I’ll be looking forward to reading more…

… but did I?

Having written well over a thousand reviews since I started blogging way back in 2013, I’ve become a master of the art of recycling phrases. One I use often to finish a review of a book I’ve enjoyed is “I’ll be looking forward to reading more of her work/this series/his books in the future.” I mean it when I say it, and it won’t surprise you in the least to know that I have a page on my TBR spreadsheet dedicated to keeping track of authors to whom I’ve given a five-star review, which I go through regularly to see if they have any new books coming out or to remind me to acquire one from their back catalogue. But regular visitors will also be aware of my TBR woes – the occasional culling, the books that linger there, not forgotten but not read either.

So I wondered – have I read all these books that I looked forward to reading? Have I read any of them? And if I have, did I like the ones I looked forward to as much as the ones that made me look forward to them? I thought it might be fun (for me, and hopefully for you too) to look back at my reviews starting with the oldest, find ones where I looked forward to reading more from the author, and then check if I actually did. (If you think this is just a cheat’s way of highlighting some old reviews of books I enjoyed long ago, then you may well be right… 😉 )

Let’s see then…

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

First reviewed 5th Feb, 2013. This is the fifth book in the Ruth Galloway series, some of which I had already read before I started blogging. I was already beginning to lose interest apparently but said “despite my criticisms I will still be looking out for the next in the series.” So did I?

I did! I read books 6, 7 and 8 and backtracked to read book 2 before finally calling it quits on the series, but in the interim Griffiths had begun her new Stephens and Mephisto series set in Brighton in the 1950s and ‘60s, which I loved and have read five of so far! Plus the first in what seems to be another new series, starring police officer Harbinder Kaur. In fact Griffiths is one of my most reviewed authors – I’ve reviewed eleven of her books. I don’t always love each book, but I’m still always excited to see a new one appear, and she’s incredibly prolific. I currently have the second Harbinder Kaur book on my TBR.

* * * * *

Unhallowed Ground by Gillian White

First reviewed 23rd Feb, 2013. A slow-burn psychological thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed, and said “on the basis of this book, I am certainly looking forward to reading more of White’s work.” Did I?

I did! I went on to read three others, all also standalone thrillers, over the next few months. If memory serves me right, Open Road were reissuing many of her books and they all appeared on NetGalley within a short space of time. I enjoyed all the ones I read, especially Copycat which I thought was brilliantly done, but I think I overdosed on her after a bit – I usually like to leave more of a gap between books from any author. Hmm, nine years is quite a gap – I may have to put her back on the wishlist!

* * * * *

The Lion Wakes by Robert Low

First reviewed 28th Feb, 2013. This was the first in a trilogy recounting the story of Robert the Bruce and the first Scottish War of Independence, and I loved it mainly because the history seemed pretty accurate and he used lots of great Scots dialect. I said “An excellent read – I will certainly be looking out for the next in the series.” Did I?

I did! I read both the other books in the trilogy but unfortunately I felt they went downhill badly. Due, I suspect, to a backlash from his established, mostly non-Scottish fan base, he toned the use of Scots right down in the later books, and the plots turned into the kind of sword-and-sandal blood and gore stories that never appeal to me much, so he slipped off my “looking forward to” list after that. Oh well!

* * * * *

The Burning by Jane Casey

First reviewed 28th February 2013. The first book in Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan police procedural series, and I fell in love with Maeve immediately. I said “A great new entrant to the detective genre and one I hope to see again.” Did I?

I did! The next couple of books consolidated the series as a firm favourite and I have read all nine of them now, usually as soon as they appear. I’ve also read a couple of her Jess Tennant Young Adult crime trilogy (though I lost the impetus to read book 3), and her recent standalone thriller (which I really didn’t enjoy). There’s a new Maeve due out in Feb 2023 and it’s already on my wishlist!

* * * * *

Success! To be honest though, these early reviews all predated the blog when I used to only review on Amazon, and when I started the blog I selected books and authors I had enjoyed for my first batch of posts (hence why these reviews were all posted within a few days), so it’s not really a fair sample. I’ll go through a few more from time to time, and I’m quite sure my success rate will drop significantly!

Have you read any of these authors?
What authors would be on your “looking forward to” list?

72 thoughts on “I’ll be looking forward to reading more…

  1. This prompted me to look back at the early days of my blog in 2014. It took a while for me to really get going with blogging, and I only posted intermittently for a good couple of years, but one of the first books I did a proper review for was The Strangler Vine by MJ Carter. I wrote that I was really looking forward to the next intstalment in the series, The Infidel Strain – which I’ve never read. More recently, I wrote that I was very excited about the sequel to Semiosis by Sue Burke – which, again, I have not read. I must try and keep better track of these books…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was the other way round. I’d been reviewing for two or three years on Amazon, and it was a publicist who suggested I should blog. I didn’t know anything about blogging, so I started by posting about fifty reviews I’d already done in the space of a couple of weeks, including all these ones. Fortunately nobody was following me at the time – I hadn’t realised how spammy it can feel if you post ten posts a day! 😂 So these were all authors I already followed. But since then, after I became part of the blogosphere and was introduced to so many new authors, my list of authors to watch is now HUGE! There’s no way I could really keep up with them all.

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  2. I had much the same experience with the Ruth Galloway books, except that I began with the first,, then read books 2-6, then had a gap, then read 9. I have some of the later books but I haven’t rushed to read them. I prefer it when she writes in the past tense. I like her two Harbinder Kaur books which I enjoyed and some of her others as well. I love Jane Casey’s books and have read all 9 of the Maeve books.

    I often write something like – ‘I’ll be reading more of [this or that author’s books] soon’ and sometimes I do – I’ll have to check.

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    • Yes, the present tense puts me off too, and also the Ruth/Nelson romance that never goes anywhere. I feel Ruth looks increasingly pathetic – a middle-aged woman hankering after someone else’s husband. Ugh! I’m looking forward to the second Kaur book – I loved the first one! And Maeve is still my favourite current detective.

      It’s frightening to check, and to realise how many books you promised yourself you’d read… 😱

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  3. One of the first books I blogged about in 2014 was the Jack Bertolino crime series by John Lansing. I did follow on with the next three books. Unfortunately there haven’t been anymore.

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  4. That’s good going FF – I don’t revisit a lot of authors, mainly because I concentrate on the 746, but some like Willy Vlautin and Emily St John Mandel have become firm favourites since I first read their work. I also loved the first two Jane Casey, which were in the 746 and I do plan to read more.

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  5. Well done, FictionFan! And what a clever idea for looking back at your blogging and reviews. It’s a great way to keep those authors in mind, and not let them fall by the wayside. I need to read some Gillian White, actually; I’d heard her work was good, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. And I think it’s interesting that you like Elly Griffiths’ Mephisto series a lot better than her Ruth Galloway series. They are quite different (for which I give Griffiths credit, actually).

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    • I think my success rate will drop significantly as I go along – since my TBR exploded I don’t seem to have the time to follow authors as much as I used to. I really enjoyed Gillian White’s books, and must read more (there I go again! 😉 ). Yes, I like that Griffiths tries new things rather than just sticking to one long-running series – it keeps things fresh. The new Harbinder Kaur series is shaping up well too!

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  6. What a great idea for a post, FF. I have only read Elly Griffith among these. I didn’t like the book: The Shadow Diaries and so have no particular desire to read her other books. I like what you have written about Gillian White. Will search for her books.

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    • Elly Griffiths is so prolific and often tries new things – most of her fans seem to like one series more than another, which I think is a sign of her managing to get real variety into her style. Maybe try her Brighton series, if you ever fancy giving her another go? I really enjoyed the Gillian White books that I read – slightly older fashioned , but all the better for that!

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  7. If you hadn’t told me the secret behind this post, I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it! Instead, I’d have imagined you were following some blogging quest to see where things stand today, compared to way back at the beginning. Either way, it works! The only one I’ve read on this list is Elly Griffiths. I read several in her series and enjoyed them, but for some reason she slipped by the wayside. Thanks for jogging my memory — now I’ll have to see if anything she’s written lately gets me interested!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, well, I’m happy to go along with that for my reason! 😉 Elly Griffiths is so prolific it’s quite hard to keep up with her – she often brings out two or three books a year, though not all in the same series. Even though I don’t read the Ruth Galloway books any more I still find it hard to keep up with her!

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    • Haha, yes, trying to keep up with all these authors is like trying to push the proverbial water up a hill! They should ban book writing for a couple of years till we all catch up with our TBRs… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Kudos to you for following through! I can’t say that I’m very good at that. Probably less than a 50/50 chance because I tend to get distracted by the new and shiny. I haven’t read any of the ones on your list, and am not tempted at the moment, thank goodness.

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    • I’m not nearly so good at it now as I was back then, so this gives a false impression of my efficiency! Like you, I’m more likely to reach for the newest book now, and try new authors rather than concentrating on ones I know I like. Not sure it’s a good plan… 😉

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  9. A fun idea for a post, and good way to reflect on your 1000 plus book reviews on the site. It’s funny, I used to binge-read particular authors, but I seem to have lost the habit within the last few years. I’m more likely to binge by subject or genre now than on specific authors. It is interesting the way reading patterns change over time.

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    • I used to binge on authors too – not all at the same time but I had a core group of authors I followed and often re-read. Now I’m so busy reading review copies I find it hard to fit favourite authors and re-reads in, and I’m not sure it improves my enjoyment of reading overall. Hopefully this will inspire me to make time for some of the authors I’ve enjoyed!

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  10. I say that a lot, and I mean it when I say it, too. But I would be surprised if I really do follow up that much. Too many books on the TBR piles. I will have to look into that.

    Jane Casey’s The Burning is a book I reviewed fairly early on my blog, and I did say I was interested in giving it another try, but I never did. With Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series I had a rocky road. I wanted to continue after book 1 because I had to know what happened next. I never have liked the present tense in her books. And when I read books 2 and 3, I wasn’t so enamored of the direction the series was taking. I did like book 4, so I now have A Dying Fall to read. (And I did like The Stranger Diaries a lot, and have the next one in the Harbinder Kaur series to read.)

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    • I think Jane Casey’s books improved a lot over time, although I must admit I’m worried the series is beginning to feel a bit stretched now. But at the moment it’s still a must-read for me. The Ruth Galloway series really began to annoy me after a while – not just the present tense which I hate, but the never-ending never-going-anywhere Ruth/Nelson romance. But I really enjoyed her Brighton series – the Stephens and Mephisto books – and the Harbinder Kaur series is showing a lot of potential…

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  11. This is a fun post! I’ve read ten of the Ruth Galloway books, but there are four more (counting the one for 2022). I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to them because I was so disappointed with the last one I read. I enjoyed The Stranger Diaries and would like to read the second in that series. I hope you get to it soon!

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    • I got so tired of the Ruth Galloway series – not just the present tense which I hate, but also the never-ending Ruth/Nelson saga, And sometimes the idea of an archaeologist being involved in every investigation stretches my credulity beyond its limits! I loved The Stranger Diaries though, and also her Brighton series – the Stephens and Mephisto books.

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  12. So this is slightly off topic, but I too started blogging in 2013! Did wordpress remind you – because that’s how I was reminded haha

    I’ve published almost 800 posts, so I have quite a few to go before I reach your impressive number, but I fall into the same trap you do, recycling some of my phrases. It’s hard to do when you review this much, sometimes I struggle to come up with unique observations because it feels like I’ve said it all already!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, for some reason I always remember when I started but WordPress does remind me every year anyway! A lot of my posts are non-reviews – TBR posts and Tuesday Terror and stuff – so I’ve done nearly 2000 posts in total (I do sympathise with my poor regulars! 😂). But the actual reviews are well over a thousand now and more than half of them got five stars! Don’t know why everyone thinks I’m so grumpy… 😉 Yes, especially with crime fiction I often find it hard to find anything new to say. Maybe mini-reviews are the way to go – but that always seems so unfair, especially for review copies.

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    • I try not to do it in comments but I can’t help myself! I tend to stick any book that interests me from someone’s blog post onto my wishlist, and then go back a month or two later and see if it still inspires me. If not, it gets deleted! So my wishlist is my way of tracking that kind of book, I suppose.

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      • Yes, I’ve got could be described as a ‘possibilities list’ and a spreadsheet with books that have been read though it’s used primarily for a brief description of a book, not extensive stats. Wish I had started that one years ago!

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        • One of the things I most like about blogging is that it tracks my reading over years. I never used to keep a record and I really regret that now, especially with classics where I often can’t remember if I’ve read them or just seen an adaptation at some point.

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  13. Well done!! I should have a look to see if I did that too. I tend to look at books by the same author and check to see if they are available, but I’m not sure how often I actually read them.

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    • I’m not nearly so good at it as I used to be back when I did these reviews, because the blogosphere is always tempting me with authors I’ve not come across before. My list of authors to follow is now huge, and totally unrealistic! but it keeps them in my mind and occasionally I manage to read more of their stuff…

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  14. Congrats on keeping your intentions ! I am very bad at following through, not with favorite mystery writers (that’s rather easy) but with literary fiction I discover by chance and I always say that I should go into their back catalogue… I almost never do…

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    • Thank you, but ha, I was good before I started blogging – not so much now that all my fellow bloggers have introduced me to so many great authors! I’m the same – I tend to keep up with crime writers much better than with literary fiction, maybe because the time commitment for them is so much more.

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    • Haha, it’s funny how we all use different shortcuts to express how we feel about a book! If a book was just middling for me, I might say something like, “I’ll be keen to see how her style develops in future…”, which in my brain isn’t like giving a commitment I’ll actually read it… 😉

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    • Ah, my success rate will drop off! I used to have a limited amount of favourite authors so it was easy to keep up with them. But then I joined the blogosphere and you all forced me to read five million new-to-me authors… 😉

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