August has been an amazing month, mostly because of the two weeks we spent in Disneyland Florida and (almost) nothing went wrong! I was quite anxious before we went – I’m not a relaxed traveller. I worried about the flight (last time we flew my youngest son was massively sick), I worried our luggage wouldn’t turn up and I worried the hotel room would be rubbish! But all was good and I’ll tell you more if you make it to the bottom…
No bookish events in August. I have a couple of things lined up for September and I’m thinking of going to the cinema to listen to Margaret Atwood talk about The Testaments on the 10th. I haven’t entirely decided how I feel about a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale yet though…
I managed just 6 books in August – less than usual but Disneyland isn’t very relaxing and since I’ve been back, it’s been a struggle to get back into a pattern and we have been pretty busy. I can’t choose my top reads – they were all excellent and having just looked back to Goodreads I’ve realised I gave all but one 5 stars! As always, follow the link to see my review…
Adam Kay was a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010, before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. He kept a diary throughout his training, and This Is Going to Hurt intersperses tales from the front line of the NHS with reflections on the current crisis. The result is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain, sacrifice and maddening bureaucracy, and a love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives in their hands.
How did I get it? This was a birthday present from 2018.
When Carrie was accused of brutally murdering her husband’s lover, she denied it. She denied it when they arrested her, when they put her in front of a jury, and when they sent her to prison.
Now she’s three years into a fifteen-year sentence, away from the daughter she loves and the life she had built. And she is still denying that she is to blame.
Tess Gilroy has devoted her life to righting wrongs. Through her job for Innocence UK, a charity which takes on alleged miscarriages of justice, she works tirelessly to uncover the truth.
But when she is asked to take Carrie’s case, Tess realises that if she is to help this woman, she must risk uncovering the secrets she has struggled a lifetime to hide . . .
We’ve all done things we’re not proud of.
How did I get it? I received a proof from Bantam Press.
Reclusive Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant to write her story, no one is more astounded than Monique herself.
Determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career, Monique listens in fascination. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s – and, of course, the seven husbands along the way – Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. But as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
How did I get it? I bought a copy a year or so ago.
Cloud is a company which likes to keep its secrets – and it guards them well…
A near-future thriller set in an America addicted to consumerism; gun violence, climate change and unemployment have ravaged the nation, and an online retail giant named Cloud reigns supreme.
Cloud brands itself not just as an online storefront, but as a global saviour. But, beneath the sunny exterior lurks something far more sinister.
Paxton is a would-be inventor put out of business by Cloud. He’s had his one shot at success ripped away from him – and now he’s urgently in need of money and a job.
Things get more complicated when Paxton meets Zinnia. He can’t work her out. She says she’s a teacher down on her luck, but she doesn’t look – or act – like a teacher. And she seems to have a plan all of her own.
With their agendas putting them on a collision course, they may both learn that the machine is just too big to be beaten.
How did I get it? I received a proof from Penguin Books for a blog tour.
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (review to follow on publication date)
No one speaks of the grace year.
We’re told we have the power to lure grown men from their beds, make boys lose their minds, and drive the wives mad with jealousy. That’s why we’re banished for our sixteenth year, to release our magic into the wild before we’re allowed to return to civilization.
But I don’t feel powerful.
I don’t feel magical.
Tierney James lives in an isolated village where girls are banished at sixteen to the northern forest to brave the wilderness – and each other – for a year. They must rid themselves of their dangerous magic before returning purified and ready to marry – if they’re lucky.
It is forbidden to speak of the grace year, but even so every girl knows that the coming year will change them – if they survive it…
The Grace Year is The Handmaid’s Tale meets Lord of the Flies – a page-turning feminist dystopia about a young woman trapped in an oppressive society, fighting to take control of her own life.
How did I get it? I received a proof copy from Del Ray.
Queen Briseis has been stolen from her conquered homeland and given as a concubine to a foreign warrior. The warrior is Achilles: famed hero, loathed enemy, ruthless butcher, darkly troubled spirit. Briseis’s fate is now indivisibly entwined with his.
No one knows it yet, but there are just ten weeks to go until the Fall of Troy, the end of this long and bitter war. This is the start of The Iliad: the most famous war story ever told. The next ten weeks will be a story of male power, male ego, male violence. But what of the women? The thousands of female slaves in the soldiers’ camp – in the laundry, at the loom, laying out the dead? Briseis is one of their number – and she will be our witness to history.
How did I get it? I bought a copy for book club.
Movies & TV
The Hate U Give (Oct 2018)
Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds — the poor, mostly black neighbourhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is soon shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and decide to stand up for what’s right.
Based on the 2017 novel of the same name, this packed an emotional punch! I watched this on the plane on the way home from our holiday, and despite being interrupted what felt like a million times, I was completely engrossed, and moved to tears on more than one occasion. If you enjoyed this book, I think you will definitely love the film!
Sully: Miracle on the Hudson (2016)
On 15 Jan 2009, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.
Thankfully, we watched this after our flight or I would have been even more anxious about flying! An understated but engrossing film which was just brilliant. I love Tom Hanks – he can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. Directed by Clint Eastwood, I still felt tense watching this, especially the crash sequence despite knowing everyone would be OK!
American Made (2017)
Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central America and soon finds himself in charge of one of the biggest covert CIA operations in the history of the United States. The operation spawns the birth of the Medellin cartel and almost brings down the Reagan White House.
I enjoyed this, despite dropping off during it (I was really tired!). Tom Cruise plays the role of Barry really well – this was based on a true story and it was a great Saturday night action film.
Five year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
This was amazing! Nominated for several Oscars and other awards, this is a really moving story. The young Saroo and how he survives are astounding, all the more moving because it really happened. A beautiful film.
So the biggest thing to happen was that we went to Disneyland in Florida. This is the second time we have visited as a family and we stayed in the same hotel as before – Animal Kingdom Lodge. What sets it apart from the other Disney hotels, is that it has its own savanna so you can see zebras and giraffes wondering around. We stayed for two weeks and literally didn’t leave Disney at all – we visited each park several times and enjoyed the pool at the hotel and for us that was enough!
We ate loads (we were on the Dining Plan so had a restaurant meal, quick service meal and two snacks every day) and visited some great restaurants all uniquely themed including the Sci-Fi diner, Rainforest café and even Cinderella’s Castle for breakfast. I love all the rides so myself and youngest son did them all together while my husband and eldest joined us on some of the gentler rides. We also visited both water parks.
It was very hot – hotter than I remember it from the last time we went. We also had tons of rain and thunderstorms, but generally not for long and they didn’t really stop us!
Here are a few photos…
Now back to reality. I’ve been back at work for a couple of weeks and school starts this week. My eldest is entering his second year of A-Levels and we are starting to book University open days to help him decide if he wants to apply! To be honest, it is freaking me out a little!
Thanks for reading my ramblings! I hope you have a great September!