20 Books of Summer, Mini Review Monday

Mini Review Monday

I realise that I’ve read quite a few books from my tbr and the 20 Books of Summer challenge but haven’t reviewed them. So here’s goes:

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This is the first book I’ve read from my 20 Books of Summer list.

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

Wow this is an amazing book that I devoured over a weekend, as I just couldn’t stop reading it. It certainly had more depth than I was expecting from a YA title, but that’s a good thing. I loved Starr and her family and really felt like I’d spent my weekend with them.  I thoroughly recommend this if you want to read a gripping relevant contemporary novel this year.

 

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

This is the second book I’ve read from my 20 Books of Summer list.

29752912Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.

Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.

This was such a clever story told from a very unusual perspective, and brilliantly done. This is one of my favourite reads this year. I’m so glad a friend gave it to me as I wouldn’t have chosen it to read. Another book to recommend if you enjoy quirky page turners that will stay with you for some time.

 

A Dangerous Place & Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

I enjoyed both these audiobooks from the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I haven’t listened to any for a while but it didn’t matter as I slipped back into the series quite easily with the help of Julie Teal’s wonderful narration. A Dangerous Place takes place in 1937 in Gibraltar, with the Spanish Civil War taking place across the water. I learned a lot about the conflict, particularly about all the other countries involved in it.

Journey to Munich was very tense, as I knew the plot wouldn’t run smoothly with Maisie heading to Munich just before the start of WW2. I wasn’t prepared for the twists and turns though which made it even more enjoyable.

If you enjoy audiobooks and cosy mysteries I thoroughly recommend both of these. I would add that it’s probably best if you start at the beginning of the series so you can meet Maisie at the start of her journey.

 

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

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When the Queen in pursuit of her wandering corgis stumbles upon a mobile library  she feels duty bound to borrow a book. Aided by Norman, a young man from the palace kitchen who frequents the library, Bennett describes the Queen’s transformation as she discovers the liberating pleasures of the written word.

Well what a delightful find this was! I think I discovered this whilst updating my Goodreads status and then found it was available in the library. I’m so glad it popped up as it’s become another favourite read this year. Alan Bennett obviously knows about being a reading addict as there are some wonderful descriptions in here that made me nod in agreement and laugh out loud on numerous. I really do need to get my own copy to read over and over again.

 

The Gingerbread House by Kate Beaufoy

34444182Away from the city, with no distractions, the Gingerbread House seems like the perfect place to start work on a novel. That’s what former advertising copywriter Tess thinks when she goes there to live with Eleanor, her aged mother-in-law. But Eleanor is suffering from dementia, and caring for her proves tougher than Tess could ever have imagined: feeling increasingly isolated, her only comfort is wine o’clock and weekend visits from her husband. Meanwhile her teenage daughter Katia is helpless to intercede; in the end she can only watch as things fall apart and a tragedy even closer to home surfaces.

The Gingerbread House is a deeply moving novel: a compassionate and occasionally wickedly funny tale of a family’s agonising struggle with dementia.

I’d had this book out from the library for months but because of the subject matter I kept putting off picking it up. I was expecting a very depressing read with lots of tears, shouting and domestic violence.  What I wasn’t prepared for was a story that made me laugh out loud and didn’t depress me at all. I’m so pleased I read it and didn’t send it back without opening it. Yet another book I can recommend.

 

Strawberries at Wimbledon by Nikki Moore

24970458The fifth short story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore!

The one that got away?
Sipping Pimms and eating fresh strawberries at Wimbledon are the perfect start to the British summer for Rayne. Immersed in her career as a journalist in the City, she’s been too busy and distracted to give men – or other outside interests – much of a chance lately. That’s something her friend Lily thinks she should correct, coming up with the perfect ‘sex with an ex’ solution – much to the amusement of the crowd on Centre Court!
When Rayne runs into old flame Adam, former good guy who is now all grown up with a hint of bad boy about him, it’s a tempting thought. But is that such a good idea, when she knows that four years ago, she broke his heart?
First love – can you ever go back?

This is such a fun feel good short story that I found free on Kindle through Twitter. (In fact it’s still free today if you want to grab it.) I enjoyed the ‘will they won’t they’ scenario and the Wimbledon setting. A perfect summer read 🙂

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Mini Review Monday”

  1. So glad you enjoyed The Gingerbread House too. It was one of the first books I ever got from Netgalley as it was a “read now” at the time. I may otherwise not have picked it up but I’m glad it did!

    Liked by 1 person

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