Book Review: I Invited Her In

I Invited Her In – Adele Parks

Rating: 2 out of 5.

‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’


When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.
Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.
Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…

I didn’t fully know where to begin when I started to talk about this one. It has taken me several days to figure out what I want to say.

The premise sounded promising enough, and the first few chapters seemed like it would be a decent book. But after those first few chapters it just kind of went downhill from there. First off, it was a rather long and drawn out story, a lot of unnecessary (at least to me) details and descriptions about things I didn’t really care about. I started out really liking protagonist Mel, but by the time I got about halfway in I was over it. And Abi (the friend) had absolutely zero redeeming qualities.

It was an okay storyline with several unlikable characters. Truthfully, both Mel and Abi annoyed me so much, I stopped caring what was going to happen to them. From the tagline “I invited her in and she took everything” I was hoping for a fun or unexpected twist, but there was none of that. I guess I had just hoped for something … more, and it just never delivered anything but a boring plot and equally boring characters.

Abi and Mel were both pretty flat as characters go. There wasn’t much to like about them. Mel was incredibly devoted to her family at the start of the book, but it was a quick slide into domestic chaos with the arrival of a friend she hadn’t seen or spoken to in 17 years, and copious amounts of alcohol.

I listened to the audiobook at the same time as reading the paperback version, and I have to say that I did enjoy Joanne Froggatt’s narration of it. To be honest, that is probably what made me persevere until the end.

Have you read I Invited Her In? Let me know your thoughts!

Book Series I Started But Haven’t Finished (2021 Edition)

Series. There were quite a few I started in 2021 with full intentions of reading the full series. Naturally, that didn’t actually happen. There are just so many books that I want to read and not enough hours in the day. It doesn’t help that 2021 just seemingly flew by, I always feel like I’m going to have more time to get everything done.

Nevertheless, I am hoping to pick up some more books from the series I did already start. By when? I have no idea. I am not a person that is great with timelines or deadlines.

Every single book on this list is the first in the series of each one I started. I never did actually make it to book 2 in any of them, despite enjoying the books.

A Stoneybrook Mystery – Eryn Scott. I read A Crafty Crime, and planned to jump straight into book 2 the next month.

Click – Kayla Miller.

Diary Of A 6th Grade Ninja – Marcus Emerson. I started reading this series with my daughter, but it didn’t particularly hold her interest. I would still like to try the second book, just to see if she likes it a bit better.

Olga – Elise Gravel. I really enjoyed Olga And The Smelly Thing From Nowhere, as did my daughter.

Hetty Feather – Jacqueline Wilson. I did actually start the sequel, Sapphire Battersea, but we got busy with other things and had to set it aside.

Reporter Roland Bean Cozy Mystery – Rachel Woods.

Outlander – Diana Gabaldon. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the book, but I would still like to read Dragonfly In Amber.

Hereafter – Tara Hudson.

The Jumbies – Tracey Baptiste.

Are there any series you started in 2021 that you need to finish? Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Thrillers I Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme this week is 2021 releases I was excited for, but didn’t get to read. Let me tell you, there were quite a lot, so in order to narrow this list down just a little, I decided to focus on the thrillers and mysteries I didn’t get chance to read last year.

  • The Hunting Wives – May Cobb
  • Local Woman Missing – Mary Kubica
  • The Night She Disappeared – Lisa Jewell
  • The Sanatorium – Sarah Pearse
  • Shiver – Allie Reynolds
  • Such A Quiet Place – Megan Miranda
  • The Couple At No.9 – Claire Douglas
  • The Burning Girls – C.J. Tudor
  • Survive The Night – Riley Sager
  • Rock Paper Scissors – Alice Feeney

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know!

5 Star Reads In 2021

Looking back at my 2021 books, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the books I rated 5 stars. I have to say, there weren’t many. Of the 110 books I read last year, only 7 earned a 5 star rating. Lots of 4 stars, but not a lot of the 5 stars. Maybe I’m just particularly stingy or difficult to please, I’m not sure, but anyways.

3 of the books that I rated 5 stars last year were historical fiction, while 4 were mystery/thrillers.

The House By The Sea – Louise Douglas.

Other Words For Home – Jasmine Warga

Dear Mrs. Bird – A.J. Pearce

The Edelweiss Sisters – Kate Hewitt

Whisper Cottage – Anne Wyn Clark

The Clockmaker’s Wife – Daisy Wood

Bring Me Back – B.A. Paris

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Let me know!

Links:

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2021 Reading Wrap Up

This is one post I have been looking forward to writing all year long. I’ve always enjoyed reading, but 2021 was the first year that I really started to keep track of my books, and I’ve been excited to see my final reading statistics.

The quick numbers:

My longest book read in 2021 was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
My first DNF of 2021 was #No Filter by Maxine Morrey.
First book read in 2021 was Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.
The first 5 star book I read in 2021 was The House By The Sea by Louise Douglas.
My least favourite book of 2021 (not including any DNFs) was The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware.

What was your favourite book in 2021? What was your least favourite? Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Books

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme this week is the most recent additions to my book collection. This list is a combinaton of books I received as gifts for Christmas, a few I bought from the local second-hand bookstore, and a few I bought on Kindle/Audible.

  • The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
  • Songs Of The Humpback Whale – Jodi Picoult
  • The Body In The Woods – April Henry
  • The One – John Marrs
  • Rips & Tears – Andrew Rivas
  • Her Perfect Family – Teresa Driscoll
  • The Paid Bridesmaid – Sariah Wilson
  • The Girl On The Platform – Ellie Midwood
  • Wylding Hall – Elizabeth Hand
  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix

Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know your thoughts!

It’s Monday – January 10 2022

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme that is currently being hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

It’s Monday, and after an extended Christmas break, the kiddo is back in school. All last week I was watching for updates as they decided whether or not school would be going back or going online. As a single mother with a full-time job that cannot be done at home, online school is not something I am ever hoping for. As much as in person school makes me nervous, online school just doesn’t work for us. Hopefully we can make it to the Easter holidays without any major issues.

The kid and I watched Encanto on Saturday night. I cried. Can’t get the songs out of my head now though, so that’s exciting. It warmed up enough for us to manage a short neighbourhood walk around the little libraries to drop off and pick up a few new books to read. I picked up Library Of The Dead by Glenn Cooper, Murder Of Innocence and Zoo by James Patterson, and Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby.

What I Read Last Week

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher. I’ve watched the first season of this on Netflix, and though I liked that, I do think that the book is much better.

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware. My full review is here (contains a few spoilers).

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green. This made me cry. A lot.

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens. I listened to the audiobook of this. The version I found on audible was narrated by Hugh Grant and I very much enjoyed it.

What I’m Currently Reading

I Invited Her In – Adele Parks. I’m about halfway through this book and so far it is just okay. It started out pretty good, but has taken a weird turn and I’m not sure how I feel about that little piece. I will see where it takes me, I guess.

The Turn Of The Screw – Henry James. I’ve been wanting to read more classics, which are not entirely my genre of choice. So I have started with some of the shorter ones. I’m not very far into this yet, but it is decently creepy. I’m listening to the audiobook (narrated by Emma Thompson) as I read the paperback, and I am enjoying it.

What I’m Planning To Read Next

Every Heart A Doorway and Down Among The Sticks And Bones – Seanan McGuire. I’m going to be reading these as part of a readathon I’m participating in this month.

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett. This is for a buddy read I’m participating in during January that I have to start reading this week.

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

*Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. Bookish Yarn is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a way for sites to earn a small commission by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Bookish Yarn will automatically receive a small commission. Bookish Yarn will never use an affiliate link to a product that she has not tried or enjoyed. Thank you for the support, it is greatly appreciated!

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Book Review: In A Dark, Dark Wood

In A Dark, Dark Wood – Ruth Ware

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever. 

Let me start by saying that I had very mixed feelings about this book. It started out okay, I was intrigued, and then it went downhill from there. It is marketed as scary, and the little reviews on the cover were telling me that this book was scary and would terrify me as a reader. It did not. Mystery, sure, I guess. Not particularly thrilling. And definitely not scary.

This review may include a few spoilers, so if that might bother you, please don’t scroll down any further.


So the premise of this book is that Nora, out of nowhere, gets invited to a hen party weekend, in the middle of nowhere, for someone she hasn’t seen or spoken to in a decade. Now, logic would probably tell you, were you to receive a similar invite, that you were either a last resort invitation (as in the first choice guests had all declined/dropped out/died), or that something is up. Of course, if Nora had declined said invitation there would be no book, so yeah.

So, naturally, Nora goes to the hen weekend, and of course, it is a disaster from start to finish. The plot is fairly predictable, you already kind of know what is about to happen.

Nora – the last resort friend, Clare – the long abandoned best friend, and Flo – the over the top new bestie and maid of honour, are all kind of annoying. And the entire ridiculous debacle of what ensues is because of something that happened TEN YEARS AGO when everyone involved was 16 years old. We all do dumb things at 16, I would hate to think that most people still go around holding grudges over it.

See, Clare is now engaged to James. James was Nora’s boyfriend at the age of 16, they broke up at the 16, and now ten years later, nobody has moved on. Clare did a petty thing at the age of 16. Nora is still so obsessed with her ex-boyfriend (of a mere few months) that she has allowed it to shape and dictate her adult life, has allowed it to eliminate the possibility of another relationship of any kind. James finds out about stupid, petty thing that Clare did ten years ago, and is so mad about it that he absolutely needs to ensure that it is put right. To be honest, all three of these characters sound like they are still 16 years old. And if they were, maybe it would have been slightly less annoying to read about.

The details and descriptions of the setting were fabulous, and there was an eeriness about it that I did enjoy. I absolutely would not want to be stuck in this house with this group of people, that is for sure.

The book cover is absolutely stunning, and it wasn’t an unbearable read, just a bit tedious at times and a fair amount of eye-rolling.

Have you read In A Dark, Dark Wood? Let me know your thoughts!

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Weekend Reading Plans: Jan 7 2022

It has been freezing here all week long, with windchills of -40, but it is supposed to warm up to -15 which will be nice. My daughter has her first gymnastics class of the year tomorrow (as long as it isn’t cancelled before then), and is back at school on Monday so it seems like life might start getting back to normal after the chaos of the holidays. Christmas is a nice mix of not long enough and being glad it’s over for me, and I always start January with complete optimism that this is my year.

What Am I Reading?

I found a version of A Christmas Carol on Audible that is narrated by Hugh Grant, so I’m going to listen to that a bit later today. I need to get some general decluttering done, so I’ll throw on the audio book while I get it done.

I’m also planning to start I Invited Her In by Adele Parks. I have been loving psychological thrillers lately, so hopefully this one won’t disappoint.

What Am I Watching?

I want to start Wheel Of Time on Prime, and Lottie and I are planning to watch the Disney movie Encanto together tomorrow night.

What are your weekend reading plans? Let me know!

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022

January. The time of year when I get overly enthusiastic about reading challenges that I may or may not complete by the end of the year. This one however, seems to be quite doable. Reading historical fiction? Great, sign me up! I love a bit of historical fiction.

The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by The Intrepid Reader.

There are multiple levels that you can choose to hit, but I am going to plan for the Ancient History Level which is to read 25 historical fiction novels by the end of 2022.

I have a few historical fictions that I would like to get to this year. I would like to read a few books in the Outlander series. I read the first one last year, and would like to read books 2 & 3 this year. I would also like to read The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, and The Kew Gardens Girls by Posy Lovell.

Have you read any amazing historical fictions that you think I should check out? Leave me your suggestions!

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