Apologies for the lateness of this, August seems to be running away from me. We had to get a new laptop as well, after 8 years the old one finally gave up the ghost, so I'm still trying to transfer pictures and files. Oh, and for the record, I HATE WINDOWS 8. On to the books.
The Booktube-a-thon ran for a week in July - it was an intensive readathon organized through social media. I've already covered the 10 books I read during that week, so I'm not going to include those in this post, but you can read about them here if you want to. I joined Netgalley in July, too - it's a fantastic site that allows you to build a profile and request books to review before they are released. It's completely addictive, but I still have a world of books that I've bought to get through, so I'll mix & match.
Before booktube-a-thon, I read these:
Ava Dellaira: Love Letters to the Dead
Laurel is a teenage girl who has recently lost her sister, May. Laurel idolised her and doesn't know quite how to cope, especially as she knows something about May that she has never told anyone. When her English teacher sets an assignment to write a letter to a dead person, Laurel chooses lots of different celebrities (Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, River Phoenix) and uses her letters to tell them about her life, about her sister, and about the boy who is slowly becoming a big part of her existence. This is a really nice coming-of-age story with a very hopeful message, and it's beautifully written.
Ken Wheaton: Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears (Netgalley)
This was my first request granted on Netgalley, so it's pretty special for that reason alone! Ken Wheaton isn't a writer who I was previously familiar with, but I'll definitely read more by him. This is a story told from the point of view of a 50-year old Louisiana woman who is desperately trying to avoid family drama - until tragedy strikes and she has to return home. I would have read another ten chapters, it surprised me how much I enjoyed this book. If he wrote a series about the main character I would read every single book! It was warm, witty and touching.
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
I keep saying this title to the tone of "Joey and Janice's Day of Fun", but leaving that aside, the premise of this book sounded great - a boy is browsing the shelves of his favourite bookstore and happens upon a red notebook daring him to begin an adventure. The author of the notes, Lily, is a dreamer (and has serious temper issues judging by the screaming and tantrums that regularly crop up). The finder, Dash, is a hipster and really bloody annoyed me. The whole book annoyed me - it was more like a book of questions than a book of dares, and I thought Lily was miles too good for Dash. He reminded me instantly of Jesse Eisenberg, who I am not a fan of, and who I have mixed up with Michael Cera, who played the male lead in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, written by the same authors. Not my cup of tea at all, I was glad to finish it.
Ben Goldacre: Bad Science
Technically I started this way back in April, but I finally finished it in July. It's not the type of book I could sit down and read straight, I had to keep going back a chapter at a time. Ben Goldacre debunks lots of popular treatments and fads, using very funny examples like creating a toxic foot bath for a Barbie. The book was enjoyable, but the one part that had me crying laughing was the one about Dr. Gillian McKeith claiming that
green vegetables have more chlorophyll and oxygenate blood: "Is chlorophyll high in oxygen? No. It helps to make oxygen. In sunlight. And it's pretty dark in your bowels...even if Dr. Gillian McKeith PhD stuck a searchlight right up your bum to prove her point, and your salad began photosynthesizing... you still wouldn't absorb a significant amount of it through your bowel, because your bowel is adapted to absorb food, while your lungs are optimized to absorb oxygen. You do not have gills in your bowels." Brilliant!!
Kate Karyus Quinn - Another Little Piece
I first heard about this on one of Lindsay Hearts Books haul videos, and I immediately wanted to read it. A week before her 18th birthday, Annaliese Gordon is at a party in the woods with lots of other young people. During the party, Annaliese emerges from the woods, covered in blood, runs screaming, and is not seen again...until she turns up halfway across the country, almost a year later, suffering from memory loss. This is not a run-of-the-mill missing person book - I got completely and utterly lost after about 30 pages until I realised that there's a strong Supernatural element at play here (think The Skeleton Key mixed with The Buffy episode The Wish and a dash of teen angst) and Annaliese is not who or what she seems. This is a really unique book, something I hadn't read before, but man - that ending. Still haven't a clue what happened. It's still worth a read, see if you can decipher it and get back to me!
Tawni O'Dell - One of Us (Netgalley)
This book is about Sheridan "Danny" Doyle, who is a forensic psychologist based in Philadelphia. Danny hails from the small mining town of Lost Creek, but has avoided going back there for a long time. When his Grandfather falls ill, Danny returns - and as luck would have it, he discovers a dead body. While he's in Lost Creek, he begins to discover that all he thought he knew about his family is at risk - and there's someone else back in the Creek too, determined to get what's rightfully theirs...I really enjoyed this book, the villian was at times almost cartoon-like in their evilness. This has been compared to Gone Girl but it's nothing like that.
RANT: I actually wish we could stop comparing every thriller to Gone Girl and every romance to Me Before You. They immediately make me all judgey and I don't like it, it's not fair on the books. This is more than good enough to stand up on its own without having to depend on a Gillian Flynn comparison. And while I'm on that subject, in my humble opinion, Sharp Objects was a million times better than Gone Girl. /RANT.
I read these last three books after the booktube-a-thon.
Katlyn Duncan: This Summer (Netgalley)
Hadley and her friend Lily are determined to spend their last summer before college having fun. They both have jobs at Hadley's Dad's summer camp, and are looking forward to a summer of freedom after Hadley split up with her boyfriend of a year. The only problem is, someone from Hadley's past has returned. How will they deal with seeing each other again after he walked out on her without saying a word more than two years ago? This is geared more towards teenagers, but it was a light summer read and I enjoyed reading a book about a summer camp again. There is one particularly hot scene which surprised me, so I wouldn't be handing this to a 13 or 14 year old, but anyone over 16 would enjoy it.
Mhairi McFarlane: You Had me at Hello
The blurb says - "what if the one that got away came back?" but this is my bugbear with this book - he doesn't just "come back", she practically hunts him down because time and consequences suit her. Even though she rejected him several years before, and he's now married. If you're married, this will irk you. It's not that anyone cheats as such - but the thoughts of someone getting back in contact with a man they were very close to years ago and then practically obsessing over him (immediately condemning his wife to be a bitch, of course) doesn't sit well with me. The same with a husband who is supposedly happily married but has no problem mocking his wife in front of a former University friend or having secret lunch meetings to give dating advice to said "friend". I didn't enjoy it, it dragged (but yet nothing happened) and the two main characters deserved each other because they were both awful.
Karin Slaughter: Cop Town (Netgalley)
This is one of the best books I've read this year, and I'm almost ashamed to say that it's my first Karin Slaughter book. I wrote a separate blog post all about it, because it deserves a post to itself. It's brilliant.
So, that's it! 19 books for July, my favourites were definitely the Karin Slaughter, Ken Wheaton and Virginia Bergin ones. I'm well on my way with my August reads, which include Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent, the first pick for Rick O'Sheas book club. If you want to join, have a look at the facebook group here and get reading!