Talking About ‘Persons Unknown’ with Bibliobeth!

Persons Unknown (DS Manon, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Manon has settled back into life in Cambridgeshire with her adopted son Fly. She’s perfectly happy working on cold cases until a man is stabbed to death just yards from the police station, and both the victim and the prime suspect turn out to be much closer to home than she would like. How well does Manon know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?

CHRISSI: We read Missing, Presumed, the first book to feature Manon. Do you think you needed to, in order to read and enjoy Persons Unknown? Why/why not?

BETH: Hmmm, interesting question. Normally I’m a stickler for reading series in order but I know other people aren’t that precious, especially if the book in question can easily be read as a stand-alone. I think Persons Unknown is definitely one of these books and I don’t think you need to read the first novel in the series necessarily as they are both completely different cases that Manon is involved with. However, if you’re anything like me, you like the background of the character and how they’ve got to this point in their lives. Also, I do think that Manon’s experiences with her adopted son Fly will be better understood if you read Missing, Presumed.

BETH: How did you find the relationship between Manon and her adopted son, Fly? Do you think this is threatened at all by her pregnancy?

CHRISSI: I think Manon and Fly’s relationship was difficult. He had come from a troubled, prejudiced background and needed time to adapt to his new surroundings and family environment. I felt that Fly did feel threatened by her pregnancy. Fly had come from a difficult background and probably felt like his adoptive’s mum pregnancy would affect his relationship with her. After all, the unborn baby was biologically hers. No matter how much she adored Fly, which I truly think she did, it has to have an affect on him.

CHRISSI: There are links to corruption in high finance and the exploitation of young women. Does the way Susie Steiner addresses these very contemporary concerns shed new light on them for you?

BETH: I have to admit, I don’t have too much knowledge on these subjects in general except what I see in the news. So, it was refreshing to get this perspective in a novel, especially with all the Cambridge Analytica horrors that have been exposed in the media recently. I did feel after reading it that I had a better understanding of corruption and the forms it can take and obviously, felt complete abhorrence at what happens to the young women that are exploited in this story.

BETH: Manon moved Fly from London to Cambridgeshire in order to keep him safe from prejudice and violence. Was she right to do this?

CHRISSI: I think Manon’s intentions were honourable. She didn’t want Fly to suffer from prejudice and be around violence. Part of me thinks that she should have stayed in London to teach Fly how to deal with such things. Prejudice and violence can be seen anywhere in the country, let alone anywhere in the world. I’m not so sure she wasn’t teaching him to run away from his problems.

CHRISSI: Does this book stand out in its genre?

BETH: For me, it does. There’s something quite refreshing and unique about Susie Steiner’s writing and characterisation that always makes her novels interesting to read. I love the slow pace of the plot, the development of Manon and the gradual reveal of secrets where you can never quite predict what’s going to happen.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I think I would. She’s not one of my favourite writers, but I think her books are interesting and I’m certainly not turned off by her books or her writing. Actually, it’s credit to her that I do enjoy her books. I’m not a fan of crime-led fiction!

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

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This Week In Books #116

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

Persons Unknown (DS Manon, #2)

NOW- Persons UnknownSusie Steiner– I’m currently just over halfway through this book. I don’t find it very remarkable but it’s easy enough to read. This book will be reviewed as part of the ‘Talking About feature’, with my sister Beth!

Goodbye, Perfect

THENGoodbye, PerfectSara Barnard- This didn’t take me long to read at all. It’s about a teacher-student relationship…which always sits strangely with me!

Brave New World

NEXTBrave New World- Aldous Huxley- This is this month’s Banned Book. Look out for the review on the last Monday of the month!

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

Round up of The British Book Challenge 2016

It’s that time of year again… time to reflect on the British Books I’ve read this year for the British Books Challenge. I read a grand total of 66 British books! (I shall add anymore to this post if I read more between now and 1st January) Yay!

The challenge involves reading 12 books from British authors, so I think we can safely say I smashed that number! 😉 I really enjoy finding British authors to read as much of my reading is dominated by US authors (they are amazing though!) Linked below are the reviews of the 66 British books that I read!

  1. Lighter Than My Shadow– Katie Green
  2. For Holly– Tanya Byrne
  3. Am I Normal Yet?– Holly Bourne
  4. The Demon Headmaster– Gillian Cross
  5. The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig– Emer Stamp
  6. The Haunting– Alex Bell
  7. In A Dark, Dark Wood– Ruth Ware
  8. The Number One Rule For Girls– Rachel McIntyre
  9. Carrie’s War-Nina Bawden
  10. The Sin Eater’s Daughter– Melinda Salisbury
  11. Radio Silence– Alice Oseman
  12. The Samaritan– Mason Cross
  13. Moving– Jenny Eclair
  14. More Of Me– Kathryn Evans
  15. The Next Together– Lauren James
  16. The Boy In The Dress– David Walliams
  17. Consumed– Abbie Rushton
  18. V is for Violet– Alison Rattle
  19. Read Me Like A Book– Liz Kessler
  20. Follow Me Back– Nicci Cloke
  21. Noble Conflict– Malorie Blackman
  22. When I Was Invisible– Dorothy Koomson
  23. Poppy’s Place– Karina Charman
  24. The Horse and His Boy– C.S. Lewis
  25. Orangeboy– Patrice Lawrence
  26. Always With Love– Giovanna Fletcher
  27. The Moonlight Dreamers– Siobhan Curham
  28. According To Yes-Dawn French
  29. The Borrowers– Mary Norton
  30. Swimming To The Moon– Jane Elson
  31. The Castle– Sophia Bennett
  32. The Woman Next Door– Cass Green
  33. Songs About A Girl– Chris Russell
  34. Maggot Moon– Sally Gardner
  35. Shtum– Jem Lester
  36. The One We Fell In Love With– Paige Toon
  37. My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral– Ben Davis
  38. Cuckoo– Keren David
  39. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child– J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
  40. All About The Hype– Paige Toon
  41. The Girls– Lisa Jewell
  42. Head Over Heels– Holly Smale
  43. Crush– Eve Ainsworth
  44. Perijee and Me– Ross Montgomery
  45. How Not To Disappear– Clare Furniss
  46. A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding– Jackie Copleton
  47. Looking for JJ– Anne Cassidy
  48. A Boy Made Of Bricks– Keith Stuart
  49. Robyn Silver- The Midnight Chimes– Paula Harrison
  50. Isadora Moon Goes To School- Harriet Muncaster
  51. The Last Act of Love– Cathy Rentzenbrink
  52. Time To Say Goodbye– S.D. Robertson
  53. On The Other Side– Carrie Hope Fletcher
  54. Beautiful Broken Things– Sara Barnard
  55. The Widow– Fiona Barton
  56. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase– Joan Aiken
  57. Dead Romantic– C.J.Skuse
  58. Haunt Me– Liz Kessler
  59. Missing, Presumed– Susie Steiner
  60. Strange Star– Emma Carroll
  61. Ballet Shoes– Noel Streatfeild
  62. The Lie Tree– Frances Hardinge
  63. Into The Trees– Robert Williams
  64. Lighthousekeeping– Jeanette Winterson
  65. Infinite Sky– C.J. Flood
  66. The Sleeping Prince– Melinda Salisbury

A massive thank you to Kirsty from Overflowing Library for hosting this challenge this year.

As this is one of my favourite challenges, I am definitely on board for 2017. In 2017, the challenge will be hosted by Michelle from Tales of Yesterday. Sign up here!

Talking About ‘Missing, Presumed’ with Bibliobeth!

Missing, Presumed

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

CHRISSI: Discuss the choices that Manon makes – both professional and private.

BETH: When I first started this book I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of Manon but it wasn’t long before I was completely won over. I love how we really get to know her character through a much more thorough exploration of her private life than is usually found in crime novels. She has quite a colourful love life in her search to find “the one,” parts of which were really very funny and made me warm both to the character and the author. Later on in the novel, she also makes a hugely personal decision regarding a child to call her own and this made her much more relatable and “real” as an individual. Generally speaking, she is very professional in her workplace but there are a couple of wobbles…. which again, made her more human in my eyes.

BETH: There are strong female characters in this novel. Discuss whether crime novels feel different with female leads centre stage.

CHRISSI: I do think they feel different with female leads at the centre of the novels. Quite often, there are male leads in crime fiction and I think it feels really refreshing to have a female lead. Especially one as strong as Manon!

CHRISSI: Discuss how Susie Steiner structures the novel to create tension?

BETH: I think the author does this in a great way by using multiple narratives which I love in a novel and in this one, they are particularly effective. We get to hear from Manon, her colleague Davey and the missing girl’s mother Miriam, amongst others. At times, it almost felt like each perspective ended on a little cliffhanger before a different one started. This meant that I was always eager to read “just one more chapter,” so I could get back to the thrilling perspective that I had been reading beforehand, if that makes any sense!

BETH: Who was your favourite character in this novel and why?

CHRISSI:  I really liked the character Manon because she’s such a strong female lead. I liked how she was so independent and headstrong but she had a vulnerability about her at the same time. I also loved reading about her dating mishaps. It made her incredibly relatable.

CHRISSI: Did you find the book predictable in any way?

BETH: Maybe at times but it didn’t affect my enjoyment on any level at all. I think I always had an idea in my head about who was responsible (either directly or indirectly) for the disappearance of Edith but the way in which everything unravelled was excellent. Also, I didn’t guess the reasons behind why Edith went missing – that was all very complicated and quite extensive.

BETH: You’re not normally a crime fiction fan – did this book change your mind in any way?

CHRISSI: If I’m totally honest, no. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. I did. I just don’t think crime fiction is my thing. It’s certainly not my go to genre.

CHRISSI: How does this book compare to other crime reads that you’ve read?

BETH: Very favourably! As I know you’re aware, I always worry that crime reads are going to be a bit “samey” for me and there was something about Missing, Presumed that made it stand out in the genre. Perhaps it was the humour running through it, which I really appreciated or perhaps it was the characters who I really enjoyed getting to know, especially Manon. Either way, it’s certainly a series that I would be interested in continuing.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I liked Susie Steiner’s writing style so I’d certainly consider it!

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: 

CHRISSI: Yes!