February 2020 Books #AmReading

The second month of 2020 is done and dusted. What did Ritu manage to read this time, in between school, her own book release, several family birthdays, and half term?

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I requested this arc with high hopes, reading the book description, but was left feeling flat.
I am afraid that this book was not something I found easy to get into, read or follow, and the ending left a lot to be desired too.
The jumping of points of view from character to character really confused me and I don’t feel any sense of completion upon finishing the book either.
Many thanks to Netgalley, Pan Macmillan and Picador for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Published March 5th, 2020

Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, wow!
What can I say
I have read a few of the author’s books already, aimed at younger readers, and this particular novel is a definite veer off the children’s fiction track!
We follow the story of Margaret, a girl who has lost her parents and is brought to Bungay to live with her grandfather.
Here, it becomes apparent that she has a gift (or is it?) of seeing ghosts. Not only seeing ghosts but giving them the illusion of a physical figure, rather than a spirit.
The Inn her Grandfather lives in is filled with spirits who vie for her attention.
Some good, some not so good, and some downright BAD!
What I really loved about the way this was written was that the author has weaved a fictional tale but used the stories of true characters as the spirits in the tale.
Together with them, she travels a road where Evil is trying its hardest to overcome Good.
Will Lucifer succeed?
All I will say is, it was pretty gripping, and I am going to be asking for a Part Two please, Mrs Cheadle!

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second of McFarlane’s books that I have read, and I .enjoyed it as much as the first.
Laurie and Dan are the perfect couple – both lawyers in great jobs, at the same firm. House under their belt, together for many years, and the prospect of a wonderful future together.
Until Dan drops a bombshell. He’s not feeling it anymore.
Laurie is sucked into a whirlwind of emotion. What happened? Why her? Why them?
Then she finds out he’s with someone… and she’s pregnant.
Enter company stud, Jamie.
He comes forth with a plan for a faux romance between the two of them that will benefit both – His career prospects, and her revenge relationship, guaranteed to shake Dan’s new boat.
I really loved the whole story, from beginning to end. The way the characters developed, I felt I really knew them, and the twists and turns to get to that HEA… Fantastic!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon

Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A magical book filled with prose, poetry and photographs all linking back to twin brothers, William and Harold.
A fascination with the botanical gardens, and regular visits to the bench under the Golden weeping willow, spark poetic memorise and introduce magical creatures.
I have to say, I loved the Bubble Monster!
The author, MJ, Mallon, has weaved a mystical tale using her poetry and story-telling, to produce a lovely short read that can be dipped into whenever you want.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
My rating: 5 of 5 star

What can I say?
I was pretty much blown away by this book.
It started with me wondering whether I could keep up with reading the account of the life of Adunni, a young Nigerian girl, born and brought up in a village, with the hope of an education.
Married off at fourteen, by her father, desperate for money, she dreams of the time she may be able to allow her own ‘louding voice’ be heard.
The book is written in the Niger way of speaking, using their pidgeon English, at the start, then, as Adunni’s own learning grows, so does her voice and vocabulary.
I loved it so much that by the end, I was reading the whole thing in her voice, not thinking of the strangeness of some words.
Child marriage, death, sold into slavery, physical abuse, even the prospect of rape: she experiences so much, until she meets her own angels, who help her reach a destination she only ever dreamed of.
A novel filled with the hope of many young girls out there, especially in third world countries, denied the chance to educate, and better themselves.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 5th March, 2020

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another day, another book, and what a book!
Al was a talented artist. He was going places. An offer for Cambridge University, the support of his family and teachers. Then it all ends.
Nate is trying to cope with with the loss of his older brother, Al, through suicide. Why did he do it? He had so much to live for.
Megan feels guilty. Why did she not spot the signs within her weird friend, Al? A behind closed doors friendship she was ashamed to acknowledge in front of others until it is too late.
Nate and Megan tread a path, tentatively, together, to discover the truth, uncovering hate, social media and cyberbullying.
This debut by Danielle Jawando is harrowing and heart-wrenching. A book that should be read by all young adults. Words are not always simply words. Banter is not always just banter. Words and banter can hurt.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster UK, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 9th March, 2020

The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill

The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three women needing to get away – American Kim, English Colette and Irish Annie.
One crumbling villa – their destination
Three friendships born.
And relationships?
Six years later, the friends, scattered across the world, meet up again for a reunion, masked as the launch of a new business venture, that ends up as explosive as the fireworks put on for the event!
This was the first Melissa Hill book for me, and I enjoyed reading it. It would make a great holiday read. I loved the descriptions of the Amalfi coast in Italy.
Set over two timelines, it gives you a dripfeed of history, tying in with the happenings of the present, creating a few ‘aha!’ moments along the way.
A pleasant read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Heart's Desire by Jorja Tabu

Heart’s Desire: A Romance Collection from the New Romance Cafe by Jorja Tabu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short collection of romantic stories written by both experienced, and newer writers.
Easy to enjoy a story at a time.

Dovetail by Karen McQuestion

Dovetail: A Novel of Love Everlasting by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read a few Karen McQuestion books, and I think I may have just found my favourite.
Dovetail is a beautifully crafted pair of love stories, running simultaneously in both 1916 and 1983.

In 1916, Pearl is a beautiful young woman in her prime, wishing to be swept away by love, into a world of glamour, rather than the smalltown lifestyle she has. Her elder sister, Alice, has looked after her and the rest of the family since their own mother died. News of a new, and possibly eligible, man, Jack, coming to live and work near them, sends Pearl into a frenzy of planning her own escape from this life, but fate has other plans.

In 1983, Joe is trying to wrangle with strange repetitive dreams he keeps on having. They scare his family so much, he is committed to a hospital for treatment. Joe struggles there, until one day, he’s granted freedom, in the form of a grandmother he never knew was alive.

Slowly, connections between Joe’s dreams, and Pearl’s early adult life form parallels that no one could have expected.

Oh, I truly loved this story so much! I realised the similarities and the possible ending before finishing, but I had to keep going because I just wanted to see how everything happened!

A tale filled with surprises, and blossoming romances.

A MUST read!!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published March 10th, 2020

Staunch by Eleanor Wood

Staunch by Eleanor Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but I definitely didn’t realise it was a memoir of sorts, not that that’s a bad thing!
A heartfelt account of a woman going through a lot of mental anguish, after the break up of a long term relationship, and the subsequent finding of herself, with the aid of her older female relatives, on a wonderful trip to Goa.
I enjoyed reading it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published March 19th, 2020

I’m intrigued… what have you been reading this month?

64 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Media Kit: Mr. Sagittarius #poetry #prose #photography – M J Mallon YA Author and Poet
  2. kindredspirit23
    Mar 07, 2020 @ 21:02:41

    A lot of books! Yes, I have managed nearly two now, lol. I did read one similar to the Nigerian story and I count “Maia” as one of my very favorite books (especially the ones of 500+ pages).

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Trackback: February 2020 Books #AmReading – Aphotic Depths
  4. Midnightlion
    Mar 03, 2020 @ 10:00:07

    Wow, you have a great eye for books Ritu❤️, I’ve been reading the Hunger games, all three of them which are awesome! I have also read the last dragon series by Chris d’lacy which was better than I expected🐲📖 I definitely recommend them❤️

    Liked by 1 person


  5. charlypriest
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 18:59:00

    what can you say? Read my book! and sell me

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Colleen M. Chesebro
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 02:52:43

    Wowser, Sis! I’m glad you caught up on your reviews. You are a rock star! 😍❤️

    Liked by 1 person


  7. H.R.R. Gorman
    Mar 02, 2020 @ 02:45:19

    I loved Cheadle’s book too – glad to see you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person


  8. thereluctantpoet
    Mar 01, 2020 @ 23:42:31

    Wow! You are an awesome reader, Ritu!! I’m seeing that you squeeze every bit of fun and life out of each second!! So impressive, My Dear!! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person


  9. robbiesinspiration
    Mar 01, 2020 @ 16:56:59

    Thank you, Ritu, for your lovely review of Through the Nethergate. I am delighted that you enjoyed it. I was pleased to see Marje’s book here too as I have that on my TBR. The others also look entertaining. Have a wonderful new week.

    Liked by 2 people


  10. OIKOS™-Publishing
    Mar 01, 2020 @ 13:55:01

    Thank you, Sis! Great choice! Hope i will finish “Through the Nethergate” very soon. Robbie has done a very good book too. Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  11. Trackback: The Magic of The Dragonfly: Poetry in Motion #SpiritualSisters #SistersofTheFey #MagicalConnections – M J Mallon YA/Paranormal Author
  12. Shantanu Wagh
    Mar 01, 2020 @ 04:24:48

    Phenomenal work!
    I’m fairly new to this and am really looking forward to some constructive criticism.
    If you find the time, I’d really love if you’d stop by thesophomoricweeb.wordpress.com.
    -Much love!

    Liked by 1 person


  13. Jennie
    Mar 01, 2020 @ 01:04:53

    You are amazing, Ritu. Thank you for sharing the books you read. 😀

    Liked by 1 person


  14. simplywendi
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 20:28:20

    thank you so very much for all the book reviews!

    Liked by 1 person


  15. John W. Howell
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 19:38:34

    Excellent reviews in number and quality, Ritu. You are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person


  16. johnrieber
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:57:44

    Well Ritu, I’m in the middle of a terrific read myself right now: It’s called “Marriage Unarranged!” My review goes up on Wednesday!

    Liked by 1 person


  17. willowdot21
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:50:04

    How do you do all this !

    Liked by 1 person


  18. Book Club Mom
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:47:11

    Lots of books here, Ritu. Thanks for sharing. You’re giving me ideas on my TBRs!

    Liked by 1 person


  19. Jacquie Biggar
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:27:24

    Wonderful reviews, Ritu! I’ve read a few of these, and now I have more to add to my poor TBR list, lol

    Liked by 1 person


  20. justmuddlingthroughlife
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:23:34

    Wow, how do you manage to read so many books? I’m impressed! You have a busy job, a family, you write and you read – superwoman!
    I’ve read – your book – Marriage unarranged – fantastic!
    Fatal Encryption and The Blade man- Debra Purdy Kong – great
    A mother’s mistake and the Woman upstairs by Ruth Heald – wow
    I’m currently trying to get into Home Truths by Susan Lewis..
    My writing productivity has suffered from all my reading, but my reading pile is still high and imajica is still not getting read! We need more hours in the day… x

    Liked by 1 person


  21. Darlene
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:22:55

    You read some awesome books this month.

    Liked by 1 person


  22. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:09:03

    Reblogged this on M J Mallon YA/Paranormal Author and commented:

    Ritu reads so much! Wonderful collection of books to discover. Thrilled by the 5 star review for Mr. Sagittarius and well done to Robbie Cheadle too! Awesome.

    Liked by 1 person


  23. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Feb 29, 2020 @ 17:05:20

    Oh you read so many wonderful books Ritu. Amazing! And thank you for the kind mention of Mr. Sagittarius among them. So thrilled with your 5 star review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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