Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up – February 2020


February has been a crazy but wonderful reading month. I’ve read a total of fifteen books, taken part in sixteen blog tours and in two readalongs – the second one I’m still currently reading. So here is what I read this past month:

  1. Never Look Back by A. L. Gaylin ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 
  2. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  3. The Alibi Girl by C.J. Skuse ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
  4. Beast (Six Stories #4) by Matt Wesolowski ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  5. Real Life by Adeline Dieudonné ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  6. The Guest List by Lucy Foley ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  7. The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  8. The Holdout by Graham Moore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  9. The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  10. Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  11. The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  12. The Snakes by Sadie Jones ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  13. The Dark Side of the Mind by Kerry Daynes ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  14. Tales of Mystery Unexplained by Steph Young ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  15. Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can read the synopsis for the books and my reviews by clicking on the title for all except Away with the Penguins, which will be published on Monday, March 2nd.

It’s been another month of strong and phenomenal reads, which made it almost impossible to choose a favourite. After a lot of thought I’ve decided it was a tie between the two books that linger most in my mind after reading – The Memory Wood and Away with the Penguins.

In February I also attended two book events. On February 19th I attended my first book event here in Sheffield – the book launch of Firewatching, the sensational debut by local author Russ Thomas. It was a fantastic evening and I left eagerly anticipating book two in the series which is out this time next year. You can read my review for Firewatching by clicking here.


Just a few days ago I travelled to Nottingham for the second event, The Orenda Roadshow. Orenda is one of my favourite publishers. Every book I’ve read from there collection is amazing. When you pick up one of their books you know you’re getting quality writing, great storytelling and something a bit different. Plus there’s the fact that Karen Sullivan is one of the nicest people I’ve met. At the event each of the twelve authors had a minute to talk about their latest release and later read an excerpt from the book – which resulted in tears of laughter when Matt Wesolowski read his excerpt as a 20-something vlogger. I only wish I’d videoed it. It was great to meet and get a glimpse into the personalities of so many authors and I came away with a lot of extra books on my wishlist. There was also the added pleasure of  meeting blog tour organiser extraordinaire Anne Cater at the event. A wonderful surprise.

How was your February? Did you read any of the same books? What was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.

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Blog Tours book reviews

The Snakes by Sadie Jones ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Published: February 20th, 2020
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Paperback
Genre: Thrillers, Suspense, Literary Fiction

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Snakes. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Vintage for the gifted copy of the book.


Family secrets can be deadly…

Newly-weds Dan and Bea decide to escape London. Driving through France in their beaten-up car they anticipate a long lazy summer, worlds away from their ordinary lives.

But their idyll cannot last. Stopping off to see Bea’s brother at his crumbling hotel, the trio are joined unexpectedly by Bea’s ultra-wealthy parents. Dan has never understood Bea’s deep discomfort around them but living together in such close proximity he begins to sense something is very wrong.

Just as tensions reach breaking point, brutal tragedy strikes, exposing decades of secrets and silence that threaten to destroy them all.

‘A twisty delight of a novel, a cracking page-turner that has much to say about modern life and our attempts to find a way to navigate it, no matter where we come from’ Cathy Rentzenbrink


“You’d swear you could see it, in the cracks in the pavements and the bricks in the walls; violence and grief.”

Bea and her husband Dan have decided to take a three month break from their lives in London to go travelling. Beginning in France, they stop at the hotel owned by Bea’s older brother, Alex. When they arrive they find the hotel is rundown and unfit for business, but Bea insists they stay. When Bea’s parents join them unexpectedly a few days later, the visit isn’t welcome. Bea has an animosity towards them that Dan doesn’t understand, insisting she doesn’t want them in their lives, but saying she can’t leave Alex alone to deal with them. Over the coming days, the couple’s dream of an idyllic break away from everything crumbles as old secrets and resentments resurface and tragedy strikes.

Narrated by newlyweds Bea and Dan, she has never told him the full story about her parents. He doesn’t know why she wants nothing  to do with them or that they aren’t just well off and are part of the elite 1%. Bea is a paragon of morality and virtue – she works with vulnerable people, volunteers with charities, wants to save the planet and is a big believer in justice. She sees things in black or white and refuses to compromise on her morals – something Dan admires but her father mocks her for. Being around her family again means Bea must face that she harbours a deep rage and wrath towards them for their transgressions, things she can’t forgive but also refuses to share with Dan, leaving him confused and driving a wedge between them as he sees two very different people to those his wife sees, not understanding her deep resentments and inability to forgive.  

The Snakes is a story about temptation, power, morality and forgiveness. It is a story about a toxic family and dark secrets that explores moral dilemmas and the consequences of the characters’ actions on those around them. It was dark, intriguing and unexpected, keeping me guessing right until the final page. While it didn’t have the heart-pounding tension you find in some thrillers, it was full of a subdued suspicion that was compulsive. The tragedy that strikes the family and search for truth and justice that unfolds is secondary to the story about the family itself. 

I hadn’t seen a lot of reviews for this book before reading but I had heard that it was a marmite book, with some people not taking to the format and others loving it. Well, I’m one of the strange ones who has mixed feelings about marmite, and that’s kind of how I felt about this book, which was a very different novel from the one I was expecting. The Snakes is a compelling, well-written and readable novel with a shocking and abrupt conclusion that lingers.

Sadie Jones Author Pic


Sadie Jones is a screenwriter and a #1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Her first novel, The Outcast won the Costa First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. It was also a Richard and Judy Summer Reads number one bestseller and adapted for BBC Television. Sadie also wrote: Small Wars (2009), The Uninvited Guests (2012) and Fallout (2014). Her fifth novel, The Snakes, was listed as ‘March book of the month’ in The Bookseller.




Book Depository

The Snakes BT Poster