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March Reading Highlights

I know this is a few days late but you’ll have to bear with me. Whilst books are important I have to prioritise. In a world that’s gone mad I’m pretty busy at the minute.

Strangers CL Taylor


Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.

And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.Available here

My review

Astounding and yet, as the writer of Sleep, I didn’t expect any less. Sleep was wonderful. This is different and, IMHO, has the edge on Taylor’s previous work. There’s something about the structure that I haven’t come across before in writing, something that’s brave but Taylor’s writing pulls it off. Three main characters, all very different but, as the story unfolds, not so very different. Alice who’s in fashion. Gareth in security and finally Ursula,, a bit of a misfit. All good in their own way. Told from each characters unique viewpoint, the story unfolds to a dramatic ending. Magnificent storyline. super writing. Believable characters. 10 stars.

Family for Beginners Sarah Morgan


Who says you can’t choose your family?

When Flora falls in love with Jack, suddenly she’s not only handling a very cranky teenager, but she’s also living in the shadow of Jack’s perfect, immortalised wife, Becca. Every summer, Becca and Jack would holiday with Becca’s oldest friends and Jack wants to continue the tradition, so now Flora must face a summer trying to live up to Becca’s memory, with not only Jack’s daughter looking on, but with Becca’s best friends judging her every move…

The more Flora tries to impress everyone, the more things go horribly wrong…but as the summer unfolds, Flora begins pushing her own boundaries, and finding herself in a way that she never thought she needed to.

And she soon learns that families come in all shapes and sizes. Available here

My review

I make no apology, in a world that turns its nose up at romantic books, that Sarah Morgan is one of my favourite writers. There’s just something about how she manages words that sends her right to the top of the class. In this her latest she doesn’t disappoint. Flora is a little lost amongst all those flowers until handsome widower strolls into the shop. He has a daughter. There are fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. There is a happy ending. What more do you want?

Can You See Here? Susie Lynes


Rachel Ryder doesn’t understand how her life has changed so completely. When she was younger, heads would turn when she walked into a room. Her children needed her; her husband adored her.

But somehow the years wore that all away. She was so busy raising her children, looking after her parents… She can barely remember the woman she used to be, the one whose husband told her she was out of his league. The woman she is now just does the laundry and makes the dinner, and can walk into a room without anyone knowing she’s there.

She knows that she hated feeling invisible. She knows that she thought: what would it take for you to see me again?

And now she’s worried that she did something terrible. Because she’s sitting in a room, being asked whether she killed someone.

When no-one is watching, you can get away with anything…
Available here

My review

A haunting depiction of what it’s like to grow old in a media-filled world full of beautiful people and a warning of what might happen as a result if things aren’t allowed to change. I felt this was a bit of a shift for Susie, I’ve read a couple of her previous books but, that said. I loved it. This had the edge but for the life of me I can’t put that into words. IMHO her best yet

The Secret Admirer Carol Wyer


Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?
Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from ‘a secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…
And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.
Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Available here

My Review

This, the second book that I’ve read by this writer, continues to explore DI Natalie’s complex personal life while she struggles with her work one. Gemma, a Uni student, gets acid thrown and subsequently dies. But all is not as it seems with her tender life. Another stonking read from a great crime writer. The characters are spot on. The plot and twist gasp worthy.

Shalini Boland One of Us is Lying

Book blurb

Tia is walking home with her children, along the lakeside of their quiet, safe town, when she realises something is wrong with her five-year-old daughter, Rosie. She seems troubled, not at all her usual happy self.

But when Tia finally coaxes Rosie to open up, she wishes she hadn’t. Because her sweet daughter asks a question Tia never thought she’d hear.

‘Why did you kill someone?’

Tia knows how rumours spread around her small town. She just can’t understand who would have shared such a horrible story. Or why.

It can’t have anything to do with what happened. Only her two best friends really remember that…

Tia thought she could trust Fiona and Kelly with her life. They’ve been through so much together. But when she’s sent photos of herself that could tear her whole world apart, she starts to wonder. Someone is determined to punish her. But who? And will her friends stand by her, or will the past destroy all of their lives? Available here

My Review

So I seem to have arrived late to the Boland party, something I regret (you’ll be pleased to know that I intend to rectify my tardiness post haste). This is a densely plotted book and very cleverly written. The start drew me in with the biggest hook. Out of the mouths of babes, the truth or a version of it – but which one? Boland = Breath-taking.


About Jenny O’Brien

Jenny is a hybrid writer. Her latest book, SILENT CRY, comes out on the 17th April with HQ Digital. She’s also a frontline nurse.