… 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.
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!