What I read in December
This month has been a busy one to say the least but I have managed to squeeze in quite a bit of reading which has been great. With a mix of historical, thriller, mysteries and modern: it’s been a diverse month on my bookshelf to say the least. This is what I’ve been reading:
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
This was technically a book that I read in November, but I finished it after my last on the bookshelf update, hence why it’s in here. And wow, what a book. I’ve recently joined a book club which has been set up in my village and as we have recently celebrated the centenary of Armistice Day, our first book is The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
Saying that I loved it or enjoyed it simply seems wrong given the topic, but I found it an emotional and sympathetic read. Morris did an amazing job of telling a story which acknowledges the horror of what was happening and doesn’t shy away from just how horrific a period in human history this is.
It follows Lale as he is transported to Auschwitz and becomes the Tatowierer. This is where he meets Gita, the girl he falls in love with. What follows is a love story that despite the horror of its original surroundings, fights to stay alive in a world where Lale or Gita may not live to see the dawn of the following day.
I had so many thoughts about this one, I actually give it its own review which you can find here if you’re interested.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is currently available on Amazon for £2.63 for the kindle edition (affiliate link).
Thirteen by Steve Cavanaugh
The by-line says it all for this one. The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury. Part thiller, part psychological thriller, part courtroom drama. I absolutely LOVED Thirteen. Told from two perspectives: Eddie (the lawyer) and Joshua (the killer), Thirteen takes place over a single week as Eddie works to prove his clients innocence, and Joshua works to ensure he is convicted.
Although this is the fourth book in the series, you can read it as standalone as I did. However, if (like me) you absolutely fall in love with Cavanaugh’s style, you’ll soon be downloading his other books. Thirteen was filled with suspense and written with style. It moves through the action at speed, this pace keeps you hooked and desperate to know what happens next. The courtroom scenes are captivating and Flynn is a completely loveable character and I can’t wait to go back and catch up with the series.
Thirteen is currently available on Amazon for £4.99 for the kindle edition. While this is more than I would usually spend on a book, I do really think it’s worth it in this case.
Before I Find You by Ali Kight
This was an eARC that I applied to review through NetGalley as I really liked the sound of it. Sadly though, this one wasn’t for me. Before I Find You follows three difference characters. Helene who believes her husband is having an affair, Alice his daughter and Helene’s step-daughter, and Maggie Malone. The private investigator that Helene hires to help her uncover the truth.
The problem is that I seriously disliked all three characters. None have much going for them and all three carry pretty big secrets around with them. The problem is, that I couldn’t particularly bring myself to care. I was tempted to abandon the book a few times but I had read so many great reviews if it that I wanted to keep going and see what twists it hand in store for me. Admittedly there were quite a few so it did keep you guessing, but half were predictable and the other half were just ridiculous. While I’m all for the suspension of disbelief when reading, this one just took it a little too far for me.
I really do think that this could just be me though, as I really have seen so many great reviews for it. Perhaps for some reason, it just didn’t settle right with me. It’s happened plenty of times before! (50 shade anyone?) So, if you do fancy giving it a go it’s currently on Amazon (affiliate link) for a bargain of 99p. At that price it could be worth a risk if you usually like a thriller.
Gone By Midnight by Candice Fox
I read Redemption earlier this year, so when Gone By Midnight came up for review with NetGalley, I knew that I wanted to read it. It rejoins Ted and Amanda not far from where Redemption left off. Ted is no longer a person of interest in the rape and abuction of a teenage girl and Amanda is…..well, her usual complicated and wonderful self. Their strength is still present as is the character which made me love them so much last time.
Gone By Midnight has just as much going on it in as Redemption did, if not more. There is a case to solve: this time a young boy who seems to have gone missing into thin air from his hotel room. There are relationships to complicate things: Ted’s young daughter has come to stay and a new relationship seems to be developing for him, the bad thing being that she knows nothing about his past. The of course there is the added drama in the form of a cop who has a serious grudge against Amanda.
All this makes for an action packed book filled with likable characters that come with a lot of drama. Although I’ve still not gone back to read the first book in the series, it doesn’t matter. Fox does a great job of ensuring she keeps her readers with her as the takes her characters on a journey filled with questions, twists and turns.
Scrublands by Chris Hammer
Two Australian books in a row but wow…what a book!! There is so much going on in Scrublands that I hardly know where to start.
The story follows Martin Scarsden: a journalist who is sent to Riversend to write a feature article on the one year anniversary of a mass shooting by the local priest who kills 5 people. When he arrives though, he finds there is more to Riversend than he was expecting. A mass shooting, a double murder, a rape decades old and organised crime. Pretty intense for a small dying town in the middle of rural Australia.
The real star of the show though is Riversend itself. Hammer writes and describes it in such a way that is comes alives for the reader, becoming a character in itself. Needless to say I loved this one. Beautifully written, the book is jam packed with action. Each crime seperate but all interlinked to this rural town. The characters are flawed and believable and the media put under the spotlight. Scrublands is a great choice for anyone who likes their books beautifully written, filled with colourful characters and full of action!
Scrublands was sent to me through NetGalley as an eARC to review in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.
The Dreamers by
Karen Thompson Walker
I’m catching up on eARC’s this month and this one was another stunner which was sent to me on Kindle to review. So beautifully written, you are transported to Santa Lora in California where a college girl goes to bed one night and doesn’t wake up. And then another. And then another. Through test after test after test, they sleep on.
Before long, more and more people are falling asleep and the doctors realise that this is something different. Something new.
This is my first book by Walker and I love her writing style. Written in the third person, The Dreamers has a storytelling feel to it. As if you were listening to a tale around the campfire late one night by a narrator looking back on the events and sharing them with the world.
The descriptive text won’t be for everyone and the detatched narration definitely takes away from some of the drama, but the rhythm this style of writing gives The Dreamers is wonderful in itself. It’s hard to describe why I loved it so much but it definitely has something to do with the way Walker writes which is nothing like I’ve ever read before. Utterly captivating.
The Dreamers will be released in February 2019 and is definitely one to look out for next year.
There we have it, quite a few this month! 6 in total which is fantastic for this time of year!
Have you read anything recently that you would recommend?
DISCLOSURE: an eARC is an electronic Advance Readers Copy. Something that is sent to me on occassion in exchange for my honest thoughts and feedback which are given to the author or publisher in return.