July 2022 Books #AmReading

July has finished, and it has brought with it a good few reads, too! The end of term means that I have had a bit of craziness about life, so let’s see how I do with my reading, and will that Arc list ever lessen?

I think I ended up with about 11 arcs read, and most are stonkers! And a little dent was made in the TBR list, too! 15 books in all!

Love & Other Dramas by Ronali Collings
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been hearing things about this book and knowing it was about someone from an ethnic background with similarities to mine, I was excited to read it.
Love & Other Dramas is a story centred around three women, who have lost their own identities, as they try to conform to the expectations of their societies.
Helen, an older Sri Lankan widow, living in Ealing, her daughter, Tania, a 40-something divorcee, and mother of two adult children, stuck in a rut, and in danger of falling back into familiar, thought unsuitable arms, and Priya, Tania’s Gujarati best friend, a high-flying career woman, with a divorce under her belt, and no sign of settling down, much to the chagrin of her family.
All three of these women are living half-lives as they battle with their inner selves, unable to be who they really want to be because their cultures expect something so very different.
Helen is a woman who wants to live a little, but her Catholic upbringing, and the views of her peers, mean that she needs to be seen as the grieving widow by them all, despite many reasons why she should be feeling free, now.
Tania has lost all confidence in herself, after changing everything to suit the wants and needs of her husband, who thanked her by cheating.
Priya knows she is the disappointment in her family, but can’t help herself, as she flits from one one-night stand to another, until someone unattainable in her eyes, comes along.
Goodness. I read this book so fast and was able to relate so hard to a lot of the situations, in terms of understanding the difficulties all three women faced, as they finally became open to finding their true selves, and not shying away in front of the rest of the world.
It was a truly wonderful read, and I am glad that Ronali Collings was able to find the time to finally write her first book, and represent the voices of brown women who are only just really finding books about people like them, now, in the last few years, that are day to day stories, not stereotypical cameos in other books.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Emblaa Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 19th July, 2022

Lioness of Punjab by Anita Jari Kharbanda​
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was excited at the thought of reading about a strong, Sikh woman character, who features as a part of our holy teachings.
This is a very simply told story about Mai Bhago, a female warrior who ended up fighting with Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
I wanted to feel educated but didn’t really end up with that feeling.
Not so much YA but Middle grade in its writing, and some things grated me as a Punjabi Sikh. Spellings of Punjabi words not used correctly, like kuri instead of kuriyaan. Kuri means girl, singular, and yet was used throughout to mean the plural. And the common meditative word, Waheguru, spelt Vahiguru. I know that is minor, but it felt that maybe a sensitivity reader or three were needed, to ensure the contexts and representation were more accurate.
It may be a good book for non-Sikh readers who won’t have much prior knowledge of our religion and its teachings, but it may irk other Sikh readers.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Yali Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 17th September, 2022

This Year’s For Me and You: Twelve new year’s resolutions. One chance to fall in love? by Emily Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A beautifully poignant read.
Celeste is grieving the unexpected death of her best friend, Hannah. She is stuck on some sort of hamster wheel, unable to get off, and truly process her loss, until she decides to take a step she’s been dreading.
New Year’s Eve was always their night. Regardless of who was in their life, this was a time they has spent together for many, many years, and the first one without her is looming.
Attending a New Year’s Eve party at Hannah’s boyfriend, Vik’s, place she is surrounded by people she loves. People who loved Hannah, too, and she is presented with a list. Hannah’s resolutions for the year that she never got to really start, let alone complete.
The story follows Celeste as she ventures into her zone of discomfort while attempting to complete Hannah’s list, with the help of several key people along her way.
We see grief, depression, change, healing, and love, in many forms, within the pages of this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed every page. All the characters, not just Celeste, had their own battles to win and fears to overcome, each interconnected with another in some way or another. It just goes to show, that we might the catalyst for our own changes, but we should never be without our support networks.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 27th October, 2022

Time After Time by Louise Pentland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so glad that I decided to request this book, as It was a joy to read!
Tabitha’s life is a bit stuck. It’s not bad by any means. She has a partner, albeit a bit of an old-fashioned one, a roof over her head and a job she loves.
Then the boat of her life begins to rock, as her father makes a huge announcement one Sunday lunch, before leaving.
It continues further as she watches her mother slowly come out of the shell she has been living in for the last 20-something years.
Then, she finds a ring at work, which seems to do some very strange things.
I won’t go into it further, because you really should read the book to know what that ring does!
I loved Tabitha. She is so unsure of herself, even while becoming a success in her own right.
Her adventures with the ring definitely hooked me, and though I worked out what was happening around 50% of the way into the book, well, around 80% of what was happening, it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the story, and the reveal at the end was a good un!
Tabitha is surrounded by great secondary characters, in the form of her parents, Vivi her best friend, and Bea, her new friend.
Loved it all round.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion

Published July 21st, 2022

The Love Arrangement by Ruby Basu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love to read anything with an Indian connection to it, and I enjoyed Ruby Basu’s previous novel, so was excited to be given the chance to read this one, too!
Annika is in a good place in her life, however, expectations from her family and those around her are making her do things she isn’t entirely comfortable with.
With a doting father whose health is ailing, she decides that the best thing to do to stop him from worrying is to find someone to be in a fake relationship with, so her parents don’t have the worry about her ‘settling down’ on their minds.
What she wasn’t expecting was for the help to come from a childhood nemesis.
Rav Gohil is the perfect child, growing up. Getting all the grades, the school, and university places, the ideal, well-paying job: well, he is the person all the Indian families compare their own children to.
A chance meeting at a singles event sets cogs turning that would never have even touched, before, and Annika and Rav embark upon a mutually beneficial fake romance, with a not-so-fake ending.

I must say, I did want to shake Annika a few times though when Rav was giving off such obvious signals with things he said and did. They could have been settled and happy even faster, but then again that would have meant the story finished too soon!
This was a lovely, easy-to-read romance. Good clean fun with a liberal sprinkle of different Indian cultures within.

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for an ARC in exchange for an honest review,

Releasing August 17th, 2022

Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dawn O’Porter, what a read!
Mia, our main character, seems to have everything she requires, on the face of it. Married, with her living situation just right for her, separate bedrooms, but enough intimacy between husband and wife, a step-son that seems to be quite happy with her, a job where she appears to be killing it, and her cat Pigeon, who she loves to bits.
But dig a bit deeper and, like everyone, there is a story, there.
For some reason, Mia starts going to a support group to help with the bereavement of pets, despite Pigeon being in rude health. Somehow, she feels at home there, and able to be herself more.
At home, she still has to deal with the ex-wife coming and going as she pleases, on the pretext of seeing her son, but she never leaves without some comment to hurt Mia, about Pigeon.
Work is organised, but not always fun, as Mia tries to maintain her image of authority, with a boss who seems away with the wealthy fairies, and employees who seem to do as they please, not what Mia expects.
Even with her family, it is hard. She only has her sister, and though there is no bad blood between them, there is a void.
The only constant is Pigeon, her beloved cat.
Over the course of the story, we learn a lot about Mia and her past which contribute to her being the way she is. Her label of Cat Lady, even though she is married, with a good job, is hung relentlessly onto her. But is that a bad thing?
I loved the character arc for Mia as she learns a lot about herself through the story, as do we, and the reasons behind her sometimes peculiar behaviours become more apparent.
It is funny in places but also hits an emotional note, too. A great read.
I am a cat lover, with my own Punjabi Cat who we would not be without, and I proudly sit here, writing this review in my Kaftan!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins Fiction for an Arc in exchange for an honest review.

27th October, 2022

Snowed In for Christmas: A Novel by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As I started this new Christmas book by Sarah Morgan, I knew I would be consumed by the story, as I am with all the others I have read. And I was. Finished in a day. A true Christmas in July moment for me!
Lucy is looking to work over Christmas, with too much pain associated with the festive time. Her dear grandmother is no longer alive to share this time with her, so being able to help her boss, Archie, with some struggles at work seems to be the best possible plan, to keep her busy, and not constantly reminded of Christmases past.
So off she sets, to Scotland to shoot some photos with influencers and reindeer, and to drop off a package with what she hopes will be the key to saving the company she works for, to Ross Miller; a client they have high hopes of signing, in order to keep afloat.
Thing is, nothing is ever that simple, as she manages to deliver her parcel, but ends up stranded at Miller Lodge, in a snow storm, with a huge family that is not her own, and a fractured ankle!
The first thing I have to say is that I was initially pulled into thinking we were going to be reading about Lucy’s story, but of course, that is not Sarah Morgan’s way!
I loved how we were introduced to the Miller family, and how each and every character, Lucy included, had a huge part to play in the way the story concludes.
A wonderful, all-consuming story and I have to say reading about the snow cooled me a little, in the heat we are experiencing, right now!
Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Releasing 27th October, 2022

False Play At The Christmas Party: A Jack Sullivan mystery by Carmen Radtke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short introductory novella where we meet Jack Sullivan as he opens a night club with a fundraiser for the veterans in Adelaide.
It’s not long before he’s solving small crime mysteries in his club, with card sharps trying their hand at robbing his customers.

Rocked by Linda G. Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rocked is the second book in the Once a Week at Woody’s series and it’s a great easy-to-read, funny rom-com of a story.
I needed a light-hearted read and this was perfect.
Monica loves her best friend, Amanda, to bits, and will do pretty much anything to help her. So when she is enlisted to convince Amanda’s brother, Seth, to stop working at Woody’s, as, shock, horror! a stripper, she begrudgingly agrees.
Thing is, you can never guess what your reaction to situations will be, and suddenly her best friend’s annoying brother ends up stirring feelings up that are wholly inappropriate for the situation.
And the twist about Seth’s dad towards the end made it even funnier!

Just for December by Laura Jane Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laura Jane Williams and her books are fast becoming must-reads for me. I mean, I have read every one, and as soon as I hear about the possibility of another one, I go and check the pre-order details!
I was delighted to be approved for an ARAC of Just for December and I devoured it in more or less a day. To be honest, it would have been quicker aside from a function I HAD to attend!
So, where were we?
We have Evie Bird, an author who feels devoid of emotion for much of her life, with an ill mother in a care home, a shopping addiction and a deadline looming.
And she gets summoned to Germany, where one of her books is being made into a film. Contractual rights and clauses mean that, despite her wanting to stay holed up in her apartment with just her dog for company, her laptop, and the odd visit from Magda, her best friend, she has to spend three weeks with insufferable movie stars on a film set.
Then she meets the hero of the film, mega-famous Duke Carlisle, and their chemistry is explosive, from the off! As in they should not be near one another!
Appearances can be deceiving, and this is definitely a theme that is explored in the story. both our MCs have preconceived ideas about each other, and both are so wrong.
I loved the fauxmance that they had to go through, to curb the gossip already picking at the carcass of one media scandal involving members of the film’s cast and staff, and how, their relationship turns on its head.
Magda, Evie’s best friend is a fantastic character too, and definitely the kind of real-talking sidekick all women should have beside them!
Enemies to lovers in an idyllic Christmas setting. Perfect! I confess to succumbing to a festive hot chocolate despite the heat I am sitting in, to embrace the ambience of the book!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 24th November, 2022

Amazing Grace Adams: 2023’s fiercest debut – meet Grace Adams on the day she decides to push back by Fran Littlewood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an emotive read, especially for a woman hitting perimenopause!
Grace Adams’ life seems like it is unravelling, and though the story is set on one particular day, we revisit key moments of her past to piece together the times in her life which led her to the situation she has found herself in on that particular day.
She’s your average mid-40s woman, embarking upon the changes that occur midlife for us, except so much has happened to her along the way, it’s not smooth sailing at all.
Faced with a failing marriage, a wayward teenage daughter, and a huge personal loss, Grace is losing grip on reality as she fights to right the wrongs she feels she has instigated.
I felt myself get teary as I read, racing through the pages, needing to know what was happening and why.
It truly highlighted the lack of support many women face when dealing with grief and the monumental changes that life brings us as we age.
Honestly, Grace Adams, you are Amazing, thought you chose some interesting ways to show it!
Many thanks to NetGalley, and Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Releasing 19th January, 2022

The Weekend Before the Wedding by Tracy Bloom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have always enjoyed Tracy Bloom’s books, so was thrilled to be able to read this soon-to-be-released new book of hers.
Shelley is getting ready for her wedding. A wedding that happens around twenty years after that fated weekend, that was meant to be her Hen weekend, to mark the occasion of her going from singledom to wife.
The Weekend Before the Wedding is a story about several women, not just Shelley, the main focus, obviously, but also about her mother and aunt, her cousin Rosalind and daughter, and Shelley’s best friend.
They all end up on this hen weekend. Not quite the guest list Shelley was hoping for, but the antics and fallouts over those few days impact more than just Shelley’s impending nuptials.
A good read, with some giggles and also some touching moments.
Many thanks to NetGalley and, Harper Collins UK, Harper Collins Fiction for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 29th July, 2022

Someone’s Watching Me by Zoe Rosi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another one of those twisty turny psychological thrillers that has you looking behind you, as you feel you are being watched too!
Becky has it all.
A good job, a wonderful partner, Alex, and a roof over her head.
Perfect on paper.
But with the arrival of a new neighbour, Max, things start to disintigrate, from strange things happening at work, to clashes with her boyfriend, not to mention the fact that someone is definitely watching her.
You sit and read these books, and it’s inevitable, isn’t it, that you second guess at every page turn, convinced you have it figured out, and then something happens to throw you off the scent again.
I was so invested in the story that I did feel creeped out for a lot of the book.
I felt so sorry for Becky as events unfolded, and without wanting to give too much away, the guilt she carried for so long was truly unfounded for her age when awful things happened.
Alex, her partner? By the end of the story, I would have liked to give him a resounding slap for his ignorance and Max, the neighbour. He truly creeped me out.
Whilst I would have maybe liked a little more before the closure at the end, issues were tied up neatly in a satisfying ending.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review,

Releasing 15th September, 2022

A Lake in Switzerland by Melinda Huber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A simple feel-good novella, introducing us to key characters, with a predictable but happy ending.
Two friends are offered a free holiday in Switzerland. One is recovering from a series of operations, the other a harried fiancee of a trainee doctor.
They end up in an idyllic hotel on a lake in Switzerland, and end up getting to know certain members of staff well, and inadvertently save the day, but not without heartbreaks, as well as some well-deserved romance, too.

Annie’s Story, Blessed With A Gift by Deborah A. Bowman Bowman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have had this on my kindle for a while now and decided to read about Annie’s story with little idea what I would be reading.
Annie’s story starts with a prologue that would intrigue most. Delving into the real experiences of the owner, we learn that she tried regression therapy and found herself in the body of a young girl named Annie way back around 400 years ago in Colonial Massachusetts.
The story that follows is fictional, however, it is based upon Annie, a babe who was born with difficulties, meaning she grew to be what others labelled as dwarfed, simple-minded and slow. Annie was a child with many difficulties, including no parents, so she was brought up by her grandmother, Agnes, a healer.
In time, it becomes evident that Annie has something extremely special, but not everyone can see it.
She has the power of a healer and the ear of the Goddess of Nature.
I did find the Gaelic a bit confusing to read at times, but it fits with the time the book was set and the people the story is about.
An educational story with such a sad ending.

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Aug 02, 2022 @ 08:05:19

    Thanks for sharing again the reviews on so many interesting books. I think i will keep you in mind by reading the one about the Sikh warrior woman. 😉 Somehow i have to increase my reading speed, or i will need an extra project management for scheduling my reading. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person


  2. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more
    Aug 02, 2022 @ 08:01:27


  3. Dan Antion
    Aug 01, 2022 @ 13:00:47

    Good to see you’re keeping busy on your break, Ritu. I read a lot, but my to-be-read pile is growing faster than my finished pile.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Linda G. Hill
    Jul 31, 2022 @ 22:41:17

    Thanks so much for your lovely review, Ritu! So glad you enjoyed it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Book Club Mom
    Jul 31, 2022 @ 16:52:51

    Some very good-sounding reads, Ritu – I haven’t read them but now I want to read Someone’s Watching Me and Love and Other Dramas. Thanks for sharing your reviews!

    Liked by 1 person


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