Friday, 31 August 2018

A Month In Books - August 2018

Welcome to August's Month In Books roundup!

A massive 23 books read in August although two were short stories, two were graphic novels and two were DNFs so the number isn't quite as impressive as it first looks! I can't remember the last time I had two DNFs in quick succession. Maybe I am finally getting better at setting aside books that I'm simply not enjoying? There's several great books and a couple of Amazings in this month's selection to right the balance. If you haven't already seen me fangirling about Resin, do click through and read my review of this Danish thriller. And Entangled Lives is a worthwhile read for anyone who appreciates having their preconceptions challenged.


Regular blog series:
I blogged another five excellent female-authored books for ReadingWomen on the 10th with the Around The Blogosphere choice coming from Tori at In Tori Lex. Life did rather get in the way of blogging this month so I haven't posted any Books From The Backlog or 50/50 Fridays. I did join in with Chuckles' August Authorfest (reading new-to-me authors) and did my first Bookish Bingo though. I think I will post a joint wrap-up for these challenges, probably on the 3rd or 4th of September.

August's WorldReads featured books from Iraq and I will be 'visiting' Poland for September's WorldReads on the 5th.

Reading Challenges:
Alphabet Soup: R added, KXZ remaining.
Books In French: none finished
Classics Club: 2 added, 44 remaining
Decade Challenge: Finished! And I'm starting a new Decade Challenge as of the 1st of September. If you want to join me, there's more info and a sign-up here

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

My Reviews

Entangled Lives by Imran Omer
Almost my Book of the Month!

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

Raza, a poor orphan trapped in the slums of Pakistan, is sent to a strict madrassah where he meets and falls in love with Perveen. They attempt to flee the city to escape their respective fates but fail. Perveen, pregnant, is sent back to her family, and Raza is sent to Afghanistan to fight as a Taliban solider. American journalist, Rachael Brown, travels to Afghanistan to cover the political unrest. When she meets Raza for a brief interview, she sees for the first time the true face of the Taliban: poor and desperate young men with nowhere else to go. As the war unfolds, their paths cross again, and each must decide what they owe the other.


Letter To Country by Rethabile Masilo + Giveaway

The Book Depository
Wordery
Smashwords
Amazon

Letter to Country blends together life experiences from a childhood in Lesotho and South Africa during a time of apartheid with adulthood in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee and beyond. In his third published poetry collection, Rethabile Masilo demonstrates why he continues to receive international praise for his superb craftsmanship and profound sensitivities.


A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat by Bernard Jan

The Book Depository
Wordery
  Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

One story. Two endings. Genuine and fictional. Which ending is yours?
What do you say to someone who is dying? And what do you say when that someone can't understand a word you are saying? How do you comfort each other throughout... and beyond?


The Promise by Michelle Vernal

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.
When British backpacker, Isabel Stark, happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock, asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry. 


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
My 5th read for my Classics Club Challenge and my 1910s read for the 2017-18 Decade Challenge

The Book Depository
Wordery
   Waterstones
Amazon

When Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody says she is the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It is true, too. Mary is pale, spoilt and quite contrary. But she is also horribly lonely. Then one day she hears about a garden in the grounds of the Manor that has been kept locked and hidden for years. And when a friendly robin helps Mary find the key, she discovers the most magical place anyone could imagine...


The Bespokist Society Guide to…London

The Book Depository
Wordery : (unavailable)
Waterstones
Amazon

You have in your hands one of the most curated city guides ever created. As the first travel book produced by the hugely influential Bespokist Society, this handy guide takes you to a London you’ve never seen: a London of challenging Etruscan restaurants, edgy branding parlours, emoji hotels and hidden Icelandic communities; a London where 8-ply toilet paper is a thing.
On the way, meet an eclectic band of inspiring Londoners - from scriveners to socialites via urban wordsmiths and coffee preachers - and see why London is now the global epicentre of Bespokist consciousness, community and culture.


We Only Saw Happiness by Gregoire Delacourt + Giveaway
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

There is nothing like the love of a parent for a child. But what happens when that love falters?
Deprived of his parents' love as a child, Antoine is determined to give his son and daughter the perfect childhood he never had. He is a dreamer, an optimist, a man who fell in love at first sight and who believes that he has found the secret to living a happy life. But when tragedy strikes he becomes someone even he does not recognise. Taken to his lowest point, he performs an act of desperation. But can he find a way back? And what does happiness actually mean?


Resin by Ane Riel
My Book of the Month!
R for my 2018 Alphabet Soup Challenge, one of my August Authorfest reads and a ReadingWomen selection

The Book Depository
Wordery
   Waterstones
Amazon

Suspenseful and heart-breaking, Resin is the story of what can happen when you love someone too much – when your desire to keep them safe becomes the thing that could irrevocably harm them.
Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing. But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way, her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents. This way, Liv would be safe.


The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh + Giveaway
One of my Books From The Backlog and ReadingWomen selections
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.


How To Love A Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

Tenderness and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal, ambition and regret – Alexia Arthurs navigates these tensions to extraordinary effect in her debut collection of short stories, How to Love a Jamaican, about Jamaican immigrants and their families back home. Sweeping from close-knit island communities to the streets of New York City and Midwestern university towns, these eleven stories form a portrait of a nation, a people, and a way of life.


A Blessing In Disguise: Life Begins at Forty-Eight, Book 1 by C H Clepitt

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

When Linda is made redundant, she plans to travel and do all the things she never had a chance to do when she was working. Her plans are scuppered, however, when her mother is rushed into hospital. Moving back home opens up a new life for Linda that she could never have imagined for herself.


The Path To Change by Pope Francis with Dominique Wolton
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

Pope Francis has thoroughly re-engaged the Catholic Church with the modern world, by tackling the difficult and urgent questions that we face as a civilization, in order to illuminate the path to change. French sociologist Dominique Wolton interviewed Pope Francis regularly over the course of a year, and their open, warm dialogue builds a detailed picture of how Pope Francis became the most popular leader the Catholic Church has ever seen.


Heidi by Johanna Spyri + Cake Giveaway
My 6th read for my Classics Club Challenge

The Book Depository
Wordery
   Waterstones
Amazon (free ebook editions)

A young girl's idyllic mountain life in the Swiss Alps Heidi is only five when she goes to live with her grandfather in his hut in the Swiss Alps. Up in the high pastures, she befriends the goatherd Peter and delights in the company of the gentle goats. Everyone is sad when Heidi is taken away to live with a family in Frankfurt. But Heidi's courage and good spirit charm all who meet her. Soon she is able to return to her beloved mountains, sharing her happiness, health and home with all her new-found friends. Heidi was first published in 1881. A classic tale of childhood joys and friendships, it has delighted and inspired generations of children.


Revolutions: Parabola by Mateusz Skutnik
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon

Technological revolutions are a time of incredible inventions, brilliant minds, and fantastic discoveries. As well as bad inventions, failed experiments, and bizarre ideas. "Revolutions" brings to life a series of alternate histories, and offers inventions so fantastic they could never be brought into existence in our world. Instead, these inventions disappear into oblivion, or transform into something completely other than what their makers intended. A truly "revolutionary" series of graphic novels.


The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C Wilson + Excerpt

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

The fireplace hadn't looked like a time-portal. 
All Kate had wanted was a fun, relaxing day out, watching the knights jousting at Nottingham Castle. What she ended up with was something quite different. Transported in a heartbeat from 2011 to 1485, how will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court? Even more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?


Desirable Body by Hubert Haddad
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

A contemporary Frankenstein that defies expectations, this is a thrilling novel, couched in luminous, captivating prose about a journalist, Cédric Allyn-Weberson, who suffers a horrific accident, paralyzing him from the neck down. An ideal candidate for a body transplant, Cédric survives the surgery but has both physical and existential trouble with his recovery and adaptation: encountering his lover with a new body, discovering the life history of his donor, and attempting to understand the mind-body relationship as he lives it.


The Tale Of The Missing Man by Manzoor Ahtesham
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

The Tale of the Missing Man (Dastan-e Lapata) is a milestone in Indo-Muslim literature. A refreshingly playful novel, it explores modern Muslim life in the wake of the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan. Zamir Ahmad Khan suffers from a mix of alienation, guilt, and postmodern anxiety that defies diagnosis. His wife abandons him to his reflections about his childhood, writing, ill-fated affairs, and his hometown, Bhopal, as he attempts to unravel the lies that brought him to his current state (while weaving new ones).


The High Mountains Of Portugal by Yann Martel

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

Lost in Portugal.
Lost to grief.
With nothing but a chimpanzee. 
A man thrown backwards by heartbreak goes in search of an artefact that could unsettle history. A woman carries her husband to a doctor in a suitcase. A Canadian senator begins a new life, in a new country, in the company of a chimp called Odo. From these stories of journeying, of loss and faith, Yann Martel makes a novel unlike any other: moving, profound and magical.


Of Faith And Fidelity by Evan Ostryzniuk
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones
Amazon

Geoffrey Hotspur dreams of knighthood. As an English orphan-squire bonded to the court of Sir John of Gaunt, uncle of the English King Richard II, his prospects are few. An inveterate gambler already deep in debt, young Geoffrey eagerly accepts an invitation to participate in a raid on French lands. However, his plans go awry after a deadly street brawl results in his banishment from court. As further punishment, he is ordered to join a royal commission bound for Florence. 


The Danes by Clarke
One of my August Authorfest reads

Europe Comics
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon (only in French)

When an Aryan baby is born to a Muslim woman living in Copenhagen, her husband’s family shuns her. But DNA tests prove Sorraya’s fidelity. And she is just the first in what soon becomes a rash of similar cases across Europe, threatening widespread social change even as they ignite passions in immigrant communities and incite familiar racial hatreds. What mysterious conspiracy connects a retrovirus, a young slacker biogeneticist, a former punkette, a dogged reporter, and pharmaceutical giant Keoxis? Clarke delivers a contemplative slice of near-future science fiction paced like a thriller but full of probing questions about our prejudices.


The Gravediggers' Bread by Frederic Dard
One of my August Authorfest reads

The Book Depository
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones
Amazon

Blaise should never have hung around in that charmless little provincial town. The job offer that attracted him the first place had failed to materialize. He should have got on the first train back to Paris, but Fate decided otherwise. A chance encounter with a beautiful blonde in the town post-office and Blaise is hooked - he realizes he'll do anything to stay by her side, and soon finds himself working for her husband, a funeral director. But the tension in this strange love triangle begins to mount, and eventually results in a highly unorthodox burial...


Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army by Edoardo Albert

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

Conrad is a monk, but he has become a monk through trickery and against his will. So, it is fair to say that his heart isn't really in it. Conrad is also clever, charming, entirely self-serving, self-absorbed and almost completely without scruple — but in Anglo-Saxon England, when the Danish invaders come calling, those are very helpful attributes to have.


Angelica Stone by Susi Osborne + Giveaway

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones
Amazon

Following years of sexual abuse, Angelica is brought up in care. As a teenager she absconds, living on the streets, before eventually being forced into prostitution to survive. She learns to rely solely on herself and is reluctant to allow anyone to get close to her, until she forms an unlikely bond with Lola. In contrast, Lola is from what appears to be a happy middle-class background – but all is not what it seems...


Spotlights


Duck Egg Blues by Martin Ungless + Author Interview

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

This perfect slice of 'cozy crime' is narrated in the voice of a pre-war English butler and concerns a rich and powerful businesswoman whose daughter goes missing from their country house estate. That the story- teller is a robot belonging to an impoverished detective brings a fresh and original take on 'cozy', and as for 'crime'... well, it does begin to escalate, what with MI6, criminal gangs, corrupt police, and that’s not to mention international cybercrime! 


Blood Ribbon by Roger Bray

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Smashwords
Amazon

When Brooke Adams is found battered, bleeding, and barely conscious, the police are at a loss as to who her attacker is or why she was targeted. Then, PI Rod Morgan turns up convinced that Brooke’s attack is the latest in a string of unsolved disappearances dating back twenty-five years. The police, however, aren’t convinced, so Brooke and Rod must investigate the cases themselves.
As secrets from the past start unravelling, will they find Brooke’s attacker before he strikes again, or is that one secret that will stay buried forever?


The Last Lie She Told by K J McGillick + Excerpt

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

To some, Fiona O’Dell is clever and manipulative. To others, she is a dangerous sociopath. One thing is certain - she’s trouble wherever she goes. Now she has vanished from her job, but not before being seen leaving a motel room where one man is found dead, another on the edge of death. Is this grisly crime scene a BDSM encounter gone wrong? Or is it related to a company data breach where all three are employed? 


The Love Fool: A Rome-antic Comedy by Lorenzo Petruzziello + Giveaway

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones : (unavailable)
Amazon

Set in Rome. Follow the whirlwind antics of a publicist as he struggles to manage his first TV chef client, his new life, and an unexpected visit from his ex-girlfriend. Alex recently moved to Italy for an opportunity at a PR firm in Rome. His first client is the beautiful Danish chef Pernille Bjørn, a popular model, TV personality, and cookbook author just entering the booming televised cooking show market in Italy. >Alex's single-minded career focus is soon thwarted by Emily, an ex-girlfriend he hasn't heard from in almost a decade. Italy's modern culture and enchanting sights set the backdrop to this Rome-antic comedy.


The Gathering by Bernadette Giacomazzo + Giveaway

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon (ebook)

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved. In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.


The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott + Guest Post

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder. Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart. Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.


The Dead Wake Anthology by Ellie Douglas
Literary Flits Spotlight Giveaway Winner

The Book Depository (unavailable)
Wordery (unavailable)
Waterstones (unavailable)
Amazon

Ten utterly gruesome tales, that will disable you.
You won’t know what hit you.
You will from this day forward sleep with one eye open.
Insist that all the lights stay on...always.
You will begin a ritual; checking under your bed, inside the closet and double checking your windows.
Throw into this the sick and twisted and the utterly crazy humor and your stomach will explode.
With some erotica, you’ll be hot and sweaty and won't know which way to run...and you’ll be scared for life.
In the best possible way.


Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae + Excerpt

The Book Depository
Wordery
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon

When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe. Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.


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.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

State Of The ARC - August 2018

I saw this State of the ARC meme over at Avalinah's Books blog in January and thought it would be fun to join in.

The idea is to keep track of all the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) books I've got awaiting reading and reviewing, and to make headway through the overdue pile. For my State of the ARC, I am including all books sent to me for review whether they are pre-publication copies (as ARCs should be) or simply review copies of books already available publicly. I don't include books that I have purchased myself, book exchange swaps, or free downloads.

In August I blogged my reviews of these ARCs:
(Click the cover images to visit their reviews)

  
  
  
My Conrad Monk review will be blogged on the 30th August and my Angelica Stone review will follow on the 31st.

We've got the excitement of a nine-spot Bingo game to play with our ARCs for the rest of this year too. Here's the topic grid with my choices so far:

ARC with your favourite colour cover
ARC of a debut book
Your oldest ARC
#ownvoices ARC
A nonfiction ARC
An overdue ARC
ARC with sensitive social issues
A fluffy and happy ARC
A new-to-me genre ARC


Here's my State of the ARC numbers as of today:

Awaiting Reading

Read / Reviewed / Blogged

Overdue

NetGalley

12

1 RRB

0

From Authors

1

1 RRB

0

Blog Tours

5

1 RRB

0

From Publishers

2

0

0


RRB (Read, Reviewed and Blogged) essentially means those book reviews are completed and I'm just waiting for their scheduled blog post date.


No State Of The ARC would be complete without checking out the additions to my ARC stash.

Here are August's new arrivals





If you want to join this State of the ARC meme check out This Page at Avalinah's Books.

My next State of the ARC will be blogged on the 28th September.