Friday 3 March 2017

What I Read in February

I may have gone back on my word of last month, I happened to mention that I had slowed down my reading since the start of the new year. Well the coursework sort of took a back burner this month, partly down to half term, partly because I felt I'd pushed too hard the previous month, I'm trying to find that balance of work and play and my escape has always been books. So here is what I read in February.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

Neil Gaiman is an author I love, he writes some fantastic pieces of fantasy that are guaranteed to draw you in. This book is quite short in comparison to some of his other works and I'd say is a good starting point for his stories.

Fake Fiance by Ilsa Madden-Mills
They say nothing compares to your first kiss,
But our first kiss was orchestrated for an audience.
Our second kiss…that one was REAL.
He cradled my face like he was terrified he’d f*ck it up.
He stared into my eyes until the air buzzed.
Soft and slow, full of sighs and little laughs,
He inhaled me like I was the finest Belgian chocolate,
And he'd never get another piece.
A nip of his teeth, his hand at my waist...
And I was lost.
I forgot he was paying me to be his fake fiancée.
I forgot we weren’t REAL.
Our kiss was pure magic, and before you laugh and say those kinds of kisses don’t exist…
Then you’ve never touched lips with Max Kent, the hottest quarterback in college history.

This is one of those more 'smutty' escapism books, not everyones cup of tea, I have to admit I didn't fall head over heels for this one but it was good easy read.

Reason to Stay Alive by Matt Haig


I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if - for me - it is the price of feeling life, it's a price always worth paying.

Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn't, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It's also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how live better, love better, read better and feel more. 

This was a book I bought for myself for my birthday in January and one that I would highly recommend. It is utterly thought provoking and even if you haven't suffered depression yourself it makes you see others and their emotions in a totally different light.

Heartless by Winter Renshaw

My obsession was born of innocence and good intentions, and it began the day I spotted a handwritten journal lying in the bushes outside a townhouse on Lexington Avenue. It was raining sideways that morning, and my intention was to return it the next day; safe and dry. 

Only I kept it. 

I kept it, and I read it. 

A week later, overwhelmed with curiosity and feeling guilty for harboring secrets that didn’t belong to me, I tried to return it. 

Only I wasn’t expecting to meet him. 

Unapologetically heartless and enigmatically sexy, he claims he knows nothing about the journal I found outside his place, but the reticent glint in his blue-green gaze tells me otherwise. 

There’s something different about him; something damaged yet magical, and I’m drawn to him; pulled into his orbit. 

There’s just one problem.

The more I get to know him, the more I’m positive the journal belonged to him . . .

I only got this book as it was free on Kindle at the time but I was pleasantly surprised with the story, the writing style and the fantastic twist that was quite the surprise.

Bad Girl Gone by Temple Matthews

Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There s just one problem: she s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive but she s not.

She s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.

I was sent this book via Netgalley to read and review, my full review is on Goodreads but let me tell you I was quite intrigued with this novel. It ended up cheesy in some places but the concept was quite a clever one, a good book for teens in my opinion.

Unwritten by M.C. Decker

I thought it was too late. I thought our story had already been written. 

College sophomore Brooke Anderson thought she had it all − a loving family, her sexy high school sweetheart, a supportive, quick-witted best friend and dreams of being the next hotshot reporter for the Washington Post. 

Fate had something else in mind when Brooke collided with the devastatingly handsome upperclassman, Rich Davis. Rich was cocky, conceited and arrogant. He was everything that Brooke didn’t want, but Rich never gave her the option. He had already made the choice to be, at the very least, her friend. Would Brooke accept this egotistical man’s friendship? Would she choose to want more? Would it be too late if she did? 

Fast forward nearly ten years. Brooke’s life hadn’t played out quite as she had envisioned it. She was suffering from the heartbreaking loss of her mother, her high school sweetheart was long gone, and her dreams of the Washington Post had turned into a career at a small town paper. Brooke decided it was time to follow her dreams. If she couldn’t be happy in love, at least she could be happy in life. 

Brooke’s dreams brought her to the lobby of the Washington Post where fate intervened once again as she collided with none other than the devastatingly handsome Rich Davis. As her potential employer, Rich now seemed off-limits. Brooke wanted her successful career more than a chance at love. But, was it really her choice to make, or was it beyond her control? 

Maybe our story is, in fact, Unwritten … 

This was another freebie on Kindle and I have to say I didn't really rate this one, felt rushed, not enough detail and the language used really grated on me.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? 

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

I was sent this book via Netgalley and I rated this as my book of the month. It is very cleverly written and will have you turning the pages at a rapid rate, it got a big 5 stars from me!

Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love… 

Yes it is another one of those smutty books, what can I say I love them. I love Rachel Van Dyken, having read some of her previous works I was looking forward to reading Cheater. This one was utterly enjoyable, there was a good storyline with a nice amount of comedy and witty lines mixed in with some steamy scenes and a good dose of love. Another one kindly sent via Netgalley and you can read my full review here.

Cole by Tijan

I shouldn’t have remembered him.
He was just a guy who walked through a restaurant. I didn't know his name. We never made eye contact. There was no connection between us at all.
But I could feel him.
The tingle down my spine. The command in his presence. The snap of tension in the air around him. That was the first time I saw him, and I was captivated.
The second time was different.
He was in the mysterious back elevator of my apartment building. Our eyes met for a fleeting second before the doors closed, and I was staggered. My breath was robbed. My senses on high alert. My body hummed.
That was just the beginning.
He was the leader of the mafia. I was about to fall in love with him, and his name…
Cole Mauricio

This is one of my all time favourite authors and yet again this book does not disappoint, you need to read two previous stories Carter Reed and Carter Reed 2 to really get the full benefit of this one.

Wash Me Away by Wendy Owens

Monsters have a way of following you.

Immersed in a new world at boarding school, Addy Buckley learns she’s not the only one with secrets. While trying to navigate the minefield of painful lies that seem to be rattling around her family’s past, she meets soft on the eyes and heavy on the heart, Napoleon Blake. 

When faced with the darkness, Addy must decide to cling to her new life and friends or let the monster carry her away. The choice is hers, sink or swim.

I really wanted to like this book and although the story had a lot of promise I ended up feeling like it was rushed and lacked detail.

I'm on a roll with my reading, now I'm already thinking about what to read next whilst adding more to my to be read list. What can you recommend to me this month?


  1. I love a good book list. The Matt Haig book sounds particularly intriguing, and I've added it to my library queue. #PoCoLo

  2. Wow you've put me to shame. Also like the sound of the Matt Haig one. I've currently got 3 on the go. Two personal development and We are all made of stars #PoCoLo

  3. Wow - that's quite some list. I've got a huge TBR list on NetGalley and am not making much of an indent in it. But the intents there, and you can't beat a good book can you? Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

  4. You've read some really good books by the sound of it. No wonder you finished so many :-)

  5. Wow! I'm impressed that you've managed to fit in so much reading. Both the Matt Haig and Neil Gaiman books sound like books I would enjoy. I've just finished reading the first of Robin Stevens' Murder Most Unladylike books. It was brilliant! I couldn't put it down!


  6. I really liked the Matt Haig book - I haven't experienced any mental health issues myself really but it really helped me to understand what others are going through. And I really want to read the Neil Gaiman one - it's been on my list for a while. Like Catherine above I've been reading the Murder Most Unladylike books - I'm on number four (though I've read the Christmas one too) so good! Your eldest daughter might like them too! #readwithme

  7. Wow. You certainly got through a good number. Definitely some to add to my reading list here. And I must check in the box of books that my husband cleared for the charity shop, as I'm gradually reading some before they exit the house and I know there are a couple of Matt Haig titles in there. Not sure whether this is one of them of not

  8. Wow, you really did read a lot in February! I'm not keen on fantasy books at all, so I would give all those a miss. And smutty books - eek, they make me blush! But I've been tempted by Reasons to Stay Alive for a long time now and it sounds like it would be well worth a read, thanks.

  9. It's always interesting to read what books are out there. Thanks for sharing these. #PoCoLo

  10. Great to see you've got your reading back on track! I really like the sound of the Matt Haig book, definitely one to look out for #readwithme

  11. I like the sound of Bad Girl Gone. I'll keep an eye for that :)

  12. I've heard of Matt Haig but don't think I have read any of his books. I am reading a good book at the moment which I'm really enjoying - my Husband's wife x


I love hearing from my readers so please feel free to leave comment.