Mini Book Reviews: That Night | The Good Sister | Every Vow You Break | The Ends of the Earth

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve recently finished reading. All of these books are from NetGalley via the publisher as I’m still focusing on reading my way through my NetGalley shelf.

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister follows twin sisters Fern and Rose – Fern in the present and Rose in the past through her diary entries. The sisters have always been very close – Rose has protected Fern from their aggressive mother as they were growing up and still holds Fern close now in adulthood. Fern has sensory issues and Rose tries to keep her protected from the things that aggravate her. I really enjoyed this book and seeing the way the two women present themselves but also the undercurrent of tension that begins to creep into their relationship was fascinating. Something happened when they were children and Fern lives with the guilt and it stops her being able to form bonds with other people so she relies heavily on Rose. I adored reading Fern’s perspective – she’s so warm and genuine but refuses to do anything she doesn’t want to do. She’s such a brilliant character and when she meets Wally in the library where she works I was rooting for her to see how things might develop with him. This is a gripping novel that has moments of darkness balanced with a lot of light and I loved it. This is the first novel that I’ve read by Sally Hepworth but I now want to seek out everything she has ever written!

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

This novel follows Abigail as she is about to marry her fiance Bruce. They’ve had a whirlwind romance and everything has happened very quickly. At Abigail’s hen party she has a one night stand and when this man contacts her before the wedding she is fearful that her happy ever after might be about to fall apart! This premise drew me in right away and I couldn’t wait to read this book but I’m sorry to say that it just didn’t really work for me. I’ve read and loved the author’s previous novels but this one just lacked something for me. The plot does have twists in store and I didn’t see them coming, which I did like but the suspension of disbelief required was too much for me and I just couldn’t get invested. I also had issues with the way Abigail later describes her one night stand, it felt too obvious to me that this was a male author writing a female character and it really pulled me out of the story. This is a fast-paced read and I did finish it in a couple of sittings but it’s just not my favourite by the author.

The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves

The Silent Treatment was one of my favourite books of last year so this new one by the author was on my highly anticipated list and I’m so happy to say that I very much enjoyed it. The Ends of the Earth follows Mary, who for seven years has stood at a railway station holding a sign saying ‘Come Home Jim’. The novel follows her in the present as we see what her life is like and how desperate she is to find Jim; it alternates with a timeline in the past when Mary and Jim first met and we get to see how they fell in love and made a life together. This is a beautiful novel that really draws you in. There is quite a focus on mental health, men’s mental health in particular, and this was so good to read about in a novel. There needs to be more awareness of this and more encouragement for men to be able to talk and this novel shows this without it ever feeling forced. The novel also follows a young journalist who meets Mary by chance and decides to try and help her find Jim. This novel had me under its spell very quickly and now I’ve finished it I keep wondering how the characters are now, which, for me, is always the sign of an excellent read. I recommend this one!

That Night by Gillian McAllister

I’ve read and very much enjoyed all of Gillian McAllister’s novels but this is her best one yet! I read the whole thing in two sittings and I loved it! That Night follows the three Plant siblings – Joe, Cathy and Frannie. They all live next door to each other, they work at the same vet practice and they own a holiday home in Verona together. One night whilst on holiday Frannie calls Cathy in the early house begging for her help. When she gets there Frannie is distraught, as is Joe who has also arrived, and a man appears to be dead! The novel follows each of the siblings along with Joe’s wife Lydia as we see their perspectives and how they each feel about the others. We also have a timeline in the present day but it’s not clear for a while who exactly this person is. This is such a gripping thriller that has you racing through the pages wanting to know how and why, wanting to make sense of what has happened and wondering what you would do in their shoes. It’s also a brilliant look at sibling relationships and how each relates to the other, and the jealousies and the feeling of being left out that can linger well into adulthood. This was such a brilliant thriller and I highly recommend it!

Stacking the Shelves with a Bumper Book Haul (11 May 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!

I’m not sure how I’ve missed joining in with Stacking the Shelve for the last four weeks but somehow I have. So today I’m sharing all of the books I’ve got in the last month! It’s rather a lot but I’m excited to read them all!

 

Purchased Books

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

On The Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back by Stacey Dooley

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down by Allan Jones

Apple of My Eye by Claire Allan

Love You Gone by Rona Halsall

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

The Passengers by John Marrs

 

Borrowed Books

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

We Are Not Such Things by Justine Van Der Luen

ARCS

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Stop at Nothing by Tammy Cohen

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

When I Lost You by Merrilyn Davies

 

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week (or month)? 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.

 

WWW Wednesday (13th January)

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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?


What I’m reading now:

The Good Liar  Nicholas Searle

The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle (Out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

This is a life told back to front. This is a man who has lied all his life. Roy is a conman living in a small English town, about to pull off his final con. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings. But who is the man behind the con? What has he had to do to survive a life of lies? And who has had to pay the price?

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight (Out now in the UK)

Synopsis:

The surprising art of caring less and getting more 

Are you stressed out, overbooked and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? Then it’s time to stop giving a f**k.

This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt – and give your f**ks instead to people and things that make you happy.

From family dramas to having a bikini body, the simple ‘NotSorry Method’ for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f**k and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter.

spectacles sue perkins

Spectacles by Sue Perkins (Out now in the UK)

Synopsis:

Sadly, a recycling ‘incident’ destroyed the bulk of my childhood stuff that my mum had kept. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to read a poem about corn on the cob. Secondly, it’s left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.

This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as ‘Is Mary Berry real?’, ‘Is it true you wear a surgical truss?’ and ‘Does orchestral conducting simply involve waving your arms around?’

Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me.

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah’s family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah’s husband and Norah’s youngest daughter calls Fay ‘Mummy’.

Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all – what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?

From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you’re willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.

First by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Out now in the UK)

Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan (Due out 14th January in the UK)

Synopsis:

Helen and Ellie are identical twins ? like two peas in a pod, everyone says.

The girls know this isnt true, though: Helen is the leader and Ellie the follower.

Until they decide to swap places: just for fun, and just for one day.

But Ellie refuses to swap back…

And so begins a nightmare from which Helen cannot wake up. Her toys, her clothes, her friends, her glowing record at school, the favour of her mother and the future she had dreamed of are all gone to a sister who blossoms in the approval that used to belong to Helen. And as the years pass, she loses not only her memory of that day but also herself ? until eventually only Smudge is left.

Twenty-five years later, Smudge receives a call from out of the blue. It threatens to pull her back into her sisters dangerous orbit, but if this is her only chance to face the past, how can she resist?

Beside Myself is a compulsive and darkly brilliant psychological drama about family and identity ? what makes us who we are and how very fragile it can be.

 


What I recently finished reading: 

(Please click the link below the image to read my review)

Survival of the Caregiver

Survival of the Caregiver by Janice Hucknall Snyder


What I plan on reading next:

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

Synopsis:

Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there’s just one another resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

Synopsis:

Dr. Caleb Maddox is a crack San Francisco toxicologist leading a ground-breaking study of the human pain threshold based on minute analysis of chemical markers. He has also just broken up with his artist girlfriend after she discovered a shocking family secret in his past. Seeking solace, Caleb finds a dark, old-fashioned saloon called House of Shields, and is mesmerized when a beautiful woman materializes out of the shadows, dressed like a 1940s movie star. The enigmatic Emmeline shares a pouring of absinthe with him, brushes his arm and vanishes. As he pursues her through the brooding, night-time city, desperate to see her again, he simultaneously becomes entangled in a serial murder investigation that has the police stymied – men gone missing, fished out of the bay, with no clue as to how they met their end – until Caleb’s analysis of the chemical markers in their bodies reveals that each one was tortured to death. Also present are some of the key components of absinthe. As Caleb finally looks forward to a night spent alone with Emmeline, part of his mind wonders if behind the seductive vision is something utterly terrifying…

Dead Secret by Ava McCarthy

Dead Secret by Ava McCarthy

Synopsis:

From the author of the Harry Martinez thrillers comes a gripping psychological suspense novel. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Haynes and Gone Girl.

Two quick shots. One for him. One for you.

After the death of her three-year-old daughter, Jodie has nothing left to live for – or almost nothing.

She has one task to fulfil before she takes her own life. And that’s to kill the man she holds responsible for her daughter’s death – her seemingly perfect husband, Ethan.

But Ethan is hiding more than just his true nature. And as more horrifying secrets from his past emerge, Jodie’s strength will be pushed to the limit…

 

 

What are you reading at the moment? Have you finished any good books recently? Any books you’re looking forward to reading soon? Please feel free to join in with this meme and share your link below, or if you don’t have a blog please share in the comments below.

Book Beginnings (20 November)| The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

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Book beginnings is a meme set up by Rose City Reader. Every Friday post the first line, or few lines, of the book you’re reading along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Then add a link to your post on Rose City Reader’s blog.

My Book Beginning

the things we keep

The Things We keep by Sally Hepworth

Fifteen months ago…

No one trusts anything I say. If I point out, for example, that the toast is burning or that it’s time for the six o’clock news, people marvel. How about that? Well done, Anna. Maybe if I were eighty-eight instead of thirty-eight, I wouldn’t care. Then again, maybe I would. As a new resident of Rosalind House, an assisted-living facility for senior citizens, I’m having a new appreciation for the hardships of the elderly.

I know from the blurb that this character is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This opening really grabs me though because Anna feels she’s not trusted to know things by the other residents because she is so much younger than them, but actually, because of her disease, she is an unreliable narrator and as readers we don’t know yet whether she is right about why they don’t trust her, or whether it’s because her disease if more advanced than she herself is aware. I think this is going to be an emotional but also good read. I can’t wait to read more. The Things We Keep is due to be published in January so I plan to read it next month.