Monday, July 3, 2017

Books I Read in June

ARCs clearly defined in accordance with review policy here

Hi!

So, I read 23 books in June - before you say it, I have a post:



I will say it's amazing how quickly television becomes redundant, I'm recording The Handmaid's Tale but everything else I recorded was deleted without even watching it, I don't miss it at all in the evenings now.

As always, you can check out my Books 2017 page for clickable covers - this takes you to my full review on Goodreads or on here if I've done a dedicated post or blog tour stop.

YA = Young Adult.
ARC = Advance Review Copy.


The Rick O'Shea Book Club


The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis
There were two picks as usual, the first being Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney. I chose this - it's a brutal portrayal of life as a young gay man in rural France. You might be forgiven when reading to imagine this was set centuries ago - the author is only in his early twenties. This wasn't an easy read, but it's a story he wanted to tell and I'm so glad he was able to tell it. I'm not entirely sure why it's shelved as fiction, mind - in an interview for Penguin, the author confirmed that all the events were true.

Borrowed from Library

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I had seen this mentioned a few times but was almost put off by comparisons to Don Tillman of The Rosie Project (I wasn't a fan) - this is much, much better. Eleanor is eccentric, and an alcoholic, but she's also a product of her environment. She strikes up a very unlikely friendship that changes her world - she's a wonderful character and this was a joy of a book.

The Ice by Laline Paull
I read The Bees by this author and found it incredibly weird (it has been described as The Handmaid's Tale.....but with bees) but it's a book that has stayed with me, so I borrowed this. It's effectively about an inquest into a death in the Arctic, with a bit of global warming and climate change thrown in for good measure. I really enjoyed it, I thought it was a great story.

  

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman by Catherine Mayer
A non-fictional feminist book on how we could achieve true equality for all. This is broken down into chapters (topics include gender, women in power, women in politics, feminism for men, women in media, etc) and while some chapters were a little more acedemic, the overall tone was friendly and easy to follow. This could be a good book if you've ever read terms like "cis" or "TERF" and wondered what the hell was going on. A really interesting book.

Conclave by Robert Harris
From feminism to religion - I'm not even remotely interested in the inner workings of the Catholic church, but this has been praised in many different circles. It's also a Richard & Judy summer pick, so I gave it a go. The pope is dead, a new one must be chosen, and it's down to 118 cardinals to do just that. There's scandal, secrets and fierce competition - with a truly cringeworthy ending. It was surprisingly enjoyable for a book about cardinals.

The Girl in Between by Sarah Carroll 
This is a YA book about a young homeless girl living with her mother in an abandoned building in Dublin. It's gritty and sad, with believable characters. I wasn't mad about the way it worked out, but I enjoyed it up to that point.


Book Subscription Boxes

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
This was in the May Owlcrate box (unboxing post here) - I've since cancelled my subscription, so this was the last box I received. This is a YA novel featuring a teenage girl who suffers from social anxiety. In reality, she keeps herself to herself. Online, she's the creator of a hugely successful comic series, so successful that she has merchandise, fanfiction, and hundreds of thousands of followers. She's completely anonymous - until one of the most popular fanfic writers starts at her school. I didn't like this, mainly because the love interest was a complete and utter jerk.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus
This was in the June Book Box Club box. It has been compared to The Breakfast Club - there's a criminal, a jock, a princess, a brain, detention - and that's really where the similarities end. Five students enter detention, only four come out alive. Each one has a secret that would destroy them if it got out - and someone's determined for every one of them to be found out. I loved this, I read it in one sitting, I thought it was sharp and fresh.

Buzz Books

 

The Buzz Books are just fantastic, I've mentioned them many, many times here before - they're completely free and they are essential for any reader who wants to keep on top of upcoming releases. there are monthly versions, but I like these big ones - they're available to download here: Buzz Books. If you're a Netgalley member you can request the full advance copy to read, some may be pre-approved. The adult one contains a selection of 40 fiction and non-fiction previews, the YA one contains 15 previews.

ARCs

I was incredibly greedy on Netgalley and it came back to bite me in the behind - I've been trying to get through all the ones I have to review before I inevitably "log on just for a look...". I read 8 in June and was sent one hard copy.

  

The Accidental Honeymoon by Portia Macintosh (Available now)
I was craving something summery, fluffy and light one sunny evening - and I got it in spades with this. When Georgie finds out that her fiancée is cheating, she wants to save face in front of her family so ropes in a guy she meets in Vegas to play her fiancée. Predictable, but witty and funny, this was a welcome read at the time and was exactly what I wanted for a couple of hours of non-taxing escapism.

Behind the Lie by Amanda James (Available now)
A woman is told that one of her twins has died at birth, but she's certain that he's still alive. She is determined to find out what happened and get her baby back. This was predictable, but it was an okay read for an evening.

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry (Available now)
I've done a full review here as part of the blog tour. I really liked this, it's a tale of two sisters who have been affected by an incident 15 years before in very different ways. One is an art teacher in an open prison, the other is confined to a wheelchair in a care home. It's twisty and dark, a good thriller and it was nice to see a character with additional needs who was feisty and opinionated.

  

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield (Available now)
Rita and Lo are sisters, and have been born and raised as part of a travelling circus. Lo meets a "flattie" - a non-circus boy - and wonders if there's more to life than what she has always believed. This took a pretty sharp turn of events that made me sad, it's a strange little book but it's really atmospheric and the circus setting is different.

The Blind by A.F. Brady (Published October 1st)
This was one of the Buzz Books previews that I requested. It's about a psychologist who is assigned a really difficult patient - nobody knows anything about him, other than the fact that he's an ex-prisoner and he won't talk to anyone. Sam tries to get information from him - but ends up having to re-evaluate her own life. I liked this, it was an interesting setting and a good enough story, if a little predictable for someone who reads a lot of psychological thrillers.

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne (Published July 27th)
A tale of two women - one a lodger, the other the homeowner. At what point does the dream home become a nightmare? Eleanor believes that her new home is making her ill - but will anyone believe her? And what's the story with the creepy room upstairs? I liked this, it reminded me of some earlier Hammer Horror novels, with a contemporary twist. Hammer meets David Nicholls, if you will. I'll have a proper review up closer to publication as part of the blog tour.

  

Last Breath (The Good Daughter 0.5) by Karin Slaughter (Published July 11th)
A prequel to her newest novel, featuring a short story about a case taken on by Charlie, a defense lawyer. This doesn't really spoil the events of the novel as it takes place beforehand, so it can be read before or after.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (Published August 8th)
It's genuinely only occurring to me now that the majority of my June ARC reads featured sisters - this is another one, about Charlie and Sam, who witness a shocking event as teenagers. Their father is known as "Attorney for the Damned", and his reputation for helping petty criminals causes his family irreparable damage. 28 years later, both are lawyers and again find themselves the centre of the small town's attention when Charlie witnesses a crime. I loved this, as with all Karin's books it was well written, full of great characters and had that small-town-gone-bad that only certain authors can do really, really well (Stephen King being another one).

Two Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson (Available now)
Again with the sisters - this time they're at their old family home to find out the truth about what happened to their brother when he went missing several years before. Megan is a good protagonist - she also has an eating disorder, which makes for uncomfortable reading but it's handled well. I loved this, thought it was fresh and had a great atmospheric setting, it made a great summer read. Very claustrophobic and tense.

Others

 

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King with Richard Chizmar 
A novella about a girl named Gwendy, who meets a mysterious man one day. He hands her a box, and gives her complete control over it - if she pushes certain buttons, she gets rewards. If she pushes another, bad things will happen. I LOVED this. I really liked the premise and I liked the character of Gwendy a lot. 

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
A YA story about........guess what.......SISTERS! This time, three sisters are preparing for their first holiday abroad since the death of their Dad. Their mother's not coping well, will this trip make them or break them? This was nice, the romance was a little cringe but I loved the sense of humour and the story itself was decent underneath it. A nice holiday read, about learning to move on after loss.

 

Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy
This is about a young Irish teenager who needs access to abortion services. Abortion is illegal in Ireland - so I thought that would be the basis for the story. Instead, this was a bit different - there's a lot about gender, transitioning, friendships and dealing with change in here - the pregnancy story seemed to take a back seat. I didn't really enjoy it, but I think it could be an interesting entry point into a discussion about gender definitions and the 8th Amendment for teenagers.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her friend. Not everyone believes her - the police don't have a good track record when dealing with black teenagers in Starr's community. Starr needs to figure out what to do - should she stand her ground, and risk everyone at her school finding out that she's from the bad part of town, or should she take the easy, safe way out and lie? This was okay, it's an important book, and I'm glad it exists, but if I said I loved it I'd be lying.


And that's it! I've a couple of blog tours coming up and a post about holiday reads on the way soon. If you've any questions or suggestions for bookish posts, or any recommendations, just pop a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP.




2 comments:

  1. I recently joined a book club & we definitely be recommending some of these Sharon thank you x

    ReplyDelete

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