June has been a lovely if surreal month. Weather wise it has been glorious and I’ve spent lots of time outside and in the garden reading at weekends meaning that I managed to get through 11 books. They have been a mixed bag, some have been excellent, stand out reads that I will be recommending for a long time to come whilst others haven’t really hit the spot for me and as such I haven’t reviewed.
Two very lovely and exciting things did happen in June (well, one was 1st July but i’ll backdate it to June!). Firstly I was thanked in a book by an author. I read and reviewed Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan last year and thought it was excellent. I’ve
stalked chatted to Katie on social media since then and have been avidly waiting her next book which is called The Light Between Us and is published on 9th August by Transworld Digital. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy and was thrilled to realise that she had mentioned me in the Acknowledgements.
The second exciting thing to happen was to be on Zoe Ball on Sunday’s TV Show on ITV when she featured Never Greener by Ruth Jones in her book club. It was surreal to see myself on TV talking about what I thought and it was hugely outside of my comfort zone but I am pleased that I did it. It was definitely worth the 50 attempts at recording it and nearly ending up divorced in the process.
Books I Read
Tin Man by Sarah Winman was an absolute gem of a novel. Beautiful and bittersweet it left me utterly bereft. You can read my review here.
American By Day by Derek B. Miller was my first foray into the world of Sigrid Ødegård but it certainly won’t be my last. A thriller which deals with race, politics and oppression, I absolutely loved it – my review is here.
An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim is a gorgeous novel that is a kind of sci-fi romance set in a dystopian world. I thought it was great – terrifying at times yes – but overall I thought it was a brave and accomplished debut. My review is here.
Never Greener is the debut novel by actress Ruth Jones and it examines an affair and its fall out. My full review is here and as I mentioned above I ended up on Zoe Ball on Sunday when she discussed it as part of her Book Club.
Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield was a strange one. I was drawn to it because it sounded similar to The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett which I loved, but it didn’t really live up to expectations unfortunately.
The One by John Marrs was our Book Club read for June and overall I thought it was OK. You can read our Book Club review here.
Love and Death in Shanghai by Elizabeth J. Hall was an intriguing look at Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s – a period of history that I knew very little about. I was thrilled to be on the Blog Tour for this book and you can read my full review here.
Last Time I Lied is the second novel by Riley Sager (his first, The Final Girls was a big hit with me when I read it) and you can read my full review on the 11th July when it is my spot on the Blog Tour (spoiler alert: it is FABULOUS).
You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac has been on my to read list for a while and my full review will be up later this week.
Call of the Curlew is the debut novel by Elizabeth Brooks and is set during World War 2 and the present day. I’ll have a full review of this beautiful book tomorrow when it is my spot on the Blog Tour.
I love Kate Canterbary’s books, they’re fun romance reads and Hard Pressed is her latest. It was perfect sunny weather reading and I devoured it an afternoon.
Books I Bought
The Bone Keeper – Luca Veste
Published by Simon & Schuster, 8th May 2018
Twenty years ago, four teenagers went exploring in the local woods, trying to find to the supposed home of The Bone Keeper. Only three returned.
Now, a woman is found wandering the streets of Liverpool, horrifically injured, claiming to have fled the Bone Keeper. Investigating officer DC Louise Henderson must convince sceptical colleagues that this urban myth might be flesh and blood. But when a body is unearthed in the woodland the woman has fled from, the case takes on a much darker tone.
The disappeared have been found. And their killer is watching every move the police make.
Home Fires by Elizabeth Day
Published 13th July 2017 by Fourth Estate
A stunning, delicate portrait of a family bookended by war, Home Fires explores the legacy of loss, the strictures of class and the long road to redemption.
Max Weston, twenty-one, leaves for his first army posting in central Africa. What happens to him changes the lives of his family forever. At home, his parents struggle to cope. The overwhelming love Caroline has always felt for her only child is now matched by the intensity of Max’s absence. The silence is broken by the arrival of Caroline’s mother-in-law, Elsa, who at the age of ninety-eight can no longer look after herself. After years of living in fear of putting a foot wrong in front of this elegant, cuttingly courteous lady, finally, Caroline has the upper hand.
Prudence – Jilly Cooper
Published 23rd December 2010 by Transworld Digital
A light-hearted, fun and romantic romp from the much-loved classic author
The trouble with the Mulholland family, Prudence decided, was that they were all in love with the wrong people. She’d been overjoyed when Pendle, her super-cool barrister boyfriend, invited her home for the weekend to meet his family.
But home turned out to be a decaying mansion in the Lake District, and family were his glamorous, scatty mother who forgot the mounting bills by throwing wild parties, and brothers, Ace, dark and forbidding, and Jack, handsome, married and only too ready to take over with Pru if Pendle didn’t get a move on.
It was only when she noticed the way Pendle looked at Jack’s wife Maggie that it began to dawn on Pru that there was more to this weekend than met the eye. It looked like a non-stop game of changing partners . . .
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
Published on 7th June 2018 by Faber & Faber
Meet Polly, which may or may not be her real name, this year’s most dangerous leading lady…
They meet by chance in a local bar in a small town in Delaware. Polly is heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and so does he – drawn to this mysterious redhead who unnerves and excites him. Over the course of one hot summer, they abandon themselves to a steamy affair. But each holds back something from the other – dangerous, even lethal, secrets . . .
Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
Published by Little, Brown 12th September 2017
Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost…
This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
Published 7th September 2017 by Picador
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
Advanced Copies of Books I Recieved
Suicide Club – Rachel Heng
Published on 10th July by Sceptre
What are you doing to help yourself? What are you doing to show that you’re worth the resources?
In a near-future world, medical technology has progressed far enough that immortality is now within grasp -but only to those who show themselves to be deserving of it. These people are the lifers: the exercisers, yogacisers, green juicers and early nighters.
Genetically perfect, healthy and wholesome, one hundred-year-old Lea is the poster girl for lifers, until the day she catches a glimpse of her father in the street, eighty-eight years after their last encounter. While pursuing him, Lea has a brush with death which sparks suspicions. If Lea could be so careless, is she worthy of immortality?
Suicide Club wasn’t always an activist group. It began as a set of disillusioned lifers, gathering to indulge in forbidden activities: performances of live music, artery-clogging meals, irresponsible orgies. But now they have been branded terrorists and are hunted by the state.
And Lea has decided to give them a call.
Bitter Orange – Claire Fuller
Published by Penguin on 2nd August 2018
From the attic of a dilapidated English country house, she sees them – Cara first: dark and beautiful, clinging to a marble fountain of Cupid, and Peter, an Apollo. It is 1969 and they are spending the summer in the rooms below hers while Frances writes a report on the follies in the garden for the absent American owner. But she is distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she discovers a peephole which gives her access to her neighbours’ private lives.
To Frances’ surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to spend time with her. It is the first occasion that she has had anybody to call a friend, and before long they are spending every day together: eating lavish dinners, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, and smoking cigarettes till the ash piles up on the crumbling furniture. Frances is dazzled.
But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don’t quite add up – and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the glamorous, hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur.
Amid the decadence of that summer, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand all their lives forever.
Fatal Inheritance – Rachel Rhys
Published by Transworld Digital on 26th July 2018
1948: an English housewife trapped in a dull marriage escapes to the South of France to claim a mystery inheritance. But rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge, and now they want her out of the way …
She didn’t have an enemy in the world…
until she inherited a fortune
London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb.
Out of the blue, she received a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.
Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.
But while she rubs shoulders with film-stars and famous writers, under the heat of the golden sun, rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge. Rivals who want her out of the way.
Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly…
How to be Famous – Caitlin Moran
Published on 28th June 2018 by Ebury Publishing
I’m Johanna Morrigan, and I live in London in 1995, at the epicentre of Britpop. I might only be nineteen, but I’m wise enough to know that everyone around me is handling fame very, very badly.
My unrequited love, John Kite, has scored an unexpected Number One album, then exploded into a Booze And Drugs HellTM – as rockstars do. And my new best friend – the maverick feminist Suzanne Banks, of The Branks – has amazing hair, but writer’s block and a rampant pill problem. So I’ve decided I should become a Fame Doctor. I’m going to use my new monthly column for The Face to write about every ridiculous, surreal, amazing aspect of a million people knowing your name.
But when my two-night-stand with edgy comedian Jerry Sharp goes wrong, people start to know my name for all the wrong reasons. ‘He’s a vampire. He destroys bright young girls. Also, he’s a total dick’ Suzanne warned me. But by that point, I’d already had sex with him. Bad sex.
Now I’m one of the girls he’s trying to destroy.
He needs to be stopped.
Do No Harm – L V Hay
Published by Orenda Books on 20th July 2018
After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.
Just – Jenny Morton Potts
On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.
‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.
An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.
Let me know if you have read any of these books or if there any you fancy!