In the first month of the year, I decided I wanted to start the year off strong and pick up some of the thrillers that had been sitting on my TBR list for far too long. On top of this, I also stumbled across two corkers that I hadn’t even heard of until about a day before I bought them.

As well as a huge array of thrillers, I managed to finish the penultimate Harry Potter book and also squeeze in a book that many people say changed their lives – but did it change mine? Find links to all of the books I’ve reviewed below and links to pick up your own copy too if you so wish.

The 7 Books I read in january
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So what are the seven books I read? Let me know if you’ve read any of them or whether you decide to pick them up as a result of reading any of my reviews below. If you’d like to purchase the books, there is a link to each book on Amazon below each of the summaries.

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

My summary of Sweetpea: “This book will undoubtedly make you laugh out loud – it may also make you feel quite uncomfortable at times. Fair play to Skuse for writing a very controversial book that includes some genuinely dark and, at times, uncomfortable scenes to read. Skuse has written an oddly-relatable serial killer here too in Rhiannon. Excluding the actual killing part, Rhiannon has a lot of opinions that I think a lot of people could relate to and her thoughts on certain people could well be tapping into very similar darker thoughts of those who read the books.

Sweetpea book review
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I was waiting for a twist or something really exciting to happen but it never did. However, in hindsight the story was enjoyable and the main character was brilliant, so I look forward to reading the sequels.”

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My summary of The Alchemist: “I struggle with novellas as I’m somebody that likes to feel like I’ve been on an emotional journey with a book and often feel that the 150 pages a novella gives you can’t accomplish this. However, once in a while, a novella does come along that does really impress you and makes you see why it is so celebrated. The Alchemist almost does this for me.

The Alchemist
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“Whilst reading it, I was impressed with the messages Coelho was getting across but felt that due to its short length and lack of deep plot, I couldn’t give it the five stars it deserves. In hindsight, it is a great novel and one that has left me reflecting. I reckon I’ll pick it up again in the future at some point when I’m maybe more in the mood for life-changing writing. But for now, it’s a four stars from me.”

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

My summary of The Appeal: The Appeal takes us through the lives of 15 different characters who are all, in some way, playing a part in the town’s upcoming play, either as part of the cast or because they’re friends with the Hayward family who are running the play. A narrative quickly forms that one of the Haywards’ children becomes sick and the attentions of everyone must slightly veer towards raising a vast amount of funds to help get special treatment for the little girl, Poppy.

The Appeal book review
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For the first half of the book you follow this – reading email exchanges between a lot of the characters, quickly building up an idea of the type of people they are, how they view each other and also getting an insight into some of the imperfections that form and some of the secrets they hold.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the penultimate book in the Harry Potter series. If you’ve been following my blog for a fair few months or my newsletter, you’ll know I’ve been rereading these for a few months now. I bloody love this series and reading through them has reminded me just how much better they than the films – even though I love the films too.

Everything is building in this book. Things are changing in the wizarding world, Voldemort is very much gaining a growing influence and dark secrets are flooding out about those around Harry and he’s slowly learning those he can trust and those he can’t. He’s the chosen one, he’s the only one who can kill Voldemort, but there’s something else he must do before that.

Girl A by Abigail Dean

My summary of Girl A: Girl A was a book that I went into with quite high expectations and unfortunately came out very underwhelmed. It’s a book that I can see why people liked it – the interesting tale of how Lex’s family home down spiralled into the dark place that meant she had to escape. However, there weren’t enough tense moments and the tale wasn’t that interesting to actually read about.

Girl A book review
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“Abigail Dean has a fantastic writing style and one that means I wouldn’t be averse to picking up another of her books despite that one not taking my fancy. However, with a severe lack of action, interesting characters or anything really going on, I can’t really recommend Girl A to anyone unless they love tales about dark family homes.”

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

My summary of The Sanatorium: The Sanatorium is great – it’s a really tense and eery novel that I think almost any mystery reader will enjoy. It’s got a fantastic setting, described well by Pearse and has a storyline that is deeper than it needs to be to satisfy murder mystery fans.

The Sanatorium
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The weak ending does let it down a tad but this is my personal preference and the fact that none of the characters stood out to be absolutely loveable. But as a debut novel, this is a very strong start, so it’s a 4/5 from me.”

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

My summary of The Night She Disappeared: The Night She Disappeared was a good, fun read. Is it going to blow your minds? No. But will it keep you on your toes, wanting to know more about these characters and where things are going to lead them? Very much so, yes.

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
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With some genuinely layered characters and a plot that will keep you flipping the pages, this may well be my favourite Lisa Jewell novel yet.”

To summarise…

December was a great month for reading – I didn’t have any long fantasy novels and pretty much every book I read was either a thriller or something a bit more contemporary or short. I like reading both, so this isn’t necessarily the positive but does offer up how I mnaged to read seven books this month.

I’ve have to say that The Appeal was my favourite book from this month. It was an absolute corker. It was incredibly well written in a very unique style and still offered a genuinely compelling murder mystery with some clever twists and a really fulfilling ending.

What books did you read this month? Have you read any of the books from above? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media channels!