AnAverageLife’s Top 10 Titles of 2021

This year was a difficult one for reading motivation, my current average book rating is 3.9. Even so, of the 53 titles I finished over the past year I awarded five star ratings to 19 of them! I’ve painfully narrowed those down to my top 10 below;

10.  Demon – Matt Wesolowski

The latest in Scott King’s Six Stories continues this series five star streak.

9. False Witness – Karin Slaughter

A fantastic standalone novel from the queen of crime fiction.



8. The Watchers – A M Shine

I adored this scary twist on traditional Irish folklore.


7. Dead Ground – M W Craven

After a late start to the Poe series I’m now a full fledged addict!

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6. Near The Bone- Christina Henry

My ultimate fairytale reteller Christina makes it to the top 10 again!


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5. The Once & Future Witches – Alix E Harrow

A truly epic tale with a magical, diverse heart.


4. Cunning Folk– Adam Nevill

Never found a Nevill novel I haven’t loved.

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3. Mirrorland – Carole Johnstone

An intense, imaginative debut


2. The Night Will Find Us– Matthew Lyons
1. The Last House On Needless Street- Catriona Ward

OF COURSE this was my number one of 2021, no question about it.


Did you pick up any of my top ten last year? Do you plan to?

Let me know your thoughts or drop the links to your own reviews in the comments so I can take a look!



On Writing Negative Book Reviews

I’m just going to say a little something on the topic of negative reviews today. We’re not going to debate whether you should or shouldn’t post them, it’s been done to death and we each know how we feel on the subject.

My site is for my opinions, sometimes those opinions are negative but let’s remember; an opinion is NOT a fact, and therefore it cannot be wrong.

Can it be dishonest? Yes of course! We’ve all seen reviews on various products that are clearly people paid to lie, or done by friends, family or fake reviewers. Sometimes you’ll see a book on amazon where every early review is cookie cutter, same language, same phrases and quite clearly written by the same person. Outside of books I myself have had several online purchases arrive with a cheeky little card;
“Hey! Give us a 5 star review (on this truly awful product) and we will give you a £20 voucher”
Less so the case on books I think but still, there are people who believe a publisher will blacklist them for negativity and will give a glowing review regardless of how they truly felt.
Most of us aren’t the type do that, and I can promise you I am not.

Personally I choose to post reviews on almost all ARCs I receive and read to the end- whether or not I liked or disliked them. What annoys me may not be a problem for you, and it’s your decision on whether to purchase after reading my review.
I appreciate an author’s heart and soul goes into writing, but once you publish you’ve become a business, and with customers comes feedback. I try to ensure I’ve been constructive, I never make it personal and of course I don’t tag an author, lets not be cruel.

I also don’t review or rate a DNF, if I didn’t finish the book in it’s entirety then I don’t feel I should comment beyond explaining why. There might have been something amazing coming that would have changed my final thoughts, I didn’t finish it so I don’t know.

All this being said, I’ve discovered something interesting this year….

My highest viewed posts are reviews of books I have disliked!

You guys love to read negativity, sad but true. My ‘worst’ Book Review; The Sanitorium- Sarah Pearse has pulled in a 1000% increase in views vs all other posts across 6 months, after puzzling over why for a long time I posted another rather brutal Book Review; This Fragile Earth- Susannah Wise and noticed the same trend immediately.

Will this affect my reviews going forward? Absolutely not. I’m not here for the clicks, I’m here to give an honest reflection of my thoughts on a book. I would much prefer you all read my reviews of highly recommended books (which far outweigh the less flattering posts I assure you), and my reviews will remain honest.

I just… am surprised to see such vitriol toward negative reviews on book blogs and yet… everyone loves to read them!

You’re a strange bunch 🙂

Inside The Mind Of Stuart Turton- Author Interview

Welcome to a very special post here on AnAverageLife, my first author interview with none other than Sunday Times Best Seller Stuart Turton

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In case you missed it my review of Stuart’s second novel The Devil And The Dark Water can be found right here, I’ve no doubt it’s hurtling toward the top spot as we speak.

Firstly let me thank you once again Stu for taking the time to share a little about yourself, the man behind the mystery. Let’s start at the very beginning.

Continue reading “Inside The Mind Of Stuart Turton- Author Interview”

My 2019 DNF List

Tell me, was I right to put these books down?

For any who are unsure DNF stands for Did Not Finish. Not in the sense that I didn’t have time or just haven’t gotten around to picking it back up yet. DNF is a conscious decision to put that sucker down and walk away forever!

This is my third annual DNF list. The intention is not to spread negativity, many of these books I’m sure are loved by other readers. I’m going to tell you a little bit about why I stopped reading each, bearing in mind the furthest I got was 32% into any of these titles so my opinions were formed early.

If you think I’ve missed out by putting any of these down please tell me! If you think you might convince me to pick any of them back up please do! Continue reading “My 2019 DNF List”

April Reading Wrap-Up 2019

Hello friends! Third reading wrap up this year, might it actually become a habit? Naaahh probably not.

It’s been a busy month. My grandparents visited for four weeks, they live in America so we only see them here in England once a year at most. I’ve managed to get myself back to work for the last two weeks so between that I’ve been out for family dinners, Easter celebrations and the like.

Whatever abdominal pain kept me off sick for almost 9 weeks mysteriously vanished. two weeks ago. After several blood tests, an endoscopy and an ultrasound the doctors decided this week- ‘Well, you’re better now so we’ll stop investigating and just hope it doesn’t come back’. Great huh? They eliminated all the usual suspects and dangerous conditions and pretty much told me they hadn’t found a diagnosis and it was common not to know the cause of abdominal pain. So. Fingers crossed it’s gone forever and if it does return there will be hell to pay for the NHS.

This gave me a two week head start on my reading goals for the month before I skipped back to full time work. You can expect me to drop back to my usual 7 or 8 books per month from here on. The upside of all this downtime is I’m confident in reaching my Goods Reads goal for the year:


57/100. Awesome right? So in April I managed 19 books, here’s a bit about them...
Continue reading “April Reading Wrap-Up 2019”

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