Mini Book Reviews: Safe at Home | All For You | Next of Kin | The Heights | A Slow Fire Burning

I’ve not read a huge amount of books whilst on my blogging break but I have read a few and they’ve been so good. Today I’m sharing some mini reviews of recent NetGalley reads and I highly recommend all five of these books!

Safe at Home by Lauren North

I loved Lauren North’s first novel so am always keen to read anything new by her and I’m so pleased to say that I enjoyed this one. Safe at Home follows Anna who is a very anxious mother. One evening she leaves her eleven year old daughter home alone for a short period but she gets held up. When she gets back her daughter has unexplained bruising but won’t talk about it. The next day a businessman is reported missing. I found this novel to be very gripping. I was immediately curious about why Anna was so anxious and over-protective and wanted to know what could have happened to her daughter. Throughout the novel we see snippets of the local mums’ whatsapp group, which I loved as we see the way they appear nice and supportive and then the way they talk behind other mums’ backs. The gradual reveals of what has happened were really good and this novel definitely kept me on my toes. I didn’t see the ending coming and I love that it shocked me. I recommend this one!

All For You by Louise Jensen

I’ve read and enjoyed all of Louise Jensen’s previous novels and this one was just as good. It follows three members of a family: Lucy the mum, Aidan the dad and Connor their teenage son. In this novel all three of them have their secrets so when threatening messages begin appearing each of them believes these messages are aimed at them. Then one day two of Connor’s best friends go missing and the worry is that Connor might be next. I loved how this novel kept me on my toes. I had my suspicions throughout the novel and some of them proved correct but most were completely wrong as I just didn’t see the bigger picture of what was going on. I sped through this novel and didn’t want to put it down so I definitely recommend it!

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

Next of Kin is a brilliant novel but it’s not always easy to read. It follows Leila who one day is asked to take her very young nephew to nursery on her way to work. She agrees but later in the day when the baby’s father rings her to ask why his son isn’t at nursery Leila realises her mistake and races to her car. There are distressing scenes in this book but the story is really well written and the issues are sensitively handled. The novel follows the aftermath of Leila’s discovery and the guilt of various members of the family. I love how it explored the ramifications for Leila and her sister’s relationship. This is the third book I’ve read by Kia Abdullah and her writing just keeps getting better and better – I already can’t wait to read whatever she writes next.

The Heights by Louise Candlish

The Heights follows Ellen a couple of years previously as she tries to deal with her teenage son making a new friend at school who seems to be a really bad influence. She tries her hardest to split them up but never manages it. The novel also follows her in the present as one day whilst at work she sees Kieron, he son’s friend, but it can’t really be him because she knows he’s dead! The novel then goes back and forth in time as we learn what happened with her son and Kieron and what revenge Ellen exacted to get him out of her son’s life. I was completely engrossed in this novel and read it in one sitting – it’s absolutely my favourite of all of Louise Candlish’s novels to date and I highly recommend it!

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

I listened to the audio book of this, which is narrated brilliantly by Rosamund Pike. The novel follows three women: Laura who is hot-headed and often judged for it; Miriam who sees Laura fleeing the scene of a murder but who knows you can’t always believe everything you see; and Carla who is reeling the shock from finding out that her nephew has been murdered. These three women are all fascinating and I loved getting to know more about all of them and seeing the layers of what makes them who they are slowly getting peeled back. They all have damage and they all have issues but they’re all so interesting to get to know. I wanted to know who the murderer was and why but it was almost secondary to getting to know the women. I very much enjoyed this novel and I recommend it!