The past 3 weeks have felt long and luxurious. Work has slowed after a manic end to 2016 and I’ve been rediscovering (and prioritising the things that make me happy; my family, my health, my home, travel and……..reading.
I’m on my 6th book since December 19th and I’ve no plans to slow down! I’ve read a sweeping variety of novels covering a historical murder, transitional teen/adult coming of age, a legal thriller, an angsty misunderstood artist, the Italian mafia and some travel research for an upcoming family adventure. Saaaahhhh good!
Here are the books I’ve been devouring this summer;
Summer Reads 2017
The Whistler, John Grisham
I’ve been reading John Grisham for as long as I can remember and was totally pumped to dive into his latest novel, The Whistler. The beginning of the novel is complicated by anonymous characters and secrets you won’t understand until the very end of the book. Which is all good, you warm to it and become massively invested in the characters Grisham does introduce you to. The plot twist here which turns this whole magnificent legal thriller on its head, is that the main character, young judicial investigator Lacy Stoltz, isn’t investigating a reported ‘crime’ as such, rather, allegations of a corrupt judge potentially enmeshed in years of criminal activity.
The crimes follow. As a does a complicated web of intrigue that kept me speed reading.
Great book, perfect for downtime over summer.
Breathing Under Water, Sophie Hardcastle
This is a beautiful, completely relatable and contemporary account of that treacherous time between the end of high school and one’s first tentative steps into the world as an adult. A ‘perfect’ family living in an idyllic, close-knit community celebrate the joy of their twin’s imminent graduations.
Unfortunately, life’s never more than a couple of cm’s away from tragedy and when it hits the Walker family, young Grace is left positively floundering.
I loved this novel, seriously. Hardcastle has successfully navigated what could potentially have been a very cliche subject with beautiful sentiment and prose creating unforgettable imagery that I’m still reminiscing about almost 2 weeks later!
It says on the cover that if you love John Green you’ll love Breathing Under Water and I entirely agree.
Coffin Road, Peter May
Seriously, is there anything better than reading a new author, LOVING the book and discovering that there is a pretty massive back-catalogue to get stuck into as WELL as a new novel coming out? That’s how I feel about Peter May, my new thriller BFF.
Coffin Road is mental. I loved this book. It’s got spooky remote Scottish locations, historical mystery combined with sudden suicides, murder and amnesia! Plus, bees and multinational corporations!
Whew. Despite all of that the pace of this book is just perfect, totally uncrowded if that makes sense? A man (the main character) emerges washed up on a beach with no recollection of who he is or how he almost died. Say whaaatttt? Cray cray. Gradually he puts the pieces together, only to have them fragment even further when a body is discovered, a murder he potentially committed.
I may have power read this novel. It’s a winner for sure.
The Butcher’s Hook, Janet Ellis
Well, this book is pretty much the polar opposite of Coffin Road, so let’s see which one you think sounds better – I loved them both.
It was another quick read for me, a very compelling story line here. I never read historical fiction so this was a wee leap of faith and it totally paid off. Jumping out of my usual fiction genre was so rewarding I’m going to do it more often in 2017!
The Butcher’s Hook is set in London, 1763. We meet Anne and watch her character develop, on some levels, throughout the first third of the novel. She is brave, she is over the patriarchal society in which she finds herself, her Dad sucks as does the major creep she’s been ‘promised’ to.
But what about that hawt young thing at the butcher’s shop? Hmmm. Major twists involved guys, you will be so surprised!
The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, Anna North
There’s a little rule in life you may not be aware of; if Lena Dunham says something is awesome or ‘Unforgettable’ then it probably is.
I had no expectation surrounding this book, I don’t believe I even read the blurb on the back. TLDSS is a snapshot of someone we can all imagine; gifted (beyond measure) in non-conventional ways, Sophie is a beautifully destructive force whose magnetic pull is impossible to escape. A film-maker unlike any other, if unable to understand Sophie’s work, audiences could still respect it.
North traverses Sophie’s life through the perspective of those who loved her and were destined to hurt through her.
It’s poignant and beautiful and an outstanding depiction of one of those people whom we can’t bear not to love.
No Mortal Thing, Gerald Seymour – Italian mafia goodness. Just started, not entirely hooked yet.
Fodor’s Vietnam – Planning……….!!!!