Books in May.

The monthly ‘series’ is staying, but I’m changing the layout of the post again… I also want to add that I am not affiliated with Goodreads in any way – I use their links because I find it a very useful resource for reviews/ratings/recommendations! Anyway, there’s a little extra at the end of the post!

Books that I’ve read this month:

My reviews:
The Lost & The Dead Ground – Claire McGowan
The Georgraphy of You and Me – Jennifer E. Smith

I didn’t read much this month – most of the time felt like it was taken up reading the Animal Behaviour book! In reality, that was only up until the 6th May as that was when the exam was. I did however have two more assignments to complete before the 16th May and so reading wasn’t really possible! My favourite book from this month was The Dead Ground. I love a good young adult book, but I love crime/thriller/mystery even more.

Favourite book related things from the internet:

# You know you’re a book nerd if…
# Cassandra Clare talks to Glamour about City of Heavenly Fire (I need to buy this book!)
# I definitely need this bookmark – guilty as charged! ‘Fell Asleep Here’
# You need to read Becca’s post about the dreaded words…“Books are boring”.
# Can mind maps improve your writing? – Maybe I should try mind maps to get blog posts out!

# 28 Relatable Book Quotes

I’m liking this layout, and I am going to stick to this form of post for my ‘Books in…’ series. What do you think?


Book Review: The Paula Maguire Series.*

– Claire McGowan

I’m reviewing these together because I read them both in quick succession, and it just makes sense to put them together. Now I was given the opportunity to receive and review The Dead Ground* by Headline and Bookbridgr. When I discovered that it was a sequel to The Lost, I just had to buy it and read them in order of course! I have to say, I am glad that I did buy The Lost!

The series follows Paula Maguire, a forensic psychologist, who has been living and working in London, helping the police with missing persons cases. In this series, we see her return to Northern Ireland, her homeland, to help the team of police and detectives from both sides of Ireland.

image– The Lost

When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has to return to the hometown she left years before. Swirling with rumour and secrets, the town is gripped by fear of a serial killer. But the truth could be even darker.

Two girls have gone missing in Ballyterrin, and Paula is drafted in to help uncover the mystery. Her job is to find out about the girls, and figure out any connections between the two disappearances. Paula has avoided her hometown for years, not wanting to bring up her dark past. She has her own reasons to be working with the missing persons unit. The main reason for coming back was to help her father out. Once back in town, people from Paula’s past start to appear, and although unwelcome at first, they soon become a great deal of help to her. I found Paula to be a very strong character, and definitely likeable. She knows what she’s talking about it this kind of situation, having worked on many teenage missing persons cases. If Paula has a hunch, she will work with that, even if it is against orders and means a little sneaking around! Sometimes, finding the lost is more important than anything else.

The story very much shows the tensions between the police and detectives from across the border, being set after the troubles in Northern Ireland. With the team being made up of mixed religions due to the cases occurring around the border, it wasn’t always easy and friendly. I thought this added even more realism to the story because it shows people with differences coming together and, despite tensions still rising, they get the jobs done.

Paula as a character has tons of depth. As you’re reading, you can feel the emotions that she’s feeling, and the struggles between certain decisions. The Lost was a brilliant first look into the life of Paula Maguire.

image– The Dead Ground

A stolen baby. A murdered woman. A decades-old atrocity. Something connects them all.

Now, The Dead Ground, where do I start? The Lost was good… The Dead Ground was brilliant. Paula is still in Ballyterrin, despite not originally planning on staying for long. This book focuses on pregnancy, babies and abortions. The disagreements between catholic and protestant about abortions plays a big part in the story, and though disturbing at times, I thought the book was great. Babies are going missing, and Paula needs to find out just who is taking them.

Crime books are popular, and it’s hard to find a completely unique story line. The stories in this series have probably been done countless times before, but Claire McGowan writes with such detail, insight and depth that, throughout the books, I never felt like I had read something similar before. Almost every chapter provided some form of suspense or mystery – I was hooked all the way through.

One thing that I really liked about these books is that it felt real. No investigation was perfect. I can’t say I know what it is like in real life, but seeing the process build up and break down again and again, from bad leads or hunches that turned out to be wrong, just felt so much more realistic than the cases being solved quickly.

Definitely the best crime/mystery that I have read in a while, and I wholeheartedly recommend! Now, when’s the third coming out? 😉

Book Review: Precious Thing*

image– Colette McBeth

I don’t know whether it shows in the books I read, as I do read a mixture, but I really love a good crime story! Precious Thing tells us the story of Rachel and Clara, best friends who do everything together as young girls. They’re 14/15 when they first meet and become inseparable until Clara is hospitalised in a psychiatric institution.

Seven years later, Rachel is a successful tv reporter and is working when she discovers that Clara has gone missing.
Despite previously going their separate ways, the friendship was still there – a close bond like theirs couldn’t just disappear.

It is written as though Rachel is writing to Clara – almost like a diary. Throughout the narrative, she slowly reveals what happened during their friendship. I think this book was very clever in that I never really could get a grip on what actually was happening. I sort of figured out one thing, but I did have some crazy scenario in my head which wasn’t actually right… And I thought it could be a big possibility. All the way through I was trying to figure out whether everything Rachel was remembering was the truth, or whether she had sort of remembered Clara in a really bad light to make her feel better. I’m trying not to spoil it for you, so I can’t go into too much detail!

I will say though that the end confused me when I had finished, but I’ve also just realised that the very beginning showed that Rachel was beginning a letter to Clara in the present, before it jumping into the actual story. If I had been less dim and put that together, it would have been okay! Oh and another thing – the character, Jake, wasn’t really developed enough for me personally, but then it doesn’t really hinder the storyline. I’m just one of those who likes to know a person’s backstory!

This story is definitely suspenseful and a mystery, you will be guessing right up to the end.

This book will be published on April 10th!
* I received this book from BookBridgr in exchange for a review.

Books in December…

Well 5 books this month – not as impressive as the last few… I set myself a goodreads challenge to read 100 books in 2013, and unfortunately I didn’t meet that. I did manage 75 though and I’m still happy with that 😉

I will be carrying on this series next year as it’s great to look back on what I’ve read each month!

Solomon’s Tale – Sheila Jeffries
The Perfect Family – Kathryn Shay
War Horse – Michael Morpurgo

So Solomon’s Tale was written from the perspective of Solomon, the cat. The book details his life and how he helps his owner. It was a little strange getting used to that writing, but, as an avid cat lover, I couldn’t help but love Solomon! This book actually had me in tears at one point.

The Perfect Family was a brilliant book. It’s about a family who discover that one of the sons is gay, and shows them struggling to cope with it. I think this book would be great for anyone who struggles with the idea of having a gay son/daughter/friend/relation, because it touches on some real problems that can be faced. I really felt sorry for the kid, and this book also had me in tears. Definitely one to read!

I didn’t actually know that War Horse was written from the horse’s perspective, and having recently read Solomon’s Tale it was weird! War Horse is a great book though. I haven’t seen the film properly (have only caught the ending!) so I can’t say how close the two are.

Murder at the Maples – Joanne Phillips
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Now Murder at the Maples was a little strange. For me, it felt like quite a comedic mystery. I mean, it had an actual mystery, and you know some things that happened were quite serious, but the whole setting made it less serious for me. It did have me guessing though, and I was never immediately sure about what was going to happen…

This last book had me hooked straight away. You get Lou and Will, and lets face it… there’s going to be some sort of romance in a book like this. I think the topic covered was a great one – it’s not something I’ve really read before. For that, it was a different kind of romance and one that had some substance.

Book Review: Long Time Coming – Edie Claire

image Sometimes I will read a book, and I’m only half way through it when I think that I need to review it on my blog.

Now I’ve never read any of Edie Claire’s books, though I have seen her name before! I have to say, I honestly didn’t expect much of this book, I thought it would just be your average romance. However, it is so much more than that! I was completely hooked, and it did keep me guessing throughout. Some things were easy to figure out, and you know, you figure it out before the character does, but it doesn’t take away from the story. The main ‘mystery’ was a little surprise. I was getting close to guessing, but I didn’t get it completely.


Though veterinarian Joy Hudson is now an accomplished and well-established professional, all the trauma of her senior year in high school comes rushing back when she returns to her hometown to help care for her aging father. The memories she tried to erase about her best friend’s tragic death, and the boy she blamed for the accident, suddenly seem very fresh — especially because that boy is now the handsome town doctor who makes his interest in Joy abundantly clear. Even more troubling is Joy’s mounting suspicion that someone is either trying to spook her or kill her. It will take all Joy’s courage to attend to past and present dangers.

The main characters were really likeable in my opinion. I mean, Joy does get a little annoying and you do want to tell her to get a hold of herself, but it works. Everyone had a back-story, so they had something interesting behind them. I also really liked how it was about Joy going back to her home town and seeing high school friends again. It’s great to see how people can grow up and change. You get both a little of the high school days as well as the present.

There’s a little paranormal activity in this story, but don’t let that put you off! I think it’s really quite subtle for the most part, and fits well with the storyline. I didn’t actually realise it would have the paranormal in it (I didn’t read the description/page properly before reading!) so was surprised, but not turned off with it.

Anyway, I was completely hooked on this story and I will definitely be reading some more of Edie Claire’s writing!

Books in August

On the first of each month I am going to do a post to show the books that I read in the last month… Just so I can show what I thought and to see how many I read! So here we go…

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
The Travel Auction – Mark Green

Shoe Strings – Christy Hayes // About A Boy – Nick Hornby

I did a review earlier this month on The Time Traveler’s Wife (here!), and I really enjoyed it!

I only found out about The Cuckoo’s Calling when it was discovered that J.K. Rowling was the author, and I’m glad I bought it because I really loved it! It’s the sort of book that I do like to read, and it kept me guessing. I actually wasn’t expecting the ending!

The Travel Auction and Shoe Strings were found on Amazon in the free books. The Travel Auction was really different, and I liked how the story was told. It’s definitely worth a read! Shoe Strings was kind of your typical romance novel, with a little twist to add the extra. Yes, parts were obvious and you knew what would happen, but don’t you always?! I love a good romance novel, no matter how repetitive they can get!

Finally, About A Boy… I just read this for the first time and I loved it! The film is good, but the book is so much better!

Five books this month – more than I thought actually! I read Shoe Strings in a day though, when I went to Wembley for the challenge cup! Nearly 10 hours on a coach helps with reading…

  • I am 21 years old, currently studying Wildlife and Media at University and blogging about life, stationery, Filofax, fitness and more.

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