Mini Book Reviews: My Dark Vanessa | The Other Passenger | One Step Behind | Who Did You Tell?

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and it absolutely lived up to my hopes for it! It follows Vanessa both in the present day and in the past when she had a relationship with her teacher Jacob Straynewhile she was still a student. Vanessa hears that a woman who went to the same school has accused Strayne of grooming and abusing her and she wants Vanessa to also come forward. She is stunned because she believes her and Strayne were in a loving relationship. As the novel progresses it’s very uncomfortable to read how Strayne clearly groomed Vanessa, and to see how she viewed it as a mutual attraction. It’s also hard to read how she has remained friends with him in all the years since. Over the course of the book Vanessa is forced to confront what happened between her and Strayne and it’s devastating. This book is so stunningly written and it never shies away from the reality of what happened to Vanessa. This is a book that will really stay with me and I highly recommend it.

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

I love Louise Candlish’s writing so have been looking forward to this one and it didn’t disappoint! The novel follows Jamie and his wife Claire, and a younger couple they become friends with, Kit and Melia. Claire and Jamie live in a big posh house that Claire inherited but Kit is obsessed with money and status. The novel opens with Jamie being questioned as Kit has disappeared and it seems he was the last person to see him. The timeline then goes back and forth between the present day and the year previous when the two men first met and became friends. This novel is increasingly dark and twisted and I loved that! Everyone in this book seems to be obsessed with status and where they are in relation to others which makes them so unlikeable and yet fascinating at the same time. Nothing is quite as it seems with this one, it keeps you guessing! I recommend it!

One Step Behind by Lauren North

I read and loved Lauren North’s previous novel The Perfect Betrayal so I was excited to read her new one. This book follows two women – Jenna and Sophie. Jenna is a busy A&E doctor and mum of two. She seems to have a perfect life but now someone is stalking her. She is increasingly anxious about the stalker and tries to find out more about them. Then one day he arrives in A&E after a serious accident and she is the doctor in charge. She has to decide if she’s treat him like any other patient or take matters into her own hands. Sophie is feeling increasingly trapped in her relationship. She loves the apartment they share but her boyfriend is tracking her movements and wanting her to account for where she has been every minute of the day. I was curious if the two women’s lives would interconnect and what would happen with Jenna’s stalker. I was gripped by this one and found it a fast-paced read. The first half is quite a slow-build and then the book starts accelerating – I really liked this pacing, it made me feel like I was trapped in this situation with Jenna. I recommend this one!

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

I’ve previously read and loved The Rumour by this author so was looking forward to this one, and I did really enjoy it. It follows Astrid who is a recovering alcoholic and as a result of her problems is back living with her mum. She joins a local AA meeting and there meets two women – Rosie and Helen. She hits it off with one but is quickly suspicious of the other. She also soon feels like she is being followed and watched. I do love an unreliable narrator so loved how I wasn’t always sure about whether Astrid was telling us the truth of what happened. I enjoyed seeing Astrid trying to make a new life for herself and felt for her when she agonised over how much of her past she should reveal, and when. I did see where this book was going from early on but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment as I was keen to know if Astrid was going to be okay in the end. Plus there was more than meets the eye when the denouement does come!

It’s WWW Wednesdays time! What are you reading at the moment?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone

I started reading this last night and it very quickly had me engrossed. I really do love Doug Johnstone’s writing and I’m intrigued to see where this novel is going.

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while and finally picked it up this week. I’m trying very hard to reduce the plastics that come into my home but have reached the point of needing some more ideas of things I can try. I’m hoping this will be the book I need.

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

I’ve read a few more chapters of this book this week and am very much enjoying the stories behind the well-known characters he’s played.


What I recently finished reading:

Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M. C. Beaton

I love the Agatha Raisin series and keep them to read when I just need some short escapism. This was the next one on my TBR and I enjoyed it. I’m keen to see where the series goes next so may read book 15 soon!

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

I enjoyed this thriller but it did lose me in the last quarter of the book so I’m not sure how I feel about it. I will try and write a mini review of it soon.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

I had the audio book of this and have been listening to it over the last ten days and really enjoyed it. I’m really looking forward to reading Lethal White and will probably pick that up later in the year as it’s already on my Kindle!

A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

I listened to this book on audio as well and I’m glad I did. It’s not the best book by this author but being on audio kept the momentum going for me and I wanted to keep listening. I have loved all of her other books so I think this one was just a case of it’s not the book, it’s me.

The Dilemma by B. A. Paris

I enjoyed a couple of this author’s previous book but I couldn’t get on with her last novel. I couldn’t resist picking up this one though and I’m so glad I did! I read the whole book in one sitting and found it so gripping and engaging. I recommend it!

What She Saw Last night by Mason Cross

This was such a good thriller too, it ended up being more edge of seat reading than I was expecting and all the twists and turns were very good. I’ll definitely be looking out for more books by this author.


What I plan on reading next:

Tilly and the Lost Fairytales: Pages & Co. #2 by Anna James

I adored the first book in this series so was delighted to get the second book for Christmas. I saved it to read tomorrow as I like to plan some escapism on the days that are full of sad memories.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I didn’t manage to pick this up when I planned to recently so I’m hoping to get to it this week as I’m so keen to read it.

Death Deserved by Thomas Enger & Jorn Lier Horst

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this one next month so it’s the next book I want to get to as I like to be ahead with my reading commitments. It’ll be my first book by these authors and I’m really looking forward to it!


What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (8 Jan 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross

I saw so many great reviews of this one the blog tour and I kept thinking of the premise and wondering about the storyline so I finally picked this up yesterday. I’m only a few chapters in but I’m gripped!

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This book is so good! I’ve had a review copy from NetGalley for a while now and finally picked it up this week and am enjoying it so much. It’s a really emotional novel about a boy who is the sole survivor of an air crash and it’s such a good read.

Only Fools and Stories by David Jason

I read David Jason’s autobiography last year and enjoyed it so was keen to pick up the follow on book. This is more stories about the characters he’s played and some behind the scenes stuff. It’s a really fun read and I’m enjoying it.

What I recently finished reading:

The Home by Sarah Stovell

This book left me heartbroken! It’s a stunning psychological thriller about a teenage girl who is found dead and then it goes back and forth as we find out what happened. It’s a really raw and emotional book and one I think will stay with me for a long time to come. I’ll be reviewing this one on Friday so please check back then for my full thoughts.

17 Church Row by James Carol

I’d seen great reviews for this one on the blog tour so snapped it up on Kindle. I then saw the audio book available on BorrowBox so I part read and part listened to this one. I really enjoyed the first half of the novel but it lost me a little after that. It was a gripping read though and I’m glad I read it.

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

I’ve had a copy of this book ever since it was published but I finally picked it up at the end of December and finished it this week. It was such a gripping thriller about a woman who makes one mistake and ends up paying a heavy price for it.

The Choice by Claire Wade

This novel is set in a dystopian future where sugar is banned. It’s such a gripping and thought-provoking read, I really enjoyed it. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find there here if you’d like to know more.

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

This is a gorgeous book that I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while. I started it in December and finished it a few days ago. I part read and part listened to it and it’s just such a fab story. It reminded me of how I used to love stories as a child and I now want to read anything and everything by this author!

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

This is another book that I partly read at the end of 2019 and finished it at the beginning of this year. I loved this novel – it’s got such a lovely cast of characters and such a great message in it. I definitely want to read more by this author in the future.

Wham! George and Me by Andrew Ridgeley

My husband bought me this for Christmas and I knew it had to be my first read of 2020 as I was sure it would get my reading year off to a fabulous start and it absolutely did. I read this all in one sitting on New Year’s Day and I adored it. I recommend it if you’re a Wham fan!

What I plan on reading next:

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This is one of my most eagerly anticipated books of 2020 and I don’t think I can resist picking up my review copy any longer!

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

This has been on my NetGalley shelf for longer than it should have so I want to try and make it a priority for this week. Hopefully I can get to it as it does sound really intriguing.

Look What You Made Me Do by Helen Walmsley-Johnson

This is another book that I got for Christmas and I’ve read really good reviews of it so would like to make this my next nonfiction read of 2020.


What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with my new Book Haul (2 Nov 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!


Books and eBooks

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

I’ve had this book on my wish list for ages now so when I spotted it in a deal this week I snapped it up. I think this will be a hard and in-depth read so I’m not sure when I’ll get to it but hopefully it won’t be on my TBR stack for too long.

Unbelievable by T. Christopher Miller

I recently watched the Netflix drama which is based on this book and I was gripped by it so I wanted to read the book. I downloaded the sample onto my kindle but that was as far as I got then yesterday I saw the ebook in the Kindle sale so I grabbed it. I know I’ve already posted my Non-Fiction November TBR but I might swap one of those books for this one!

My Sh*t Therapist and Other Mental Health Stories by Michelle Thomas

The title of this book caught my eye in last month’s kindle sale and after getting engrossed in the sample I downloaded I had to buy it. It feels like an easy read but one that will also be helpful and interesting.

Catching a Serial Killer: My Hunt for Murderer Christopher Halliwell by Stephen Fulcher

I’ve just started watching the ITV drama A Confession and as often happens I wanted to know more about this case so when I saw this book I had to get it. I might try and squeeze this one in during Non-Fiction November if I can as I’m keen to read it soon.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is one of those books that has been on my radar for such a long time and yet somehow I’ve never picked up a copy of it. I’ve not put that right and I hope I can finally get to read this book before too much longer.

Tuesday Mooney Wore Black by Kate Racculia

This is a book that I keep seeing and every time I see it I wonder if it’s for me or not. I’m still not sure why I’m not sure but I think it’s one my husband might enjoy so I decided to buy a copy anyway and we can both try reading it.

A Gift in December by Jenny Gladwell

This was an impulse buy because it sounds super festive and I do love a good Christmas read in December!

The Memory Collector by Fiona Harper

I love the sound of this book so this was another impulse buy!

The Visitor by Zoe Miller

This is another book set at Christmas but it’s more of a crime/thriller and I do like a book like this during the festive season so I’m glad to have a copy of this one.


Audio Books

The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer

This book has been on my radar for years now but I’ve always held back from buying the paperback so when I saw it was in Audible’s recent sale I decided that this was the format I wanted to read it in so I snapped it up! I do love an interesting read where I can learn something as well as it being a really fun read.

Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do? by Michael J. Sandel

I’m not sure where I first heard of this book but it’s been on my wish list for ages now so I bought it immediately when I saw it in the Audible sale.

The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau bu Graeme Macrae Burnet

I’ve not read anything by this author before but I do have his more famous book on my TBR and I do love the sound of this writing so decided to take a punt on this one when it appeared in the Audible sale.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

I’ve just finished listening to The Dream Daughter by this author and very much enjoyed it. It reminded me just how much I used to love reading Diane Chamberlain’s novels so I couldn’t resist buying this book in the Audible sale.

The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

I’m currently reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and loving it so when this book popped up as an Audible daily deal one day this week I decided it was time to re-visit Miss Marple and bought it! Joan Hickson narrates this audio book so I think it will be wonderfully nostalgic to listen to it as I always think of her portrayal of Miss Marple whenever I read the books.



Home Truths by Tina Seskis

I was delighted to get a copy of this from NetGalley as I’ve really enjoyed the author’s previous novels. I’m hoping to read this one this month in amongst my Non-Fiction November books.

I Carried a Watermelon by Katy Brand

I requested this one from NetGalley on a whim as I have a complex relationship with the film Dirty Dancing but have recently being able to love it again. This book sounds like it will be a real nostalgia fest and I’m definitely going to add it to my Non-Fiction November TBR!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I’ve heard so much about this book and have been so keen to read it. I have pre-ordered it but I also requested it on NetGalley recently so I was thrilled when I got approved. I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist reading this one for very long so I may have to fit this in amongst all my non-fiction books too!



Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.