Reading roundup 15/12/21

It’s Wednesday again and that means Reading Roundup time! I have three books to write about this week, both chosen at random from our library’s ebook collection.

Before I Say I Do
by Vicki Bradley

The first of the three was Before I Say I Do by Vicki Bradley. Here is the blurb:

”It’s Julia’s wedding day. Her nerves are to be expected – every bride feels the same – but there’s another layer to her fear, one that she cannot explain to her soon-to-be husband, Mark. She’s never told him the details – and she is determined he never finds out.

As she begins down the aisle, spotting Mark in his tailored suit, she knows she is taking her first steps to happiness – her past is behind her, it can’t catch her now. Mark turns to face her . . .

But it isn’t Mark in the beautiful suit – it’s his best man.

Because Mark is missing.  

And Julia’s past is closer than she thinks . . .”

Well, I thought that blurb sounded intriguing, so I took the plunge and this is my three star response…

Before I Say I DoBefore I Say I Do by Vicki Bradley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a really mixed bag. I thought that the first half was a good and interesting mystery, with plenty of twists and turns. Then the second part became rushed and badly written, with a string of implausible revelations that careered towards the finish line. There was so much stuffed into the plot that it burst at the seams! So, all in all, OK but not note-worthy.

View all my reviews

So, that book was a bit “meh” and I hoped for an improvement after that. This was my next choice:

Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan

This was another serendipitous choice: Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan. Here is the blurb:

”Near the dying English seaside town of Ilmarsh, local police detective Alec Nichols discovers sixteen horses’ heads on a farm, each buried with a single eye facing the low winter sun. After forensic veterinarian Cooper Allen travels to the scene, the investigators soon uncover evidence of a chain of crimes in the community – disappearances, arson and mutilations – all culminating in the reveal of something deadly lurking in the ground itself.
In the dark days that follow, the town slips into panic and paranoia. Everything is not as it seems. Anyone could be a suspect. And as Cooper finds herself unable to leave town, Alec is stalked by an unseen threat. The two investigators race to uncover the truth behind these frightening and insidious mysteries – no matter the cost.”

This next review comes with a content warning, although I felt that the book deserved at least four stars…

Sixteen HorsesSixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, a warning! Do not read this book if you don’t have a strong stomach and/or if you are particularly partial to horses.

This is a bleak, grim and gruesome murder/mystery and was very hard for me to read. I cannot say that I enjoyed it, because there was nothing to leaven the sheer horror of the book. Several times I nearly put it down, but something kept me reading.

This is a pretty amazing first book and is very well written with a unique style, in my opinion. But only try it if you can stand a very black tale.

View all my reviews

My third book of the week was another powerful and well-written tale…

The Bone Cay by Eliza Nellums

The Bone Cay by Eliza Nellums was such an unusual choice, or so it seemed at first! This is the blurb:

“Magda Trudell is the present-day caretaker of Whimbrel Estate, the Key West home of the famous poet Isobel Reyes. Isobel’s suicide at the residence in 1918 has nearly overshadowed her creative legacy–but Magda, a botanist and avid historian, is determined to protect it. Over the past decade, Magda has lovingly restored the house to the exact condition Isobel would have known. And even though a fierce October hurricane is headed straight for the Keys, she isn’t about to abandon her life’s work to evacuate.

As the mighty storm makes landfall, the dangers mount. First, a fire and flood threaten to destroy the house. Then the storm claims most of Magda’s supplies. When part of the house collapses, she unearths an old steamer trunk in the rubble that contains a woman’s remains. Is there more to Isobel’s story than Magda knows?

The unexpected appearance of a teenage girl and her father seeking shelter from the storm poses unnerving new questions. Are they really who they seem? And could they have a connection to the house’s shadowy past? As the storm rages, Magda desperately tries to solve the real mystery of Isobel’s death–and keep the living in one piece.”

This the review that I wrote on Goodreads:

The Bone CayThe Bone Cay by Eliza Nellums
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such an unexpected find. Chosen at random, I began the book wondering whether it was for me. The setting, an old house on the Florida Keys, with echoes from the past life of a young female poet, was so atmospheric that it held my interest as the story began. The main character was also very engaging. Then the plot developed as a hurricane approached.

Eventually I became totally gripped by this immensely well-written thriller as I continued to read. Revelations came, and new characters arrived and the pace of the tale picked up as the winds picked up speed.

I am so glad that I chose this book and will look for others by the same author. She has such wide-ranging skills. Why not try this for yourself?

View all my reviews

Well, that was a fabulous week of reading! And most unexpected. I have a load of great books in my queue that I don’t want to read quite yet as they are the final parts of series or books I have been waiting for for a while. So, instead of reading those, I have been choosing books from the library. Very successfully!

I do hope you have a great week of Happy Reading!

Love and best wishes,



About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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