Nearly the end of March already?! We hope you’ve all been enjoying our March pick, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot!
Here are five of Hels’ recent reads if you’re looking for a few books to add to that ever-growing TBR pile…
Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead (Elle Cosimano) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Finlay Donovan is once again struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.
But someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of hit-women disguised as soccer moms, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.
I was so, so excited for the second installment of the Finlay Donovan series – I absolutely loved the first one. FD Knocks ‘Em Dead picks up almost immediately after the first book, and it was like being back among friends. While (as I was hoping) the plot was wonderful and ludicrous, it didn’t quite grab me in the same way the first story did – I’m quite happy to suspend my disbelief, but maybe I had to do it a few too many times. Saying that, I love the characters, it’s such an entertaining read, and it’s been completely left open for a third book which I am very happy about.
Wrong Place Wrong Time (Gillian McAllister) ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
It’s every parent’s nightmare. Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.
That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake…and it is yesterday. Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it.
This is SO cleverly plotted, I was really impressed. I started reading it, and when I had to put it down I found my mind kept returning to the story, wondering how it would play out. The thing I loved most about it was that at the heart of it is Jen, a mother, desperate to protect her son Todd. I loved how she had a second chance with some times of his childhood, it made me want to go and hug my kids.
The pace is great, it is a little confusing at times but actually it works because the whole thing is strange and confusing for Jen, and while I did have to flick back and forth at times to work out where in her timeline I was, it was so well done for such an ambitious plot. I did like the extremely convenient physicist who was there to guide when needed, but also I think this was probably necessary to help with the plot! There are so many twists and turns, but it’s very well executed and I loved the book.
(Release date: 12th May 2022)
One True Loves (Taylor Jenkins Reid) ⭐⭐⭐💫
In her twenties, Emma marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from their hometown in Massachusetts and they travel the world together. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness. That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her…
This was a very…nice book. I love love love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing – Evelyn Hugo is one of my favourite books – and as usual her writing swept me up. The actual plot was a bit…meh. Its hard to explain why I stopped liking Emma without sharing spoilers, but I massively disagreed with her actions in the second half of the book. I thought Sam was far too good for her, and I found the ending extremely convenient.
There were some lovely moments, and it did make me think a lot about what I would do in Emma’s situation. I didn’t find Jesse’s story particularly believable. 5/5 for the beautiful writing and the way TJR sweeps the reader up, but probably 3.5/5 for the actual story.
Swimming In The Dark (Tomasz Jedrowski) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Set in early 1980s Poland against the violent decline of communism, this is a tender and passionate story of first love between two young men who eventually find themselves on opposite sides of the political divide.
This is an absolutely beautiful book. I loved the writing, it was quiet and powerful. For such a short book, so much was covered, the political landscape seeps through every part of the story, and when I finished, I went to research more on the history of Poland. The story follows Ludwik and Janusz who meet at an agricultural camp, and the two fall slowly and intensely in love. The audiobook is beautifully narrated, and I felt really calm every time I put it on.
Take A Hint, Dani Brown (Talia Hibbert) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and the perfect friend-with-benefits, she has no interest in romance.
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae and the two of them decide to fake date.
This is a lovely, fun (obviously very predictable) and easy romance story. I’ve read the first in the Brown sisters series (Chloe Brown) and didn’t love it…but this was really enjoyable. The audiobook narration is really good too! I loved the focus on mental health and I thought the struggles with anxiety were dealt with very well – I also really appreciated the trigger warning at the start of the book! I didn’t think the plot itself was particularly strong (the whole #DrRugbae was a bit…nothingy) but overall it was a really good read.
What book have you read recently that we should add to our TBR pile?
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