July Round-Up – The Books I Read In July 2016

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July was a busy month on the blog with twelve posts including eight book reviews:

The Fireman by Joe Hill (Gollianz) – My first read of the month told the story of Harper, a woman who is desperate to give birth to her child before she is killed by Dragonscale – a terrible disease that results in its hosts spontaneously bursting into flames. As the world falls further into chaos Harper must do all she can to save her unborn child and along the way she meets the mysterious Fireman, a man who is able to control the flames. This is an entertaining novel with an unusual premise.

Sandlands by Rosy Thornton (Sandstone Press) – I enjoyed this collection of short stories inspired by the creatures of the Suffolk landscape. A series of beautifully written stories which perfectly captures the setting and features great characters with interesting stories to tell.

To The Bright Edge Of The World by Eowyn Ivey (Tinder Press) – Possible my favourite book of the year so far, Eowyn Ivey’s latest novel is a wonderful story, beautifully told. In 1885, Colonel Allen Forrester leads an expedition and is forced to leave behind his pregnant wife Sophie who was desperate to accompany her husband on his adventure. Their story is told predominantly through the use of diary entries and letters which follow how they cope with the challenges they each face, most importantly, the fact that they are apart for so long. A beautiful book that I didn’t want to end.

The Lauras by Sara Taylor (William Heinemann) – Having been a big fan of her first novel, The Shore, I was very much looking forward to Sara Taylor’s second book, The Lauras. In this, we follow one woman and what happens when she leaves her husband behind and sets off on a road trip around America – with her child along for the ride. There is plenty of intrigue surrounding this mother and child pair as they visit the places that have proved significant to their lives and remember the people who shaped who they are today. A thought provoking story that provides an interesting look at relationships, gender and finding your place.

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab (Titan Books) – The first in the Monsters of Verity series this is an enjoyable read set in a city shadowed by fear and violence. On one side of the divide is Kate Harker, the daughter of a ruthless man who allows the monsters to roam free. On the other is August Flynn, a well meaning young man who is considered a monster when he just wants to be human. Kate and August are forced to form an unlikely alliance as further frightening events descend on the city. A great story which has got me excited to read the next installment.

Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson (Orenda Books) – Another book I was eagerly anticipating was Blackout, the third book in Jonasson’s Dark Iceland series translated by Quentin Bates. In this story Ari Thor Arason is back to investigate the brutal murder of a man, a man who seems to be surrounded in mystery. Also keen to find out more about the victim and his dealings is Isrun, a young reporter who having previously been restricted to less significant cases is determined to solve this one. A gripping story enhanced with the chilling, claustrophobic atmosphere we have come to know of this series.

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson (Vintage) – One of the Hogarth Shakespeare titles, The Gap Of Time is a fantastic retelling of The Winter’s Tale. This was a book I enjoyed more than I anticipated having had no prior knowledge of the original play. The brief plot summary provided is sufficient enough to be able to understand the story and see how it has been adapted for the contemporary characters and setting. This is the story of Leo; a man who is convinced wife MiMi is having an affair with his childhood friend Xeno. As a result, when his daughter Perdita is born he wants nothing to do with her, and arranges for her to be sent away. Years later, we see Perdita as she has grown up and her journey to track down who she really is and who her parents are.

The Muse by Jessie Burton (Picador) – Jessie Burton’s second novel switches between 1960’s London and 1930’s Spain to tell the story of a mysterious painting and the secrets it holds. In 1967, Odelle Bastien gets a job as a typist at the Skelton Art Institute under the tutelage of the secretive Marjorie Quick. Odelle is intrigued both by Marjorie and the long lost masterpiece which turns up at the gallery. The origins of this painting lie in 1930’s Spain where we meet another fascinating female character – Olive Schloss, the daughter of an art dealer. Switching between the two time periods, the picture of what happened gradually emerges as we follow the stories of Odelle, Olive and Marjorie and the challenges they face. An enjoyable story about love, art and identity.

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You can read full reviews of all of my July reads by clicking the links above and they can also be found in my July archive. Also on the blog in July I shared my unboxing of July’s Nerdy Bookworm Box which had the theme ‘Book Boyfriends’. I also took part in the Liebster award and the blog tours for Sandlands by Rosy Thornton (Extract) and A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams (Q&A).

I would like to thank everyone who has read and shared my blog posts this month. I really appreciate the support and hope that you enjoy the blog – thanks for reading!

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