Monthly round-up: January, 2017

So I swear this is the only time I’m going to say this this year but where did January go?  In a flash it seems and now we are here in February already.  The good news in this, though, is that I have holidays booked this month so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.  Plus, January was a good reading month for me (for the most part anyway).  Here’s how it went….

loved-it

 

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner, which sees a welcome return of Quincy and Rainie – two of my favourite Lisa Gardner characters.  This time round they are trying to keep their adoptive daughter safe from a brother who has suddenly reappeared in her life and seems to be on a killing spree.

The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni, the fourth in the Tracy Crosswhite series of books and probably my favourite January read.  I love Tracy, her passion for her job and her friends, her ability to relate to the victims (as she does here) and her unwillingness to let go of a case when she knows a killer is out there.

Wedlock by Wendy Moore, a non-fiction book which looks at the fascinating life of Mary Eleanor Bowes and her abusive husband Andrew Stoney.  The Bowes are a well known name in part of because of the Queen mother but I had no idea of what Mary had to live through in order to protect herself and her children.  If you read this, you’ll never say a domestic thriller plot is far fetched again.

 

liked-it-a-lot

Don’t Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt , another detective series I have a feeling I will be getting hooked on by one of my favourite authors.  Sherratt has created an interesting character in Detective Eden Berrisford and a compelling read in this story that manages to combine thrills and suspense whilst at the same time highlighting violence against women and how harmful it is.

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton, was a book I read almost 20 years ago and decided to revisit in advance of it’s 25th birthday.  This is one of the only series I have read all the books for (and we are up to X I think, so it’s a lot) and I love the central character Kinsey Millhone. She’s a good old fashioned private investigator in the days before mobile phones and the internet and I enjoyed slipping back into that world.

Liar Liar by M. J. Arlidge, the fourth in the DI Helen Grace series where she is on the hunt for a serial arsonist who may be turning into a serial killer because he doesn’t seem to care who is in the houses he sets fire to – or does he.  It’s up to Helen to figure that out and stop him before he kills someone.

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, an Icelandic thriller with a supernatural / spooky twist, this one had me turning pages and trying to figure out just what was happening.  Iceland is a great place to set this type of book and Sigurdardottir writes in a dark, claustrophobic, way that I really like.

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land, a book that is supposed to be one of the books of the year and I can see why.  It’s the story of a 15 year old daughter of a serial killer and how she comes to terms with not only what her mother has done but what she has done to survive.  Compelling.

Duplicity by Sibel Hodge, where I had to suspend belief somewhat but as this was so well written I didn’t mind doing that.  I loved the detective in this one and the twists and turns, which kept me guessing right through to the end.

liked-it-a-little

Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis, which I just couldn’t get away with because a) I didn’t like the central characters and b) the one I liked best out of the two disappeared two-thirds of the way through just when I was starting to sympathise with him.  Frustrating.

The Missing by Caroline Eriksson, which I also couldn’t get away with, again because of the characters but also because of holes in the plot and a twist at the end which just didn’t make any sense to me.  Not one I can recommend I’m afraid (though I do still like the cover).

And that’s it for me for January – like I said, not bad – with only two books I just don’t think I can bring myself to recommend. What about you – how was your month, reading and otherwise?

Emma

This month, I’m linking with Kathryn at Book Date and Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction with their monthly round-up posts (clicking on the images will take you to the posts to check out what others have been reading).

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Monthly round-up: November, 2016

O.k. so one more day till I need to start panicking about Christmas…November how can you have gone by so quickly?  Overall though, you were a pretty good month.  I got to see friends, spend time with family, became addicted to at least two new TV shows thanks to Netflix (How To Get Away With Murder and iZombie), and finally managed to finish the left-over Halloween candy – just in time for the last minute rush to lose weight before putting it all on again on the 25th.

Book wise, you were pretty good too.  Here’s what I read, loved and liked (there were not I really didn’t this month I am pleased to report)…

Loved it

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Only one this month in the loved column and that was Find Her by Lisa Gardner,  an author I really, really, should read more of.  Find Her is what happens when a young woman is kidnapped, locked in a box and survives, or at least makes it out alive.  I couldn’t put this one down and couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

 

Liked a lot

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Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni, the second in the Tracy Crosswhite series this sees Tracy back in Seattle and on the trail of a serial killer with a difference – he gets the victims to kill themselves…a clever twist in the tale.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, which I wanted to love but couldn’t because of the feeling I was being beaten over the head with the message.  This focuses on race relations in America, a difficult subject to tackle but done well for the most part.

The Doll’s House by M. J. Arlidge, the third in the Helen Grace detective series.  This was another cracker with Helen desperately searching for a missing girl only to come across a serial killer.

The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies, a great collection of short stories that took me from Wales to Australia via Birmingham and Siberia and introduced me from some interesting, heart-warming and intriguing characters.

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood, a modern retelling of The Tempest with a prison replacing the island and a play within a play.  Interesting and involving but maybe not for everyone.

Liked a little

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Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris, a good debut that shows we never really know what happens between a couple when the doors and curtains are closed – this was a real page turner, I would just have liked a little more character development.

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt, which opens with a brutal scene of violence and shows just how cruel teenagers can be.  Personally, I couldn’t get away with the annoying teenagers in this one but it wouldn’t stop me recommending the book.

The Exit by Helen Fitzgerald, a book I had high expectations for after reading The Cry but was left feeling disappointed in because of one scene (I know but sometimes that’s all it takes) that meant I no longer believed in the story.

Along the way I also wrote about…

What books I’d be willing to fight for on Black Friday

My A to Z of books

Night time reading (how late doI stay up?)

and created a page (in part of my ongoing efforts to organise my blog) of Reviews by author.

So, like I said, not a bad month.  How was yours? What did you read?

Emma

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This month I’m linking up with Kathryn at The Book Date for her month in review.  Head over and see what she and others have been reading too.

 

Monthly round-up: October 2016

I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, time moves too quickly the older I get.  Where did October go and how is November already here?  On a plus note, it does mean all the leaves have changed and the ones outside my house are giving me a gorgeous display of reds, yellows and oranges.  It might not last long but it’s so pretty whilst it does.  Anyway, I digress, here is my round-up of my October reads – the good, great and wish I hadn’t bothered abouts…

Loved it

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza, the third in the Erika Foster crime series that just keeps getting better and better. This one looks at a cold case, a missing girl who is found decades after she went missing with no trace.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, this may well up being one of my books of the year (not that it came out this year, just based on when I read it).  So many twists and turns I didn’t see coming.  I couldn’t put it down.

Fractured by Catherine McKenzie, another book that is up there as a book of the year, this looks at friendship, family and society through the eyes of one small neighbourhood.  Another I couldn’t put down.

Liked it a Lot

Stalker on the Fens by Joy Ellis, the fifth in the Nikki Galena series, though only the second I’ve read.  Nikki is a great character and a great detective leading her team and trying to protect her best friend from a potentially deadly stalker.

Himself by Jess Kidd, a murder mystery with a supernatural twist set in a small Irish village where everyone has secrets, some of them deadly.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one and didn’t think I’d like it quite as much as I did.  Jess Kidd is someone to watch – a great debut.

Pop Goes The Weasel by M. J. Arlidge, the second in a crime series I am way behind on but determined to catch up with.  This one features Helen Grace, a troubled but determined detective you can’t help but like on the trail of a serial killer you end up having some sympathy for.

The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill, a ghost story perfect for the season and read as part of a Halloween readathon.  It’s got plenty of bumps in the night – just what I want in a ghost story – and no gore, also a plus for me as I’ve gotten more squeamish as I’ve gotten older.

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, the third and last of the Miss Peregrine trilogy this was a fitting end to a great series of young adult books with everything tied up nicely and everyone living happily ever after (well the good guys at least!).

Liked it

The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly, about a woman who can’t seem to make good choices, the worst of which is sleeping with a married man for money.  You know no good can come of it – and it doesn’t.

Call for the Dead by John le Carré, the first book featuring George Smiley, this was a cracking spy novel – not something I normally read – and didn’t feel dated at all despite being written in the 60s.

Not for Me

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A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson, my second foray into true crime and nowhere near as successful as my first.  This one focuses on the Lord Lucan murder – or should I say doesn’t focus as for me it wandered too far from the main subject matter too often and I lost interest.  A shame.

And that’s it’s for me for October.  All in all a very good month with some great books. How was your reading month? Anything I should put on the list?

Emma

Monthly round-up: September 2016

Hi everyone and welcome to October. I can’t believe we’re three quarters through the year…though the way the weather was this morning I knew Summer was definitely over. Being the first of the month though it means it’s time for a monthly round-up of what I’ve read…the good, the not-so-good, and the wished I hadn’t bothered books that made up my September.  Here they are…

Loved

Why Did You Lie? by Ysra Sigurdardottir, a new contender for my book of the year and a new author for me. Set in Iceland, this was a claustrophobic read that had me turning the pages.

Killer on the Fens by Joy Ellis, a serial killer novel that had me thinking it was something else instead at first, a nice surprise, with great characters and an atmospheric setting.

Liked a Lot

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne, the second book I read by this author but the one I preferred. This is a spooky tale where nothing and no one is what they seem.

The Highway by C. J. Box, another new author to me who’s back catalogue I will looking for. This was a serial killer story with a strong female lead who took moral, if not legal, decisions.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which I had held off reading because of the hype (and am stil glad I did) but ended up really enjoying. It’s a thriller with some clever plot twists and unreliable characters so you don’t know where the truth lies.

Blind Side by Jennie Ensor, a thriller set against the backdrop of the 7/7 bombings and the tensions people felt at the time.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the second in the Miss Peregrine trilogy about peculiar children trapped in time and in danger. For me, this might have been better than the first.

Not for me

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Girl Number One by Jane Holland which I feel less generous towards the more I think about it. It sounded great and left me disappointed with poor character development and a plot that felt flat.

And that’s it for me. What about you – how was your month in books?

emma

 

 

 

 

My month in reviews: July

I really can’t believe it’s August.  In fact, I think I’ve been ignoring the fact, which is why this post is a few days later than I might otherwise have posted.  The good thing about August is I get to go on holiday.  The bad – it’s August…where has the year and the summer gone?  I swear, the older I get, the faster time flies.  Now that I have to admit July is over though, here’s how my reading month went…

Loved

imageBlame by Nicole Trope, where a tragic accident tears two best friends apart and reveals secrets both would probably have liked to have kept hidden.  This is my first book by Nicole Trope but won’t be my last.  I found it really well written and heart wrenching as well as a real page turner. 21109505

Salt River by James Sallis, a fitting end to a great trilogy staring a flawed central character – Turner – who I couldn’t help but like more than a little as he tried to make his way through the world that threw a lot of rubbish his way.

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The Children Act by Ian McEwan which may be my favourite book of the month (it’s also my most viewed review).  This book just left me feeling pulled apart – I completely connected with the characters and the storyline and felt every emotional twist and turn.  Plus the ending was pretty sad.

 

Liked a lot

29243709Watching Edie by Camilla Way in which a teenage friendship, intense at the best of times, goes terribly wrong and comes back to haunt two still young women trying to get on with their lives.  I liked this a lot because it kept me guessing as to just who was in the right and who was in the wrong.  A real page turner.  image

My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni which introduced me to a new character and a new series I will be reading more of.  This was a clever take on the normal police procedural – because it didn’t focus so much on the police work as the legal side of trying to free a man wrongly (or rightly?) convicted and small town politics.

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The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft which had been sat on my Kindle forever it seems before I felt guilty enough to read it.  Not sure why I waited so long because it was a great book, another page turner (I managed a lot of those this month) with a twist at the end I didn’t see coming and made me see everything that had happened and the main characters behaviour in a different light.

The Fire Child by S. K. Tremayne imagewas a thriller with a slightly supernatural twist – an “are there, aren’t there” ghosts theme that made the book just that little bit different in a crowded field and meant I enjoyed it a lot, getting completely caught up in just what really was happening to the central characters and whether the dead were coming back to get revenge (spooky!).

Liked a little

imageAgatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton, which I think I would have liked more if I hadn’t been watching the TV show when I read it.  This was my first cozy and I can see why people get it hooked.  It was a fun, quick read with lots of quirky characters to keep me interested.

 

 

And that was it for the month.  A lot of good reads and some really great ones. Nothing that I wouldn’t recommend or didn’t manage to not finish.  How about you? How was your reading month?

Emma

This month, I’m linking in with Kathryn at Book Date for her Month in Review.

Month in Review 6

 

 

This Week, Next Week (and Last Month)

So another Sunday is here…where do the weeks go? This one can probably be described in one word – wet. It has, rather depressingly, rained every day – a typical British Summer. Other than that, it’s been a slow week bar drinks with a couple of friends mid-week, when most of the talk was still on the Brexit. I did manage to finish one book, The Fire Child by S. K. Tremayne, but stalled with The Little Red Chair by Edna O’Brien (see Tuesday’s post for an overview). I was too distracted by the TV, binge watching The Disappearance (a French crime drama).

I did a little better blogging wise, getting two reviews up: The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson, which I loved. The story of a seemingly average man who gets a huge bill for being happy. It’s a quirky look at materialism and what we really need to make us happy. A26 by Pascal Garnier was much darker, a story of a brother and sister, unhealthy relationships and murder. Despite all this I really enjoyed it.

Overall, it’s meant a slow reading month for June, with not that many books read or reviewed. Saying that, those I did read were really good.

In addition to The Invoice, I loved The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood which was not what I expected – in a good way obviously – as a young woman tries to unravel what happened to her half sister who disappeared over ten years earlier (at the age of three).

The rest of my reads I liked a lot…

Closed Circles by Viveca Sten, set in a picturesque Swedish island, local police try to solve the murder of a wealthy resident, shot in the middle of a yacht race. Not easy when the rest of his elite circle close ranks.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, a young adult book I enjoyed more than I thought I would with it’s mix of monsters and time travel and thanks in part to the spooky pictures scattered throughout the pages.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza which opens with scenes it’s hard to forget and continues with dectective Erika Foster trying to track down a serial killer her colleagues don’t want to admit exists.

The Last Lullaby by Carin Gerhardsen and the last in the Hammarby series I’ll be able to read for a while, this is another Swedish crime series that I have come to really enjoy. This time dectetives are looking for a brutal killer and one of their own officers. The question is are they the same man?

So, not many but all highly recommended. How about you – how was your week, your month?

Emma

This week, I’m linking in with Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post and with (a little early) Katherine at Book Date for It’s Monday, What Are you Reading? Head over to see what other bloggers have read, written about or just added to their shelves.

The Sunday Post

May Round-Up

Hello and welcome to June – I can’t believe May has been and gone.  Overall, it’s been a good month for me – I celebrated my wedding anniversary and got a new kitten (not connected but both good).  Now I’m looking forward to a nice, relaxing June and – despite today being awfully grey – sunny days.  Book wise, I did pretty well. Here’s a recap what I loved, liked and wished I hadn’t bothered with…

Loved

The Girls by Emma Cline, one of my favourite books of the year so far – set it in the 60’s and based on the Manson family murders this is a coming of age story with a difference.

Marion by Emma Cline, a short story that foreshadows The Girls with another coming of age story, set in the present and focusing on female friendship.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day, a memoir by someone a lot of people may recognise from shows like Supernatural and Eureka but not know the name of. This was a funny look at her unconventional upbringing and how she became famous through the internet.

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica, the third book by an author I just love. This is a real page turner as a girl looks for her missing flatmate who seemingly disappears into thin air overnight.

Liked a Lot

Deliver Her by Patricia Perry Donovan, an emotional rollercoaster for a mother and the daughter she is struggling to parent.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, a book I first read 20 years ago.  It’s a traditional and very spooky ghost story about a mysterious woman who (if you haven’t guessed) where’s black.

Only The Brave by Mel Sherratt , the third in the series staring DS Allie Shenton, a great character and a great detective.  This time she’s on the case of a seemingly random murder – but it’s a local gangster so there is likely nothing random about it.

Smoke by Catherine McKenzie, a story of love, friendship and misunderstandings set against the fascinating background of wildfires.

Liked

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The Bones of You by Debbie Howells, one I couldn’t really get my head around.  I couldn’t stop turning pages but couldn’t get away with the central character either in this crime novel about a murdered teenage girl.

Not for Me

None – I am pleased to say – there wasn’t one book this month that didn’t work for me in some way, shape or form.  Yay!

How about you? What have you read that I should add to my shelves?

Emma

This month I am linking in with Kathryn at bookdate – hop over and see what she and others have been reading this month!

Month in Review 6

 

This Week, Next Week and Last Month

Happy Sunday everyone. I hope you are having a good day. All is well here, where we’re in the middle of a bank holiday weekend, meaning no work tomorrow – yay! Ours has been spent so far doing the typically English thing of doing DIY (there is nothing like an early morning trip to B&Q to get the blood flowing). We are also having typical Bank holiday weather too – cold and rainy – though we did see a bit of sun yesterday afternoon.

Blog wise, I got two reviews posted this week – The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson and a Kelly Link short story, The Summer People – both of which I really enjoyed. I also wrote about who I review for as part of the book blogger hop. Book wise I finished Don’t You Cry (see my Tuesday intro) which I’ll be reviewing tomorrow and have almost finished You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day, which I picked up from the library and brought an end to my plan to not get any more books till I caught up with those I planned on reading *sigh*.

These books have been a nice end to a slightly mixed bag book wise, bringing me nicely to my April update and the books I loved (unfortunately there weren’t any) liked (there were a lot) and wish I hadn’t picked up (a couple).

Liked A Lot

Carrie by Stephen King which is the first Stephen King book I have read and was really enjoyable and not as gruesome as I thought.

The Summer People by Kelly Links which took me to the Holler and a mysterious house that seems to work miracles.

The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson which took me to the desert and had me fall in love with a mix of interesting, damaged but inherently good human beings.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner which drew me in from the first page; I became so wrapped up in the lives of the characters I forgot I was reading a crime novel.

The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen which returned me to Sweden for another cracking crime story where there wasn’t a dysfunctional, alcoholic, detective in sight.

Not For Me

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood which it was really difficult for me to say I didn’t enjoy because she is one of my favourite authors but this just didn’t click with me.

Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt which I had such high hopes for but felt like it got lost in what it was trying to achieve, leaving me confused.

And that’s it from me for this week and this month. What have you been up to, and what have you read?

Emma
This week, I’m linking in with Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post and with (a little early) Katherine at Book Date for It’s Monday, What Are you Reading? Head over to see what other bloggers have read, written about or just added to their shelves.

The Sunday Post


 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week, Next Week (and last month)

Happy Sunday everyone.  I hope you’ve had a good week.  Ours was good and busy – with two birthdays to celebrate (my dads and my daughter’s).  Which means after a weekend of chocolate in the form of Easter eggs last weekend, this once has been one of chocolate in the form of cake.  My waistline may never forgive me, though we did go back to the trampoline park this morning to try and burn off some of the calories!

Blogging wise, I did pretty well with a post every day of the (working) week – I can’t remember the last time I did that and, book wise, I picked up a couple of good looking reads from the library plus some review copies. (links to goodreads)

26029974The Bones of You by Debbie Howells is a psychological thriller involving a young girls death, a family in turmoil and a English village where life will never (apparently) be the same again.  The back blurb compares it to I Let You Go, which I loved, so we’ll see…

23049597The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner is described as a mystery but involves a time travelling 16 year old so I have no idea how this one will turn out but it gets good reviews and my library had it in prime position on the “new arrivals” shelf so I couldn’t resist.

9780778319054.inddI also got a copy of…

The new Mary Kubica book, Don’t You Cry, which I can’t wait to read because I’ve loved her other two books and this one sounds just as good with a missing woman who may or may not be who people thought she was.

26210512The Girls by Emma Cline which sounds interesting and is, I think, supposed to be one of the books of the year – set in California in the summer of 1969 it is loosely based on the Manson family I believe.

I will probably start with Don’t You Cry but you never know – whichever way, I think it will be a good start to the month after a month which ended pretty well as well with two books I found I liked a lot.  Which brings me quite nicely (and as if I’d planned it) to my March Round-Up and what I loved, liked and wasn’t too keen on…(clicking on cover should take you to the review).

Loved

Only one book I this month I thought was totally brilliant. Ruth Ware’s debut is a real page turner that had me hooked with it’s spooky setting, mix of characters and red herrings.

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Liked a Lot

A mixed set of books here this month as I try to mix things up genre wise, going from the essays of one of the last survivors of the Great Depression in Harry’s Last Stand to the dystopian future of The Well, where the rain has stopped falling. In between there was my favourite genre – crime fiction in Cinderella Girl and Dead Lost – and a favourite author in Diane Chamberlain, who puts life’s complexities out there for you to decide on.

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Liked

I really wanted to love Here We Lie – it sounded great – but I got bogged down in details I didn’t think needed to be there, making the book drag for me.

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Not for me

My first classic club read in a while, The 39 Steps was a disappointment – I think I have seen the movie too many times – whilst my mistake with All The Little Pieces may have been I listened to rather than read it and it was loooong as a result.

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And that’s my week and my month. How were yours?

Emma

This week, I’m linking in with Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post and with (a little early) Katherine at Book Date for It’s Monday, What Are you Reading? Head over to see what other bloggers have read, written about or just added to their shelves.

The Sunday Post

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Round-Up: February, 2016

So February is one of those months where you can say where did it go…but it is only 29 days long so you also can’t complain too much about time flying. For me, it was a good month because work wasn’t too insane and I got a holiday in the middle of it. I also read some great books and some good books and not one that I wish I hadn’t picked up…

There weren’t that many but here’s what I thought about them…

Loved It: Disclaimer by Renee Knight where fact means fiction in this clever thriller / suspense debut.

Liked It A Lot:  One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis, the story of a woman who leaves her life behind but still finds everything falling apart.

Liked It: The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton, a far-fetched but enjoyable thriller involving a race across Alaska to save a husband and father.

Liked It: The Sisters by Claire Douglas, a good but not great debut about a twin trying to cope with the death of her sister by making friends with another set of twins.

I did read more but didn’t get them reviewed. What about you, what did you read…and what should I be looking for in March?

Emma