Six In Six – A Look Back At Some Of My Top Books Of 2017 So Far…

6 I saw this over at Cleopatra Loves Books, and thought it was a great idea to look back at books read so far in 2017. Hosted by Jo’s Book Journey, the idea is sharing 6 books, in 6 categories from the first half of the year. So here’s my choices:

6 Books I Have Enjoyed The Most 

 

 

6 Psychological Thrillers I Have Read & Enjoyed 

 

 

6 New To Me Authors 

 

 

6 Covers I’ve Loved

 

 

6 Books Which Took Me To The Past 

 

 

Six Books I Own & Can’t Believe I Haven’t Managed To Read Yet 

 

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Thanks to the lovely Dee of Noveldeelights.com for tagging me in the rapid fire book tag! I’ve seen these about and thought they looked fun, so I’m pleased to have a go myself. So here we go …

Ebooks or physical books?
I still prefer physical, nothing beats the feel of a new book. But I read both and really appreciate Ebooks these days as there’s only a limit on how many real books I can actually house
Paperback or hardback?
Easy…Hardbacks. I LOVE Hardbacks and collect them.
Online or in-store book shopping?
Online. I just don’t go into town shopping all that often. 
Trilogies or series?
Trilogies. More and I get bored
Heroes or villains?
Heroes! I like a good guy 
A book you want everyone to read?
Recently-I’ve been shouting about This Love by Dani Atkins a lot. 
Recommend an underrated book.
The Drowning Girl by Margaret Leroy. This would be so much more popular if it were released now (I read it 8 or 9 years ago)
The last book you finished?
The Many Colours of Us by Rachel Burton
Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?
You know the price tags off clothes…those. Also, not bookmark, but those M&S plastic knicker pack bags with the pressy/clippy fastener make great kindle protectors on the beach (with the labels off of course!)
Used books, yes or no?
I don’t mind. As long as they’re good condition
Borrow or buy?
Buy.
Characters or plot?
I’m an emotional reader. I enjoy feeling connected – so character. 
Long or short book?
Under 500 pages. 
Long or short chapters?
Short! So much more gripping!
Name the first three books you think of?
The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger  
The Binding Song by Elodie Harper
Dead Woman Walking by Sarah Bolton
Books that make you laugh or cry?
Cry. I am an emotional soul. 
Our world or fictional worlds?
These days – Our world. I do like a touch of magic now and then though. 
Audiobooks : yes or no?
No…my mind just wanders. 
Do you ever judge a book by its cover?
Always – sorry!
Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?
Probably TV. 
A movie or TV adaptation you preferred over the book?
I can’t think of any. I don’t actually watch much TV or films
Series or standalone?
Standalone. I like closure.   
So I’m tagging the following as I don’t think they’ve done it? (or if you have or just don’t want to- ignore me!) 
and anyone else who wants to do it! 

Book Review: Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal

It’s late. The phone rings.

The man on the other end says his daughter is missing.

Your daughter.

The baby you gave away over fifteen years ago. 

What do you do? 

Nora Watts isn’t sure that she wants to get involved. Troubled, messed up, and with more than enough problems of her own, Nora doesn’t want to revisit the past. But then she sees the photograph. A girl, a teenager, with her eyes. How can she turn her back on her? 

But going in search of her daughter brings Nora into contact with a past that she would rather forget, a past that she has worked hard to put behind her, but which is always there, waiting for her . . . 

In Eyes Like Mine, Sheena Kamal has created a kick-ass protagonist who will give Lisbeth Salander a run for her money. Intuitive, not always likeable, and deeply flawed, Nora Watts is a new heroine for our time. (From Goodreads.com)

Published by Bonnier Zaffre 9th February 2017 (UK)

As soon as I started reading Eyes Like Mine, I realised it was going to be very different to other other thrillers I’ve read lately. The tone, style, prose…it was sharp and edgy and very easy to become quickly gripped by.

Nora Watts is a tough, world weary protagonist. She’s seen the worst of human nature in her life, and this is reflected in her attitude. She’s aloof, suspicious and constantly looking over her shoulder. She keeps herself to herself, squatting in the basement of her employers office and keeping in the shadows of the violent and corrupt world she inhabits, the mangy stray dog who, for some reason latched onto her, the only company she has. But this lady can take care of herself, she’s had to. Nora is fiesty and strong, and Eyes Like Mine is a fast paced, action packed thriller throughout.

Nora isn’t a likable character. She’s an ex-alcoholic, almost vagrant and distrusts most people she knows. She goes out of her way to keep everyone at more than arms length. As her story is revealed throughout the book, I understood why. Nora knows violence and betrayal. She’s come to expect nothing less. She appears cold, even when the call about her missing daughter, adopted at birth, comes in. The author never lets Nora’s guard slip, even for a second, but there are glimpses of what lurks underneath Nora’s iron exterior, just enough to make the reader care what happens to her without slipping into sentimentality or smulch. For this, Nora is utterly believable.

There are some violent scenes in this book, with the setting being the dark and corrupt world of private investigation and billionaire business. It’s edge of your seat fast at times, with car chases, gun fights and an ever present sense that danger lurks right around the corner. I did loose my way a little bit regarding Nora’s investigation into the Canadian mining business, it got a little to technical for me and I started loosing track of who was who and how it was all connected-however, my confusion wasn’t that long lived and is probably down to me not having any idea about billion dollar mining business and  the Canadian setting (there seemed to be a political undertow? It’s just not something I know anything about). There’s also one thread early on in the book which I kept expecting to resurface, and when it didn’t I wondered what the point of it had been. On reflection though, I think it was to show there is a softer, human and empathetic side to Nora.

Eyes like Mine proved to be more action packed, gritty and perhaps political, then what I’d usually choose. I’m not usually drawn to books about corruption, however having read this, I’m glad I did. I raced through it in a couple of sittings and was gripped throughout.

(I read an advanced readers copy from the Amazon Vine Program)

Books I Wish I Could Read For The First Time… Again

A few days ago, while wasting time on Twitter, I spotted a tweet by a fellow blogger linking to her latest post about books that had fell ‘Between The Cracks’ This week it was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and my immediate response was “I’m Jealous”. OK, that may seem a fairly odd response, but oh! how I wish I could read that book again for the first time! I absolutely adored the intricate, spellbinding world in this book and was absolutely mind blown. It’s a feeling that just can’t be recaptured in subsequent readings. (My original review is HERE if you would like to see just how much I did love it) 

It got me thinking about other books that I really, really wish I had never read JUST so I could experience them for the first time again. Two more immediately sprang to mind. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack is one I’m sure lots of people will feel the same about. I was bought this book as a gift when it first came out, and to be honest, wasn’t really sure it would be for me. I read a LOT of chick lit back then and stuck with the same, safe authors and formats I was familiar with and wasn’t sure I liked the idea of Death as the narrator. If The Book Thief taught me one thing, it was to open my mind more to the wonderful world of books. Actually, it taught me much more than this. It was life changing. 

The other book that jumps right out as a book I’d love to experience for the first time again is one that I count as my favourite book of all time, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I was so utterly blown away, madly in love, breathtakingly mesmerised by this book, when I turned the last page I immediately went back to the beginning and read it again. I’ve read it a tonne of times since, but never has been as magical as that very first time. 

I’m not that much of a re-reader. Like book lovers the world over, my ‘want to read’ piles and lists mean there isn’t enough hours in the day (or night). I have read these three books again (and again) though, and no doubt I’ll carry on pulling them out every now and then as they remain firm favourites. But, damn, I wish I could read them again for the very first time!

Do you have books you’d love to experience for the first time again? Let me know in the comments or write a post of your own and feel free to come back and link to it.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish 

Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t/Want To Read
This was a hard one to narrow down. I have shelves of books that I haven’t got around to going back years. My Amazon wishlist is nearly as big as the entire book catalogue on there. In the end I decided to grab the books from my shelves that I remember being the most excited about and the ones I still REALLY want to read and can’t believe I haven’t yet.  (from mixed genre’s so a bit of a cheat!)
Boundless by Cynthia Hand, The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan and Insurgent by Veronica Roth….I RAVED about the first books in these series, waited desperately for these sequels, got my hands on them the second I could…and then never got round to reading them. WHY!!! I fear it’s been so long now, I’ll struggle to recall what happened at the beginning of these series.  
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets and A Thousand Splendid Suns are probably the two longest unreads on my shelves. The Distant Hours and Twenties Girl were books by favourite authors which I’d been waiting for for ages. And A Hundred Pieces Of Me, Room and Gone Girl were all books which I’d bought on the back of amazing reviews…I think I’m in a small minority of people who never got around to them….yet.

Looking Forward To February

I’m truly not sorry to say goodbye to January. I dislike the dark, cold, greyness of it. Although it did end very prettily with some snow. This was the walk to school the other day. 
Yet despite some snow, there’s some welcome signs that spring is on its way. The nights are getting lighter and it’s not dark when I leave work anymore. Hurrah. Also, despite the snow, these little beauties popped open overnight giving me a lovely welcome surprise. 
It was also payday weekend…the first one after Christmas. It’s always handy to get paid early in December, but ugh…6 weeks is a long time. I’ve treat myself to some new books which I’m waiting to arrive. 
In the mean time, here’s my to read pile for February. I’ve read such good things about all of these, I think it’s going to be a brilliant reading month. Have you read any of them? What did you think? 

February Recap…It’s Been Emotional.

I’m an emotional reader. Actually, I’m just plain emotional as a person. I even cry at some adverts (The John Lewis Christmas one kills me everytime) or when people win on game shows. My 9 year old thinks it’s hilarious.
And February certainly was an emotional reading month! I think I admitted to crying in every review I wrote. I’ve gone through a whole tree in tissues and ate my weight in chocolate. 
Top picks of February were:   
(click titles to see my reviews) 

I didn’t realise until this week, but the end of January/beginning of February marked FOUR years as a book blogger! I can’t believe my little blog has been going that long. 2013 was a very busy year with lots of stuff happening at home/work/Uni and I had to take an extended break, but this February I’ve loved getting back to the book blogging community, twitter and catching up with old blogger pals (and hopefully making new ones) My TBR pile has exploded again in the last few weeks. It’s great being back! 

Top Ten Book Goals Of 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 
Here’s my list…
1. Read at least 52 books in 2013…I’m going for a goal I know I can achieve this year
2. Allow a total of 2 new books a MONTH into the house. (a difficult, but essential one) 
3. Write reviews of books within 24 hours of finishing. Or at least take detailed notes. 
4. Read a couple of classics to prepare for next years uni course. 
5. Read a good mix of adult, YA and kids books and be unafraid of mixing genres.

6. Catch up on a few series I’m way behind on.

7. Say no-no matter how tempting! Realistically, I can’t read all the review books I’m offered so I’m not going to try. I’ll be operating a very strict review book acceptance policy. 
8. Get back into the habit of participating in the blog community.
9. Update seriously out of date Review A-Z and interview links (ongoing from 2012-eeek) 
10. Read The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (a compulsory goal-for the 3rd year running!)