Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.
The rules are simple:
- Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
- Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
- Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
- Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.
This week’s topic is (First Ten) Books I Reviewed. Although I’d left short reviews of books I’d read on Goodreads for a few years before starting my blog in November 2016, I decided to construct my list from the first ten reviews I published on my blog. I’d like to think my more recent reviews are are little better constructed than some of these early ones…
Click on the book title to view the book description on Goodreads.
The Hour of Daydreams by Renee M. Rutledge (posted 24th November 2016)
Weaving fantasy and fable into the story of Tala and Manolo’s meeting and marriage, I can see I admired the ‘lyrical, fairytale quality’ of the writing in The Hour of Daydreams but struggled with some of the extended metaphors. For me, the fantasy element confused rather than enhanced the narrative. Read my full review here.
World’s End by Upton Sinclair (posted 24th November 2016)
The first in the author’s Lanny Budd series, I clearly wasn’t afraid of tackling big books back in 2016 as this comes in at a whopping 600 pages. I commented in my review that, at times, it seems more straight history than historical fiction but that Lanny’s Forrest Gump-like ability to be at the centre of important events stop it from feeling completely like a college course. Read my full review here. I’m afraid to say I’ve never got around to reading further books in the series…
Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (posted 24th November 2016)
‘Space adventure, chronicle of recent Czech history and love story all rolled into one’, this was an uncharacteristic choice of book for me but I blame it on only recently having been approved as a NetGalley member. And, as it turned out, I really loved the book. I described is as ‘strange, imaginative, moving’ but you can read my full review here.
Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson (posted 26th November 2016)
At first sight, a straightforward period detective mystery for me this book had elements that raised it to another level: the authentic feel of the period setting; the great cast of supplementary characters; and the multi-layered nature of the novel, exploring questions of identity and reinvention. In my review (which you can read here), I noted that at the end of the book there are unanswered questions that I’d like to think were deliberate on the part of the author or (even better) threads to be woven into a future book. Sadly, no sign of a second book yet.
Operation Finisterre by Graham Hurley (posted 29th November 2016)
Set towards the end of World War II at the point where Germany is facing the prospect of defeat, the novel (now titled simply Finisterre) is structured around two separate stories and it’s not until over two thirds of the way through the book that the connection between the two is made clear. For me one of the stories was more compelling than the other. Read my full review here.
The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey (posted 1st December 2016)
Now this is a lovely reminder of a book I really enjoyed but which I was disappointed to realise – after I’d started reading it – was the third in a three-volume series of books. However, I still felt it worked well as a standalone read, describing it as ‘although bleak at times…an engrossing read’. Read my full review here.
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo (posted 6th December 2016)
Set in Nigeria, I loved this story about Yejide, a smart, sassy, well-educated woman who runs her own business but doesn’t have the one thing she desires and her family expect – a child. I enjoyed the combination of emotional bombshells, humour in the cast of supporting characters and fascinating insights into Nigerian/Yoruba culture. Read my full review here.
Legacy of the Lynx by Clio Gray (posted 7th December 2016)
Regular followers of what Cathy Read Next will know I love my historical fiction, particularly with a mystery element, but unfortunately this was a book that just didn’t work for me. Despite having a large and imaginative cast of characters and lots of action, much of the latter seemed extraneous to the main plot, the the search for the lost library. Read my full review here.
Hell’s Gate by Laurent Gaudé (posted 10th December 2016)
I described this as ‘a strangely unnerving little book, blending a story of loss and vengeance with elements of magical realism and questions about the nature of life and death’. It powerfully depicts the impact on Matteo and his wife, Guiliana, of their son’s death. Matteo embarks on a Dantesque journey in the company of four companions in pursuit of the idea that life and death are not distinct states but that portals exist to allow travel between the two, blending elements of a Miltonic view of Hell with the mythology of the Greek underworld. Read my full review here.
The Ashes of Berlin by Luke McCallin (posted 10th December 2016)
Titled The Divided City in some editions, this is the third in the series of stories featuring Gregor Reinhardt, an Inspector in the post-war Berlin police force. I really enjoyed this extremely well-crafted historical detective story. (In fact, I can recommend the whole series). Like all the best books, I was torn between wanting to find out what happened and not wanting it to end. Read my full review here.