An abbreviated wrap up this month my friends – I am just about to disappear on holiday for a couple of weeks so am madly packing and making sure we have everything. I’ll share some of our adventures during my August wrap up or follow me on Instagram to see what I’m up to!
I went to Brighton Waterstones earlier this month to listen to local author Dorothy Koomson speak about her latest book Tell Me Your Secret and Louise Candlish talk about her book Those People. I’ve read a lot of Dorothy’s books so I was a little bit star struck to meet her. And I met Louise once before at the Guildford Book Festival (she remembered the unusual way I spell my name!) Both books sounded excellent so of course I bought them both!
I managed 9 books in July – more than I thought before I just added them up. It hasn’t been a particularly busy month but work is always hectic before a holiday. I have enjoyed a few reading sessions (and naps) in the sun though! Favourites were Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls, The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves and Looker by Laura Sims.
How not to be good? Let me list the ways…
Are you a woman? Do you make to-do lists to stop you losing your mind? Have you ever cried in the toilets at work, had a meltdown in the supermarket, or gone off the rails at a hen party?
And have you ever been saved from any of the above by your truly brilliant friends?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then this is the book for you. A moving, funny and brutally honest memoir of one woman’s millennial misadventures, The To-Do List and Other Debacles follows Amy Jones on her journeys through friendship, marriage and mental health disasters in a story that’s as relatable as it is riotous.
How did I get it? I received a proof from Ebury for the blog tour.
A violent and horrific incident forces a young woman to go into hiding, at the peak of her career as lead singer of an indie pop band. Years later, strange things start to happen and it becomes clear that some know who she is…
At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.
When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.
And this is only the beginning…
A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Last Stage is also a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.
How did I get it? I received a proof from Orenda Books for the blog tour.
They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centred lives.
When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.
Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.
How did I get it? I received a gifted copy from Little Brown.
When struggling actress Heidi has a life-changing accident aged 32, her world falls apart. Stuck in hospital and unable to walk, her only companion is Maud, the elderly lady in the bed next to hers. Heidi misses her flatmate, her life, her freedom – surely 32 is too young to be an amputee?
But when Maud’s aloof but attractive grandson Jack pays a visit to the ward, Heidi realises that her life isn’t over just because it’s different. It might not look like the life she dreamed of, but it’s the one she’s got – and there’s a lot she still wants to tick off her bucket list. With Jack at her side, will Heidi take the first step back to happiness? Or is there one more surprise still in store…?
How did I get it? I received a proof from Trapeze for a blog tour.
In this taut and thrilling debut, an unravelling woman, unhappily childless and recently separated, becomes fixated on her neighbour—the actress. The unnamed narrator can’t help noticing with wry irony that, though she and the actress live just a few doors apart, a chasm of professional success and personal fulfilment lies between them. The actress, a celebrity with her face on the side of every bus, shares a gleaming brownstone with her handsome husband and their three adorable children, while the narrator, working in a dead-end job, lives in a run-down, three-story walk-up with her ex-husband’s cat.
When an interaction with the actress at the annual block party takes a disastrous turn, what began as an innocent preoccupation spirals quickly, and lethally, into a frightening and irretrievable madness. Searing and darkly witty, Looker is enormously entertaining—at once a propulsive Hitchcockian thriller and a fearlessly original portrait of the perils of envy.
How did I get it? I received a proof copy from Tinder Press.
One life-changing summer
Charlie meets Fran…
In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.
Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.
But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling.
The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare.
Poignant, funny, enchanting, devastating, Sweet Sorrow is a tragicomedy about the rocky path to adulthood and the confusion of family life, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, searing explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly after it has burned out.
How did I get it? I received a copy from David Nicholls himself!
Celestial Bodies is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present. Elegantly structured and taut, Celestial Bodies is a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.
How did I get it? I bought a copy for book club
The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves (review to follow)
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behaviour confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.
How did I get it? I received a finished copy from Trapeze for a blog tour.
Life Lessons From Remarkable Women – Various
Stylist magazine has asked that question of remarkable women from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sport and fashion. With honesty, wit and a serious no-BS attitude, their lessons address the challenges every woman faces today, from climbing the career ladder and finding inner fulfilment, to forging authentic relationships and overcoming life’s setbacks.
Each of these impressive women, including actress Romola Garai and comedian Francesca Martinez, has a tale to tell and an experience to share. Empowering, engaging and unapologetically impassioned, their incisive observations will make you think, reflect – and kick serious ass. These are life lessons for women, by women.
How did I get it? I received a gifted copy from Penguin Life last year.
A pretty quiet month all in all. My oldest son did a week of work experience helping out speech therapists in different settings in the local area. It’s not a field he is interested in especially (the school seemed to match kids with work experience randomly) but he did enjoy the variety. He is keen to study Psychology at university so we need to start looking into it as he could potentially be going this time next year!
My youngest son went on a residential with school where they camp and do lots of fun adventure activities. For the first time ever he came back from a trip in a good mood! We had a bit of scare with him a couple of weeks ago where he fell and hurt his arm – luckily it was just badly bruised and not broken as he would have missed out on the pool on our hols!
I love cooking programmes, especially MasterChef so when 2018 winner Kenny Tutt opened a restaurant near my home town, me and my best friend had to try it out. The restaurant is called Pitch and we had to wait several weeks for a table! After a few cocktails we ate some delicious food – I had the fish on a bed of warm tartare sauce followed by breakfast milk panna cotta.
I was so gushy that the staff let me hold the MasterChef trophy!
I really hope to go back one day soon!
Thanks for reading my ramblings! I’m expecting to be a little less active on social media for some of August so I hope you have a good month and I’ll be back soon!