What I Read: September 2021

Alice Feeney: Rock Paper Scissors

Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognise friends or family, or even his own wife.
Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Told from a few POVs – Adam, Amelia, someone called Robin and from the letters that Adam’s wife writes to him every year for their anniversary – but doesn’t let him read, you will be immersed in this story as lies and secrets come to light. I love the atmosphere in this book, it was so creepy. Feeney portraits gloomy ambience which keeps the readers on the edge of their seat throughout the book. There’s a sense of unease and dread that doesn’t let up as the story progresses.. and what a story it is! I was hooked from the first page! I feel this book is best to read in one or two seatings because things can get very complicated otherwise. I had to go back few times to reread some parts. As an extra point, I haven’t seen those twists coming at all! Hands down, this is one of the best thrillers I have read this year.

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Bella Mackie: How to kill your family

When Grace Bernard discovers her absentee millionaire father has rejected her dying mother’s pleas for help, she vows revenge, and sets about to kill every member of his family. Readers have a front row seat as Grace picks off the family one by one – and the result is as and gruesome as it is entertaining in this wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder. But then Grace is imprisoned for a murder she didn’t commit.

I think this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before – a breath of fresh air, really. A book about a woman killing her family shouldn’t be fun, but it was! There were some brilliant and witty and funny parts but that being said, It’s also a little bit repetitive, following the same structure with different victims: observe, find weakness, concoct plan, carry it out. In a few situations it felt a bit too convenient, and some a bit far fetched. I think the ending saved it for me, the first twist is confusing and you think that’s the strangest end to how you thought it would plan out then hello second plot twist! Very well done.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Louise Candlish: The heights

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Shad Thames, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognise anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact. Because you’re the one who killed him.

The premise for this sounded so good to me, and the opening was exciting, reeling me in! But that was where my excitement faded.. This was a bit long and a slow moving book. I liked the setting, I could really visualise ‘The Heights’ building. I also liked the way the phobia Ellen had was described. High Place Phenomenon, a sudden urge to jump when in a high place, was written in a scary and dizzying way. But… the main character, Ellen, was so unlikeable. Usually I don’t mind it as much but she was just so irritating and even though you would expect to empathise with her because she’s grieving, she was so full of hate and prejudice that I really didn’t like reading her chapters. What saved it for me was the ending and the twists! But I still prefer her previous book The Other Passenger.

⭐⭐⭐💫

Paige toon: Someone I used to know

Then : At fifteen, George is the foster brother Leah never asked for. As the angry, troubled boy struggles to come to terms with his circumstances, Leah finds herself getting drawn closer to him. Theo’s wealthy family have mysteriously pulled him out of boarding school and he’s now enrolled at the local state school with Leah and George. When their worlds collide that summer, the three teenagers form a bond they believe will be unbreakable. But life doesn’t always go to plan…

Now : Shocking news brings Leah back to Yorkshire, baby daughter in tow. But Emilie’s father Theo isn’t with them, and George has unexpectedly returned. After half a lifetime, have they healed the scars of their pasts? Will coming back home set their hearts in a different direction?

This is the first book I’ve read by Paige Toon but is certainly it won’t be my last one. This book is much more than meets the eye. A pretty cover with so much depth. The story is told from the perspective of the kind and extremely likeable Leah. I was immediately drawn into her family, with their alpacas, bunnies and overflowing household of foster children. The ‘then’ story focuses around the care system which I found really interesting. Leah’s parents are probably the most selfless most heartwarming characters I have ever read about. I’m not going to say much about ‘now’ parts because I don’t want to spoil anything but honestly this is worth picking up as soon as possible. What I love most about this book is that behind the very pretty cover is a well researched, thought out story tackling tough topics balanced with light humour and heartwarming moments. Believe me, it’s like a warm hug.

⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

holly jackson: as good as dead

Pip Fitz-Amobi is haunted by the way her last investigation ended. Soon she’ll be leaving for Cambridge University but then another case finds her . . . and this time it’s all about Pip. Pip is used to online death threats, but there’s one that catches her eye, someone who keeps asking: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? And it’s not just online. Pip has a stalker who knows where she lives. The police refuse to act and then Pip finds connections between her stalker and a local serial killer. The killer has been in prison for six years, but Pip suspects that the wrong man is behind bars. As the deadly game plays out, Pip realises that everything in Little Kilton is finally coming full circle. If Pip doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears . ..

Oh wow! When I got this book and saw it’s over 500 pages I thought it will take ages for me to read it but I finished it in 2 days! As Good as Dead is the final book in Holly Jackson’s a Good girls guide to murder trilogy and it was one stressful journey. I was NOT expecting the story to go in the direction it did.. but I loved it! I was hooked from the beginning and I literally loved every second of this book. I think this book was the darkest in the series and at times unsettling and creepy. But I loved how this really took everything that happened in the first two books together and wrapped everything up. A must read YA thriller series in my opinion. I would highly recommend it. All of the three books are unique and good. Talking about this particular one, the pacing was a bit messy at times. Way too many descriptions in some parts. The story dragged a little from time to time. But overall, it was mind blowing. Once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down.

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colleen hoover: it ends with us

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Finally I’ve read the most hyped book ever and I’m telling you it’s definitely worth the hype. It Ends With Us is a such a strong, powerful, and emotional novel. I was thinking for a long time about what to write and how not to spoil it for everyone so I’m not going to examine the story because it’s best to go into it blind. I’m just going to say that this is not your classic romance book. I was totally engrossed in Lily’s story. I loved how there was a dual timeline through her diary, bringing past and present together. This book was everything! Thought provoking, sad, beautiful and hopeful – you won’t be able to put it down. After you finish reading this novel, please don’t forget to read the author’s notes in the last part of this book. Colleen Hoover is telling her personal experiences and opening up her heart there. I was thoroughly impressed with what she wrote.  For me this is one of the best romance books I’ve ever read and I can’t recommend it enough.

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