books

"The very definition of a page turner." The 11 books we couldn't put down this month.

Right now we really need a little escape from our daily lives. 

This month I buried my head in a few addictive thrillers including a slow-burning mystery that's about to be turned into a TV series starring Julia Roberts, a book that will charge the way you think about surrogacy and mental health, and a page-turning crime thriller set in Melbourne. 

The rest of the Mamamia team have been catching up on some of Taylor Jenkin Reid's best books, learning how to run, and finding solace in solitude. 

Here are the 11 books we couldn't put down this month. 

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Image: Allen&Unwin/Mamamia. 

"The Last Thing He Told Me is a mystery and a thriller that’s also just a beautifully written study of the human condition, and a story about learning to open up your heart, and the lengths people will go to protect the ones they love.

What it lacked in massive twists it made up with fully fleshed out characters and beautiful writing.

Reese Witherspoon is adapting it into a TV series starring Julia Roberts and I honestly can’t wait to see the characters come to life on screen." - Keryn Donnelly, Pop Culture Editor. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Image: Simon & Schuster/Mamamia. 

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"An outstanding novel about a famous woman's career in Hollywood. I am obsessed with Taylor Jenkins Reid and I'm currently going through her back catalogue. The way she writes characters has to be the best of any writer at the moment, and the insight she provides into celebrity and fame is mind blowing. 

Basically, Evelyn calls on a young woman to write her biography, and you don't know why she's chosen her. Her life story unfolds, and she reveals who the 'love of her life' was. I cried reading it and there were some sentences I read over and over again because they were so profound." - Jessie Stephens, Assistant Head of Content. 

Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Image: HarperCollins Australia/Mamamia. 

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"Magpie is hands down one of the best books I've read this year. 

The story follows 28-year-old Marissa who falls in love with a man named Jake and soon moves in with him. Not long after, they're over the moon when Marissa becomes pregnant with their first child. But not everything is quite what it seems. 

This book is cleverly written, it had me hooked from the very first page until the final twist. It's the book we needed in 2021." - Keryn Donnelly, Pop Culture Editor. 

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Image: Simon & Schuster/Mamamia. 

"Anxious People is unlike any book I've read recently (unsure if that says more about the book or my reading habits). It's by Fredrik Backman who also wrote A Man Called Ove and is about a bank robbery turned real estate hostage. 

I swear it's super feel good and fun though. There's a group of strangers (and a misunderstood bank robber) who you get to know through the book and it keeps you guessing every step of the way. Very lockdown feel good." - Emma Gillman, Editorial Assistant. 

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Image: Hachette Australia/Mamamia. 

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"I've been wanting to read this one for ages, so decided to get stuck in before the upcoming TV series yielded any spoilers. I'm so glad I did as it's without a doubt one of the best crime novels I've read in a long time. It tells the story of respected Massachusetts District Attorney Andy Barber, whose life is turned upside down when his 14-year-old son, Jacob, is charged with murdering a fellow student. 

It's a nuanced, character-driven family drama, wrapped up in a crime/legal courtroom thriller and I couldn't put it down. And the twist? Definitely did not see it coming. - Polly Taylor, Commissioning Editor. 

The Housemate by Sarah Bailey

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"Sarah Bailey has already made a name for herself as one of Australia's best new crime writers with her Detective Gemma Woodstock series. 

The Housemate is her first standalone novel outside of the series. It follows the story of Melbourne crime reporter Olive Groves who was one of the first reporters on the scene of the infamous 'Housemate Homicide' in the early 2000s, which left one housemate dead, one missing and one charged with murder. 

When the missing housemate turns up dead almost a decade later, Olive is once again covering the case and is about to find out the truth is closer than she thought. 

This book is the very definition of a page turner and will keep you guessing right up until the final twist." - Keryn Donnelly, Pop Culture Editor.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Image: Bloomsbury Publishing/Mamamia. 

"I am such a fantasy skeptic but I was looking for a bit of escapism and I was able to loan A Court of Thorns and Roses from the virtual library. So I picked it up about six days ago and wow, I'm so hooked and I'm going to read the whole series ASAP. 

It follows Feyre (a human) who's kidnapped by 'faeries' and it's got some sexiness in it. Just everything I need in a book. I feel like a kid again reading fantasy books. It's so nice to imagine another world right now." - Emma Gillman, Editorial Assistant.

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Image: Hachette Australia/Mamamia. 

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"Alex Michaelides is the king of the killer plot twist. His debut novel, The Silent Patient, has sold over a million copies worldwide. Now his second novel is set to do the same. 

Set at Cambridge, The Maidens follows the story of Mariana Andros, a group therapist who is still reeling from the sudden death of her husband 18 months prior. 

When her niece Zoe's best friend is murdered at St Christopher's College at Cambridge, Mariana returns to her old campus and is soon dragged into a murder mystery packed full of twists and turns.

Honestly, the twist at the end blew my cynical thriller-reading mind." - Keryn Donnelly, Pop Culture Editor. 

What A Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue 

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"I stumbled across this book by Chidera Eggerue after reading about how the author of Women Don't Owe You Pretty may have plagiarised her work. I think you have to be really uninspired or in a rut (or a lockdown!) to fully receive the message. 

I'm early days in but it really forces you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and sow seeds of intention into everything you do." - Madeleine Balkwell, Senior Content Executive. 

Running Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

Image: Penguin/Mamamia. 

"I can't run. As in, I literally look like a baby calf stuck inside of its embryonic sac when I run. So I'm learning to run by reading Alexandra Heminsley's Running Like A Girl. From giving advice on running gear, breathing, and sharing her own mishaps when she started running, Alexandra's own story has me fired up to just forget about my own insecurities and just start. - Rikki Waller, Strategic Partnerships Manager. 

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

Image: Hachette Australia/Mamamia. 

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"This book is about two Bengali girls raised in Ireland trying to figure out their sexuality. It’s such a quick and easy read that explores teenage identity, cultural divides and interracial friendships. It also captures the brown girl awkward stage perfectly." - Emily Vernem, Social Media Producer.

Keryn Donnelly is Mamamia's Pop Culture Editor. For more of her TV, film and book recommendations and to see photos of her dog, follow her on Instagram  

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