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I’m a real bookworm at heart but when my children were young it was so hard to find the time to read. Now that all three are in full-time school and I’m not working so much in the evenings it’s suddenly become a whole lot easier to find time to read. With that in mind I’ve been asking my parent blogger friends for their recommendations of what to read. Here are nine suggestions – some from me and some from other bloggers but all highly recommended. They’re all fairly new books which have either recently been published in hardback or have come out in paperback for the first time over the last few months.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are there any others you’d recommend? Do let me know in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy
Three books I’ve read and loved recently:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
“A real life-affirming read, this had me laughing and crying in equal measure. I couldn’t put it down and read it in two evenings. It’s funny, very sad, heart-warming and a real reminder that we have no idea what is truly going in someone else’s life.
Eleanor is odd and strange with her quirky little habits and nothing like your usual literary heroine. In fact it’s easy to see why people dislike her and why people in her office talk about her behind her back. But we soon discover that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge and that we have absolutely no idea what people have been through and why they are the way that they are.
When Eleanor and her colleague witness an accident it sets in motion a chain of events that truly transforms Eleanor’s life. We realise just what a difference a little compassion and understanding can make. My only criticism is that I would have liked a few more chapters to see what happened next.”
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
“The follow-up to the bestseller The Girl on the Train is a deeply mysterious and evocative read that keeps you guessing right until the end.
It’s set in Beckford, a troubled village haunted by a series of deaths in a local river known as the Drowning Pool. Once a spot where women suspected of witch craft were put to death, it’s now a suicide spot that has claimed the lives of several local women.
The latest is that of Nel, a single mother to 15 year old Lena. Nel’s death has brought her estranged sister Jules back to the hometown she vowed never to return to. But Jules isn’t convinced her sister took her own life, especially when she discovers that Lena’s best friend Katie died in the same spot a few months earlier and that Nel had been investigating the deaths. The book is full of intrigue as the characters’ lives and connections unfold and secrets emerge.
The book is told from the view points of several characters, meaning you get a real insight into their thoughts and actions. I found this a hard book to put down. Telling the story from several view points makes you think you know which way the story is going. But every time you think you have guessed what’s going on twists and turns take you in a different tangent entirely.
Naturally it will be compared to The Girl on the Train, a book so full of intrigue and suspense I stayed up until 2am reading it. It’s not quite as heart-stoppingly incredible as that book, but it’s a very good read that will leave you quickly turning the pages desperate to know how the story unfolds.”
Why Mummy Drinks – The Diary of an Exhausted Mum by Gill Sims
“A light and easy read from the author of the successful Peter and Jane blog and Facebook page, Why Mummy Drinks will resonate with anyone who has ever wondered how all the other mums seem to have it together when they spend their lives feeling like they are dropping balls all over the place and failing in comparison As friendships are formed and life events test the central characters we soon realise that even the ‘perfect mums’ have their own struggles and hang ups. Although some of the characters and situations are a little clichéd and predictable, Why Mummy Drinks is so funny in parts I found myself crying with laughter and photographing paragraphs to send to friends. It’s written in diary format over the course of a school year, making it an easy read to dip in and out of around your children or while on holiday.”
If you like this one, then the follow up Why Mummy Swears is out now too.
Here are six as recommended by my blogger friends
The Fear by C L Taylor
As recommended by Jen, mum of one, from Nottinghamshire. She blogs at Just Average Jen.
“This book is one I really couldn’t put down. The main character Lou was groomed by Mike when she was 13. Now as an adult she finds he is grooming another girl. What would you do in that position? Every time you think you know what is happening there is something to shock you right until the very end. It is a glimpse into the dark world of grooming in a way no other book seems to approach. By seeing the grooming through the victim’s eyes and feeling what she feels you think you know what you would do until there is another twist. It’s a good psychological thriller which draws you into the world of the main characters. It tests your morals and grips you until the end. Just be aware that you will hold your breath throughout and the end is a huge shock. Definitely the best book I have read in a long time.”
Bring Me Back by BA Paris
As recommended by Amy, mum of two from Surrey. She blogs at All About A Mummy
“This suspense thriller is written by the author of Behind Closed Doors, the novel which gave me nightmares. The initial premise is a familiar one. 12 years ago a woman mysteriously vanishes late at night in a lay by in France. Her boyfriend is the last person to see her alive. We know he isn’t telling the police the whole truth but what is he leaving out? And why? I can’t give too much away because I don’t want to spoil any of the twists but this book is gripping. I actually found myself holding my breath in places. I guessed the twist around two-thirds in but I still was compelled to read on and see the outcome of this twisted scenario. BA Paris really is a master of suspense. This is a solid thriller and well worth a read. It won’t give you nightmares but it may make you a little unnerved around Russian Dolls…”
You can read Amy’s full review here.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
As recommended by Laura, mum of five from Lancashire. She blogs at Five Little Doves
“One of my favourite books to date – I can’t recommend it enough. The book is set in a picture perfect Ohio neighbourhood where everybody knows everyone, or so they thought. It opens with the news of a fire, started deliberately, and the suspected culprit nowhere to be found, and from that initial chapter I was hooked.
This story of love, lies, morality and motherhood is full of twists and turns, which divides opinion amongst not only the characters, but us as readers. Ng beautifully entwines each subplot in a way that leaves you wondering where one ends and the other begins, as she tackles the moral quandaries of transracial adoption, abortion, and a dark secret. Little Fires Everywhere leaves you questioning everything you thought you believed in, opens your mind to the idea that sometimes love just isn’t enough, and makes you look at the world a little differently.”
You can read Laura’s full review here.
Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
As recommended by Beth, mum of three, from Shropshire. She blogs at Twinderelmo
“Recently released in paperback, the debut novel from YouTube star and mum blogger Louise Pentland is all about the loveable girl next door Robin Wilde. She swears, she forgets to pack the right PE socks and is ridiculously likeable. Robin has been a single mother (for four years, two months and 24 days) to her daughter Lyla, 6, and the book documents the trials and tribulations of being a single parent.
I loved her portrayal of the PSMs, also known as the Posh School Mums. I loved how accurate it is and how deep down, we all want to fit in. Pentland hits the nail on the head with her descriptions of ‘The Emptiness’. As a former single parent, I could not have captured it better. The loneliness being on your own brings despite having a gorgeous little human in your life. It is hard not to be swamped and feel smothered by the emptiness as it affects all aspects of your life. Wilde Like Me is a real page turner as you are desperate to see Robin succeed. The book is filled with girl power and gives off a complete kick ass aurora.”
You can read Beth’s full review here.
Now You See Her by Heidi Perks
As recommended by Gemma, mum of two from Worthing in West Sussex. She blogs at Mummy’s Waisted.
“I couldn’t put this book down – so much so that I stayed awake until 3.30am to finish it. The plot centres around Charlotte and Harriet. Charlotte is looking after Harriet’s four-year-old daughter; the first time she has been away from her mother. Charlotte takes Alice and her own children to the school fête, but Alice goes missing on one of the inflatables. This is set in a scenario familiar to so many parents, and the concept of the book meant I put off reading it, as I was worried what I would feel, as a mum. The book doesn’t play on this aspect too much though. Instead it draws you in to the lives of the characters, and drip feeds more and more information, plus a few red herrings. There are so many potential outcomes to a missing child story so the eventual resolution wasn’t predictable. The book was so good that I’ve been thinking about it constantly, and recommending it to anyone that will listen.”
Lullaby by Leïla Slimani
As recommended by Hannah, mum of one, from Belfast. She blogs at Hi Baby Blog.
“Tense, strong and overwhelming for all the best reasons, from the very first page it’s clear this is going to be a bumpy ride as we’re confronted with the fact that two small children have been brutally murdered in their own home. It’s immediately clear the perpetrator is the children’s nanny, Louise so the rest of the novel is more about answering how we arrived here and exploring the ‘why’ rather than the ‘who’.
With two young children born in quick succession mum Myriam loses her sense of self and becomes very isolated. This motivates her return to work and so she and husband Paul search for a nanny. Everything seemed so perfect with their new nanny, to the point that I forgot the grizzly opening and wondered where I might get my very own Louise!
If you want an insight into culture, class, immigration and domestic servitude in France played out in the background of an unspeakable crime then Lullaby is for you. I really can’t recommend it enough, you’ll be challenged, trust me!”
You can read Hannah’s full review here.
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