Top Ten Books for 2017

It is that time of the year when I make a list of my top ten books. As usual, it was very difficult to make the list as all the books I read this year were great in their own way.
Top Ten Books for 2017
Alex by Pierre Lemaitre
Creepers by Joanne Dahme
The Hoarder by Jess Kidd
The Visitors by Catherine Burns
Finding Colin Firth by Mia March
The Pool House by Tasmina Perry
Happy Eva After by Chris Harrison
The Third Offence by Helen McKenna
The Great Coat by Helen Dunmore
Lady Susan by Jane Austen

A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert

A murder for the books


Story Outline:

Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbour whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is sceptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families… including her own.

When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest in A Murder for the Books, the first instalment of Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library mysteries.



My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books

A debut novel worthy of a best-selling author. “A Murder For The Books” offers the reader not just your run-of-the-mill cozy mystery. It has twists and turns aplenty, family secrets, murder and even a touch of the paranormal.

With a storyline that flows well, it kept me interested and wanting to find out who the killer was and what motivated them to kill in the first place. The characters are well written and relatable. As usual with any mystery novel, this one had me trying to figure out who was the culprit. I had a few theories about some of them but I was incorrect with all my guesses.

In regards to the book itself what stood out for me was the depth of the story. The history of the town and the secrets that many families have kept hidden was interesting to read and should leave even the most amateur of sleuths wanting more.

The developing relationship between Amy and Richard is also another aspect I enjoyed, I am sure as the series develops we will see a lot more between these two. They work well together, even if the author had not chosen them to have a budding romance they definitely make a great detective pairing.

A Case of Syrah, Syrah: A Country Wine Mystery by Nancy J. Parra

A case of syrah, syrah


Story Outline:

Taylor O’Brian is a new businesswoman, founder of “Taylor’s Off The Beaten Path Wine Tours,” who lives on a small winery with her Aunt Jemma. She plans to take small groups around romantic Sonoma county to discover some of the county’s outdoor gardens. It’s all running as smooth as can be until Laura, the leader of the group of yoga instructors she’s leading, is found dead. And it’s Taylor’s corkscrew that’s found buried in Laura’s neck.

She’s not sure who to trust, and everyone around suddenly seems suspect. Only two weeks after the murder, her very own administrative assistant, Amy, marries Laura’s husband, Dan, who doesn’t seem very bereaved about being widowed, and the three yoga masters who were also out on the tour begin to seem shady. Taylor can’t afford to jump ship from her new business endeavour, but just as she begins her investigation, another dead body surfaces. This time, it’s Dan’s sister. And the killer is coming for Taylor next.

Now it’s up to Taylor to uncork this open-bottle mystery before more blood is spilt. For fans of Laura Childs and Ellen Crosby, A Case of Syrah, Syrah is the charming first in bestselling author Nancy J. Parra’s Wine Country mysteries.



My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books

A Case of Syrah, Syrah is another hit in the cozy mysteries genre. Having only read a few books in this genre I was interested to see if I would enjoy it as much as I have previous titles. It did not disappoint.

What you find are some very interesting characters as well as an intriguing storyline. As with all cozy mysteries, I have read in the past this one had me suspecting every character of being the murderer. It was made more difficult, for me at least, as the main character Taylor was being framed for a murder she clearly did not commit.

The author has a talent for throwing the reader off the trail of the killer, for me, it happened on more than one occasion. I thought I had worked out a few times who had committed the crime, only to find out I was wrong. The story flows well, keeping the reading interested in what is happening to the characters. The characters were well written and relatable. There are several that I had thought could be the murderer. At one stage I even thought it might have been her best friend. She had her identity stolen which had happened to other people connected to Laura, the woman that was murdered.

To add further to the book’s depth, the author has included a section on wine and food pairing, which includes recipes and cheese that pair with Syrah wine which is the wine Taylors auntie produces in the book.

Highly recommended.


This year has been a very taxing one for me in many different ways. Personally, it has been a rollercoaster not knowing from one day to the next where my life is heading. Health wise it has sucked with constant illness. As for reading and blogging, it has been mediocre and disappointing.

I have read over 30 books which is a feat in itself with the year I have had plus I decided in my infinite wisdom to actually pay for this blog so it would be seen by a wider audience.  Yet I think I miss the mark. I want to bring thoughtful, interesting and helpful reviews to the world but it seems that people are more interested in the long drawn out reviews that delve deep into the soul of the person who has read the book rather than the actual book itself. Call me cynical but it is true. You only have to see the people on Goodreads (as an example) who write paragraph after paragraph about how the book was so horrid that they now need therapy to get over it. Instead of writing that they didn’t like it and state the reasons why in a polite and helpful way to their fellow readers. Instead, we are forced to read about how the book and author have scarred them for life and they hate the book and want everyone else on their friend’s list to hate it too.

Sure people are going to think I am having a moan and that there are some deep seeded reasons behind the above paragraph but the simple fact is the majority do not want simple anymore. They crave drawn out, complicated and spite filled subjects to read about.

I often sit and ponder what can I do to draw more people to my blog? Do I write more about myself in a non-book related way?  Or am I just wasting time in a world where everyone has a blog in this digital jungle?