July already! I can’t believe how quickly this year is going. I’ve got a few things going on it July but the most exciting thing of all is that plans for our trip to Disney are in full swing! We go in August so I am not expecting to have time to do a July wrap up but you never know!
I was supposed to go and hear Markus Zusak talk about his latest book Bridge of Clay on 6th June in Waterstones Brighton, but ended up with a family emergency and couldn’t go. Luckily, I had given my friend a copy of the tickets and she was able to go still and she kindly got me a copy of the book. She said he was very charming!
I managed 10 books in June – I was pretty happy with this. I had a couple of days when I was with my son having treatment in hospital so had lots of reading time! I’m sure I acquired more than 10 books (I’ve stopped counting) but I have cut back on the number of books I say yes too as it was getting a bit out of control. I have a quiet month for blog tours (only 4 planned) and I hope to keep it that way! Here are the books I finished in June – follow the links to see my reviews. My absolute favourite was After the End by Clare Mackintosh. I also read The Bell Jar for the first time (it was our book club choice) and I really enjoyed it.
When three domestic abuse offenders are found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.
The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered. And he is Lucy’s husband.
Now the finger of suspicion points at Lucy and the police are running out of time. Can Maggie and her team solve the murders before another person dies? And is Lucy really a cold-blooded killer?
How did I get it? I received a copy from Killer Reads for the blog tour.
Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son.
What if they could have both?
A gripping and propulsive exploration of love, marriage, parenthood, and the road not taken, After the End brings one unforgettable family from unimaginable loss to a surprising, satisfying, and redemptive ending and the life they are fated to find. With the emotional power of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Mackintosh helps us to see that sometimes the end is just another beginning.
How did I get it? I received an ARC from Little Brown.
One year after Erica Spencer trips and falls down a flight of stairs at a lavish Halloween party, the residents of the exclusive gated community where she lived have comes to terms with her death and moved on with their lives.
Until one day, a post on the school’s website announces there will be a podcast to expose what really happened on the night of the accident. Six suspects are named, with the podcaster promising to reveal the murderer by the end of the series.
Everyone in this community has secrets to keep, and one of them is already a killer…
How did I get it? I received an ARC from Headline for a blog tour.
Jennifer Cole has just been told that she has a terminal blood disease. She has three months to live — ninety days to say goodbye to friends and family and put her affairs in order. Trying to focus on the positives (at least she’ll never lose her teeth) Jennifer realises she has one overriding regret: the words she’s left unsaid.
Rather than pursuing a frantic bucket list, she chooses to stay put, and write letters to three significant people in her life: her overbearing, selfish sister, her jelly-spined, cheating ex-husband, and her charming, unreliable ex-boyfriend finally telling them the things she’s always wanted to say but never dared.
At first, Jennifer feels cleansed by her catharsis. Liberated, even. But once you start telling the truth, it’s hard to stop. And, as she soon discovers, the truth isn’t always as straightforward as it seems, and death has a way of surprising you…
How did I get it? I received a finished copy from Bantam Press for a blog tour.
Andrew works with death for a living. Searching for people’s next of kin and attending the funerals if they don’t have anyone, he’s desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine, because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.
The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told is about to catch up with him.
Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.
How did I get it? I received a proof copy from Orion for a blog tour.
The hand of a stranger offered in solace. A flower placed on a dead body as a mark of respect. A gentle word in response to fear and anger. It is these moments of empathy, in the extremis of human experience, which define us as people.
Nobody knows this better than a nurse and Molly Case has witnessed countless such moments. In How to Treat People, she documents these extraordinary points, when two people truly connect. In rich, lyrical prose, she introduces us to patients with whom we share the pain, but also the experience of illness when life is at its most vivid. And when her father is admitted to the high dependency unit on which she works, Molly confronts care in a whole new way, when two worlds – the professional and the personal – suddenly collide.
Weaving together medical history, art, memoir and science, How to Treat People beautifully illustrates the intricacies of the human condition and the oscillating rhythms of life and death. Most of all, it is a heart-stopping reminder that we can all find meaning in being part, even for a moment, of the lives of others.
How did I get it? I received a copy from Penguin Random House for an Instagram Tour in May.
When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.
Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.
A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…
How did I get it? I received a copy from Orenda Books for a blog tour.
Nursing a broken heart, Jennifer Bolitho retreats to Pixie Cottage. Her new landlord – a former soldier turned movie heartthrob – has grounds so large, she’s sure the little house nestled in the woods will bring her solitude.
Alex Delgardo also has reasons to hide away. Seeking refuge after a tragic incident turned his world upside down, he knows that the most important thing now is to care for his ailing family.
But when Jennifer enters their lives, that changes. Because, as they both learn, you can’t heal others until you learn to heal yourself…
How did I get it? I received a copy from Quercus Books for a blog tour.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Review to follow)
We follow Esther Greenwood’s personal life from her summer job in New York with Ladies’ Day magazine, back through her days at New England’s largest school for women, and forward through her attempted suicide, her bad treatment at one asylum and her good treatment at another, to her final re-entry into the world like a used tyre: “patched, retreaded, and approved for the road” … Esther Greenwood’s account of her year in the bell jar is as clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing.
How did I get it? My husband’s shelves!
Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.
Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.
When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
How did I get it? I received a copy from Orenda Books for a blog tour.
Movies & TV
I’ve hardly watched any TV this month. I have been watching the new series of The Handmaid’s Tale as well as the odd episode of 911. I’ve also really been enjoying What We Do in the Shadows which is very funny!
When a dangerous crime wave hits the beach, the legendary Mitch Buchannon leads his elite squad of lifeguards on a mission to prove that you don’t have to wear a badge to save the bay. Joined by a trio of hotshot recruits, including former Olympian Matt Brody, they ditch the surf and go deep under cover to take down a ruthless businesswoman whose devious plans threaten the future of the bay.
Don’t judge me! I’d had a really crappy few days and just wanted to watch something a bit silly and this was perfect. It is silly but it has Dwayne Johnson and Zak Efron in it in little red trunks! What’s not to love?!
Whose choice? Mine!
Baby Driver (2017)
Baby, a music-loving orphan also happens to be the prodigiously talented go-to getaway driver for heist mastermind Doc. With the perfect soundtrack picked out for each and every job, Baby ensures Doc’s violent, bank-robbing cronies – including Buddy, Bats and Darling – get in and out of Dodge before it’s too late. He’s not in it for the long haul though, hoping to nail one last job before riding off into the sunset with beautiful diner waitress Debora. Easier said than done.
This was a great film…fantastic music with amazing driving scenes and just the right amount of tension and comedy. All the cast were excellent and we really enjoyed it! I’d highly recommend this!
Whose choice? My husband’s. He’d wanted to see this for a while.
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.
We had a family trip to the cinema to see this although I think I was the only one who actually wanted to see it! As I may have mentioned we are going to Disney, so I feel it is important to immerse myself in all things Disney! I thought this was lovely – not anything startlingly different but just what you’d expect from a Toy Story film. I shed a tear or two and very almost lost it when my husband mentioned it might well be the last animated film we see together as a family, as my older son is 17 and I can’t imagine he’ll come with us again!
Whose choice? Mine! And my family humoured me by coming too!
At the beginning of June my husband and I went to see Muse at the London Stadium! My husband is a huge Muse fan so when tickets went on sale in November last year, he spent practically the whole day trying to buy them. We drove to the stadium as we didn’t want to have to leave early and miss the end of the show. I’ve never been to a show on this sort of scale. We were a long way back but it was an amazing show – the special effects were brilliant and they are amazing musicians and singers. I’m definitely a convert!
My son had more treatment in June for his CRMO – unfortunately he didn’t tolerate it very well again so ended up feeling ill for a few days (although not as bad as last time.) We’ve been offered a new treatment but I didn’t want to start anything new before our holiday so we’ve postponed it until we get back. He is temporarily on steroids which seem to help considerably with the pain.
It was my birthday in June too (46 – eek!) and I went shopping with my husband (he is a very patient man!), went out for lunch and had a Chinese takeaway in the evening! My lovely friend also made me a birthday cake!
I had lots of chocolate, booze and smellies, Season 7 Game of Thrones Blue Ray and some succulents. I only got one book – a copy of Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott. I collect copies of Little Women and my friend hunted out a vintage copy of Good Wives to expand my collection!
Thanks for reading my ramblings! What did you enjoy most in June?