2015: A Year in Review


2015


| Books by Proxy – A Year in Review |

Welcome to my first end of year post – and what a year it has been! I started this blog on the last day of July and, over the last half of 2015, have found myself as part of a wonderful community of readers and bloggers. In my albeit limited experience, we book bloggers are lucky to enjoy a very friendly and supportive community, where sharing our books, our reviews and our experiences is all done for a love of reading and can be enjoyed by many. So thank you readers and thank you bloggers for making 2015 such an enjoyable year. I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!heart


| A Year in Books |
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I think we can all agree these two very similar and equally profound books, Blood Song by Anthony Ryan and The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, deservedly made it into my longest and shortest book categories.heart


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Donna Leon

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Leon 10

with ten books in her Commissario Brunetti series

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2015 - 6

P.G. Wodehouse

with nine books in total including seven from his Blandings series

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Jim Butcher

with eight books in The Dresden Files series

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AC - 6

Agatha Christie

with six books in her Hercule Poirot series

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best fantasyBlood Song

Book One of the Raven’s Shadow Series

by Anthony Ryan

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Best SciFiRed Rising

Book One of the Red Rising Trilogy

by Pierce Brown

heartSci Fi Five

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best novellaThe SerpentThe Serpent

The Gameshouse I

by Claire North

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best crimeThe Few

A Leone Scamarcio Thriller

by Nadia Dalbuonoheart

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best historicalLamentationLamentation

Book Six of the Matthew Shardlake Series

by C.J. Sansom

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best classicSomething FreshSomething Fresh

Book One of the Blandings Series

by P.G. Wodehouse

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There were so many more amazing books which deserve to be on this list but then it would just be most of 2015’s books!

Thank you all for reading and have a wonderful 2016!

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The Monthly Round-Up: December 2015


The Monthly Round-Up - DecWelcome to The Monthly Round-Up. Join me as I look back on the past month to see which books I’ve read, the reviews I’ve posted, the goals I’ve completed and my all important Book of the Month!


| Books Read |

December has come to an end and we’ve crossed the threshold into 2016 – and what a year it has been! I’m currently compiling my year in review but December alone was a great month of phenomenal fiction. With a hefty pile of novellas bulking up the number, I’ve discovered some fantastic authors, read some thrilling tales and been taken to some truly amazing worlds.

And in the process of devouring – my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge was well and truly surpassed, I fell just short of the mark on my Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge and I well and truly flopped on my personal goals for December… But nevermind! This has been a fantastic month and here are the books to prove it:

| 1. |

Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

| 2. |

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

| 3. |

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

| 4. |

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 5. |

Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 6. |

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

| 7. |

The Serpent by Claire North

| 8. |

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

| 9. |

Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

| 10. |

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

| 11. |

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

| 12. |

Of Books, and Earth, and Courtship by Aliette de Bodard

| 13. |

The Thief by Claire North


Book of the Month


The Serpent

by Claire North


| December Goals |

To finish at least one of the poor neglected novels which I am currently reading

(The Daylight War, NOS4R2 or Emma)

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete

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To read at least one Christmas themed novel

Status: 0 of 1 Complete

Status: Incomplete (though started!)

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| Goals for 2015 |

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: 115/100 Books Read (115%)

Status: Completed

Dragons and Jetpacks 2015 Reading Challenge: 41/50 Books Read (82%)

Status: Incomplete


| Reviews Posted |

5 Stars

The Serpent by Claire North

Superposition by David Walton

A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King


                  

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna


| Other Posts From December |

December brings with it a new feature – The Friday Face-Off – where I pit cover against cover to discover the best cover art from across both sides of the pond.

The Monthly Round-Up: November 2015

The Month Ahead: December 2015

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – UK Edition

Cover Reveal: Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Cover Reveal: Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie – US Edition

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Oblivion OST

Bookish ‘Sci-Fi’ Beats: Ex Machina OST

Bookish Beats: Massive Attack – Heligoland

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Debuts from the Gollancz Festival 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Newly Read Authors 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Classics of 2015

Top Ten ‘X-Mas’ Tuesday: Top Ten… Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Most Anticipated Releases of 2016

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 01 – Rising Tide by Rajan Khanna

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 08 – Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

Teaser Tuesdays: December 15 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

An X-Mas Teaser Tuesday: December 22 – The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

‘Sci-Fi’ Teaser Tuesdays: December 29 – Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

The Friday Face-Off: December 18 – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

The Friday Face-Off: December 25 – The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

Review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough



13 Minutes

by Sarah Pinborough

Young Adult | Thriller | 320 Pages | To be published by Gollancz on 18th February 2016


| Rating |


This book was received from Netgalley in return for an honest review

Between the gorgeous cover art, an intriguing synopsis and a very witty author (whom, thanks to Lynn’s Books, I unearthed at the Gollancz Book Festival), I just had to request 13 minutes and find out what all the fuss was about. And Sarah Pinborough does not disappoint. 13 Minutes is an intense psychological crime thriller which twists and turns and continues to surprise until the very end. This a novel full of teenage angst, decaying friendships and melodrama, which examines the inconsistency of youth on a backdrop of lies, revenge and murder. 13 Minutes is a carefully crafted thriller which is utterly absorbing and makes you think twice about the teenagers in your life…

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough is a gripping psychological thriller about people, fears, manuiplation and the power of the truth. A stunning read, it questions our relationships – and what we really know about the people closest to us . . .

13 Minutes follows the story of Natasha ‘Tasha’ Howland, a popular, beautiful and brilliant teenage girl who is found close to death after being pulled out of a freezing river by a dog walker. With no memory of the events leading up to her attack, everyone is a suspect – from the man who found her to her high school entourage. As suspicions are heightened and all evidence starts to point in a certain direction, will the police intervene before it’s too late? Or will Tasha and her old friend Becca take matters into their own hands to uncover the killer’s identity?

13 Minute is part thriller, part teenage drama; a Mean Girls and psychological thriller mash up, full of broken friendships, angst and betrayals which tie into the unfolding crime drama. The chapters are split into the diary entries of Tasha and a third person perspective of Becca, a girl whom she dumped as a friend when she no longer had the image to fit in with Tasha’s ‘barbie’ retinue. When events conspire to bring them together again, their entirely polarised lives and friendship groups come together in a clash of blonde hair, Vogue cigarettes and eyeliner.

Tasha and Becca’s characters are extemely well depicted and are instantly believable, if not always likeable, and through them the cast of barbies and nobodies which weave their way through the narrative. The success of this novel relies heavily on its skilled characterisation which provides a true reflection of real life. There is a danger in novels such as this in creating a cast of stereotypes but any girl who has experienced high school will see something of the reality in the teenage dramas which crowd the corridors… if not with quite the same dangerous consequences.

Sarah Pinborough writes effortlessly in an almost conversational tone to craft an excellently thrilling tale, which kept me guessing until the very end. I don’t often read novels centred around teenage dramas – it isn’t something I would instantly pick up in a bookshop – but once I let myself go, I soon became immersed in this world of bitching and backstabbing, and mayhem and murder, which left me genuinely surprised at its conclusion.

13 Minutes exceeded all my expectations, and its almost continuous surprises had me gripped from start to finish. If you’re craving a Young Adult thriller then look no further, this is a truly absorbing read. With The Death House already awaiting my attention, Sarah Pinborough is certainly an author I am determined to read more of.

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