Yes, I know we’re a good way through September but the end of my August was incredibly busy with boring things like work and I just couldn’t find the time to write this post!
Despite August being filled with lots of work, I did manage to get through nine books, one of which was a re-read of a book I read earlier in the year. It was a pretty incredible month book-wise – they were all killer and no filler.
As usual, my thanks to the publishers and publicists who send me books to review and approve my requests on Netgalley.
Desert Island Books
My castaway in August was Anna Kent, author of The House of Whispers
Books I Read
The Poison Garden – Alex Marwood
This was a book club read about a cult and its implosion. It’s a great book which examines the intricacies of a close knit community with a charasmatic leader and the after effects for those who escape.
Pretty as a Picture – Elizabeth Little
A love letter to Hollywood and the movies, Pretty as a Picture is a locked room mystery with both style and wit.
The Paper Palace – Miranda Cowley Heller
Oh My God. This book. THIS BOOK! One of my books of the year for sure. It is so beautiful and just one of the most incredible reads about a lifetime of history and secrets.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E Schwab
This is such an entertaining read about a woman who is both immortal and who is forgotten by anybody she comes into contact with. Set both in the 1700s and present day it is a book of magical realism and speculative fiction and I really enjoyed it. I both read it on Kindle and listened on audiobook and would recommend the latter as the narration is great.
The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually – Helen Cullen
This is such a gorgeous book about a family in Ireland. It well and truly broke my heart and then put it back together again and is full of unexpected and surprising moments of quiet beauty. Highly recommended.
My Policeman – Bethan Roberts
Soon to be a movie featuring one Harry Styles, this LGBTQA+ book set in 1950s Brighton is a powerful and compelling multi-person narrative with much to admire. Review coming soon!
The Harpy – Megan Hunter
Dark and delicious, The Harpy tells the story of a couple reeling after the husband has an affair. He agrees that his wife can hurt him three times as revenge. He doesn’t know when or how, but her pain and grief is raw and she needs to hurt him in someway. Short but perfectly formed and with moments of pure grief and sadness, I devoured it in afternoon.
Just Haven’t Met You Yet – Sophie Cousens
A really enjoyable read about a woman searching for the truth about her parent’s relationship. There’s romance, family and secrets and a good few laughs along the way too.
Magpie – Elizabeth Day
I absolutely loved this book about a cuckoo in the nest, motherhood and fertility. It is a great thriller with a wonderful premise and one of my books of the year.
The Perfect Lie – Jo Spain
He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.
Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.
Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.
But it was all built on the perfect lie.
Murder on Mustique – Anne Glenconner
Mustique is in a state of breathless calm as tropical storm Cristobal edges towards it across the Atlantic. Most villa owners have escaped the island but a few young socialites remain, unwilling to let summer’s partying end. American heiress Amanda Fortini is one such thrill-seeker – until she heads out for a morning swim and doesn’t return.
Detective Sergeant Solomon Nile is just 28 years old and the island’s only fully trained police officer. He quickly realises he needs to contact Lord and Lady Blake, who bought the island decades ago and have invested time, money and love creating a paradise. Jasper is in St Lucia designing a new village of luxury villas but Lady Veronica (Vee to her friends) catches a plane immediately. Her beloved god-daughter, Lily, is on the island and this disappearance has alarming echoes of what happened to Lily’s mother many years ago. Lady Vee would never desert a friend in need, and she can keep a cool head in a crisis.
When Amanda’s body is found, a murder investigation begins. Nile knows the killer must be an islander because flights and ferry crossings have stopped due to the storm warning, but the local community isn’t co-operating. And then the storm hits, and someone else disappears . . .
The Editor’s Wife – Clare Chambers
When aspiring novelist Christopher Flinders drops out of university to write his masterpiece (in between shifts as a fish delivery man and builder’s mate), his family is sceptical.
But when he is taken up by the London editor Owen Goddard and his charming wife Diana it seems success is just around the corner. Christopher’s life has so far been rather short of charm – growing up in an unlovely suburb, with unambitious parents and a semi-vagrant brother – and he is captivated by his generous and cultured mentors.
However, on the brink of realising his dream, Christopher makes a desperate misjudgement which results in disaster for all involved. Shattered, he withdraws from London and buries himself in rural Yorkshire, embracing a career and a private life marked by mediocrity.
Twenty years on, a young academic researching into Owen Goddard seeks him out, and Christopher is forced to exhume his past, setting him on a path to a life-changing discovery.
The House of Whispers – Anna Kent
Published on 5th August by HQ
Some secrets aren’t meant to be kept…
When Grace returns to Abi’s life, years after they fell out at university, Abi can’t help but feel uneasy. Years ago, Grace’s friendship was all-consuming and exhausting.
Now happily married, Abi’s built a new life for herself and put those days behind her. And yet as Grace slips back into her life with all the lethal charm she had before, Abi finds herself falling back under her spell…
Abi’s husband, Rohan, can’t help but be concerned as his wife’s behaviour changes. As their happy home threatens to fall apart, he realises that there’s something deeply unnerving about Grace. Just what influence does this woman have over his wife, and why has she come back now?
A chilling story of guilt and obsession from Anna Kent.
Blasted Things – Lesley Glaister
Published by Sandstone Press on 16th September
1920: Britain is trying to forget the Great War. Clementine, who nursed at the front and suffered her own losses, must bury the past and settle for a life of middle class respectability.
Then she meets Vincent, an opportunistic veteran whose damage goes much deeper than the painted tin mask he wears to face the world. Powerfully drawn together they enter a deadly relationship that careers towards a dark and haunting resolution.
28 Questions – Indyana Schneider
Published by Simon & Schuster, 20th January 2022
Reader, imagine yielding to someone with a power so strong she has the ability to slice time. Before. Her. After.’
When first-year music student Amalia stumbles into her Oxford college bar, she has no idea that everything is about to change. Seated across from her is Alex, a velvety-voiced fellow Australian with eyes the colour of her native sky. They strike up a friendship that is immediate – its intensity both thrilling and terrifying.
As the days and weeks go by, they spend more and more time together: philosophising, hypothesising, questioning everything. There is nothing they cannot talk about, except the one thing that matters most. Dare they risk a romantic entanglement if it threatens this most perfect of friendships?
Set across four years and five cities, and suffused with music, literature, art, dance, sex, and the exquisite pain and pleasure of first love, 28 Questions is a passionate and unforgettable first novel about love in all its guises, growing up, and figuring out who you are along the way.
The Silence of Scheherazade – Defne Suman
Published by Head of Zeus, 19th August
At the heart of the Ottoman Empire, in the ancient city of Smyrna, a devastating moment determines the fates of four families.
On an orange-tinted evening in September 1905, Scheherazade is born to an opium-dazed mother in the ancient city of Smyrna. At the very same moment, a dashing Indian spy arrives in the harbour with a secret mission from the British Empire. He sails in to golden-hued spires and minarets, scents of fig and sycamore, and the cries of street hawkers selling their wares. When he leaves, seventeen years later, it will be to the heavy smell of kerosene and smoke as the city, and its people, are engulfed in flames.
But let us not rush, for much will happen between then and now. Birth, death, romance and grief are all to come as these peaceful, cosmopolitan streets are used as bargaining chips in the wake of the First World War.
Told through the intertwining fates of a Levantine, a Greek, a Turkish and an Armenian family, this unforgettable novel reveals a city, and a culture, now lost to time.
A Slow Fire Burning – Paula Hawkins
Published by Transworld on 6th September
What is wrong with you?’
Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.
Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?
Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.
Look what you started.
Nobody But Us – Laura Van Rensburg
Published by Michael Joseph on 14th April 2022
Steven Harding is a handsome, well-respected professor.
Ellie Masterson is a wide-eyed young college student.
Together, they are driving south from New York, for their first holiday: three days in an isolated cabin, far from the city.
Ahead of them, the promise of long, dark nights – and the chance to explore one another’s bodies, away from prying eyes.
It should be a perfect, romantic trip for two.
EXCEPT THAT HE’S NOT WHO HE SAYS HE IS.
BUT THEN AGAIN, NEITHER IS SHE . . .
One by One – Ruth Ware
Published in paperback on 2nd September
Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine, as the shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold.
The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?
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!