November reads

2019 Reading Challenge – What I Read in November

December 10, 2019Hels

“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.”
– Clyde Watson

I’m a bit late with this post, but never mind! …And so we say goodbye to another month! November was a pretty good month for my reading challenge, I’ve had a good mix of books – I’m getting better at reading more than just thrillers! Here are my November reads…

Her Last Breath (Alison Belsham)*

Author: Alison Belsham
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Page Count: 416
Published: 19 Sept 2019

My rating:

Plot:8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)
Characters:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)
Ending:6.5 out of 10 stars (6.5 / 10)

Her Last Breath (Alison Belsham)The body count is rising…and the clock is ticking.
When a young woman is attacked and left fighting to survive in hospital, the police are pulled into a race against time to save her life. But just 24 hours later, she dies and a deadly tattoo is discovered on her body, and when another young woman disappears, Detective Francis Sullivan and his team fear a serial killer walks the streets of Brighton.
His team identify a suspect, Alex Mullins, son of Francis’ lover, Marni. Can Francis forget their shared past and save the next victim before it is too late?
This book is the second in The Tattoo Thief series, and although the story can be read as a standalone, there is a lot of history between the characters which was regularly mentioned.

I enjoyed the story and read it fairly quickly, but I felt at times it got a little frantic and implausible. The narrative jumped around quite a lot, and regularly jumped back to Aimee in 1982. I understand why these chapters were included but while I was reading them they felt a bit excessive. Similarly, the history of Marni and her ex and his twin I felt were just a bit unnecessary. The main plot, the killer in Brighton was really good, and very unique, and I feel like the book would have been much more enjoyable to read if there was more of a focus on that and the police work involved.

*Gifted for review by NetGalley


Home Work: A Memoir of my Hollywood Years (Julie Andrews)

Author: Julie Andrews (with Emma Walton Hamilton)
Genre: Autobiography
Page Count: 352
Published: 15 October 2019

Read my full review of Home Work here

Single (K.L. Slater)*

Author: K.L. Slater
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Page Count: 383
Published: 25 Nov 2019

My rating:

Plot:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)
Characters:5 out of 10 stars (5.0 / 10)
Ending:5.5 out of 10 stars (5.5 / 10)

Single (K.L. Slater)When single mother Darcy’s son falls from a rope bridge at a local playground, life stands still. She clutches his small, limp body, frozen, until a pair of strong hands push her aside, and she watches as George, a local doctor, saves her son’s life. George is a single parent too, and with his twinkling hazel eyes, easy charm, and lack of wedding band is almost too good to be true, but coffee becomes lunch, lunch becomes dinner, and soon they can’t go an evening without seeing each other. When he invites her to move into his beautiful home with its sprawling garden for her boys, Darcy doesn’t hesitate.

But as Darcy is settling in, she receives a bunch of flowers with a chilling message. George says they’re from an obsessed ex-girlfriend, Opal, and days later Opal turns up at Darcy’s son’s football match. She claims to have shocking information that could threaten George’s custody of his daughter.

Darcy doesn’t know who to trust, but she’s starting to suspect that, whatever the truth, she might have put her beloved boys into terrible danger…

I read this book really quickly, and was excited to read it as I’ve read a few books by K.L. Slater and always enjoyed them.

The story itself is really intriguing – who can Darcy trust, who is telling her the truth, and is she safe? I found myself feeling increasingly anxious for her two young boys and unsure who to trust. The characters are well-written and easy to visualise. My main issue with the story was how much the narrative jumped around. Darcy’s chapters were told in first person, but the rest were in third person, and the tone of voice didn’t really change from character to character which made it hard to follow at times.

Aside from trying to get my head around George’s story about Opal, there is a story involving the father of Darcy’s boys, who passed away, and particularly towards the end, I found myself skipping back and forth, trying to get my head around what was actually happening.

I’m probably in the minority by not loving this book – it’s a readable thriller but was just a little too convoluted for my liking.

*Gifted for review by NetGalley


The Missing (C.L. Taylor)

Author: C.L. Taylor
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Page Count: 499
Published: 7 Aril 2016

My rating:

Plot:8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)
Characters:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)
Ending:6.5 out of 10 stars (6.5 / 10)

The Missing (C.L. Taylor)When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface.
Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance.
A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it? Sometimes those closest to us are the ones with the most to hide…

I’ve read all the other books by C.L. Taylor, and I think she writes brilliant thrillers. After delving into Christmassy reads, I felt I really needed something twisty and turny and was very happy when I found The Missing in a charity shop. This is quite an intense book. It kicks off immediately, and the reader is thrown into the deep end. There are a lot of characters, and Claire finds herself unsure of who she can trust. The book gets quite graphic at times, particularly the text conversations between two unknown people and I found it quite hard to read. Claire wasn’t a particularly reliable narrator, which added nicely to the confusion and mistrust. I think C.L. Taylor writes brilliantly, and she maintains a good pace and level of intrigue throughout the story, and I did read the book in a day, but it’s quite a lengthy read, which maybe was what made me feel a little underwhelmed by the ending.

I think it’s a great read, as I said, it is a little graphic at times, but overall it’s a really good thriller.

The First Mistake (Sandie Jones)

Author: Sandie Jones
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Page Count: 4167
Published: 30 May 2019

My rating:

Plot:8.5 out of 10 stars (8.5 / 10)
Characters:8 out of 10 stars (8.0 / 10)
Ending:7 out of 10 stars (7.0 / 10)

The First Mistake (Sandie Jones)For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house. Alice knows that life would have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

Through the ups and downs of life, from celebratory nights out to comforting each other through loss, Alice knows that with her best friend Beth by her side, they can survive anything together. So when Nathan starts acting strangely, Alice turns to Beth for help. But soon, Alice begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced… The first mistake could be her last.

I really enjoyed Sandie Jones’ book, The Other Woman, and was really happy when I found this in a charity shop (lots of charity shop shopping this month!) There are a LOT of red herrings in this story, and it got a little convoluted towards the end – I found I had to reread some pages a few times to understand exactly what was happening, but I was gripped. One thing I really liked about The First Mistake, was how self-sufficient Alice was – a couple of remarks from other characters, the assumption that she was living off her husband’s money etc was interesting, I found I generally really liked her character. The majority of the story is told from Alice’s perspective, with a section from Beth in the middle.

I did guess the ending, but certainly not early on in the book which was good, as thrillers can be predictable. I didn’t find Alice and Beth’s friendship particularly believable which I felt undermined the whole “should she trust her best friend?” angle. As a side note, maybe I missed something, but I didn’t really get the relevance of the title?!


Okay, so all the reviews above are for thrillers, but I also read some feel-good festive stories, and shared them in another post which you can read here

What have you been reading recently?

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