This month has been a strange reading and blogging month for me. I’ve struggled with both, and not because of the quality of the books I’m reading. I’m still trying to write some reviews from books I read in January as well as a few from this month. I do find myself able to think more clearly as the weather warms up so hopefully this will improve through March and into April.
Even though it’s been a strange month, I managed to read 11 books this month. Seven were from NetGalley, two were from the author, one as part of #ourlittlebookclub19 on Instagram, and then one other. I read seven of the eight titles I’d planned to read this month. I did start to read the eighth but I couldn’t get into it and didn’t finish so I haven’t included it in my list.
- ‘Night By Night’ by Jack Jordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Another gripping, twisted, dark, and haunting thriller that I couldn’t put down from this author. After a terrible mistake leaves insomniac Rose Shaw rejected by her family and feeling like there’s nothing left to live for. Then one night a stranger crashes into her and drops a diary, but he’s gone before Rose can give it back. At home she can’t resist reading it, unprepared for the tale inside. When the police refuse to investigate the diary author’s disappearance and claims of being stalked, Rose takes matters in her own hands… Out May 2nd
- ‘A Gift For Dying’ by M. J. Arlidge ⭐⭐⭐.5 – Troubled teenager Kassie meets forensic psychologist Adam Brandt after being arrested for attempted mugging. But the story the girl has to tell is like none he’s heard before: Kassie claims to be able to see when and how people die. At first he thinks she’s having a psychological breakdown, but when a serial killer begins stalking the city and Kassie’s predictions start to come true, he begins to wonder if their could be some truth to her claims. A stand alone novel this was an intriguing and thought provoking book that was only let down by it’s lack of pace at times. Out March 7th
- ‘Little’ by Edward Carey ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A re imagining of the life of Madame Tussaud this breathtaking piece of historical fiction reached into my soul and took up residence. Beautifully written with gorgeous illustrations that bring the writing to life even more, I was completely immersed in Marie’s world from her birth in Switzerland, apprenticeship to a wax sculptor, their move to Paris and a rise to fame for making wax heads that sees her employed by royalty. Out now
- ‘Closer Than You Think’ by Darren O’Sullivan ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Ten years ago Claire Moore barely escaped the serial killer known as The Black-Out Killer. She is still traumatised and trying to rebuild her life while suffering from anxiety, flashbacks and the paranoia she’s being watched. But she isn’t paranoid. The killer she escaped is watching and isn’t happy she’s moving on. So he comes out of the shadows to strike fear in not only Claire but the general public once again. This gripping thriller was narrated by both Claire and the serial killer which I loved and found myself liking this flawed, twisted individual with a surprising moral code. This book also gave the best descriptions of anxiety and panic attacks I’ve read as we watch Claire fight to overcome her fears. Out March 15th
- ‘The Night Olivia Fell’ by Christina McDonald ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This book broke me. I was unprepared for how emotional and heartbreaking it would be and the tears I cried; something a book hasn’t made me do in years. An amalgamation of mystery, suspense, psychological thriller and tragedy this is the story of a mother’s search for the truth after her 17 year old daughter falls from a bridge. Abi is convinced it was no accident, but the police say it was. So in dual timelines we see Abi learn more about her daughter as she tries to find answers and read the events leading up to the fall from Olivia’s perspective. An incredible debut from a writer I can’t wait to read more from. Just one warning: the final chapters will require tissues so have them ready. Kindle out now, Paperback out March 7th
- ‘Little Lovely Things’ by Maureen Joyce Connolly ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – When Claire Rawlings wakes after passing out sick on a garage bathroom floor she’s horrified to discover her car containing her two young daughters is gone. Told from multiple POV this story follows how the little decisions we make can have life changing repercussions and the effects the abduction have on the various people involved: a surprising cast of characters you’ll love and loathe. A raw story that doesn’t shy away from the dark side of the character’s natures this is a great debut novel. Out April 2nd
- ‘Hag-Seed’ by Margaret Atwood ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Hag-Seed is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It tells the story of Felix, who is sacked from his job as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweh Festival as they’re getting ready to perform The Tempest. He lives in exile with just the imaginary presence of his daughter Miranda, who died years before, for company. Consumed by the need for revenge against his enemies he concocts a plan to ensure it is served. Taking a job as a teacher of Literary Through Theatre at the local correction facility he has a surprising twist in mind as they stage their version of The Tempest that will have far reaching consequences. Out now
- ‘The Burning’ by Laura Bates ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Anna is starting afresh after an incident that saw all her friends turn on her and traumatised her so much she still has nightmares and flashbacks. She’s changed her surname, closed her social media accounts and moved across the country so there’s no chance her past will follow her. Or so she thinks. While researching a history project Anna finds herself drawn to the story of Maggie, a woman who lived 400 years earlier and was accused of witchcraft. As she discovers she has more in common with Maggie than she thought the whispers start and she’s the subject of gossip and ridicule again. This is not just a book for young adults or girls, it’s a culturally relevant book everyone should read. As a parent I found it particularly helpful in having more understanding of the social dynamics my children face. Hopefully this book will empower those who feel weak and help there be less judgement, pressure and one-sided conduct in the future. Out now
- ‘The Stillwater Girls’ by Minka Kent ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Wren and Sage have been alone in their secluded cabin since their Mama left with their sister Evie to get medical help . Will their supplies running low they are facing starvation when a strange man knocks at their door claiming to be looking for their mother. Vowing to not leave without them the terrified girls have no choice but to break their Mama’s one rule: never go beyond the forest. But neither girl is prepared for what they find on the other side of the forest and for their whole lives to be turned upside down. Long hidden secrets are revealed and lies uncovered as the authorities try to discover the girl’s identities and search for their missing mother and sister… I devoured this fast paced, compelling thriller in under 24 hours. It was my first read by this author but it certainly won’t be my last. Out April 9th
- ‘Little Darlings’ by Melanie Golding ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – After a difficult birth Lauren is feeling overwhelmed at being left alone to care for her tiny twins when in the middle of the night she encounters a strange, ugly woman who demands one of Lauren’s twins in exchange for her own or she’ll take them both. Terrified, Lauren locks herself and her babies in the bathroom and calls the police. But no one else has seen the woman and there’s nothing on CCTV so Lauren is referred to a psychiatrist. At home Lauren’s fear that this woman is going to take her children grows but no one believes her, not even her husband. When the twins are taken while she’s in a park she can see that the babies recovered are not Morgan and Riley. But everyone else is fooled and she’s sent to a psychiatric unit where she continues to try and make them see the truth. But is she insane or has someone really swapped her children? Based on the changeling folklore this is a chilling tale from a talented new voice in fiction. Out May 2nd
- ‘They Called Me Wyatt’ by Natasha Tynes ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A truly unique story this debut novel captured my imagination from the start. Jordanian student Siwar Salaiha is murdered on her 25th birthday but her consciousness survives, waking in the body of a three year old American boy named Wyatt. Failing to communicate with his parents she instead decides to solve the mystery of her murder. But her consciousness becomes dormant after Wyatt has surgery until 22 years later when Wyatt, now a graduate student with an affinity for the Middle East. learns Siwar’s story and becomes inexplicably obsessed with solving her murder. His investigation leads him to face parts of himself he’s locked away and refused to face all his life and puts pressure on his relationships. Travelling to her hometown he finds a clue that could possibly solve the case. Could justice might finally be served for Siwar after all these years? Out June 27th
As you can see it’s been a great month with nearly all my reads being a solid four stars. The standout book for me this month has to be ‘Little’. Edward Carey has a new fan in this reader and other than his new book that is coming out in September, I can’t imagine anything else topping it this year.
March is going to be a busy month for me as I will be taking part in the #MurderMonday bookclub. I’m a huge fan of true crime so I can’t wait to dive into the books for this group.
What did you read this month? Have you read any of the books I did? Comment below and let me know.
Thank you to NetGalley, Corvus, Atlantic Books, HQ, HQ Digital, Thomas and Mercer, Penguin UK, Michael Joseph, Sourcebooks, Simon and Schuster UK Childrens, Christina McDonald, Maureen Joyce Connolly and Natasha Tynes for the chance to read and review these novels.