What I Read: February & March 2023

Nikki Erlick: The Measure

Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice. It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out. But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live. From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise? As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

It Is Not The Years In Your Life That Count, It Is The Life In Your Years.

Even though it’s the beginning of the year I think this will be one of my favourite books this year! This was so unique and thought-provoking that I still can’t stop thinking about it! This is not a sci-fi or fantasy book that explores where the strings came from or how the strings know your future. Instead, it provides a philosophical thought experiment of how people might respond to such a monumental piece of news about their own mortality. From the individual grieving and interpersonal relationships, to societal responses of categorising and discriminating, to how politicians mobilise support through the manipulation of our fears. Not going to go into details but you can easily draw parallels with the real world and political situations that we have. This is a book that will give you much to think about so just go and read it!


Stacy Willingham: All the DANGEROUS THINGS

One year ago, Isabelle Drake’s life changed forever: her toddler son, Mason, was taken out of his crib in the middle of the night while she and her husband were asleep in the next room. With little evidence and few leads for the police to chase, the case quickly went cold. However, Isabelle cannot rest until Mason is returned to her—literally. Except for the occasional catnap or small blackout where she loses track of time, she hasn’t slept in a year. Isabelle’s entire existence now revolves around finding him, but she knows she can’t go on this way forever. In hopes of jarring loose a new witness or buried clue, she agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster—but his interest in Isabelle’s past makes her nervous. His incessant questioning paired with her severe insomnia has brought up uncomfortable memories from her own childhood, making Isabelle start to doubt her recollection of the night of Mason’s disappearance, as well as second-guess who she can trust… including herself. But she is determined to figure out the truth no matter where it leads.

Narrated solely by Isabelle, the narrative alternates between the present day with flashbacks from her relationship with Ben and chapters devoted to her childhood. Isabelle is an unreliable narrator, and since she doesn’t sleep, her memory is murky, and her obsession with finding Mason has her struggling to separate reality from fantasy. The pacing is on the slower side, but I was pulled in immediately by Isabelle’s voice. The structure of the narrative, coupled with the moody atmosphere, works to slowly build a palpable level of tension. he author touches upon themes of trauma, marriage, motherhood and mental health in this story. I won’t say that the end was entirely unpredictable but I was definitely surprised by how we got there. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.



Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers:This Jess understands. At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

This book was so sweet! When I read the synopsis it reminded me of John Marrs’ The One but it was far from that and much more realistic! Even with all the DNA and science talk, the novel wasn’t stuffy at all or hard to follow. Christina Lauren did an excellent job of presenting the facts and information in an easy to understand, enjoyable way.For fans of enemies to lovers, this one is right up your alley. I didn’t feel the enemies trope was too overplayed and even though the love story seemed to unfold fairly fast, it was pretty natural, given the circumstances. There were many instances where River seemed too good to be true, but sometimes we need that in a fun romcom!  Overall this was a really fun and cute read. It’s definitely one I recommend if you’re a fan of romance and/or a fan of Christina Lauren.



Alex lives a comfortable life with his wife Beth in the leafy suburb of Silver Vale. Fine, so he’s not the most sociable guy on the street, he prefers to keep himself to himself, but he’s a good husband and an easy-going neighbour. That’s until Beth announces the creation of a nature trail on a local site that’s been disused for decades and suddenly Alex is a changed man. Now he’s always watching. Questioning. Struggling to hide his dread . . . As the landscapers get to work, a secret threatens to surface from years ago, back in Alex’s twenties when he got entangled with a seductive young woman called Marina, who threw both their lives into turmoil. And who sparked a police hunt for a murder suspect that was never quite what it seemed. It still isn’t.

What a brilliantly deceptive, wicked and clever mystery this was! It has everything: intrigue, tension, pace, and lots of red herrings! Rolling out in two separate timelines, the mid-nineties and today, we get transported straight into the lives of two men, Alex and Rick. This is all I am willing to say because I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s the best to go blind into this one! Cleverly constructed to trick you, this book was one of those psychological thrillers I couldn’t put down until I had all the answers. If you love mysteries where nothing is quite what it seems and every character has a secret to guard, then this is definitely the right book for you!



At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds. A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and 7 ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family. Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.

The beginning was promising but then it took me a long time to get into this book as there are many characters including the three Raco sons and their wives and children, various people involved with a local festival and law enforcement personnel among others. The novel is long and most of it is spent on long, lazy days drinking wine and talking about the residents of the small town they are in and how those people are related or involved in the mysteries. It is more of a book about Aaron and some other characters moving on in their lives with the mysteries in the background. I found myself putting the book down a lot and didn’t become really engaged until the last few chapters where the excitement factor that I expect from Harper rises back up. Despite what I just said, I did enjoy ‘Exiles‘ for what it was, although not as much as I’d expected to. I absolute adore Jane Harper’s writing. Her descriptions are so vivid, you almost feel like you’re right there in Australia, seeing the sights, smelling the various scents. If anything, if ‘Exiles‘ is indeed the end of this series, then it’s a lovely send-off to a beloved character. But who knows, there is definitely a door open for another one.



There was always something slightly dangerous about Joan. So, when she turns up at private investigator Henry Kimball’s office asking him to investigate her husband, he can’t help feeling ill at ease. Just the sight of her stirs up a chilling memory: he knew Joan in his previous life as a high school English teacher, when he was at the center of a tragedy. Now Joan needs his help in proving that her husband is cheating. But what should be a simple case of infidelity becomes much more complicated when Kimball finds two bodies in an uninhabited suburban home with a “for sale” sign out front. Suddenly it feels like the past is repeating itself, and Henry must go back to one of the worst days of his life to uncover the truth. 

The Kind Worth Killing remains my favourite Peter Swanson book to date(and top 10 thrillers ever), but The Kind Worth Saving is definitely a worthy addition to the series, featuring Henry Kimball, now a private investigator, and Lily Kintner who is as sharp and devious as ever. The narrative is shared from multiple perspectives, which kept me engaged with the story and the characters. All of the characters are seriously flawed individuals and for the most part unlikeable but the author compels you to choose your favourites and root for them. Swanson does a great job of weaving the past and present together in a tight-knit plot that kept you hooked till the very last page. I enjoyed how the plot developed and found the ending more interesting because it wasn’t neatly tide up. I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more of some of the characters in the future! 

P.S. I would recommend reading The Kind Worth Killing before reading the sequel to fully understand Henry’s and Lily’s characters and their backstories. 



Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.  But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.  Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. The whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.  Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.

This is a though one for me to review, especially because I can’t say much without spoiling it for everyone else but I will try. Picoult researched Covid very well and for anyone interested this book will be very insightful. Also she writes very well. Structure, plot, fully-developed characters, pacing, atmosphere, the big twist, which was so clever … it’s all there. Now, things I didn’t like… The first part of the book was soooo slow! At times I wanted to give up! Luckily it picked up and turned into a real page turner. Even though I think that the message of the book is great, I felt COVID-19 was really the body of the book, and Diana’s story was just the clothing thrown on to disguise it. Picoult had all this knowledge about the virus to share, but it felt much better suited for a non-fiction book. I really didn’t like Finn’s emails to Diana and I just started skipping them after a while because there were too many medical details. I found that very unrealistic, that’s not what anyone would write to the love of their life in given circumstances! Overall, it was an “okay” read but not nearly as fantastic as I had hoped and expected. I know I’m the outlier with my thoughts, so please read the many raving reviews before deciding on this one.



On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital for the criminally insane, a nurse has been murdered and her newborn baby kidnapped. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking. Forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth, and use her unique skills to find the baby – before it’s too late. She has five days to catch the killer. But with the walls of The Institution closing in on her, will her sanity last that long?

Wow! This is a rollercoaster of a read that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. The beginning is brutal and pretty gruesome, but it pulled me in straight away. The book is filled with twists and turns and takes locked room thriller to another level! The setting was isolated and claustrophobic, it was well paced, chilling, tension packed, with the great character development. I was questioning myself constantly and Helen did a fantastic job of deceiving me every step of the way. I really appreciated how much work Fields put into her characters. There’s so much suspicion and paranoia flying around it’s impossible to trust anyone, and that includes the institution’s staff! I liked how the author incorporated the backstories of the inmates. Their stories were chilling, but they also give you an insight into the minds of the disturbed individuals. It’s a real page turner that that builds up to the heart stopping finale. A must read for crime thriller lovers. Highly recommended.



Twenty five years ago, Jenna, Donnie, and Nico were the best of friends, having forged a bond through the abuse and neglect they endured as residents of Savior House, a group home for parentless teens. When the home was shut down―after the disappearance of several kids―the three were split up. Though the trauma of their childhood has never left them, each went on to live accomplished―if troubled―lives. They haven’t seen one another since they were teens but now are reunited for a single haunting reason: someone is trying to kill them. To survive, the group will have to revisit the nightmares of their childhoods and confront their shared past―a past that holds the secret to why someone wants them dead.

If you are like me and you loved Every Last Fear and The Night Shift you probably can’t wait to read this one! I have a news for you – this book is nothing like those two! Instead of mystery and suspense we have adrenalin thriller with over the top storyline filled with assassins. The plot has potential and will have the reader trying to figure out the who and the what and the why from the get-go. However, it wasn’t quite as gripping, complex or tight-knit as I hoped it would be. The pace drags in parts and I didn’t really like any of the main characters. However, I did like the way the story eventually unfolded (loved the literary references as a major clue toward the end) and my eagerness to know the who and the why kept me interested. I’ll still read more from the author in hope that he will bring back agent Keller!



Britain. The near future. A right wing government believes it has the answer to society’s ills – the Sanctity of Marriage Act which actively encourages marriage as the norm, punishing those who choose to remain single. But four couples are about to discover just how impossible relationships can be when the government is monitoring every aspect of our personal lives, monitoring every word, every minor disagreement…And it will use every tool in its arsenal to ensure everyone will love, honour and obey!

Another great dystopian book by John Marrs! Marrs always paints such a frightening picture of the future, I think partly because he bases his story on real tech, and partly because it’s the way I can see things going in our current world. The book follows the journey of four couples managing their lives during this totalitarian government control over their marriages. At first it can be confusing as the author introduces the reader to an array of characters, but they each have a distinctive voice so any confusion soon goes away. I loved the format of the book, jumping between different characters, teasing out the plot lines and just keeping you going for just one chapter more. Another thing that I loved is that there is a reference to the DNA-testing and self driving cars from his other book so it felt like all three books were connected.If I had one issue with this, it’s that it was a bit long. i felt like the middle dragged a bit and i was eager to get some resolution quicker.


What I Read: January 2023

Heather Gudenkauf: The Overnight Guest

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace. As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. After bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

The Overnight Guest was one of the best psychological thrillers that I have read in a long time. I undoubtedly love some snowed-in locked-room mystery/thrillers, and I can happily say this one delivered and even exceeded my expectations! It was told in three distinct narratives. I must admit that I was a little confused in the beginning and had a hard time keeping all the characters and time lines straight. Thankfully, that did not last that long. Eventually, Gudenkauf brilliantly and skilfully wove all three plots together. Every plot was so atmospheric and edge-of-your-seat tense and the further I read the harder it was to put down. There’s really nothing about this book I would change, it was exactly what I needed to read. Suffice it to say, this is the perfect book to cozy up to during a cold winter’s night


rebecca yarros: the things we leave unfinished

Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel…even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit. Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century—the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another.  But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book—it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one.

This was simply beautiful. At first, it took me a bit to get into the story because of the dual timelines and the story within the story, but the more I read, the more involved I became, and it was just so amazing and full of feels. And that twist! OMG, it was simply brilliant. To produce not only one, but two enchanting stories in one, and to keep my undivided attention shows how thoroughly plotted out this novel is.  One love story is set in the 40s, where the main couple was Jameson and Scarlett and the other in present time with, Scarlett’s great granddaughter, Georgia and Noah. Even though both stories were interesting, Jameson and Scarlett’s was my favourite! I could go on and on about this book because it was one of my favourite love stories ever. What a phenomenal author. I’m definitely picking up more of her books!


jodi picoult,J.F.Boylan: The mad honey

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She moves back to her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, and takes over her father’s beekeeping business. Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

This was my first book by Jodi Picoult and I now see what I was missing. The main reason I couldn’t put this book down was mesmerising writing . Picoult and Boylan’s style blended perfectly and at any point it didn’t feel like it has been written by two authors. Let me just say it, this book is definitely going to be one of my favourite this year. The first half was so good and I loved the story right from the start. I don’t want to give anything away about the plot because it’s the best to go in blindly but I will mention that bees and beekeeping are a subtopic of this book. Let’s just say, during the book you’ll learn a lot about it. But I loved it! I was fascinated by the bee and the beekeeping facts and amazed at how it could be related to many life topics. You’ll also learn about another topic that is the one I do not want to mention, so as to not spoil it for you. I cannot recommend this book enough. Although it is without a doubt one of the saddest books I have ever read, it is by far one of the most beautiful.


freida mcfadden: the housemaid

Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor. I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies about her own daughter. And how her husband Andrew seems more broken every day. But as I look into Andrew’s handsome brown eyes, so full of pain, it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like to live Nina’s life. The walk-in closet, the fancy car, the perfect husband. I only try on one of Nina’s pristine white dresses once. Just to see what it’s like. But she soon finds out… and by the time I realize my attic bedroom door only locks from the outside, it’s far too late.But I reassure myself: the Winchesters don’t know who I really am.

This was a very addictive read that was so hard to put down! You’ll more than likely find yourself reading deep into the night because it’s a genuine page-turner. I loved all the little revelations that pop up here and there on top of an incredible story. Just when you think you have it figured out, this novel turns your world upside down. This book had everything I looking for in a thriller, it’s quick, fast paced, and multiple twists I didn’t see coming. What more can you ask for?! I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series, The Housemaid’s Secret!


abby jimenez: The happy ever after playlist

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back. Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

After I finished this book I found out that it’s actually the second book in a series! So the first one is called The Friend Zone and synopsis of this one kind of spoils the first one so I won’t go back to read it. Now… I loved Sloan and Jason. They’re adorable, Tucker is adorable, Kristen and her husband Josh are hilarious … I loved pretty much every character by the end. Something else I loved is that every chapter started with a song title and music artist, and if you’re so inclined, you can find the playlist on Spotify: The Happy Ever After Playlist. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. It was all a bit too convenient and unrealistic.


b.a. Paris: The Prisoner

Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a life for herself, she is swept up into a glamorous lifestyle where she married the handsome billionaire Ned Hawthorne. But then, Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?

This was so good at first! I was all in! With short chapters, alternating between the past and the present, I was hooked. But then it started feeling like a low budget movie! I found myself rolling my eyes more than not. I don’t mind suspending my belief while reading, especially with thriller books, but this was so over the top! Also it was a really slow burn so I started losing interest. To be fair to the author, The Prisoner has its moments, it’s got mystery and suspense, and the plots an intriguing one, but unfortunately this one just didn’t grip me in the way I had hoped.


kristin Hannah: the Four winds

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.  In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

This was my second book by Kristin Hannah and I sort of knew I should’ve expected lots of misery and hardship and probably tears. But…this was a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, this was a good book and a very interesting time in history to learn about. The Four Winds started off strong for me, Hannah’s description of the Dust Bowl and drought of the Great Plains was so vivid and immersive you could actually feel the suffering of Elsa, her family and the farmers of that region. I was also fascinated with the descriptions of life in the squatter’s camp later. I found myself googling this extremely interesting period of time and reading more about it. Now the things I didn’t like… I understand that the author was trying to paint a depressing picture of a very dark time in history; however, it was all too much and definitely over the top giving the story less credibility.  The last 25% of the book I really didn’t like so that’s why unfortunately this won’t be a 5 star read for me.


mary kubica: just the nicest couple

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found. Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.

I almost skipped this book thanks to the bad reviews but I’m glad I didn’t at the end. Maybe this will be unpopular opinion but I actually liked it! Considering it was a slow burning thriller/mystery with some of the most gullible, selfish and unlikable characters ever, I couldn’t put it down! The book is told in two parts Nina’s perspective and Christian, Lily’s husband. I thought the choice to have Christian instead of Lily was interesting and I ended up liking it. The writing style and format was a bit different from the usual Mary Kubica style and format and in some places was too detailed and in some not enough detailed. But putting that aside I really liked the story, plot and that amazing twist at the end that I never saw coming!


What I Read: November & December 2022

Catherine Steadman: The Family Game

Harry is a novelist on the brink of stardom; Edward, her husband-to-be, is seemingly perfect. In love and freshly engaged, their bliss is interrupted by the reemergence of the Holbecks, Edward’s eminent family and the embodiment of American old money. For years, they’ve dominated headlines and pulled society’s strings, and Edward left them all behind to forge his own path. After all, even though he’s long severed ties with his family, Edward is set to inherit it all. Harriet is drawn to the glamour and sophistication of the Holbecks, who seem to welcome her with open arms, but everything changes when she meets Robert, the inescapably magnetic head of the family. At their first meeting, Robert slips Harry a cassette tape, revealing a shocking confession which sets the inevitable game in motion.

This book reminded me a little bit of the Ready or Not movie which I loved! This is definitely my favourite Catherine Steadman book so far. Even though it’s a slow burn it kept my attention all throughout and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Stories about uber rich, old money families behaving badly have started to become a common theme in contemporary fiction, but Catherine Steadman’s take on this plot feels entirely original.This was a good cat-and-mouse game between Harriet and the Holbeck family, and let me tell you something, this family is all sorts of messed up. Like, 52 shades of messed up. I loved the games, suspense, psychologically disturbed characters, and atmospheric settings and I think this could be a great movie!


Sophie Cousens: Before I Do

Head-in-the-stars Audrey is about to marry down-to-earth Josh. Though they are polar opposites, they have a healthy, stable relationship; Josh is just what Audrey needs. But romance should be unpredictable and full of fireworks, and as the big day approaches, Audrey’s found herself wondering if Josh really is The One. So, when Josh’s sister shows up to the rehearsal dinner with Fred, Audrey’s What If? guy–the man she met six years ago and had one amazing day with–Audrey finds herself torn. Surely Fred’s appearance the night before she is due to get married can’t be a coincidence. And when everything that could go wrong with the wedding starts to go wrong, Audrey has to ask herself: Is fate trying to stop her from making a huge mistake? Or does destiny just have a really twisty sense of humour?

I have to say, going into this book I expected one thing and very much got something else…but luckily, this was a good thing! I think the most memorable aspect of this book was the way Cousens took some tropes that have been done many times and combined them in a totally unique way! I know some people love romance books that are completely predictable, but what was a breath of fresh air for me is that this one truly wasn’t at all. Even late in the story, I was still questioning what Audrey was going to do and what the ‘right’ choice would be. This conflict, alongside a cast of lovable side characters and some emotional depth in Audrey’s relationship with her mom added layer upon layer to the story and kept the narrative interesting. Highly recommend to all you rom-com lovers out there!


Bonnie Garmus: Lessons in Chemistry

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.  But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. 

I have seen mostly all rave reviews everywhere on the internet on this one and thought I was going to love it too. I definitely had high hopes going into this book. For me personally, it was unfortunately just okay. It seemed to drag on and just wasn’t as interesting of a storyline as I hoped. I liked Elizabeth in the beginning and felt bad about how she was treated in her male-dominated world but by the time we got to her cooking show, she was starting to wear on me. I agree with other readers that Elizabeth Zott felt like a woman that was pulled out of the present but mistakenly written into the ’50s. Also why is it marketed as laugh-out-loud funny? It really wasn’t funny! Actually, it should come with trigger warning for violent rape, suicide, and death of a partner/grief. Also, I absolutely hated dog’s point of view chapters! What was that about?! That being said, I liked the concept of a 1950s woman wanting to prove herself and be recognised as more than a housewife and have her intelligence valued is an important topic. Also I loved the ending but overall just average for me.


Jennifer Hillier: Things We Do in the Dark

When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom—covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her—she knows she’ll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it’s not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it’s only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she’s worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future. Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is, and when she’s unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris’s secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all. Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are two murder charges.

Not quite as thrilling or suspenseful as Jar of Hearts, but this was a captivating story about a young woman running from her past and the lengths she takes to make sure it doesn’t catch up to her. I really enjoyed how the narrative is structured – the shifts between present and past, as well as the different POVs, making sure the reader is given as much information as possible to really understand the characters and their motives. One might argue that a little too much information is given, as it’s very easy to figure out the halfway point “twist” very early on. But that didn’t bother me because I was just so invested in the characters. I deducted a point just because it was a bit slow.


Jill Santopolo: The Light We Lost

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning. Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

I don’t know how come I haven’t read this book before but…wow! I don’t even know how to review this book. It’s one of the most emotionally engaging books I’ve read in a long time. My heart broke so many times while reading it. It’s gutwrenching. But most of all it’s just beautiful. It’s a love story about love, the choices we make, and all the what ifs we have to live with. There is nothing that I didn’t like and I finished it in one day! I don’t want to write too much about it because it’s the best to go blind so you can feel all the feels! The Light We Lost is simply beautiful and compelling, it will stay with me for a very long time. Definitely one of my favourite reads of 2022. 


Gabrielle Zevin: Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

I absolutely didn’t think this would be the book I liked so much because it’s mainly a character-driven story about friendship. But I love video games, I loved playing them when I was younger and sometimes I even play them now so that was the main reason I decided to give this a go(on top of all the hype around it). I’m so glad I picked it up! This is my first taste of author Gabrielle Zavin, and I have to say I was impressed, this is beautifully written and smart storytelling that goes back and forth in time. It must be said that this book is VERY MUCH about video games. Sadie and Sam play them, talk about them, design them, and promote them over the span of thirty years.  It’s a chunky book but one that I read quickly, I loved the pacing and hopping around. This was a complex, thought-provoking, and original novel. I was invested in the characters, and I even got teary-eyed towards the end. I won’t forget these characters; this is a book that is going to stay with me for a long time. 


Mia Sheridan: Archers’s Voice

When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

I was thinking for a long time what to write about this book. I picked it up because it was hyped so I was curious and I expected something wow but I don’t know…It was just ok for me. I can’t say anything really bad about it. It was sweet, with the most loveable characters ever and there were some cute cheesy moments and, of course, some drama towards the end that made this book into a page-turner. Maybe, It was just too cringy and too cute for me. But if you are into cute romance stories intervened with lots of emotional baggage and tragedy, this is the one for you!


Holly Jackson: Five Survive

Eighteen year old Red and her friends are on a road trip in an RV, heading to the beach for Spring Break. It’s a long drive but spirits are high. Until the RV breaks down in the middle of nowhere. There’s no mobile phone reception and nobody around to help. And as the wheels are shot out, one by one, the friends realise that this is no accident. There’s a sniper out there in the dark watching them and he knows exactly who they are. One of the group has a secret that the sniper is willing to kill for.A game of cat-and-mouse plays out as the group desperately tries to get help and to work out which member of the group is the target. Buried secrets are forced to light in the cramped, claustrophobic setting of the RV, and tensions within the group will reach deadly levels. Not everyone will survive the night.

I read the whole Good Girl trilogy and I loved it so when Five Survive came out I was very excited and got it straight away. I have to say that I wasn’t impressed. I liked the isolated setting and the mystery of why the sniper was holding them hostage. I think because the whole book is covering only 8 hours, it made parts quick and thrilling, an edge-of-your-seat type and is clever with the dialogue. At other times though, it was a slow burn and quite frustrating. Also, it was repetitive at times. For example references to the length of the RV and curtain pattern drained me! Another thing I don’t like in any book is when someone constantly blames themselves for a death that had nothing to do with them. I understand regretting your last words to that person but that does not make their death/murder your fault. So that made me very annoyed with the main character Red and it’s never good when you don’t like the main character. Actually, I think that this book would have benefited from multiple POVs so we could get to know the other 5 characters beyond their name, it would have added more suspense to the build-up of their secrets. Even though there were aspects of Five Survive that I couldn’t stand, I’d still recommend this one for a quick and easy, YA escapism type read. I’ll still definitely read Holly Jackson’s next release. 


Claire McGowan: Are You Awake?

Mary hasn’t slept in what feels like years. Her two young children never let her rest, and so one exhausting night, in the middle of a London heatwave, she escapes to a nearby park for some air. Tim can’t sleep. It doesn’t feel safe after the terrible thing that happened to him. Seeking solace outside, he encounters a sleepless Mary in the park. There, the two strangers witness what looks like a violent attack in the window of a neighbouring house. Shocked at what they’ve seen, Tim and Mary form an unlikely bond, desperate to find clues. When they see news reports of a missing woman, who was last seen walking alone not far from them, the pair are convinced it’s her they saw being attacked. The police don’t believe them, but when they hear of a potential link to an old murder and a string of disappearances from the area, pressure mounts to find her before it’s too late.

This a quick and easy read that I’m a little bit undecided about. On the whole, I did quite enjoy it but somehow it just seemed to be lacking something and the plot seemed to drag a bit halfway through. The story is told mainly from the points of view of Mary and Tim who are both struggling to cope lack of sleep and with life in general. The first problem for me was that I didn’t warm up to any of them. I did feel the tension of a sleep-deprived mom and a raging insomniac and I think that part was well done. I just thought the actions of the various characters were a bit over the top and unrealistic.


Nicholas Sparks: The Wish

1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at sixteen to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until she meets Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point, Bryce gradually shows her how much there is to love about the wind-swept beach town—and introduces her to photography, a passion that will define the rest of her life. By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world. But this year she is unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she finds herself becoming close to him. As they count down the last days of the season together, she begins to tell him the story of another Christmas, decades earlier—and the love that set her on a course she never could have imagined.

What a truly amazing story. Like only Nicholas Sparks can do, I felt as though I was watching a movie while reading this book. Every character, every scene, and every circumstance is perfectly written. It takes a lot for me to cry while reading a book but I got teary eyes multiple times. Such a touching, relatable, wonderful story. The story is about loss and pain but it is also a story of love, hope, and memories. I did figure out some of what was going to happen though but that didn’t bother me or stopped me from flipping the pages at speed! I hope they will turn this into a movie!


What I Read: October 2022

Etaf Rum: Woman is No Man

In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick this book up, but I’m so happy I finally did. I was truly speechless after reading it and if you haven’t read it yet, you need to ASAP! This book tells the story of three generations of Palestinian women and I was SO invested in each of their stories which were all heartbreaking, deeply emotional and gripping. A Woman is No Man explores immigration, religion, culture, gender roles, and personal freedom. Etaf Rum gets deep into the trauma of being born a female in a family that devalues women and strips them of choice while putting abusive men on a pedestal. It also examines the role women play in perpetuating stereotypes and upholding a system that oppresses them. And even though it was difficult to read at moments, I just couldn’t put it down because I had to know the outcome of these women’s lives. Reading a book like this makes me realize how lucky I am that I get to choose how to spend my time, pursue hobbies, study, travel on my own, have self worth. It makes me angry that this is not the case for women around the world. A must read!


Holly Bourne: It only Happens in the Movies

Audrey is over romance. While dealing with her parents’ contentious divorce, a breakup of her own, and shifting friendship dynamics, she has every reason to feel cynical. But then she meets Harry, her fellow coworker at the local cinema. He’s brash, impulsive, and a major flirt. And even though Audrey tries to resist, she finds herself falling for his charms. But in this funny, insightful, and ultimately empowering novel, love—and life—isn’t what it’s like in the movies.

This is the first book by Holly Bourne that I have read and I loved it! Every teenage girl should read this and I wish I could’ve read it earlier, when I was in my teens! What I liked so much is how it challenges the representation of romance throughout films. It made me want to go through every romance film and analyse it to pull them apart the way Audrey did. Why not tell about the ugly fights, the bad times, real life moments and not so happy ending (as it sometimes happens)? The story is just so realistic and raw. It portrays something that could definitely happen within a young relationship in real life. Also the whole book was so naturally funny without trying too hard, I was laughing out loud multiple times. Even though it’s classed as YA, I recommend it to everyone!


Claire Douglas: The Girls Who Disappeared

Three missing girls. A twenty year mystery. A woman who may be able to crack this cold case.  In a rural Wilshire town lies The Devil’s Corridor. A road which has witnessed eerie happenings from unexplained deaths to the sounds of a child crying at night. But nothing more puzzling than the Olivia Rutherford case. Four girls drove home but after their car crashed only Olivia was found. Twenty years later, journalist Jenna Halliday is covering the case. But the locals aren’t happy with this stranger’s arrival. Least of all Olivia. Jenna soon starts receiving threatening notes and it is clear someone wants her out of this town before she suffers a dark fate…

This is the perfect autumn/winter read, the setting is dark and eerie and it was so well described that I felt I was there. The story is set over different timelines and features an intriguing sub-plot which doesn’t make sense at first, but ties in neatly towards the end. The multiple POV and possible supernatural/paranormal elements throughout the setting really kept me intrigued throughout, even though I felt some of the pacing slowed down half way through. I never saw that ending coming and I had tried all the way through to guess different theories but that was one I didn’t see coming. 


Ashley Flowers: All Good People Here

Margot Davies is an aspiring investigative journalist stuck at a small-time newspaper, until one night she stumbles upon a new development in an unsolved case that took place in her hometown: the infamous murder of six-year-old January Jacobs. Margot quickly becomes obssessed with solving the case. She returns to the town she left at 8 years old, hoping to bring justice to January, who was discovered dead in a ditch only hours after her family awoke to find her gone, along with a horrifying message spray-painted on their kitchen walls. As Margot digs deeper into the case, she begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems. There is something more sinister than she ever could have imagined lurking in the town: a twisted secret that threatens to endanger the lives of everyone involved, including Margot.

Wow, what a debut by Ashley Flowers! I can’t believe this is her first book! The book is told from 2 alternative timelines, one from 1994, when January goes missing and one now where Margot returns to her hometown as a journalist. There was suspense, multiple twists and great character depth! I had so many theories and I actually predicted some things but the final twist shocked me! I don’t think I would guess this in million years! One thing I didn’t like is the ending – the book just ended with a cliffhanger and I don’t understand why that was necessary. Is Margot returning for a second book? I highly recommend if you are a true crime / thriller lover. This was definitely one of my favorite books I have read this year.


Jason Rekulak: The Hidden Pictures

Fresh out of rehab, Mallory Quinn takes a job in the affluent suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell. She is to look after their five-year-old son, Teddy. Mallory immediately loves this new job. She lives in the Maxwell’s pool house, goes out for nightly runs, and has the stability she craves. And she sincerely bonds with Teddy, a sweet, shy boy who is never without his sketchbook and pencil. His drawings are the usual fare but one day, he draws something different: a man in a forest, dragging a woman’s lifeless body. As the days pass, Teddy’s artwork becomes more and more sinister, and his stick figures steadily evolve into more detailed, complex, and lifelike sketches well beyond the ability of any five-year-old. Mallory begins to suspect these are glimpses of an unsolved murder from long ago, perhaps relayed by a supernatural force lingering in the forest behind the Maxwell’s house. With help from a handsome landscaper and an eccentric neighbor, Mallory sets out to decipher the images and save Teddy—while coming to terms with a tragedy in her own past—before it’s too late.

I guarantee, you won’t guess where this book is going! I think this is one of the best things I have read lately and I’m not the one who usually picks horror/supernatural books!! Horror- psychological thriller-mystery- suspense genres are blended in perfectly! There are so many things I loved about it… The setting is fantastic, the house, the grounds, the forest especially after dark and the little guesthouse Mallory sleeps in are used cleverly to heighten the tension. What’s cool about this book is that the drawings are included so you get to see everything Mallory is looking at. The pacing was good and I practically flew through the book, reading it every spare moment wondering how everything would be wrapped up. The book is twisty and turns and psychological mind*uck that will leave you wondering what have you just read! And that ending… I don’t think anyone can guess that! If you are looking for something fresh and original and you don’t mind mysteries with a supernatural vibe, then this is the book for you! 


Colleen Hoover: It Starts With Us

Lily and her ex-husband, Ryle, have just settled into a civil coparenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love, Atlas, again. After nearly two years separated, she is elated that for once, time is on their side, and she immediately says yes when Atlas asks her on a date.But her excitement is quickly hampered by the knowledge that, though they are no longer married, Ryle is still very much a part of her life—and Atlas Corrigan is the one man he will hate being in his ex-wife and daughter’s life.

Do I think that this sequel was necessary? No. Do I think this book deserves 2 stars just because of that? NO! Lots of people gave it 1 star or 2 stars just because of that but in my opinion this was not so offensive. We got Atlas’ point of view, we got the closure, some cute moments between Lily and Atlas – what else do you need? This book was about the aftermath of leaving an abusive relationship, navigating the world as a single mother to the child of your abuser, and learning that you deserve your own happiness. I’m glad this book went over the struggles of it all, addressed it’s not easy and it won’t be for a while but also saying there can be some light after all.  I can tell CoHo wrote this for her fans, giving Atlas and Lily the heartwarming story they deserve. Now, the main issue is that there is no real conflict or surprises in here. And sure enough, the story progresses and ends exactly the way you’d expect. It was an alright way to pass a few hours if you’re not quite ready to leave the world of Lily and Atlas. This story won’t leave you breathless, but it shouldn’t offend either.


Jennifer Hillier: Jar of Hearts

Aged just 16, Geo’s best friend Angela disappeared without a trace. Years later, Angela’s body is discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home, revealed as yet another victim of the notorious serial killer Calvin James. Geo’s high-school boyfriend. For fourteen years, Geo knew what had happened and told no one, carrying the secret until she was arrested and sent to prison. Why would any woman protect a man capable of committing such a heinous crime? Geo had her reasons…To Geo, Calvin is more than a monster, a serial killer with no remorse. He is something else entirely. And while Geo did her time, Calvin escaped and went on the run. Now released, Geo is ready to start over. But then the bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela…

This is my first Jennifer Hillier book and I loved it so much I bought another two straight away! First off, you need to know that there are no good guys in the story! If you are ok with that, keep reading! Second thing, Hillier is a master puppeteer and not until the twists are revealed will you then acknowledge that the clues were right there. After all, “You see what you want to see, not what’s there.” Jar of Hearts is an intense, chilling, dark and twisted psychological thriller novel that grabbed my attention very quickly and had me totally invested throughout this whole story. The narrative is divided into 5 parts and is told through alternating present-day POVs of Geo and Kaiser, who is a detective and Geo’s childhood friend. Flashbacks take us through their teenage years and the events leading up to Angela’s death. To be honest, I did not like Geo. The justification for her actions was more than a little questionable. It is hard to feel any sympathy for her. It speaks to the author’s talent to be able to weave a story around an essentially unlikeable character that comes out strong! Fast-paced, (though disturbing in parts), full of twists and turns and an ending that shocks you, this book is hard to put down till you reach the very end.


Ashley Winstead: The Last Housewife

While in college in upstate New York, Shay Evans and her best friends met a captivating man who seduced them with a web of lies about the way the world works, bringing them under his thrall. By senior year, Shay and her friend Laurel were the only ones who managed to escape. Now, eight years later, Shay’s built a new life in a tiny Texas suburb. But when she hears the horrifying news of Laurel’s death—delivered, of all ways, by her favourite true-crime podcast crusader—she begins to suspect that the past she thought she buried is still very much alive, and the predators more dangerous than ever. Recruiting the help of the podcast host, Shay goes back to the place she vowed never to return to in search of answers.

I have to say, I loved Winstead’s previous book In My Dreams I Hold a Knife so I got this book as soon as it came out. I had high expectations for The Last Housewife, but they weren’t quite reached. The story revolves around a sex cult, so there were obviously lots of disturbing scenes that were hard to stomach. Also, there is a big trend now where we see podcast incorporated into thriller/crime stories and I love it but here it just didn’t work. I would prefer if it was dual timeline. The problem is, there was lots of telling and not enough showing and this made it hard for me to really connect with the plot and the characters. Parts where Shay is talking for the podcast were so boring and long and just very odd to me. She included a lot of insight into her behaviour that seemed to be completely missing the rest of the time. Also I couldn’t see the point of her mysterious husband that we know nothing about and didn’t play any role whatsoever in the whole story. Overall, this was not for me but I’m looking forward to her next book!


What I Read: September 2022

Emily Henry: Book Lovers

Nora Stephens’ life is books and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby. Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute. If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.

This was my second book by Emily Henry and even though I wasn’t a fan of the People we Meet on Vacation, I loved this one. Book Lovers checks all my boxes for romance-fun banter, a hardass heroine (can’t deal with blushing damsels), a guy who might have his broody moments but isn’t a jerk, and steamy encounters. Usually rom coms are really cheesy and I kept rolling my eyes but not this one! This was the smartest enemies to lovers trope I’ve ever read! I loved all the characters! I especially love how this book doesn’t change Nora or punish her for being ambitious and hardworking. I like that being career-oriented, valuing independence, living in the city, and being childless are qualities that aren’t villainized nor expected to change in order to have a happy ending. What gave the book more depth, though, was its focus on the Nora’s own issues and relationship with her sister. This helped round the story to be both a combination of romance and personal/family struggles. I think that even if you are not a big romance fan you could read this, I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Taylor Jenkins Reid: Carrie Soto is Back

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record.

Those who do not have any interest in tennis as a sport might find this a tough read, but I would like to say that it is the human aspects of the game, like what it takes to rise to the top, the rivalries and competitiveness, that dominate this narrative. I watch important tennis tournament finals and semi finals but that’s all I know about tennis, until now. I learnt a lot from this book and it made me want to go and try playing it. The author immerses the reader into the elite levels of tennis with her realistic and vivid descriptions of what it is like to be part of that world, I felt as if I was there on that court and engaged in all the drama and nailbiting tension of the games. Carrie was not the most easy person to like. Her attitude in the beginning was awful. But over time, as I read through her struggles, hard work and ambition – it became so easy to root for her. To see her become the person she wanted to be. To finally enjoy the sport she used to love. It might feel a bit slow at times, especially the transcripts but it’s so worth it. If you are a fan of Tayor Jenkins Reid be sure to read this!


Riley Sager: The House Across the Lake

Casey Fletcher, a recently widowed actress trying to escape a streak of bad press, has retreated to the peace and quiet of her family’s lake house in Vermont. Armed with a pair of binoculars and several bottles of liquor, she passes the time watching Tom and Katherine Royce, the glamorous couple who live in the house across the lake. They make for good viewing—a tech innovator, Tom is rich; and a former model, Katherine is gorgeous. One day on the lake, Casey saves Katherine from drowning, and the two strike up a budding friendship. But the more they get to know each other—and the longer Casey watches—it becomes clear that Katherine and Tom’s marriage is not as perfect and placid as it appears. When Katherine suddenly vanishes, Casey becomes consumed with finding out what happened to her. In the process, she uncovers eerie, darker truths that turn a tale of voyeurism and suspicion into a story of guilt, obsession and how looks can be very deceiving.

It’s very hard for me to review this book. Some of it I really loved, but other parts were just ridiculous and slightly boring. This book is a combination of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Woman in the window ( it’s also inspired by Hitchcock’s work), Girl on the train and CoHo’s Layla! The beginning of the book is very slow-paced, but stick with it as things soon change. As a big thriller reader who can easily predict the twist or reveal, I was actually blindsided when the twist was revealed, and in true Sagar fashion, we are hit with multiple blindsiding twists. Without revealing anything I will just say this book is actually a quite different from Sager’s previous work. I felt it was entertaining, but for me, it didn’t have the high level of appeal like Home Before Dark or Lock Every Door. But I think that’s just a personal preference and the fact I didn’t expect this kind of writing from Sager.


Hazel Hayes: Out of Love

As a young woman boxes up her ex-boyfriend’s belongings and prepares to see him one last time, she wonders where it all went wrong, and whether it was ever right to begin with. Burdened with a broken heart, she asks herself the age-old question . . . is love really worth it?Out of Love is a bittersweet romance told in reverse. Beginning at the end of a relationship, each chapter takes us further back in time, weaving together an already unravelled tapestry, from tragic break-up to magical first kiss.

This was such a unique and heartbreaking book! Hazel Hayes is a total genius for making this book start with the ending of the relationship and finishing it with the day our characters met. From the first few pages I was already so invested in the heroine’s story. The whole backwards plot makes you want to continue reading it because in one way or another you just have to know what went wrong with them why did they end up the way they did. Also I feel this teaches such an important lesson about knowing when to let go and move on. and that it’s okay to move on and it’s okay for things to come to an end. I think everyone who has ever broken up following a long term relationship can relate to this book. This was one of these stories that you can’t help but be invested in. Hours after I finished it I kept thinking about how her life turned out. This book was definitely one of my favourite reads this year and I can’t wait to read more of her work!


Alice Feeney: Daisy Darker

After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows… Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.

This book is homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, one of my favourites! I love locked-room mysteries so I was excited to read it. The setting was great—a spooky house on a cliff that’s cut off from the world based on how high the tide is. I liked that the family reunion takes place on Halloween which added to the atmospheric creepiness of the house and the events. Like Agatha Christie’s book there were some clever rhyming poems which were very clever and interesting! The majority of the Darker family was easy to hate, and the extent of the dysfunction surrounding each relationship was intense. There were interesting plot twists, including one I didn’t foresee. I thought Feeney did a great job keeping the reader guessing who was behind the killings. With all thrillers, there are unbelievable moments but with this one you really need to suspend your belief. So if you don’t mind that, you will enjoy it.


Megan Goldin: Stay Awake

Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers―a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE. Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years?

Wow! Memento meets a thriller version of Fifty First Dates! I’m a huge fan of author Megan Goldin, and this did not disappoint. She proves here that her storylines are quite versatile, so readers shouldn’t go into this one expecting the same tone as her previous efforts. The story is told in multiple timelines, and Goldin manages to juggle all of them and create a cohesive story that is unique and thrilling. I also appreciated that the story could’ve easily become repetitive given the nature of the plot, but yet never felt stale. Each chapter gives us a little more knowledge than the last…until the puzzle is complete. Liv’s confusion is written so well the reader can feel it too – he dread, panic and utter bewilderment are palpable! The ending was unexpected but not completely shocking. I was focusing so much on Liv that I probably missed some clues. If you are after an intelligent and well-crafted mystery thriller that’s a bit different from the norm then look no further! Highly recommended.


Cara Hunter: Hope to Die(DI Adam Fawley #6)

When a body is found in a farmhouse in a gruesome state, DI Adam Fawley is one of the first on the scene. The murder leads Fawley to a convoluted investigation from the past, and a family torn apart by a devastating crime involving the disappearance of a child. Can Fawley piece together the facts of history with the clues in the present? Sometimes the truth is the hardest answer to face up to…

Book # 6 in the DI Adam Fawley series! If you enjoy police procedurals, you’ll love this one. This is another twisty detective novel based on a true crime case. You can read it as standalone but it would help if you read the previous ones as well. If there’s one thing I love about Cara Hunter’s books it her attention to detail, not only does she provide the reader with a gripping story line, but there’s the clever integration of things like social media opinions, suspects statements, psychological evaluations and even a fictional Netflix series that runs alongside the narrative. It’s such an original concept! The plot is complex and very clever, the pace rises and falls appropriately and it is compelling and entertaining from the beginning to the end. There were a few things that I guessed quite easily and whilst I didn’t find any of the revelations particularly shocking, it keeps pace and is engaging throughout.


What I Read: August 2022

Katherine St. John: The Lion’s Den

Belle likes to think herself immune to the dizzying effects of fabulous wealth. But when her best friend, Summer, invites her on a glamorous getaway to the Mediterranean aboard her billionaire boyfriend’s yacht, the only sensible answer is yes. Belle hopes the trip will be a much-needed break from her stalled acting career and uniquely humiliating waitressing job, but once she’s aboard the luxurious Lion’s Den, it soon becomes clear this jet-setting holiday is not as advertised.Belle’s dream vacation quickly devolves into a nightmare as she and the handful of other girls Summer invited are treated more like prisoners than guests by their controlling host-and in one terrifying moment, Belle comes to see Summer for who she truly is: a vicious gold digger who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

Told from Belle’s point of view, the narrative flips back and forth in time where the reader learns the history of Belle and Summer’s friendship. My favourite part of the book was the twist at the end. I definitely didn’t see that coming. I just wish we had a few more twists leading up to it to help strengthen my engagement.  The book was a bit too long, and pacing was off. The writing could’ve use more editing—a lot of it felt jumbled and just kind of random. I thought there were too many characters (what was the point of Claire?). Some of Belle’s decisions made me roll my eyes but the reveals toward the end of the book helped that make more sense. If you are looking for a book that you can have fun with and not take super seriously, then this book will be for you!⁣


clare mackintosh: The last Party

On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His vacation homes on Mirror Lake are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbors. But by midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake. On New Year’s Day, Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbors, friends and family—and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead…but who finally killed him. In a village with this many secrets, murder is just the beginning.

I love Clare Mackintosh but this is my lowest rating for her book! The main reason is that it was too slow! It spans over 10 days and it’s a detective story so it should’ve been much faster. Also, the victim was just awful, with not a single redeeming character. Honestly, I didn’t care who killed him and I was actually hoping killer will get away with it! The book was a bit long and had lots of characters, I felt I need a map of the lake and characters to understand. But I liked a whodunit plot, a serene Wales lake setting, and the twist that I didn’t see coming! Perhaps the next in the series will be shorter, and more to the point as this first novel must have been written to set the stage for upcoming plots with the various characters we discovered.



An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumoured to be cursed. Detective Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all. When a guest drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests, and who else is in danger?Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself . . .

Another twisty thriller from Sarah Pearse, a follow-up to The Sanatorium featuring the same main protagonist. This time we are heading to an English island with a morbid history. I have to say I wasn’t a big fan of The Sanatorium but this one is so much better! I love locked room mysteries and this one was just the perfect summer read! Pearse done a great job in describing deeply atmospheric setting and spooky history of the island. This is a story that takes a while to get settled, but once I got to grips with things I found it really hard to put down. It has a tense air to it given its isolated location, the tales and also the overall general feel of the place. There are lots of characters but it’s actually just enough to keep you guessing. I have to say that I didn’t guess the murderer and definitely didn’t guess the reason for it so that is a good sign in a book.  get the feeling that there are more books to come and I really hope that is the case as I feel this author has a real talent for this genre of writing and I will be looking out for any further books.



Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

I don’t know how to feel about this book. I found Quinn really annoying. Maybe because I couldn’t relate and I don’t understand women who feel like that. I know her circumstances are horrible and sad but I couldn’t take her constant whining, it was downright depressing and so annoying. I was dreading the Now chapters and was always glad when I finally got to read another Then chapter. I also didn’t like the way Quinn treated Graham. He was probably one of the most perfect guys to be out there and she didn’t appreciate him at all. Now to the good things…I don’t know how that woman does it but every time I read a book by her, I seem to flow through it. Her writing style is so impeccable, it is so easy to get through any of her books, even if she writes about the most sad and depressing things ever. I really liked the alternating Now and Then chapters. It gave us the perfect comparison between Quinn & Graham Then and Quinn & Graham Now. If the majority of the book was “then” I would have been thrilled… but half was “now” so that’s why I’m giving it only 3.5 stars.



The Sandman killings have been solved. Daniel Miller murdered fourteen people before he vanished. His wife, Carrie, now faces trial as his accomplice. The FBI, the District Attorney, the media and everyone in America believe she knew and helped cover up her husband’s crimes.Eddie Flynn won’t take a case unless his client is innocent. Now, he has to prove to a jury, and the entire world, that Carrie Miller was just another victim of the Sandman. She didn’t know her husband’s dark side and she had no part in the murders. But so far, Eddie and his team are the only ones who believe her. Gabriel Lake used to be a federal agent, before someone tried to kill him. Now, he’s an investigator with a vendetta against the Sandman. He’s the only one who can catch him, because he believes that everything the FBI knows about serial killers is wrong. With his wife on trial, the Sandman is forced to come out of hiding to save her from a life sentence. He will kill to protect her and everyone involved in the case is a target. Even Eddie Flynn…

Wow! Every time I read a book from the Eddie Flynn series I think it can’t get better but then it does! In typical Cavanagh fashion, this was a beautiful, clever and well-thought-out story and a mind-fuck! The plot is fast paced and on occasion goes at warp speed making it exciting and completely gripping. It’s almost like you’re there and living it with them. But the twists – there wasn’t lots of them but what we got was pure gold. I did not see this one coming at all! And now I hope that Cavanagh is already writing the next book because I can’t wait to read it! if you’re looking for a suspense-filled, thrilling read that you are obsessed with for the time you are reading it, and the months after finishing (until the next book comes out), make sure you put this book on your to-be-read pile!



April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford. Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide… including a murder.

This is very similar to In My Dreams I’m Holding a Knife by Ashley Winstead so if you liked that you will love this as well! It is told in two timelines (After the Murder-present day and Before the Murder-college years). it’s very atmospheric especially part in Oxford which feels like a character on its own. This was a book in two halves for me. I found the first half a bit slow. But by the second half, when Hannah’s obsession with finding out the truth really took hold it suddenly got much more interesting. I still found Hannah quite annoying but it gradually became clear that she really was onto something. I loved the ending! The final reveal was a jaw dropper and I didn’t see it coming! My only issue was the book’s length. It easily could have been edited down, as there is a lot of unnecessary repetition. Ware never lets me down and I’ll be waiting patiently for whatever she delivers next.


What I Read: July 2022

Carley Fortune: Every Summer After

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart. Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without. For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books – Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more, before it fell spectacularly apart.

There are some books you know you will love even before you start reading them, and this was one of those. It reminded me so much of Love and Other Words which is one of my favourite romance books ever. This book deserves every bit of hype it’s getting. More than just a good summer read this was a beautiful story about second chances and the love between two people that manages to stay intact even after not seeing each other for over a decade. Because it switches back and forth between the past and present, and a large chunk of the book is retelling the events of those six summers as teenagers, you might wonder if it’s YA. It’s not. It’s refreshingly mature, and I adored Percy and Sam, both as teens and as adults. The reason for their falling out was kept a mystery throughout the book and that made it impossible to put down! I don’t think I have enough words to describe how much I loved! Do yourself a favour and read it now!


JOHN Marrs: The vacation

How far would you run to escape your past? Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth. Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood. But for eight strangers at a beach front hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation. All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep…

I usually like John Marrs’ books but I’m not sure what to think of this one. I liked the premise of the novel – that characters for a variety of reasons end up in a run down hostel in Venice Beach. However, there were far too many characters. It’s fair to say that several of those were really interesting but some were too boring. Secondly, every chapter on every character you would get another chunk of the present day story and then that would halt so a bit more of their back story could be told over the last year or so. I just found the whole thing way too disjointed and irritating. I will say, though, I was impressed by the way all the puzzle pieces eventually came together. It takes a skilful author to make all the connections work, without becoming cheesy and/or implausible. Bottom line, John Marrs is an amazing author, with incredible talent, and I’ll definitely be reading his future works. I suggest you do the same.


Tessa Bailey: It happened one summer

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington. Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

I had high expectations for this book because everyone seemed to love it judging from raving reviews and the amount of hype it got, but it fell short of my expectations.This wasn’t a total miss. overall, I enjoyed this quick little romance. The plot was fun, the characters were charming, and I liked Piper’s growth throughout the story. You can clearly see how she evolved as a character, but nothing else felt special to me, unfortunately. The beginning started ok between Piper and Brendan… loved the chemistry and banter between the two. Loved the enemies to lovers vibe. But, I feel like there wasn’t enough of the enemies. We see them take off quickly with lovers vibe and we didn’t get to see more of the enemies sassy banter. I feel it was a missed opportunity for more funny moments. Also, the cheesiness…I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes through the book. So overall, fun and easy summer read but nothing amazing!


Jennifer Lynn barnes: The inheritance games

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

This had a very Knives Out vibes, it was fun, full of riddles and games, all wrapped around a mysterious inheritance. I really liked Avery, she felt relatable and smart, and I loved how she adapted to the situations thrown at her. I loved her sister Libby and their relationship, but I have to say my favourite side character was Nash. I know I am supposed to like either Grayson or Jameson, but it is Nash for me! The mystery in this was really good, I loved the twists and turns throughout the book, most of them I didn’t see coming. I loved guessing the puzzles and games alongside Avery. It’s the first book in a trilogy so I am excited to see where the next book takes us!


Lucy Score: Things we never got over

Bearded, bad-boy barber Knox prefers to live his life the way he takes his coffee: Alone. Knox doesn’t tolerate drama, even when it comes in the form of a stranded runaway bride.Naomi wasn’t just running away from her wedding. She was riding to the rescue of her estranged twin to Knockemout, Virginia. Too bad for Naomi her evil twin hasn’t changed at all. After helping herself to Naomi’s car and cash, Tina leaves her with the niece Naomi didn’t know she had. Now she’s stuck in town with no car, no job, no plan, and no home with an 11-year-old to take care of.There’s a reason Knox doesn’t do complications, especially not the romantic ones. But since Naomi’s life imploded right in front of him, the least he can do is help her out. And just as soon as she stops getting into new trouble he can leave her alone and get back to his solitary life. At least, that’s the plan until the trouble turns to real danger.

I had high expectations from this book because of all the hype – but I don’t think it lived up to them entirely. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all city-girl-moving-to-the-small-village, enemies to lovers story. It was very cute, funny, and heartwarming. I loved that it had elements of crime in it, and also telenovelas(evil twin!) so it was interesting and not completely predictable like romances are. Now, things I didn’t like…it was too long for what it actually contained! It was 500 pages long! I feel like I would skim on certain parts and miss nothing because there were so many repetitive moments of him being obsessive, protective and controlling over her yet acting like an immature prick. Lets not forget, he’s over 40!! Also the ending was too cheesy for my liking but I don’t want to spoil it. Ultimately a solid 4 star book, didn’t change my life or top my list of small town romances like I anticipated given its popularity, but still really enjoyable and I’d recommend!


lisa jewell: The family remains

Early one morning on the shore of the Thames, DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene of a gruesome discovery. When Owusu sends the evidence for examination, he learns the bones are connected to a cold case that left three people dead on the kitchen floor in a Chelsea mansion thirty years ago. Rachel Rimmer has also received a shock—news that her husband, Michael, has been found dead in the cellar of his house in France. All signs point to an intruder, and the French police need her to come urgently to answer questions about Michael and his past that she very much doesn’t want to answer. After fleeing London thirty years ago in the wake of a horrific tragedy, Lucy Lamb is finally coming home. While she settles in with her children and is just about to purchase their first-ever house, her brother takes off to find the boy from their shared past whose memory haunts their present. As they all race to discover answers to these convoluted mysteries, they will come to find that they’re connected in ways they could have never imagined.

I am always a bit wary when an author writes a sequel in response to demand from fans, especially when the first book was a domestic thriller that wrapped well. I was invested in this book from the start because I wanted to know what happened to the characters but to be honest this was not needed. This book is not the same thrilling, sinister and tense thriller as the first one, it is more of a closure. There is some suspense and obviously few murders to be solved so I kept turning pages to get an answer! I love Jewell’s writing, I’m always hooked from the first page! Rachel’s story arc was my favourite, likely because she was a new character with a fresh take. Also, I really missed Libby’s POV, and thought she would’ve had more of an active role in the search for her father. One thing I do think – the blurb of this book calls it a “standalone sequel” which I disagree with. I suggest reading The Family Upstairs first or if you read it read a summary to refresh your memory. Even though this book does contain reminders, there’s a lot of characterisation and backstory that would be missing here if you jumped straight into this book without reading the first.


What I Read: June 2022

Lucy Clark: One of the Girls

It was supposed to be the perfect weekend away. Six very different women travel to a sun-soaked Greek island for a bachelorette trip, to celebrate Lexi’s upcoming wedding. From the glorious ocean views to the quaint tavernas and whitewashed streets, the vacation seems too good to be true. But dangerous undercurrents run beneath the sunset swims and midnight cocktails – because each of the women is hiding a secret. Someone is determined to make sure that Lexi’s marriage never happens – and that one of them doesn’t leave the island alive.

I really wanted this book to be a 5 star because I love a good thriller/mystery on a Greek island, summer vibes and all that. But the book started really slow and I found the beginning really boring! But it picks up later, somewhere in the middle. Told in multiple points of view from each of the women was a great way to develop the plot. The six friends have all secrets to hide and as we learn about each of the characters and their circumstances are revealed, we find that they are linked in some way and that causes the death over the cliffs are into the sea – which is revealed at the beginning. Because we don’t know who it is, I kept turning pages just to find out. I loved the end, it was unexpected and tense until the last chapter.


tim weaver: The blackbird

Just before the crash, Cate and Aiden Gascoigne are recorded on CCTV, laughing and happy. Then their car plunges into a ninety-foot ravine. Within seconds, the vehicle is an inferno – and the Gascoignes are trapped inside. But when fire crews arrive, they find something impossible: The vehicle is empty. Cate and Aiden have vanished. And only missing persons investigator David Raker can solve the mystery . . .

The Blackbird is the 11th Book in the David Raker series by Tim Weaver, and he never seems to disappoint. You don’t have to read previous books because there is enough of information about Raker’s story so the reader can understand what is going on. From the first chapter, I was intrigued, couldn’t figure out how this can be possible. How could two people caught in a devastating road traffic accident just disappear? And why? And was it even an accident? All of these questions! There are lots of threads to the story, that seem to be unconnected until they all come together in a completely brilliant way. And theres a cliff hanger at the end that will definitely entice you into reading the next book in the series.If you are the kind of reader who tries to solve the mystery alongside the detective, you will love this. I didn’t have a clue whodunnit until the big reveal. The Blackbird is fabulous – twisty and extremely clever – one of my favourite reads this year!


Clare Pooley: The people on platform 5

Every day Iona, a larger-than-life magazine advice columnist, travels the ten stops from Hampton Court to Waterloo Station by train, accompanied by her dog, Lulu. Every day she sees the same people, whom she knows only by nickname: Impossibly-Pretty-Constant-Reader and Terribly-Lonely-Teenager. Of course, they never speak. Seasoned commuters never do. Then one morning, the man she calls Smart-But-Sexist-Manspreader chokes on a grape right in front of her. He’d have died were it not for the timely intervention of Sanjay, a nurse, who gives him the Heimlich maneuver. This single event starts a chain reaction, and an eclectic group of people with almost nothing in common except their commute discover that a chance encounter can blossom into much more.

Another heartwarming book by Clare Pooley! The writing is brilliant and so witty that I got engrossed in the plot straight away. Each main character is so well written and so likeable but Iona deserves a special mention! I wish I can bring her to life so she can be my best friend and life coach. This book covered so many themes, amongst them ageism, homophobia, cancer, bullying, depression but each one was worked into the story so well and weaved into each of the characters that I just had to keep turning pages! This is a great book to pick up if you’re in a slump and after something with characters you’ll want to be friends with!


Emily Henry: You and me on Vacation

12 SUMMERS AGO: Poppy and Alex meet. They hate each other, and are pretty confident they’ll never speak again. 11 SUMMERS AGO: They’re forced to share a ride home from college and by the end of it a friendship is formed. And a pact: every year, one vacation together. 10 SUMMERS AGO: Alex discovers his fear of flying on the way to Vancouver.
Poppy holds his hand the whole way. 7 SUMMERS AGO: They get far too drunk and narrowly avoid getting matching tattoos in New Orleans. 2 SUMMERS AGO: It all goes wrong. THIS SUMMER: Poppy asks Alex to join her on one last trip. A trip that will determine the rest of their lives.

There was so much hype about this book but in my opinion, it didn’t live up to it! Don’t get me wrong, it was ok but just ok. The story was cute, the writing was well done, the dialogue was super witty, and the characters were original! It’s a good book if you don’t mind, disorienting time jumps, a frustrating lack of communication, and a best friends-to-lovers story that takes ages to materialise. I didn’t like the flashbacks of their travels through the years, they were so long and I glazed over them (which is… a lot of the book). Each trip felt like another summer in where they don’t go for it and the lack of progress started to stall my reading experience. I feel it would be much more interesting if the book started 12 years ago and just moved forward, there would be more tension. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a light summer read.


mark edwards: no place to run

Two years ago, on a trip to Seattle to visit her brother Aidan, fifteen-year-old Scarlett vanished into thin air. After years of false leads and dead ends, Aidan has almost given up hope. But then a woman sees a girl running for her life across a forest clearing in Northern California. She is convinced the girl is the missing Scarlett. But could it really be her?Heading south, Aidan finds a fire-ravaged town covered in missing-teenager posters. The locals seem afraid, the sheriff won’t answer any questions and it looks like another dead end – until a chance meeting with returned local Lana gives Aidan his first clue. But as they piece together what happened, Lana and Aidan make deadly enemies. Enemies willing to do anything to silence them – and to protect the terrible truth about what is really going on in the forest…

No Place to Run started off strong, it was tense, creepy and interesting, usual Mark Edwards.There was lots going on in this book – what starts off as a brother looking for his missing sister, quickly adds kidnapping, human trafficking, missing persons, corruption, cults and crime. The story had two-time frames, the present day and the past, two years ago. It’s also told from several perspectives. The first part had me glued to the pages but then midway it slowed way down. In fact, I really struggled to finish it to the end. I love this author and I really wanted to like this book but I didn’t like the direction it went. Maybe some people interested in subject of ecoterrorism will like it but this wasn’t for me.


What I Read: May 2022

Katherine Faulkner: Greenwich Park

Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and a baby on the way —begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class and meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be. Rachel doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath of Greenwich Park.

Want a book that messes with your head? Look no further! I can’t believe this is a debut! It was a slow start, but once it picked up, it never stopped surprising me. All the twists and turns were great, the characters were well developed and the author left no unanswered questions. Most of the story is told through Helen’s eyes with interludes from Kate or Serena. There is also an unnamed point of view narrating scenes where the reader is unsure as to what is happening but is left with a vague feeling of threat. The storytelling left me uneasy, curious to figure out the truth, impatient to understand what exactly was going on. It is a true page-turner. I couldn’t put it down.


Christina lauren: Love and other words

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away. But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos – the first and only love of her life – the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world – growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother . . . only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Wow, what a book! One of my favourite romance books ever! It was so beautifully written, with the most lovely characters that you can’t help but root for! I loved when the stories flip between the timeline and this one really added to the character development. I liked how the author connected the dots together at the end. I thought there would be just another predictable romance ending but there was a twist that completely took me by surprise. I could go on and on, because there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like. This book actually deserves a thousand-word review but I’m just going to stop here! Highly recommend!


gillian mcallister: wrong place wrong time

It’s every parent’s nightmare.Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger. You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your teenage boy is in custody and his future lost. That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake . . . and it is yesterday. Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don’t have a choice but to find them . . .

This is a part crime novel, part domestic drama and part…supernatural! I Well this was certainly different! What a cleverly structured plot. I don’t even know how McAllister kept track and created this exceptionally difficult jigsaw puzzle, that all fit perfectly in the end. Right from the start the author pulls you into the storytelling with shock, horror, disbelief and tension being the tone set and maintained throughout. The concept of the novel is fantastic and very different from her previous novels, yet it’s also full of many clever twists and turns you don’t see coming which is one of her trademarks. By far, her best book!


ali hazelwood: The love hypothesis

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.

This book was so hyped all over social media that initially, I didn’t want to read it! And the cover was really putting me off. Did I enjoy it? Sure. I mean, it was fun and I guess it was kind of flirty at times? Did it live up to the hype? No! They were cute, and the setting was unique but they were not memorable romantic characters.  I loved the use of all the classic romance tropes – the fake dating, the whole acting like a couple thing, the falling for your fake boyfriend thing, the pretend relationship turning a little bit too real… I just didn’t feel all that strong of a connection to the characters. I think it might’ve been the POV that it was written in.  also thought the lack of communication was super frustrating, especially because those people were supposed to be super smart!  I’m glad I’ve finally read it but for me it was just ok.


simone st. James: The book of Cold cases

In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect–a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion.Oregon, 2017. Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes.They meet regularly at Beth’s mansion, though Shea is never comfortable there. Items move when she’s not looking, and she could swear she’s seen a girl outside the window. Shea senses something isn’t right. Is she making friends with a manipulative murderer, or are there other dangers lurking in the darkness of the Greer house?

I picked up this book after reading The Sun Down Motel which I loved! Now this one was also good but not as good as the first one. Just like St. James’ last novel, this is full of paranormal activity. The setting of the old Victorian house nestled on the edge of a cliff overlooking the coastal waters below gives an ominous and threatening feel to the story. Extremely interesting and well developed characters, two distinct timelines, long-held secrets, and family drama are skillfully blended together to create additional atmosphere and suspense within this story. First half of the book was a bit slower for my liking but I loved the ending so that made it up for me. Now, I’m not typically a ghost book type of reader but no one does the genre better than her!


What I Read: April 2022


Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of what families keep hidden. 

I almost skipped this book because I didn’t like the cover or the title but I’m glad I didn’t because…this was so good! Chapters alternated between Fern in the present and Rose’s diary entries, which also include flashbacks to the twins troubled childhood. It started a bit slow and I was thinking where this will go but later it picked up. Even though I wouldn’t call it a thriller, it’s more like suspense and a family drama with the elements of crime. I won’t reveal anything else because I think you need to go into this book blindly so you can get surprised like I did. Even though I had my suspicions I didn’t expect such an amazing, twisty ending!



The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls. Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden

I’m not really a fan of horror books but this one was so good that even before I finished it I ordered a new book by the same author. What makes this book stand out it’s the eerie atmosphere. I felt every spine-tingling scare that Carly felt. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it. The story is brilliantly narrated in two timelines/perspectives – through Carly in 2017 and her aunt Vivian in 1982. Loved the pace and flow – it kept me curious and hungry to read “just one more chapter.” I will warn you that this novel is quite ghost-y. I am not one who is generally attracted to ghost type novels, however, this story simply felt so real and kept me fully immersed and invested that I never doubted the supernatural element. Highly recommend!



Siobhan is a quick-tempered life coach with way too much on her plate. Miranda is a tree surgeon who used to be treated as just one of the guys on the job. Jane is a soft-spoken volunteer for the local charity shop with zero sense of self-worth. These three women are strangers who have only one thing in common: They’ve all been stood up on the same day, the very worst day to be stood up–Valentine’s Day. And, unbeknownst to them, they’ve all been stood up by the same man.Once they’ve each forgiven him for standing them up, they let him back into their lives and are in serious danger of falling in love with a man who seems to have not just one or two but three women on the go….

This book was just wonderful! You may think that this is another predictable romance but it’s not. The story alternates between the three women, and I really liked all their characters and had fun trying to work out how everything linked together. The plot is really clever and I felt I need to take notes to keep up with the story. O’Leary really did a great job of binding everything together. I was confused halfway through the book, couldn’t see how is this even a romance, couldn’t picture the happy ending at all – and then comes the twist that I didn’t see it coming. Overall, this was a heartbreaking, sweet, and tragic story about three women finding themselves and the man who is part of their journey. It was a fun, enjoyable, and sometimes sad read. Highly recommend it!



Finlay Donovan is―once again―struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish. On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven maybe, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.

This is part 2 and you definitely need to read part 1 before starting this one. I struggled to remember what happened in the first book, I had to go and read the summary beforehand. If you read the first one and you loved it, you will love this one too? It’s very much more of the same. There is some mystery, humour, romance and over the top shenanigans. I have to say, I loved the first one a little bit more but just because the pace was much slower and there was less laugh at loud moments. But overall, a good sequel. Finlay and Vero are still a pair I’m invested in and look forward to seeing what direction they take next!



Andy and Laura are good parents. They tell their son Connor that he can go out with friends to celebrate completing his exams, but he must be home by midnight. When Connor misses his curfew, it sets off a series of events that will change the lives of five families forever. Because five teenagers went into the woods that night, but only four came out. And telling the truth might mean losing everything…

 I always find T.M Logan’s books enjoyable and great page turners and this was no different. Even though it took me a few chapters to get into it, this was a fast paced read with interesting characters and an intriguing plot. I’ve read a few of his books before and I think this one is the best. This story is mostly narrated from the father’s POV (Andy) but we also get glimpses from other characters’ POVs, so I had to change my mind more than once about the outcome of this story. I liked how the author continue to build the tension, so towards the end I couldn’t read fast enough to see what will happen next. The twists were incredible, little parts of information given to set the story going in a whole new direction!