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Monthly Wrap Up – April 2020

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I can’t believe we’re a third of the way through the year already. April has been a strange month for the world with us being in lockdown. For me, that’s meant mostly getting used to not having a quiet house during the day Monday to Friday, which is when I do a lot of my reading and blogging. I’ve also had to hand over my laptop to our eldest as his is broken so I’m restricted in my times I can write.

In terms of reading, April has been another strong month for me. I’ve read thirteen books, taken part in fifteen blog tours, two cover reveals, one readalong and one buddy read. So here is what I’ve read this month:

  1. Mine by Clare Empson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  2. Strangers by C.L. Taylor ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  3. The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  4. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. All In Her Head by Nikki Smith ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. The Fallout by Rebecca Thornton ⭐⭐⭐.5
  7. The Switch by Beth O’Leary ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. I Am Dust by Louise Beech ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. What’s Left of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  11. The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  12. The House Guest by Mark Edwards ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  13. We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  14. So Many Lies by Paul J. Teague ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can read the synopsis and reviews for what I’ve read this month by clicking on the links above except for The House Guest, which will be reviewed next month.

So many great books means it’s hard to choose a favourite. And this month it was almost impossible. I loved Hamnet and was sure nothing would top that; until I read the breathtaking debut novel, What’s Left Of Me Is Yours. I still think about that book many times each day and am constantly recommending everyone read it. So if you haven’t yet bought a copy you can use the links in my review to do it now! Other books I feel deserve a shout out are the fantastic thrillers Strangers and All In Her Head, the heartwarming and uplifting The Switch, and the brilliantly sinister I Am Dust. Each of these were also contenders for my book of the month.

Thank you to the publishers for my gifted copies of the books and the blog tour organisers for all their hard work.

What have you read this month and what was your favourite? Comment below.

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So Many Lies by Paul J. Teague ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Published: October 19th, 2019
Publisher: Clixeo Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for So Many Lies. Thank you to Sarah at Books On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC of this book.

SYNOPSIS:

It began with a family gathering – it ended in a bloodbath.

When the Harrington family rent a private island to celebrate their dad’s 70th birthday, old lies resurface, resulting in a murderous revenge.

Ben Harrington is stuck.

He’s recently separated from his wife of over twenty years, leaving his almost adult son and daughter feeling angry and betrayed.

What’s more, his daughter Alice has cerebral palsy and he can’t forgive himself for letting her down when she needed him most.

Ben left the family house due to an ill-advised fling with Laura resulting in an unplanned pregnancy.

But all that is the least of Ben’s troubles.

It’s his dad Tony’s 70th birthday and he and his wife Susan have invited the family over to a remote tropical island in order to mark the occasion.

That should be cause for celebration, but there are terrible secrets lurking in the Harrington family which are about to burst out into the open – siblings Steve, Ben, Gaby and Richard are all caught up in this web of deceit.

So Many Lies follows the story of the Harringtons through a series of life-changing lies, dating back to 1979, and as the story builds towards the big celebration, so does the gravity of the lies which brought the family to where they are when we meet them in the book.

Thought your family was screwed up? Wait until you meet the Harringtons …

MY REVIEW:

“When the Harrington’s got together, nothing was ever simple.” 

So Many Lies follows the Harrington family over the course of forty years and examines the secrets they keep, the lies they tell, and the far-reaching effects it has on them all.

The Harringtons are a dysfunctional family filled with bitterness and estrangements. They rarely speak to each other let alone all get together. But when patriarch Tony Harringon turns seventy, they all answer the invitation to join a big family celebration on a private island. But things don’t go as planned as rifts lead to tense arguments and shocking secrets are revealed. And all the while there is someone lurking in the jungle waiting for their chance to seek revenge on them all…

With a family like this, who needs enemies? All families have problems but I am glad to not be part of the toxic Harrington family after reading this book. The story begins in June 2018 with Ben Harrington waking up trying to remember the night before. He soon realises something terrible happened, but is then engulfed in darkness and the story jumps back to six weeks earlier. We are then taken on a journey that spans four decades as the history of the Harrington family is slowly told and their secrets are unveiled. 

Though it is told from multiple points of view, our main narrator is Ben, the forty-seven-year-old second child. Ben’s life is a mess. He had an affair that ended his marriage when she got pregnant and doesn’t know how to get out from under the personal and financial mess he’s got himself into. I found Ben to be a bit of a wet blanket and prefered the parts of the story that were from other people’s perspective, especially the villain of the story (though I’ll not say more to avoid spoilers). 

For most of the book, the flashbacks were my favourite part. I enjoyed the insight into how they had become such an estranged and dysfunctional family. All the flashbacks have titles such as The First Lie and focus on significant moments – ie lies – that shaped their future. I loved how later in the book these were told again from different points of view that peeled away the layers of secrecy and revealed the truth to the reader. 

This is a steadily paced, readable thriller, but as we approach the finale the tension radiates from the pages and I was on the edge of my seat as all was shockingly revealed. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Paul Teague writes thrillers, sci-fi and non-fiction books.
Writing as Paul J. Teague, he is the author of the Don’t Tell Meg and Morecambe Bay trilogies as well as several standalones such as Dead of Night, Now You See Her (with Adam Nicholls) and So Many Lies.
Paul is a former teacher, DJ, waiter and BBC radio producer, presenter and journalist.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website
Twitter
Facebook

BUY THE BOOK:

Amazon

So Many Lies