Falling Behind on Reviews…

Manchester, Piccadilly Gardens.
Manchester, Piccadilly Gardens.

I’ve been travelling and working (for money rather than love) for the past three weeks. Which, as always, means I get a lot of reading done (dinners for one at hotel restaurants and lonely hotel rooms are conducive to that sort of thing), but my reviewing falls by the wayside. Too tired mentally to string two words together (except perhaps ‘not now’).

I was aiming for entertaining rather than gruelling books, books to divert rather than ravage me. Some have been better than others, some have been slightly disappointing. I will try to do them all justice with longer reviews over the next few days, so this is what you have to look forward to!

Town Hall, Sheffield.
Town Hall, Sheffield.

Better than or as good as expected:

Linwood Barclay: Trust Your Eyes – ‘Rear Window’ suspense with a modern twist

Miriam Toews: All My Puny Sorrows – depression and suicide, not a light read

M.J. McGrath: The Bone Seeker – another fascinating insight into Inuit life

Tamar Cohen: The Broken – captivating if uncomfortable story of marital and friendship breakdown


Manchester, up-and-coming urban area.
Manchester, up-and-coming urban area.

Slightly disappointing (perhaps because of the hype):

Sam Alexander: Carnal Acts – too tough and graphic for my taste

Domingo Villar: Water-Blue Eyes – the abrupt ending spoilt an otherwise rather promising book set in Galicia, Spain

Edward Wilson: The Whitehall Mandarin – ambitious and thoughtful spy thriller, but gets a bit silly towards the end


More than slightly disappointing:

Lauren Owen: The Quick – an interesting writer stylistically, but stories about vampires are just not, not, NOT my thing (and I really need to read blurbs more attentively in future)


Tour de France preparations, Sheffield.
Tour de France preparations, Sheffield.

Charming and quirky reads:

D. S. Nelson: Blake Hetherington Mysteries – middle-aged, finicky hat-maker is an adorable detective, but felt the novella format was too short for the mystery to fully develop and breathe

Lena Divani: Seven Lives and One Great Love – autobiography of a cat – with great observations about life, humans and love – funny but also poignant

And, speaking of places I’ve travelled to, I found that Sheffield surpassed my expectations, while Manchester was a disappointment. I am sure weather, circumstances, time,  having an insider show you around etc. makes all the difference and I am sure that both cities have plenty to offer, but I know which of the two is my favourite. Still, both of them would make good backdrops to crime novels…

Manchester, former fish market.
Manchester, former fish market.
Sheffield, Winter Gardens.
Sheffield, Winter Gardens.



24 thoughts on “Falling Behind on Reviews…”

  1. I’m impressed by the amount of reading you managed to do alongside your business travels as I tend to find these kinds of trips quite draining. I was looking at Lena Divani’s book the other day, and it does sound like fun!

    1. That’s exactly why I read so much while travelling – too emotionally drained to do anything else (I do have some poetry just screaming at me to be written). Plus, I find watching football with half an eye works wonders for my reading (not tempted to watch anything more interesting, shall we say, so I get a decent amount of reading done each evening).

  2. I agree re reading when on business travels ….only way to get through it . Manchester is a pretty ugly city but scratch the surface and it’s a great place to spend time in ….I lived there for 12 years and still have a lot of affection for the place !

    1. I should have consulted you beforehand on places to visit. The Tourist Information Centre was rather over-optimistic about the regeneration of certain areas…

      1. Lol!! Well it’s a long time since I lived there so my info is not up to date !! I know what you mean about regeneration …I visited recently and some friends proudly took me to The Northern Quarter …..looked a bit of a dump tbh ;)) !!!!!

  3. A short quick review will often suffice, in my case, I didn’t read anything in the past 2 weeks and it wasn’t only the effect of struggling with Harry Quebert!

    I now have the energy to write, and slowly getting back into reading with Tove Jansson’s essays/stories in Art in Nature which seem to be working, soothing reading and leaving me in the present, can’t do anything too escapist for now, but eyeing up The Goldfinch for next months summer chunkster read 🙂

  4. Marina Sofia – I’m glad you enjoyed Sheffield. I’m also glad you enjoyed The Blake Heatherington Mysteries. Nelson has talent in my opinion. And as far as Water Blue Eyes goes, I’m sorry to hear that you were disappointed in the ending. I do recommend the second in that series, Death on a Galician Shore. I think it’s a great read.

    1. It just felt a bit too rushed and like the author hadn’t quite played fair. I did like the detective and the local atmosphere, though, and will certainly read more.

  5. There are times when spoilers are called for, and I’m referring to your vampire comment. I was recently interested in a book, thought it looked like a decent read, and went looking for reviews on Goodreads. Someone there had written a review with the words ‘Spoiler Alert’ and I took a look. She mentioned “vampire” which was, as it turned out, the spoiler. I was grateful for that as I know I would have HATED to read that book which was touted as a crime/mystery book, but the killer turned out to be a vampire. I realize that the vampire element was the book’s big surprise, but this is a turn off for me too.

    1. In the case of The Quick, I had read that it contained some supernatural elements – I assumed ghosts. And, since it started with a derelict old Yorkshire mansion and in a rather Gothic Victorian way, I was firmly convinced we were heading in that direction – got excited when Oscar Wilde made an appearance… but then it was downhill all the way. It wasn’t badly written for those who like that sort of thing – but I just don’t. Even the original Dracula I can only half-heartedly recommend.

  6. I’m pleased you managed to get some reading done even if your reviews got backlogged. Interesting list of books, I quite like Manchester but I’ve never been to Sheffield. Here’s hoping for a slightly less hectic time for you 🙂

    1. Funnily enough, looking at the list now, I realise they weren’t really ‘the easy reads’ I’d been aiming for. Just can’t stay away from the grim and dark…

  7. I had the same (OK, similar) thing happen to me when I visited my mother who is in poor health and my sister, her caregiver, back in April. Got lots of reading done but no reviewing. It took me weeks to recover my energy for reviewing and computing, but reading was a comfort. (When I had adequate light, which turned out to be a problem for me while traveling.)

    I enjoyed your pithy and to the point comments on your books read… wish I could do that.

    1. How did I miss this comment, Tracy, sorry about my late response. Sometimes we just need the comfort of reading, especially perhaps reading without plan, without afterthoughts, without a review hanging over one’s head, without the responsibility almost.

  8. Hah! You were not alone getting sucked in by the misleading blurb on The Quick! A pity actually, because up until the big reveal I was quite enjoying it and thinking her writing style was pretty enjoyable. It’s one of the few books I’ve abandoned this year.

  9. Lovely to see these photos of ‘Oop North’ and that the Yorkshire town of Sheffield wasn’t a disappointment! It’s improved a lot in the past decade or so, I can confirm! I have family and friends scattered around Yorkshire and it’s one of my favourite parts of the country, outside my own place of birth…

    1. And the people there are absolutely lovely – so helpful, so genuinely concerned, so refreshingly honest. Such a change from the South-East!

Do share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.