My 5* reads of 2017

As a follow up to yesterday’s 2017 reflection post (you can catch up with this here) today’s post goes into a little more detail about my reading and books I read in 2017.  I love this Goodreads infographic >>

Although my average rating was 3.6 (am I a harsh marker?) I’ve rounded up my 5* reads of 2017, of which there were 7, in one handy bite size post.  So here they are:

Holding by Graham Norton

I listened to this as an audio book and it’s quite darkly humourous, especially with Graham’s narration; the characters swear quite a lot and it just made me laugh in the context it was used.  I think it would make an excellent drama and was surprised that I enjoyed it so much given its celebrity author.

Full review:  Holding

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon 

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Everything worked in this book: the style, the pace, the writing, the characters, I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like or could fault and it doesn’t come as any surprise that the author’s background is as a police officer as the police investigation came across as incredibly authentic.

Full review: I Let You Go

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly

I thought this book was brilliantly written although somewhat slow in places that I wanted it all to move on a little quicker but I couldn’t fault the drama, the tension and all the twisty bits down to the last sentence.

Full review: He Said She Said

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

So very late to the party with this book and in all honesty I probably wouldn’t have picked it for my book club choice had it not been made into a TV drama.  Thought-provoking, shocking and truly disturbing, a definite must read.

Full review: The Handmaid’s Tale

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh makes a second appearance in my list with a 5* rating for her second novel.  The social media culture allows us to put our whole lives online if we so wish so when you get scenarios in books like these it’s easy to feel how realistic they are.

Full review: I See You

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

If I could award 6* this book would certainly be worthy!   There are parts of this book that are truly awful because of the subject matter but this is just an outstanding novel.

Full review: The Underground Railroad

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Oh Flora I miss you and your antics!  I think Flora is my favourite character from books read last year, I loved her style and her attitude and empathised with her situation.  Hopeful and heart-breaking – what more could you want!

Full review: The One Memory of Flora Banks

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon


So there we have it, my top rated reads of 2017. 

Have you read any of these? Any top picks you would have added?

Mini #book #reviews

In an attempt to get myself up to date and back in the blogging swing of things, I’ve put together these mini book reviews.  The fact that they are mini has nothing to do with quality or enjoyment, this is purely a way to get me back on track!

So, here’s what I’ve read recently:

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer
Goodreads | Amazon

An advanced reader copy that’s been on my shelf for well over a year! Bad book blogger!

I was hoping for a mystery involving a kidnapped child, which in the most part it is which very much reminded me of Madeleine McCann, although this isn’t a police procedural.  I was totally not expecting the supernatural element which just smacked me in the face with disbelief.  I don’t do supernatural unfortunately. 3*


An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth
Goodreads | Amazon

Yet another ARC that slipped by the wayside 😦

This reminded me of the historical sexual abuse allegations that have cropped up recently and often doesn’t make for a comfortable read, but then I guess real life is often like that.  An ok whoactuallydunnit novel although I preferred Colette’s first novel The Life I Left Behind.  3*



The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Goodreads | Amazon

My daughter gave me this to read as she needed someone to discuss it with.  It’s definitely one of those you need to chat about as this one will totally mess with your head over who did what.  A proper gripping twisty book that I read in less than 48 hours. 4*




How do you keep on top of your reviews, do you do them straight away or knock out a batch at a time?

Those pesky three star reviews

imageReally interesting blog here from Ishita on 3 star reviews! I don’t see a 3* rating as bad, for me it was an ok enjoyable read but not one I’d necessarily shout from the roof tops about and would donate rather than keep on the shelf.
I don’t use a rating system other than on Goodreads but I’m aware other bloggers do and sometimes I mention in my review what Goodreads rating I gave, and sometimes I don’t. It’s not always about the star rating.
What are your thoughts on 3* reviews?


There are different ways you can classify a review based on the structure and style, but the reviews (movies, books, art, plays) I grew up reading were in newspapers and mainly of two “types” – ones with a rating system (out of five) and ones without.

When I started this blog for book reviews, I didn’t use a rating scale at all. Over time, I became active on Goodreads, started opening up my blog for review requests and came to know about the importance of leaving reviews on Amazon. It was then that I started rating books, because I realized how inbuilt and expected it is in the scheme of online retail, forums and promotions. I also went back to my earlier reviews and rated all of them.

However, there are times I wish there was no concept of a rating system at all. I feel that way every time…

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My month in books – September

Two of the books I’ve read this month have been in my TBR pile for well over 6 months if not longer; these being Apple Tree Yard and Someone Else’s Skin. I’m sure all us book bloggers have the same problem: we get sent books, we request books, we’re given books and sometimes we even buy books and then if you’re like me you put them straight on the book shelf where they don’t see the light of day for about….mmm six months or longer. So this month, I guilt tripped myself into picking a couple of the older ones (should probably do this more often!)

Have you read a book this month that’s been on your shelf for quite a while?

Books read: Only 4! What have I been doing??

Apple Tree YardMrs HemingwayNo Safe HouseSomeoneElsesSkin

Books added to the TBR:

The Prophecy of BeesThe Invention of Wings

Currently reading: Dear Thing by Julie Cohen

Favourite book for September: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

My month in books – August

I bought The Lemon Grove because of all the hype I’d seen about it on Twitter, it was very much a case of well everyone loves it, it must be good. Well, I was somewhat disappointed. You look at the cover and think this is a perfect summer read, but for me certain aspects, well ok, most of it let me down. Since I’ve read it I’ve been checking out other people’s reviews and there’s a lot of very mixed reviews and opinions out there. If I don’t love a book that everyone else does, I do tend to think it’s me and that’s fine. We don’t all love the same stuff.

I try really hard to avoid any reviews or comments of books that I have on my TBR pile especially if I’m going to be reading them soon, I want to go into the book with a clean slate, so to speak. But whilst scrolling through your Twitter timeline or Facebook statuses you can’t help but see comments of popular current books, so although I don’t actually seek out reviews prior to reading I do find social media can hinder your experience of reading a book.

Do you find that your view or opinion is possibly already tainted from what you’ve read beforehand? Has social media spoiled a book for you before you’ve read it?

Let me know…. 🙂

Books read: 7

The Lemon GroveFall from GraceThe Poppy FactoryThe Old Man and the SeaStrange Girls and Ordinary Women





Station ElevenNo Time for Goodbye





Books added to the TBR:

The Way You Look TonightThe Extra ordinary life of Frank DerrickSummer of the Dead

Currently reading: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty

Favourite book for August: Surprisingly Station Eleven by Emily Mandel. Very different to anything I’d read before.