I managed to read 7 books in July and somewhat got back into my routine of reading more as I spent the month in Wales.
It was much more of a chill month compared to months previous and I was able to enjoy my morning coffee and reading time outside in the fresh air which was something new as we had a balcony and garden in July.
However I will say that August has not gotten off to a great start as we’re at day 10 already and I’m still on my first book of the month. I’m hoping after this first one that I’ll get back into the swing of things here in Manchester.
The Island Child by Molly Aitken (Gifted)
Twenty years ago, Oona left the island of Inis for the very first time. A wind-blasted rock of fishing boats and turf fires, where girls stayed in their homes until they became mothers themselves, the island was a gift for some, a prison for others. The Island Child tells two stories: of the girl who grew up watching births and betrayals, storms and secrets, and of the adult Oona, desperate to find a second chance, only to discover she can never completely escape. As the strands of Oona’s life come together, in blood and marriage and motherhood, she must accept the price we pay when we love what is never truly ours …
My rating: ★★★
The Island Child was a beautifully written book telling the story of Oona as a young child and as a mother, with both young and old stories merging together towards the end. Parts reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird, hearing the story told from the perspective of a troubled child, but it appears that those troubles led into Oona’s later life, after leaving Ireland for Canada. An intriguing book to say the least but I really enjoyed how the book was written.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. Old friends. Past grudges. Happy families. Hidden jealousies. Thirteen guests. One body. The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped. All have a secret. All have a motive. One guest won’t leave this wedding alive…
My rating: ★★★★
I don’t know what the odds would be of picking up this book and for it to be set on the same island off the west coast of Ireland that The Island Child was set, but I’d say they would be extremely high odds. Nevertheless, we find ourselves back on the remote island of Inis for Lucy Foley’s The Guest List. I really enjoyed how this was told from the perspectives of different people throughout and how the story tied together with different connections. I have The Hunting Party on my shelf to read in August, and this was definitely a great book by Lucy Foley to start with.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Amanda and Clay head to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a holiday: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But with a late-night knock on the door, the spell is broken. Ruth and G. H., an older couple who claim to own the home, have arrived there in a panic. These strangers say that a sudden power outage has swept the city, and – with nowhere else to turn – they have come to the country in search of shelter. But with the TV and internet down, and no phone service, the facts are unknowable. Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple – and vice versa? What has happened back in New York? Is the holiday home, isolated from civilisation, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?
My rating: ★★★
I had heard so many great things about this book and was really looking forward to being blown away, but I must admit that I simply wasn’t. The book had such a great plot that kept me reading constantly, but I feel like the ending just left the book a little high and dry. I got to the end and thought, ‘that’s it?’. I think the book had great premise to continue and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is turned into a TV series in the future, but I think the writers may want to change the ending a little.
Stay Close by Harlan Coben
A suburban wife and mother of two – with a dark and dangerous past. A promising photographer who now panders to celebrity-obsessed rich kids. A detective who can’t let go of a cold case… Three ordinary people, who discover that when the past refuses to stay buried, the American dream can be a nightmare…
My rating: ★★★★
Looks like I’m back to reading one Harlan Coben book per month… I really enjoy Harlan Coben’s writing and find his books incredibly easy to read but with twists and turns that I never expect. Stay Close was exactly that with surprising connection and ending that I didn’t expect. Now to tick off the rest of his books.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
All he did was fall in love with me and the world turned him into a monster. An era-defining novel about the relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl and her teacher. Vanessa Wye was fifteen-years-old when she first had sex with her English teacher. She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that. Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.
My rating: ★★★★
This is one I’ve had on my shelf for quite a while after being influenced on Instagram to buy it. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It was twisted, creepy, a little weird but still an enjoyable read. I won’t give any spoilers, but I think I need to read Lolita to really understand what was going on in this book.
The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg – an awkward maths prodigy and a painfully shy computer genius – were never going to fit in at elite, polished Harvard. Yet that all changed when master-hacker Mark crashed the university’s entire computer system by creating a rateable database of female students. Narrowly escaping expulsion, the two misfits refocused the site into something less controversial – ‘The Facebook’ – and watched as it spread like a wildfire across campuses around the country, along with their popularity. Yet amidst the dizzying levels of cash and glamour, as silicon valley, venture capitalists and reams of girls beckoned, the first cracks in their friendship started to appear, and what began as a simple argument spiralled into an out-and-out war. The great irony is that Facebook succeeded by bringing people together – but its very success tore two best friends apart.
My rating: ★★★
The story behind the movie, The Social Network and an insight into the life of Mark Zuckerberg when building Facebook. After reading No Filter back in April, I really wanted to read this to find out a little more about Mark Zuckerberg. Probably one of the most powerful people on the planet, and for such a young age, who knows what’s to come for the guy that runs the internet.
The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva (Gifted)
Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead. A fictional story that depicts the reality of mental illness behind a perception of normality.
My rating: ★★★
The Existence of Amy really reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine that I read back in August last year. It covered the same kind of issues of anxiety and depression in the workplace and how people like Amy and Eleanor cope with other people and outside events. This book gave a great insight into the mind of someone with OCD and severe anxiety, which is something I haven’t come across that often. An enjoyable read for the summer.