August 2020 Books #AmReading

Aaah, August… my month of rest(ish) as I am off school, and alongside my writing, I am hoping to make another dent in that TBR pile of mine, which shrinks every month, yet grows at the same time!

And I managed eighteen in total… not bad, among all the writing and house clear out.

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie  Valerie

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Took me a little while to get into the flow of this book, but I felt I should read it, seeing as it had been on my Kindle for a while and because I had an arc of the sequel to read too.
The story of Holly, mum to one and housewife to Jack. They lived in aa pretty normal place, living a normal life until Jack’s job forced a move into the village of Primm.
As I was introduced to the place, the residents of the village, it had a true Stepford Wives vibe with the Queen Bee, Mary-Margaret St. John, courting over everything that happened, especially the famed PTA for the local school.
Holly finds it hard to settle in, and even harder to let her daughter Ella go, as she starts kindergarten.
Especially as she has been roped in to help with numerous events with the PTA by the rather domineering Mary-Margaret.
Some interesting twists, and a large topiary peacock (peahen) named Plume feature in this middle of the road tale of an angsty mum, settling into unfamiliar grounds, while solving little problems as she goes.

The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks (Village of Primm #2)

The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks by Julie Valerie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Receiving this as an ARC pushed me to read the first in the Village of Primm series, which I already had on my Kindle.
Where I liked book one, this one, I liked even more, as we got to know more about the quirky characters now a full-time part of Holly Banks’ life since she moved to the Village of Primm with her family.
Holly’s wayward dog, Struggle is the star of this one, unearthing local treasures in her digging frenzies when she gets out of the back yard, and this causes consternation for some, and huge excitement for others.
There is still this Stepford Wives quality to the women who live there, but we get to delve deeper into their characters.
An enjoyable read.
Many thanks to NetGalley. and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 24th November, 2020

One Winter's Night (Kelsey Anderson, #2)

Review to come in an exclusive post with author Kiley Dunbar!

Releasing 16th September, 2020

Strictly Come Dating by Kathryn Freeman

Strictly Come Dating by Kathryn Freeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’re a fan of the spangly ballroom dancing fiesta that is Strictly Come Dancing, (or if you’re not, but still love a bit of romance) then you are going to love this!
Thirty-seven-year-old Maggie, single mum, doctor, and Strictly superfan enjoys weekly gatherings with her best friends, twins, Sarah and Alice, andher nanny, Hannah, to watch all the latest episodes of Strictly Come Dancing. Even their kids have caught the bug.
As they settle down for a night of pizza and dance, a new face shows himself, in the name of Seb, the twin’s younger, wayward brother.
Hearts are set aflutter, but who is this twenty-seven-year-old Aussie surf hunk destined to fall for? Hannah, the pretty nanny, or Maggie, the middle-aged mum?
Sprinkled with humour, dance, and annoying ex-husbands, Strictly Come Dating is a fun, easy read.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins, and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Secrets in the Snow by Emma Heatherington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Roisin has had a rough ride in life, bouncing from foster carer to foster carer, before entering o=innto an abusive marriage.
Through a welcome tragedy, she finds herself widowed and wants to make a fresh start for her and her son, Ben.
A pin in a map lands her in a tiny village called Ballybray in Ireland, and it couldn’t be more different from her upbringing in the city of Dublin.
Once there, she finds that she has an interfering neighbour, Mabel Murphy, an elderly widow, with a New York twang, who refuses to believe that this young woman would prefer to be alone.
What develops between them, is a friendship stronger than most, more akin to family.
Life is idyllic, almost, until Mabel gets ill and passes away.
But this meddling neighbour isn’t finished with her work to make sure Roisin lives her life to the fullest.
Somehow, from beyond the grave, she’s arranged for some messages, specifically for Roisin, and Aidan, Mabel’s nephew, who has been in the US for the last fourteen years, and only comes back to Ballybray to attend the funeral and sell off her property.
What follows, in the story, is the impact of the messages that Mabel sends, seasonally, for these two lost souls, over the course of a year, and how the words of a soul long gone, can still have a positive effect on the lives of those left behind.
I truly enjoyed this book. Wonderful characters. Everyone needs a Mabel Murphy in their lives.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 15th October, 2020

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine 2 by William A.E. Ford

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine 2 by William A.E. Ford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful addition to the Timothy Mean series of books.
Timothy goes on several adventures in his time machine, visiting Ancient Egypt and Rome, to name a few destinations. He finds himself in several pickles, just about escaping with his time machine.
Until faced with the aliens in space.
This is when the power of siblings comes into play.
Beautiful illustrations and a lovely rhyming story make for another book, I’d happily read to my class in school.

Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up by Alexandra Potter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fun recount of a year in the life of Nell, a forty-something woman who feels like nothing in her life is how she/d imagined it would be, as she reaches her forties.
No man, no job, no home, no children… friends soaring in their own lives. Even her younger brother is getting ahead of her.
Through the year, she begins documenting her thoughts in a little known podcast, meets an old mate who gives her a simple job, that leads to her meeting an octogenarian new BFF and finds a room to rent in a flat, with a rather pernickety landlord.
The year has its ups and downs, but the biggest thing is there is discovery and not just the discovery that her podcast ends up a hit!
A fun-filled, relatable read for all those who think their lives are going nowhere, and need a reminder that all will be well
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Releasing 31st December, 2020

Collaboration for Authors by Daniel Willcocks

Collaboration for Authors: A complete guide to collaborating, finding a partner, and accelerating your author career. by Daniel Willcocks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Are you a writer, toying with the idea of collaborating with another author?
Do you even know what collaboration is?

I must admit, the first thing that came to mind for me was the co-authored books that I’ve seen, but in this book Dan Willcocks breaks collaboration down into fantastically entertaining bite-size chunks, from the start, explaining the different types of collaboration, to how to approach another writer about forming a partnership of sorts.

Then he goes further into the nitty-gritty of working with another creator.

There’s pretty much everything any self-respecting author needs, to educate themselves on the art of a successful collaboration.

I especially enjoyed the case studies interspersed within the book, giving us a smorgasbord of tidbits and nuggets of advice from established collaborators in various types of partnerships.

Well worth the investment, if you are thinking of collaboration with another author.

Adult Virgins Anonymous

Adult Virgins Anonymous by Amber Crewe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve got to be honest. The title totally drew me in.
A group for adult virgins? Bring it on!
A short segment at the beginning introduces two characters who don’t know each other, at uni, in 2011. Kate and Freddie, are both plucking up the courage to approach people they like.
Fast forward to now, and those same characters have never quite managed to pluck up that courage, and now find themselves, almost ten years later, in the same place, romantically, as they were then.
A chance sighting of a card in a pub, advertising a group for Adult Virgins, leads them both back to their old university, where the meetings are held, and the story unfolds.
Low confidence, OCD, overbearing families, friends who really aren’t, interspersed with new opportunities, new friends, and possible new love.
A cut story, which you know is going to have a HEA.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Staughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 21st January, 2021

The Flip Side

The Flip Side by James Bailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine the heartbreak. You’ve planned for what feels like forever, and finally got the girl of your dreams in the place of her dreams, with a ring waiting in your pocket, the privacy of an empty pod on the London Eye, and it’s New Year’s Eve to boot.
Then she says no.
This is precisely what happens to our hero, Josh.
He finds himself jobless, homeless and girlfriendless to boot.
After moving home to his parents, a 27-year-old failure, he decides the flip of a coin will be the best way to make all the choices about his life for a year. After all, making them on his own hasn’t worked out that well.
Will it help him find love? A job? A new home?
What follows is a gigglesome account of what happens when a small disc of metal dictates what you do next.
I enjoyed the story, though possibly a little unrealistic, but it made for an easy read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 26th November, 2020

Before I Saw You

Before I Saw You: The delightful and emotional love-story of 2021 by Emily Houghton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading the blurb for this book truly enticed me to read the story of two people who find themselves side by side in a hospital recovery ward, building a friendship, a relationship, almost, without ever seeing each other.
Alfie is the life of the ward, keeping the spirits of his two longterm roommates up, developing bonds with everyone he encounters, and is coming to terms with his own tragedy, and being a recent addition to the world of the amputee.
Then, one day the spare bed next to him is filled, but the curtains are drawn. The secret roommate intrigues them all.
Alice is a successful career woman, but her world comes tumbling down after a freak accident at her work leaves her injured beyond recognition. She finds herself in a dark place, shutting herself away from the world, refusing to see anyone she knows, and even baulking at the idea of the health professionals coming in to check on her.
What follows is a story filled with ups and downs, as Alfie tries his hardest to break down the barriers between this invisible woman and the rest of the world.
I loved Alfie’s relationship with his fellow patients. He is such a positive character, but with shadows that loom over him.
After reading what happened to Alice, it made me wonder how I would feel, in her situation. Would I end up wanting to become a recluse?
Many deep issues explored in a captivating read.
Many thanks to Netgalley, Random House Uk and Transworld Publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Releasing 4th February, 2021

The Two Lives of Louis & Louise

The Two Lives of Louis & Louise by Julie Cohen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An intriguing concept of a book, where we follow the life of the same person, but explore the differences within their lives, had they been born male or female.
Louis and Louise live the same life, but the way they are treated, and the opportunities they are afforded, show the difference gender can make in life.
There are some tough themes explored within this book, and it made for an interesting read.

Trust No Aunty

Trust No Aunty by Maria Qamar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely loved this! I spent most of the time I was reading, nodding and imagining the different aunties that I know, and also, as a mid 40’s woman, myself, trying to work out if I was one yet, or not!

Coconut Unlimited

Coconut Unlimited by Nikesh Shukla
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was a real moment of reminiscence for me, taking me back to my youth, and remembering those young Indian lads who thought they were ‘bad’ because they liked rap and hip hop!
Nikesh Shukla’s debut novel was a funny insight into the mind of a 14-year-old Gujju boy, Amit, brought up in Harrow.
A boy sent to private school by parents who scrimped and saved to send him there, with great aspirations for their only boy, whose own hopes and dreams were so different.
Amit never really feels like he fits in, anywhere. He’s singled out by pupils and staff in school as one of a handful of Indians, and out of school, he’s constantly batting off comments from other family and friends, about him thinking he’s too good for them because of going to Private school.
He discovers Hip Hop, and decides that he’s going to embrace the Rap and Hip Hop culture with his two friends, and they form a Hip Hop band, Coconut Unlimited, with varying degrees of success…
A fun read.

The Right Swipe (Modern Love, #1)

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first delve into the world of Alisha Rai’s words, and the fact that I have another of her books already lined up to read, next shows that I was not disappointed with what I read, here.

Rhiannon is a badass corporate woman with an uber-successful dating app company under her belt.
But, situations from the past have tainted her view of men, relationships and love.
Still, hookups are indulged in rarely, and her last one affected her in a way she never thought.
Imagine then coming face to face with that same hookup in a professional setting, and watching as your life, your beliefs, your thoughts end up being turned upside down.

I loved this story, which was both light-hearted, and deep, at the same time. Focussing on issues that are so current, including the difficulties of being a minority in a place where people don’t expect you to be, and the #MeToo movement, it affected me more emotionally than I would have expected.

Rhi’s hero, Samson Lima, retired sports star, is a pleasure to read about. What a gentle giant of a gentleman!

A good read.

Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love, #2)

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I quickly devoured this, the second book inn the Modern Love series by Alisha Rai , invested in the characters from the first book, The Right Swipe.
Imagine going about your life, and after a chance conversation in a coffee shop, finding yourself embroiled in the midst of a Tweet gone viral?
Some would love it, but not a person who has consciously tried to keep herself out of the limelight for the last few years.
The story of Katrina, a young, rich widow, and her own personal traumas, compared to those of Jas, Singh, her bodyguard, were pretty addictive to read. I finished it in one sitting!
Loved the cultural references, and I learned stuff about South Asians and how they settled in The States, as well!
Great read!

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, a couple of years back, I was keen to read another of her books. The fact that Shergill was in the title was a hook for me, as we know people with that surname. I know that means nothing, but it was just another familiarity that connected me.
Being a writer in a similar genre was another reason I wanted to read.
Three sisters, all very different, are forced back together to take part in a pilgrimage, back in the Motherland, India, planned by their mother on her deathbed.
Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina all have their personal struggles, and none want to admit them to their own sisters.
This trip shows their internal struggles, as well as a building up of relationships, broken down by years of misunderstandings and secrecy.
I know that India Jaswal described. I felt the emotions of the sisters, being a British Indian, going back ‘home’ yet not quite fitting in.
All in all, a great read that I read in two sittings.

My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I began this book with a whole load of expectations, and thankfully they were met.
The story follows two sisters, Ayoola, who ha a tendency to kill her boyfriends, and Korede, the older one who gets summoned to clean up the mess.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, the story is a dark, comic novel, laying emphasis on these two sisters’ relationship, essentially.
A very quick, fun read.

Anothe eclectic selection of reads, there. I’ve finished all my arcs for now, and am attempting to read the books by the side of my bed, before I have to pack them, for this move, if we ever get to that stage!

Which one tickled your fancy? And tell me, what are you reading now?

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. H.R Phoenix, Author
    Sep 02, 2020 @ 08:43:44

    Hey Ritu, I sent you an email, if you could kindly check it out 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  2. Yiena
    Sep 01, 2020 @ 21:16:37

    Really interesting titles! Thank you for sharing~🥰

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  3. Hannah Gandhi
    Aug 31, 2020 @ 20:41:47

    Wow, that’s a lovely collection of books and so good to see that you’re spending your holiday doing some valuable reading 💖💫

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  4. masgautsen
    Aug 31, 2020 @ 18:54:19

    18 sounds like a good number and the books look like a good collection.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  5. harishharplani02
    Aug 31, 2020 @ 18:12:02

    आप लिखो दुनिया पढे
    लिखे कमेंट उन पर यहां
    गलत तो कोई लिखे नही
    सब मस्त लिखेगे सब यहां।।

    लिखो कहानी होली की
    था प्रह्लाद एक यहां
    भारत जन्म स्थल था उसका
    बाप अहंकारी था वहाँ।।

    थी शक्ति वो जाग्रत थी उसकी
    कहते आत्म बल उसे यहां
    धरा उतारा श्री हरि को
    अवतार नया था लिया वहां।।

    चिर फाडॉ रखा जांघो पर
    नखूनों से था फाड़ा उसे
    नाम रखा था नरसिम्हा
    अवतार श्रीहरि के कहे उन्हें।।

    लिखते रो आप मस्त लिखो
    लिखो कहानिया सदा यहां
    राह दिखलाएगी मानव को
    नेक राह कहानिया दिखाए यहां।।

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  6. OIKOS™-Editorial
    Aug 31, 2020 @ 17:49:15

    Thank you for a great list. Now its clear. One of the next books needs to have the title “Ritu – Born to read!”.Lol Enjoy your weekend, Sis.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  7. H.R Phoenix, Author
    Aug 31, 2020 @ 17:32:50

    Wow, nice collection of books Ritu, you’ve done really well! 👍
    I just finished A Little Princess and I’m reading A Murder most unladylike and Girl, Missing.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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