read and reviewed books april 2023

Books read and reviewed in April 2023

April’s been a good month again for books. I’ve read a mix of books, the usual genres of crime, thriller, romance and chick lit, with a few new authors thrown in. I’m trying to reduce the number of books I’m buying as I’ve so many unread on my kindle (as well as physical books in my book cabinet). This month I don’t think I bought any, although I did borrow some more for my Prime Library.

Books read in April – 15

Here’s a selection of the books I read and reviewed in April. You can find my Goodreads books on my profile and my March books here.

read and reviewed books april 2023

The People Next Door by Tony Parsons

Lana and her doctor husband Roman move out of London after a traumatising experience, buying a surprisingly cheap house in a small seemingly friendly street in the Oxfordshire countryside. Lana doesn’t feel right although the neighbours are all friendly, but Roman pushes away any of her concerns.

But then the lies start coming and the stories of life in their house don’t make sense to Lana who causes ructions in the street due to her questioning. Who wants to stop her (and previously others who) question the life in their little community.

This book is pretty chilling in places, and you wonder who Roman really is, along with others who’ve been brought in to support the community. I had to think quite a bit to work out who had which links to others in the plot, but it was quite an unputdownable story.

I found it does stop suddenly, I felt like I needed to know that everything turned out ok for Lana and Roman in the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter

Book 8 in the Will Trent series, so not one to read as a standalone. I’ve not read any Karin Slaughter for a while, so must dig the other unread ones off my bookshelves.

Yes there’s blood (a lot of it), evil, strong women, weak men, and weak women and strong emotional men. This is a complex book with lots of inter-related characters that it did take a bit of thinking about.

Angie reappears to further wreck Will’s life, and attempt to put off his relationship with ME Sara Linton.

If you’re a fan of Slaughter’s books, add this one to the list, if you’re new, try one of the earlier ones first so you get more of the back story (although some is explained in this).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My kind of happy by Cathy Bramley

After a bad year, Fearne gets the impetus after finding a letter her late brother wrote for her 10 years ago, well before he died. She decides to follow his advice, change her ways and look out for her own happiness. She ends up doing a floristry course and getting a job in a florist, taking on more of the business, and helping out her new friends, while meeting new potential man Sam.

This book makes you think about living life to your dreams, and making sure you’re not just plodding along. Not always realistic for everyone, but a fair enough reminder to make time for ourselves and enjoy life.

An easy quick read, with a happy enough ending and nice enough characters to enjoy it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee

A nice easy romantic read. Jack Morrison (rich hotel millionaire) is hooked on single mum waitress Jessie when he sets eyes on her on a post stag do from Vegas with his friends while looking worse for wear. Sparks fly and he’s determined to win her over, despite her believing he’s a poor dreamer who won’t stick around for her and her son. He’s been burned by women just after his money, so he goes along with her beliefs, being there to support her and treat her while telling a few white lies.

He’s always there for her, but will Jessie ever allow herself to fall in love and let him know. With ups and downs, how will Jack be able to prove himself.

There’s some confusing parts because the book insinuates that Jessie wants someone who can make their life easier with money, when Jack doesn’t want to be thought of for his money.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Queen of Bloody Everything by Joanna Nadin

This book is Dido looking back and telling the story of her and her flaky single mum Edie’s lives, as they move to a new house when she’s 6. There she meets her dream family through the gate at the back of her garden. Tom who captures her heart from the first time she sees him, new friend Harry, and her normal parents.

It’s the story of teenage heart ache and coming of age, trying to find a way out of being the odd family, and navigate life when you can’t have the one you love.

I really enjoyed reminiscing about the 80s and 90s years, but it was just too samey, Dido and Harry repeating the same behaviour and taking forever to actually grow up. Her mum was irritating, and you really felt for Dido, wondering what you’d do in her position with a mum like that.

It felt like the story was progressing to something but there wasn’t really a climax. It just sort of died out at the end. It wasn’t really my type of book. I finished it feeling a bit meh about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Double by Joanne Ryan

It’s a bit creepy knowing everyone has a doppleganger, and Jess spots hers on a train. She then gets her savvy (up to something) boyfriend to find out the name so she can check her out on social media – where Katarina is an influencer, so Jess can live through her double’s high life in comparison to her own stuck on a sink estate with no job or life.

Her secretive boyfriend Mac who works away a lot, decides they should try and defraud the double with Jess not realising until later that she’s got dragged into do the dodgy public work with the trail potentially leading back to her. Is her shoplifting mum right to be concerned about Mac, and how can Jess work that out and get herself out of the firing line if their plan goes wrong.

A story about jealousy, wishing for someone else’s ‘perfect’ life, and trusting relationships. Who are the people to trust, old friends, family (however much you despair of them), or the new boyfriend?

An obvious plot, and an easy twist to guess, but a book that felt just the right length for the story, which just got on with it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Baby Shower by SE Lines

Imagine a newcomer ingratiating themselves into your friendship group, while bullying you to force you out without your best friend believing you. Jane doesn’t know how to keep herself away from instagram perfect Lexie, to avoid being accused of rudeness and doing things she hasn’t done. She’s also just announced her pregnancy alongside Jane’s best friend Sophie, and Jane’s concerned that Sophie is being moulded to be just like Lexie.

Back home, she’s struggling with her friend’s pregnancy after her own IVF attempts are at an end having failed. Something’s going on with her husband Frankie, but they’re not getting the chance to atalk.

But then Jane finds out the truth, and it’s time to get back at Lexie without getting hurt herself.

I really enjoyed this book. Lexie is the seemingly perfect girl who’s a total b***h, and we’re rooting for Jane in winning out, and for Frankie to solve his issues. It does end up being pretty obviously what what did actually happen but that doesn’t detract from reading the book. I found the hospital part clever in the telling of it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Sisters Addie and Deb are on their way to a friend’s wedding only to be crashed into by Addie’s ex love of her life and his annoying best friend also on the way to the same wedding. Cue an awkward offering to give the men a lift.

After multiple escapades, issues and hold ups on the way, not forgetting arguments, the story of Addie and Dylan’s relationship from the past is told, as they are pulling towards each other again.

What happened before, and how have they changed.

It’s a good read, with some annoying characters, some fun, and as in many chick lits, family and friendships are key to Addie and Dylan’s story. You could just imagine a roadtrip of your own while reading this.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Killing House by Claire McGowan

I found this book really interesting. Not only was it all tied up with unknown family links, relationships at home and work, but it’s set during the times of the Northern Ireland troubles both during and after the peace agreement. Different characters are involved in different ways, with Paula the main character, a psychologist who looks for missing people, struggling with juggling her daughter, work, past relationships, searching for her mother who disappeared just before peace came.

As someone whose childhood was peppered with hearing about the troubles but not really knowing much about it, The Killing House is quite chilling in thinking about the realities of what kind of thing did happen, and relating it to friends who lived over there at the time.

An interesting book historically, as well as learning about the characters, and trying to guess who did what, and what really happened to those who were missing, or returned years later to find answers.

Another good Claire McGowan book, I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Friend of the Family by Lisa Jewell

Loving but slightly disfunctional family with strained relationships between the 3 grown up sons brought back together for their parents’ 40th wedding anniversary party.

One’s arrived back from Australia having left his struggling girlfriend behind, and is lost in work and himself.
Another’s had 1 successful book publication but has writers block, and a whirlwind relationship that’s moving too fast for him.
The third’s a divorcee who’s got a bad crush on a mystery woman.

They arrive home to find a lodger living with their parents, a man with a strange sense who can help all 3 realise who they are and what they should be doing with life and love.

I don’t often read contemporary fiction books written about men, so this made a nice change. As a woman it gave an insight into how some men really struggle with their feelings, their place in the world, and sibling relationships. It made me wonder how they actually got to the age they are because they were all a bit pathetic in their own way. But it’s the love of their family, the women (and father) around them, as well as mystery Gervase who helps them out. I’m not sure many men would read books like this, but maybe they should if they’ve lost their way. It does make you think about what’s right and wrong in your own life, and wonder how things might have turned out.

Another Lisa Jewell book that’s worth a read…even though it felt a little bit of a slog to get through the irritation with some of the characters at the start.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What books have you been reading this month?

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