Today I’m sharing a new selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve enjoyed recently.
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
I generally really enjoy Jodi Picoult’s writing but it’s no secret that I struggled to get into this one. It follows Dawn, who after surviving a plane crash decides to go back to Egypt where she had studied years earlier. In her real life Dawn is happily married with a teenage daughter but now it seems she is unravelling and seeking something that even she is not sure of. I struggled with the opening chapters of the book as I felt I couldn’t connect to Dawn, or the other characters, and there was a lot of egyptology running through the pages. However, I am so glad I persevered as there was a moment when this book just really connected with me and from that point on I honestly couldn’t put it down. I was enthralled reading about Dawn’s work as a death doula and found these sections incredibly moving and heartfelt. I then was invested in knowing more about Dawn and how she got to where she was when we met her at the start of the book. I ended up very much enjoying this book and I would recommend it!
One by One by Ruth Ware
This novel follows a group of people who all work on the Snoop app (a music streaming service that allows you to listen to what someone else is listening to at the exact same time as them) as they arrive at their holiday chalet in Saint Antoine. The novel is narrated by Erin, who works at the chalet, and Liz, a former employee and now share-holder at Snoop. The group all seem to have strong personalities and it seemed from the start that there would be fireworks. No one predicted that there would be an avalanche that would isolate the group at the chalet with no means of contacting the outside world. And then a murder happens! I love a closed circle mystery and this one was a fun read. I did spot whodunnit very early on but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story as I wanted to know how and why! This was a good read on a cold winter’s day and I recommend it!
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
I started reading this short story collection around Christmas but then it languished part-read on my Kindle until I finally picked it back up recently. I do enjoy Capote’s writing but I did find this collection a mixed bag. There are six stories in the book – some entirely fiction and some autobiographical. I found that some stories were overly sentimental for me and I struggled to connect with them but I did enjoy a couple of the stories. I would say that while the stories are all set around Christmas that this could be read any time of year. I think I’m going to try re-reading this over Christmas at some point in the future as I think I might get more out of it on a second read.
The Disappearing Act by Florence de Changy
This is a fascinating and very well-researched non-fiction book looking at what might have happened to flight MH 370, which disappeared seemingly without trace in March 2014. The author is a journalist and she has closely followed the story from the very start. In the book we see that she has interviewed people from all walks of life – from the conspiracy theorists, to the politicians, to the eye witnesses and more to try and piece together what the most likely scenario is as to what happened to the plane. Some parts of this book felt a little bogged down in detail and I had to re-read sections to fully grasp them but other parts of the book had me completely engrossed and unable to put the book down. de Changy’s ultimate theories on what might have happened to the plane sound incredibly plausible and believable. It’s shocking that so many mistakes and mis-steps (and possible deliberate cover-ups) have meant the mystery of MH 370 might never be solved. This is a well written book and I recommend it.
These are just some of the terms being wrestled with in Black, Listed, an exploration of twenty-first century Black identity told through a list of insults, insights and everything in between.
Taking a panoramic look at global Black history and contemporary culture, this book investigates the ways in which Black communities (and individuals) have been represented, oppressed, mimicked, celebrated and othered. Part autobiographical musing, part pop culture vivisection, it’s a comprehensive attempt to make sense of blackness from the vantage point of the hilarious and insightful psyche of Jeffrey Boakye.
I hadn’t heard of this book before but I spotted it in the Kindle sale for July and bought it on a whim. It sounds like a really interesting book and one that I want to get to very soon.
I Can’t Breathe by Matt Taibbi
The incredible story of the death of Eric Garner, the birth of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement and the new fault lines of race, protest, policing and the power of the people.
On July 17, 2014, a forty-three-year-old black man named Eric Garner died in New York after a police officer put him in a “chokehold” during an arrest for selling bootleg cigarettes. The final moments of his life were captured on video and seen by millions – his agonised last words, “I can’t breathe,” becoming a rallying cry for the nascent Black Lives Matter protest movement.
Matt Taibbi tells the full story of the man who inspired a movement – neither villain nor victim, but a fiercely proud individual determined to do the best he could for his family. Featuring vivid vignettes of life on the street, this powerful narrative of urban America is a riveting work of literary journalism and a scathing indictment of law enforcement in the twenty-first century. I Can’t Breathe tells the story of one man to tell the story of countless others, and the power of people to rise up against injustice.
This is a book that I’ve had on my list for a while now and it’s another book, like They Can’t Kill Us All, that explores how the Black Lives Matter movement came about and has evolved and I definitely want to understand more about this.
Face It by Debbie Harry
DEBBIE HARRY is a musician, actor, activist and the iconic face of New York City cool. As the front-woman of Blondie, she and the band forged a new sound that brought together the worlds of rock, punk, disco, reggae and hip-hop to create some of the most beloved pop songs of all time. As a muse, she collaborated with some of the boldest artists of the past four decades. The scope of Debbie Harry’s impact on our culture has been matched only by her reticence to reveal her rich inner life – until now.
In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and stunning visuals that includes never-before-seen photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It upends the standard music memoir while delivering a truly prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, Face It recreates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City, where Blondie played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
Following her path from glorious commercial success to heroin addiction, the near-death of partner Chris Stein, a heart-wrenching bankruptcy, and Blondie’s break-up as a band to her multifaceted acting career in more than thirty films, a stunning solo career and the triumphant return of her band, and her tireless advocacy for the environment and LGBTQ rights, Face It is a cinematic story of a woman who made her own path, and set the standard for a generation of artists who followed in her footsteps – a memoir as dynamic as its subject.
I love Debbie Harry (and Blondie) so couldn’t resist snapping up this memoir when I spotted it for just £2.99 on Kindle recently.
Dancing by the Light of the Moon by Gyles Brandreth
A little poetry really can save your life . . .
Poetry is officially good for you.
Not only does it enhance literacy in the young, but learning poetry byheart is the one truly pleasurable thing you can do to improve memory, boost brain power, extend your vocabularyand beat cognitive decline as time goes by.
In Dancing by the Light of the Moon, Gyles Brandreth shares over 250 poems to read, relish and recite, as well as his advice on how to learn poetry by heart, and the benefits of doing so.
Whether you are nine, nineteen or ninety, the poems and advice in this book provide the most enjoyable, moving and inspiring way to ensure a lifetime of dancing by the light of the moon – one joyous poem at a time . . .
I saw another book blogger (I’m so sorry I can’t remember who it was, perhaps Nicki?) write about this book very recently and I thought it sounded fascinating so when I saw it in the Kindle sale I immediately bought it.
The Cutting Place by Jane Casey
Everyone’s heard the rumours about elite gentlemen’s clubs, where the champagne flows freely, the parties are the height of decadence . . . and the secrets are darker than you could possibly imagine.
DS Maeve Kerrigan finds herself in an unfamiliar world of wealth, luxury and ruthless behaviour when she investigates the murder of a young journalist, Paige Hargreaves. Paige was working on a story about the Chiron Club, a private society for the richest and most privileged men in London. Then she disappeared.
It’s clear to Maeve that the members have many secrets. But Maeve is hiding secrets of her own – even from her partner DI Josh Derwent. Will she uncover the truth about Paige’s death? Or will time run out for Maeve first?
So, I have to admit that this is the ninth book in this series and I haven’t read the first one yet! I definitely want to start this series from the beginning soon and I feel sure I will love it so it was worth getting this one in the sale so I have it ready for when I get to it!
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
I keep hearing about this book and thinking it sounds like a fun, engaging read for the summer so I downloaded it for kindle this week. I’m really enjoying this kind of book at the moment so I don’t think I’ll be too long getting to this one.
The Kill Fee by Fiona Veitch Smith
Poppy Denby, arts and entertainment editor at the Daily Globe, covers an exhibition of Russian art, hosted by White Russian refugees, including members of the surviving exiled Romanov royal family. There is an armed robbery, a guard is shot, and the largest Fabergé egg in the collection is stolen. While the egg itself is valuable, the secrets it contains within are priceless–secrets that could threaten major political powers.
Suspects are aplenty, including the former keeper of the Fabergé egg, a Russian princess named Selena Romanova Yusopova. The interim Bolshevik Russian ambassador, Vasili Safin, inserts himself into the investigation, as he believes the egg–and the other treasures–should all be restored to the Russian people.
Poppy, her editor, Rollo, press photographer Daniel, and the other staff of the Globe are delighted to be once again in the middle of a sensational story. But soon the investigation takes a dark turn when another body is found and an employee of the newspaper becomes a suspect. The race is on to find both the key and the egg–can they be found before the killer strikes again?
I read and loved the first book in this series, The Jazz Files, quite a long time ago but then never sought out the other books. I don’t know why but I’ve put that right now buying this second book and I’m looking forward to seeing what Poppy Denby has been getting up to.
Summer by Ali Smith
In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world’s in meltdown – and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time.
This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common?
I loved the first two books in this seasonal quartet (I have Spring on my 20 Books of Summer TBR) so am delighted to have the final part on my Kindle ready to read as soon as I’ve read Spring. I’m keen to see how Ali Smith concludes the quartet!
Here Is The Beehive by Sarah Crossan
Ana and Connor have been having an affair for three years. In hotel rooms and coffee shops, swiftly deleted texts and briefly snatched weekends, they have built a world with none but the two of them in it.
But then the unimaginable happens, and Ana finds herself alone, trapped inside her secret.
How can we lose someone the world never knew was ours? How do we grieve for something no one else can ever find out? In her desperate bid for answers, Ana seeks out the shadowy figure who has always stood just beyond her reach – Connor’s wife Rebecca.
Peeling away the layers of two overlapping marriages, Here Is the Beehive is a devastating excavation of risk, obsession and loss.
I read and loved One by this author a long while ago, and then very recently read and enjoyed Moonrise so when I saw she had a new book on NetGalley I immediately requested it. This sounds so good and I’m looking forward to reading it.
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
Who would you be, if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are now?
Dawn is a death doula, and spends her life helping people make the final transition peacefully.
But when the plane she’s on plummets, she finds herself thinking not of the perfect life she has, but the life she was forced to abandon fifteen years ago – when she left behind a career in Egyptology, and a man she loved.
Against the odds, she survives, and the airline offers her a ticket to wherever she needs to get to – but the answer to that question suddenly seems uncertain.
As the path of her life forks in two very different directions, Dawn must confront questions she’s never truly asked: What does a well-lived life look like? What do we leave behind when we go? And do we make our choices, or do our choices make us?
Two possible futures. One impossible choice.
I really enjoy Jodi Picoult’s novels so when I saw other bloggers writing about this forthcoming one I had serious envy! I was thrilled when I got an approval email from NetGalley a few days ago. This isn’t out until October but it’s already calling to me from my TBR mountain.
After the Silence by Louise O’Neill
Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.
On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.
The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.
Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.
I love Louise O’Neill’s writing, her previous novel Almost Love is one that still stays with me and I read it last year, so I was very happy to be approved to read this new one from NetGalley. I’m intrigued by this plot so I don’t think I’ll be too long before I read this one.
Library Books (BorrowBox App) / Kindle Unlimited
The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson
Midwinter. As former farmhand Jake, a widower in his seventies, wanders the beautiful, austere moors of North Yorkshire trying to evade capture, we learn of the events of his past: the wife he loved and lost, their child he knows cannot be his, and the deep-seated need for revenge that manifests itself in a moment of violence. On the coast, Jake’s friend, Sheila, receives the devastating news. The aftermath of Jake’s actions, and what it brings to the surface, will change her life forever. But how will she react when he turns up at her door? As beauty and tenderness blend with violence, this story transports us to a different world, subtly exploring love and loss in a language that both bruises and heals.
I got this book from Kindle Unlimited and I’ve already read it. I’m in awe of this book; it’s utterly stunning and I think it’s one that will stay with me for a very long time. If you haven’t already read it then I highly recommend it.
The Greatest of Enemies by B. R. Maycock
Get ready for fireworks as two women with very different personalities become housemates! Bex has settled in well into the small town of Abbeyglen. Yes, she misses her housemate Holly, but she has plenty to do what with the setup of the new Caulfield’s café, her blogging and of course her work in Blackwater Financial Services. Louise is shocked when she arrives in the town of Abbeyglen to find it has changed, everything looks too new and shiny, and who is this person in Holly’s apartment?! With Bex’s bff heading for domestic bliss, some unwelcome changes in work, and now the arrival of eternally negative Louise, can Bex remain her usual chirpy self or will handbags at dawn, daytime and night-time too bring out a side to her she never knew existed?
Somehow I missed this book being published but as soon as I spotted it on Kindle Unlimited this week and downloaded it right away. I also started reading it straight away and I very much enjoyed it. It follows on from Pushing Her Luck but can be read as a standalone. I love this series!
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! 🙂