In September, I ate books for breakfast. I was a reading machine. I was Lauren, Conquerer of the Literature – rising up from her paperback throne and slaying any plotline that dared cross me.
The truth is that, nowadays, I really struggle to find time to read. It tends to be a case of fitting it in on my half hour commute to work or wolfing down ‘just one more chapter’ before I collapse into bed of a night. My holiday to Mexico was exactly what I needed to binge on all of the books I’d been depriving myself of.
Take a look below and hopefully let yourself be inspired for your next read (or at least know what to avoid).
The Stepmother by Claire Seeber
Newlyweds Jeanie and Matthew embark on their new life together with rose-tinted specks.
With two children from a previous marriage and an ex-wife that won’t stay away, Matthew already holds a lot of baggage. But when strange things start to happen, Jeanie may be right to be a little bit suspicious about what she’s gotten herself in to.
I’d saved this book especially for my holiday as it has been recommended by three people whose taste I trust. It flowed well and kept you guessing throughout. I found Jeanie a bit plain and 2D to begin with, but as the story goes on you discover she’s not as black and white as she seems.
After You by Jojo Moyes
It takes a lot for me to praise a chick-lit. I’d downloaded Me Before You begrudgingly as I couldn’t wait at a bus stop or open a magazine without having it shoved down my neck and I’m too nosey not to be part of something that was obviously going to blow up.
I ate my words after chapter one when I was so engrossed in it that it may as well have been glued to my hand.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Me Before You is based around the relationship between quirky, care-free Lou and broody Will Trainor, a recently wheelchair-bound ex-banker that misses his old life. Now, if you haven’t read the first installment I must insist that you skip this next paragraph completely as it’s spoilers galore.
Okay? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
After You picks up a few months after the end of MBY where Louisa isn’t living the YOLO lifestyle Will had envisioned for her before his assisted suicide. She’s bored and missing home.
I won’t mince my words, this book is not as good as it’s predecessor. But, it never really is, is it? On it’s own merits and completely taking MBY out of the equation it can absolutely stand alone as a feel-good (sometimes feel-not-so-good) read. The thriller-Queen enjoyed it, and that deserves praise in itself.
Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter
A beautiful 19-year-old girl goes missing. She has blonde hair and blue eyes.
And according to our protagonist Julia, this is just too much of a freaky coincidence because *gasp* she is beautiful, has blonde hair and blue eyes!!!!!!!!!!
I just found this novella a bit annoying. This is a no spoiler zone, but the ending was super anti-climatic and I just felt that it was more the inner monologue of a self-centered teenager than something to make me scared to walk home alone. That’s all I’ll say.
While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green
Working mum Lisa shuts her eyes and counts to 100. She’s playing a game of hide-and-seek with her little girl. When she opens her eyes, Ella is gone without a trace. Everyone has their theories on who took her, but what if it’s not as predictable as that?
God, I loved this book. First off, I love a thriller where the story doesn’t revolve around the detectives and actually gives you a full insight on how this is effecting the victims (or perpetrator). The flashback-scenes, which can sometimes be tedious in other things I’ve read, are so compelling and really paint a vivid picture of what’s going on in the characters’ minds.
It’s all a very ambitious premise, but Green pulls it off seamlessly.
Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle
Bit of a bizzare story line but stay with me; family-man Joe Clarke wakes up one morning and is 99.9% sure he’s just cheated on his wife. The problem is, he can’t remember either way, despite the absence of a hang-over or any other reason for short-term memory loss. But all the signs are there, so surely he did it? Overcome with guilt he tells his wife what he thinks he’s done, and his whole world falls apart. Alongside this, he begins to get vivid hallucinations of his dead ex-girlfriend who seems to have become a type of life-coach/psychotic-nightmare.
Well, I did say it was bizzare. This book was okay – I resent trying to understand or like a protagonist that, whether a cheat or not, got himself into a situation where it was possible then spent months feeling like the victim about it.
The other characters, for example Joe’s wife or the guys from the Divorced Dad’s Club, were much more likeable and provided me with some comic releif.
The World Of Karl Pilkington
Some way or another I’ve always found myself reading one of Karl’s books while on holiday. I relate to this guy; I’m bald, miserable and don’t see the point in most things. I’ve also got some great ideas and inventions stored away in my big round head that other people think are stupid (e.g. egg-yolk sauce, in a bottle like ketchup. That’s trademarked – if you try and use it I’ll sue you).
This is a basically pointless book, and my process was to dip into it in intervals when I was getting bored of whatever other book I was reading, and when I did so I’d often chuckle to myself and share tit-bits with whoever was in the sunlounger next to me.
He’s daft and I love him.
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Jean Taylor’s husband was just hit by a bus and killed on impact.
After years of living for Glen (for better or for worse) she finds herself free. But there are secrets in their marriage that are threatening to come to light, and now she’s the one holding the cards.
There’s not a lot I can say about this book without totally spoiling it for potential readers but, while it was slow at some parts, it kept my interest. I wasn’t bowled over with the ending, as I felt it was leading up to something a lot more ‘twisty’.
It’s definitely worth a read.
Get Even by Martina Cole
Sharon and Lenny were childhood sweethearts, and the only thing that could make their white-picket-fence picture complete is their latest addition, a baby boy.
Sharon knows better than to question Lenny’s business dealings and reputation, especially since it pays for her lavish lifestyle so well.
However, when Lenny’s found brutally murdered Sharon might well wish she’s had more of an insight to what her husband was getting up to behind closed doors…
I’d been meaning to read something by Cole for a few years now, and I actually didn’t notice this was her book before downloading it. I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t the twisty-turny murder-mystery I assumed it would be, but it was unlike anything I’ve read before. Cole really manages to paint a picture in your mind of a life you had no idea about. There were a few times I’d be surprised to find myself in the present, and not following around gangsters and counting my £100 notes.
By the looks of the snippets from her other books at the end of Get Even, I’d guess that everything she writes follows this type of style and I’ll definitely be downloading more. Well, there’s another 21 to get through so I’ll be busy.
Follow Me by Angela Clarke
The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ has claimed his first victim. Posting chilling tweets, they’re steadily gaining a large following as his audience looks on in horror. Everyone’s following him, but if HE following YOU?
I abandoned this book halfway through. I know, I know, how can I judge a book that I’ve never even finished? Easily actually, because I was bored stiff and I had other things I wanted to read. Although the plot line was genuinely interesting, I just don’t think the delivery was all that great. Maybe the book’s aimed at an older, more clueless audience but I couldn’t cope with how the author described Twitter as complicated as diffusing a nuclear bomb. The chapter titles (BTW – By The Way, FWP – First World Problems etc.) felt patronizing and felt as if they were trying too hard. I also felt that a lot of the description passages were rambly and didn’t add much to the story line.
What have been your best holiday-reads this year? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter at @dimmickhead!