Wednesday, 30 December 2015

December Books & a Yearly Round up

Here's what I've been reading in December. I unfortunately failed on my Good Reads Challenge to read 100 books (managed 97 - which I was pretty chuffed about anyhow). There's always next year to try again!

Pohutukawa Highway by Tammy Robinson* - Thanks to Tammy and THE Book Club on Facebook for the complimentary copy. Having loved Charlie & Pearl I was looking forward to reading this.

The Gilbert family have gathered at the campsite where many long, hot and happy summers were spent in the 70s. They are there to scatter youngest son and brother, Jeffrey's ashes.

It takes Jess right back to that summer she fell head over heels with Hunter, a boy who hung out with her brothers. So coming back has bittersweet memories. Two decades on and unhappy with her current boyfriend and job she meets up with Hunter and finds out why he ran out on her all those years ago.

Romantic and funny with some laugh out loud moments (toilet especially). I simply loved this tale of family and second chances.

Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline** - Psychologist Dr Eric Parrish who is Chief of the local Psychiatry Ward as well as running his own practice is going through the breakdown of his marriage and finding it difficult not seeing his beloved daughter all the time. He starts treating a boy called Max after his dying grandmother begs him to and things start to go wrong..

Someone is out to destroy Eric, his practice, his family and his paced with many twists and turns. Occasionally chapters are written by a sociopath giving the story a creepy edge. The girl Max has a crush on is murdered and the fingers start to point in Eric's direction...Great read with an ending I didn't see coming.

Highbridge - The Beginning by Phil Redmond - This is a short story to learn about the characters who will be in the series. Joey and Sean Nolan are planning their sister Janey's funeral. Her husband Luke serves in the special forces. When the funeral is over the search for Janey's killer will begin. An ideal scene setter.

Highbridge - Phil Redmond*** - thanks to LoveReading for the proof copy. The story is set in a Northern town and revolves around the death of Janey, Luke's wife and Joey and Sean's sister.

The beginning of the book really draws the reader in. Three years on Joey and Luke decide they need to take the matter of avenging Janey's death into their own hands. We learn about the lives of all three men and their families.

A slow burner with some bright moments but generally fairly hard going as I didn't really warm to any of the characters or the storyline.

Real Hard Cases by Les Brown & Robert Jeffrey - an account of unsolved crimes which former detective Les Brown re-investigates. Mr Brown also adds some stories to the mix about when he worked for Strathclyde Police. An interesting read.

The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood** - The book opens with witness statements as to the disappearance of Coco, Sean's daughter and Ruby's twin. Sean and his friends, many of whom I found hard to like are celebrating his 50th birthday. The weeks that follow everyone is desperate to find out what happened to Coco and why. Twelve years later the family and friends are gathered to bury Sean and it's here the truth begins to unravel from all these years ago ...but is it all truth? 

There is a twist at the end I hadn't seen coming but I must admit I did struggle with this book.

Full House by Maeve Binchy - a short read which I enjoyed. The story centres around mum and dad trying to get their adult children to stand on their own two feet and not be so dependable on them. An enjoyable read.

The Betrayal by Laura Elliot** - Nadine & Jake Saunders married young after Nadine discovered she was pregnant. Their four children have flown the nest and they realise they have grown apart and decide to set each other free.

Jake embarks on an affair with beautiful Karin Moylan who used to be best friends with his wife until one summer in their teens something happens which destroys their friendship.

Karin is obsessed with Jake and destroying Nadine and everything they hold dear. Fast paced with believable characters and loads of twists and turns. I loved it. Now off to check out Laura's other novels.

*copy via the author/THE Book Club on Facebook
**copy from NetGalley
***copy from LoveReading

Favourite Books this year:

January - 

Poison Bay by Belinda Pollard
A Way from Heart to Heart by Helena Fairfax 
The Life I left Behind by Colette McBeth

February - 

Hades by Candice Fox
The Dolls House by M J Arlidge
Sail upon the Land by Josa Young

March - 

The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley 
Hidden by Emma Kavanagh
No Place to Die by Claire Donoghue

April - 

Black Wood by SJI Holliday
Don't Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell
Boxer Handsome by Anna Whitwham

May - 

The Half Truth by Sue Fortin 
Charlie & Pearl by Tammy Robinson 
The Confectioner's Tale by Laura Madeleine 
The Silent Hours by Cesca Major
The Broken by Tamar Cohen
How I lost You by Jenny Blackhurst
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

June -

The Saffron Trail by Rosanna Ley
The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
First One Missing by Tammy Cohen

July - 

The Summer of Secrets by Sarah Jamson
The Prodigal by Nicky Black

August -

Chance by Peter Dudgeon
Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie
Follow you Home by Mark Edwards
Eden by Candice Fox
Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Untouchable by Ava Marsh
My Everything by Katie Marsh
Liar Liar by M J Arlidge

October - 

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell
The Beachside Guest House by Vanessa Greene
Paths of the Dead by Lin Anderson
The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

November - 

The Special Dead by Lin Anderson
What Happens at Christmas by T A Williams
Written in the Scars (Estate Series #4) by Mel Sherratt

December - 

Pohutukawa Highway by Tammy Robinson
The Betrayal by Laura Elliot

What have been your favourite books this year? Do we share any?


  1. I love the sound of The Betrayal, definitely a book I would read x

    1. It was brilliant! I'm still thinking about it even though I'm onto my next read. Always a sign of a great book x

  2. Delighted to see The Half Truth on the list in May - thank you for your support, Sandra. Wishing you a great new year with more fab books to read. I'm very impressed with 97 books in a year!

    1. No problem at all Sue I loved it! Best wishes for 2016. I'll maybe manage 100 next year! xx