Tales of a City Girl

My holiday reading list

In Croatia I managed a whistle-stop tour of 5 books in 10 days. I’m not sure how much I digest books (I told Dan on our first date I tend to ‘read by osmosis’, it’s a testament to him he asked me on a second) but I think this fact makes me kind of a good book critic in my casual opinion. It means if I want to go back to the book and actually read it, it’s worth a proper look.  If you’re looking for your next good read, see if any of these take your fancy.

*Disclaimer – Probably worth noting psychological thrillers are my literary weakness. If you’re not interested in those, you probably won’t be interested in some of these books. Apart from the first one. That’s probably not a psychological thriller.

The Wrong Knickers – A Decade of Chaos by Bryony Gordon

Description – You may know Bryony Gordon as a columnist for the Telegraph. In this book she discusses her twenties spent as a single party girl trying to find her way in London.

Pros –  This is a fun, light read with a lot of moments that made me laugh out loud. For example, when she throws a predictably awful dinner party with her friend,  she describes her gone-off meat joint as ‘it looks like Lady Gaga. I mean, it seems to have hair. And eyebrows. It looks like Lady Gaga when she wore that meat dress to the MTV awards.’

I also found some parts of the book amusingly relatable – such as when she says her couple friends used to say to her ‘I live my life vicariously through you’. Never say that to a single person, unless you want to sound like a right knob.

Cons – Some parts started to sound a little too much like the author was trying hard to come across as a fuck up. You know, the kind of ‘I’mcrapwithmenIsmokeawayallmymoneyIcantgetadecentflat’ repertoire. This made it feel slightly less real and slightly more of a caricature sometimes.

Marks out of 5 – 3.5

Forward Slash by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards

Description –  How much can you trust the people you talk to on dating websites? This book follows the cold actions of a serial killer who finds his prey online, and the protagonist, a woman who believes he has taken her sister.

Pros – I always like Mark Edwards’ books. They are chilling, full of suspense and easy to read. This one was no different. The cold, calculated descriptions of the killer’s sickening actions, and the building of tension was all there. The book also weaves together a lot of different narratives and plots making for a richer book.

Cons – Some parts were a little slow and although there was a twist, the end was quite predictable. These books also need the police to be basically incompetent fools to work, which can be irritating.

Marks out of 5 – 4

How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

Description – This psychological thriller follows Susan Webster, now living under the name Emma Cartwright and her life after prison where she was convicted of killing her baby son, Dylan, while suffering from post-natal depression. But is this really what happened?

Pros –  I was glued to this book. It was dark, creepy and very well written. One aspect I really liked was how you didn’t know who to trust. Was the protagonist wronged and a pawn in a bigger game? Or is she guilty of killing under the weight of her illness? Right up to the end I was unsure of how this one would play out, which is exactly what I want from a book of this nature.

Cons – Some parts of this book do need a suspension of belief and some of the flashbacks do get a bit Riot Club. But if you can manage to do this you’ve got a read that will keep you gripped throughout.

Marks out of 5 – 4.5

The Lie by C L Taylor

Description – This gritty book follows Emma Woolfe, who has now changed her name to Jane Hughes, following her harrowing experiences in India while backpacking with friends. Not all of them came out alive – but what exactly happened?

Pros – This book really disturbed me. From the dark threads running through Emma’s friendship dynamics to the way things quickly tumble into terror, this book teetered on the horror side of the thriller genre.

Cons – Why is no-one on her side? WHY DOES NO-ONE BELIEVE HER? This can be a bit frustrating!

Marks out of 5 – 4

Paper Towns by John Green

Description – Now a film, this book talks about the relationship between the main character, Quentin, a pragmatic video games geek, and Margot, a flighty adventurer who is always getting into scrapes. After a night together pranking their fellow high-schoolers who have wronged Margot, she disappears, leaving behind clues for Quentin as to her location.

Pros – Equal parts a story to the testament and ebbs and flows of friendships, and a mystery to be solved, I really enjoyed the author’s emotive way of writing. I felt the development of both characters was really strong and you could identify with both of their ways of thinking and feeling about the lifes and futures.

Cons – The relationship between flighty girl and geeky boy is probably a formula you’ve heard before. But John Green does do it particularly well.

Marks out of 5 – 4