March Reads

Can you believe another month has been and gone? During March I read the grand total of 8 novels, although I’m also currently in the middle of reading one short story collection and one non-fiction, but as I didn’t quite manage to finish them off in time they’ll feature in next month’s wrap-up.

So, in chronological order here’s what I thought of them all:

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis (Two Roads) – 3/5

Butchershook

Set in Georgian England, this is a tale of Anne Jaccob – a loveless, macabre young girl – who sets her sight on the Butcher’s apprentice, Fub. Soon, we learn that she is happy to get blood on her hands in order to get her man and the tale takes a dark turn. My full review can be read here. Whilst I really enjoyed this, I only gave it 3/5 as I’ve read other pieces of historical fiction that I’ve loved more.      

We All Begin As Strangers by Harriet Cummings (Orion Books) – 3/5

A character called The Fox, is renowned for breaking and entering into houses within Heathcote village, suddenly one of the villagers goes missing and everyone believes the mysterious Fox is responsible. The novel makes us question how well we really know our friends and neighbours and whether community spirit is really all that it seems on the surface. I found this quite a light, easy read and I thought it’d be a great companion for a poolside holiday.

I received an advanced copy of We All Begin As Strangers from the author – it will be available from 20th April 2017.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Virago) – 5/5

Having never read any Daphne Du Maurier before I was unsure what to expect heading into Rebecca – I’d heard so, so many good things that I didn’t want the hype to disappoint me. I knew some of my most trusted bookish friends loved this, so I was hoping I would too. Thankfully, from the first page I was hooked; transported into the gothic landscape of Manderley and Maxim De Winter’s world, I was engrossed until the last page. I can definitely see why this is a classic, I absolutely loved (and in Mrs. Danver’s case, hated) the characters and the plot twists.

Follow Me Down by Sherri Smith (Titan Books) – 3/5

Follow Me Down_final

Follow Me Down is a psychological thriller that follows Mia Haas as she tries to find her missing twin brother, Lucas, who is the prime suspect in a murder case. About half way through, I really thought I’d cracked the conclusion, but boy-oh-boy was I wrong. All-in-all, Follow Me Down is a thriller that really packs a punch, it is full of twists and turns, with multiple storylines woven together culminating in one epic ending. My full post from the blog tour can be read here and an extract from the book here. 

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown (Penguin / Viking) – 5/5

Rich in history, The Witchfinder’s Sister is a compelling story based around Matthew Hopkins, the Manningtree witchfinder, in 17th century Britain. We follow his (fictionalised) sister, Alice, as she learns of the hideous things her brother is doing to local women – she battles her moral compass as she decides whether she should intervene and along the way we find out the family secrets. This was a mesmerising tale full of darkness and terror, but I don’t want to say too much as I’m planning on doing a full review of this. I absolutely loved it and was stunned to hear it was a debut novel – I had a book hangover for days. If you’re interested in historical fiction and/ or witches, I’d highly recommend this.

The Power by Naomi Alderman (Penguin / Viking) – 4/5

Set in a contemporary – and almost dystopian – world, The Power is a feminist study into what would happen if power was in the hands of women. In this new world, with the flick of a wrist, women can emit an electrifying force and this emergence of power soon leads to corruption. I honestly didn’t know what to think once I had finished The Power – it blew my mind, as well as both fascinating and terrifying me. It was the sort of book that I immediately wanted to discuss with friends, as I think everyone will take something different from this novel. Ultimately, it questions gender, power and religion. It’s definitely worth a read, but I would advise that there are some harrowing scenes, featuring sex-trafficking, death, rape and civil war.

Love Me Not by M.J. Arlidge (Penguin) – 3.5/5

M.J. Arlidge has done it again with a cracking DI Helen Grace thriller. As usual, it is full of clever twists and turns, with a psychological edge to it. This one felt more of a stand-alone novel than the others in the series as it featured less of DI Grace’s backstory in comparison to the others. One thing I really liked about this is that the majority of the action was set over one day, so it was really fast-paced.

I received an advanced copy of Love Me Not from the publishers – it will be available from 18th May 2017.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter (HarperCollins) – 4/5

The Cows (2)

Next week I’ll be taking part in The Cows book tour with Harper Collins, so keep your eyes peeled for a full review on 6th April. At the heart of this addictive read is three independent women, trying to work their way through modern life. Spoiler: I really enjoyed it!

As usual, I’d love to hear what you’ve read this month – have you got any recommendations for me? 

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