For two whole weeks in June I have not bought a single book. I also stayed away from my favourite charity book shop as well. It was hard, since I had to walk past it multiple times. On one occasion the lady who is there most often even waved at me from the window. She knows… So the next time I actually went in and didn’t pick up half the shop, she gaped at me. “Only one today?” Yeah, shocking, I know! So I returned later that week and made up for it… I’m also branching out in different genres. Whether it’s a good thing or not is not yet decided.
So let’s see some random books I picked up from the shop and the Kindle sale during May and June.
Blackwing by Ed McDonald
I blame Drew for this… After I saw his awesome review for the second book in this series, I literally swooped at this book when I saw it on the shelf. My friend was with me, and she raised an eyebrow at the book.
“You are getting this because of the cover, aren’t you?” she said.
“No, I’m getting this because of Drew.”
Her eyebrow lifted even higher. “Do I want to know…?”
I don’t understand it either.
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Another inexplicable pick! I haven’t read Pretty Little Liars, but attempted to watch the series. I lasted a whole half an hour before I decided I can’t even… Yet, I bought this book and started reading it as soon as I got home. I guess weirdest things have happened, but still… What’s gotten into me?
In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.
Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don’t have much in common. Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it’s about time he paid for what he’s done. They come up with the perfect murder – a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s all wishful thinking … until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed – in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn’t do it. So who did?
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
I’ve read this about fifteen years ago, and I remember how shocking and deliciously dark it was.
I haven’t actually read it in English yet, so that’s pretty much my best excuse.
Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.
That’s my score to date. Three. I haven’t killed anybody for years, and don’t intend to ever again.
It was just a stage I was going through.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
There are a few key words that turn me off instantly when used in book descriptions. Endearing, affecting and folksy are just a few of them, and yet, I decided to get this book, even though it was described just so.
Although I don’t recall anything specific, I do remember watching the movie adaptation with my grandma when I was a kid. The whole story probably got lost on me, because I kept telling her for weeks to cook fried green tomatoes, eventually pissing her off to the point where she just rolled her eyes and told me, “I make you spinach, that’s green enough.” Well, thanks, but no, thanks. Yuck.
It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women – of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.
Poppet by Mo Hayder
Not only this is the 6th book in a series I know nothing about, I also haven’t read anything written by this author before. I picked up this book purely because of this creepy shit on the cover. I mean, what the fuck is it? Let’s just hope it won’t come back to haunt me in my dreams, because fuckin’ hell…
Everything goes according to procedure when a patient, Isaac, is released into the community from a high security mental health ward. But when the staff realize that he was connected to a series of unexplained episodes of self-harm amongst the ward’s patients, and furthermore that he was released in error, they call on Detective Jack Caffery to investigate, and to track Isaac down before he can kill again. Will the terrifying little effigies Isaac made explain the incidents around the ward, or provide the clue Caffery needs to predict what he’s got planned?
Dead Lemons by Finn Bell
Dead lemons? Did you say dead lemons? LEMONS? This title is literally screaming awesomeness. Also, it’s set in New Zealand which is not a setting I come across very often, so I was compelled to try it. Also, anyone else curious what the fuck dead lemons are? Is this a thing?
In the far south a young girl goes missing, lost without trace in the wilderness beyond her remote family cottage. A year later her father disappears in the same place. Then nothing. At all. Eventually the years grow over the grief. The decades wear away the questions, life flows past the forgotten tragedy.
Until Finn moves into the abandoned home, looking for a fresh start.
A place to heal himself far from his old problems. But rebuilding life is complicated by chance encounters and odd occurrences leaving Finn with the growing suspicion that the people here are harboring a terrible secret. Suspicion turns to obsession the deeper Finn digs while also facing steadily escalating dangers in the here-and-now. Soon Finn’s own journey of recovery becomes inextricably linked with his need to unravel the mystery. Past and present finally collide when Finn starts to learn the truth about this place and himself. Now he must choose between exoneration and condemnation, justice and vengeance.
Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond by Bill Campbell & Edward Austin Hall (editor)
Where do I even begin? I don’t often read short stories and anthologies. I’m not even sure why, because it’s one of the great ways of getting to know various authors and potentially discover some new favourites. Mothership is a collection of diverse stories from the sci-fi & speculative fiction genre, focusing on non-white protagonists, and non-white cultures.
Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond is a groundbreaking speculative fiction anthology that showcases the work from some of the most talented writers inside and outside speculative fiction across the globe—including Junot Diaz, Victor LaValle, Lauren Beukes, N. K. Jemisin, Rabih Alameddine, S. P. Somtow, and more. These authors have earned such literary honors as the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker, among others.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I can’t say I’m particularly interested in mythology. On a general level I find it intriguing, but don’t actively look for books on the topic. But everyone’s been raving about this one, and the follow up, Circe, so when I saw the book for £0.99, I was like “Don’t mind if I do.”
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May
Cakes and sweets are usually not a good omen on book covers. They often signal chicklits and romance, the two things I like to stay clear of. But! The author is a member of one of my favourite reading groups on Facebook and she told us it was free for a short while on Amazon. The blurb didn’t sound particularly sappy though and leading a double life sounds intriguing, so I figured I could give it a try. One of these days I might even get a start on it. Until then I’ll just admire that delicious cover.
Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.
Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.
Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.
And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…
But will she escape before it’s too late?
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
This is the sort of thing I can totally see my mother reading. To say that we have very different taste in reading is an understatement. But there’s just something about the cover and the blurb that made me curious. Warm and witty is not how I like my books, and yet, it gave me some fluffy summer vibes that might just work for me.
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.
All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
On the surface this appears to be a family saga, and the story of three generations. Not something I’d be even remotely interested in, even though I did read a few similar kind of books, and I really enjoyed them. Rich Man Poor Man by Irwin Shaw was one of those few, so I’m not entirely hopeless. But what really got me into Middlesex was all the reviews on Goodreads, and the mention of the main character who was born intersex, and raised as a girl. Now that’s something I’m pretty intrigued about. I loved Jeffrey Eugenides’ other book, The Virgin Suicides a lot, so I think I’ll have fun with this as well. The blurb on this really does not do any justice to the story in my opinion.
Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides, and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City and the race riots of 1967 before moving out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.