January Wrap Up

I feel like I say this about every month, but how are we at the end of January already? In some ways Christmas seems an eternity ago but in others I feel like I blinked on New Years Day and then it’s the 31st.

So how has everyone’s reading been this month? Despite illness that prevented me from reading for over a week I’ve still managed to read 14 books this month. Seven of those books were from NetGalley, I read two on Kindle Unlimited, one was the monthly read with #OurLittleBookClub and three others. I loosely plan my reads each month (I’m a mood reader) and out of the ten I planned I read seven.

It’s been a month filled with unputdownable books. I love it when almost all my reads that month are enjoyable, exciting and memorable and it’s hard to pick a favourite. Life’s too short for rubbish books!

  1. ‘The Lie’ by C. L. Taylor ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I’d heard that this author wrote fantastic thrillers but this was my first time reading any of them. Full of unexpected twists and turns this gripping thriller is told in dual timelines as we try to find out who Jane Hughes really is, what happened in her past that she’s running from and who is sending her messages threatening to expose her secret. It was full of anticipation and though I tried desperately I had no idea who had been tormenting Jane until it was revealed. Out Now                                                                                    
  2. ‘In Safe Hands’ by J. P. Carter ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This book is the first of a new crime series and I am so excited for the next installment. DCI Anna Tate and her team investigate the kidnapping of nine children from their nursery one summer morning. The situation is made all the more urgent when they discover that one of the children taken has Cystic Fibrosis and could die without his daily medication. Eventually the kidnappers get in touch demanding a ransom and threatening the lives of the children if they aren’t paid. This was a thriller full of heart pounding suspense. Out Now.
  3. ‘The Binding’ by Bridget Collins ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Imagine if you could lock up your secrets and forget your pain. In this magical book apprentice binder Emmett Farmer finds that you can do just that, though he’s not sure if it’s right. I found that my interest wavered for most of part one but that part two redeemed the book and I fell in love. It is an enchanting tale about family duty, dark magic, love against the odds, lies and self discovery. You haven’t read anything like this before. Out Now.
  4. ‘Verity’ by Colleen Hoover ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Wow! This breathtaking thriller was enthralling and genuinely terrifying. I can’t believe the author has never written this genre before and I’m going to need her to write more! The story follows struggling writer Lowen Ashleigh as she embarks on the task of finishing the final three books in the bestselling The Noble Virtues series. The author of the series, Verity Crawford, is unable to finish them after an accident that left her almost catatonic. Whilst looking through her office for Verity’s notes and outlines Lowen comes across a manuscript for the author’s autobiography. What is on those pages is more shocking and disturbing than any book she’s written and as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy Crawford, Verity’s husband, deepen she begins to justify to herself that he should know what his wife is really like. The ending to this book had my jaw on the floor and I am still shocked by it. This is a must read for any thriller lovers out there. Out Now.
  5. ‘No Exit’ by Taylor Adams ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Student Darby Thorne is forced to take shelter from a storm in a rest stop with four strangers. Whilst braving the weather to try and get a signal to call her dying mother she sees a young girl in a crate inside the van parked next to her car. What follows is a heart-stopping ride as Darby tries to figure out who kidnapped the girl, who she is and how to rescue her without endangering their lives. All on a night where there is no help coming and she has no idea who she can really trust. Out Now
  6. ‘The Day of the Accident’ by Nuala Ellwood ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Maggie Allan wakes in a hospital room with no recollection of how she got there. She is told she has been in a coma for ten weeks following a car accident that claimed the life of her daughter Elspeth. In a further blow she is told her husband, Sean, disappeared just after the funeral three weeks ago. Her world as she knew it now gone, Maggie is determined to find regain her memory and discover the truth about the accident and find her husband. A gripping thriller with a multilayered plot, this book was hard to put down. Fans of thrillers will love this story full of twists and turns and shocking revelations. Out 21st February.
  7. ‘Call Me Evie’ by J. P. Pomare ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I’d been highly anticipating this strange but addictive debut thriller. Evie is being held captive by a man who claims she did something terrible. But Evie is sure she did nothing wrong. And Evie isn’t even her real name. We are told the story in two timelines: before and after the night something awful happened. I found the book very confusing at first, but I think that was because the character was confused and we were reading from her perspective. The story soon became clearer and I was hooked. I devoured the book in one sitting. It is cleverly written and keeps you guessing until the end. Out 18th April.
  8. ‘The Book of Essie’ by Meghan MacLean Weir ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – ‘Six for Hicks’ is a reality TV show that follows  17-year-old Essie Hicks and the rest of her fundamentalist Christian family. When she falls pregnant panic ensues before it is eventually decided that she will be married to Roarke Richards, a senior at her high school. As they sell their love story to the adoring public they are interviewed by Liberty Bell, a reporter with a famous conservative history of her own. As the wedding approaches, Essie tries to find out why her older sister left and hasn’t been in touch since, tries to decide how much she can trust those around her with the secrets her family is trying to hide, and learns if she has the courage to both be who she really is and stand up for what is right no matter the personal cost. This debut novel reveals the truth of growing up in religious extremism and what it takes to break free. Out now.
  9. ‘What Happens in France’ by Carol Wyer ⭐⭐⭐.5 – This hilarious novel follows Bryony as she takes part in a new game show as part of a plan to try and find her sister, Hannah, who went missing thirty years ago. Byrony, her teammate Lewis and their fellow castmates, who are made up of colourful characters such as Oscar and his Instagram-famous dog, and Jim who is the epitome of everyone’s ideal lovable Grandad, are put through their paces in a variety of challenges as they battle for the top prize. But her goal isn’t the prize money, it’s to raise awareness of Hannah’s disappearance and hopefully find her at last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me laugh and is perfect if you want to read something lighthearted. Out Now.
  10. ‘My Lovely Wife’ by Samantha Downing ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – The first words that come to mind to describe this book are consuming, riveting, dark, twisted, and unforgettable. Narrated by Tobias who lives with his wife, Millicent, and their two children, this is a thriller about a seemingly normal family with a dark secret. Tobias thinks he knows the worst things about his wife and trusts her implicitly. But as a serial killer haunts their town he learns he doesn’t know Millicent at all. My review for this jaw-dropping thriller will be posted on release day. Out 2nd May.
  11. ‘Jar of Hearts’ by Jennifer Hillier ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 –This was my first read by Jennifer Hillier but it won’t be my last. This is not a thriller for the fainthearted but if you can handle dark, gruesome scenes then you will love this spectacular story about Geo who is trying to rebuild her life after serving time in prison for her role in the death of her best friend, Angela, fourteen years ago. Angela’s killer, The Sweetbay Strangler, who was Geo’s boyfriend at the time,  escaped from prison a few years before her release. Now bodies are turning up killed just like Angela was and it seems her former boyfriend isn’t done with Geo just yet. Out Now.
  12. ‘The Husband’s Secret’ by Liane Moriarty ⭐⭐⭐ – This was the January read for #OurLittleBookClub19 . If you discovered a letter your husband wrote asking you to read it only in the event of his death but he’s still alive, would you open it? That’s the dilemma faced by Cecilia when she finds such a letter in her attic one day. A letter that if opened will have repercussions not just for Cecilia and her family, but others too. I had high hopes for this book. I enjoyed the narrators’ inner monologues, the symbolism of the Berlin Wall and loved the epilogue, but sadly the book generally fell flat for me. The plotting was all over the place, it lacked tension and just didn’t seem believable that these characters would make life changing decisions in the space of a few days. The group overall rated the book 3⭐ Out Now
  13. ‘The Dreamers’ by Karen Thompson Walker⭐⭐⭐.5 – A mysterious sleeping sickness envelops a small Californian town in this unique and mesmerising book. As the sickness spreads you are hoping for answers to be found quickly and waiting to see if people will wake. The book started out poetic and magical but lost some of it’s charm as we got further into the story. This was partly because some of the mystery disappears as we know the characters, but also I think because I was unprepared for how philosophical this book would be. A beautifully written book that I enjoyed but felt a little unsatisfied with. Out 7th February.
  14. ‘The Silent Companions’ by Laura Purcell ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  – I read this book as a buddy read and thank goodness I did because I really needed to talk about the whole thing! This book was fantastically written, eerie, genuinely scary at times and absolutely phenomenal. I’ve literally just finished this an hour before the month ends and am still reeling from the ending. So, I will gather my thoughts and post a review in the next few days. Out Now.

Choosing a favourite has been harder this month than ever before with so many wonderful books. The books I’ve enjoyed most this month are ‘Verity’, ‘No Exit’, ‘Call Me Evie’, ‘My Lovely Wife’, and ‘The Silent Companions’. It is impossible for me to decide between ‘My Lovely Wife’ and ‘The Silent Companions’ so I will call January’s Book of the Month a tie between the two.

What was your favourite book this month? Have you read any of the ones I read this month? Comment below and let me know.

Thank you to NetGalley, Avon Books UK, Harper Collins UK, Penguin Books, Penguin UK, Michael Joseph, Little, Brown Book Group UK, Canelo and Simon and Schuster UK Fiction for the chance to read and review ARCs.

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