Saturday, 30 June 2018

A Month In Books - June 2018

Welcome to June's Month In Books roundup!

13 books read in June! Not as impressive a tally as May's reads, but it's just been So Hot! My Book of the Month was completely unexpected - I had been putting of reading it for ages, d'oh - and I've a wide selection of other treats to tempt your reading buds in this post. Psychological thriller short stories? Ancient Arabic travel memoir? Philosophy? Biographies?

Regular blog series:
I blogged another five excellent female-authored books for ReadingWomen on the 10th, and also am now regularly posting Books From The Backlog on Thursdays and 50/50 Fridays on, erm, Fridays! Those last two won't be every week but, hopefully, on most weeks if the dates don't clash with other post series-es.

June's WorldReads featured books from Iceland and I will be 'visiting' Belgium for July's WorldReads on the 5th.

Reading Challenges:
Alphabet Soup: 1 added, KRXZ remaining.
Books In French: none finished
Classics Club: 3 added
Decade Challenge: none finished, 1910s and 1960s remaining
(Scroll down to the end of the page to see my current Challenge books and statuses)

Now, on with this June Reading Roundup!
(Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits review/Spotlight pages)

Guest Reviews

The Duchess by Penny Junor, reviewed by Michelle Short

The Book Depository : from £4.39 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.15 (PB)
Waterstones : from £9.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $9.05 / £2.66 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The relationship between Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is one of the most remarkable love stories of the age. It has endured against all the odds, and in the process nearly destroyed the British monarchy. It is a rich and remarkable story that has never been properly told – indeed, it is one of the most extraordinary, star-crossed love stories of the past fifty years.


Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, reviewed by Kate Vane

The Book Depository : from £11.62 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.56 (PB)
Waterstones : from £12.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $11.26 / £11.34 (PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers' style of dress and speech patterns so that she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life, but is aware that she is not living up to society's expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko's contented stasis, but will it be for the better?


My Reviews

We And Me by Saskia De Coster

The Book Depository : from £11.87 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.21 (PB)
Waterstones : from £11.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.31 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

On a private estate near the top of a mountain lives the Vandersanden family. Neurotic, aristocratic Mieke grooms her carpets while keeping a close eye on her family and her neighbours. Her husband, the self-made man Stefaan, is building up a career in a pharmaceutical company which is threatened by scandal. Daughter Sarah, overprotected by her parents and curious for the real life, is finding her own path; like a contemporary Madame Bovary or an Anna Karenina, she longs for freedom and individuality. But will she find an escape from the claustrophobic family dramas and secrets that surround her?


Brand New Friend by Kate Vane

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $3.99 / £2.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered. Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?


Lost Profile by Francoise Sagan

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.95 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

As Erotic And Sophisticated As Ever, Sagan's Latest Novel Again Maps Out The Complexities And Ironies In The Relationships Between Men And Women.


Small Country by Gael Faye

The Book Depository : from £10.42 (HB)
Wordery : from £9.91 (HB)
Waterstones : from £12.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $10.67 / £7.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Burundi, 1992. For ten-year-old Gabriel, life in his comfortable expat neighbourhood of Bujumbura with his French father, Rwandan mother and little sister, Ana, is something close to paradise. These are happy, carefree days spent with his friends sneaking cigarettes and stealing mangoes, swimming in the river and riding bikes in the streets they have turned into their kingdom. But dark clouds are gathering over this small country, and soon their peaceful idyll will shatter when Burundi and neighbouring Rwanda are brutally hit by war and genocide.


Status Anxiety by Alain De Botton

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.29 (PB)
Waterstones : from £12.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $2.05 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

We all worry about what others think of us. We all long to succeed and fear failure. We all suffer - to a greater or lesser degree, usually privately and with embarrassment - from status anxiety. For the first time, Alain de Botton gives a name to this universal condition and sets out to investigate both its origins and possible solutions. He looks at history, philosophy, economics, art and politics - and reveals the many ingenious ways that great minds have overcome their worries. The result is a book that is not only entertaining and thought-provoking - but genuinely wise and helpful as well.


Doom, Gloom, and the Pursuit of the Sun by Antoine F. Gnintedem + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £14.15 (PB)
Wordery : from £14.89 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $9.95 / £7.22 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Life in Mbengwi, Cameroon, is not easy for Austin-or for anyone else. While growing up, he bears witness to the worst parts of life and the cruelties of human nature. These things keep his homeland trapped in a cycle of misery and suffering. In a country overrun by poverty, death, unrest, and corruption, he sees no future for himself. The only way to escape the cycle is to flee to a place Austin believes to be free of all these troubles, a place where he hopes his dreams will come true: the United States of America.


The Devil's Elixirs by E T A Hoffmann
My Book of the Month!

The Book Depository : from £6.49 (PB)
Wordery : from £5.63 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $1.47 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The son of a heinous sinner, Medardus is brought up in a monastery to atone for his father's wicked ways. However, after succumbing to temptation, Medardus himself is lured into a life of sin. A labyrinthine plot sees him embarking on a fantastical journey into the world, meeting his doppelganger, involving himself in a game of double impersonation, and becoming embroiled in murderous intrigues at the Vatican, before the mysterious curse hanging over him and his family is finally explained. First published in 1815, "The Devil's Elixirs" is a macabre masterpiece of German literature, and is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the Romantic movement, or the genres of fantasy and horror which it spawned.


Dead Is Better by Jo Perry

The Book Depository : from £6.95 (PB)
Wordery : from £5.63 (PB)
Fahrenheit Press : from $1 / £0.99 (ebook)
Amazon : from $2.70 / £1.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Charles Stone has just woken up dead. Well he’s pretty sure he’s dead, what with the bullet holes in his chest and all. He also appears to be totally alone in the after-life except for the ghostly dog who seems to be his new companion. Unable to interact with the world of the living other than watching and listening, he and the dead dog (whom he names Rose) have nothing to do and all the time in the world to do it. When Charles and Rose try to unravel the circumstances of Charles's death, they uncover a criminal who is raking in millions of dollars by cruelly exploiting, and sometimes killing, his victims. But what difference can a ghost make? And what does the damn dog have to do with any of this?


Sour Apple by Jerzy Szyłak and Joanna Karpowicz

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Europe Comics : from $4.99 (ebook)
Amazon : unavailable
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

By all appearances they are a happy couple. Married, religious, hardworking. What happens behind closed doors, however, is a secret, even to those closest to them. “Kwaśne jabłko” (Sour Apple), written by Jerzy Szyłak and illustrated by Joanna Karpowicz, tells a story of domestic abuse, a story of a victim and persecutor. This story of violence spiraling out of control brings no hope, instead playing on emotions and powerful illustrations, painted with acrylic on canvas-textured paper, to create a unique atmosphere of horror. It is violence as seen by a painter.


Ibn Fadlan And The Land Of Darkness

The Book Depository : from £9.68 (PB)
Wordery : from £9.11 (PB)
Waterstones : from £12.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $4.80 / £3.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

In 922 AD, an Arab envoy from Baghdad named Ibn Fadlan encountered a party of Viking traders on the upper reaches of the Volga River. In his subsequent report on his mission he gave a meticulous and astonishingly objective description of Viking customs, dress, table manners, religion and sexual practices, as well as the only eyewitness account ever written of a Viking ship cremation.


Manipulated Lives by H A Leuschel

The Book Depository : from £7.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.98 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $4 / £2.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Narcissists are everywhere. They can be witty, charming and highly charismatic. Anyone can be their target. At first their devious, calculating mind games can be hard to spot because they are masters of disguise, but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. All stories highlight to what extent narcissistic abuse can distort lives and threaten our self-worth yet ultimately, also send a positive message that once the narcissist is unmasked, the victims can at last break free.


The Occasional Virgin by Hanan Al-Shaykh

The Book Depository : from £13.88 (HB)
Wordery : from £11.13 (HB)
Waterstones : from £16.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $11.18 / £5.90 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Huda and Yvonne are on holiday in the Italian Riviera, enjoying the sun and the sparkling Mediterranean, reminiscent of their childhoods in Lebanon. Yvonne doesn't know what she's doing wrong, either there or back in London where she runs an ad agency – she seems to spend her time waiting for the right man to come along and not leave again just as quickly. Her friend Huda has no problems in this department, only she isn't really interested in her effect on men – till Hisham comes along. But it isn't love spurring Huda on, it's her desire to teach him a lesson. Because while you can't escape your past, you can perhaps avenge it.


The Shape Of The Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

The Book Depository : from £14.48 (HB)
Wordery : from £14.47 (HB)
Waterstones : from £20 (HB)
Amazon : from $13.14 / £8.53 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The Shape of the Ruins is Vásquez's most ambitious, challenging and rewarding novel to date. His previous novel, The Sound of Things Falling, won Spain's Alfaguara Prize, Italy's Von Rezzori Prize and the 2014 Dublin IMPAC literary Award. It takes the form of personal and formal investigations into two political assassinations - the murders of Rafael Uribe Uribe in 1914, the man who inspired García Márquez's General Buendia in One Hundred Years of Solitude, and of the charismatic Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the man who might have been Colombia's J.F.K., gunned down on the brink of success in the presidential elections of 1948. Separated by more than 30 years, the two murders at first appear unconnected, but as the novel progresses Vásquez reveals how between them they contain the seeds of the violence that has bedevilled Colombia ever since.


Spotlights

The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge + Giveaway


The Book Depository : from £4.75 (PB)
Wordery : from £5.83 (PB)
Smashwords : from $2.50 (ebook)
Amazon : from $7.75 / £4.75 (PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Ronald Carpenter (the narrator) is a zookeeper that gets help from a company called The Eclipse when he needs to recapture some escaped animals. The company takes a shine to him and lures him into working for them. They are keeping a zoo of animals that they use for medical testing and are happy to have his expertise in accommodating them. To prove his loyalty they have him come along to take the scientist Nigel Hunter captive. Ronald and Nigel come to find out that the creatures kept by The Eclipse are supernatural animals that the average person would not consider real. The Eclipse is keeping ‘fantasy’ creatures for testing because they have no legal protections and many of them, like werewolves, are nearly human.


Her Name Is Mercie by Chris Roy

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.81 / £2.11 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Mercie Hillbrook lives a simple, quiet life working as a gas station attendant. Then her parents are killed. Her home is taken. The people responsible are excused for just doing their job. When an attempt to get justice her way lands her in trouble with the law, Mercie realizes she still has something to lose: her own life. Then she finds reason to believe her parents were murdered… and she doesn't care anymore


Searching For Steven by Jessica Redland

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.79 / £1.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

When Sarah Peterson accepts her Auntie Kay's unexpected offer to take over her florist's shop, she's prepared for a change of job, home and lifestyle. What she isn't prepared for is the discovery of a scarily accurate clairvoyant reading that's been missing for twelve years. All her predictions have come true, except one: she's about to meet the man of her dreams. Oh, and his name is Steven. Suddenly Stevens are everywhere. Could it be the window cleaner, the rep, the manager of the coffee shop, or any of the men she's met online? On top of that, she finds herself quite attracted to a handsome web designer, but his name isn't even Steven... During this unusual search, will Sarah find her destiny?


Out of Time (A Ray Lafayette Novel) by Thomas William Lowrie + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £11.12 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.11 (PB)
Waterstones : from £11.12 (PB)
Amazon : from $14.99 / £10.32 (PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Well, here I go again. All alone except for this suitcase of mine. I’m headed for a new place with new people. Not so bad considering it’s 1944. Lots of guys are in my shoes. We’re in the middle of World War II. Still not so bad. I’m a fireman in the Army Air Corps whatever they’re calling themselves these days. Once again, not bad at all. But I was born in 1963. There’s the bad part.


Poppy (The Montgomery Sisters, Book 2) by Kat Flannery + Giveaway

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2 / £1.49 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Poppy Montgomery has always been good with a gun and could fight her way out of anything. Tough as nails and a sharp shooter, her beauty deceives the outlaws she’s after. Hot on the trail of the Clemmons gang, a group of outlaws who rob trains and killed an innocent woman and child a few months before, she is determined to make them pay for the sin’s they’ve committed by bringing them to justice.


The Hanging Women by John Mead

The Book Depository : from £8.46 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.35 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $4.05 / £2.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

A historical crime thriller set in 1886 Chicago; the power house of America, a sink of corruption and vice which is haunted by riots and gangland killings. A story of weak men and strong women. Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.


A Taker of Morrows by Stephen Paul Sayers + Giveaway

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $5.02 / £3.77 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

RG Granville has his whole life in front of him…but only twenty-four hours to live it. Beyond life’s boundaries, an enduring battle between good and evil determines the fate of earthly souls. Here, ‘caretakers’ guard and protect against the evil and vengeful ‘jumpers’ who slip back and forth between worlds to prey upon the living. For one man, news of his impending demise sets off a deadly chain of events fueled by a jumper’s burning vengeance. Now he’s in a race against time to stop an unrelenting evil unleashed upon the earth. And if he’s to protect his family, and the world, he must breach the tenuous boundary between life and death to confront a killer—and a shocking secret from his long-buried past.


The Enigma Dragon: A CATS Tale (The Enigma Series Book 9) by Charles V Breakfield and Roxanne E Burkey + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £13.61 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.68 (PB)
Waterstones : from £14.39 (PB)
Amazon : from $3.02 / £2.17 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The political climate in the world is unnerving. North Korea is running missile tests, but where are they getting their deadly supplies? Meanwhile, terrorists are hiding in plain sight, using American technology that is out on display in libraries and museums for the world to see, but are using analog methods to gather and assemble their information. No internet searches equal no red flags which lets the bad guys believe they are operating undetected. But the Cyber Assassin Technology Services (CATS) team is on the job. As Juan and Julie Rodríguez send their operatives out across the globe to track down these foot soldiers also known as Analog Information Mules, they'll discover the horrible potential treats, and learn about each other along the way.


The Last Dance by Lonna Enox + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £10.14 (PB)
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : from £14.39 (PB)
Amazon : from $11.82 / £6.20 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Saddle Gap, a quiet little town in southwestern New Mexico, seems the perfect place for Sorrel Janes to start her life over. But within a few days, she finds herself entangled in two murders, the object of harassment, and the number one suspect in a murder. Will her past terrors destroy her future dreams? Amid the evolving conflicts, she resolves to reconstruct her new life and find happiness. Detective Chris Reed is equally resolved to solve the murders as well as Sorrels secrets. Neither of them suspects where the steps of this dance will lead, but they are too stubborn to sit this one out.


Swallowtail by Sheri Meshal

The Book Depository : from £9.76 (PB)
Wordery : from £9.58 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $3.06 / £2.18 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Chicago wife, mother and finance executive Claire Cummings, arrives at work one morning to discover her friend Julia has embezzled millions and vanished. Blindsided and devastated by the betrayal, she’s sent home pending further investigation. Claire’s bizarre death the following day sends everyone reeling, guessing and looking for her in all the wrong places. In no time she's addicted to an enchanting menagerie of tricks and techniques for getting the living's attention, but most people are harder to reach than she'd ever dreamed and even harder to set free.


The Fear of Being Eaten: A Biography of the Heart by Ronald J. Wichers + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £11.68 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.68 (PB)
Waterstones : from £11.68 (PB)
Amazon : from $7.25 / £5.35 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

What if you married a man who didn’t care about you? What if there was a child in the neighborhood for whom you developed a special fondness but was nine when you were nineteen and twenty when you were thirty with two children and a husband who still didn’t care? And what if you were a boy whose only happy memories were a few soft words uttered now and again by a beautiful neighbor ten years your senior and whose voice and face and figure, back-lighted by the golden light of the setting sun, were all that would sustain you when your life was threatened every minute of every day in the mire of a squalid war nobody wanted? This is the story of Jacqueline and Tommy, their lives stubbornly paralleling with no convergence in sight until one cold night she sees him starving to death on a crowded street filled with happy tourists.


The Pumpkin Patch by Sandi Smith + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £11.15 (PB)
Wordery : from £13.14 (PB)
Waterstones : from £11.15 (PB)
Amazon : from $3.01 / £2.10 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

How can one small-minded, angry person destroy the lives of so many people in her path, connecting them all together in a game of destruction and heartbreak? It is possible, but what pushes a person to enjoy inflicting pain to such an extent, leaving a trail of hate, anger, and defeat behind her, which only seems to make her stronger and more satisfied. Ms. Terri Plotski, owner of the Authors’ Book Agency, is that person, who, unknowingly, with a single thread of hate, has connected the lives of a small group of people, bringing them together with one single common denominator. Anger. The anger from this small group of people is building, but it has nowhere to go, or does it? Ms. Terri Plotski, owner of Authors’ Book Agency, has gone missing.


Galaxies And Oceans by N. R. Walker + Giveaway

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $3.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him. Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.

I hope you have found some books to tempt you in this selection! You can keep up with my daily book posts on Literary Flits and don't forget all the Giveaways are listed in my Giveaway Linkup.

6 comments:

  1. 13 books is pretty good for a month.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Each one of your books is new to me. I enjoyed seeing books for the first time and in genres I normally don't read. 13 is amazing! I'm currently reading older books to read authors that are new to me and I've been missing out on so much talent. Better late than never!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love going back to read older books too :-)

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  3. I love it when a book surprises you and ends up being a favorite!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true :-)
      The Devil's Elixirs did just that!

      Delete