Recent Reads: The Thrillers You NEED This Summer

Is it just me or is Netflix a bit dreary of late? I keep refreshing in the hope that something good will turn up but more often than not I’ve been reaching for a book instead. Here are some of my top picks from the last couple of months.

The Retreat – Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards is a huge favourite of mine. I always storm through his books and The Retreat was no exception. I’m a bit of a sucker for books about people writing books so I knew I’d love this one.

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found—and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive.

Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

When Lucas’s investigation leads him and Julia into the woods, they discover a dark secret—a secret that someone will do anything to protect…

What really happened that day by the river? Why was Lily never found? And who, or what, is haunting the retreat?

I finished this so quickly and loved every second. If you like folklore or ghost stories or just want something that’s going to make you feel a little unsettled then I highly recommend The Retreat. I always try to guess the ending when I’m reading a thriller but I couldn’t have been further from the truth with this one.

An Unwanted Guest – Shari Lapena

A cup of coffee and a whodunnit are truly all I need for a good day. It turns out last Monday was a really good day because I spent the entirety of it cosied up in an armchair reading Shari Lapena’s newest novel cover to cover.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

I’m a huge lover of Miss Marple and An Unwanted Guest paid homage to Agatha Christie in the best way. (I promise at some point I’ll review some books that aren’t crime/thrillers but today is not that day!).

After finishing An Unwanted Guest, I immediately rang my Dad to tell him he HAD to read this book. We both love thriller novels but I only recommend the best to him. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is one of my favourite books so to read this more modern version with a few differences was a real treat.

Guess Who – Chris McGeorge


A waitress. A cleaner. An actress. A lawyer. A student. Everyone is a suspect.


In a locked room – with no escape, and no idea how they got there.


In the bathtub, the body of a man they all knew. Someone murdered him. Someone in this room.


They have three hours to find out. Or they all die.

I’ll be honest here and say I couldn’t really get on with this book. I think it was more a “It’s not you, it’s me” situation though because I was so busy when I was reading this that I could only manage a few pages a time before having to pack up boxes and do other boring moving related tasks.

However, in saying that, I did really enjoy the premise of the book and I was pretty hooked a guy in a horse head mask. I would have liked a little more depth to the characters and I found the ending a bit disappointing, but all in all I did enjoy the book and regret not giving it more of my time.

What’s your favourite thriller novel? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x



Recent Reads #4: Serial Killers, Inappropriate Relationships and Mental Illness

My recent reads have been very much thriller based, which probably isn’t a surprise to anyway, seeing as it’s always my favourite genre.

Good Me, Bad Me | Ali Land

This book was going to end up in my hands before I’d even read the blurb. I first read that Ali Land was previously a mental health nurse so I knew I had to give the novel a whirl and I was so not disappointed.

Good Me, Bad Me is a compelling read about Annie, a young girl whose mother is a serial killer. Given a new name and moving in with a foster family, Annie hopes to finally be free of her chilling past, but things don’t go quite so smoothly.

It took me a while to get into this book. For some reason or another the beginning just didn’t grab me, but once I was 50 pages in I read the rest in almost one sitting. It’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever read and while some of the passages are quite difficult to stomach, it’s well worth it.

Trust Me | Zosia Wand

Man was this a rollercoaster ride. Lizzie is only ten years older than her partner’s son and while she’s not technically his step-mother she feels responsible for him in ways that only a mother can. However when Sam starts skipping school and become aggressive, Lizzie is determined to find out what’s going on.

Firstly, the plot is great. Again like Good Me Bad Me, I haven’t read many books with a similar story so it’s always nice to read something refreshing. I particularly loved the Lake District setting of tranquility, mixed with the turbulence of Lizzie’s home life.

I read this when it was getting a little colder in the Autumn but it has the feel of a great Summer novel.

Secrets For The Mad | Dodie Clark

I’ve watched Dodie on Youtube for a good few years now, even if my interest in the platform has dwindled over the past year. I had no idea what to expect when I saw that Dodie was bringing a book out and honestly there may have been a few eye rolls from my direction. However, I was really pleasantly surprised.

Dodie has spoken openly on Youtube about dealing with mental illness and I thought the content of the book was really mature and interesting and in many parts really positive.

The book is probably one of my favourite non-fiction books of this year even though I maintain that the title is questionable.

Rachel x-x-x


Recent Reads #2

The Secret Lives of Introverts | Jenn Grannerman

If a book has introvert in the title, then I’m in. A Myers-Briggs test once told me that I was 98% introvert so I always devour anything that can help me better learn how to work a world that often seems totally geared up for extroverts. I really enjoyed this book, and while the content is similar to that of numerous others books I’ve read on introverts, I particularly enjoyed Jenn’s writing style.

The Good Sister | Jess Ryder

I enjoyed this book but in all honesty, I read a few weeks ago and it was very much a run-of-the-mill thriller. A pet hate of mine is when the book cover says ‘twisty’ and it turns out that is in fact not very twisty at all. Good for a quick read but not one to sink your teeth into.

A Map For Wrecked Girls | Jessica Taylor

I’ve had this on my TBR list to read for ages but you know when you just put off starting a book and then never get round to it, this was it. So I started this book when I didn’t really want to and felt like it might be difficult to get myself through it. But, how wrong was I? I loved this!

Emma and her sister, Henri find themselves stranded on an island, with Alex as their only company. I loved the focus on the Emma and Henri’s relationship and the secrets that unravelled themselves as the book progressed. A Map For Wrecked Girls is a perfect book for anyone with a love for YA fiction.

What have you read recently? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x