Wednesday 2 August 2023

5* So Far 2023 - Top Picks


So seen as we are entering the second half of the year, I thought it was about time I shared my top books of the months so far. I've tried to keep on track with my reading for my Goodreads goal which is 60, so more than 1 book a week. So click below the jump to see what each month's picks where.


Hostage by Clare Mackintosh.
You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most.

A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of RoomHostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.

Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina's assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.

It's twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.

This was an absolutely phenomenal read and really is a stand-out book, I read some good books in January but this was topped the list by far. Mina just wants to focus on her job and not everything going around her, not her marriage or her daughter. So when she is given a chilling note, on a flight she shouldn't even be on. She is thrown into turmoil, what does she do. This was just so compelling. So in-depth and I loved the layers that just kept appearing. Nothing was it seems and someone knew alot more about the family than we first thought. 

The Shape of your heart - Debbie Howells

When the world says “give up”, hope whispers, “try it one more time”.’

Callie’s always been the least ambitious of her sisters but also the happiest, until fate snaps her fiance before they can say I do.

One year later, she is still putting her life back together, but she might be ready for more. With so much life left to live, she has to find a way to be happy.

Nathan knows not everyone gets a second chance at life and he’s not going to waste his. He’s left the city behind, moved to Cornwall and is starting over. When he meets a beautiful woman at the beach it feels like fate, but her heart belongs to someone else.

Could Callie and Nathan be just what the other needs?

This was a lovely weepy read about love, second chance and so much more. At face value, it seems like a second-chance romance but what I didn't expect was the depth of emotion thrown into this book. It was just wonderful, it ticked all the boxes for me and I really enjoyed it.

The Doctors Wife - Daniel Hurst

He thinks his secret is safe. But she knows the truth…

My husband is a doctor. He’s smart and charming and everybody trusts him. Except me.

On the surface, it looks like I have it all – the perfect marriage, the perfect husband, the perfect life. But it’s far from the truth.

Doctor Drew Devlin is not the respectable figure he makes out to be. The reason we moved to this beautiful, old property with a gorgeous view of the sea was because we needed to put our past behind us. It should’ve been a fresh start for us both.

Except I’ve discovered my husband has been lying to me again. He’s using the power he has in his job to mess with people’s lives, and to get exactly what he wants – no matter who it hurts.

But he’s underestimated me. I’ve had plenty of time, in this big, isolated house, to think about all of his mistakes.

And my husband has no idea what’s about to happen next…

This one was recommended to me by my mum and I had already picked it up on Netgalley so great minds think alike and I was not disappointed. This was short but most certainly packed a punch. I flew through this read so quick and i spent every spare minute I had sneaking in a few pages here and there. If your in your thriller era or just starting, this is certainly one to pick up.


The Little Board Game Cafe - Jennifer Page

An irresistible story of love, friendship and the power of Games Night, perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Christie Barlow.

When Emily loses her job, house and boyfriend all within a matter of days, she's determined to turn a negative into a positive and follow her dream of running a small cafe in the gorgeous Yorkshire village of Rosegarth.

But she quickly finds she's bitten off more than she can chew when the 'popular' cafe she takes over turns out to secretly be a failing business. Emily desperately needs a way to turn things around, and help comes from the unlikeliest of places when she meets local board game-obsessed GP Ludek. But when a major chain coffee shop opens on the high street, Emily is forced to question if she'll ever be able to compete.

Has she risked everything on something destined to fail? Or can a playful twist, a homely welcome, and a sprinkle of love make Emily's cafe the destination she's always dreamed of?

This ticked a lot of boxes for me to stand out for a favorite read we all know I love a cozy coffee shop or cafe read and this soon hit that for me but it was so much more with a unique take on the genre it offered the reader all those things they love but a litttle more too.

Keep it in the family - John Marrs
Mia and Finn are busy turning a derelict house into their dream home when Mia unexpectedly falls pregnant. But just when they think the house is ready, Mia discovers a chilling message scored into a skirting board: I WILL SAVE THEM FROM THE ATTIC. Following the clue up into the eaves, the couple make a gruesome discovery: their dream home was once a house of horrors.

In the wake of their traumatic discovery, the baby arrives and Mia can’t shake her fixation with the monstrous crimes that happened right above them. Haunted by the terrible things she saw and desperate to find answers, her obsession pulls her ever further from her husband.

Secrecy shrouds the mystery of the attic, but when shards of a dark truth start to emerge, Mia realises the danger is terrifyingly present. She is prepared to do anything to protect her family—but is it already too late?

Oh my freaking goodness this book was something else, i had seen the hype on TikTok and it did not disappoint. It was thrilling, creepy, and horrific but also so brilliantly written I was thinking about it for days after. I have since picked up several more by John Marrs to get stuck into. 

The Housemaid - Freida Mcfadden

“Welcome to the family,” Nina Winchester says as I shake her elegant, manicured hand. I smile politely, gazing around the marble hallway. Working here is my last chance to start fresh. I can pretend to be whoever I like. But I’ll soon learn that the Winchesters’ secrets are far more dangerous than my own…

Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor.

I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies about her own daughter. And how her husband Andrew seems more broken every day. But as I look into Andrew’s handsome brown eyes, so full of pain, it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like to live Nina’s life. The walk-in closet, the fancy car, the perfect husband.

I only try on one of Nina’s pristine white dresses once. Just to see what it’s like. But she soon finds out… and by the time I realize my attic bedroom door only locks from the outside, it’s far too late.

But I reassure myself: the Winchesters don’t know who I really am.

They don’t know what I’m capable of…

Off the back of Tiktok came this one as it's on kindle unlimited (which I do not have) but I ended up purchasing it when I had some money left on an Amazon gift card and it was so worth it. So gripping, I literally couldn't put it down and well i did not see any of it coming. Bloody brilliant, I've just picked up the second and i can't wait to delve back in.

So, that's my top picks of the first 6 months and it strongly looks like I'm sticking in my thriller girl era and I am here for it. 

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