I’m keeping track of every book I read this year, month by month.
Just in case anyone does fancy reading something I’ve mentioned, I’m giving details of the books (no more of a spoiler than you’d read on the blurb) and a rating. My rating system is 1 – 5:
- 1 Awful, the writer should be banished to a far away land
- 2 Poor, I didn’t die of boredom but it was a struggle to reach the end
- 3 Average, fine but I’ll have forgotten about it in a year
- 4 Good, I enjoyed this
- 5 Excellent, hot damn this is a great book and the writer should be knighted
NBI’m also reading some books as research for my own, non-fiction publication which is due out next year. I’m omitting anything read for that, here.
Title(s): Girl in the Attic by Valerie Mendes
Category: Fiction: Young Adult, Coming of Age
About: Thirteen-year-old Nathan is taken to Cornwall for Christmas by his Mum after she splits with his Dad. She tells him they’re going to move there and he’s less than pleased… until he discovers a cottage with a girl in the attic.
My Rating: (maybe just under) 4, not bad
The book is very thin, so as you can imagine, the plot has to move along quickly. This story doesn’t win any prizes for originality, but it’s a pleasant enough little story and it jogs along to a reasonable conclusion. A bit of a cliché, but then we all enjoy those once in a while.
Read this if you like: The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan, anything by Susan Hill
Title(s): The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
Category: Fiction: Political (dare-I-say… chick lit?)
About: Five women from very different backgrounds come together in a coffee shop in the heart of Afghanistan.
My Rating: 4, good
I’m loathe to band any book like this into ‘chick-lit’, and it’s not my usual kind of thing, but I didn’t think this was too bad and chick-lit isn’t always an insult…
I enjoyed the story, although was disappointed by the ending. No spoilers, I promise. The characters are mostly stereotypes, but that is kinda the point in that particular setting and much of the story is about them breaking down those boundaries (gentle violin music starts to swell to a crescendo) and *gulp* COMPLETINGANEMOTIONALJOURNEY.
That’s quite enough of that. It’s not bad, honestly.
Read this if you like: The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Title(s): Before the Storm by Diane Chamberlin
Category: Fiction: Crime, Family, Relationships
About: Sufferer of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Andy Lockwood is accused of arson, despite rescuing children from the flames.
My Rating: 4, mostly good.
Did he burn a church to the ground or didn’t he? That’s basically the premise of the book, and as you’d expect from this sort of story, we’re pushed from ‘nahhh, no way’, to ‘oooh actually maybe he did’. I won’t tell you which way it lands (obviously), but the story ticks over quickly enough and the characters aren’t overly soppy or annoying, hurrah.
Read this if you like: everything by Jodi Picoult, everything by Sophie Hannah (you get the idea now)
Title(s): Victim Without a Face by Stefan Ahnhem
Category: Fiction: Crime, Thriller
About: The first in a series about a detective named Fabian Risk, he has just moved to Stockholm with his family to start over. After only a few hours, he’s pulled into a murder case involving one of his old classmates. As more of them are picked off, it becomes a race against time to solve the case
My Rating: 4, good
I enjoy crime books but they’re always disappointingly predictable. I think a lot of crime authors just try to be too clever and outfox us with twists and turns, which unfortunately doesn’t work and can leave you confused as to what’s going on.
This book wasn’t too much like that, but it certainly had a bit of it and combine that with the Swedish names and I found it a wee bit hard to follow who was who at some points. I enjoyed some of the creative deaths and some parts of the book actually made me cringe, which is quite the feat – the ending was disappointing, though.
Read this if you like: A Killing Winter by Tom Callaghan, A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson
Thanks for reading, y’all, see you soon.
You can catch up on October’s Reads here.