Book Reviews: February 2021

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Each month, I publish a “What I’ve Recently Finished Reading” post, so here’s a review of the books I’ve read during February.

As always, just in order of reading …

How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister, Penguin Books, 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is another book that I discovered through Clare Mackintosh’s Book Club (click the link to find out more) as this was the February book pick. As with last month’s pick, I purchased through the suggested independent bookshop, and was really excited when I received a signed copy.

I was genuinely excited to read this and wasn’t disappointed. It’s a rollercoaster of suspense and drama. The writing is fabulous and kept me gripped from beginning to end. I struggled to put it down as I was really keen to find out what happened. There are some unexpected twists and turns and is a really gripping thriller.

The subject of the novel is a really interesting one and I can’t say I’ve ever given it much thought so it was fascinating to explore the subject. I always try not to give away any spoilers in my reviews but would say that the author’s note at the end is very genuine and made me stop and think.

Hold My Hand by M J Ford, Avon (HarperCollins Publishers), 2018

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you read my January Book Review post, you’ll know I read [AFF] Keep Her Close last month, which is actually the second book in the series. M J Ford himself suggested I should read book one first but by that point it was too late! I was really intrigued to read the first book, Hold My Hand, though so I tracked it down and read it during February.

Firstly, even though I knew some of what was likely to happen as I’d already read book two, I wasn’t put off the story at all. It still played out with suspense and drama and it was really interesting to see how it all came to a conclusion. I absolutely loved this book though, I was genuinely gripped by it and in fact read more than half of it in one day as I just couldn’t put it down (and that was even knowing some of what was to come).

If you’re a fan of detective mystery thrillers then I absolutely recommend this book. I would suggest you read them in the correct order but books are fabulous as a standalone. Suspense, drama, excellent plot and brilliant writing.

The Eve Illusion by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher, Penguin Books, 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have been a fan of Giovanna’s books for a long time but was a bit of a latecomer to the Eve of Man trilogy. However when I read Eve of Man on Apple Books last year, I was hooked. I loved the premise and the whole ideology behind the scenario. As soon as I got to the end of book one, I was desperate to read book two.

I finally bought book two, The Eve Illusion in paperback and read it almost straightaway. The fact I could not put it down and raced through it in just a few days will tell you a lot about how much I enjoyed it. I love the fact you get three people’s perspective on the story, that element really adds something for me. Part of the ending you could see coming but that didn’t distract from the climax. I am still really keen to read book three as soon as possible.

For any fans of dystopian futures, this is a brilliant and well-executed read. I’d definitely recommend reading Eve of Man first to get the full background and understanding of Eve’s life to the point where book two starts. Definitely deserves five stars.

Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope, Macmillan, 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Another supermarket gamble. I have a tendency to buy books in pairs, so if I buy one, I tend to choose another at the same time. This one had a pretty cover, was by a well known author, and sounded like it might be interesting, so into the basket it went.

I don’t think I’ve read anything by Joanna Trollope before, though I could well be wrong. I liked the layout of the book, especially the chapter headings and breaks in the chapters. I also liked the writing style and the story. However, I couldn’t quite get comfortable with all of the characters. I’m not sure if it’s just because I didn’t like them, or at least, wasn’t drawn to them; or whether I just didn’t feel as though I was given enough information about them due to the level of their involvement in the story. That is the only reason I’m pulling this down a star, simply because I liked it but didn’t love it. I did enjoy the story about the intricacies of family life and it was definitely worth a read.

A Question of Identity by Susan Hill, Vintage Books, 2012

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

This was another supermarket bargain on a two for something deal. The stand caught my eye as it had something by another author I’d read recently and I decided to give another one of hers a go and had to find a second book. After deliberating over a few, I chose this one.

The synopsis sounded compelling and I was gripped by the first chapter. However, then it went slightly downhill for me as lots of characters were all introduced in quite quick succession and I struggled to keep up with who was who and what was going on in everyone’s lives. The story also flitted between one set of characters and another so I never quite got a grasp on the full story of everyone. In fact, by the end I still had questions about one in particular.

Despite that however, I stuck with it and the actual overall story is really good, although I did crack the case well before the end. When I could eventually suss out who everyone was and their relationship with each other, I did enjoy the case but I wasn’t a fan of the flitting back and forth. It was a difficult book to give a “score” to as the overall plot and case was great but I wasn’t over keen on the way it was told. I’ve therefore given it a four star. I would try another of her books as the premise of the case was brilliant.

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly, Orion Books, 2019

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I picked this book up off the shelf as I was mainly drawn by the colour of the cover (work out what that says about me) and the fact it had a testimonial from Marian Keyes. I liked the sound of the story and, although I don’t think I’ve read any of her previous work, I thought I’d give it a go.

I really got into the story right from the start and was very drawn to the main character. I don’t know why but even though I loved the story and felt invested in it, it seemed to take me forever to read this book, That isn’t a negative point because the writing was good, the story was engaging and I enjoyed reading. Just something stopped me flying through it like I normally do with books. It was a very honest book that I think people can relate to even though the may not have been through the same as Freya. A lot of people will have been through a trauma that they feel they cannot talk about and will understand how it affects family.

I really enjoyed this and think it’s a great read.

What have you been reading recently? Please do let me have your recommendations in the comments below, as I’m always on the lookout for something new to read!

Photo by Victoria Priessnitz on Unsplash

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