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2022 Review Of Books 1/12

In which I begin trying to reduce the number of books on my 'TBR' pile...



Last year was an epic year for books and as I said in my end of year post, I'm trying to slow down and savour the books a bit more this year rather than having a numeric target.

Yeah... about that...

Turns out I find it really difficult to slow down my reading speed if I'm enjoying a book. Consequently, although I've felt less pressured to read this month, I've got through almost as many books as I normally would. That said, some of them have been quite short and definitely come under my 'comfort read' category.

I decided I'd try to tackle the Kindle Unlimited list first, so have read quite a few from that one, but then books came in from the library and then I found out about 'February She Wrote' and moved things around so I could take part in that, so all in all it's been a bit of a mixed bag month. I've also been working really hard on editing both my own books and other people's, as I foolishly decided I wanted to publish 4 books in the first half of this year. What on earth possessed me??


Anyway, for what it's worth, here is this month's offering, with apologies for some of the books being a bit 'samey.' I also decided that it was way too confusing (and also probably a little disrespectful) to separate out the audiobooks, so this year I'll be including them not listing them as a separate category!


So here is the mountain I have to start scaling:


Kindle Unlimited List: 19

On Wish List and Available From The Library: 89

Not in Library/On bookshelf/On kindle already: too many to count but approx 90

Approximate Total: 198 books


I won't do a countdown every month as quite frankly, it will terrify me how many I still want to read, but I will do an update every few months and will try to give a more accurate indication of the total left on the list as I work my way through it!


Books read this month: 16

Annual Total: 16


Reviews


Crime


Murder At Elm House – Helena Dixon (Book 6 in Miss Underhay. I love that Mrs Craven gets a bigger role in this book. She’s a good foil for Kitty and proves that just because one gets old, one doesn’t lose the ability to spot a bad’un!)


Murder At The Wedding – Helena Dixon (Book 7 in Miss Underhay. Kitty reunites with her father’s family for her cousin’s wedding, but politics gets in the way of the celebrations. This plot brings the series bang up to date by placing it within the rise of facism in Britain. Although it’s crucial to the plot however, it never strays away from its cosy crime roots.)


The Maid – Nita Prose (Total impulse to request this to review, but glad I did. Excellent book and look forward to the film adaptation which I understand is coming soon. Full review was on 19th January.)


Death At The Dance – Verity Bright (2nd in the Lady Eleanor Swift series. A good follow up and it was nice to see the characters and the series as a whole coming into their own.)


A Witness To Murder – Verity Bright (3rd in the Lady Eleanor Swift series. This, I think is where the series really begins to find its feet, although I will confess to feeling slightly bemused as to exactly what she sees in Lancelot. Frankly, he’s a spoilt, self-indulged twerp and she deserves much better. His parents, however, are lovely and maybe for her that’s a big part of the attraction.)


Fault Line – Robert Goddard (knew as soon as I started reading it that I’d read it before but as I couldn’t remember anything about the plot – there was just a sense of familiarity – I read it again. Totally loved it, as I do all his books. A proper page-turning thriller of a book with the inevitable twists and turns throughout)


Historical


Violeta – Isabel Allende (Loved this. A gentle, but powerful read. Full review was on 25th January.)


Master of Shadows – Neil Oliver (My Secret Santa book from book group. Solid historical fiction. Quite heavy on the history and a few ‘huh’ moments where it strayed from history to fantasy, but overall it kept my attention throughout. A slow starter, but got more engaging by chapter 3.)


Thriller


The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins (A bit late to the party with this one. Loved it though. Perfect level of tension maintained throughout the book, although I did work out ‘whodunnit’ reasonably early on. This didn’t spoil my enjoyment thought as I wasn’t sure how or why.)


Queen Bee – Nina Manning (Solid psychological thriller mixed with some domestic drama. Full review to come on 1st February.)


Children's


Dragons At Crumbling Castle – Terry Pratchett (Didn’t enjoy this as much as his Discworld books, but a very entertaining set of stories for children who like things that are a bit madcap.)


Romance


Pepper Pot Farm – K T Dady (3rd instalment of the Pepper Bay series. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Full review to come on 10th February.)


Non-Fiction


The Natural World Of Winnie The Pooh – Kathryn Aalto (Thoroughly enjoyed this as I’ve visited Ashdown Forest a few times with the kids and it really made me want to go back again soon.)


Black Boy Out Of Time – Hari Ziyad (I’m probably not the intended audience for this book and there were times where I didn’t really ‘get’ what the issues he was identifying were [one example is why he believed black people shouldn’t be ‘punished’ for being late]. However, I suspect that this is because there is a fundamental life experience tied in with these things that I simply cannot understand because it is an alien experience to me as a white middle class woman. It was an interesting read because it comes from a very different perspective to my own and one it’s gone a little way to helping me have a better understanding of.)


General


Exit West – Mohsin Hamid (an odd combination of genres. Seems predominantly set in the real world and my guess would be is based on the conflict in Syria. However, there is also a potential element of fantasy to it, because when the characters leave and become refugees they travel through doors and simply arrive. However, it could also be that the doors are simply symbolic of the containers and boats that people travel in to reach safety. On ‘Between The Covers’ they had a similar discussion and came no closer to an answer than I did! Very good book though. If you have read ‘American Dirt’ and enjoyed it, this is probably also one for you.)


Classic


The Iliad – Homer (struggled at times with this – good if you like lists of family genealogies and ships – some bits more interesting than others, but not a favourite. What did strike me is that although the characters are regarded as ‘heroes’, they have to be saved so many times by the gods that I do question whether they were actually that good at fighting in the first place!)


Book Of The Month?


An easy choice this month. It has to be Allende's Violeta because it was such a wonderful book with a memorable heroine and it introduced me to an author I'd not read before.




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