June reading review

26 Jul 2020

Are we all ready for more true crime fictional thrillers? It’s been forever since I looked down the isle in a supermarket where the books live, and as always I swayed straight to the fiction section. I really wanted to give some non fiction a go...but nothing took my fancy. I don’t think I’ve pigeoned holed myself with the genre I love, but it would be nice to read a novel relevant to the world and actually enjoy it. I think the last non fiction I read was artist analyse books whilst studying fine art - but now I’m not studying I find them hard to gage. I pick them up less and less, until they just get left on the side. A good fictional thriller however! I’d never put that down, so why waste my money on other genres I won’t read.

The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley
2000 - Fiction, Thriller & Suspense

I honestly did not know what to expect from this book, but it ticked all the boxes and I enjoyed every page! My friend had said it started off quite different so to give it a chance, but after the first couple of chapters I was hooked. It’s intriguing, the writing style was very different as it flicks from character narrative in the same chapter and it was a really good but different storyline.
Without giving away too many spoilers, we follow Joanna an ambitious journalist as she uncovers dangerous royal secrets. Everyone she meets along the way becomes either a target or someone to suspect. The book is hefty which looks a little daunting, but every chapter keeps you going and so many secrets are revealed on the way. When you think some plot is being solved, a twist takes you somewhere else! 

Whilst being a thriller, I’d also say it’s a romance novel, which I don’t reach for usually. A couple of years ago I did attempt to read The Olive Tree by Riley and never made it through a couple of chapters, so I’m really happy I enjoyed a new style of book!

5/5 from me.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
2018 - Psychological thriller, mystery & suspense

We follow a story from the narrative character Eddie - focusing on two time lines, 2016 present day and a period of time from his childhood, in the 80’s. Eddie received a drawing of a chalk man, which sends him back to the horrors that happened in his past, involving a childhood game that isn’t really over. An old friend turns up on his door wanting to write a book about the murders that happened that summer - leading Eddie to have to dig deeper, when that same friend turns up dead the next day.

I honestly loved this novel. It was completely not my usual read - very dark and borderline a horror novel, which I don’t sway to. From the very first chapter the writer lays out the dark events we can expect, and to be honest if it wasn’t for how amazing of a writer I find her, I would of struggled to get past the gore/horror. There are so many twists right up to the last page!
I really liked reading from a child’s perspective on the chapters which were set in the 80’s, because then we’d revisit it from Eddie’s adult perspective as he starts to piece together who is behind the chalk drawings, and the murders. 

5/5 from me!

Part Of The Family by Charlotte Philby
2019 - Crime, Thriller & Mystery 

I’ll be honest, I’m very unsure whether I liked this novel! It was a slow start, slightly confusing as the story unfolds but it did keep me curious. I felt like the writer really took her time to get to the plot line that settles the book! It just felt like we we’re reading a lot about the main character Anna’s life before she starts to spy on David, her boyfriend, but there didn’t seem much point to some of the story. 
Anna marries her university boyfriend, has two beautiful twin daughters, an amazing career and beautiful, wealthy household in London! But secretly she is spying on her husbands family business, but sadly not everything is what it seems for anyone. Her entire life is basically a giant lie, which towards the end didn’t sit right with me as a reader. I think this is where I had a problem with the novel - Anna is one big giant mug! Who doesn’t know who shes even working for and creates a fake life, but is unraveled how things don’t go her way in their marriage. 
I understand that some details are left to the end to create a twist/reveal secrets - but it just made the book for me not flow. A chapter started with Maria spying on the family too, but they didn’t explain how she sudden came to spy on the family, which I think would of been better said then, than towards the end of the novel. I found a lot of the end chapters started straight into something, that I had to go back and check I hadn’t missed something! The plot didn’t seem to be in order as the novel ended, and for me I just felt disappointed and was left not really liking the novel. I won’t ruin the ending - but it leaves on a cliff hanger, that if I’m honest, I won’t be continuing if another novel is published. The story had promise, but I just took a total dislike to Anna as our main character. 

2/5 from me (or a 3? I’m not sure)

The Widows Club by Amanda Brooke
2019 - Contemporary Fiction, Thriller & Mystery 

When her husband unexpectedly dies, the new, young widow April joins a support group where she gets much more than just answers! Some of the group members however, are not what they seem. 
I bought this book back in February, and I’m kicking myself that I’ve only just got round to reading it! I loved it. I fell straight into the book, it starting from April as we meet the group and start to learn her story. As we dive in further to the book we swap from April, Tara and Faith as narrators, but I loved how it freshened up story as we get things from different perspectives, opinions and learn more along the way. I thought the novel was really well written, and despite there being a possibility of writing about a widows club being completely morbid - it dealt with grief, whilst at the same time continuing the lives of the grieves. I really loved how as a reader, I thought I knew where the book was concluding but after a few twists it wasn’t at all what I expected! I think from having Faith as one of our narrators you feel as if you know her, so to then have what you ‘know’ shown as false was something I hadn’t experienced as a reader before. 
I definitely think I’m going to hunt down more novels by Amanda Brooke because The Widows Club was such an easy, but gripping read for me. 

It was a complete 5/5 from me.

Until next time, J x

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