My Year in Books and 5* Reads

2016

I haven’t read anywhere near the number of books this year that I wanted too.  I haven’t even managed to reach my revised revised revised target number.  I put this down to starting a new job which has been quite stressful and getting involved in an online business with a friend which will launch early 2017 so unfortunately my books and blogging took a back seat 😦

Out of the 54 books I read this year I gave six books a 5* rating on Goodreads….6!! I don’t know if this makes me a harsh marker or just plain disappointed.  Anyway, my six 5* books read this year were:

See How They Run by Tom Bale – read April 2016

The Storied Life of A.J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – read July 2016

The Racketeer by John Grisham – read August 2016

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – read September 2016

Recipe for Life; The Autobiography by Mary Berry – read September 2016

A Place called Winter by Patrick Gale – read November 2016 (review outstanding – bad blogger!)

Could you pick just ONE book as your standout read for 2016?

5

Book Review: See How They Run by Tom Bale

See How They RunWhat’s it about?

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time for breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only a choice:

STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.

My thoughts

This review will be short, but only because I bloody loved it and there’s only so many ways to say I loved it, go read it!

From the opening chapter Tom Bale takes no prisoners in grabbing hold of the reader’s attention and then doesn’t let go until the very last page.

From the very beginning I got swept along in the thrill of the chase.  Page-turner is such a cliché way of describing a book but this is exactly what this is!  I love it when regular ordinary people get caught up in bad things and you just wonder, what the hell would I do??

I immediately bonded with Alice and Harry and was sympathetic to their extraordinary and horrifying situation.  Of course there’s this sense of implausibility but if there wasn’t, then there wouldn’t be a book!

I’m not gonna lie there are some grisly scenes but no worse than what you’d probably see in an episode of CSI but they made me wince all the same and only added to the gravity of the situation.

This book very much reminded me of the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State which is a movie I love too.  Both fast paced, gritty and with characters you care about from the outset that get swept along in illegal activities to try and guarantee their survival.

Loved everything about this book and will definitely read more from Tom Bale.

Many thanks to Bookouture for the ARC of this book.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Tom Bale

Website | Twitter


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Talk of the Town

WWW Wednesday (May 11th)

Fellow WWWers, I have a hospital appointment this morning, then work and book club this evening. I promise to catch up with your posts tonight or most likely tomorrow. WWW on a Thursday, whatever next 😉
WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m reading…

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

At the point of drafting this post I’m about 200 pages in and there’s this sense of foreboding and the novel is already hinting that something terrible is about to happen. I love Louise Candlish’s writing in this novel, so atmospheric…just like the cover!

The Swimming PoolThe blurb

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – wife, mother, teacher – it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?


I recently finished 2 books

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

This was our book club read for April which was my choice. I picked it based on Claire’s (Art & Soul) recommendation and I wasn’t disappointed.  Almost had me in tears at the end!

The Light Between OceansThe blurb

A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.
They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.

 

 

 

I also finished See How They Run by Tom Bale

Loved this book, so much so, that I made it my second 5* read of the year!  Perfect if you love tense ‘what would you do?’ thrillers,

See How They RunThe blurb

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time for breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only a choice:

STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.


 What’s up next?

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I’ve never read Jane Eyre and believe this novel is a retelling.  I’m not usually a fan of messing around with originals but I was intrigued by this one so requested through Bookbridgr.

Jane SteeleThe blurb

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Share what you’re reading in the comments…

My month in books & bakes – April

my month in books & bakes

What’s happened in April?

On Tuesday April 26th my daughter and I had a day out in London specifically so I could attend my first Rooftop Book Club held at Carmelite House on the Victoria Embankment.  It was a crime panel this time hosting Claire McGowan, Ellie Griffiths and JS Law discussing place and character, followed by Sarah Hilary, Janet Ellis and Antonia Hodgson discussing London and present.  For £10 you had these 2 great panels, drinks, delish nibbles and a goody tote bag with 4 proofs.  It was a fab evening and well worth making the trip. If you get the chance to go, you won’t be disappointed.

Just a few snaps :)

Just a few snaps 🙂

Then….on Saturday 30th I went off to Birmingham to another blogger / author meet up hosted by Kim the Bookworm.  Another well attended event so we were packed in like sardines but I still managed to chat to quite a few people…Mark West, David Videcette, Elaina James, Helen Barrell, Bookaholic Holly, Jane Isaac, Holly Martin and of course my book partner in crime Claire, to name but a few (apologies if I’ve missed anyone in particular).  Do come next time, they’re always such good fun!

Books read: 5

(click the image to go to my review, if it’s available, which it’s probably not because I’m super behind)

The Rosie EffectCut Shortquarter past two on a Wednesday afternoonDear DadSee How They Run

 

 

 

Books added to the TBR: 5

april books

Currently reading: The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman

Favourite book for April:  See How They Run by Tom Bale

I baked: (click the images to have a look)

Viennese Fingers

Viennese Fingers

chocolate brownie cupcakes

Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

Blueberry Loaf

Blueberry Loaf

chocolate birthday cake

Chocolate Birthday Cake

 

Do share your news, bookish or other in the comments…. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (April 27th)

WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m reading…

See How They Run by Tom Bale

Oh this is so good! From the first chapter I got swept along in the thrill of the chase.  Page-turner is such a cliché way of describing a book but this is exactly what this is!  When regular ordinary people get caught up in bad things and you just wonder, what the hell would I do??

See How They RunThe blurb

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time for breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only a choice:

STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.


I recently finished

Dear Dad by Giselle Green

This is a really sweet story and ultimately the star of the show is young Adam; as you might expect where a one of the central characters is a child.  On the whole it’s well written novel and I liked the style but I just wasn’t that into Nate and Jenna. I know other bloggers have loved this book so I wouldn’t necessarily take my opinion as gospel!

Dear DadThe blurb

Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?


 What’s up next?

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

I don’t know why I’ve not read more of Louise Candlish because I loved The Disappearance of Emily Marr, and I really wanted to read The Sudden Departure of the Frasers but never got around to it..you know the usual blogger issues, so I’m really looking forward to reading this one (thanks to Francesca at Penguin for the copy).

The Swimming PoolThe blurb

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – wife, mother, teacher – it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Share what you’re reading in the comments…