Tuesday intro: The Lauras by Sara Taylor

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. In really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week I’m reading The Lauras by Sara Taylor, which I’ve heard great things about and have had on my kindle for weeks so am excited to read.  Here’s what it’s about…

32969152I didn’t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong.As we made our way from Virginia to California, returning to the places where she d lived as a child in foster care and as a teenager on the run, repaying debts and keeping promises, I learned who she was in her life-before-me and the secrets she had kept even from herself. But when life on the road began to feel normal I couldn’t forget the home we d left behind, couldn’t deny that, just like my mother, I too had unfinished business.

This enigmatic pilgrimage takes them back to various stages of Alex s mother s life, each new state prompting stories and secrets. Together they trace back through a life of struggle and adventure to put to rest unfinished business, to heal old wounds and to search out lost friends. This is an extraordinary story of a life; a stunning exploration of identity and an authentic study of the relationship between a mother and her child.

And here’s how it starts…

I could here them arguing, the way they argued nearly every night now, their voices pitched low and rasping in that way that meant they thought they were being too quiet to wake me up.  They were right in that their fights never did wake me up – but that was because I always stayed awake until they started.  I could feel one coming like the promise of a storm thickening the air.  When the rain’s on the way I can’t sleep either. Even though I always heard them, when morning rolled around I pretended that I’d slept through it all, because I didn’t know what else to do.

What do you think…would you keep reading?



Human Acts by Han Kang

30091914In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.

The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho’s own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.

Human Acts starts with the story of one boy, of what happened to him over a few short days in May 1980. It starts with him looking amongst the dead for his best friend, who he had seen shot in the street by soldiers. It ends with him dead, gun in hand, as he tries to make a stand.  There are lots of dead in Human Acts, and lots of friends and family looking amongst them for their loved ones. Loved ones who had taken to the streets just like the boy and his friend had, protesting against military rule in South Korea.

The boy is Dung-ho. He is fifteen. And this is the Gwangju uprising, where – depending on reports – hundreds of people were killed over a period of nine days and others as the result of torture and retribution for having stood up to a brutal regime. Brutal is the only word I can think of to describe what I read. Han Kang pulls no punches in her description of what happened to those that died and those that survived. 

What happened to some of the survivors is told through long chapters that are more like short stories. Each survivor is visited at a different times in their lives and at different times in South Korea’s history and each is connected to the first chapter and Dung-ho. None have ever fully recovered from what happened to them as a result of their involvement in the uprising. Most of them were young. There were students, factory workers, parents. One was the author herself, who was a child at the time. None were ever the same as a result of what they went through.

It wasn’t a pleasant or easy read at times and I struggled in places to not skim through graphic details. I felt I needed to read every line though because this isn’t just about what happened nearly 40 years ago, this is still happening – if not in South Korea then in other parts of the world. People are still being tortured and abused and it does make you wonder just what we are as humans if we keep doing this to each other. Han Kang says “the question which remains to us is this: what is humanity? What do we have to do to keep humanity as one thing and not another?”.

I don’t know the answer and wish I did. As strange as it may sound, I feel grateful to Han Kang for asking and opening my eyes in such an eloquent way. Because, after finishing this over two weeks ago, it’s still a question that is rattling round my brain and I don’t feel it is going to go away. I am also grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this book. It is beautifully written, despite the subject matter, and translated. The characters are so real, I felt completely connected to them and their fate. For as dark and as hard to read as it was, I loved this book and can’t recommend it enough.

Emma x


Source: Blogging for Books
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: 17th January, 2017
Pages: 218
Format: ebook
Genre: literary fiction
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

Weekly update: 26th March, 2017

Weekly updateMorning all and welcome to another Sunday and another weekly update.  I hope you are all having a lovely weekend and a happy mother’s day to everyone out there in the UK.

My day has been very nice so far, with a lie in followed by breakfast in bed (which only happens once a year so I saviour it).  Later, my mom will be coming over and we’re doing afternoon tea, which means I’m about to start baking but that’s o.k. because I quite like turning into Mary Berry once in a while, though I have never quite mastered her scones.

It’s the end to a nice weekend that included a trip to the seaside yesterday, making up for a slightly rocky week as I haven’t been feeling too well.  Fingers crossed I’m over that now though and will be fine this week.

Blog wise, it was a good week, with five posts including three reviews – a bit of a record for me.  Here’s what I posted…


On Monday I reviewed The Stranger by Saskia Sarginson, which I really enjoyed and was a refreshing change in a familiar genre with a recent widow trying to rebuild her life at the same time as she is trying to unpick the secrets and lies of the two men she has started to have feelings for.

On Tuesday I shared the start of my latest read Fell by Jenn Ashworth, which I have to admit I haven’t gotten into enough yet to know how I feel because I forgot to take it with me on my travels this week so ending up picking another book instead.  The bit I have read though leaves me with high hopes for a spooky and suspenseful read.

On Wednesday I reviewed The Escape by C. L. Taylor, an author I have wanted to read for a while and whose latest book I really enjoyed.  This was a fast-paced read with lots of twists, turns and action.  Highly recommended.

On Thursday I reviewed The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, a book I have been putting of reading for fear it wasn’t as good as Ware’s debut and one of my favourite books of last year, In a Dark, Dark, Wood.  Thankfully my fears were unfounded.  This was a great book that had shades of Christie in it’s cast of potential suspects.

On Friday I joined wrote about handling negative comments on my blog as part of the book blogger hop – thankfully it’s not something I’ve had to really do but I tried to think about what I would do if I did.

So, all in all a good week.  It was also a good week book wise.  Added to my shelves were (clicking on the covers takes you to good reads) …

30689335  26245850  34368544

Before the Fall is a bit of a wild card as I remember hearing good things but not what when it first came out last year.  The other two though I have high hopes for – I haven’t read a bad review for the Roanoke Girls and I love the Erika Foster series.  Fingers crossed I am not disappointed with either.

And that’s it for this week.  What about you – has it been a good one, reading and otherwise?

Emma x

This week, I’m linking in with Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post and with (a little early) Katherine at Book Date for It’s Monday, What Are you Reading? Head over by clicking on their badges below to see what other bloggers have read, written about or just added to their shelves.

The Sunday Post

Book blogger hop: negative comments

book-blogger-hop-finalThis week, I’m once again joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

How do you handle negative comments left on your blog?

So I might be lucky here but I don’t think I’ve ever had a negative comment on my blog.  Which means I have no idea how I would handle them if I got one (and please don’t test me out by leaving one here…it’s really not something I want to experience!).

I would hope I would be able to respond with good grace and a rationale, reasonable comment but I don’t know if that would be true in reality.  I do know that is how I have responded when people have picked up on errors in my posts etc., which if I’m honest I’ve sometimes thought were a bit picky and I have wondered if they were needed.  I haven’t removed the comment though and I haven’t not responded.  I’ve thanked the person for letting me know and moved on.

It does depend I suppose on what the negative comment was.  If it was a disagreement over a book I’d reviewed I would argue my case I think, standing my ground over my opinion (because that’s what reviews are at the end of the day the way I write them – my personal opinion).  If it was a personal attack then I think I would remove the comment because I don’t think anyone has the right to have a go at anyone else on a blog post.

You can argue / disagree with a sentiment but the person still has the right to their opinion at the end of the day…or you can just ignore the blog going forward (which might be easier than getting into an online fight that you potentially can’t then erase).  These are my approaches to commenting anyways, and so far they have stood me in good stead.

What about you, have you had negative comments on your posts? What type were they (the posts and the comments)? And how did you handle them?




The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

28187230Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

I have waited quite a while to read The Woman in Cabin 10. Despite having loved Ruth Ware’s debut (In A Dark Dark Wood), I was anxious.  Anxious that this wouldn’t live up to the expectations I already had of her as an author able to craft a story that kept me on the edge of my seat from the opening paragraph to the final sentence.

Thankfully, my fears were unfounded (though I am refusing to kick myself for waiting so long to pick this book up, regret never getting me anywhere).  The Woman in Cabin 10 is a cracking read.  It opens strongly, with a break in at Lo’s flat that sounds more than a bit terrifying and means by the time she gets to the ship, she is tired, strung out and just a little (o.k. a lot) on edge.

Her behaviour is unpredictable, fuelled as it is by lack of sleep, too much alcohol and anxiety (something she is already on medication for).  It doesn’t make her the most likeable character, even if you understand her behaviours, and it definitely makes her an unreliable one.  It is no wonder people don’t believe her, or take her seriously, when she says someone has been murdered on the first night of the cruise or that that same murderer is now after her.

As a reader, I have to say I wasn’t too sure myself.  Had I been on board I may have taken the same tack as the head of security or other passengers and asked her how much was down to drink and drugs.  I doubt I would have scoured the ship or locked people in their cabins until land was reached.  Ware does a great job in Lo of building a character that you just don’t quite believe, even if you want to.  And then the question is why would the other passengers want to when she hasn’t done a lot to win them over.

At first, I found Lo quite irritating.  Then, I started to realise that was possibly the point.  She isn’t that likeable and she isn’t that believable.  Which means she is on her own.  She has to overcome her demons, her insecurities in order to prove that she is right and, in the end, survive.  So, it’s not just about saving the mystery woman in cabin 10.  It’s about saving herself too and moving on with a life that is, quite frankly, stuck and going nowhere because of her fears and insecurities.

With that lightbulb moment (I do occasionally have them) it felt like all was forgiven with Lo and I started to enjoy her character and root for her.  It’s a good thing too as she is not only the main character, it’s her voice you hear throughout – not liking it would have mean not liking the book.  Other passengers are slightly stereotypical – handsome photographer, wealthy man of industry, bitchy journalist, plus an ex-boyfriend (which I did find a bit odd given where they were) – and not as well rounded as I might have liked.

They are, really, a means to an end.  Characters that Lo can play off and which provide an ideal cast of potential suspects in a very Miss Marple kind of way – was it the beautiful model with the broken champagne flute in the spa or the Bear Grylls wanna be with the carving knife in the library?

Because of this guess who game I started playing, the stereotypes didn’t bother me. In fact, I enjoyed them and I enjoyed the book.  It was well written, with great pace and it was fun.  For all those reasons I liked it a lot – a recommended read!




Source: Library
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Publication Date: 30th June, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: ebook
Genre: crime fiction
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US












The Escape by C. L. Taylor

32790943When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.

The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

After reading more than one good review of C. L. Taylor’s books, I felt I needed to read at least one myself.  Seeing The Escape on Netgalley seemed the perfect opportunity, especially as it was a standalone and I am not sure I could leap into another series at the moment when I already have so many on the go.

The Escape starts as it means to go on, by throwing you right into the action and not letting up until it’s all over.  It opens with Jo walking to her car, running late for picking up her daughter.  She never leaves her office this late and she’s in a rush.  Just in these first few sentences you realise that Jo is tightly wound, no more so than when a stranger comes up behind her whilst she is trying to get into her car.  You see her internal struggle – does she know the woman? is she really a neighbour? should she offer her a lift? and now that’s been asked for, should she say yes?

All Jo’s instincts are telling her no, not to let the woman (Paula) into her car, not to agree to a lift, but she ignores them – thinking instead about how she will appear and questioning whether her concerns are genuine.  It turns out they are, genuine that is – Paula threatens her and her daughter.  The problem is no one else seems to take her seriously, not least her husband (Max) who won’t even contact the police.  He’s convinced it’s Jo’s imagination, running away with her because of mental health problems, and that there is a perfectly rational explanation.

From this first, slightly scary but potentially harmless meeting, things spiral  quickly and the threats to Jo become more real and more dangerous.  Someone has invaded her life and is determined, it seems, to make it a living hell.  As a reader, you know she’s not loosing her mind, you can read the thoughts of the person who is after her in short chapters interspersed through the book. Still, though, Max won’t believe her – no matter what she says – which is incredibly frustrating but possibly understandable as you start to understand Jo’s history and the reasons she isn’t being believed.

I say possibly because if I was Jo I would have gone on the run a lot sooner than she did and I wouldn’t have tried to reason with Max (though there wouldn’t have been much of a story then I guess).  With the running, the book ratchets up another notch because now is Jo not just trying to escape Paula, she is hiding from the police, and trying and failing to come up with credible lies for the people she comes in contact with.  Whilst you hope for the best, that she can keep her head down till it all blows over, you know that isn’t going to be the case and I felt tense waiting for it all to come crashing down.  And come crashing down it did in a great, big, page turning finale.

If you can’t tell, I really liked this book.  It was such a fast paced, edge of seat read.  Jo was a great character, nice and unpredictable which kept the story moving along, and there were a few twists in the tale I really didn’t see coming and changed how I was feeling about more than one character.  There were, as always in these books, a few times when I had to suspend belief slightly to allow for a plot twist but that was more than o.k. for this book, which I highly recommend.  Liked it a lot!




Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 23rd March, 2017
Pages: 433
Format: ebook
Genre: crime fiction
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.


Tuesday intro: Fell by Jenn Ashworth

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. In really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week, I’m reading Fell by Jenn Ashworth, which The Guardian tells me is “dark, compelling, and beautifully written” – I hope they are right.  Here’s what it’s about…

imageWhen Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she despairs: the long empty house is crumbling, undermined by two voracious sycamores. What she doesn’t realise is that she’s not alone: her arrival has woken the spirits of her parents, who anxiously watch over her, longing to make amends. Because as the past comes back to Jack and Netty, they begin to see the summer of 1963 clearly, when Netty was desperately ill and a stranger moved in. Charismatic, mercurial Timothy Richardson, with his seemingly miraculous powers of healing, who drew all their attention away from Annette… Now, they must try to draw another stranger towards her, one who can rescue her.


And here’s how it starts…

Her key in the lock wakes us.  It wakes the starlings too: they rise chattering out of the tress in the front garden and hurl themselves into the sky.  They don’t fly far; before the door is open they have landed, disgruntled, on the roof ridge. We flutter at each other like leaves, find the words for things, laughing, stiff as bark, too wooden to grab and hold on tight.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US

The Stranger by Saskia Sarginson

Wimagee all have our secrets. Eleanor Rathmell has kept one her whole life. But when her husband dies and a stranger arrives at her door, her safe life in the idyllic English village she’s chosen as her home begins to topple.

Everyone is suspicious of this stranger, except for Eleanor. But her trust in him will put her life in danger, because nothing is as it seems; not her dead husband, the man who claims to love her, or the inscrutable outsider to whom she’s opened her home and her heart.

I was really looking forward to reading The Stranger – not just because I had enjoyed the other book I had read by Sarginson (Without You) but because the opening, which I used for last week’s Tuesday intro, completely drew me in.  I found it beautifully, though simply written and it painted a picture in my head that I still haven’t quite shaken.

The prologue (from which the intro was taken) has a young girl, a new mother, giving away her baby for adoption.  It is heart breaking.  It also suggests darker things might follow; “After all the hate, there you were.”  And, given the type of books I normally read, I have to admit I envisioned an angry and bitter son appearing years later with an axe to grind, figuratively and literally.

This wasn’t the case though and, whilst what I got was still a thriller, it was a much more nuanced and thoughtful piece of writing than I had maybe being expecting.  The prologue, rather than hinting of what was to come was rather an explanation of some of the behaviours of the central character, Ellie.  These are further explained by flashbacks to her teenage years, which show how she has become the woman she has.

Most of the story, though, takes place in the present and in Kent, a region on the front line of the migrant crisis that played out on our screens the last few years.  Migrants, their role in our lives (picking the food we eat, offering cheap labour) and our attitudes towards them (anger, distrust, general wariness as well as compassion) are front and centre in this book.  Sarginson manages to highlight these issues without being preachy and turns their plight and our response to it into a gripping read, one that kept me turning pages.

She does this by making it about human beings and about love.  Yes, this is a novel full of suspense but it is also a story with love at it’s heart (not a soppy love story but one about caring for and about people).  The question is, who does Ellie love and who is lying to her, because there are two men vying for her heart and each believes the other is the bad guy, the one she can’t trust.  It’s up to Ellie to figure it out, slowly unpicking the web of lies she has found herself at the centre of and which could end up threatening her life.

Possibly the only downside to the book is the who became clear a bit too early for me as I like to be kept guessing  BUT to make up for this there were other twists in the tale I didn’t see coming at all and which kept me reading.  And, I have to remember this wasn’t a standard domestic thriller of girl meets boy, boy turns out to be a psychopath.  It was deeper than that and better for it.  I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend it.




Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication Date: 23rd March, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: ebook
Genre: crime fiction
Buy now: Amazon UK / Amazon US

Note: I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

Weekly update: 19th March, 2017

Morning all and happy Sunday…hope everyone is having a good weekend and has had a good week. Mine wasn’t too bad, busy with work but there were some fun things in their too, including a day off on Friday where I did absolutely nothing but chill and read, finishing a whole book (The Escape by C. L. Taylor). This was followed by dinner with friends…not the most exciting venue as the kids picked McDonalds but we did manage to stay there for two hours!

Yesterday, my daughter decided to hold a birthday party for our cat, who is now a year old. She invited the grandparents, made a cake out of tuna, a playlist for a party…slightly over the top maybe but it was fun and I think the car involved it for the time it took him to eat his tuna before going outside again. And today, we are attempting to make bath bombs, which I’ve been told are easy but you never know…wish me luck!

Back in the world of blogging, I didn’t have a bad week, though missed my target of five posts. I did manage four, though, so not too shabby for me. It included two reviews…

The Dead Room by Chris Mooney, book three in a series involving a Boston forensic investigator who also seems to be quite handy with a gun and has a habit for getting herself into danger. A new author and series for me, I can see myself reading more.

The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, who has become one of my favourite authors in the past year with her slightly spooky version of Nordic noir. This was another great read, nice and dark and gritty – just how I like them!

Other posts…

…introduced my latest read, Tuesday Intro: The Stranger by Saskia Sarginson, which is now finished and with a review to follow (fingers crossed to getting it written today). I don’t think I am giving anything away by saying I really enjoyed it.

…talked about my belated realisation that I have a lot of ebooks unread (including The Dead Room, which I had owned since 2012) and my determination to finally read some of them.  I picked the three oldest and you can see what they are here. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has books sitting their gathering dust (digitally speaking or otherwise). What is the book that has been sat on your shelves longest?

And that’s it for me. How has your week been, reading and otherwise?

emma x


This week, I’m linking in with Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post and with (a little early) Katherine at Book Date for It’s Monday, What Are you Reading? Head over by clicking on their badges below to see what other bloggers have read, written about or just added to their shelves.

The Sunday Post

Books at the bottom of the pile

Earlier this week, I wrote a review for The Dead Room by Chris Mooney, a book I had had sitting on my Kindle since 2012.  There was no reason why I hadn’t read it other than I had bought other books and they had risen to the top of my “want to read” list quicker.  I know that other bloggers have talked about this problem and there is a read the books you buy challenge but it isn’t a problem I thought I had a) because I don’t review a lot of ARCs in the grand scheme of things so don’t have to prioritise those most of the time and b) because when I look at my book shelves there are very few books I haven’t read and most of those aren’t that old – no more than a year, which I think is perfectly acceptable.

Thinking about it though I realised I often said in my comments on other people’s reviews “oh I have this on my Kindle ready to read” so I decided to take a good hard look at just what was on there, plus on ibooks which I rarely go on anymore but know has books still waiting for me to read.  There are a lot over a year old, quite a few over two years old and more than I imagined or care to admit to older than three years (and no, I won’t share the number).

As I’m already taking part in several challenges this year, which is more than enough for me, I am not going to sign up for read the books you buy but I am going to give myself a bit of a goal to work towards and, between now and the end of June, I am aiming to read the three books I’ve owned the longest.  They are…


Anna Bella Nor is just two weeks away from revealing her controversial research on the evolutionary origin of birds when her supervisor Lars Helland is found dead . . . his tongue and a copy of her thesis in his lap.

As the police investigate the most brutal and calculated case they’ve ever known, Anna remains convinced someone is trying to stop her research coming to light. She must fight to prove her innocence . . . and fight for her life.

Owned since October 2012


5043The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries…Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters into their dreams, their labours, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse.

Owned since January 2013


17262366In summer 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day (and slept much of the rest), a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and an unknown aviator named Charles Lindbergh who became the most famous man on earth.

It was the summer that saw the birth of talking pictures, the invention of television, the peak of Al Capone’s reign of terror, the horrifying bombing of a school in Michigan, the thrillingly improbable return to greatness of over-the-hill baseball player Babe Ruth, and an almost impossible amount more.

In this hugely entertaining book, Bill Bryson spins a tale of brawling adventure, reckless optimism and delirious energy. With the trademark brio, wit and authority that make him Britain’s favourite writer of narrative non-fiction, he brings to life a forgotten summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and changed the world.

Owned since December 2013

If I manage these three, I’ll add three more till I’m all caught up and the guilt I have been feeling for the last week or so will disappear and I will be a happy bunny again.

How about you? Have I got you beat with how long I’ve owned these books are have you had ones on your shelves / kindle longer?  Do you feel guilty or not worry, knowing you’ll get to them one day?


p.s. I only picked three because the last two (Follett and Bryson) are really, really long – maybe why I haven’t read them yet?