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Recent Book Reads

When I worked in London I would average readying a book every two weeks max. Before I owned a Kindle, I would sacrifice day-to-day essentials to make room for a chunky book, and once I invested my Kindle was always with me. I suffered with major commuter problems when I finished a book and couldn’t download another until I got home and I would get really annoyed with myself if I ever saw the ‘low battery’ sign.

More recently, with driving to and from work, this has changed and it’s such a shame. At the beginning of the year I was averaging about one book every 6 – 8 weeks, and in March I vowed I would turn this around and, thankfully, I did.

I wanted to share some of my favourite reads over the past couple of months. Some of these I’ve already mentioned in my ‘This Month I’ve Been’ posts, but I thought it would be easier to lump them altogether in one post for ease.

The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Synopsis from Amazon: Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter…

My verdict: To stop repeating myself, if books have made it into this post, I really liked them, so I’ll say that now to avoid writing it under every title. This book had suspense, murder and had a lot of ‘what if’ moments if the story was actually true. It’s a great beach read.

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse

Synopsis from Amazon: 1912. A Sussex churchyard. Villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will not survive the coming year are thought to walk. And in the shadows, a woman lies dead.

As the flood waters rise, Connie Gifford is marooned in a decaying house with her increasingly tormented father. He drinks to escape the past, but an accident has robbed her of her most significant childhood memories. Until the disturbance at the church awakens fragments of those vanished years . . .

My verdict: For me, this took a while to get into. It’s very, very slow to begin with but about half way through it grabs you and you can’t put it down. When you think about what it’s all about it’s really disgusting, and the murders (yup, murders again) are pretty gruesome. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but I can’t share much on this if you’re going to read it.

Dark Places

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Synopsis from Amazon: Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over 20 years on the proceeds of the ‘Libby Day fund’. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders, and they think her brother Ben is innocent.

Ben was a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lived. But he did have a girlfriend – a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben became involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turned against him, his thoughts turned black. But was he capable of murder?

My verdict: This book has, by far, been my favourite book in ages. It was gripping from the beginning and throughout Flynn keeps you guessing and on your toes in terms of characters and plot and the entire story is so enticing that I didn’t want to put it down. I read this in about three days and I was gutted I didn’t spread it out a bit more.

The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn

Synopsis from Amazon: A young woman is making a living faking it as a cut-price psychic (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke.

 Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year-old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural. However when she enters the house for the first time, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time . . .

 My verdict: I love a bit of Flynn, clearly as this is the third book I’ve read by the author, but I have to rate this book as just ‘ok’. I’ve included it because it had major potential but I wish I’d read the full synopsis before purchasing as it’s actually a short story! I read it in one 40 minute train journey and, although the story was good, I felt it could’ve been so much better if it’d gone on another couple of hundred pages. Prepare for a long beginning and middle and an abrupt end, unfortunately.

The C-Word by Lisa Lynch

Synopsis from Amazon: The last thing Lisa Lynch had expected to put on her ‘things to do before you’re 30’ list was beating breast cancer, but them’s the breaks. So with her life on hold, and her mind stuffed with unspoken fears, questions and emotions, she turned to her computer and started blogging about the frustrating, life-altering, sheer pain-in-the-arse inconvenience of getting breast cancer at the age of 28.

My verdict: Unfortunately, I had to stop reading this, and it makes me so angry if I do this. It normally happens because a book is rubbish, but this one I had to stop reading as it was hitting too close to home. My nan passed away from cancer, and experiencing the pain through first person narrative made it really difficult to keep reading. I’ve parked it for now, I’m not saying I won’t ever read it, but just not right now.

The Good Girl

And currently…

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Synopsis from Amazon: I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when they’re scared. But I will.

Mia Dennett can’t resist a one-night stand with the enigmatic stranger she meets in a bar.

But going home with him might turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life…

My verdict: We’ll have to wait and see…

Do you have any book recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

S x

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