July has certainly been a wonderful bookish month for me. Somehow I managed sixteen reads. SIXTEEN! That’s my new monthly record since becoming a mum. Leo has recently got into a really good nap routine so I’m finding it easier to get time for reading, reviewing and blogging. I’m enjoying it while it lasts.
I’ve also managed to keep up with reviews and have managed to post ones for my July reads in July, apart from one which will be coming very soon – go me!
I’ve had to up my reading challenge goal again this month – I had increased it to 60 but I’ve smashed that so it’s now 80. Considering at the start of the year I had given myself the tentative goal of reading 40 books I am more than happy with this progress.
WHAT I’VE BEEN READING
‘The Music Shop’ by Rachel Joyce. I adore Rachel Joyce’s writing, it’s always beautiful and poetic. ‘The Music Shop’ was sheer perfection. A tale of past mistakes, living life and hope. Review – ‘The Music Shop’ by Rachel Joyce
‘Anna’ by Niccolo Ammaniti. A haunting story of a world with no adults. This wasn’t just a post-apocalyptic tale, it was a wonderful look at the special relationships between siblings. Horrifying but with tender moments. Review – ‘Anna’ by Niccolo Ammaniti
‘Tin Man’ by Sarah Winman. Oh my heart, this book gives you all the feels. It’s short but packs a big emotional punch. An utterly beautiful joy to read. Review – ‘Tin Man’ by Sarah Winman
‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead. A story based during one of the darkest periods of humanity. Brutal, upsetting yet full of courage and bravery. A book that will stay with me for awhile. Clearing the Shelves – ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead
‘Gather the Daughters’ by Jennie Melamed. An island cut off from the rest of the world where the females are raised to become mothers and wives. Dark, sinister and compelling. This book makes for uncomfortable reading at times but I couldn’t put it down. Review – ‘Gather The Daughters’ by Jennie Melamed
‘Death Makes A Prophet’ by John Bude. I absolutely loved this. A witty, entertaining mystery from the Golden Age of crime. There is a double murder during a convention for the Children of Osiris and there is no shortage of interesting suspects. Review – ‘Death Makes A Prophet’ by John Bude
‘The Good Daughter’ by Karin Slaughter. Another fantastic book from Karin Slaughter. Twenty eight years after a shocking attack at her family home, Charlie Quinn’s past comes back to her present. I tore through this book – it’s gruesome, full of twists and gripping. Review – ‘The Good Daughter’ by Karin Slaughter
‘The Sunshine Sisters’ by Jane Green. Three estranged sisters are forced back to together at the request of their mother. I love a Jane Green book, they are great escapism and always full of characters I come to love, ‘The Sunshine Sisters’ is no exception. Touching, funny, this is a wonderful story of family. Review – ‘The Sunshine Sisters’ by Jane Green
‘Ordeal By Innocence’ by Agatha Christie. A Christie stand-alone mystery. I wanted to read this to ready myself for the up-coming television adaptation. Highly enjoyable and has everything I love in a mystery – a host of suspects, a palatial family home and an un-guessable solution.
‘The Woman In Blue’ by Elly Griffiths. I love this series, this is book eight and although I didn’t find it quite as good as the previous books, it was still an enjoyable read. I love the blend of murder and archaeology and Ruth Galloway is a marvellous leading lady.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. I’ve wanted to read this for many years and the recent television series prompted me into action (there is no way I can watch something based on a book without reading the book first!) This makes for compelling reading. It’s chilling and what makes it chilling is the thought that it could happen.
‘Cream Buns and Crime’ by Robin Stevens. A delightful addition to the Murder Most Unladylike series. In this book Wells and Wong reveal their tips for detecting and share some of their lesser known cases. Review – ‘Cream Buns and Crime’ by Robin Stevens
‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper. I couldn’t put this one down! A murder investigation that takes place during an Australian drought – perfect to read when it’s pouring with rain. Full of atmosphere and intrigue. Policeman Aaron Falk is a great character and I hope to see more from him.
‘At First Light’ by Vanessa Lafaye. I loved this book so so much. The story of Alicia Cortez, mixed race and thrown into a new life, is emotional, beautiful and heart-breaking. I enjoyed every single second. Review – ‘At First Light’ by Vanessa Lafaye
‘The Fourth Monkey’ by J.D Barker. Wow… this was a dozey of a crime thriller! It’s so blimmin’ good. Creepy, chilling, full of snappy banter and more twists than a pile of spaghetti. Detective Sam Porter goes head to head with one of the most elusive and depraved killers that Chicago has ever seen. Review to come.
‘An Expert In Murder’ by Nicola Upson. I was a tad disappointed with this. We see fact and fiction blended together with this mystery as Golden Age crime writer, Josephine Tey, becomes embroiled in a murder case. Josephine Tey didn’t seem to be central enough to this story, which is a shame because the whole premise of the book is based around her and the reason I picked it up.
Not quite the impressive haul that I received last month! But these all look good and I’m looking forward to reading them (although I’ve already read ‘Gather the Daughters’)
‘Gather the Daughters’ by Jennie Melamed
On a small isolated island, there’s a community that lives by its own rules. Boys grow up knowing they will one day reign inside and outside the home, while girls know they will be married and pregnant within moments of hitting womanhood.
But before that time comes, there is an island ritual that offers children an exhilarating reprieve. Every summer they are turned out onto their doorsteps to roam wild: they run, they fight, they sleep on the beach and build camps in trees.
They are free.
It is at the end of one of these summers, as the first frost laces the ground, that one of the younger girls witnesses something she was never supposed to see. And she returns home, muddy and terrified, clutching in her small hand a truth that could unravel their carefully constructed island world forever.
‘The Chalk Pit’ by Elly Griffiths
Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels. When forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway discovers the bones aren’t as old as originally thought, it’s time for DCI Nelson to launch a murder inquiry.
What was initially just a medieval curiosity has taken a much more sinister nature. As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack.
‘The Art of Hiding’ by Amanda Prowse
Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.
‘The Upstairs Room’ by Kate Murray-Browne
Eleanor, Richard and their two young daughters recently stretched themselves to the limit to buy their dream home, a four-bedroom Victorian townhouse in East London.
But the cracks are already starting to show. Eleanor is unnerved by the eerie atmosphere in the house and becomes convinced it is making her ill.
Whilst Richard remains preoccupied with Zoe, their mercurial twenty-seven-year-old lodger, Eleanor becomes determined to unravel the mystery of the house’s previous owners – including Emily, whose name is written hundreds of times on the walls of the upstairs room.
‘The Maid’s Room’ by Fiona Mitchell
Set in the blistering heat of Singapore, ‘The Maid’s Room’ follows the lives of two Filipina maids – sisters Dolly and Tala who are working hard to send money back home, and British ex-pat Jules who has left her job as a midwife to move to Singapore with husband David.
Told with humour, heart-breaking detail about daily life as a maid, and with an exhilarating spirit that is ultimately uplifting, this book will resonate with anyone who has struggled to have their voice heard.
I’ve yet to decide on my first August read – I only have a couple to choose from! I hope everyone enjoys a lovely bookish August.