Tag Archive | Book Chick City

2013 Reading Challenge – Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge

I’ve decided to do 2 reading challenges this year. This is the first, the other I blogged about last night – TBR Pile Challenge (although it seems I added my link to the site too late, so I’m not sure I’m going to be in the competition, if not, I’ll just do it for myself!). 

I’m sure I don’t need to say anything more, so I’ll just jump in to the details:

2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge.

For the last three years, I’ve done variants of this on Book Chick City, but they don’t seem to be doing it this year, so time to find another one (I can’t even contemplate not doing it, I love it so much). Luckily The Crafty Book Nerd is here to save the day with the 2013 Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge – woop!

This is slightly different to the previous ones I’ve done, in that you don’t have to specify how many books you’re going to read, but the more you read, the higher level you get. Levels go from Detective (5 books) to Sherlock Holmes (30+ books). I’m going to aim for Lieutenant (15 books) or maybe even Captain (20 books – may be pushing it a little).

This is such a successful challenge idea. So far 62 people have signed up. I’ve kind of cheated a little, in that I’ve already read one novel this year. Figure it’s not really cheating, I always knew I was going to do this, I just hadn’t written the blog yet!

Good luck anyone joining in.

2012 Reading Challenges Catch Up

I’m just going through the lists of novels I’ve read for my 3 reading challenges this year. On some I’m doing well, others not so well.

I’m doing three reading challenges this year – Book Chick City’s Mystery and Suspense Challenge, Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge, and Chick Lit Plus’ Chick Lit Reading Challenge.

I’ve been doing the Mystery and Suspense Challenge for years now, I believe this is the third year in a row. I love it. And you know what? I’ve finished it this year already*. Well, I’ve finished the reading, I just need to write a couple of reviews now. When I say a couple… I mean 6. Yes, I’ve read 12* books, and reviewed 6. Shocking. I’m going to try to write a book review every week going forward, so I should catch up before the end of the year – I hope. Maybe for the next couple of weeks I’ll post two reviews a week. Sigh, next year I’ll get better at reviews!

*Just found out I’ve actually read 13 – well over! Awesome. Only that means I’ve got another to review. Oh dear.

When I heard about The TBR Pile Challenge (To Be Read) I KNEW I had to do it – had to. With over 50 unread books on my shelf, it would be a massive push to get through them, even if it would only be 12 of them (14 max, because there are two alternatives). My plan was to read one a month (as is always my plan with challenges with 12 books in 12 months). It started well, better than well. By the end of January I’d read two.

I didn’t read any in February, one in March and so it went. We’re now halfway through the 9th month, so I should have read at least 8. I haven’t. I’ve read 6. And reviewed 4. That’s actually not too bad. I’ve just finished my last book, so I’ll start one for this challenge today. That means by the end of the 9th month, I will have read 7. Not great, but not a bad position. Leaves me three months to read five books. Two months actually, because I don’t read in November (NaNo!). Ok, not great at all, but not terrible.

My final challenge was the one I thought I’d do the best in – the Chick Lit Challenge. Usually that’s what I read the most of. Or that’s what I think I read the most of. Actually in 2011 I read 10 chick lit books, but 11 thrillers. Pretty even. Considering I’ve now completed the Mystery and Suspense Challenge, you’d think I’d almost be done with this one, wouldn’t you?

I’m not. I’m exactly where I should be at this time of year – I’ve read 9 (I won’t mention that 2 were read this month!). Reviewing isn’t going too well on this – I’ve only done 5. Ah. Ok, so 9 to catch up on, 3 to read and review. Not bad. I’m quite happy with this.

Some of the TBR books I have left to read, are also chick lit books (woop, nicely chosen there Helen!). Two of them. That means that I have 7 books left to read this year. I can definitely read one more, possibly two this month. I’ve got lots of train journeys coming up and a few free weekends, so it should be fine. I’m not worried. Not yet anyway.

I was going to just finish this now, but I think it’s probably good to have a list of the books I’ve read, and the challenges they relate to. So here goes:

Mystery & Suspense Challenge:

Snapshot by Craig Robertson
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larrson
After The Snow by SD Crockett
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green
The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall
The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
About Last Night by Adele Parks
Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay
SaleFalls by Jodi Piccoult
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
The Last Juror by John Grisham

The Chick Lit Challenge:

Bewteen A Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
About Last Night by Adele Parks
The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green
After the Party by Lisa Jewell
The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
The Single Girl’s To Do List by Lindsey Kelk
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
All That Glitters by Ilana Fox

The TBR Challenge:

Petit Anglais by Catherine Sanderson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larrson
Salem Falls by Jodi Piccoult
After The Party by Lisa Jewell
The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
The Last Juror by John Grisham

Snapshot by @CraigRobertson_ Review

A series of high-profile shootings by a lone sniper leaves Glasgow terrorised and police photographer Tony Winter – a man with a tragic hidden past – mystified. Who is behind the executions of some of the most notorious drug lords in the city? As more shootings occur – including those of police officers – the authorities realise they have a vigilante on their hands. Meanwhile, Tony investigates a link between the victims and a schoolboy who has been badly beaten. Seemingly unconnected, they share a strange link. As Tony delves deeper, his quest for the truth and his search for the killer lead him down dark and dangerous paths.

In 2010 I signed up for the Thriller & Suspense Challenge (now Mystery & Suspense Challenge) with Book Chick City. That year Simon & Schuster gave away ARCs of upcoming releases to everyone who took part. Some people got a novel I can’t remember, some people got Craig Robertson’s debut novel Random.

The book was too big for my letterbox, and I wasn’t in, so I had to go to the post office to collect it. I clearly remember sitting on the bus on the way back, telling myself I’d just have a quick look at it, but not start it properly because I was in the middle of reading something I was enjoying.

That was a mistake. I was gripped. Literally from the 1st page. I didn’t want to get off the bus when it came to my stop, because I had to stop reading. I was like that until I finished it. It was gross (some murders, some actions are too disgusting to be put in words – Robertson doesn’t agree). When I put it down, although I was repulsed at some of the things I read (the eye, the eye!!!), I knew without a doubt I’d read anything else written by him.

Somehow I missed Snapshot getting released last year. As soon as I found out about it, I got it. I finished the book I was reading within a couple of days, and I started Snapshot. And I didn’t do anything else until I’d finished – including going to buy new boots, which my boyfriend had promised he was going to buy!!! Can you believe it!?

It wasn’t a gripping from the very first page novel, but by the end of the 2nd chapter I knew it was going to be good, and I wouldn’t be able to put it down – and was right.

The main character Tony, is a little bit weird, and sometimes I got a little freaked out by him, but at the same time he’s pretty loveable, and gets you into the story quickly. It’s fast-moving and gripping and just bloody brilliant actually. Towards the end, I totally thought I’d got what was happening, and who the murder was,  but Robertson was too clever for me and just a few pages later it turned out not to be. Which although I was gutted about, gave the novel a brilliant twist and kept it going.

If you like thrillers, I’d totally recommend this. In fact if you don’t, I still would. It’s nowhere near as gross as Random, but saying that, there’s still a lot of blood and gore. Maybe I wouldn’t recommend it if you’ve a weak stomach!

Robertson’s next novel comes out in June – I definitely won’t be missing that one!

Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2011 and 2012

Back at the tail end of 2009, I discovered the brilliant Book Chick City, around the time of sign-ups for the Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010 were happening. Was I tempted? Of course – 12 Thriller or Suspense books in 12 months. What a plan.


Plan didn’t go exactly to plan though, and at the end of December 2010 I was frantically reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger in the hope that I could finish it by the end of the year, and that it would count as a thriller/suspense. Someone else had added it as their book, so I figured I was good on that, then on 30th (I think) I finished it. Phew.


Even before I finished it, I knew I had to do it again, so after the slight name change to the Mystery & Suspense Challenge, I signed up again – promising myself to do better in 2011. 


I thought I was doing ok when we had about 2 months left, even though November was NaNo, so my reading time was limited. I was wrong I had 4 books left to read. Eek. Somehow I powered through the writing madness and continued to read. Then mid December I did a count up, and I’d actually read 13 books. Um, oops. How did that happen? Me thinks someone’s maths isn’t that great (counting to 12 – apparently it’s harder than it sounds!). Just to prove how bad my calculations are – I’ve just recounted, and only have 12. Hmm. Something odd is going on here!


Yay, I completed the challenge again. The only problem is that until today, I hadn’t posted my reviews for them all. Heck, I read them, that’s what counts.


Here’s the list of the books I read (with links to each full review and just a very quick, few worded review here):


January – A Kiss Gone Bad by Jeff Abbott – Brilliant, can’t wait to read the next 2 books in the series


February – Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan – Again, fab. Again can’t wait to read the other 2 books in the series.


February – Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay – I think Barclay is my favourite thriller author at the moment – says it all.


April – Past Mortem by Ben Elton – not as good as some of his other books, but still really good.


June – The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell – Love Jewell so much. This took me a while to get into, but once I was there I was hooked.


June – The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson – Love Koomson and everything she writes – this included.  


August – Every Last One by Anna Quindlen – Took me a while to get into this, and the whole pace was a bit too slow for me.


September – Trams AM by Rob Ryan – Brilliant. Loved from start to finish


October – Mitigating Circumstances by Nancy Taylor Rosenburg – Was hooked from the off – brilliant.


October – The Sculptress by Minette Walters – Love, love, love.


October – Die for You by Lisa Unger –


November – The Birthday Present by Barbra Vine (Ruth Rendell writing as) – slow, and bored me a little.


12 books, 12 months. I loved the challenge so much, that, yep, you guessed it, I’m doing it again in 2012 – yay!


Like the past 2 years, you don’t have to chose the books you are going to read for the challenge ahead of time, but I know for sure that I want to read the next one from each of the series’ by Jeff Abbott and Allison Brennan that I read in 2011. Other than that, I just don’t know, but can’t wait to find out.


Read more about the challenge here and if you’re interested sign up – it’s great – you won’t regret it!

Still Thinking

I’m still thinking about my goals for 2011, so I’m not going to post them quite yet. As I finished the blog about it pretty late last night, I’m pretty sure I’m going to allow myself a little more time.

I’ve just had lunch in our canteen. I was going to try to read while I ate, but a Jacket potato apparently requires two hands, and I hate bending books back (generally my books have a maximum of one or two creases down the spine when I’ve finished them – my current book Stephen King’s On Writing has none and I’m on page 261 of 367 – result!). Instead of reading, I listened in to someone’s conversation – for writing purposes of course (!). On of the ladies (who I know is a big reader like me) was saying how she’ has just started a ‘fun’ way of getting through her to be read books. The first book she’s reading is by an author whose sirname beginning with A. Then she’ll go to B, then C etc. until she gets to Z. If there are more than one with any letter she’s going to read just one on the first time round, then go again.

How much do I love that idea. I’ll tell you how much. I’m going to set myself an A-Z challenge this year. 26 books, each one by a different author beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. I guess it can totally tie in with the Mystery & Suspense Challenge (12 books in that genre). I’m really excited now I’ve had this idea. SO excited.

I’ve just realised I can’t be the only one who’s thought of this can I? No, I can’t. A quick google search led me to A to Z Challenge. Becky (the organiser) has set three ways of doing the challenge A- 26 Authors alphabetically B- 26 titles alphabetically and C – 52 books, authors & titles. I’m sticking with my 26 authors. When I’ve finished this, I’m going to sign up, then that’s me, up, up and away! How exciting.  

The only downside to this idea, is that I’ve been planning my next book for a couple of weeks now. And the author’s name doesn’t begin with A. WAIT. I’m being stupid. YES IT DOES. Abbott (as in Jeff Abbott) certainly begins with an A. OH YES!!!!

Right, I’ve got 5 or so minutes left of my lunch break. That’s just enough time to have a quick peak at the Fiction Friday prompt for this week and make a start. Result.

Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2011!

Yep, you read it right. I’ve found a new challenge for this year. The Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2011 hosted by Book Chick City. Hey, you might think, that sounds like the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge I did in 2010? Well, you’d be correct. BCC has just changed the name for this year – which makes sense don’t you think.

If you read my post yesterday (here) you’ll see how much I enjoyed the challenge, read some damn good books and got introduced to some brilliant authors. Having had all this, how could I NOT do it again?

Last year, I made a list of authors I wanted to try, but didn’t. So, this year I want to read books by these people: Lisa Gardner, Michael Connelly, Tana French, JD Robb, Harlan Coben, Gayle Trent.

So… 12 Mystery & Suspense novels… 12 months… GO!

Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 Round-Up

Around Christmas I wrote a blog and in it had a big long moan about how badly I thought I’d done in this challenge. After that I sat down and worked out what thriller or suspense books I’d read throughout the year and was shocked to realise I’d actually read 11. Wow! I then thought about all the other books I’d read over the year, and went over to the host of the challenge Book Chick City to see what other people had read. shockingly someone had reviewed Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I wasn’t too sure if it was a thriller or suspense, but as someone else had used it, guess what? I’m really happy to use it.

So that means… I completed the challenge. WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO! The thing I haven’t done is review all the books yet, but I will get there. Here’s the list of them – the highlighted ones are linked to the review. The unhighlighted ones will have a review as soon as I can add it.

There you have it, my 12 books. I’m really happy I did it. I think the challenge pushed me to read more thrillers than I would have normally done, because I tend to favour chick lit and romance. I don’t know why I do that, I really love thrillers.

One of my aims of doing this challenge was to introduce myself to new authors. I certainly did that. The first book I read, a Sandra Brown book, I only picked up because of the challenge. I was so glad I did – I totally love both of her books I read during the challenge. I can’t wait to read more of hers.

Nicci French was introduced to me by my Step Mum. Again because I told her about the challenge so she gave me that book. I totally loved it, and will be looking out for more Nicci French books this year, and in the future.

Simon & Schuster sent all the people in this challenge an ARC of one of two novels. I was so happy I got Random by Craig Robertson. I hated the goreiness of it, but loved that at the same time. Last time I saw his update on Twitter, he was writing a new book. When it gets published I’ll be first in line to read it.

I honestly wouldn’t have read Asimov if it wasn’t for this challenge and my boyfriend convincing me it would work really well for the challenge. Sci-fi? Me? Nah! But, yeah. I actually enjoyed it. So much so, I’m going to read the other books in the Robot series. I don’t think I’ll read any others of his though, Sci-fi does still… I was going to say scare me, but I think it just doesn’t interest me that much. Hopefully he’ll (the boyfriend) will bully (!!) me into reading more of Asimov, or maybe another sci-fi writer – and he’ll find something easy-reading that I’ll ‘get’.

I’ve had the Judith Cutler book (and another) for years and didn’t pick it up in all that time. This challenge made me pick it up. I’ll definitely be reading the other one I’ve got of her’s (Dying to Fall) and probably the rest of that series.

That’s it. All the others I think I would have read anyway. But that’s pretty impressive – five authors that now I’ll be looking out for, that would have pasted right by me without the challenge.

I’m really impressed with how much I enjoyed the books I chose for this challenge. Looking at this list, I can genuinely say I loved each and every one of them. How good is that?!

I only have one small regret to come from this challenge. At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet and got recommendations of authors from people/places (including other people taking the challenge) and got a list of authors I wanted to read. But, I didn’t read any of them. That upsets me. But I’ll get over it. Just because the challenge is over… doesn’t mean I have to stop reading thrillers & suspense novels.

Plus… You never know what other challenges will be round the corner in 2011…