The Story My Abandoned E-Books Tell

Confession 1: Sometimes I abandon a book and go back to it later.

Why? Well, it might be that I’m not in the mood for a book of that particular tone or theme. Perhaps it requires concentration or patience that I don’t have at the time. Maybe it asks questions I don’t want to answer just then, or gives answers I’m not ready for.

I might be looking to be entertained and uplifted, while the book wants to pick apart my life and give me a microscope with which to study the pieces.

Confession 2: On rare occasions, I abandon a book permanently because something makes me cringe to the extent that I can’t carry on with it.
These abandonment issues can affect all books I buy, not just ebooks, but ebooks are a little different. I have to be in the mood for reading on my Kindle – and sometimes I’m simply not. Despite its handy blue light filter that makes the experience easier on the eyes and melatonin levels, I still get just plain sick of staring at screens sometimes, or aware that I’ve spent too long doing so already. This means books languish for longer on my Kindle than on my paperback TBR pile.

And there are more of them because ebooks are cheaper to buy, meaning I take more chances. Ebooks give me the chance to try out authors who are new to me, putting (usually) more money in those authors’ pockets than a PLR payment would  – without committing me to a £6-£10 spend on a paperback I’m not already besotted with. Perhaps this makes them more likely abandonment candidates.

You might surmise that because they’re cheaper to buy, ebooks are easier to abandon aanyway I’m not sure this is true for me, though. I’m not keen on abandoning any book. It seems such a waste!

So what made me abandon the books currently started on my Kindle but not finished?

Book A: My first purchase of a book from a well-respected author who gives and writes writing advice (in fact, I bought more than one on a special deal).

Problem: In the very first scene in the very first book, there was head-hopping. We’re in the heroine’s head, she meets a guy, she walks away and suddenly we’re in the guy’s head. Aaaargh!

Will I go back to it? I’ll probably give it another go when I’m at a loose end, bookwise. So many people I know praise this author’s work; can they all be wrong? But boy, do I hate head-hopping – and it was a big disappointment coming from someone who advises others on writing! And it made me think – where was the editor? Napping?!

Book B: My second purchase from this author. I’d enjoyed their first book well enough, although there were a couple of points where my editor’s fingers twitched. I thought I’d give this far earlier work, from a different genre, I try.

Problem: Too much of everything too quickly. Too many characters introduced at once, many of whom seemed too similar to quickly establish a unique place in your head. Too much hard to follow dialogue, too much backstory delivered in awkward dollops. I also didn’t warm to the main characters and struggled to find them realistic.

Will I go back to it? No. I might be missing out and I’ll certainly be trying another book by this author, but as for this one, my gut feeling is that life’s too short, and good books too numerous, to bother.

In the meantime, I had a bit of a Kindle splurge back in November when my husband’s op was due and another one post-Christmas when there were many bargains to be had. This is the result: the top two rows on my Kindle, as shown here. None abandoned so far!

I’ve already read the excellent Nightbird (Alice Hoffman) and The Secrets Between Sisters (Annie Lyons), which I’ll try and review very soon. I’m looking forward to reading the rest. They either won me over with their blurb, attracted my attention in an article or are by authors whose books I’ve read and enjoyed before (Alex Walters and Jane Holland). Roll on half-term!

Six Stories to Send A Shiver Up Your Spine


If you’re suffering from Halloween withdrawal symptoms, why not spend the rest of the month indulging your spooky ‘n spiritual side with some thrillers and spookers.
Arm yourself with a cuddle blanket and decide which one of these six chilling reads you’ll try first…

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

bird-boxLike dystopian, post-apocalyptic weirdness? Then the book that’s top of my list is the one for you – unless you’re the kind of person who can’t go upstairs to a dark bedroom after watching a horror film…

‘Most people dismissed the reports on the news. But they became too frequent; they became too real. And soon it was happening to people we knew.
Then the Internet died. The televisions and radios went silent. The phones stopped ringing.
And we couldn’t look outside anymore.’

The beauty of this book is its simplicity. We never see the horror, and nor do the main characters… that are still alive. What we do feel, intensely, is the terror of people who daren’t use the sense most of us primarily rely on to orient ourselves and keep us safe – our sight. What happens to a society literally too afraid to look – yet still unaware what they’ll see when they do?

Massively gripping – and probably not a read for a week when you’re feeling stressed. It does its job too well and you live every agonisingly tense, terrifying moment along with the main character.

The Lie by Cally Taylor

the-lieThis is a psychological thriller, but it conveys the characters’ terror and confusion so well that it becomes a borderline horror tale.

It makes us ponder how well any of us can really distinguish between good and evil; how easily we can be persuaded that acting out of character and against our instincts is somehow liberating us; and how hard we find it to believe that someone we trust can do the unthinkable.

Unpredictable, twisty and satisfying – a tale about control and the inability to ever put the past behind us completely. Don’t start reading it without a few hours to put aside!

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

the-winter-ghostsBeautifully written, as are all of Kate Mosse’s novels, this tale of a grief-stricken young man driving through the French Pyrenees to ease his pain and clear his mind is intriguing and atmospheric.

Set between the world wars, it follows Freddie as he spins off the road and stumbles across a small, friendly  village – and a young woman who understands his pain. Yet when he wakes up after a village party, nobody remembers the young woman and everything seems changed. In trying to discover the answer to the mystery and track down the woman, he manages to work through his pain -and hers – and find new meaning in his life.

While not horrific, it’s a spooky read that will haunt you long after you’ve finished it (no pun intended).

Girl Number One by Jane Holland

girl-number-onegripping thriller in which the main character is forced to question everything she sees and everything she trusts – as do we. Unfortunately, so do the police, who aren’t impressed to be called out to retrieve a dead body in the woods, only to find nothing there -and no evidence that there ever has been.

Eleanor must convince them of what she saw, but are they right? Was this sight – and her other paranoid suspicions – merely the result of the grief and trauma she suffered when she witnessed the murder of her mother?

A great read, although occasionally you may find yourself wondering why Eleanor spends so much time with those she suspects.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

Evacuatthe-distant-hoursed from London as a thirteen-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is the chosen evacuee of the mysterious Juniper Blythe, who takes her to live at Millderhurst Castle with the Blythe family. Fifty years later, Edie too is drawn to Milderhurst where the eccentric Blythe sisters are still unmarried and living together in the crumbling castle, including Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 apparently plunged her into madness.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past, and through time hops, so do we. But which clues are red herrings, and which sister knows – and is prepared to tell – the real truth?

Many reviewers have said this book is far too long and I’ll agree that some scenes could have been combined or deleted to make the book tighter, but I still found its twists, turns and atmosphere compelling. It’s an eerie, tragic story that makes for an entertaining but disturbing read, asking how far we might go to protect our family and keep them near.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh


How does it feel for a mother to watch her 5-year-old son run into the path of a car when she’s let her attention slip for the tiniest of moments? In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare.

She tries to move on, believing that her home, her town and those traumatic memories are the only things she must leave behind to disappear and start afresh. But she’s wrong…

Grief, paranoia… and then discovering that you’re not paranoid, they really are out to get you. This novel belongs to the thriller rather than horror category, but it’s a tense and sometimes terrifying story that’s impossible to describe without revealing spoilers. In between the ‘aaargh!’ moments, it’s also a great story about a fresh start.

scared-manHave you read any of these already – or been inspired to do so by this post? Tell me what you thought of them (and share your own recommendations!)