August Reading Roundup

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Did I tell you all I've joined Bookstagram?? I don't know why it took me so long, I mean come on I've loved books my whole life. My earliest memories are of picking out books in little shops, in little villages whilst we holidayed in England. I found no greater joy than in spending my pocket money on the latest Children's Classic at our local Bookworld (whatever happened to Bookworld??). To this day my favourite deliveries are the ones that contain openings to other worlds. I am on first name terms with our local librarians (I miss them dearly and can't wait for my local to reopen after Lockdown)- and I have a favourite Waterstones in the country-It's in Inverness if you fancy a visit. So yeah all this is to say that I adore books, so I started an Instagram page all about the ones I'm reading, the one's I'm looking forward to, and sadly sometimes the one's I just didn't enjoy. I think it's important to share the good with the bad because one person's favourite book might be the next person's DNF (did not finish) because we all like different things. So yeah, alongside my Bookstagram, and my Goodreads profile I wanted to do a monthly round-up on here of the books I've read that month. Some of the books featured will be Advanced Reader Copies but I will put their publication date next to them so you know how long you have to wait. 

So without further ado let's have a look at what I read in August! 

The Imposter-Anna Wharton 3.5 ⭐⭐⭐☆ (PUB DATE 1/4/2021)

The Imposter was a good read, and I did enjoy it -however, I feel like I spent too much of the book trying to figure out what was going on that I wasn't able to just fall into the story in a way that would have allowed me to love it. 

Whilst trying to figure it all out though I will say the twist got me good. I just did not see it coming and that is a testament to the great writing by Anna. 

I would absolutely recommend The Imposter, but if you go in expecting to like the characters you may be disappointed. Everyone in the book seems unexplored apart from Chloe the protagonist who personally I found unlikeable. I didn't like her at all but that's not necessarily a bad thing, I think we maybe put too much stock in liking the characters we read about- we don't like everyone we meet in real life so why do we insist that we like those that we meet in our fantasy worlds?? With The Imposter I just kept wondering whether I wanted everything to go well for Chloe, or whether I wanted her to get caught and for her whole world to crumble around her.

All in all, a great fiction debut. 

The Truants-Kate Weinberg 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's not often I fall for the writing in a book above and beyond the story itself, but that is exactly what happened with The Truants. Kate's writing is truly beautiful at times, drawing me in so deeply to the story she was building that I found myself holding my breath alongside the main character (and narrator) Jess. 
I felt myself falling into the scenery as it was so deftly brought to life across the pages. The characters are all flawed in a truly human way, which adds a sense of realism and depth that many whodunnits fail to deliver. Perhaps in because of her humanity, it is easy to dislike Jess, and the other main character Lorna for that matter, whilst still rooting for a happy ending. 
The Truants isn't likely to set the genre on fire but it was a lovingly told story, and I can definitely see myself reading it again-whenever I seek the comfort of something beautifully written. 

From Fire and Shadows-J.F Baptista 3⭐⭐⭐

I’ll admit that at first I was just not drawn into this book the way I had hoped to be. My mind kept throwing up words like “derivative” and “formulaic”, and I had a very adverse reaction to the age of the main character. As I read on though I found myself being dragged further and further into Thea and Kai’s story. In part one Thea is only 6 years old and for me, the writing was a touch too mature for her supposed age, however as the book moves on Thea and the storytelling’s age levels begin to align. From Fire and Shadows is actually the first book in a proposed 6 book series so hopefully the age thing won't be an issue across the rest of the series. 

I’ve seen many people comment that there were too many names, and places to remember and I’ll admit at first I was overwhelmed but the more the story grabbed my attention the less of a problem that became.

My biggest bugbear with From From Fire and Shadows was that there were a lot of Gaelic words used throughout that mean very little to you without an explanation (unless you speak Gaelic of course)-this is cleared up at the end of the book with a glossary but honestly how hard would it have been to have this glossary at the beginning so you knew it was there to refer to! 

Daisy in Chains- Sharon Bolton 3 ⭐⭐⭐

This book was picked for me by the librarian at one of my local libraries. Right now they are doing a click and collect service where you book a slot and they pick books for you based on your borrowing history and the info you fill in on their inline form. I asked for crime/thrillers by female authors and this one did not disappoint. 

The story was new and fresh for a crime novel- we have a man serving life for the murder of 3 women who claims he is innocent, and the lawyer/true crime author who he reaches out to in order to get him off. 
Sadly I figured the twist in this one out around a third of the way through, although I will admit there was a further sting in the tail I did not see coming. 

I have a few issues with the story with regards to loose ends not being tied up, and some of the detail not really being necessary to the story- of course, red herrings are good, but for me, the best red herrings actually lead somewhere whereas in Daisy In Chains they just sort of don't mean anything. That being said it was still a good, quick read, and I'm excited to pick up the other book by Sharon in my library pile. 

The Child Who Never Was- Jane Renshaw 4⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book could have been exactly what you'd expect from the title, in fact, partway through it I thought It was heading in the exact direction I'd assumed. How wrong was I? 

At once an expertly written insight into a tormented mind, whilst also being a wonderful story.

I found myself darting back and forth in much the same way as Sarah's delusions came and went throughout the story. And still, when the twist hit, I sat eyes wide in disbelief unsure if this was just another trick of Sarah's mind or if it was actually happening. Just so bloody clever.

It can be said that neither of the main characters are particularly likeable, but then that is to be expected when you are constantly unsure of who exactly you are supposed to trust, who are you supposed to root for here? 

I cannot recall another book I have read recently that had me agog, literally slack mouthed, eyes pinned open in shock at what was happening in front of my eyes. 
So many books of this genre have become formulaic, The Child Who Never Was though is a breath of fresh air. 

I've enjoyed all of the books I read throughout August, and I think I've definitely reinvigorated my love for sitting listening to music and reading a good book-which is helping me make my way through my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge. Have you read any of these yet? Do you have any recommendations for me based on the ones I've read this month? 


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