Tag Archive | Mystery & Suspense Challenge

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

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Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green Review

My name is BUDO.

I have been alive for 5 years.

5 years is a very long time for someone like me to be alive.

MAX gave me my name. Max is 8 years old.

He is the only human person who can see me.

I know what Max knows, and some things he doesn’t.

I know that Max is in danger.

And I know that I am the only one who can save him.

 

I was instantly attracted to the cover, and the title of this, which is odd, because I’d say as a rule I like the novels I read to be fully based in reality (mainly chick lit, thrillers). Having said that, I read and loved Cecelia Ahearn’s If You Could See Me Now, which was also about an imaginary friend, so maybe that’s why.

I really enjoyed this. Once I started it, I just couldn’t put it down. Budo is such an awesome character, I got really into it and the story, and the lives of the characters. I know the blurb about the book said that Max was in danger, but I didn’t really think it would turn into a Mystery and Suspense Challenge novel, but it did, and that kept me gripped. I was literally sat there reading it willing the right thing to happen (I don’t want to give away anything, so sorry, but that has to be vague). At the end of the day, it’s not a John Grisham/Meg Gardiner type thriller, but there’s a mystery there.

I totally recommend this, and will be reading his other books (it took me a while to find them, in the US he goes by another name, Matthew Dicks, and here in the UK Something Missing seems to be under that name!)

After The Snow by SD Crockett Review

“I’m gonna sit here in my place on the hill behind the house. Waiting. And watching.

Ain’t nothing moving down there.

The valley look pretty bare in the snow. Just the house grey and lonely down by the river all frozen. I got to think what I’m gonna do now that everyone gone.

But I got my dog head on.

The dog gonna tell me what to do. The dog gonna help me.

The house look proper empty – don’t it dog?

You just sit quiet in these rocks Willo.”

Set in the haunting and barren landscape of a new ice age, AFTER THE SNOW is the story of fifteen-year-old Willo, a ‘straggler’ kid who loses his family in the opening pages. Completely alone, he is immediately flung into an icy journey of survival, adventure, friendship and self-discovery – with only the dog spirit inside his head to guide him.

I was intrigued by this novel. I read the reviews and they were so split. I decided I had to read it, because I had to know more about it.

The MC, Willo has a weird language and way of thinking (narrating) that put a lot of people off. I can see why, the first few chapters were a bit of a struggle, but once I got used to it (maybe 3 chapters max), I completely forgot about it, and the story took me along.

The thing that kept me going for the first few chapters was the wonder of how he was going to survive on his own, in this new (old to him, it had been there his whole life) ice age. As things started happening I was more and more gripped by the things happening to him. It’s got a great, proper feel good ending too.

When I heard about it, I couldn’t decide if I could put it on my list for the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge. I kept that in mind the whole time I was reading it. I decided I could, because there was the mystery of how/why/where his family disappeared, but then I remembered the word SUSPENSE too, there was a lot of that.

I’d really recommend this novel, although not to everyone. If you’re looking for a nice, easy read, this isn’t for you, it is hard going to start with, but the work pays off, and it’s a really enjoyable book.

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!

Wednesday’s Check-In – 18th Jan

I really should be writing, but seeing as a check-in is due today, I’ve decided to write a blog instead of my novel. Naughty me. Still, writing is writing, right? (I don’t believe that myself, but hopefully you will!).

I finished The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht tonight. I was reading it for my real life book club (as opposed to online one at www.novelkicks.co.uk). We take it in turns to choose the novel we read, and this one wouldn’t have been my choice. However, I really enjoyed it. Book review to follow! On Obreht’s website, the novel is described as a mystery why the MC’s Grandfather left home when he did and visited the place he did. Going from that description, I could use it for the Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge. I didn’t think of it as a mystery really, so am torn on whether to count it or not. Maybe I will, but make sure I read 13, you know, just to make sure!

I’ve also been to the gym tonight. I burnt 350 calories in 28 minutes. Result!

My eating today has been pretty good – 1455 calories – only 55 more than my goal. Add that to the 350 burnt at the gym and I’m well under (maybe that explains why I’m so hungry).

Looking at my chart for eating over the last few days, I can see I’ve had 3 yellow and 1 red day. I was quite unhappy about that because I really want more green days (below 1400), but then I thought about what it really means. Yellow is 1400 – 1750 calories. Apparently, because I’m short, I need 1750 calories a day to maintain my weight, therefore every yellow day where I’m eating less, I lose a little weight. Woop!

Exercise is going very well this week too – green days Monday – Wednesday. Since the beginning of the year I’ve now lost 4lb. It’s not masses, but hopefully because I’m doing it slowly, and using exercise AND a healthy diet – rather than a faddy diet – I’ll lose more and keep it off. Maybe I could even get back down to 17lb lower – where I was in spring 2010!

Reading’s going ok this week. Green today and yesterday, yellow on Monday. I need to chose a new book to read to carry on with this – another really good book would be awesome, I’ve had 4 really good books this year. No, 3 sorry. 3/4? I can’t remember. 3. That’s good!

Writing then. Well.

I wrote 591 words on Monday night. I totally didn’t have time before bed, but I thought maybe I’d just write 100 (my test mile) before boyfriend came to bed too. He faffed and I got 491 more than I planned. Woop. Last night we’d had dinner, I was just reading and about to come to the bedroom to write, when… we had a power cut. Oh no! It lasted an hour, by which time I’d gone to bed. When everything came back up, I was too cold to get back up for the laptop. I read instead.

Tonight I gymed, ate, washed up, showered, and now I’m in bed. Writing a blog. I’m going to write some of my novel – at least 500 words. I know I can do it.

How’s everyone else’s ROW80 going? If you’re not doing ROW80, how’s everything else going?

*Update – 590 written tonight – that’s a green day!*

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!

Post Christmas Blog

I hope everyone had a great Christmas (or holiday if you don’t celebrate it). I had a wonderful time seeing my and my boyfriend’s families and friends and of course loads of eating, drinking and presents. I had lots of fun, but am glad it’s over for another year (as is my waistline).

Luckily, my boyfriend and I booked these 3 days between Christmas and New Year off work, so we’re having a nice 10 day holiday. The problem is we are always visiting someone or travelling, which means I’ve not had time for much (any) blogging, writing or even reading.

Hmmm.

There’s another 3 days of the year, and in that time I need to finish a novel for the A to Z Challenge and review 3 books for the Mystery & Suspense Challenge. There’s part of me that thinks I should review all 26 books for the A to Z Challenge, but that’s just too much to even comprehend, so I’m going to ignore that thought.

I also need to do a round-up of the M&SC and the AtZC, and of course a round-up of the whole year – reading AND writing. Which of course is why I’m just doing a normal blog today.

Writing. Hmmmm. Well. 

Like I said, I’ve just not had a chance to do anything this holiday. We’re going home tomorrow, so I’m hoping to get loadsof writing done then and on the 31st. I have to – The Man of My Dreams is nowhere near finished, and my goal was to finish it this year. Damn. I don’t really know how much I have left to write, maybe 15-20k words. It is doable this year, but I doubt very much I can. I’ll give it a try.

My plan has been to finish it December, leave it in January, then pick it back up in February to start editing. If it’s not finished in December, I don’t know what to do.

I know it needs to get finished. I k now that. But, there’s part of me that thinks I should just stop and leave it for the month, then pick back up in February for the edit, but include the ending in the edit. Or read it first, then finish the ending, then edit.

I know that’s a bad idea, and I suspect I only think that because it’s the easy way out (right now). I just think there’s a few holes that need to be filled in so it would be easier if I’d read it through to know where to finish it. That’s silly though,  because I know how to finish it. I’m just making excuses I think. I’ll finish it then leave it for a month, so maybe it won’t be 1st February, but hopefully, not that much later.