October Round-Up – The Books I Read In October 2016

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In October I read nine books, seven of which are listed below, the other two are for forthcoming blog tours so reviews are coming soon!

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins (Black Swan) – My first read of October was a book I had been meaning to read for some time which has dominated the bestseller lists since its publication last year. The Girl On The Train is a tense, gripping psychological thriller that kept me guessing until the very end. The story is narrated by three female characters, all with interesting stories and secrets to tell. This includes Rachel, an unreliable narrator who is obsessed with a particular house she sees on her daily commute. And one day she witnesses something shocking at the house, something which results in her being at the heart of a sinister crime. An enjoyable read filled with suspense, revelations and unpleasant characters.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake  (MacMillan) – This was an enjoyable YA fantasy novel and the first in a series by Kendare Blake. Events take place on the island of Fennbirn where in every generation a set of triplets are born, three sisters who are all equal heirs to the throne, and all in possession of some kind of magic. But unfortunately, only one queen can take to the throne meaning the sisters must fight to the death to get there. This was a fascinating introduction to a new story and it was interesting discovering the characters and the abilities they possess.

Dark Water by Sara Bailey (Nightingale Editions) – I loved reading Sara Bailey’s haunting debut novel about loss, friendship and moving on. Its protagonist, Helena, returns to her childhood home in Orkney to care for her father who is in ill health. But when she is there she is haunted by memories of her friend Anastasia, who tragically disappeared in a swimming accident as a teen. Helena is forced to reopen old wounds as she becomes reacquainted with faces from her past, and uncovering past secrets made for a gripping read, leading up to a chilling conclusion.

Dodge And Burn by Seraphina Madsen (Dodo Ink) – The first novel from independent publisher Dodo Ink is an unusual story featuring a surreal road trip. Eugenie Lund is a missing heiress whose notebook is found in a Spanish cave. The manuscript within recounts Eugenie’s less than conventional existence having lost her mother to a killer bee attack before herself and sister Camille are taken into the care of the sinister Dr Vargas. Fleeing this nightmare childhood the sisters become separated and Eugenie spends her days trying to track down Camille, finding herself in some unusual situations along the way. A unique story in which the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred.

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone (Orenda Books) – This month I took part in the blog tour for Michael J Malone’s psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, which tells the story of a troubled marriage and the domestic abuse that threatens to tear a family apart. It was a moving, harrowing story but despite the difficult content I found it hard to put down. After his wife dies during childbirth Andy Boyd gets a second chance of happiness when he meets the beautiful Anna. A whirlwind romance ensues and the pair get married, setting up home together with their children. But on their wedding night Andy starts to realise Anna may not be the perfect wife he had hoped for. Events spiral out of control, and Andy is subjected to increasingly traumatic instances of physical and psychological torment. An unsettling, enthralling read.

The Trees by Ali Shaw (Bloomsbury) – This was a post-apocalyptic story of sorts with unusual beginnings. One night the world changes when the trees arrive, thundering through the ground destroying everything in their path. The book’s unlikely hero, Adrien, must set out into this unrecognisable world in order to be reunited with his wife. And with Hannah and her son Seb by his side they journey through the forest, unaware of whom or what may be awaiting them. This was an interesting story about man versus nature and how the characters relationships with the world around them changed as they had to adapt to this new life, and discover the darkness within themselves.

Sky Hooks by Neil Campbell (Salt Publishing) – I enjoyed this heartfelt story of an ordinary man coming to terms with leaving a dream behind. Its narrator is a man who had the potential to have a successful football career until an injury put an end to his hopes. As a result he found himself working in a warehouse, coping with long hours and mundane tasks. To help him through he turns to alcohol, and to women, but deep down he has hopes of something better. This was a moving story about the challenges we face and how we learn to pick up the pieces and start to build a new future in the face of adversity.

You can read full reviews of all of my October reads by clicking the links above and they can also be found in my October 2016/Book Reviews archives. Also on the blog in October I looked ahead to the Nottingham Festival of Literature and had a guest post from Jen from Nerdy Bookworm Box. I also took part in the blog tour for the Ninja Book Box featuring a Q&A with Bex Hughes.

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As always, I would like to thank everyone who has read and shared my blog posts this month. I really appreciate the support and hope that you enjoy the blog – thanks for reading!

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