The next instalment of books I’ve read this year

I‘ve powered through another bunch of books in the past months (in fact I’ve read another three since I started this post!) and thought I’d add some further notes on each book in case you’re looking for your next read. Get stuck in!

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

This book was absolutely addictive. It is focussed around the relationship of a boy, a girl and his mother, after a lie is told. The way the relationships strengthen and then unravel, with dips and dives. Each character trying to be a step ahead in this fast-paced psychological thriller keeps you reading all night.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

This felt like a modern and darker twist on The Breakfast Club – five teenagers go into detention, and only four come out. From the beginning you know who has not survived, but you don’t know how or why. This was listed as a young adult book and it is a very easy read. The idea of the book is what made me read it – but I do think it was more on the simple side – I could have done with a few more twists and turns. I had guessed the outcome early on. Still a brilliant read if you’re after something Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl-esque.

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

Flicking between 1914 Berlin and Manhattan in 1964 this book tells the story of a woman defying the odds and standing out in science in 1914, and her great niece in 1964 also trying to break barriers professionally in the media. I adored this book, learning about the different eras and how women with everything against them, still managed to make a difference. There’s a lovely romance story in this one too, surrounding the women who won’t be timid housewives. This book is the first of three novels around one family, focussing on the sisters, so I now need to pick up the other two.

Us by David Nicholls

A warming family story, about the struggle of a relationship between a father and his teenage son, and husband and wife. The family have been struggling lately to stay on the same page, so the father books a European adventure for them to bond and actually talk. They meet a few characters en route, including a Kiwi, woo! The book is narrated from the father’s point of view; his hope to get closer to his son and rekindle the romance he had with his wife is very endearing and you want him to succeed.

The Girls by Emma Cline

A dark and gritty story of getting in with the wrong crowd and wanting to feel you belong. I wanted this to be so fucking epic. It started so strong, I couldn’t put it down. But by the last quarter of the book I was deflated. Set in the summer of 1969 in California it was intriguing to me, having not lived in that decade, nor been to California. Parts had me tense, wondering would I at the same age ever go along with the ongoings of the crowd – in this situation it’s a definite no. But you did hear of these free spirited teens in the 60s and 70s, parents absent and completely rule-free.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

In anticipation of my trip to Corfu and my absolute love for the TV series The Durrells, I picked up this book as a quick read to learn more about them, their move in the 1930s and the island of Corfu. It’s a light-hearted read about the family, the animals that Jerry finds and keeps and the Greek island that at first is not welcoming to a family from England. I did enjoy it overall, but I was more interested in the family life, than the biology of the animals – which of course was Gerry Durrell’s passion.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

To date I have absolutely adored everything I have read by Backman… but this one.. hmm. I picked it up and started it. I couldn’t get the flow of it – maybe it’s that I don’t really understand ice hockey? But I picked it up again, as the reviews were brilliant and I knew something would come through to me in his writing like it did in his other books. That’s what I wished for. And while it definitely did pick up when an accusation is made of one of the star players on the ice hockey team and suddenly it was a town divided – it didn’t have the same feels for me as A Man Called Ove. That book made my heart sing and I might have to read it again next year.

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