I’ve read a lot of good books this year, a lot of ok books and some terrible. It’s not been as good a year for reading; I’m not sure if I can blame COVID or my house move, but I’ve just found my mind wandering too much and not had the staying power that I had last year. I’m currently on book 158 and have about another ten to read. So, I’ve really struggled to find my top 5, as they need to be the books that have stuck in my mind and blew me away more than just a five-star read. There were three that did this and two that just tipped over into this category.
You shared a secret with the wrong person. Janey Markham is thrilled to be moving with her family to Buckingham Crescent, the smartest address in a desirable suburban town. Worried she’ll be excluded by the glossy local mothers, Janey is thrilled when she meets Tanya, the kind of woman she has always looked up to. Tanya takes Janey under her wing, and her teenage daughter Angel is amazing with Janey’s little boy. As Janey and Tanya grow closer, Janey feels she can finally leave her troubled past behind. But then everything changes… In a weak moment over a bottle of wine, Janey finds herself telling Tanya her most shocking secret. Why wouldn’t she trust her new friend? The following day, Janey sees Angel, with a man old enough to be her father, pushing someone into a car. The next day a body is found and police appeal for witnesses – and share a picture of the same car… When Janey tells Tanya she is going to the police, Tanya turns threatening. She’ll stop at nothing to defend Angel, even if her daughter is guilty. If Janey says anything, Tanya will make sure that her dark secret gets out. Janey faces an impossible choice. Stay quiet about what she saw that terrible day. Or speak up, and destroy the family she has worked so hard to protect…
Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before. Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life. Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards. And Alice is being stalked. None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die. Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.
To get up from rock bottom, you’ve got to take the stairs… Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour… Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards? Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that sometimes – just sometimes – bad neighbours become good friends…
No one deserves to be taken before their time. Do they? Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon. But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but. As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…
A girl is taken from the streets of Oxford. But it's unlike any abduction DI Fawley's seen before . . . Faith Appleford was attacked, a plastic bag tied over her head, taken to an isolated location . . . and then, by some miracle, she escaped. What's more, when DC Erica Somer interviews Faith, she quickly becomes convinced that Faith knows who her abductor is. Yet Faith refuses to press charges. Without more evidence, it's looking like the police may have to drop the case. But what happens if Faith's attacker strikes again?
A DETECTIVE WHO WOULD STOP AT NOTHING Kate Marshall was a rising star in the London Metropolitan police force. Young, ambitious and with a keen sense of justice, she solved several high-profile murder cases. UNTIL A KILLER STOPPED HER IN HER TRACKS But when Kate was tasked with tracking down a vicious serial killer, even her sharp instincts couldn't help her find him - until he found her. NOW, HE'S BACK FOR MORE Sixteen years after her narrow escape, Kate lives a quiet life on the English coast, though her years with the police are still with her. And when one day she receives a letter from someone in her past, she is pulled back into the twisted mind of a murderer she knows only too well - and into a case only she can solve.
This has been a phenomenal year for reading. I am currently on book 320, which is 200 books more than last year. I think I mustn’t have actually left the house over the previous 12 months to read that many! My goal had been 240, so I have well and truly surpassed that! I still have just under three weeks left as well so goodness knows how many more I can squeeze in.
You may have noticed that I’ve been reading a lot of saucy books with very hunky men on the front lately! These are mainly from a group of authors called ‘The Flirt Club’. I did do a brief spotlight on their Irish collaboration back in March not long after I’d discovered them.
I’m alive. But I can’t be saved . . . When a woman’s body is found submerged in icy water, police are shocked to find she is alive. But she won’t disclose her name, or what happened to her – even when a second body is discovered. And then she disappears from her hospital bed. Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey follow their only lead to the home of the Corrigans, looking for answers. But the more they dig into the couple’s lives, the less they understand about them. What’s their connection to the body in the river? Why have other people they know been hurt, or vanished? And can they discover the dark truth of their marriage before it’s too late?
This is the very last Reading Challenge category, 'a book in a series you've been reading'. I'm sure that you will have been reading loads of books this year and one of them may have been the start of a series, this is the perfect chance to delve back into that world and read a follow-on! Obviously, I don't know what books you've been reading so I can't suggest specific follow-ons to ones you may have started. So, the list of books I recommend has been compiled of series that I have read or am reading since I started this blog. I have chosen books over a variety of genres to keep it interesting. So, if you haven't started a good series, now is the time to get your teeth stuck in! Settle down in a comfy chair as you are in for the long haul!
I realised whilst I was compiling the recommended books for this latest Reading Challenge 'a book by an author from a different country' that there will be people reading this post from different countries to me. Therefore, I may have recommended a book from their own country! I'm based in the UK, so the majority of the books on this list are all foreign to me. I have included Lee Childs, though, who is famous for his Jack Reacher books, which are set and based in the US.
Lexie’s got the perfect life. And someone else wants it… Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom. But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing… Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand. Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop…
I chose this next category for the Reading challenge 'a book that starts with the letter P' simply because of the name of my website. Pink and Dizzy! Pink is also my favourite colour (so there is, of course, the challenge to read a book with a pink cover, too). I could have chosen any letter for this category, but I wanted it to have a purpose. If I'd chosen the letter R, it wouldn't have meant anything and would have been a bit 'R'andom!
This December Ruby Marlowe is relocating her little Christmas shop and everything she owns to the pretty seaside village of Happiness. With her best friend Willow already living there, and a heartbreaking past she’d rather forget, Ruby jumped at the offer of a cosy cottage and a fresh start on the Cornish coast. But she wasn’t the only one… The last person Ruby expects to find in Happiness is her summer fling, the very gorgeous Jacob Harrington. He’s the only man who has come close to unlocking her heart, and therefore the one man she knew she could never see again. But now he’s here in the same village, and the chemistry between them is more electric than ever. Falling in love again is something Ruby has vowed never to do. But Jacob is determined to change her mind. As the village sparkles with Christmas lights and the snow begins to fall, can Jacob convince Ruby that love is worth the risk? And will Ruby accept the gift of happiness that Jacob is offering her before it’s too late?
I love reading books that have animals in them. Not necessarily books where it is written in the animal's voice but where they either have a predominant role or are there just slinking around in the background. The next Reading Challenge category is 'a book with a cat in it'. Anyone that knows me knows that I am obsessed with my baby cats, so I thought that this category was just fitting. It's not just any animal in a book but a cat. Some of the books I've recommended have a cat as a pet and is mentioned just now and again, but you know they are there, and they are essential to the main characters. Other books have a cat more in the foreground, and it is their story (but not necessary narrated by them).
This is the perfect category to get you out of your comfort zone. To read something you would usually bypass as it's not your cup of tea or you think you won't like it. Up until two years ago, I only really read romance or contemporary fiction, then I did my first reading challenge and read my very first Psychological Thriller. I think I would now say they are my favourite genre I still like a good old girly romantic comedy or a bit of blush action from the Flirt Club books, but book covers that now attract my attention are usually PT or Crime Thrillers. I never in a million years thought that would happen. I thought I was set in my ways. There are still some books that really don't appeal to me, which are mainly sci-fi and fantasy.
The next category in the Reading Challenge is a book that will make you both laugh and cry. The books I have recommended below have the potential to do both, but there is no guarantee. I have read the majority of these books, and they elicited a laugh out loud moment or a tear up moment. I'm not one to cry my eyes out to a book, but sometimes they make me feel like I could. I'm a tough cookie! 'If I'd Known by Paige P. Horne' is the only one that I have been in floods of tears afterwards.
I know I've said choosing books for the Reading Challenge have been difficult in the past, but they have all been a piece of cake compared to this one. This was undoubtedly the most difficult. I had found a list on Goodreads that had a rating of over 4.5, but the majority of the books were part of a series or the Bible!
TThis is the perfect category of the Reading Challenge to allow a little bit of creative licence! 'The first book you come across on Amazon / in the library/ in the bookstore' will enable you to choose a book that you WANT to read whilst at the same time being one that is entirely new to you. Either widening your horizons in genre or finding a new author.