My Top British Thrillers

I sometimes get specific requests at the library- and this is one of my favourites to find. Someone came in looking for audiobook thrillers for their elderly father… who only wants British authors. And since I was thinking about this topic, I wanted to share some of my favourites with you! (I will admit they all happen to be written by female authors- this was not intentional, it just worked out that way!)

His and Hers– I love everything Alice Feeney writes, but this is a great place to start. Twisty and tense, this small-town thriller hides a lot more than meets the eye.

The Death of Mrs Westaway- I always enjoy Ruth Ware’s books as well, yet I had to shine the light on this modern take on the gothic classic Rebecca. I not only love the atmosphere, but how it captures the British coastal setting. And it’s got everything I look for in a thriller: dark secrets, an intriguing narrator and a dramatic finale.

I Found You– Lisa Jewell is one of my newest favourite thriller writers. Her books are often wonderfully weird, dark and simultaneously empathetic. There is a lot of depth and deep character work that I often don’t find in this genre. I think it has something to do with the fact she’s written a lot of contemporaries as well. I chose this one because not only is it the most moving example, but it bridges the divide between contemporary and thriller especially well. It may not be the kind of book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, but it may make you shed a few tears for the characters.

The Guest List– this location wedding takes a very unexpected and murderous turn- which just makes it a helluva a lot more fun than your average wedding! The two main reasons I love this and can’t stop recommending it is: a) the setting and b) it’s just a lot of fun!

Exquisite– this exquisitely executed thriller has one of my favourite motifs: it’s a book about writing! Plus, it has a crazy stalker- which certainly spices things up!

Ice Twins– I adore this book- it is the perfect spooky and atmospheric thriller to get wrapped up in as the temperature cools. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the stunning Scottish setting takes centre stage and acts as a character in its own right.  

The Weekend Away– finishing off with a transatlantic choice, this LA-based author knocked it out of the park with this thriller. It’ll just take you a weekend to whizz through this pulpy and entertaining story- where not everything turns out for the best!

And that’s all for now! Have you read any of these? Do you have any suggestions? The reader will be very happy indeed if you give me more suggestions! Let me know in the comments!

Some Things Never Change… Books That Will Always Be Good for Autumn

The seasons changing is one of life’s simple pleasures 😊 And as you may know, I’m a big fan of autumn. So, I decided to share some autumnal reads that are creepy, cosy and cosily creepy- enjoy!

Coraline– thinking of this book still makes me shiver. Gaiman’s book may technically be middle grade, but it’s creepy af. I defy adult books to make you as scared as this!

Raven Boys– for people who favour YA and atmospheric vibes, this is the dream series for this time of year! If you’re prepared to settle in for the long haul, then you’ll become fast friends with the amazing characters this series has to offer.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children– I will always love this odd little series. I know it can be a bit hit or miss, yet I really appreciate how it captures peculiarities and unusual tales in a totally unique way.

Rock Paper Scissors– I read this seriously twisty thriller recently- and oh boy it’s cutting edge! I love how it plays with the character’s choices and the reader’s mind! And it doesn’t hurt that it’s set in the Scottish Highlands and I associate Scotland with autumn!

Ninth House– I don’t know about you, but I love books centred around schools in autumn. So what could be more perfect than Bardugo’s horror take on dark academia?

Shadow of the Wind– one of my all-time-favourite books, I highly recommend snuggling up with this mystery about book-lovers this autumn! The languidly atmospheric setting makes it gorgeous for this time of year as well.

Familiars– this historical fiction with a witchy feel was enjoyable from beginning to end. While there were dark themes, it ultimately felt as comforting as a big cup of cocoa!

Wicked Deep– witchy and set when seasons change- how could I not pick Ernshaw’s debut?! To be honest, with her exquisite talent for writing, I was tempted to put both her books on this list (so go and read them both!!)

House of Hollow– the UK setting makes me biased in my love for this book. I just adore how CREEPILICIOUS this is… even though I don’t normally do creepy (save for this list clearly 😉)

Once and Future Witches– my best book from 2020 and an absolute delight of a read. I was completely bewitching by the writing, the characters and the story. It’s MAGIC in book form.

Hazel Wood– okay, yes, I will die on the hill fangirling for this book someday. But, on the off chance you haven’t heard my incessant rambling about how gosh-darn-brilliant this book is, then allow me to introduce you to a savagely well-written, fairy tale inspired novel.

Uprooted– personally I think fairy tale themed books work really well at this time of year (and every other time of year 😉). And for me, this Russian-inspired Beauty and the Beast retelling is eerily good. With lovely writing, intriguing characters and a hate-to-love romance… what’s not to love?

Nevermoor– charming and a little bit different, this magical middle grade delivered a HELLUVA lot more than I was expecting.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night– and finally my mum’s suggestion- just cos! (To be fair, she’s not wrong!)

And that’s all for now! Do you agree or disagree with my choices? And what books do you like to cosy up with in autumn? Let me know in the comments!

Books for the Good Times!

Cos the good times never seemed so good!! Which is why I’m sharing some feel-good books to make you smile 😊

Anne of Green Gables– okay, yes, this will also make you cry, but you’ll be smiling through tears by the end!

The How and the Why– an underrated YA contemporary about friendship and family, this book ticks all the boxes and made me so happy.

A Kind of Spark– I’m not going to shut up about this book! It is so good if you’re into MG! I loved the main character’s journey, fighting for the past and for her own future.

Summer Job– I don’t know about you, but I’m still feeling the summery books at this time of the year. And this romance, set in the Scottish Highlands, is perfect for cosy weather.

Beach Read– with a summery feel, this fluffy contemporary made me feel all warm inside. And it’s got the added bonus of writer characters!

House in the Cerulean Sea– this was a very recent read for me that absolutely brought a smile to my face! This quirky fantasy ticked all the boxes!

The Humans– if you’re looking for something else a little *out there* then allow me to suggest Haig’s take on aliens! It is as unusual a concept as he usually writes- with his typical flair and enjoyable characters. Personally this was my favourite of his books (so far)!

The Switch– Beth O’Leary is the queen of feel-good rom coms. This book particularly hits the right notes, by switching things up, giving some attention to a silver romance.

A Man Called Ove– speaking of the elderly, this is an unexpected delight, showing there can be a happy-ever-after even when everything seems to be all over.

Pumpkinheads– three guesses why I’m recommending this book in the autumn 😉 It’s easy to fall for this graphic novel- with its gorgeous illustrations and super sweet story!

The Tea Dragon Society– and of course you can’t get a cuter book than this! Just look at those faces!!

And that’s all for today! Do you agree with any of the books on my list? And which feel-good books do you recommend? Very eager to hear your suggestions! Let me know in the comments!

Books That Ought to Come with a Box of Tissues

Often, when I give out certain books at the library I think “damnnn I should give them tissues with this one”… which is why I thought I’d share some books today that need to come with a serious TEARJERKER WARNING. I’ll be brief to avoid spoilers (and hopefully spare you some of the inevitable pain these books bring up).

Code Name Verity– I recommend sitting back, listening to the audiobook and grabbing the tissues, cos this is gonna be an emotional ride.

The Book Thief– just in case you haven’t heard of this book’s reputation for making people cry, then consider yourself warned.  

Thousand Splendid Suns– are you human? Do you have tear ducts? Then this book about women under the Taliban rule is gonna get you good.

Bright Side– I defy you to get through this book and not sob! I knew this was supposed to be sad, but nothing could’ve prepared me for how attached I’d be by the end.

Second Chance Summer– I’ve never given this book a second read, because the first time it destroyed me.

All the Bright Places– this book about mental health issues is as bright and cheery as a smack in the teeth. Don’t do what I did and read this in public (unless you like having strangers side eye you while you sob).

Sisterhood Everlasting– I can’t even talk about this one, it still gets to me. After three books to get to know the characters, saying goodbye to them like this is pure AGONY.

Noughts and Crosses– this alternate history Romeo and Juliet kills me every time. It’s so good. And so so so devastating.

A Monster Calls– a beautiful book about grief (that will rip your heart out and make you sob).

Song of Achilles– yeah this Iliad retelling will just wallop you in the *feels*. *Oof*.

So, have you read any of these books? Do you agree? And what books do you think need to come with a box of tissues? Let me know in the comments!

Awesome Audiobooks- Books That Need to be Heard!

Increasingly, I’m listening to more and more audiobooks. When I’m exercising, when I’m cooking, when I’m on my way to work, I can cram in some more reading time by cramming some headphones in my ears 😉 And best of all, audiobooks can often make the reading experience all the more thrilling! That’s why I decided to recommend some of my absolute favourite audiobooks for everyone that loves audiobooks already- and for everyone else who just needs a little nudge to get started!

Sadie– this is the story that switched me onto audiobooks. Poignant, pacy and heart-breaking, the main character’s voice resonates most strongly in the spoken word. And with the construct of a podcast woven into the structure, the audiobook works as the perfect medium. Ultimately, this opened my eyes to what audiobooks could be… and I’ve never looked back.

Daisy Jones and the Six– the audiobook is the way to go for this one. With the multiple narrators, all putting in powerful performances, this the best way to experience the story by far. Designed as the individual recordings of different band members, discussing the height of their fame in the 80s, this was a whole lotta rock n’ roll. And, sound being integral to the story, it doesn’t hurt that all the voice actors are easy on the ears. I virtually listened to this in one sitting.

The Salt Path– for me memoirs lend themselves really well to audiobooks- especially when read by the author. One of my most recent listens, I was blown away by the beautifully evocative writing and stunning settings along the coastal path. Hearing Winn’s struggles and revival in her warm voice was a powerful experience.

Becoming– again, I really enjoy listening to people tell their own stories. And this was obviously no exception. I really appreciated hearing Michele Obama’s life story in her own words- particularly, funnily enough, her time before she became First Lady.  

Where the Crawdads Sing– admittedly, I am including this because I just adored the story. But really, this was a pleasure in every way. And being read this book was utterly transporting.   

Wolf Hall– frankly I was intimidated to read Wolf Hall- which is why I picked up the audiobook. And not only did it help me get through this great tome, but the excellent voice actor made it thoroughly engaging. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. And despite its length, I barely noticed the time passing. Personally, I recommend this format if you’re on the fence about the series! (cos it’s damn good!!)

Code Name Verity– what a wonderful story to listen to. Read by two actresses, this historical narrative is in equal parts gripping and moving. The performances are perfect- down to the different accents and intonations. For me, it enhanced an already brilliant book. Just maybe try to listen at home (because you don’t want to get all teary-eyed while walking down the street like me 😉).

Diviners– you won’t believe how good this audiobook is until you have a listen. An EMMACULATE performance and an excitingly spooky tale, I got goosebumps listening. January LaVoy (one of my favourite voice actors) abso-positutely brings Libba Bray’s atmospheric series to life.   

The Afterlife of Holly Chase– and if you haven’t had enough of the dead, I definitely recommend this oddly-light-hearted romp through the afterlife. With a performance to die for, this Christmas Carol retelling is really worth a listen.

Aurora Burning– I wish I’d listened to the first one this way (one day I will). For now, I can HIGHLY recommend the audiobook version. Using a full cast, this definitely took off in an exhilarating direction and made you feel for everyone. I just can’t wait to listen to the finale this autumn!!

And that’s all I’ve got… for now! What about you? Do you enjoy audiobooks? Which are your favourites? Let me know in the comments below! I’m dying to hear your recommendations!

Books About Renewal

Super quick post today- I just wanted to give some recommendations 🙂 As we come to the end of spring and move into summer, I thought I’d share a handful of books all about change and starting fresh- enjoy!

Where the Crawdads Sing– a beautiful story about a girl forced to keep picking herself up, brushing herself off and starting over- no matter what life throws at her. This deep character study is one of the best things I’ve read so far this year. It’s an exquisite exploration of overcoming loneliness and hardship. 

Happiest Man on Earth– in a similar vein, this true story is about going through hell and coming out the other side. No matter what the author suffered, he did not let it break him. It is one of the most inspirational and powerful autobiographies I’ve ever read.

Eat Pray Love– another memoir, this an account of rediscovery. It’s a quick read that everyone can find helpful- whether you find solace in eating, praying or loving. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine– this is a story of a woman who sets out to find love, yet instead discovers the importance of friendship and rediscovers herself. I loved Eleanor’s journey from beginning to end.

The Flatshare– I needed this book in my life. It is quite simply a lovely read, all about having to find an unconventional living arrangement… only to get way more out of it than anyone bargained for! It shows that life has a way of working out- even when things don’t go to plan 🙂

Beach Read– I love how this story uses writing as a powerful mode to deal with grief and cope with uncomfortable truths. It’s certainly a clever way to explore real character growth.

Words in Deep Blue– I will never miss an opportunity to recommend this heartfelt book. It’s a story of love and loss and finding happiness again. This gorgeous account of grief is a perfect antidote to going through a tough time, because it shows that, no matter what, we can come out the other side.

Anne of Green Gable– most people know the story of Anne, so it hardly needs an introduction. Yet, whether you’re late to the party like I was or just need a nostalgic boost, this uplifting story is perfect if you need a restorative narrative.

The Secret Garden– of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the *ultimate* story of revival. This book shows that things can always begin again.

Secret Countess– and finally, I thought I’d end with a fairy-tale-esque story of renewal. From luxury in pre-Revolutionary Russia to impoverishment, the heroine of this beautiful book must find a way to rise again. And that she does in a truly resplendent and graceful fashion.

And that’s all for now! Did you enjoy the books on this list? Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments!

Confessions of a Book Addict!

Hello all! After writing with *no disclaimers*, I thought it might be fun to continue in that vein and give you ten bookish confessions… which I may very well regret making 😉 enjoy!

#1 I spend way too much time thinking about the books I ought to be reading (than actually reading). But don’t we all do this? 😉

#2 I find all those #relatable bookish posts on social media far too relatable 😉 I still like to trawl through twitter for them (when I should be doing better things… like reading 😉)

#3 I don’t actually want to talk when my book is open!!! (And I don’t know why this still needs to be pointed out to the rest of the world!)

#4 Yes, I do actually want to spend all my spare money on books, thanks for asking!

#5 I spend way too much time plotting planning to get hold of new books. I think about if I have it in my budget, if it’s available at the library, if it might be better to listen to the audiobook version… basically I overthink everything and turn each book acquisition into a full-blown project!

#6 Sometimes I don’t want to read your favourite book- sorry! I get A LOT of suggestions… and I don’t always find them interesting… so I have to make a quick escape from the conversation…

#7 That said, if I tell you I do want to read something, I’m planning it out already. Just bear in mind some of these convoluted plans can take years to execute 😉 Don’t be surprised when you finally catch me reading your favourite *years* after mentioning it!

#8 And at the same time, if a book crosses my path, I’m always a little intrigued. I’m definitely going to look it up and down, maybe feel it up, get under the dustcover… even if all that frisking ends in rejection anyway. I have no scruples when it comes to my book addiction!

#9 I’m done trying to be objective about books- I’ll settle for honesty. If I can’t see a book’s merit, I’ll say so.

#10 I take inspiration from a lot of things I read… even if they’re bad (maybe even especially if they’re bad, cos it’s often more encouraging than reading the greats 😉)

And that’s all for now! Do you share any of these bookish habits? Or do you have any confessions of your own to make? Let me know in the comments!

Springing Some Lovely Spring Reads on You!

Hello all! Just a quick post today of some Spring-themed books- enjoy!

Secret Garden- I mean, this list would be incomplete without it, wouldn’t it? It’s the most Spring-y Springtime book that I could have sprung on you!

Anne of Green Gables– another classic I can’t help but associate with Spring! So much of this story resonates with Springtime and the great outdoors.

The Wind in the Willows– children’s books really fit with Spring for me- and who could forget this charming story? Adorable and fun and showing the magic of the natural world (yes there really are talking badgers and moles 😉), this is one to (re)visit at this time of year.

The Hobbit– there are so many reasons Tolkien reminds me of Spring! Of course, Tolkien Reading Day takes place at the end of March. And for me personally, it’s when I first read the series and it became an annual tradition to reread around Easter. Most importantly of all, the book itself is a reminder to get out and go on an adventure… or maybe just go for a really long walk 😉

Iron Fey series– again, I associate this author with Spring. Mostly, it is because her descriptions sing with life and fresh excitement every time. It was very hard for me to choose between her different series for this- yet I decided to go old school because these books have such a strong seasonal pull. And fantasy just works at this (and every) time of year!

Book of Atrix Wolfe– McKillip is so powerful at creating atmosphere. Both books I’ve read I strongly associate with nature and hints of magical change.

Far from the Madding Crowd– nothing makes me think more of fecundity and lush settings than Hardy. I chose this particular book, as I often think of it as the happiest of Hardy’s books and for me that fits more with this time of year (*read happiest of Hardy’s books = still contains tragic elements 😉).  

Chocolat– this very indulgent read begins around Lent and explores human desires and passions- if that doesn’t make you think of Spring, I don’t know what will.

Tea Dragon Society– if you’re still craving something sweet, then this children’s graphic novel will be perfect for you. I read it recently and enjoyed every second. The story is so charming and the illustrations just lovely. It actually whizzes through all the seasons, yet for me there’s something so cosy about this that makes me think most of Spring.

Fire of Joy– something about Spring makes me turn to poetry. I happened to read this collection recently and appreciated the commentary that came with every poem. What also makes this perfect for this time of year is how these are poems designed to be read aloud. Just something about turning these over on your tongue made me feel a sense of renewal.   

Poetry by Keats– ah Romantic poets are perfect for this time of year. They make you want to dip your toes into awe-inspiring nature and new love. By rights, I perhaps should have suggested Blake for renewal or Wordsworth for his natural inspiration, but for me Keats is King!

So, have you read any of these? And which books do you most strongly associate with Spring? Let me know in the comments!

*All the Banana* Predictions and Forecasts! #2

Do you guys remember me doing this post previously? Nah- neither did I. I took *way too long* to get round to reading all my predicted 5* reads- but I’ve finally done it! So, even if this is far less relevant than it was supposed to be, I’m going to update you:

Dark Age– as predicted, this was a massive success! I love this series and this one seriously raised the stakes. I can’t wait for the finale.

Wayward Son– also a success! Very different to the first and somewhat meandering… and yet it worked for me. It moved the plot in an interesting direction- looking forward to seeing what that is!

Ninth House– a fair 4* read. This didn’t have much in common with Bardugo’s other work and it was good to see the author branch out.

Crowfall– obviously a success 😉 This grimdark series was great. Beyond its vivid writing and world building, it had a strong emotional heart.

Night Country– not quite as sensational as Hazel Wood, though I did enjoy reading it. And I still have faith in the author and am looking forward to reading Tales of the Hinterland soon.

Starsight– 4*. While I didn’t fall for this quite as much as the first, this was a solid sequel. The spy subplot is not my favourite direction the story could have taken. I feel like *spoilers for book 1* finding out all of humanity is locked up in a prison, should make you feel small and powerless. And this didn’t do that, so it didn’t quite land for me.

Call Down the Hawk– this one could’ve gone either way. And as always, I did appreciate Stiefvater’s beautiful writing. It just didn’t quite blow me away.

Dispel Illusion– another success. Plus, I don’t need to time travel to tell you I enjoyed the trilogy’s conclusion as well. There can be no illusion that I enjoyed this sci fi series.

The Secret Commonwealth– either this was a very long short story or I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read this… or both. Regardless it wasn’t five stars.

Small Spaces– I’ve read the first two in this series and gave them both 4 bananas. They were somewhat unsettling but also felt safely MG- definitely glad I picked them up.

And that’s all for my updates! Time to make some new predictions!

I decided this time around to go for books I’ve been planning to read for ages and already own, so hopefully it won’t take as long to get to! (barring any other unforeseen events that stop me reading again). Without further ado, here they are:

And one bonus book that’s not out yet:

Phew! Finally done this post! Hopefully next time I won’t take years to do a follow up 😉 Now want to know- have you read any of these books? Were they five stars for you? What books do you predict being your next five star reads? Let me know in the comments!

What Did I Think of the Longest Books I’ve Ever Read?

I’ve been thinking about endurance a lot lately- which made me (obviously) relate it back to books. There are many reasons a book may be a test of endurance- but today I just want to look at the most common reason: length. Powering through a tome can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s rewarding… and sometimes it’s really, really not. Let’s talk about some of my experiences:

Les Miserables– according to Goodreads this is longer than War and Peace– I don’t know how they figured it out. Either way, this was a fantastic book. There were parts that dragged, as you might expect of a book this long, but overall it was a stonkingly good read.

War and Peace– I challenged myself to read this a few years ago and was actually surprised by how much it blew me away. Highlighting the horrors of warfare, this book is an immersive and complex exploration of humanity.  

Game of Thrones– loads of GRRM Books end up on this list, so I decided to just mention the series. Personally, I think this books have an excellent grasp of character and the plots are completely invigorating… HOWEVER, *controversial opinion time*, I don’t think they justify their length. There is a lot about the writing style that I don’t like and could have been cut down for more brevity.

Atlas Shrugged– oof this is the most painful book on the list. Sorry, not into Rand’s dull propagandistic drivel. This didn’t feel like reading a story at all and was just painful to get through.

Count of Monte Cristo– contrast that with one of my faves- this book is so thoroughly entertaining. Don’t be put off by the length, it’s one of the most exciting books I’ve ever read. And it has interesting things to say about what the thirst for vengeance does to you as well.  

Gone with the Wind– if you enjoy war dramas, there’s a fighting chance you’ll like this book. This didn’t quite do it for me. There were too many things my modern eyes couldn’t ignore and I couldn’t get past. Besides, it didn’t help that I hated the heroine.

Bleak House– there were a couple of Dickens in the running as well, but I decided to go with the one I liked most. Dickens is always good value entertainment and this is no exception. Full of vivid characters and a powerfully descriptive setting, it’s easy to visualise the Dickensian world. For me, this book has some distinct passages and images that have left their mark on me.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell– the only one on this list I DNF’d. Sadly, I didn’t connect with the writing style, so I can say it’s a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.

Wise Man’s Fear– ach this did not live up to its predecessor. With Name of the Wind, I felt the length was justified with just enough action and elegant prose. Yet here everything I liked was snuffed out and replaced with a smokescreen of pointless subplots. It didn’t feel like the overall narrative advanced at all: Kvothe ended up more or less back where he started, but with a few extra skills (chiefly swordsmanship and apparently being oh-so-fabulous in bed). I’m hoping this was just middle book syndrome and whatever sure-to-be-monstrous-sized tome follows it will justify its length.

Kingdom of Ash– I didn’t end up loving this finale quite as much as I thought I would, though I can’t entirely blame that on the length. To be fair to the book, every scene had a weight to it and felt significant. Unfortunately, plot isn’t the only thing that matters in a big book. In this case, there were simply too many characters and I couldn’t sustain an interest for all of them. Unrelated to length, I also didn’t like the *dramatic* perspective shifts, which I heard Maas say was to frustrate the reader. Frustrate me it did- I kept putting the book down, which meant it took me even longer to get through than it should have.  

As you can see, a bit of a mixed bag! Have you read any of these? Did you love them or loathe them? And what’s the longest book you’ve ever read? Let me know in the comments!