March 2018 Reading Recap

Welcome to my March 2018 reading recap where I get to look back over a fun month of reading! You guys, seven of the eight books I read this month were thrillers. I think it’s time for me to accept that I have a problem. It is without question my favourite genre though and working at Hachette has given me access to some of the best thriller writers out there, so I’m very lucky.

Unfortunately that does mean that most of my March 2018 reading recap will be reviewing books that aren’t published yet, and for that I apologise. Add them to your TBRs because they’re absolutely worth waiting for.

March 2018 Reading Recap | My Cup & Chaucer

March 2018 Reading Recap
The Nowhere Child by Christian White [GR]
Affirm Press, the publisher of this book, are calling it the best thriller of 2018 and I can 100% see why they’re trying to get it into the hands of as many readers as possible: it’s bloody good. The story opens with a woman named Kim being approached by a man while she’s on a break between classes. At first she thinks he’s trying to raise money to help find a missing child, but then their conversation takes an unexpected turn. A child did go missing 28 years earlier, and he thinks Kim is that child. If that’s not an intriguing premise for a book then I don’t know what is. It’s non-linear in its timeline, obviously, but the flow of the narrative is fantastic and frenetic. The suspense kept me turning pages quickly and I read this in 24 hours. Definitely look out for it at the end of June. 4.5★

 

The Tall Man by Phoebe Locke [GR]
This book was genuinely unnerving. I picked it up because I was intrigued by its premise (it was inspired by the Slender Man) and by the end of it I was so spooked that I didn’t want to walk from the bedroom to the bathroom in the dark. The blurb for this one is deliberately vague and I went in knowing precious little about the book, and I do think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. There are three timelines in the book and the perspective shifts between person and place, but the key events involve a mother and a daughter whose lives are both inextricably linked with the urban legend of the Tall Man… if it is just an urban legend, that is. Find out for yourself when it’s published in June. 4★

 

Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager [GR]
Last year I had really high hopes for Riley Sager’s debut novel Final Girls and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. This one, however, I adored. Fifteen years ago, Emma spent her first summer at Camp Nightingale, but that summer has haunted her life ever since. One night, her three roommates disappeared into the woods and were never seen again. Now Camp Nightingale is being reopened and Emma, now a talented artist, has been asked to return to teach art classes. Begrudgingly, Emma accepts, thinking that a return to the place of her nightmares may finally help her get the closure she desperately craves. But the more time Emma spends at the Camp, the more she begins to lose faith in her memories of what happened all those years ago, and in her innocence. This book was brilliant, easily the highlight of my month, and I will be thrusting into the hands of as many readers as possible when it’s published in July. I can’t wait to read what Riley writes next! 5★

 

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James [GR]
I read an interview with Simone St. James where the interviewer asked her when she decided to weave the ghost story into her crime novel. St. James corrected the interviewer and talked about she wove a mystery into her ghost story! Whichever way you choose to classify this novel, it’s a fantastic example of how to blend genres in a meaningful and enjoyable way. The story focuses on Idlewild Hall, a school for unwanted girls, and we switch between the narrative of Idlewild students in the 1950s and the restoration of the school in the present day. In the present day narrative we meet a journalist named Fiona whose sister was found murdered on Idlewild grounds in the late 1990s. The renovations lead to the discovery of another body and Fiona digs into the past to uncover the secrets of the school, once and for all. There’s a ghost story, the past and the present collide, and I dare you to be able to put this book down once you’ve started… and it’s out now! 5★

 

Take Me In by Sabine Durrant [GR]
Picture this: you’re on holiday in Greece with your husband and your 3-year-old son. You step away from the beach to find a bathroom, tasking your husband with keeping an eye on your child, and you return to utter chaos. Your husband dozed off in the sun, and your son went into the water and nearly drowned. A stranger came to the rescue and saved your son… how do you repay him? When he shows up at your home in London many weeks later, how do you turn him away? When strange things start happening and your life begins to fall apart, how do you not blame the unsettling stranger that is now appearing where you work, eat, shop, and live? I started to read this book to present it to my colleagues and I only intended to read a small chunk of it (I was already reading something else) but I couldn’t put it down. It’s tense and creepy and it will have you jumping at shadows on more than one occasion! Look out for it in July. 4★

 

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu [GR]
I really wanted to love this book, particularly after the girls on the All The Books podcast raved about it, but it just wasn’t for me. After reading Last Time I Lied I was ready for another summer camp mystery, which when you read the blurb for The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore that sounds like what you’re getting into, but it read more like a series of disjointed short stories. There is a summer camp and a group of girls go on an overnight kayaking trip that doesn’t go to plan, but the trip should have had more of an influence on the lives of the girls as they grew up for me to get totally invested in this book, and it just didn’t. The actual kayak trip doesn’t take up much of the story at all, and there didn’t seem (to me at least) to be a link between the events of that summer and how the girls turned out as adults. They were all fairly unlikeable characters and for me the entire structure fell flat, which is a huge shame because the author is an excellent writer and the prose is wonderful. 2.5★

 

Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein [GR]
Oooh boy, this book was fun. I finished it in well under 24 hours and except for a few precious hours of sleep in between, I did not put this down. It’s in a battle with There’s Someone Inside Your House as my favourite YA thriller *ever* and if you’ve never read a thriller or are nervous about the genre, this is the perfect place to start. It looks at many topics including childhood trauma and mental illness, and when added to the combination of an unreliable narrator and a non-linear timeline what we end up with is a brilliant mystery. The main character, Tash, has tried valiantly to move on from a traumatic episode in her past that culminated in her accusing her imaginary friend Sparrow of abducting the younger sister of her classmate, Morgan. Morgan’s sister is safely found and the entire family moves away to start fresh, but when they move back to town nearly a decade later Tash’s carefully crafted existence, which at this stage is already at breaking point, comes crashing down. If you’re a regular adult thriller reader this won’t feel as fleshed out and detailed as other books, but for me that didn’t detract from the story at all. When Sparrow starts to reappear in Tash’s life I was genuinely creeped out, and it’s a huge credit to the author for creating such a chilling atmosphere. It’s out now and the author is Australian so go read it and support a wonderful local talent. 5★

 

Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall [GR]
I only read Laura Marshall’s debut novel Friend Request in January (my January 2018 reading recap is here) but after finishing that I was eagerly anticipating Three Little Lies. It’s not out until June but if you were a Friend Request fan or just enjoy twisty mysteries, definitely look out for this one. It’s a nonlinear timeline, which is fairly standard in psychological thrillers now, but what makes it different is its reliable narrator. Yep, you read that correctly. A reliable narrator! She’s surrounded by unreliable people of course and the fun part of this book is trying to decide who to trust. The story revolves around one night: New Year’s Eve, 2006 (content warning: rape and sexual assault). The past-tense storyline leads up to this night and the present day storyline looks at the lives of the people involved in the incident over a decade later. When one of the women who was there that night disappears, everything the characters thought they knew starts to fall apart. 4.5★

This brings us to the end of my March 2018 reading recap! It’s obviously very thriller-heavy and if you’re not a thriller fan then I apologise because there isn’t really a lot here for you. I’ll try to make it a bit more varied next month. Do any of these books take your fancy? Let me know which ones you’ll be looking out for!
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