Books · Jottings

Books in 2014

Here we are again. Another year of reading. Where do you begin.

I read 100 books (just!) and I think part of me thinks I have cheated because I read a lot of short stories.

15 short stories.

The anomaly among these 15 was A Place For Us – Harriet Evans which I read in 4 parts as it was published in ebook form as such. It was like waiting for a series on the television to develop as the months went by. The book (as a whole is available in January 2015). Now if I took this out of the short stories and combined it as one book – then I would only have read 97 books. So you can see why I might think I have cheated a bit.

As for the wonder that is the kindle – reading on that came in at 30 books. More than any other year looking back, and just under a third of the total books read. Why? Well a number of the short stories read are only available on kindle, so that upped the number considerably. I also became more involved with netgalley and have received some lovely books via this medium and therefore they have been read on my kindle.

It is very easy with netgalley to become carried away with requesting and downloading books and then not actually getting round to reading them. I feel guilty about that. The only thing that grates sometimes with the netgalley copies is the formatting can sometimes be a bit askew and therefore that makes it a bit more difficult to read. I read visually as much as I read the words. But reading should not be about guilt and being picky over layout and spelling, it should be about enjoyment and regardless of my foibles it has given me that.

Looking back at the list you can see who I read a lot of Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde, Veronica Henry, M.C. Beaton, Debbie Macomber. All good books and value for money in terms of reading.


Lucinda Riley’s work was prominent in 2014 – three books. The Midnight Rose, The Italian Girl and The Seven Sisters. What made it even more special for me was meeting and having lunch with Lucinda where she talked not just about her new novel The Seven Sisters but everything else as well. I felt very privileged and it is a memory I take into 2015. I resolve to write my review and all about the lunch as soon as possible.

2014 being the 100th year since the outbreak of the First World War brought many things to light. Not just the wonderful poppy installation at the Tower of London but I did resolve to read some fiction related to that period. I had my own reading remembrance post but in relation to the books for 2014.

It must go to Anna Hope – Wake

A brilliant début novel, about the days where the body of the unknown soldier is removed from the fields of France and then takes a journey to lay at rest in Westminster Abbey.

History is part of my life, it is part of everyone’s life. It interests some more than others. It interests me a lot and I love fiction that goes back to the periods. Especially periods which have been rather overlooked.

A dual time period of the 20s and 60s is an interesting choice int he debut novel of Stephanie Lam – The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House. 

The 50s & 60s is covered with Jill Dawson – The Lucky Bunny.

This book has thoroughly been researched and I think brings a wonderful example of social history for a thirty year period in the East End of London.

Right back to 1857 and across the seas to Tasmania where you learn about ways of life and how actions have reactions with Rosie Goodwin – A Mother’s Shame. 

Staying across in that part of the world I was lucky enough to read Monica McInerney – Hello from the Gillespies. An author I have not visited for a long time and you really get a lot of story packed into the pages and pages.

Crime has not been a major player in my reading life (nor in any part of my life) but what I have read has been excellent.

Combining History and Crime is Sara Sherdian – London Calling. It is the 1950s and the war has changed everything for women and Mirabelle. This book captures so much about society at the time. Plus they have the bonus of looking beautiful all on the shelf together in their hardback form.

It is very difficult to take on the mantle of a great author and continue their work. Sophie Hannah in my opinion has done it perfectly with Hercule Poirot and The Monogram Murders. I enjoyed it, many did not, but I think if you came to the book expecting Christie you were going to be disappointed.

Rather good crime comes in the form of Belinda Bauer, I am excited to read her new novel in 2015 but The Facts of Life and Death in 2014 was a great read

This is a bleak thriller but that does not make it depressing, far from it. Bauer creates a twist and a turn, and in amongst all this desolation there is the murders that need to be solved, it is very different to her previous novels. For me it had a du Maurier-esque romance about it, for some reason I thought of Jamaica Inn, which no doubt was down to the descriptive landscape which made it all come alive from the page. It is a very different sort of book and not your conventional thriller or serial killer novel and because it did not fit a nice pigeon hole is the reason I really enjoyed the book.

A book club choice that surprised us all was Pierre Lemaitre – Alex. First of all it was a translated piece of work and we skipped through the book, gasping and enthralled as the story unfolded.

It is thriller and one that will have you on the “edge of your seat”. It alternates between Alex (of the title) who is kidnapped and Camille Verhoeven the rather short detective whose feet do not even reach the floor when sat in a chair who is out to find Alex and catch the kidnapper

Other books I must mention are Graeme Simsion – The Rosie Project. For me The Rosie Effect has not quite lived up to the first. War is spoken about in a different way in Elizabeth Speller – The Return of Captain John Emmett. The Second World War is covered in Richard Madeley- Some Day I’ll Find You in a very interesting way.  Crime, War and Murder are encapsulated in Ben Elton – The First Casualty. Sun, Sea, Sand and Sex are complete contrasts to war and Helen Walsh – The Lemon Grove was all of these and more.

Follow Ups, sequels what ever you may want to call them, but companion is the only way to sum up Rachel Joyce – The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey was so beautifully written it reminded me of those lost and those questions which were never asked.

You might have gathered I am quite a fan of series of books. In some ways it is because maybe it satisfies the ‘soap opera’ style of going back to the same people and places and knowing everything with some sort of familiarity. I embarked on a new series with Alexandra Brown – The Great Christmas Knit Off, trouble is when you start at the beginning you have to be patient whilst the author writes the next….

Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I appreciate all the comments and visits. If you are a regular then hope to see more of you in 2015, if you have just stumbled across this blog or perhaps never commented before. Say hello I promise my bark is worse than my bite, or so I am told.

What books did you like in 2014? Any ideas what we should be reading in 2015?