My 2018 reading challenge: What I read in September
It’s autumn! It’s my favourite time of the year and I’ve been reading so much lately and absolutely loving it. I’ve read eight books this month, and they were a pretty varied selection as well!
59. The Perfect Nanny / Lullaby (Leila Slimani)
Myriam and Paul have two children, and when Myriam decides she wants to go back to work, they hire a nanny. Louise is a prim character that reminded me of a porcelain doll, but who is loved by the children and becomes indispensable to the family. It’s not a spoiler to say that this is a murder story – it’s on the first page, even the cover of my edition of the book, but the story is the motive.
I read the blurb of this book in a bookstore and put it back on the shelf as I didn’t think it would be a topic I would enjoy. However, my friend (who is currently pregnant) read it and said it was very good and the focus was not on what happened to the children but rather the events leading up to it. The crime possibly seems a bit far-fetched, but there is something about the writing that made it believable, and knowing what the end result is, right form the beginning, makes it an incredibly powerful and chilling story to read.
60. Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)
This is my book of the month, so there is a more in-depth review coming soon…
61. Friend Request (Laura Marshall)
Louise receives a friend request from Maria Weston, a girl who died years ago. A school reunion triggers ghosts from the past to emerge, a past that Louise has tried to forget about over the last 20 years.
This book kept popping up on my ‘recommended’ reads and I do love a psychological thriller… Unfortunately, this one fell a bit flat for me. I didn’t relate to any of the characters, and therefore really didn’t care what happened to them. Saying that, the theme of bullying is a constant throughout, and I think this was written about well. The different groups at school were relatable and I think most people would be able to draw on similar experiences.
62. Believe Me (J.P. Delaney)
Claire is a British drama student, living in New York. She doesn’t have a green card and struggles for money, so she begins working for a law firm to entrap straying husbands. One of her targets becomes the focus of a murder investigation, and the police ask Claire to help them, but do they have another reason for keeping her close?
I read this book in an evening, it was one of those books I wanted to get through and it was so twisty and turn-y I couldn’t put it down. I admit I got a bit lost over who was supposed to be undercover, I know that was the point, but I found I had to keep flicking back through the book to check details. There were quite a few parts of the book that were set out like a script, I understood why the author did it, but it made the narrative quite stilted at times.
63. Happier Thinking (Lana Grace Riva)*
Lana Grace Riva kindly sent me a copy of this book for review. The book shares ideas and advice for ways to adjust your thinking and your mentality. It is a very short book, 50 pages or so, and a very easy read – I love how the narrative is conversational, it was just like sitting and having a chat. I thought there were some really lovely ideas in the book, my personal favourite suggestion was about starting a happiness journal, which is something I have been doing since I read this book.
64. Big Little Lies (Liane Moriarty)
Big Little Lies follows three women, beautiful Celeste, passionate Madeline and quiet Jane. They all have children in the same year at school, and each of them has their own issues that they are trying to deal with. A serious incident takes place at a school trivia night, and the story unravels what happened in the weeks leading up to it.
This was our book for this months Blogger Book Club. I was really looking forward to reading it. I’ve read a couple of books by Liane Moriarty before and I like her writing style. Big Little Lies deals with a lot of big issues, which is something we discussed in the book club. There are themes of bullying, abuse (both emotional and physical), child sex trafficking and lies. These are all huge themes to deal with, and so sometimes it felt like certain parts were a little rushed or forgotten about, but I think if she delved too deeply into them all then it would have been an incredible long, very dark book. I really enjoyed the storyline and I also really liked the three main women in the story, particularly Jane and her son, Ziggy. There are some lovely little humorous moments throughout the book and
65. Before Her Eyes (Jack Jordan)
Naomi has been blind since birth, and has always lived in the same town, a town haunted by the disappearance of a young girl 20 years ago. Now, women are being murdered, and Naomi is the only witness to one of the killings. The killer spares her life, but why? There are plenty of suspects, and a new policeman in town who thinks the cases are connected.
I’m actually not sure if I loved or hated this book. It was very well written and it was nothing like I’ve ever read before, but I thought there was too much in it. A lot of it was very convenient and it did seem a bit far-fetched to me. However, it was a really good read and there is an excellent twist at the end.
66. The Temp (Michelle Frances)
TV producer Carrie, and her award-winning TV script writer husband Adrian, are at the top of the career ladder in their industry, but Carrie learns that she is pregnant. Emma is taken on at the TV company as Carrie’s maternity cover, and inevitably ends up working very closely with Adrian, and Carrie struggles with this, fearing that Emma wants to replace her.
I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of this book. I really liked the characters of Carrie and Emma, and I really enjoyed the talk about the script writing, the TV show and production. The narrative switches around a lot, and the book is split into four parts – the first part is ‘Carrie’ but the narrative still moves around between the characters, so I didn’t totally understand the point of the splitting. I think the tagline on the cover – ‘She has your job, she wants your life’ is a bit misleading, and it made it sound like more of a psychological thriller, but I wouldn’t really class it as that. The end had a good twist but it was almost mentioned it passing as there wasn’t quite the build up to it. I did really enjoy it while I was reading it, but it’s not particularly memorable.
What have you been reading this month?