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I basically have two hobbies in life – writing, and voraciously reading! When I’m not tapping away at a keyboard, my nose is stuck firmly into a book, and few things thrill me more than reading something that totally engrosses me.

I’m an active member of the Goodreads community and frequently leave reviews up there (please do feel free to get in touch); if you’re not on Goodreads, here’s a round-up of some of the best books I’ve read recently.

Ah… All the Sweet, Sweet Books!

  • The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert. This one was on Netgalley, and I’ll admit, I practically begged to get it, because I’d heard so many great things about this author. Seriously, all anyone needs to do is say to me ‘this one’s got fairy-stories in it, and it’s DARK’ and I’ll be there like a ferret down a rabbit-hole.

Anyway, I’m delighted to report that a) I finally got it on Netgalley and b) it was every bit as fabulous as I’d expected. Here’s my review -

  • The Reason You’re Alive, Matthew Quick. I’d adored The Silver Linings Playbook, so when I heard Picador were offering a copy of this book for review, I swiftly started pleading. Yes people, I have no shame, and will grovel at your feet if it means you give me a great book in return.

I’ll warn you in advance, this book doesn’t hold back in terms of language or abusive, racist comments. However, that’s the point – and as such, isn’t offensive (or I certainly didn’t interpret it that way). It’s about a war veteran, who seems to be a massive racist, but actually, runs a lot deeper than that, and is a decent guy with a sad past. Don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t miserable at all. In fact, like The Silver Linings Playbook, it’s uplifting and hilarious in places. Definitely worth reading. (Again, here’s my review, in case you’d like to read more - )

  • The Hoarder, Jess Kidd. Jess Kidd’s short story won the 2016 Costa Short Story Award, and it’s not surprising, because it was freaking brilliant. Her use of dialect is particularly magnificent – that combined with the fact that her characters feel so real.

The Hoarder was every bit as fab as her short story – it’s about Maud, an Irish social worker, who’s sent in to look after a cantankerous old man in a decaying house (who likes to hoard things). The house has some serious secrets, as does Maud, actually -and this makes for a compelling, occasionally eerie, often warm and funny read.

  • The Toymakers, Robert Dinsdale. Right from the start, this book was so gorgeously descriptive (and Christmassy, which worked with the time of year I was reading it!) – it has a magical feel to it, and I’m always a sucker for those kinds of stories. It’s set in a toy-shop, where nothing is as it seems; and follows Cathy, a runaway pregnant girl, and her relationship with the two sons of the toymaker, Emil and Kaspar.

A very sweet, warm novel, with some moving moments, and some wildly creative ideas.

  • The Woman in the Window, A J Finn. I’ve heard this is going to be made into a movie, and I’m not surprised, it’s gripping, and as twisty-turny as you can imagine. I’m not normally one for suspense novels, but I freely admit I was gripped throughout while reading this. Even better, I didn’t see the ending coming, which is always a major treat. 

Dr Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural – The Case of the Deadly Doppelganger, is available to pre-order – you can do so here (US) or here (UK).