Book Reviews: January 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 January.

As always, just in order of reading …

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens, Arrow Books (Penguin Random House), 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’d bought this one near the start of December and was itching to read it but as it was set at New Year, I thought I ought to save it and read it “in the moment”. It is a fabulous love story as it has peaks and troughs, twists and turns. Although you think you know how the story is going to end, it still grips you and you keep reading on. Like so many romance books, it is the journey that is the enthralling part rather than the destination.

I will admit I did find the story a little far fetched and in places I did wonder where the story was going as scenes didn’t quite fit. There is humour although I didn’t find it laugh out loud funny. I enjoyed it though, was an easy read and one I zoomed through at a rate of knots. I liked the writing style and would recommend it as a fun read.

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult, Hodder & Stoughton, 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was gifted this by my niece for Christmas and it is probably not a book I would have chosen for myself. For starters, I rarely buy hardbacks but the cover of this is absolutely exquisite. I’ve also never read any Jodi Picoult books before although I do have another on my #TBR stack that I have borrowed from my mum’s bookcase.

The synopsis of this however piqued my interest and I was really keen to get started on it, and I absolutely loved it. Whilst I do love “chick lit” that is easy to read and enjoyable, this had more of an intellectual depth to it. The combination of Egyptology and physics is really interesting and a great backbone to the story. The concept of life choices and in the impact they have on our lives is explored in depth and really does make you think. There’s also a twist that I didn’t see coming but once you’ve read it you wonder why you didn’t see it all along. I really loved this book, am very grateful it was gifted to me and I am looking forward to reading more by Picoult this year.

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves, Arrow Books (Penguin Random House), 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I discovered this book through Clare Mackintosh’s Book Club (click the link to find out more) as this is the book pick for January. By buying through the suggested independent bookshop, I also bagged a signed copy which was exciting.

The synopsis of the book sounded really intriguing and raises so many questions before you even start reading. It’s a truly lovely book that is so well written and tells a beautiful and moving story. It highlights that there are always two sides to every story and the secrets family members keep from one another. At the time of writing, I have yet to get into any discussions about the book with the Book Club but I am looking forward to my maiden voyage into a virtual book club (never even been a member of a non virtual one). I loved this book though and am keen to see what else Abigail writes in future.

The Husband’s Secret by Lianne Moriarty, Penguin, 2013

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

I’ve not read anything by this author before and this was another supermarket buy because the cover looked pretty and I thought the synopsis sounded good.

I must admit I didn’t warm immediately to some of the characters and when that happens, I find it harder to get into the story. However, the plot is great, the secret is perhaps not what you are expecting and the way the story plays out is interesting. I still didn’t entirely love all of the characters by the time I got to the end but on the whole I did enjoy the book.

I’ve marked it down to a four star purely on my own experience of the book and the fact I just didn’t take to one or two of the characters. That is perhaps more a flaw on my part than that of the author. I enjoyed reading it though and didn’t find it a chore to reach the end, so it’s definitely worth a read.

It Started with a Secret by Jill Mansell, Headline Review (Headline Publishing Group), 2020

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I couldn’t decide whether a book with a very summery cover was a good one to select to read in winter but I am glad I did. I really enjoyed this story and warmed to the main characters very quickly. Yes, the story is a little far fetched in places and there are some happy coincidences but I don’t think those pose an issue.

There are some quirky characters and some I’d have liked to have been more developed as I think they could have added more to the story. It’s a lovely, feel-good romance read which would definitely be great for on the beach reading in the summer (if we get one) or on holiday (if we’re allowed those).

Keep Her Close by M J Ford, Avon (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd), 2019

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I took a bit of a gamble with this book as I happened upon a two-for-something book deal stand in my local supermarket and instantly saw a book I wanted. However, choosing a second one was more tricky but in the end I chose this one. I’d not read his earlier book* but the synopsis sounded good and I do enjoy a good thriller from time to time.

I was not disappointed. The case played out in the story is really interesting and well thought out. I immediately warmed to the main character and her backstory. The fact I’d not read the earlier book didn’t make me feel as though I was missing vital information. The book is well written, keeps you in suspense and plays out to a believable conclusion. I will definitely be seeking out Ford’s earlier work, and any follow up to “Keep Her Close”.

*After posting to my socials that I was going to read this the author contacted me and suggested I read the first one before starting this. As I’d actually already read it by then, I couldn’t read them in order but I did promptly go and order book one and will read that next month – so keep an eye out for the review of “Hold My Hand”.

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern, HarperCollins Publishers, 2019

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I picked this up in the local supermarket one day whilst browsing (I periodically, “accidentally” walk down the book aisle just in case there’s anything fabulous that I must have) and I am so glad I did. I am pretty sure I have read the prequel “PS I Love You” but I cannot be absolutely certain. However, this book reads well as a standalone in any event.

I totally fell in love with this story and there were several places where I cried as the emotion was so raw and so real. It was an inspiring and uplifting story, which highlighted two sides of a subject that is often not talked about in society. I would highly recommend this book, a truly moving story.

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!

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