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Book Bloggers Brunch – Cleo’s Crime fiction

  • Submitted: 17th April 2016

Book Bloggers Brunch – The warm cookies have just come out of the oven when there is a knock on the door and Cleo from Cleopatra loves Books steps inside. Ooh are you baking? she asks smirking. Of course she knows I am for she’s brought some champagne so we’re going to enjoy this rather posh treat whilst we chat books. And books are to be the main feast on the table as Cleo is very knowlegable and very criminally minded as I found out….

Cleo Bannister
My name really is Cleopatra although most people call me Cleo and to be honest the full version took a fair few decades to embrace. It does have an upside though in modern times, mainly because I get to use my actual name for emails, usernames etc as no-one else has got there first and so it seemed natural (aka lazy) to choose my name for my blog. By day I work in a Legal Team for an Intellectual Property renewals company – this is always a conversation stopper at dinner parties (or anywhere else for that matter) as there are only three or four big firms worldwide who do this so no-one has a clue what I’m on about, plus I have a sneaky suspicion they think it’s dull!

My main genre of choice is crime fiction with a definite slant towards books that concentrate on the why as much as the who. I also am a lover of social history so books with a historical slant always go down well and give me a respite from the murder and mayhem. The only genres I don’t stray into are fantasy or science fiction.

I review everything I finish which works out about three books per week so I post memes in between reviews and occasionally blog tour posts or other items of interest. I really get excited at the end of the year when I indulge myself picking ‘The Best Books’ I feel like I’m bestowing favours although I also feel guilty for the marvellous books that narrowly miss this prestigious award!

Living on the tiny (9 by 5 miles worth of tiny) island of Jersey means that going to events is difficult although I very much enjoyed Crime in the Court last year.

a book worm's bookshelves

(a) A book worm’s bookshelves (c) Cleo

I started my blog over two years ago but I’d been reviewing on Amazon since 2010 as I wanted somewhere to keep a log of my reviews and blogging seemed like the next step to take, I’d actually dithered about it for a while then one weekend I just took the plunge and started loading my reviews for the year I didn’t realise the community was so large, or so very friendly, if I had, it wouldn’t have taken so long to get going. I now work out my posts in advance and schedule them, when I started I wrote and posted in a fairly haphazard manner.

I’m wary of giving advice as some of what I’ve read just seems to be people advocating the way they do things, for me the lovely thing about visiting other people’s blogs is the huge variety so my main piece of advice is run your blog exactly the way that suits you – blog when you want, as frequently as you want, with the type of posts you want because if you don’t it will become a chore not a pleasure.

Where is your favourite reading spot? Do you eat whilst reading? Listen to music?

I’ve always read in bed, I swear I can’t go to sleep if I don’t but I also read on the sofa – see pictures with the necessary book reading accoutrements close to hand. I don’t tend to eat while I read but I do drink copious amounts of coffee. If I had my way I’d read in silence, but sadly there is often other noise which I ignore (although if it is particularly noisy I sigh with varying degrees of volume!)

Book that has left a lasting impression on you? Have you been on a booktrail or which would you would love to go on?

So many books have left an impression on me that it’s impossible to pick just one but I’m going to pick Worthless Men by Andrew Cohen which describes the war from a small market town in England via multiple narrators and does so in such a shockingly effective way that some parts are forever etched in my mind although sadly my copy went wandering and I need another. This is also a book that I think deserved far more attention than it was given.

More books...
What was the most overhyped book you read and didn’t feel the same love for as other reviewers?

Ooh I’m not sure I have one really, I’ve liked the ones in my genre which are often stated as overhyped, maybe I’m easily pleased?

What do you think is it that book bloggers add to the reading community?

I’d like to think that we help other readers choose books based on ‘real-reader’ recommendations, that’s certainly my aim, if I don’t like a book I say so although hopefully in a constructive way but I know that not every book I enjoy will be to another’s liking but I would like to think I help someone find a book they wouldn’t otherwise have found.

Cleo’s  reading life in five books

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Booktrail it here

The first book I read in greedy gulps – one wet weekend I sat in a chair with my mother’s copy on my knee longing to drink some of Grandfather’s warm goats milk. This being the 1970s it was a long while before I tasted it and the experience wasn’t the pleasure I’d imagined as a young girl! This book would make a fantastic Book Trail too as the descriptions of the mountains effectively transported me from a semi in the UK to a place that was completely outside my experience.

The Famous Five – by Enid Blyton, the first series I collected painstakingly from number 1 through to 21 and I instantly regretted selling them to my young cousin when I felt I’d outgrown them, so much so that I bought the whole lot for my daughter as soon as she was old enough to enjoy them.


Booktrail it here

the first book I owned with ‘naughty bits’ in it. Jilly Cooper was one of those books that it seemed like the whole of the female population of my generation read, and in the days long before the internet the daring way I bought it from the local newsagents in a town where no doubt it was commented upon for weeks, was a measure of how much I desired it.

Asta’s Book

Booktrail it here

This novel introduced me to Barbara Vine and fuelled my love of the psychological angle in my crime fiction. Without this author I would never have read so many of my favourites, she definitely had the genius touch in creating characters with the worst psychological flaws.

The Report by Jessica Kane

Booktrail it here

This was the first book I received for review purposes through the Amazon Vine program. This book was about the Bethnal Green disaster during the second World War, something my Grandmother had told me about but if I’m honest I probably wouldn’t have bought the book for myself but I really enjoyed it and have kept my copy for posterity. Amazon Vine gave me the opportunity to read far more experimentally than before which in turn fuelled the TBR


Where Cleo likes to read

Where Cleo likes to read

If you could visit any fictional setting in a book where would it be and why?

I always wanted to go to Narnia, in fact I tried both my grandparent’s wardrobes just in case but neither had fur coats hanging in them so I knew my plan was doomed to failure.

Which literary character are you most like?

I’m going to decline to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself!

Haha and with that we’ve finished the chat and the cookies but there is a little more champagne left so we get going on that. well it would be a shame to leave it wouldn’t it and Cleo has a long journey back to Jersey so she’ll need some fuel. Fuel for the literary wanderlust she’ll no doubt be going on once she gets back! What will she read next? Can’t wait to find out.

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