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My Summer Holiday Reads: 2017

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. This post follows on from a series that I started last year on my blog, in which I detail all the books I’ve read whilst being lucky enough to go on holiday in the Summer! You can find last year’s post here. This year I went to Florida for 16 days and read a total of 5 books – not as many as last year, but it was a holiday jam-packed full of activities rather than just a beach holiday! So here’s a breakdown of the books I read and what I thought about them…



The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.

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An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder – inspired by numerous European and North American cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the sixteenth century and the twentieth – is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.

This is one of the books set for my English Literature “Last Year’s Novels” module. I did quite enjoy it in the end, but it was far too slow at the beginning for me and it took a while for me to become engaged. But once it got going I devoured every page. And there’s a massive twist at the end! Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room’ is one of my favourite books of all time, but I have to say that this one is totally different, and don’t go into this book expecting anything similar to ‘Room’. You may enjoy this book if you like reading about Irish history, or about the “fasting girls” cases.

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Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon.


Robin and Sarah weren’t the closest of twins. They weren’t even that similar. But they loved each other dearly. Until, in the cruellest of domestic twists, they were taken from one another.

Now, in her early 30s, Robin lives alone. Agoraphobic and suffering from panic attacks, she spends her days pacing the rooms of her house. The rest of the time she watches – watches the street, the houses, the neighbours. Until one day, she sees something she shouldn’t…

And Sarah? Sarah got what she wanted – the good-looking man, the beautiful baby, the perfect home. But she’s just been accused of the most terrible thing of all. She can’t be around her new family until she has come to terms with something that happened a long time ago. And to do that, she needs to track down her twin sister.

But Sarah isn’t the only person looking for Robin. As their paths intersect, something dangerous is set in motion, leading Robin and Sarah to fight for much more than their relationship…

I was sent a signed ARC of this by Corvus/Atlantic Books a while ago, but waited to read it until around it’s publication date earlier this month. I’m not going to go into too much detail about the book now, as I’ve already reviewed it in full here. I really really loved this book and I just raced through it! It’s a novel that I found hard to fault, but if I was being really picky I could potentially find a couple. I highly recommend this to those of you out there who love Thrillers, but also love domestic dramas.

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My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout.

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Lucy is recovering from an operation in a New York hospital when she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting by her bed. They have not seen one another in years. As they talk Lucy finds herself recalling her troubled rural childhood and how it was she eventually arrived in the big city, got married and had children. But this unexpected visit leaves her doubting the life she’s made: wondering what is lost and what has yet to be found.

This is another book set for my English Literature “Last Year’s Novels” module. I know this book is really highly raved about by critics, but it just really wasn’t the book for me. I like action, suspense, thrills – a plot driving a novel forwards. And I felt that this book had none of that. I found it incredibly dull and wasn’t engaged at all, and in the end I only finished it because I had to for university. Don’t get me wrong, if you enjoy reading about somebody’s retrospective account of their life, and if you enjoy reading more character-based novels then give this one a go. But it just wasn’t my thing.

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

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You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

I’m not going to talk about this book too much, as I’ve already reviewed it in full here. Again, I really enjoyed this book and I especially loved the complexity of the plot. It’s a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” kind of plot, and I really appreciate the amount of effort the author must have gone through in order to achieve that. There’s loads of suspense in this novel, and the narrative is full of twists and turns! The only thing that disappointed me is the ending, which you can find more about by reading my full review.

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I Know A Secret by Tess Gerritsen.

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I have a secret. 
And someone wants to make sure I never tell . . . 

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death.

Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets?

One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him.

But she has a secret that she has to keep . . .

I was sent an ARC of this by Bantam Press, and attempted to read it ahead of it’s release in August. But I just couldn’t get into it, and I found myself getting pretty confused at the beginning. I have never read any of Tess Gerritsen’s novels, which proved to be a problem for me reading this, as this novel is the 12th book in the Rizzoli & Isles series. I felt that it didn’t hook me from the beginning, and in all honesty I just wasn’t in the right mindset to read a book like this whilst on holiday. Maybe I’ll pick it up and give it another go someday?








Happy reading 🙂

3 thoughts on “My Summer Holiday Reads: 2017

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