Stone Cold Trouble by Amer Anwar and Innocent by Erin Kinsley. Let me know what you’re reading in the comments.

UK 🇬🇧 versus US 🇺🇸 book covers – discussion post

I know you should never judge a book by its cover but its often the first thing I am drawn to in a bookshop unless I have a specific book which I want to buy. Whenever a book, published first here in the UK, is subsequently published in America, I’m always interested to see their version of the cover. I may be biased, but I nearly always prefer the UK version, but I do like some of the ideas our cousins across the pond have come up with. Let me know what you think of the US cover and UK cover of these books in the comments. Do you sometimes have a preference?

UK cover

US cover


On this occasion I do prefer the US cover for The Guest List by Lucy Foley. I think it gives the book a much darker feel than the UK cover does. It also makes it feel very atmospheric. I love the view of the island with the rain pouring down as well. It makes you think that this definitely isn’t a good place to be. I think it also gives the book a very foreboding feeling, you know that bad things are going to happen here.

UK cover

US cover


I think the US cover for The Silent Patient does give it more of a haunting feeling than the UK cover does. I like the ghostly image of the woman in the background which drew me in. I think though, the UK cover creates more mystery. In this case I like the UK cover best.

UK cover

The Thursday Murder Club: A Novel by [Richard Osman]

US cover


There isn’t much of a difference in both versions of the cover for The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman so I think they are both on par with each other. It always interests me when the US publishers choose the same cover or a very similar cover to the UK version. The US version here is a bit more striking thank the UK version, in my opinion.

US cover

Tall Oaks: Winner of the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award by [Chris Whitaker]

UK cover


I love the use of the trees in the background of the US cover of Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker. I do think the UK version does make it feel more darker though.

UK cover

US cover


Both versions of The Whisper Man are very haunting. I’m not over keen on the white background on the US version, however, so I think I definitely prefer the UK version. When you see the UK version on a shelf it almost has a 3D appearance which I really like as well. At least, that’s what I think when I look at it.

Let me know your thoughts on the book covers above in the comments below. Or if there’s a particular version of a cover which you really like.

September Wrap-Up

Hi everyone, September seems to have gone by really quickly. I think we’ve probably seen the last of summer in the UK and I have already seen the first signs of autumn. I am missing the long summer nights though, so I’m already looking forward to the spring.

I personally think, though, this time of year is one of my favourites, although I’m not a fan of cold, wet and windy days. My perfect weather is bright sunshine on a freezing cold day. Perfect for hot chocolate.

Towards my Goodreads reading challenge, I’ve now read 114 books so far this year and I’m continuing to make progress with my TBR pile.

Also this month, I joined a new book club on Facebook run by authors, Sam Carrington, Elisabeth Carpenter, Amanda Robson and Caroline England. Each month there is a choice of four novels; group members then vote for the next read. It’s open to anyone to join and if you’d like to, you can do so by clicking on the following link: A Novel Book Club. The choice for this month is The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

I had a quieter month on the blog, blog tour wise this month and I only took part in three blog tours, I’ve listed the links below in case you missed any.

The Watcher by Kate Medina

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn

A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone

This month I’ve ordered copies of, Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten, The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen, Stone Cold Trouble by Amer Anwar, The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, The Coral Bride by Roxanne Bouchard and How the Wired Weep by Ian Patrick and The Guest List by Lucy Foley.

I have four blog tours coming up for October, The Choice by Alex Lake on the 2nd, Betrayal by Lilja Sigurdardóttir on the 5th, A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury on the 9th and Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten on the 20th.

At the moment I’m currently reading Snap by Belinda Bauer, Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone and A Prayer for the Broken by Mark Tilbury. Let me know what you’re reading in the comments.

Discussion post: Which characters do you continue to think about?

Hi guys, I hope you’re keeping well. Today I’ve got another discussion post for you about characters and about which characters continue to stay in your head.

It’s always a great feeling when you become so attached to the characters in a book you’re reading. There have been many occasions when I’ve been left craving for more information about them. I want to know what’s happening with them now after turning the final page. Although the particular story in which they’ve appeared has been wrapped up, they’ve still sometimes played on my mind afterwards. This, to me, is always a sign of excellent writing, and it’ll keep me coming back to that author’s work. Do you ever finish a book and think I’ve just got to talk to someone about the characters? This has happened to me a few times, and it’s made me push books into peoples hands, so I can discuss the characters with them after they’ve read it.

I started thinking about this topic last week when I finished reading Bitter Sun by Beth Lewis. The story was wrapped up well but a week on and I’m still wondering what happened to the characters after the final page. I became so invested in their lives as I was reading the book, and I wish I knew more about what they were up to now.

One character from a crime series who I always continue to wonder about is DI Marnie Rome. The series is written by Sarah Hilary. Marnie has an incredibly powerful back story and her character kept me coming back. This series began with Someone Else’s Skin. In fact it’s the book I always recommend to someone if they’re looking for a good read.

Someone Else’s Skin (DI Marnie Rome 1) by [Sarah Hilary]

Angela Marsons Kim Stone series is another one which has had a similar effect on me. There have been a couple of books in this series which have left me reeling, and I was left wondering for months, before the next book was released, how the characters were getting on. This series began with Silent Scream.

Another character who keeps me coming back is DS Maeve Kerrigan in Jane Casey’s brilliant series. I love Maeve, especially her humour, which always makes me laugh. This series began with The Burning.

The Burning: (Maeve Kerrigan 1) by [Jane Casey]

These are just a few examples of books where I always wonder what the characters are up to once I’ve turned the final page.

Let me know who some of the characters are who you continue to think about. Like me, do you sometimes crave more information about them as well? Let me know in the comments.

Discussion Post – Sharing books, yay or nay?

How comfortable are you lending books to friends and family?

A few years ago I wouldn’t even entertain the notion of sharing my books, but recently I have been more inclined to give books away, especially as I am running out room for books in my house. It sometimes feels that the floors might buckle under the weight of them. 😂😂

Over the years, I think I have definitely become a book hoarder, and it was once very rare that I let a friend borrow one of my books. But I had a very good reason for this after a very unfortunate incident which took place when I decided, in my naivety, to lend a book to a friend, who shall remain nameless.

Going back ten, twelve years ago, I was shocked to discover that my friend had never read the Harry Potter books. This was while the movies were still being made. We made a pact that if she read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, then I would read the first Twilight book which she’d loved and at the time wasn’t my cup of tea.  We agreed and swapped books.

Several weeks later I asked if she had made any progress with the book as being the bookworm I was, I’d already read Twilight by that point. She assured me she had, but it wasn’t until two to three months later that she finally said she’d finished it. When I was next at her house, she went to retrieve the book for me. The book had been battered and bruised, and the pages were torn. 😭😭😭

To say I was devastated was a big understatement. We are still good friends though.

It has taken me a long time to feel comfortable with lending books out again after this. I’m one of those people who, although I love reading books and re-reading them, I like to keep them in a pristine condition, as much as possible. I don’t know if you’re like this as well.

So how comfortable are you with allowing a friend or a family member to borrow a book? Like me, did you once find this idea absurd? Are you still reluctant to lend books out? Do you have a horror story similar to the above you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

Discussion Post: Blending genres

Welcome to my first discussion post. Recently I’ve been thinking about blending genres in fiction and how reading books that have done this has opened my mind to new ones. For me, when I read a thriller that does this, it always makes the book feel very fresh as it has taken me, the reader, somewhere where I haven’t gone before. It is a very good way of putting an original spin on a theme that has already been done. Readers of my blog will know that I mainly stick with crime and psychological thrillers. It’s a genre I feel comfortable with, but I do occasionally like to step my toe into something different.

Goldilocks: The boldest high-concept thriller of 2020 by [Laura Lam]

One book I’ve read recently which has done what I described above very well is Goldilocks by Laura Lam. This book is described as a thriller, and it certainly has aspects of that, but it is also a science fiction novel. Set in the not too distant future; a group of women steal a spacecraft destined to take them to a potential new home for humanity; an exoplanet which can harbour life. But for one of the women on board, there is something far more important at hand. Before reading this book, I would never have considered reading a science fiction novel. I’ve watched science fiction shows such as Doctor Who and films such as The Martian but I’ve never thought about reading science fiction novels. I don’t think I could read a straight science fiction book, but something that does something similar to what Goldilocks has done, I would really be interested in reading. So if you have any recommendations, please let me know. If you’re interested in finding more about this book, you can read my review by clicking here.

Another book which blends genres well is Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. I read this a few years ago now, and I still haven’t forgotten that twist. Sarah Pinborough blends the psychological thriller genre with the supernatural, and it works really well. This book is being turned into a Netflix program, so it’ll be really interesting to see how this translates onto the screen.

The Shape of Night took me completely by surprise. In fact, I still haven’t managed to get some of the scenes from this book out of my head. If you want a taste of what this book is like, a few of my blogger friends and I have dubbed this book ‘Fifty Shades of Casper.’ Those of you who have read it will know why. I need not say any more. I don’t think the paranormal romance genre and the thriller genre go very well with each other, but others may have a different opinion to me. But I certainly don’t think I’ll be opening a door into this world again.

The Memory Chamber: An elegant tale of love and loss by [Holly Cave]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved The Memory Chamber by Holly Cave. Again this is a thriller that dips into the world of science fiction. There’s also a hint of romance. In the future, we have the option to build our perfect Heaven for when we die. The lead protagonist, Isobel, designs Heavens based on people’s specific wishes. Once that person dies, their cells are uploaded into a computer so that they can then live in an almost dream-like state.

 

These are just a few examples of books I’ve read that I chose to cover. I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic. Is there a genre blend that you’d particularly like to see, or are there ones that you think should not mix at all? Has reading books similar to the above sparked an interest in a genre which you haven’t thought of reading before?