Six In Six – A Look Back At Some Of My Top Books Of 2017 So Far…

6 I saw this over at Cleopatra Loves Books, and thought it was a great idea to look back at books read so far in 2017. Hosted by Jo’s Book Journey, the idea is sharing 6 books, in 6 categories from the first half of the year. So here’s my choices:

6 Books I Have Enjoyed The Most 

 

 

6 Psychological Thrillers I Have Read & Enjoyed 

 

 

6 New To Me Authors 

 

 

6 Covers I’ve Loved

 

 

6 Books Which Took Me To The Past 

 

 

Six Books I Own & Can’t Believe I Haven’t Managed To Read Yet 

 

Book Review: The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

How far would you go to save your reputation? The stunning new noir thriller from the author of the bestselling The Missing One and The Other Child. Perfect for fans of I Let You Go and The Ice Twins.

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.

The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation? 

Published May 4th 2017 by Quercus (UK)  
Believe me, I’m the biggest wimp going where anything insect like is concerned. I’m the person running around screaming at a picnic when anything with wings comes near me. I have shut the door on the living room and not gone in for two days when I’ve had an eight legged guest, until my Dad could come round and check for me. So it surprised me how attracted I was to this book when I first caught sight of it floating about social media. It has massive, BIG bugs on it! But, they are gorgeous  and mysterious looking bugs. I thought this book looked stunning, and I wanted to find out more. 
Luckily then for me, that bugs isn’t really what this book is about. At all. I mean they do feature, but not in a creepy crawly way. The bug, or actually Dung Beetle (which I now have quite a fondness for…at a distance) is more the vehicle to connect the two main character’s in this book and provides a fascinating metaphor for this story of ambition, betrayal and revenge.  
The book is told from both Olivia and Vivian’s perspectives in alternating chapters, a style which works so well in this book as you could feel the distinct tone between the two character’s voices. While the reader hears both women’s insecurities, desperation and deceptions, Vivian was without doubt the most intense and creepy protagonist, with her sections being told in an almost blunt, detached first person narrative. Olivia’s chapters come in a third person narrative and the feeling is more panicked, frenzied and fearful. Yet for most of this book I didn’t know who to trust at all. 
The Night Visitor is a complex story of long held resentments and a tense and elaborate revenge. There are so many fascinating threads running throughout – of professional misogyny – both historical and current, ambition and betrayal. Both Olivia and Vivian are experts in their fields of academia, both have struggled with their identity and credibility in a male dominated environment. However, when you are top of your field, reputation is everything, and one of theirs is at risk of crashing down around them. And one of them needs to learn not to underestimate those they think below them, like our friend the Dung Beetle. 
I raced through this book. When I say I couldn’t put it down, I fell asleep holding it in bed (despite desperate attempts to stay awake and read just a little bit more) and immediately turned back to it when I woke up. The Night Visitor isn’t gory or action packed. It’s pure psychological suspense, with an unsettling, eerie atmosphere of mistrust and intrigue which completely held me captive. I’m amazed by just how much I really liked this book, and how engrossing, original and interesting I found it. The Night Visitor is up there with the very best of psychological thrillers and I strongly recommend it.

Looking Back At April and Forward to May

I can’t believe it’s May already? Where is this year going? I’m seriously wanted to put some brakes on it, this is the last month for me in my 30’s as in June I turn 40! It seems surreal, I don’t even feel like a grown up yet! 
April was a month of rest really for me. I was off work for most of it after suffering some anxiety and panic attacks. I’m generally an anxious person, but now and then it gets a bit out of control. I went back to work last week, and to be honest I was dreading it, and yes – it was tough, but got a bit easier every day and I made it through the week, albeit fairly exhausted! 

Book Of The Month

Anyway, it did mean I had plenty of time for reading and in April I read 15 books. I’m very happy with that! It was an excellent month for books, and it was a hard choice between two for book of the month, but April has to go to Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton  
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. 

She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. 

Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all . . . 

Published April 20th by Transworld (UK) 

I also interviewed Sharon Bolton as part of her blog tour (Squeee!!) See HERE 

However, my other book of the month isn’t out until June, but definitely needs a mention. Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig is absolutely STUNNING and I urge everyone to get it on their wishlist. I’ll be reviewing it nearer publication. 

Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret…

‘Brilliant’ – Graeme Simison, author of The Rosie Project

Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up….

After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her.

Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape.

Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right…

A fiercely poignant and inspirational story a lost girl searching for a place to call home. Ginny Moon will change everyone who spends time with her. Published by HQ 1st June 2017 

Coming Up In May


Tomorrow I’m off to Manchester for a four day work training course, so I’m planning lots of reading time in my hotel on an evening! Here’s some of the books I’m most excited about coming out this month: 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 


A stunning debut about a girl who has learned how to survive – but not how to live.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is fine. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except sometimes, everything.

No-one’s ever told Eleanor life should be better than fine. But with a simple act of kindness she’s about to realise exactly how much better than fine life can be. 

Published May 18th by Harper (UK) 


The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.


Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.  Published May 18th by HQ 


Into The Water by Paula Hawkins  

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense. 

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.


Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return. 



The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins 

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.

Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.

As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.


The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?  Published May 4th by Quercus (I’ve read this already – It’s BRILLIANT – Review tomorrow)

The Last Piece Of My Heart by Paige Toon 

When life feels like a puzzle, sometimes it’s the small pieces that make up the bigger picture … Join Bridget on a journey to put her world back together.


Meet Bridget, a successful travel journalist with ambitions to turn her quirky relationship blog into a novel. But, after numerous rejections from publishers, she accepts an alternative proposition: Nicole Dupre died leaving behind a bestselling novel and an incomplete sequel, and the family need someone to finish it. Bridget is just thankful to have her foot in the publishing door. But as she gets to know Nicole’s grieving family, and the woman behind the writing, Bridget’s priorities begin to change. 

Published May 18th by Simon & Schuster UK 





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Hope everyone has a lovely May with lots of sunshine and amazing books!!!