My month in books – August

What’s happened in August?

August has been a bit of an uneventful month really but I did receive this lovely tweet from Christine, author James Hannah’s wife:

IMG_1304This totally blew me away; my little blog mentioned in a real life paperback book! I’ll be off to buy a copy this weekend 🙂

If you’ve not read the book The A-Z Of You and Me, check out my review here, it’s absolutely worth the read.

Books read: 4

The Paying GuestsThe Truth about the Harry Quebert AffairThe Tea Planter's WifePlainsong

 

 

 

Books added to the TBR: 1

The Martian

Currently reading: The Martian by Andy Weir

Favourite book for August: The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker

What’s coming up in September?

  • Taking part in Sophie & Suze’s Netgalley challenge – Sept 1st – October 12th – sign up here
  • Waterstone’s Book Blogger Bonanza, Birmingham – September 12th

How was your August and what are you looking forward to in September?

Book Review: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

The Paying GuestsWhat’s it about?

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

My thoughts

This was our book club choice for July and not having read Waters before I didn’t know what to expect and following our book group discussion I’ve learned that she has a favoured theme that appears in this and other books too (will need to read others to confirm this!).

The Paying Guests is certainly a book of two halves; the first being incredibly slow, over-descriptive and repetitive and I really struggled with the pace meaning it took me a week to get through. However, following a significant event the pace increases and I raced through it in a couple of sittings.

At times I found Frances to be a forward thinker, ahead of her time in not allowing herself to be emotionally constrained by what’s expected of her but then contrastingly she allows herself to basically become her mother’s maid and does exactly what is expected from her. I also found her to be extremely manipulative and determined over Lilian in the first half of the book and I felt the tables were drastically yet subtly turned in the second.

There are some quite racy sex scenes which some readers may not like so there’s ya warning; these reviews describe the book perfectly:

“Pitch perfect…powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics , and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex”    Slate

“…diabloically clever…with one of the hottest sex scenes ever to be set in a scullery”    Los Angeles Times

Overall, an interesting read, loved all the historical courtroom drama and the posing of the moral dilemma which made me as a reader question what would I do and how far would I let the situation develop? Definitely recommend and looking forward to reading more from Sarah Waters.

Get the book Kindle | Paperback

Connect with the author Sarah Waters

 Website

WWW Wednesday (August 12th)

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading…

The Truth about the Harry Quebert AffairThe Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker

I had hoped to have finished this by now but the sheer enormity of the book has gotten the better of me.

It’s a good book which I’m enjoying very much even though I’m finding some parts a little repetitive. I’ll hopefully finish in the next day or two.

The blurb

August 30, 1975. The day of the disappearance. The day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence.

That summer, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that made him a household name. Quebert is the only suspect.

Marcus Goldman – Quebert’s most gifted protĂ©gĂ© – throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon merge into one. As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of ‘The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America’.

But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems.

I recently finished reading…

The Paying GuestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

This is certainly a book of two halves; the first being incredibly slow, over-descriptive and repetitive and I really struggled with the pace meaning it took me a week to get through. However, following a significant event the pace increases and I raced through it in a couple of sittings.

The blurb

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

What’s up next?

The Tea Planter's WifeThe Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies

No change to my plan for my next read….

This is due for release early September and I’m trying to keep on top of my Netgalley releases so I can post my review around the release date.

I was drawn to this one as it seems to feature a moral dilemma which I quite like in a book.

The blurb

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper steps off a steamer in Ceylon full of optimism, eager to join her new husband. But the man who greets her at the tea plantation is not the same one she fell in love with in London.

Distant and brooding, Laurence spends long days wrapped up in his work, leaving his young bride to explore the plantation alone. It’s a place filled with clues to the past – locked doors, a yellowed wedding dress in a dusty trunk, an overgrown grave hidden in the grounds, far too small for an adult…

Gwen soon falls pregnant and her husband is overjoyed, but she has little time to celebrate. In the delivery room the new mother is faced with a terrible choice, one she knows no one in her upper class set will understand – least of all Laurence. Forced to bury a secret at the heart of her marriage, Gwen is more isolated than ever. When the time comes, how will her husband ever understand what she has done?

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday (August 5th)

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading…

The Truth about the Harry Quebert AffairThe Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker

This book has started off with the an overnight sensation writer struggling with writer’s block whilst writing his second novel, totally not what I expected but it’s compulsive reading and I can’t wait to get back to it later.

The blurb

August 30, 1975. The day of the disappearance. The day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence.

That summer, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that made him a household name. Quebert is the only suspect.

Marcus Goldman – Quebert’s most gifted protĂ©gĂ© – throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon merge into one. As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of ‘The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America’.

But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems.

I recently finished reading…

The Paying GuestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Just finished this month’s book club read as we meet this evening and it was a book I enjoyed even though it wasn’t anything like I expected. The first half of the book was incredibly slow, however following a significant event I then raced through the rest.

The blurb

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

What’s up next?

The Tea Planter's WifeThe Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies

This is due for release early September and I’m trying to keep on top of my Netgalley releases so I can post my review around the release date.

I was drawn to this one as it seems to feature a moral dilemma which I quite like in a book.

The blurb

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper steps off a steamer in Ceylon full of optimism, eager to join her new husband. But the man who greets her at the tea plantation is not the same one she fell in love with in London.

Distant and brooding, Laurence spends long days wrapped up in his work, leaving his young bride to explore the plantation alone. It’s a place filled with clues to the past – locked doors, a yellowed wedding dress in a dusty trunk, an overgrown grave hidden in the grounds, far too small for an adult…

Gwen soon falls pregnant and her husband is overjoyed, but she has little time to celebrate. In the delivery room the new mother is faced with a terrible choice, one she knows no one in her upper class set will understand – least of all Laurence. Forced to bury a secret at the heart of her marriage, Gwen is more isolated than ever. When the time comes, how will her husband ever understand what she has done?

What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday (July 29th)

I’m back from my holiday to France and desperately trying to catch up with my blogging and reading 🙂

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading…

The Paying GuestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I haven’t got as far with this book as I’d hoped on my holiday. What with days out and family evenings I didn’t get as much reading time as I’d planned. However, I’m about 20% in and so far so good. Waters’ writing is very descriptive and the chapters are very long but I’m enjoying the story and although it was quite a slow start, things are just taking shape!

The blurb

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa — a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants — life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life — or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

I recently finished reading…

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Chosen from my TBR jar and book 3 for #PaperbackSummer I loved this book. This is the first book in ages that I didn’t want to put down and couldn’t wait to come back too. The story is being told through a series of letters which really worked; and with the main character Juliet being a writer and a book lover it’s a funny, sad and thoughtful book for any book lover and fan of historical fiction.

You might like this quote:

“I love seeing the bookshops and meeting the booksellers – booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up work in a bookshop for the wages, and no one in their right mind would want to own one – the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it – along with first goes at the new books.”

The blurb

It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

What’s up next?

IMG_0595My next choice will be from my TBR jar and will be book 4 for #Paperback Summer.

Looking forward to my next surprise read!

 

 

 

 

What are you all reading this week?