I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews today of FOUR incredible novels that I’ve finished reading recently.
All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
I’ve enjoyed all of the Mike Gayle novels that I’ve read to date but I think I have to say that All the Lonely People is my new favourite novel by him. I was invested in this novel and the characters from the opening pages and I was enthralled by the story from start to finish! This novel is about Hubert Bird, an older gentleman who has lost his wife and has become increasingly isolated. He speaks to his daughter on the phone every week but she lives in Australia. One day a young woman and her daughter knock at Hubert’s door as they’re looking to make friends as they’re new to the area and this sets in motion this beautiful and moving story. The novel goes back and forth in time between when Hubert first came to the UK and the racial abuse that he suffered. We see him meet and fall in love with his wife and how their lives were; and the present day where Hubert is alone and his world has become very small and he doesn’t know how to change it. The novel covers what it is to be a part of the Windrush Generation, grief, love and more than anything hope! I adored this book so much, it’s an incredible read and a book that we all need in our lives at the moment. I highly recommend this one!
The Things We Left Unsaid by Emma Kennedy
I adored this book, it’s one of those books that I never wanted to end! The Things We Left Unsaid follows Rachel in the present and her mum Eleanor in the past. The novel opens when Rachel has been jilted by her fiance only six weeks after her father’s death. Rachel is reeling and doesn’t know where to turn. In the alternating chapters we see Eleanor start her first term at Uni and find her independence for the first time. This novel is just so warm and inviting, I didn’t want to put it down once I started reading. I loved Eleanor’s timeline and all the people she met, but I was also invested in seeing what was going to happen to Rachel in the present. This is a beautiful novel and one that I still keep thinking about and it’s a couple of weeks since I finished reading it. I highly recommend it!
Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray
I received an audiobook of this one from NetGalley and I adored it! The novel follows Amy who is a hoarder, she struggles with the idea of letting go of any part of any of her collections. We find out early on in the story that her boyfriend upped and left her eleven years ago and Amy has never been able to find out where he went or why. Over the course of the novel we learn more about Amy’s past and how that has made her the way she is now. I loved seeing her deal with her new neighbours and having to cope with their inquisitive children. I could really identify with Amy at times, I’ve been someone who after difficult times have found my hoarding tendencies have returned and it took a long time for me to let go of all the stuff. I really felt for Amy and I was rooting for her the whole way through this beautiful novel. This is such a charming read and one that I never wanted to stop listening to. The narrator is Eilidh Beaton and her voice felt perfect for the character of Amy, she really added to my enjoyment of the novel. I recommend it!
The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby
This novel is one that took a while to draw me in but once it did I just didn’t want to stop reading. It follows Romilly, a young child who is living with her father in a ramshackle home. They live quite an isolated existence that Romilly loves, her father makes things magical and encourages Romilly’s imagination. One day he writes a children’s book featuring Romilly and their life and suddenly there is a lot more attention on them and their home. As time goes by and Romilly gets older there starts to be more neglect and clearly there is something going on with her dad but it’s not apparent what for quite a while. The novel does become something different than I was expecting it to but there is something so moving and beautiful in the way this book is written that I just didn’t want to put it down. I recommend it!
I read and enjoyed An American Marriage last year so when I spotted this book by the author on Kindle this week I decided to treat myself. It sounds like such a good read and I’m looking forward to getting to it.
With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle. Set in a middle-class neighbourhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters ”the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle ”she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another’s lives.
Summerwater by Sarah Moss
I was delighted to be approved to read this one on NetGalley this week as I’ve been keen to read it. I actually picked it up yesterday and read it all in one sitting. It’s such a brilliant novella! I’ll be reviewing it soon but in the meantime I highly recommend it.
On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents. A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.
Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould
I requested this one from NetGalley on a whim as I can’t resist books about music. This sounds like such a good read and I can’t wait to get to it.
It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived – but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life. Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter is asking questions about her father, questions Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. When her best friend – now a famous musician – comes to town, opportunity knocks for Laura for a second time. Has growing older changed who she is and what she most wants? After all the sacrifices and compromises she’s made along the way, how much is she still that girl from Ohio, with big talent and big dreams?
When Nancy Hennessy is murdered, she leaves behind two best friends, a loving husband and daughter, and a secret lover whose identity she took to the grave. Nancy was gorgeous and wealthy, with adoring friends and family—from the outside, her life was perfect. But as the investigation into her death flounders and her friends Eleanor and Mary wrestle with their grief, dark details surface that reveal how little they knew their friend, each other, maybe even themselves. Their enduring, complex friendship is the knot the reader must untangle to answer the question: who killed Nancy?
All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle
I’ve read some great reviews of this one so requested it on NetGalley. I’m so pleased to be approved to read this one and plan on reading it soon.
Life is waiting to happen to Hubert Bird. But first he has to open his front door and let it in. In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment. But Hubert Bird is lying. The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul. Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out. Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . . Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?
The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke
I was offered the chance to read and review this book for the blog tour and I immediately said yes! This is another book that centres around a song and I love the sound of it.
This is the story of a love song . . . And like any good love song, it has two parts. In Australia, Arie Johnson waits impatiently for classical pianist Diana Clare to return from a world tour, hopeful that after seven years together she’ll finally agree to marry him. On her travels, Diana composes a song for Arie. It’s the perfect way to express her love, knowing they’ll spend their lives together . . . Won’t they? Then late one night, her love song is overheard, and begins its own journey across the world. In Scotland, Evie Greenlees is drifting. It’s been years since she left Australia with a backpack, a one-way ticket and a dream of becoming a poet. Now she spends her days making coffee and her nights serving beer. And she’s not even sure whether the guy she lives with is really her boyfriend or just a flatmate. Then one day she hears an exquisite love song. One that will connect her to a man with a broken heart . . .
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
I read and loved The Flatshare by this author last year so have been keen to read her new one. I was lucky to get this audiobook from NetGalley this week and I’m already listening to it. It’s such a lovely book and Alison Steadman and Daisy Edgar-Jones are perfect narraters. I’m very much enjoying this one!
When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?
Under A Starry Sky by Laura Kemp
This is another audiobook that I got from NetGalley this week (I’m so excited about audiobooks now being on there for review!). I downloaded this one on a whim as it sounds like such a lovely read for the summer. I’m looking forward to this one.
One summer to change her life… Wanda Williams has always dreamed of leaving her wellies behind her and travelling the world! Yet every time she comes close to following her heart, life always seems to get in the way. So, when her mother ends up in hospital and her sister finds out she’s pregnant with twins, Wanda knows that only she can save the crumbling campsite at the family farm. Together with her friends in the village, she sets about sprucing up the site, mowing the fields, replanting the allotment and baking homemade goodies for the campers. But when a long-lost face from her past turns up, Wanda’s world is turned upside-down. And under a starry sky, anything can happen…
Come Again by Robert Webb
I was thrilled to spot this audiobook on NetGalley as I’ve been so keen to read it. I’ve actually already read and reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here.
Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart. One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers’ Week. And this was the day she first met Luke. But he is not the man that she lost: he’s still a boy – the annoying nineteen-year-old English student she first met. Kate knows how he died and that he’s already ill. If they can fall in love again she might just be able to save him. She’s going to try to do everything exactly the same…
Have you acquired any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂
June was one of those strange months that has sped by whilst also going really slowly. Does that even make sense?!
I’m still shielding and it looks like I will be until 1 August so nothing has really changed for me even though from what I see on the news a lot of the country is slowly returning to some kind of normality. I haven’t left the house yet, mainly because my asthma is really bad at the moment and it’s impossible to wear a mask when my breathing is already bad. My husband is still on furlough and we still don’t know when he’ll be returning to work, we’re waiting to hear.
Football is back so we’re enjoying watching that. It’s great having all of the matches televised although it does mean that some days we’re in danger of having square eyes! The waiting to see what’s happening with Newcastle United is getting endless now but what can you do?! At least it looks like we’re not going to be relegated!
My reading mojo is back in full swing and I read 30 books in June! It was helped by some sunny days in the garden where I only take a book out with me (no phone or laptop!) so I’m not distracted by anything. I also treated myself to some new wireless headphones so that I can listen to more of my audio books.
How was June for you? I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well and that June has been okay. What was your favourite book from June? I’d love to know what you’ve been reading so please comment below. 🙂
WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!
The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson
I have a month of Kindle Unlimited at the moment and this book was one that really caught my eye. I started reading it late last night and I’ve been engrossed in it. It follows Jack – a man on the run following the murder of another man in a nursing home. The novel goes back and forth in time through Jack’s memories as he travels the North Yorkshire Moors in an attempt to escape. It’s beautifully written and reminds me of home. I’m thoroughly enjoying this one.
Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham
My husband bought me this for my birthday earlier this year after we’d been engrossed in the TV drama Chernobyl and he knew I wanted to know more about what happened. I finally picked the book up this week (one of my 20 Books of Summer TBR) and have been gripped by it. It’s really well-written and very readable. I’ve already learnt things I didn’t know before and am keen to read more of this in the coming days.
When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
I finished reading this yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about it. This is Patrisse’s memoir and she tells the story of her life, and of her father and her brother Monte and how they got trapped in the system. It’s heartbreaking and it will make you angry, it should make you angry. It was interesting to see how all the things in Patrisse’s life led to her, along with two other women, beginning the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a book that everyone should read and it’s certainly one that will stay with me.
One Step Behind by Lauren North
I read and loved Lauren North’s previous novel The Perfect Betrayal so was keen to get to this one. While it wasn’t quite as good it was still a very good read and it kept me guessing all the way to the reveal, which doesn’t happen very often so I was thrilled by that. It follows Jenna, and A&E doctor who has a stalker and one day the stalker is admitted to hospital after an accident. The story is narrated by Jenna, and Sophie, the sister of Jenna’s stalker and it’s really gripping.
The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle
I was a huge Mike Gayle fan back in the day but somehow haven’t read anything by him in quite a few years now. I spotted this book on my Audible account when I was looking for something to listen to and it was lovely to get back to a book by him. This follows a man trying to cope with life and his two young daughters after the sudden death of his wife. It also follows his late wife’s mum who moves in to help the family cope. It was an enjoyable listen.
The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton
I read this book a stave at a time on the Pigeonhole app and that was such a fun way to read this book, I quite enjoy being left on a cliffhanger and eagerly anticipating the next stave the following day. This novel follows Marie, whose best friend Nina has recently died. Marie wants to help Nina’s family and soon makes herself indispensable to them. It feels like Marie is far too obsessed but there is more to this novel than meets the eye and I really enjoyed the ride!
Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
This is a memoir that explores what it is to struggle with your weight – both the physical weight of your own body but also the weight of being black in America and the weight of all the things that make you who you are. I listened to the audio of this and it was excellent. Kiese writes in such an open way about the things he has experienced and the affect it’s had on him and it’s impossible not to be moved by his story. I recommend this one.
The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page
This is a lovely novel about the love between two friends – Hannah and Mona, who work together at the 24-hour cafe. The novel is first narrated by Hannah and later by Mona so we get to see both of their perspectives and to understand how they got to where they are. We also get to meet some of the customers of the cafe and I loved the snapshots we get of other people’s lives. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here.
All The Lonely People by David Owen
This is a thought-provoking novel that explores loneliness in such a different way. Kat is lonely but finds her people online, until one day a ‘prank’ is played on her that is so vile she feels she has no choice but to delete everything. She then literally begins to fade away. Wesley is one of the boys involved in the prank but he is also lonely. I found this such an interesting novel and it’s one I keep thinking about. I reviewed it here if you’d like to know more. I recommend it.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
I loved this book! Queenie is such a real character, I was fully invested in her story. She’s in a relationship with a man who is gaslighting her, she medicates herself using sex and she’s trying to make a success of her career. She’s so feisty and no-nonsense but you start to see her vulnerable side and you just root for her all the way through his book. I was so angry at the way men treat her at times and wanted her to kick them all into touch and be happy. I definitely recommend this one.
What I Might Read Next
Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara
I’ve had this on my NetGalley shelf since before it was published and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet as I loved the author’s previous novel, The Rumour. This book is about Astrid, an alcoholic who is going to meetings and is working on righting her wrongdoings. But now someone knows what Astrid is running away from and they’re going to make sure she knows just what she did. This sounds great and I’m looking forward to picking it up.
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
I love Lisa Jewell’s novels so am delighted to have a copy of her new book from NetGalley. This is about Saffyre, a troubled woman who is dealing with the trauma of her past. One day she goes missing, and the last sighting of her is outside Owen’s house. He’s a loner who’s invisible in his own life, and now the finger of blame is pointing at him because he’s different. I can’t wait to read this one, it sounds so good!
Spring by Ali Smith
This week I got approved to read Ali Smith’s Summer on NetGalley so I really need to get on and read Spring asap. Spring is one of my 20 Books of Summer so I was planning to read it this summer anyway but now I have a push to read it sooner rather than later. I’ve really enjoyed the first two parts of this quartet so can’t wait to read more.
The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan
I was sent a copy of this book for review quite a while ago now and I love Ruth Hogan’s writing so I don’t know why I haven’t read it before now. I added it to my 20 Books of Summer TBR as it sounded like a summery read and I can’t wait to get to it. It’s a novel that explores grief and the way the chance encounters we make with other people can bring us back to life again.
What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
I somehow missed putting this book in last week’s book haul so I’m adding it on to this one. I’ve already read this book and I loved it – I read it in one sitting and was completely gripped all the way through!
Dead Blind by Rebecca Bradley
I was certain that I’d already bought this book but when I went to look for it on my kindle the other day it wasn’t there. I’ve bought it now though and I can’t wait to read it, I love Rebecca Bradley’s writing.
It Ends With You by S. K. Wright
I requested this one on NetGalley on a whim as I loved the sound of the blurb. I was thrilled to be approved to read it and plan on picking it up very soon.
Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly
I was offered the chance to be on the blog tour for this book and I jumped at the chance as I’m such a huge fan of Paula Daly. I’m already halfway through this book and am hooked!
You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke
I’ve loved all of Lucy Clarke’s novels so when I spotted this new one on NetGalley I immediately downloaded it. I can’t wait to read it!
The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle
I used to love Mike Gayle’s novels but haven’t read one in absolutely ages. I saw this new one on Zoe Ball’s book club on Sunday and just had to get hold of a copy. I’m looking forward to reading this!
Have you got any new books recently? I’d love to know. Have you read any of the books in my book haul? Are there any that you recommend me getting to sooner rather than later? Feel free to leave a link to your own Stacking the Shelves post in the comments! 🙂