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  • Writer's pictureIndiaLily

Books of 2023: A snapshot of reviews (no spoilers)

Soft Lad, Nick Grimshaw - 5/5

A group of life stories from Nick Grimshaw covering growing up, coming out, and getting to live his dream at Radio 1.

I absolutely loved this and I'm not normally into non-fiction books. Check out my full review here.

The Bullet That Missed (Thursday Murder Club 3), Richard Osman - 5/5

The group of pensioners are faced with two murders that occured 10 years apart, all whilst one character is faced with a deadly task.

Another brilliant mystery from Osman. These books jut get better and better I think. I can't wait for them to be turned into films one day. Review for the first one here.

It Starts With Us, Colleen Hoover - 5/5

The sequel to It Ends With Us. We pick up right where the first book left us. Lily and her ex-husband have just settled into a civil co-parenting rhythm when she suddenly bumps into her first love.

This is not a simple romance story. There are real life issues that get in the way and it makes it all the more engaging. I loved this more than the first one just because we knew the characters already so cared more.

The Man Who Didn't Call, Rosie Walsh - 5/5

A couple of strangers meet and have an amazing week together but then when one of them falls off the face of the earth, a story unravels that reveals it's not all as it seems.

I picked this up in a charity shop not knowing what to expact and WOW. It took me a bit of time to get into, but once I was I couldn't put it down. I'd call this a romance turned mystery book and loved it. You defintitely won't be able to guess what happens.

Daisy Jones & The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid - 5/5

Written as a series of interviews, this book is about the rise and fall of a fictional band in the 70s. It will give you Fleetwood Mac vibes with drama between band members, issues around addiction, and messy relationships.

I actually started the TV series (on Amazon Prime) before I started the book so did it in a bit of weird order as I was watching and reading at the same time. I LOVED this though. I've never read anything like it and it's so believable that people have been certain it's a real band that existed. I'd say the book and series is 8/10 in terms of similarity. The book can go deeper with certain elements that a series would struggle to do, but I loved both nevertheless.

Reminders of Him, Colleen Hoover - 4.5/5

After serving five years in prison, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong. She hopes to reunite with her four-year-old daughter and rebuild her life but things don't go to plan.

I didn’t fly through this (may have been the big life changes going on at the time rather than a reflection of the book), but overall I really enjoyed it. Lovable characters, surprising and thought-provoking over the topic of forgiveness and loss.

A Flicker in the Dark, Stacy Willingham - 5/5

Chloe's father is a serial killer and in jail. He was convicted when she was 12 but the bodies of the girls were never found. Now she's a psychologist with a loving fiance. But when a girl goes missing, all those memories come back and she realises the past is anything but forgotten.

I flew through this in a week on a couple of trains to London. Lots of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, really good!

This Time Next Year, Sophie Cousens - 3/5

Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year's Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart. Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn't be more different. Now all grown up, they find themselves together again.

This dragged a bit for me. Nice enough story, but nothing amazing. Needed it after a heavier thriller though. Definitely a nice holiday read.

The Woman in the Window, AJ Finn - 2/5

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine, watching old movies, remembering happier times, and spying on her neighbors. She witnesses something and this triggers everything around her to fall apart.

I was expecting a lot from this as Netflix made it into a film in 2021 with an impressive cast (Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman). However, I just never really got into it. It felt like a slog, and when you'd get to something gripping it fizzled out very quickly like a damp firework to be honest.

Verity, Colleen Hoover - 5/5

Lowen Ashleigh accepts the job offer of a lifetime - complete the remaining books in a successful series because the author, Verity Crawford, is injured and unable to finish. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home to sort through years of Verity's notes and plot outlines but comes across something that was never meant to be found.

I LOVED THIS. Some really creepy bits, twists I never saw coming, and generally the sort of story I've never read before. I couldn't put it down. Very different to Hoover's other books I've read, but I've loved them all so far.

Yellowface, Rebecca F Kuang - 3/5

June Hayward, an unsuccessful young author, witnesses the death of her friend and successful author, Athena. June finds the manuscript of Athena's new book and decides to edit it and pass it off as her own. Controversy surrounds the success of the novel, and June repeatedly fends off accusations of cultural appropriation and plagiarism.

This was my first book to read as part of the book club at work. I didn't pick it, and never would have picked to read a book like this. I got into it quickly and found myself questioning if I wanted June to get away with it. Despite the promising start, I found the pace was lost constantly and I ended up not really caring what happened either way. It dealt with some topics I thought were interesting, but overall I didn't love it. The Guardian called it a ‘wickedly funny publishing thriller’ but I didn't think there was anything funny or thrilling about it.

Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold - 3.5/5

Susie Salmon is raped and murdered as a teenager. This book follows Susie to heaven where she watches as her family is torn apart by grief.

I watched the film years ago and didn’t realise it was a book until I spotted it in a charity shop. I couldn’t remember the plot so went in pretty blind. It's a really heartbreaking story and not like anything else I've read in terms of the supernatural elements. At times I found it dragged a bit, but overall I enjoyed it (as much as you can enjoy a book that is about a murdered teenager).

The Big Picture, Douglas Kennedy - 3.5/5

Ben Bradford appears to have a perfect life - good job, money, healthy family. But he isn't happy, and when he finds out his wife is lying to him, things KICK OFF to say the least

This was another book club pick and it started off strong. I got into it quickly, and found it easy to read. However, in the aftermath of something big happening about half way through, I felt like the book lost pace and after that I struggled. I didn't really like Ben, and I feel like when I dislike the protagonist I lose all interest in the plot.


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