Showing posts with label Quick Reads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quick Reads. Show all posts

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Goodreads Challenge 2015 - One Month Left

Goodreads challenge progress

There's a month left of Goodreads' 2015 challenge. I have 20 books left to read. I can do this!

If, like me, you need to get your ever-loving butt in gear and sprint to the finish line, here's my plan for kicking this challenge's arse. Hopefully, it'll help you out with your challenge-arse-kicking-plan too.

Book polygamy

This is the part of the plan that I have the least trouble with (he he!) - I am always reading more than one book at a time - and I'm pretty sure this is the way to continue!

Short books are your friends

There is no shame in short books. In fact, some of the best books you can read are also some of the quickest. You can get through multiple books at a faster pace - handy for if you need to make up the numbers.

You might want to try the aptly named Quick Reads, and a good dash of comics (or at least, the ones listed on Goodreads,) and graphic novels.

Become surgically attached to your book

...figuratively, of course. Please do not actually surgically attach yourself to a book.

If you have a book with you at all times then you reclaim the lost minutes - in a queue, over a cup of coffee, while trying to avoid a neighbour you don't like (I don't do that! It's just an example!) etc. etc.

Read, read, read, and then read some more!

This is the bite-the-bullet part of the plan I'm afraid. In order to have read your target number of books, you just have to keep reading!

And one more thing...

There's an edit button on your challenge page. Don't be afraid to use it. Seriously, if you're less than 50% through your challenge (for example,) then you may want to consider revising the number down. There's no shame in it, it's just being realistic.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Reviewing the Evidence - Bloody Valentine

Title: Bloody Valentine (US Link)
Author: James Patterson
Genre: crime
Series: Quick Reads

A few starting notes:

Having previously read James Patterson books, and found his books entertaining if sometimes a little devoid of depth, and being a sucker for the excellent and always commendable Quick Reads series, I decided to pick this up in my last library haul.


It's Valentine's day. But something is wrong in the Barnes apartments - the block of flats shared by entrepreneur Jack Barnes and his extended family. An awful and gory crime has been committed...could it have been by one of their own?

Best bits:

The locked-room style aspects of the mystery at the heart of this book is always interesting - and for the most part Patterson does justice to the concept.

The other thing that really stands out about this book is the sense of secrets, hidden deep within a well-off family, bubbling beneath the surface until they spill forward. The interplay of the tension is well-used, and the view of rich families as somehow hiding sin and betrayal, though a well-trodden path, is also used to good effect.

Patterson's main appeal is his sheer readability - and there is no difference here. The chapters are short and draw you onwards through the tale, and the whole book is also short - this being the Quick Reads series - so it is handy for those in-between moments, and for the busy reader.

Not so great bits:

The ending feels a little rushed, as if we're sprinting at the finish, and I think it would've benefited from a little more detail at the end. The prose is sometimes clumsy and a little bewildering, though largely it remains clear and readable.

The characters too could have done with a little more development - the standout perhaps being Leila and Ted, who both stand out more than Zee, Jack, or any of the detectives.


This is a quick and entertaining mystery. Yes, it's a little rough around the edges in more than a few places, but it's still pretty readable, and you'll want to read to the end, if only to reach the final answer to the whodunit? question.

Quick Note: I forgot to mention before but there is a scene or two in this book that is very gory - might not be to everyone's taste.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Time to Review the Evidence - A Dreadful Murder: The Mysterious Death of Caroline Luard

Title: A Dreadful Murder: The Mysterious Death of Caroline Luard 
(US Link)
Author: Minette Walters
Genre: crime, historical fiction
Series: Quick Reads

A few starting notes:

Another of the awesome Quick Reads series (which as always deserves my commendable praise for trying to get everyone reading) this is a fictionalisation of the real 1908 murder of Mrs Caroline Luard.


Mrs Caroline Luard is found dead - shot - in the rural Kent town of Ightham. The neighbours suspect her husband - Major-General Luard, a local JP and well-off snob. But did he kill her? Or is there another explanation?

Best bits:

The pace and depth both pick up from about half-way through, as the author seems to get into her stride. It's from this point - where there's more of the fiction and supposition, rather than the fact, that the book becomes more involving.

The whole story is edible in bite-size chunks, and the atmosphere of early 20th century secrets and poverty is captured in an intriguing and encapsulating way.

Not so great bits:

As always, there are some issues here which may upset some readers - murder (obviously,) poverty, alcoholism, suicide, and domestic abuse are all touched on at various points. If this is a major problem for you, then obviously, read with caution.

The tone sticks a little in places, but not enough to really bother you all that much.


A very readable, short, and digestible fictionalised account of an intriguing and mysterious crime. Perfect for a bit of detective-ness in the middle of your everyday life. 

Saturday 2 May 2015

Reviewing the evidence - Love is Blind

Title: Love is Blind (US Link)
Author: Kathy Lette
Genre: Ditzy, Romance
Series: Quick Reads

A few starting notes:

This is another book in the Quick Reads series. As I've previously mentioned, this series consists of short, easily digested books by top authors on a variety of subjects. They're normally priced somewhere between £1 and £1.99. They're excellent for a hit of reading - whether you're a reader or someone who struggles.

This particular book is what I call 'ditzy' - others may refer to it as chick-lit, women's fiction, etc. but I think that excludes any dudes who might like a bit of ditz in their lives. Although, the pink cover and subtle-as-a-slap-to-the-face title may not help when it comes to attracting male readers.


Anthea's life is perfect. She has the perfect job, perfect home, perfect body, perfect fiancé. Her sister Jane though is the ugly duckling of the family, driven to husband-hunting in the Australian outback, where what's on the outside isn't as important as the fact that you're a woman.

Anthea thinks Jane may have completely lost her marbles. She's determined to bring her sister to her senses. Except...

Except maybe 'perfect' isn't as perfect as Anthea thought it was.

Best bits:

The verbal sparring between the sisters early on is highly enjoyable for it's pantomime yet quick-witted nature. Lette's metaphors verge on the random, which makes arguments all the more entertaining.

This book is short and entertaining - perfect for slipping into a modern hectic lifestyle. The plot is fairly fast-paced and enjoyable, and less sappy than the title suggests. And a fair few points are made about modern standards of success and beauty along the way.

Not so great bits:

OK, so it's not exactly deep. Is it meant to be though? This is one of those books that is all about basking in the guilty pleasure.


A fab slot-in book for your spare time, enjoyable and non-too-taxing. This is just begging for a cuppa and a chocolate bar under your favourite blanket.

Tuesday 28 April 2015


Got a new Library Haul today - argh I love the library!

Anyone with a sharp eye may notice that Under the Never Sky and The Witch's Daughter were part of my previous haul - but that's what renewals are for!
As for the rest of this haul, the picture kind of cut off some of it, but there's a few Quick Reads, a graphic novel, and some non-fiction. There's also Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, because I've read the Shining so now I have to read it's sequel.
I'm looking forward to two of my non-fic picks in particular - 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, and Ban This Filth! by Ben Thompson. Ban This Filth! is about Mary Whitehouse and the censorship movement, so should be fun and irritating at the same time.
Hopefully some reviews will be appearing for you all soon!!!

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Time to Review the Evidence: Traitors of the Tower

As promised, here's my review of Alison Weir's Traitors of the Tower. I'm still trying to work out the best, most useful, and most refreshing ways to review books on this blog so please have patience and let me know what you like!

Alison Weir Traitors of the Tower Quick Read review

Title: Traitors of the Tower
Author: Alison Weir
Genre: Non-fiction
Series: Quick Reads

A few starting notes:

This is a short and interesting book by the historian Alison Weir. It's part of the Quick Reads series - an excellent series funded in part by literacy charities, skills agencies and the Welsh Assembly via Basic Skills Cymru. This series is worthy of being praised to the hilt - short, easily digested books by top authors on a variety of subjects. This is an affordable series (though I borrowed mine from the library) at the incredibly reasonable price of about £1.99 per book. Appropriate for the reluctant and the avid reader alike.


This is a work of non-fiction focussing on 'traitors' who have been executed in the tower of London (does what it says on the tin!) It's set into chapters, with each chapter really being a standalone piece in its own right, as each deals with an individual 'traitor.' It's set out chronologically (in time order of deaths.)

Best bits:

The length means that this is a book you can stick into your lunch-breaks or train-journeys. The way the structure works with the different chapters means that you can read a chapter and then have a ready made break to the next one. The way Quick Reads describe their series is as a shot - and I think that's pretty accurate: short, distilled, enjoyable.

The author is knowledgeable; Alison Weir knows her stuff, and writes confidently, slimming down her normally intensely detailed writing into its core components to give an overall impression of the events.

The whole of the book is planted firmly in the Tudor period (which Weir knows well,) which is as popular and interesting as ever. What's so good about this book however is that not only does it include the big names (Anne Boleyn; Katherine Howard,) but it also includes names which are a little less well known (Lady Jane Grey; Margaret Pole,) which means there's plenty to interest you.

Not so great bits:

Sometimes the writing seems a touch forced - as if the slimming down purpose has caused it to lose some of its sheen, this is only occasional but is noticeable in some parts.

There's no debating the details here - now, I don't mind this, but some history buffs wouldn't be so thrilled. I think it fits the series though, so it's really not too much of a minus point.


This is a great book to fill in those in-between times such as breaks, or waiting at a doctors surgery. It's accessible to those who don't have a lot of time, and those who maybe aren't so confident in reading, while still absorbing and interesting the reader. A job well done by Ms Weir.

Monday 23 February 2015

Book Haul - #LibraryHaul

Library Book Haul

I went to the library this morning (Yay!) and picked up this awesome haul, some fiction, some non-fiction, some graphic novels...all combine to make a happy reading addict!

I hauled the following:
Prince of Shadows; Rachel Caine
The Shape Stealer; Lee Carroll
Mr Briggs' Hat; Kate Colquhoun
The Witch's Daughter; Paula Brackston
Traitors of the Tower; Alison Weir
Under the Never Sky; Veronica Rossi

Graphic Novels:
Wolverine: Hunting Season
Genju no Seiza vol. 1
Vermonia 1 Quest for the Silver Tiger

I'm hoping to review some soon - espec. Traitors of the Tower, since it's a Quick Read and I think that that's such a very awesome scheme/series! Happy reading everyone!