With the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the world, most of us experienced some form of quarantine or isolation. Here in England, our quarantine began in March and has recently begun to lift in June – that’s a lot of time to fill! As someone who wasn’t able to work from home and was therefore on furlough, all of a sudden I had a totally free calendar and a TBR pile that was begging to be read!
Here’s what I managed to read during this period of quarantine, complete with mini ratings! 😌
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal – 4.5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Suspense, Gothic
Blurb: London, 1850. On a crowded street, the dollmaker Iris Whittle meets the artist Louis Frost. Louis is a Pre-Raphaelite painter who yearns to have his work displayed in the Royal Academy, and he is desperate for Iris to be his model. Iris agrees, on the condition that he teaches her to paint. Dreaming of freedom, Iris throws herself into this new life of art and love, unaware that she has caught the eye of a second man. Silas Reed is a curiosity collector; enchanted by the strange and beautiful. After seeing Iris at the site of the Great Exhibition, he finds he cannot forget her. As Iris’s world expands, Silas’s obsession grows. It is only a matter of time before they meet again…
Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh – 3.5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Blurb: Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she’s the best – but she doesn’t know if she’s good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear – failure is not an option… even if the task she’s been set is impossible. Because this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad. The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other… and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. Because when archangels play, mortals break…
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – 4.5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
Blurb: As children, sisters Gillian and Sally were forever outsiders in their small New England town, teased, taunted and shunned for the sense of magic that seemed to hang in the air around them. All Gillian and Sally ever wanted was to get away. Years later, tragedy brings the sisters back together. They’ll find that no matter what else may happen, they’ll always have each other.
How to Fail by Elizabeth Day – 4.5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays, Memoir
Blurb: Inspired by the award-winning podcast, How to Fail is a book for anyone who has ever failed. Which means it’s a book for everyone. Part memoir, part manifesto, and rich in stories from Elizabeth’s own life, How to Fail reveals that failure is not what defines us; rather it is how we respond to it that shapes us as individuals. It’s a book that is uplifting, frank, funny and poignant. With chapters on dating, work, babies, anger, success and friendship, it is based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. Because learning how to fail is actually learning how to success better. And everyone needs a bit of that.
Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis – 4/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, YA, Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Blurb: Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away. And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move. The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…
People Like Us by Louise Fein – 5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Blurb: Leipzig, 1930s Germany. Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother in the Luftwaffe, herself a member of the BDM. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it. Until Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew. Anti-semitism is growing by the day, and neighbours, friends and family members are turning on one another. As Hetty falls deeper in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrificing herself…
Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan – 3.5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, YA, Contemporary
Blurb: Ronnie never thought she’d want to fail a test – until she finds herself staring at a plastic stick with two solid pink lines. She’s pregnant. With her college future fading before her eyes, Ronnie has to make a tough choice – an abortion. But the closest clinic is over nine hundred miles away. Faced with a treacherous boyfriend and no car, Ronnie turns to the one person who won’t judge her: her ex-best friend Bailey. What could go wrong? Not much, apart from stolen cars, crazed ex-boyfriends, aliens, and the pain and heartbreak of a broken relationship…
What Would Boudicca Do? by E Foley and B Coates – 4/5 ⭐️
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical, Feminism, Essays
Blurb: Modern life can be troublesome. There is only so much mansplaining, body shaming, playing ‘nice’ and being underestimated that a girl can take. In What Would Boudicca Do? we turn to the most celebrated women from history for advice; those sisters who were pioneers in science, politics, the arts and generally getting stuff done. With Boudicca as inspiration, sticking up for yourself gets that much easier, just as channelling Dorothy Parker’s wit and defiance will see you right in times of heartache. The fifty remarkable, gutsy women within are sometimes flawed but always fabulous – we can learn so much from them to conquer the everyday challenges of life today.
Girl 38 by Ewa Jozefkowicz – 3/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Children’s, Contemporary, Historical
Blurb: Girl 38 is bold and fearless. She is the comic strip super-heroine that Kat longs to be. Can Kat’s elderly neighbour, Ania, show her how to be brave, as she shares her own daring escape story from World War Two… and find a happy ending for Girl 38?
Kisscut by Karin Slaughter – 4/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Crime, Thriller
Blurb: When a teenage quarrel in the small town of Heartsdale explodes into a deadly shoot-out, Sara Linton – paediatrician and medical examiner – finds herself entangled in a horrific tragedy. And what seems at first to be a terrible but individual catastrophe proves to have wider implications when the autopsy reveals evidence of long-term abuse and ritualistic self-mutilation. Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver start to investigate, but the children surrounding the victim close ranks. The families turn their backs. Then a young girl is abducted, and it becomes clear that the first death is linked to an even more brutal crime. And unless Sara and Jeffrey can uncover the deadly secrets the children hide, it’s going to happen again…
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – 4.5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Slam Poetry, YA, Contemporary
Blurb: Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. In her Harlem neighbourhood, her fists and fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets. Her feelings for a boy in her bio class, the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed – and a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight. Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus – 4/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, YA, Mystery, Thriller
Blurb: Echo Ridge is reeling. This picturesque town, nestled near the Canadian border, experienced its first tragic loss in 1995 when high-school senior Sarah Corcoran vanished while walking home from the library. Then five years ago, homecoming queen Lacey Kilduff was found dead in the aptly named Murderland Halloween park. Now, the killer claims to be back. A small town that keeps losing its homecoming queens. Two murders, still unsolved. Echo Ridge is not a good place to be popular.
Adèle by Leïla Slimani – 3.5/5 ⭐️
Genre: Fiction, Psychological, Contemporary
Blurb: Adèle appears to have the perfect life. A respected journalist, she lives in a flawless Parisian apartment with her surgeon husband and their young son. But beneath the veneer of ‘having of all’, Adèle is bored – and consumed by an insatiable need for sex, whatever the cost. Struggling to contain the twin forces of compulsion and desire, she begins to orchestrate her life around her one-night stands and extramarital affairs, arriving late to work and lying to her husband about where she’s been, until she becomes ensnared in a trap of her own making.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Was there anything that you read during quarantine that you’d recommend? I’d love to know!