April 2019 Books

Hello!

April was fun as it was my birthday month! Yay! I was lucky to receive some books as gifts and I was also given some book vouchers so treated myself to some I had been fancying for a while.

I mentioned at work that I was trying to work my way through the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist and so was over the moon to receive two of the books as gifts from my colleagues. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss is set in Northumberland where I live and I have heard so many good things about it. I also read her non-fiction book Names for the Sea last year and loved her writing so I’ll be reading that as soon as possible. Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton looks like some incredible historical fiction so i’ll be getting to that as soon as possible.

Birthday books of joy

I bought Circe by Madeline Miller, Twisted by Steve Cavanagh and Still Me by Jojo Moyes and my lovely friend M bought me My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. I was a very lucky girl this year.

I also read a LOT this month, April was a bumper month with some brilliant books being published and I was thrilled to get to shout about them.

Books I Read

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

One of my books of the year, The Confessions of Frannie Langton is a powerful read which I cannot stop thinking about.

You can read my full review here.

A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas

A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas

A clever and insightful novel about the boundaries between therapist and patient and an examination of motherhood, A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas is excellent.

You can read my full review here.

The Flatshare - Beth O'Leary

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

One of the most joyful books of 2019, The Flatshare by Beth O’ Leary features two wonderful protagonist who I guarantee you will fall in love with.

You can read my full review here.

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

When Nadia reads a message in the Missed Connections section of the local paper she realises that the love of her life may be closer than she thinks.

Watch out for my full review in June.

The Magnolia Chronicles by Kate Canterbary

The Magnolia Chronicles by Kate Canterbary

I am a Kate Canterbary superfan and so downloaded The Magnolia Chronicles as soon as it was published.

You can read my full review here.

Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre

One of my thrillers of the year, Fallen Angel is a brilliantly tense read set in Portugal. A dual timeline and multi person narrative combine to make this an excellent book. A perfect summer read.

You can read my full review here.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

When Lucy is recovering in hospital from an illness she awakens to find her mother in her room. The most time they have spent together since she was a child they talk about their past and their present in this melancholy read.

You can read a review here.

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

Susan Green’s mother has recently died leaving the family home to Susan’s erstwhile brother. She is emotionally stunted, repressed and absolutely furious at the situation.

You can read my full review here.

Cape May - Chip Cheek

Cape May by Chip Cheek

Seductive, immersive and sexy, Cape May is an impressive and glorious debut. Set in the 1950s it is an examination of the honeymoon of one innocent and naive couple in off-season Cape May, New Jersey.

You can read my full review here.

The Furies by Katie Lowe

The Furies by Katie Lowe

Set in the late 1990s in a girls school with a long history including links to witch trials, this book examines the friendship of four teenage girls and perfectly encapsulates how suffocating and intoxicating it can be.

I’ll have a full review soon.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

A fictional retelling of Greek mythology I really enjoyed this surprisingly modern tale of a woman who rallies against the patriarchy and becomes the mistress of her own destiny.

Books I Bought

How To Fail by Elizabeth Day

How to Fail by Elizabeth Day

This is a book for anyone who has ever failed. Which means it’s a book for everyone.

If I have learned one thing from this shockingly beautiful venture called life, it is this: failure has taught me lessons I would never otherwise have understood. I have evolved more as a result of things going wrong than when everything seemed to be going right. Out of crisis has come clarity, and sometimes even catharsis.

Part memoir, part manifesto, and including chapters on dating, work, sport, babies, families, anger and friendship, it is based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. It’s a book about learning from our mistakes and about not being afraid.
 
Uplifting, inspiring and rich in stories from Elizabeth’s own life, How to Fail reveals that failure is not what defines us; rather it is how we respond to it that shapes us as individuals.
 
Because learning how to fail is actually learning how to succeed better. And everyone needs a bit of that.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child – not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts. Yet a woman who stands alone will never be left in peace for long – and among her island’s guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything.

So Circe sets forth her tale, a vivid, mesmerizing epic of family rivalry, love and loss – the defiant, inextinguishable song of woman burning hot and bright through the darkness of a man’s world.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows too many things . . .

She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.

She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down.

Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt. 

Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything.

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:
1. The police are looking to charge me with 
murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how 
I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for 
you next.
After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more 
twisted…

The Magnolia Chronicles by Kate Canterbary

The Magnolia Chronicles by Kate Canterbary

My mother’s New Year’s resolution for me was simple: make a serious effort at putting myself out there and dating again, and do it for one full year. 

Or until I fell in love. Whichever came first. 

How hard could one year of swipes and matches and awkward first dates be? 

In a word: bad. 

In nine words: bad and also hilarious, demoralizing, exhausting, and ridiculously amusing.

But the only thing worse than dating in the era of hookup apps and unsolicited dick pics is the absolute whole-life-flail of falling in love.

After The Party by Cressida Connolly

After The Party by Cressida Connolly

It is the summer of 1938 and Phyllis Forrester has returned to England after years abroad. Moving into her sister’s grand country house, she soon finds herself entangled in a new world of idealistic beliefs and seemingly innocent friendships. Fevered talk of another war infiltrates their small, privileged circle, giving way to a thrilling solution: a great and charismatic leader, who will restore England to its former glory.

At a party hosted by her new friends, Phyllis lets down her guard for a single moment, with devastating consequences. Years later, Phyllis, alone and embittered, recounts the dramatic events which led to her imprisonment and changed the course of her life forever.

Jog On by Bella Mackie

Jog On by Bella Mackie

Divorced and struggling with deep-rooted mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she did something she had never done of her own free will – she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run.

That first attempt didn’t last very long. But to her surprise, she was back out there the next day. And the day after that. She began to set herself achievable goals – to run 5k in under 30 minutes, to walk to work every day for a week, to attempt 10 push-ups in a row. Before she knew it, her mood was lifting for the first time in years.

In Jog On, Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression, without having to sacrifice her main loves: booze, cigarettes and ice cream. With the help of a supporting cast of doctors, psychologists, sportspeople and friends, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories, research and tips that show how exercise often can be the best medicine. This funny, moving and motivational book will encourage you to say ‘jog on’ to your problems and get your life back on track – no matter how small those first steps may be.

Books I Received

Hope For The Best by Jodi Taylor

Hope For The Best by Jodi Taylor

Published by Headline 25th April 2019

Max is no stranger to taking matters into her own hands. Especially when she’s had A Brilliant Idea. Yes, it will mean breaking a few rules, but – as Max always says – they’re not her rules.

Seconded to the Time Police to join in the hunt for the renegade Clive Ronan, Max is a long way from St Mary’s. But life in the future does have its plus points – although not for long.

A problem with the Time Map reveals chaos in the 16th century and the wrong Tudor queen on the throne. History has gone rogue, there’s a St Mary’s team right in the firing line and Max must step up.

You know what they say. Hope for the best. But plan for the worst.

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

Published by Headline 30th May 2019

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade. 

Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

The Trouble with Rose by Amita Murray

The Trouble with Rose by Amita Murray

Published by Harper Collins 14th February 2019

A missing sister. A broken heart.
A whole lot of trouble…

Rilla is getting married. Except she isn’t. She’s running away – from her confused fiancé Simon, her big mad family, and the memories nipping at her heels.

Her sister Rose would know what to do in such times of crisis.
But the trouble is, Rose is the crisis. She disappeared years ago, and Rilla’s heart went missing too.

Where is Rose? And who is Rilla without Rose?

If she’s to rescue some happiness out of all this chaos, she needs to find out.

Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Published by Headline on 16th May 2019

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost. 

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

Published by Avon on 13th June 2019 in ebook and 8th August 2019 in paperback

What if you almost missed the love of your life?

Nadia gets the 07.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.
Daniel really does get the 07.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his Dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

o begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

No One Home by Tim Weaver

No One Home by Tim Weaver

Published by Michael Joseph on 16th May 2019

At Halloween, the residents of Black Gale gather for a dinner party. As the only nine people living there, they’ve become close friends as well as neighbours.

They eat, drink and laugh. They play games and take photographs. But those photographs will be the last record of any of them.

Because by the next morning, the whole village has vanished.

With no bodies, no evidence and no clues, the mystery of what happened at Black Gale remains unsolved two and a half years on. But then the families of the missing turn to investigator David Raker – and their obsession becomes his.

What secrets were the neighbours keeping from their families – and from each other?

Were they really everything they seemed to be?

Crushed by Kate Hamer

Crushed by Kate Hamer

Published by Faber & Faber on 2nd May 2019

Phoebe stands on Pulteney Bridge, tights gashed from toe to thigh. The shock of mangled metal and blood-stained walls flashes through her mind as she tries to cover her face so she won’t be recognised. It wouldn’t do to be spotted looking like this. She’s missing a shoe. She feels sick.

Phoebe thought murder and murder happened. Thoughts are just thoughts, they said. Now she knows they were wrong.

At home, Phoebe arranges the scissors and knives so they point toward her mother’s room. She is exhausted, making sure there’s no trace of herself – not a single hair, not even her scent – left anywhere in the house. She must not let her thoughts unravel, because if they do, there’s no telling who might be caught in the crossfire, and Phoebe will have to live with the consequences.

The Lying Room by Nicci French

The Lying Room by Nicci French

Published by Simon & Schuster on 3rd October 2019

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police. 


‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things.

he has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.

But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.

She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared  to go to protect those she loves?

And who does she really know? And who can she trust?

A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

Published by Random House on 27th June 2019

A strange sensation runs through me, a feeling that I don’t know this person in front of me, even though he matters more to me than anyone ever has, than anyone ever will.

You go into your son’s bedroom. It’s the usual mess. You tidy up some dirty plates, pick up some clothes, open the wardrobe to put them away.

And that’s when you find it. Something so shocking it doesn’t seem real.

And you realize a horrifying truth…

Your own son might be dangerous.

Keep You Close is the chilling, relentless new thriller from the bestselling author of Need to Know.

Beneath The Surface by Fiona Neill

Beneath The Surface by Fiona Neill

Published by Michael Joseph on 11th July 2019

Everyone is talking about Grace Vermuyden’s family. Once it was for all the right reasons. Now it’s for all the wrong ones.

Kill For Me by Rebecca Bradley

Kill For Me by Rebecca Bradley

Published on 14th February 2019

A deadly game. An unstoppable killer. The perfect alibi.

Lucy Anderson is late collecting her daughter from nursery. A mistake that could prove fatal. 

Her daughter is gone and there is only one way Lucy can get her back. The ransom is simple, she has to kill someone…

And this is just the beginning. A deadly game with a domino effect has started as the real killer forces others to do his bidding.

Can detective inspector Hannah Robbins find the killer’s next puppet before they’re forced to strike or will this be the case where her opponent has found the perfect way to kill?

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

Published by One World Publications on 6th June 2019

A compulsive, note-perfect debut for fans of The Virgin Suicides and Picnic at Hanging Rock ‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’   Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in a distant suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school’s Showstopper concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river.  Did they run away? Were they taken?  While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved.   Now, years later, Tikka has returned home, to try to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her.  The girls that she never forgot.    Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart. 

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Published by Bloomsbury on 9th July 2019

All Lina ever wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Consequences are handed out to some but not to others. Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions that tests the boundaries of non-fiction.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

What You Did by Claire McGowan

Published by Thomas & Mercer on 1st August 2019

All Lina ever wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Consequences are handed out to some but not to others. Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions that tests the boundaries of non-fiction.

Something In The Water by Catherine Stedman

Something In The Water by Catherine Stedman

Published by Simon & Schuster on 16th May 2019

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough; Mark a handsome investment banker with a bright future. They seem to have it all, until Mark loses his job and cracks start to appear in their perfect life.

But they’re determined to make it work. They book their dream honeymoon and trust that things will work out – after all, they have each other.

On the tropical island of Bora Bora Mark takes Erin scuba diving. Mark is with her – she knows he’ll keep her safe. Everything will be fine. Until they find something in the water.

Erin and Mark decide to keep their discovery a secret — after all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events…  which will endanger everything they hold dear.

Thanks for reading! Please do let me know in the comments beneath if you’ve read any of these books or if any have caught your eye!

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