Books of the month: July 2015

Pick of the month

ATimeToRunPeaceFrontAlmost all of the nine books I read during July were well worth my time but I’m going to give my pick of the month to J.M. Peace’s A TIME TO RUN because I was so impressed with the things it wasn’t. I know that sounds strange but when the blurb indicated it was ‘a serial killer’ book I groaned audibly. I’ve thrown a couple of serial-killer-rampages-through-Queensland novels at the wall (literally) so had few hopes for this one. But serving policewoman J.M. Peace’s debut novel is not what you think of when you think of this well-worn theme. There are no italicised passages showing us his thoughts and he is not some evil genius able to outwit the cops (all but one of whom are, of course, preposterously stupid). Instead it is a perfectly paced novel of real suspense that has us spending time with the victim and some dedicated police instead of barking-mad killers. I read it in a single sitting and eagerly await the author’s next offering.

The rest (titles preceded by the ++ symbol are all recommended)

Progress Towards 2015’s Book-ish Goals

Challenge Goal Progress
Australian Women Writers Challenge Read and review 25 eligible books 10*/25
Reading US Fiction Challenge Read 6 books by new to me authors set in different states of the US 3/6
Personal – Outside my comfort zone Read at least 6 books that aren’t crime/mystery/thriller novels 2/6
Personal – Read Globally Read at least 10 books set in countries that aren’t Australia, America or England 23/10
Personal – Reduce TBR Read at least 20 books I owned as at 31 December 2014 13/20
Personal – Buy Australian Buy no physical or eBooks from non-Australian stores 1/0
Personal – Read older books too Participate in at least 6 of the monthly ‘pick a year’ reading challenges hosted at Past Offences 5/6

*have read 12 books but only reviewed 10 of them

I’m a bit annoyed at myself for caving in and buying a book at Amazon. It was for my monthly book club, wasn’t available at the library and the cheapest I could find it from an Australian store was $14.95. It cost me $1.01 in kindle format which is how I justified it to myself. But it’s the first time in 18 months that I’ve bought anything but an audio-book from a non-Australian book store.

Aside from the challenge I completed several months ago (to read at least 10 books set somewhere other than the US, UK or Australia) the only challenge I am definitely on track to complete this year is the last one on the list which is a bit surprising as I tend not to read older or ‘classic’ crime fiction much at all. But I have enjoyed my participation in the Past Offences monthly challenges (to read a crime novel set in the nominated year), especially when I can seek out some classic Australian crime fiction (as I did during July with the excellent DRAGONS AT THE PARTY by Jon Cleary – an author I had previously ignored!)

I will try to pick up my game on my remaining challenges. Promise.

Looking ahead

The first order of business will be to find myself a crime novel published in 1980, preferably an Australian, for the Past Offences challenge. I’ve got my book club book to finish (Livia Day’s A TRIFLE DEAD) this week and I’ve only got one book home from the library right now (Karim Miske’s ARAB JAZZ) so I should be able to make a dent in my ‘books owned prior to the beginning of this year’ challenge. But I say that a lot and something always seems to come along to spoil my plans 🙂

What about you? Had any particularly good reads during July? Got something good lined up for August? Are you progressing well on your reading goals for the year or have you let them all slide in favour of a random approach to reading?

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This entry was posted in Alex Hammond, Ausma Zehanat Khan, books of the month, Elly Griffiths, Felicity Young (Aus), J.M. Peace (Aus), Jon Cleary, Nicci French, Patricia Abbott. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Books of the month: July 2015

  1. Marianne Wheelaghan says:

    Good luck with the rest of your bookish goals. I admire your determination, the way you’re going can’t see why you won’t achieve them though. Thanks too for highlighting Time To Run. It sounds a breath if fresh air crime fiction wise. I cant download the kindle here in UK, though, but look forward to being able to do do soon. As for my reading goals … ha ha ha, they are totally random. I seem to read in bursts and then stop for a while before bursting again. I have so many books I want to read sometimes i feel immobilised. Maybe that’s why in July i reread some old Ed McBain 87th Precincts – i probably should make some reading goals, though, cause I am clearly missing out. Thanks again.

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    • Oh I could achieve my goals Marianne but I shall have to be particularly dedicated to them which I’m not really. For example I bring home non-crime books from the library quite often and they just sit there for 4 weeks then I take them back. I used to read a lot more widely but can’t seem to be bothered these days. But I’m happy enough as long as what I’m reading is good stuff.

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  2. I’m glad you had a good reading month, Bernadette. And thanks for reminding us of A Time to Run. I remember how much you mentioned liking it when you first posted about it. Usually I’m not one to reach for a book with a serial killer motif – had it up to here with that theme. But this one sounds different. It sounds like a good, good story. I’m glad you’re making progress towards your goals, too.

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  3. kathy d. says:

    Glad you had a good reading month. I don’t have my list in front of me, but what I know is that I read Asa Larsson’s The Second Deadly Sin, which was good, riveting. And then I read Harry Bingham’s second Fiona Griffiths book Love and Mystery, with Murders. That was unputdownable, too, but quite brutal at times … I had to skip some paragraphs, but overall it was good.
    Now I’m reading Garry Disher’s Hell to Pay, probably named Bitter Wash Road in Oz.

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    • I’m glad you liked the Asa Larsson book (I think she’s my favourite of the Larssons even though the other fellow is more famous).

      That is bizarre that they’ve renamed Bitter Wash Road so completely…I wonder what prompted that??? Hope you enjoy it.

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  4. kathy d. says:

    Correct title of the second Fiona Griffiths book is Love Story, with Murders.
    Also, I read Jo Bannister’s Perfect Sins, which was a fun summer read without profundities.
    And I read Entry Island by Peter May; what an eye-opener about the brutal Clearances of the Island of Lewis in Scotland in the 1800s. Here the historic material is more interesting than the contemporary murder.

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    • I like Jo Bannister for those light but intelligent reads…and I must get back to reading that Peter May trilogy. I was half way through the second one when I left it on a bus and I’ve never tracked down a replacement copy. I’m sure the library has it by now.

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  5. tracybham says:

    I am glad you ran into a serial killer novel that you enjoyed. I don’t like to generalize but I haven’t had much luck lately with serial killer novels so I groaned when I started one recently. It was really a decent book… except for the serial killer. This one sounds much better from that perspective.

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  6. kathy d. says:

    On the title changes, U.S. publishers probably thought that Bitter Wash Road is too much of an Australian place name. They also like quick sound bite titles over here, short ones.
    The term “hell to pay” is used quite a bit in the book by the main character, so the publishers probably thought it a short, catchy title.
    Lots of titles are changed here. I think the U.S. publishers think readers here are not sophisticated in their reading, won’t read books if they think they’re set in other countries and aim for the simplest titles.

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