Saturday, 31 December 2016

Reading Bingo - 2016

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted this bingo game on both CleopatraLovesBooks & Our Book Reviews Online and my imagination was sparked instantly.

So instead of a top X books of the year which I was never going to be able to write as I can never make those sorts of decisions, I thought we would look back at 2016, in a slightly more random way, which is only befitting a blog called Rachel's Random Reads!

This is the bingo board that I need to either produce a full house for, or see just how many squares I will be able to cross off!

All I have to do now, is scour my Goodreads account, see what I have read over the past 12 months, and hope I can match some books to the squares. Wherever possible I will link the book title to my review on here, if I wrote one.

A Book With More Than 500 Pages

I will admit that nowadays books with 500+ pages can scare me, as I know I can't read them as fast I I want to. However there are some authors that I am more than happy to read regardless of size of book, and Karen Swan is one of them. Christmas Under The Stars was a brilliant longer book for 2016 and one I am so happy I read. 
A Forgotten Classic

I don't really read classics ever, apart from those I had to years and years ago at school. However I did this year read A Cornish Christmas Carol by Liz Fenwick, which is a modern take on the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol 

A book with non human characters
Having done my #CuteChristmas event recently I have read quite a few books this year that included non human characters, even as the main characters. Bertie's Gift by Hannah Coates is one of the standouts, a book that was emotional and adorable too, just an all around impressive book. 

A funny book

I am very partial to a bit of humour, but when asked for a funny book of the year, I would have to say Bricking It by Nick Spalding, which had me laughing out loud in hysterics at one point. 

A book set on a different continent 

It is probably by now quite well documented that I love books with an element of travel in them or fabulous locations. The one that is coming to mind for this category Little Girl Lost by Janet Gover, which is set in the small outback town of Coorah Creek, in Australia, so about as removed from London as you can get. 

A book your friend loves 

As part of the book blogging community, I obviously see a lot of book recommendations, however when your best friend, the love Alison Drew from Ali - The Dragon Slayer, pops up and tells me I really need to read a Jill Shalvis book and doesn't stop telling me, I tend to listen. When she then tags me in a giveaway of a Jill Shalvis Christmas book, which I go on to enter and win, I realise it must be fated, so my pick for a book my friend loves has to be The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis. There are other authors she tells me to read and I do listen when I can! 

A book that is more than 10 years old

Since I tend to stick to newer books while I'm blogging its rare for me to read anything as old as 10 years, unless its from the back catalogue of an author that I love. I think I only had 1 eligible book for this category, which is Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde which was first published in 2003 and had all the warmth of a typical book by this author.  

The second book in a series

I have read quite a few second books of series this year, a lot of them I think though will just be two book series, since they were a summer and Christmas release. Whereas my choice for this square is Rules: Things are Changing at the Little School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan which is the second book in a proposed six book series, and it really does feel like Mallory Towers for adults. 

A book with a number in the title

It appears I have read a few books that had the number one in the title, but I thought for this option, I would go for a less obvious number. As it so happens I love Michelle Gorman's books, and enjoy dogs, so her new release this year, Love is a Four-Legged Word was great for me.

A book with an author under thirty 

Well this is a tricky category, as really without looking up the age of every author I've read this year, I can't really produce a shortlist. I asked my best friend if she knew if any of the authors we both love are young, and the reply was Lynsey James. Quick check of her bio, and we have an under thirty author. This year I read two more of Lynsey's releases in her Luna Bay series, and I've opted for The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime, as I love Christmas books so much, and still have a festive mindset! 

A book of short stories

As far as I can recall I've only attempted to read 3 short story compilations all year, there was the one that I gave up on that I won't name, there was Champagne and Lemonade by John Hickling, but I only read a few of the stories, as that was all that was required for the blog tour, I was taking part on. However I did read the whole of one book of short stories, and it was 4 in the Afternoon by Geralyn Corcillo, which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

The first book by a favourite author

This year I have read the first two books of the Starlight Diner series by Helen Cox. I was very impressed with the debut and the second book which I only just finished a few days ago (review in the new year), where I have realised that I definitely have a new favourite author in Helen Cox to add to my growing collection of must read, favourite authors. The first book is called Milkshakes and Heartbreak at the Starlight Diner, and I loved the 50s diner setting, as well as the turns the book took. 
A book with a one word title

I've read a few one word titled books this year, then again I've also read a few books with titles so long I wondered how on earth I would ever tweet about them! My pick for a book with a one word title is Chances by Ruth Saberton (review coming tomorrow), which is so much more than a simple YA book about horses and I was impressed by the amount of story in it. 

A book of non fiction 

Due to my Greek Week and Booklympics I have read a few more non-fiction books this year than I may have in other years. Although I have enjoyed them all, I am including Falling In Honey by Jennifer Barclay as my pick for this spot on the bingo board, mainly because of my feelings of wanting to move to Tilos after I had finished it. 

A book you heard about online 

I don't recall the specifics of which blogs I spotted Viral by Helen Fitzgerald, but I do remember the general feeling that the opening was scandalous and shocking, and that was what attracted me to the book. I wouldn't have heard about it at all if it wasn't for the rest of the blogging community. 

A book based on a true story 

Outside of travel and autobiographies, which aren't just based on a true story but usually are a true story, this isn't really a category I thought I had an entry for. However when thinking back properly, I remembered that Lantana Bleu, author of  Learning The Life (The Spicy Secrets of a Jet Set Temptress #1) made it quite clear in her intro to the book that it was all based on her experiences as a real life courtesan. 

A book that scares you 

One of the best psychological thrillers I read this year has to be Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard, which was a book that drew me in completely and currently has had me far too scared to book another cruise, given if anything goes wrong at sea, the odds are nobody would ever know the truth, and frankly that does scare me! 

A book that became a Movie

I've not read any books that have since become movies, but I have read a few that have had TV/Movie rights secured so there is a chance that Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris, will become one in the future, which is a decision I can only applaud as it was a book that even as early as February last year I had down as a contender for book of the year, a statement I still stand behind. 

A book with a mystery

Having read a lot of crime and thrillers with lots of them featuring mysteries, I have decided to have my pick for this category from a completely different angle, as I recall being stumped by the mystery aspect of The Secret of Orchard Cottage by Alex Brown, which I feel is the best of the Tindledale series so far. 

A book at the bottom of the to be read pile

Arguably a lot of what comes up on my Rachel Reads Randomly votes could be counted at bottom of TBR pile books, as often I have had the books for many years, however the book that has jumped out at me, is one I reviewed for my newer Back Catalogue Books feature, and is one I bought in 2013 for Kindle, hence it had dropped to the bottom of my TBR not because I didn't want to read it, more because of quantity of books I appear to buy, means some good books just languish in the black hole of my kindle. Geli Voyante's Hot or Not by Elle Field is one of those books, and is one that has made me want to read other books by the author. 

A best-selling book

I'm fairly sure I have read quite a few books that have been top of the Amazon best seller charts, potentially including a few other books on this post already. However one of the first books I read for 2016, is one that really stuck with me, and almost certainly was a best seller, and that is Another Love by Amanda Prowse, which follows the story of Romilly and her relationship with alcohol.  

A book with a blue cover

Just scroll this post and I'm sure you can tell I read books with blue covers. I recall at one point over the year that the entirety of my Netgalley shelf looked very blue. What book though am I going to include in this? Well I've gone with Mistletoe on 34th Street by Lisa Dickenson, which is one of my favourite Christmas books of the year, and really gave me a great sense of the festive feeling. 

Free Space

Free Space pretty much gives me a choice to name anything that I have read this year, and after a lot of thought, I have decided that since my second love is of musical theatre, I am going to use this space for my feel good book of the year, which is The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell which I adored. 

A book published this year

I'm a book blogger, the majority of what I read is published the year I read it, and as a result this is a near impossible category, as I have no idea how to choose. One of the books that really resonated with me this was debut novel by Isabelle Broom, My Map of You, which transported me back to when I was working on Zakynthos and had a brilliant story to go with it. 

A book by a female author

This is also the other toughest category for me in terms of choice as I'd say probably about 75% of what I read is written by female authors. Which probably gives me an approx pool of 300 books to pick from for this year, which just seems ridiculous. I almost closed my eyes and picked one at random which would be in keeping with my blog, but no I have made a decision. My Husband's Wife  by Jane Corry was superb, it was easily one of the more epic books I have read this year, and for an author who has had a change in direction, and this being her first book of this genre, I was bowled over but just how good it is, and I'm already looking forward to her next book, which is out in May. 

Well with a bit of creative interpretation I have managed a full house on my first ever attempt at Reading Bingo! And what is my prize you may ask? Probably bragging rights, and the knowledge that if you see me attempting to narrow down a years reading ever again into just 25 books in assorted categories, that you have my permission to remind me how impossible that really is.

There are so many fantastic books I would have loved to include in these categories, but didn't really want to end up doing a top 3 or something for each one, so had to make decisions.

How well would you do at Reading Bingo for 2016? Would you be able to manipulate your way to a full house, or fall flat at the first hurdle?  What do you think of my choices?

And finally let me just wish everyone Happy New Year! I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating the start of what will hopefully be a far improved 2017, and having already started reading some of the 2017 releases, I can say its already shaping up to be a great year for books 


  1. Yey for Geli Voyante's Hot or Not making your list! So pleased that you finally got to read it. :) x

  2. Hi Rachel!
    I've been reading your blog for about three months now and I love it! And I read all your reviews on Amazon - I've given you quite a few helpful votes for your lovely reviews!

    Anyway, I loved this feature so much that I did my own Reading Bingo (I'm not a blogger, I just did it for myself). The choice was incredibly hard, though. I really wanted to put Cathy Bramley - The Plumberry School of Comfort Food, Paige Toon - The One we fell in love with, Alex Brown - The secret of Orchard Cottage, Jane Linfoot - The little wedding shop by the sea and Jenny Colgan - The little shop of happy-ever-after, too, but didn't have space for them.

    Here my selection:

    Book with more than 500 pages: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Funny and serious at the same time, a classic that really surprised me.

    A book written by someone under thirty: The silver bells Christmas Pantomime by Lynsey James. Sorry, same book as you, but Lynsey was the only author I knew that was young enough and this is my favourite of her books.

    A book with a one-word title: Rules by Jenny Colgan. Sorry again, but I had only Class and Rules in this category and liked Rules even more than the first book.

    The first book by a favourite author: The Cherry Tree Café by Heidi Swain. Finally got around to reading this and have since read the whole series. Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market was even one of my favourite Christmas reads this year.

    A book your friend loves: The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts. I loved this so much that I got it for my mum as a Christmas present and she loved it too!

    A forgotten classic: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. One of my favourite classics that I re-read this year.

    A book with non-human characters: The Cat of Yule Cottage by Lili Hayward. I am more of a dog lover, I have a Cocker Spaniel myself, but this book had it all: mystery, history, romance and of course Perrin the cat who plays an important part (it's not written from his perspective, though).

    A book of short stories: I don't have an entry for this category. I've read a few Christmas novellas, but no short story anthologies.

    A book you heard about online: A Drakenfall Christmas by Geralyn Corcillo. It took me a while to get into this story, but once I did I was completely spellbound. I want to spend Christmas at Drakenfall, too!!

    A book that scares you: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I never read crime, thriller or horror stories, but I had to read this for my studies. It became my favourite book ever.

    A book that became a movie: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I haven't seen the film yet, but I loved the book, particularly because it is set during WWI.

    A funny book: It's not you, it's them by Portia MacIntosh. I actually bought this after reading your review on Amazon and dived straight in. I loved this so much and it made me laugh out loud constantely.

    Free square: Every time a bell rings by Carmel Harrington. This is the first book by Carmel that I've read and I'm now scared of reading something else by her as this was one of the best books I've ever read and I don't think its possible that any other book by her will measure up to it. Simply magical!

    A best-selling book: Summer at the Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson. Heartwarming, feel-good and fun. I wish the Comfort Food Café was real...

    To be continued...

  3. A book that is more than 10 years old: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I didn't read a chicklit book that is more than 10 years old this year, so I chose another classic. Great book, though I prefer Wuthering Heights.

    A book published this year: A Year at the Star and Sixpence by Holly Hepburn. Easily my favourite book of 2016.

    A book by a female author: A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde. I used to devour all of Katie's books as soon as they were published, but for some reason I haven't read one of her books in the last few years. This, though, was (for me) her best book yet and one of my Top 3 of 2016.

    A book set on a different continent: Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin. I have only read a few books set on a different continent this year, even though I love travel fiction. This is not travel fiction per se, but Rebecca is one of my favourite authors so I chose this.

    A book based on a true story: The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Again a classic, but a book I love and read again and again.

    The second book in a series: Christmas at the Cornish Café by Phillipa Ashley. Phillipa is a great author, I've read many books by her, including those written under her pseudonym Pippa Croft. The Cornish Café series, however, holds a special place in my heart. Roll on book 3!

    A book with a number in the title: Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan. I have read Sarah Morgan's books for years; I love her Medical Romances, especially those set in the Lake District or in Scotland. When she announced that she was going to write full-length novels I was over the moon. I loved the Snow Crystal and Puffin Island series, but the From Manhattan with Love series not quite as much. I miss the countryside setting! Miracle on 5th Avenue is still a great book, though.

    A book with a mystery: The last days of summer by Sophie Pembroke. Again one of my Top 3 of 2016, a book that was unputdownable. And I love manor house settings!!

    A book of non-fiction: I haven't read any of those, if you don't count textbooks. In 2015, though, I read Tales from a Young Vet by Jo Hardy and loved it so much that I immediately pre-ordered the sequel. That is sadly still on my TBR pile...

    A book at the bottom of your to be read pile: The perfect Christmas by Georgie Carter. Ruth Saberton is one of my favourite authors ever and so I bought this book written under a pseudonym a few years ago, but never got around to reading it. This year, I finally did and I loved it!

    A book with a blue cover: The Christmas Cake Café by Sue Watson. I'm Swiss and have lived in Switzerland all my life so I can say that The Christmas Cake Café had a really authentic feel to it. Again one of my favourite Christmas books of 2016. My favourite book by Sue is still Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake, though.

    Well this has been so much fun!! Thank God there wasn't a 'books I really wanted to read but didn't' category, I would have had to mention about a hundred... Including some of the books you put on your list =)

    Can't wait for 2017's books! My first one will be The Island Legacy by Ruth Saberton.

    Here's to a great reading year!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your own Bingo board with me.

      Some of the books you couldn't fit on, I also wanted to include but just couldn't quite find the space.

      You have also included some fabulous choices, there are just so many great books out that its impossible to pick for an end of year recap.

      I hope you also have a fantastic 2017, especially in terms of reading, My first book of the year which I've almost finished is Honeymoon Suite by Wendy Holden and I love it.


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