February is the shortest month but it felt never ending didn’t it? It ended on a high note though; some Spring-like weather and some good news about when we may see an end to lockdown.
It also saw Shrove Tuesday and although I usually partake in the pancakes I don’t usually give anything up for lent, but this year, I have set myself a challenge. I have so many books on my shelves that I just can’t get round to reading and yet I keep buying more, so this year, I have decided to give up buying books for lent. There are two occasions where I can buy books; 1) for a gift 2) if I need to buy a book for one of the two book clubs I am a member of. Aside from that though I’m intending to hold off buying yet more books for my groaning shelves.
I lost my reading mojo a little this month and struggled with picking up a book, but I seem to be back on course and read seven books and listened to one audiobook in February. Read on to see what those books were, the books I bought before my buying ban started and advanced copies I have been lucky enough to received.
Books I Read
The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper
This was such a great read about a missing housewife set against the backdrop of race relations in 1950s America,
The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung
This is an unusual and dark read about a young woman with dissociative identity disorder who is trying to save her best friend from the clutches of a dangerous man.
I’ll have a review of The Eighth Girl on the 4th March.
Deity by Matt Wesolowski
The latest in the Six Stories series of books and one of my favourites. This podcast style novel examines the cold case of the death of popstar Zach Crystal, the enigmatic frontman who, in the wake of the MeToo movement is accused of heinous crimes.
The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes
Another fictitious novel with its roots in fact, this book examines the murder of Harriet Monckton and imagines what led to her death and who may have done it. I have to admit to having concerns about the ethics around taking people who once existed and imagining how they behaved, given some of the subject matter of the book.
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
A lighthouse stands empty. It’s clocks have stopped at 8.45, the table is set for a meal, the door is locked from the inside and the three lighthouse keepers are nowhere to be seen. Intrigued? You should be.
I’ll have a review tomorrow (2nd March) so make sure to check back.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama (audiobook)
I don’t usually get on with audiobooks, finding that my attention wanes and often cringing at some of the voices the narrator puts on. But, this book is read by Barack Obama himself and he takes us from his childhood, to his entry into politics, his nomination as Democratic candidate for the Presidency and his first three years or so in the White House. What could be dry is brought to life by his writing and he provides background and context for the most complicated political and global events meaning that I learned a great deal (and I realised that I have huge gaps in my knowledge). It’s wonderful.
Books I Bought
Luster by Raven Leilani
Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, she is sleeping with all the wrong men and she has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her: painting.
No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair.
As if navigating the constantly shifting landscape of sexual and racial politics as a young black woman wasn’t already hard enough, with nowhere else left to go, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s home and family.
Razor sharp, provocatively unstoppable and surprisingly tender, Luster by Raven Leilani is a painfully funny debut about what it means to be young now.
Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan
Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend, Violet’s life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more – better friends, better sex, a better job – and she wants it now.
So, when Lottie – who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up – offers Violet the chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband, Simon, are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives.
Seduced by their townhouse, their expensive candles and their Friday-night sex parties, Violet cannot tear herself away from Lottie, Simon or their friends. But is this really the more Violet yearns for? Will it grant her the satisfaction she is so desperately seeking?
Insatiable is about women and desire – lust, longing and the need to be loved. It is a story about being unable to tell whether you are running towards your future or simply running away from your past. The result is at once tender and sad, funny and hopeful.
Books I Received
Damage by Caitlin Wahrer
Published by Michael Joseph on 8th July 2021
ONE NIGHT. ONE CRIME. ONE FAMILY TORN APART.
TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.
JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?
NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.
Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. When the police get involved with this family in crisis, all the cracks will start to show…
Set to ignite debate and as gripping as your favourite box-set, Damage is a compulsive drama from an extraordinary new writer.
Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson
Published by Faber & Faber on 18th March 2021
After a whirlwind, fairytale romance, Abigail Baskin marries freshly-minted Silicon Valley millionaire Bruce Lamb.
For their honeymoon, he whisks her away to an exclusive retreat at a friend’s resort off the Maine coast on Heart Pond Island. But once there, Abigail’s perfect new life threatens to crash down around her as she recognises one of their fellow guests as the good looking, charismatic stranger who weeks earlier had seduced her at her own Bachelorette party…
Thanks for reading! Please do let me know in the comments beneath if you’ve read any of these books or if any have caught your eye!