What Leslieanne Read in April...

It's May already?

Yes, this year is wooshing (technical term) and it's a bit scary to be honest, so let's not dwell and just crack on with the books instead.

I've built up quite a big stack through April - six books to tell you about (partly because two were so good I gobbled them up in 2 days each, and partly because we had  quite a few train journeys last month, which are always great for a bit of quality bookworm time).

I enjoyed all six, (some more than others) and I think I've covered quite a good jumble of genres again, so let's jump in shall we?

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I'd had this book sitting on my shelf since last year & shamefully forgot about it until it suddenly started popping up all over Instagram, and I noticed Waterstones making a fuss of it too. Now I feel very silly for not getting on it sooner because it is wonderful.

Eleanor Oliphant is such a tragically awkward, utterly ordinary, yet also completely extraordinary heroine, I defy anyone not to fall in love with her. At first glance, she's the odd/eccentric/just plain weird girl in the office who nobody really knows what to make of. She doesn't exactly have friends, or a social life, but on the face of it, she's alright with that. In fact, her 'ordinary' life is the result of a horrific history that is teased at and revealed slowly, so that it has you furiously turning pages wanting to find out what really happened.

More than that though, I found myself completely invested in her future, I can't remember the last time I so badly wanted a happy ending for someone! Does she get one? Well obviously I won't comment on that because I don't want to ruin a really great book for you. Instead I'll just say it, read it & find out for yourself.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

This is book one of a (currently) six part series (part seven is due out later this year).
I know this, because in typical Leslieanne fashion, I picked up what turned out to be part six for cheap, in a 3 for £5 Works bundle, because the back was intriguing and the cover was pretty (and pink). Anyway, I read about 10 pages of the pretty pink one before I admitted defeat and decided it'd be much more enjoyable if I had a clue what was going on (as with most series-style fiction, I guess you could read them independently, but it just makes more sense to start at the beginning, right?)

SO! Thanks to my lovely tall one, I now have the whole set to work through, and I'm very glad, because this one was brilliant. It made me laugh out loud three times in the first three pages (good sign) and had me totally hooked after one chapter. The Narrator is Peter, a newly qualified PC in London, staring down the barrel of a dreary office job rather than 'proper' police work, when fate steps in and leads him down a different path. One that involves working with Inspector Nightingale (my new inappropriate literary crush), in a little known department of the Met Police which deals with all things magical and supernatural. Yes really. If that all sounds too much like far fetched nonsense to you, these books probably won't be your cup of tea. On the other hand, if, like me, you're happy to get on board, suspend belief (and/or indulge the idea what maybe just maybe there is more to the world than what we 'know' about), you might just love it.

It's beautifully written, really well thought out and utterly addictive. I won't say more about the actual storyline for fear of spoiling the ending, but I definitely gasped more than once. And book two (Moon Over Soho) is my first pick for May, which I'm already enjoying too, so I really can't give it a much better review than that!

The Evidence of Ghosts by A K Benedict 

I actually read this before I got stuck into The Rivers of London, which is odd, since this is a similarly niche sub-genre. There's no magic as such, but the premise is, essentially, a Detective who can talk to ghosts. Specifically, a ghost who might be able to help catch his own killer.

I know, I know, it sounds absurd, and maybe it is, but if you're open to supernatural thrillers where just about anything goes, then I totally recommend this one! The actual storyline is so well thought out; all the twists and turns and little breadcrumb trails you'd expect from a good crime thriller are there, but with a no nonsense guide to the surprisingly ordinary structure of the afterlife thrown in too. If you've read and enjoyed any of the Ben Aaronovitch books, this one is definitely worth a whirl. (And if you haven't, but just like the idea of a crime thriller vs ghost story mash up, this is a good place to start!)

Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

Of everything I read this last month, this took me the longest to get through. Not because I didn't enjoy it, not at all, but because I read it in really small chunks, mostly before bedtime, and it literally lulled me to sleep several times. NOT because it was boring, but because it's so beautifully written that it just sort of completely relaxes your brain. Does that make sense?

It's one of those books where technically, not a great deal happens. It focuses entirely on Ray, a man 'too old for starting over, too young for giving up', and One Eye, the 'viscous little bugger' of a dog he adopts. So misfit man meets misfit dog, but don't be fooled into thinking this is one of those heart warming 'and then they fix eachother and live happily ever after' sort of stories. There are heart warming moments, and plenty of evidence that dogs are, indeed, a gift to mankind, but although there's beautiful imagery and simply gorgeous writing throughout, there's also parts that are hard to read, and the not so pretty imagery is just as well conjured. In a nutshell, I found this book overwhelmingly sad. Would I recommend it? I honestly don't know. I enjoyed reading it, but I wasn't sad to finish it.
Draw your own conclusions from that I guess!

Copycat by Alex Lake

I completely blame my other half for my newfound fascination with creepy as anything thrillers that give me nightmares, but now I've started, apparently I just can't stop!

This one was chilling, tense, and in places, so worryingly plausible, it definitely made me shiver!
I always panic about giving too much away when I post about these sorts of books, so I'm just going to copy and paste the back cover blurb:
"When an old friend gets in touch, Sarah Havenant discovers that there are two Facebook profiles in her name. One is hers. The other, she has never seen.
But everything in it is accurate. Photos of her friends, her husband, her kids. Photos from the day before. Photos of her new kitchen. Photos taken inside her house.
And this is just the beginning. Because whoever has set up the second profile has been waiting for Sarah to find it. And now that she has, her life will no longer be her own…"
Creepy, right?!
And yet, I couldn't put it down.
Totally made me want to delete all my social media accounts though!!

Lastly, there was also...

Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Can't lie, this 'fell' into my Amazon basket purely because I am a marketers dream and the whole 'most shocking ending you'll read all year' and 'read it before someone spoils the ending!' soundbites sucked me right in.
Did it live up to the hype? For me, yes, it did. But, as we've established, I am pretty much wide open to a bit of a paranormal/supernatural flavour to my fiction, and anyone who's not, might feel like this is all a bit too farfetched.

It's almost got a touch of 'Gone Girl' to it, in that I didn't really warm to any of the characters, but still couldn't stop reading, and I definitely didn't see the ending coming!

Do I recommend it? Yes, if for no other reason than to make your own call about the hype!

And that's all for now folks!
Quite an eclectic bunch again, but I think I'm definitely finding a new favourite niche in the whole supernatural/crime sub genre, so if there's anyone else along the lines of Ben Aaronovitch/A K Benedict you think I should be checking out, please do let me know!

And if any of you have read Behind Her Eyes, I'd love to hear your thoughts too!

Happy Reading Fellow Book Lovers!

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