TO my shame, although I’ve had a wee holiday and all the time in to actually do some reading… I managed to read one book! As such the TBR pile I had hoped to make in-roads on has not shrunk. It has, in fact, grown! So instead of a book review post, this time around it’s going to be a “to be read” post, with a blurb and what I’m hoping for from each book (if anything). If nothing else, this may persuade you to pick up a couple of these titles too (if you’re as behind the curve book-wise as I am!) I hope to be back soon with a post reviewing as many as possible!
As usual, the Kindle (UK Store) and Book Depository links will be included where available.
The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
I’ve seen this book about for months, and the kindle description wasn’t selling it to me, but then I went into a book shop! Rookie error, perhaps, but book shops really do make everything better, in so many different ways! If you’re humming and hawing over a book purchase, head to your local bookshop, if you can, and then see how you feel about it! I will forever advocate book shopping, even if only to feed my addiction. No apologies.
The Nest is doing amazingly well in the US and I’m now even more intrigued and ready to dive in.
Every family has its problems. But the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point when Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather in New York City to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-yer-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. The Plumb siblings have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beac cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned…?
Bridge of Spies – Giles Whittell
The Cold War, espionage, politics and a nuclear stand-off (familiar, anyone). The Cold War has always been fascinating to me, and after Agent Zigzag, this is a no-brainer. The names bandied about on the cover of this book are ones many of us are familiar with, others not so much. Khrushchev and Eisenhower are no-brainers. Powers is one who slides out of my peripheral vision more frequently than I like to admit, as a History graduate! So with this book I plan to brush off the cobwebs and remind myself of a few bits and pieces I may have forgotten in recent years.
Bridge of Spies is a gripping, entertaining, hair-raising and comical story, which moves effortlessly from the hardware of high-flying planes and new missiles to the geopolitics of the nuclear stand-off and through the poignant personal stories of its central protagonists: Powers, the all-American hero, blacklisted for not having killed himself on his descent to earth; a KGB spy who has spent aimless and lonely years achieving nothing in the US; and the opposing leaders Khrushchev and Eisenhower, both trapped in a spiral of confrontation neither wants.
The Power – Naomi Alderman
I had been aware of this book for a while, seeing it floating around the internet, but didn’t delve any further into it, and forgot about it. I then saw it in the massive Waterstones in London (I think Piccadilly, but don’t quote me on that) and was dragged out by my sister (wise move). By then my interest was piqued and I was considering buying it. Then I saw someone reading it on the tube and I desperately wanted to ask whether it was any good. I didn’t. The British in me strikes again! Of course, I ended up buying it, and in a bookshop too. I will admit, after years of living with limited access to English language books, I am so utterly overwhelmed and overexcited in British bookshops that accidents happen.
And I love it!
All over the world women are discovering they have the power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain – even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they’ve lost control.
The day of the girls has arrived – but where will it end?
Lion: A Long Way Home – Saroo Brierley
I’ve not even seen the film trailer, though I know the basic premise. This sounds like the kind of book I should read first! I never got round to reading Slumdog Millionaire and regret that – I’m sure it will happen some day – but this time I’m determined to get through the book before I watch the film, which looks excellent also.
Five-year-old Saroo lived in a poor village in India, in a one-room hut with his mother and three siblings… until the day he boarded a train alone and got lost. For twenty-five years.
This is the story of what happened to Saroo in those twenty-five years. How he ended up on the streets of Calcutta. And survived. How he then ended up in Tasmania, living the life of an upper-middle-class Aussie. And how, at thirty years old, with some dogged determination, a heap of good luck and the power of Google Earth, he found his way back home.
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
I was first alerted to this one by a sewing blogger I follow on instagram, @roisinmuldoon. She had been reading it and commented – and I paraphrase – that it was an excellent read, but hella intense. I went and looked it up, read some reviews and bought the book. On the basis of all the feedback I’ve seen for A Little Life, I just haven’t drummed up the courage to jump in, so I hope that this post cajoles me into finally reading it.
When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.
Welcome to Night Vale – Joseph Fink & Geffrey Cranar
Apart from the gorgeous cover – it’s a cover made to be stroked – it was the reviews on the back that swung this purchase for me.
“[…]charming and absurd – think This American Life meets Alice in Wonderland.” –Washington Post
I’m really excited to get into this one. The praise on the book, the blurb, are so infuriatingly vague yet so complimentary that I need to read this book!
Welcome to Night Vale… a friendly desert community somewhere in the American Southwest. In this little town where ghosts, angels, aliens and government conspiracies are commonplace parts of everyday life, the lives of two women, with two mysteries, are about to converge.
Pawnshop proprietor Jackie Fierro abides by routine. But a crack appears in the standard order of her perpetually nineteen-year-old life when a mysterious man in a tan jacket gives her a slip of paper marked by two pencil-smudged words: KING CITY. Everything about the man unsettles her, especially the paper that she cannot remove from her hand. Yet when Jackie puts her life on hold to search for the man, no one who meets him can seem to remember anything about him.
Diane Crayton’s fifteen-year-old son, Josh, is a moody shape-shifter. Lately, Diane has started to see the boy’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as he did the day he left when they were teenagers. Josh is growing ever more curious about his estranged father – leading to a disaster Diane can see coming but is helpless to prevent.
Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search to reclaim her routine life draw them increasingly close to each other, and to this place that may hold the key to their mysteries and their futures… if they can ever find it.
The Chemist – Stephanie Meyer
I know, this is the author who gave us Twilight, but she also gave us The Host, which really was rather good. And, yes, the film adaptation was terrible. With the back-catalogue being acknowledged, I’m intrigued to see what her foray adult fiction outing holds for us! As long as we ignore the film adaptations also, the Twilight series has a wee hold on my heart, so I have high hopes for The Chemist.
She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.
Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires makes her situation even more dangerous.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.
The Other Side of The Stars – Clemency Burton-Hill
Kindle | Book Depository
I own and have read this book before, well over 6 years ago. Recently I’ve been thinking about it, and since I was home and a kindle version was not, at the time, forthcoming I picked up my hard copy. If the parental unit ever end up reading this, this is why I can’t let go of any of my books! You never know when you might want to read a book again! You don’t want to get caught with it being out of print and hard to find, as this one is.
Luckily, at the time of writing this, a Kindle version is available!
Actress Lara Latner is having a golden summer. She’s starring in a successful TV series and a hit West End play, and she and her boyfriend Alex have just bought a flat together. But Lara is still haunted by the mysterious death of her mother, Eve Lacloche, in Paris ten years ago. Eve was the most glittering film star of her generation; she casts a long shadow.
Wen Lara is offered the lead role in a re-make of Eve’s most famous film, things start to catch up with her. Will she ever discover what really happened to her mother? Will she be able to recreate that legendary role? And most importantly of all, can she step away from the past… and forge a new future for herself?
Lyrebird – Cecelia Ahern
I dip in and out of Cecelia Ahern and Jodi Picoilt’s books. I started reading them just before P.S. I Love You became a thing, and boy am I glad I read this and I My Sisters Keeper before the films and the hype. The films are awful and change all the most poignant and charming aspects of the books.
WHEN the hype kicked in, I stopped reading both authors and haven’t gone back. For some reason, however, Lyrebird has grabbed me and I’m going to give it a go! Jodi Picoult has yet to receive the same fortune!
In the south-west of Ireland, rugged mountains meet bright blue lakes and thick forests. Deep in the woods, a young woman lives alone, forever secluded from the world, her life a well-kept secret. She possesses an extraordinary talent, the likes of which no-one has seen before: a gift that will earn her the nickname Lyrebird.
When Solomon stumbles into Laura’s solitary existence, her life is turned on its head. Pulled from her peaceful landscape to the cacophony of Dublin, she is confronted by a world desperate to understand her.
But while Solomon knows the world will embrace Laura, will it free her to spread her wings – or will it trap her in a gilded cage? Like all wild birds, she needs to fly free…
Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime – Val McDermid
This popped up on my Kindle recommendations and happened to be on sale. Being the interested soul I am, I thought it would be interesting to read this non-fiction book as Val McDermid will, I have no doubt, written as compellingly here as she does in her novels.
The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died – and who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help justice to be done using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene or the faintest of human traces.
Forensics draws on interviews with top-level professionals, ground-breaking research and Val McDermid’s own experience to lay bare the secrets of this fascinating science. And, along the way, she wonders at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death, how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist uncovered the victims of a genocide.
In her novels, McDermid has been solving complex crimes and confronting unimaginable evil for years. Now, she’s looking at the people who do it for real. It’s a journey that will take her to war zones, fire scenes and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.