What I’ve Read This Month #8: August

Book reviews September
Book reviews September
Some of these books feel like a long time ago now! I read half of them when I was on holiday, so some of them are technically more than a month ago, because I did my last book post before I went away. But anyway, that’s why there are more than usual this month – I had plenty of time to read during all the travelling and whatnot.
And in real life news, the cystitis I mentioned the other day continued right the way through the week, despite the fact I was taking antibiotics. So I went back to the Doctors, now also suffering with stomach cramps and back pain, only to find out I had a kidney infection too, and possible kidney stones 🙁 So I’m on some stronger antibiotics now and on the way to recovery. The pain’s been a bit on and off, which is annoying because I think it’s gone, then end up having it come back a few hours later.
We went home yesterday for the day and night because my parents hosted a spur of the moment barbeque to which they invited a load of family members and friends. I spent the afternoon preparing food with my mum, from onions for the sausage buns to potato salads and chopping up tens of tomatoes into tiny pieces for bruschetta. Everyone came over later on, and I spent the evening chasing my nearly 3 year old cousin Mollie and holding her baby sister, Eva, now 9 weeks old. There was loads of food, but I seemed to miss out on a lot of it! And it was a lot of fun to see lots of friends, neighbours and family.
And now, onto the books!

Genus by Jonathan Trigell – 5/10 – This is another one of those dystopian world novels that I seem to like at the moment, but unfortunately this one was a little bit disappointing. While the premise is good, a near future in Britain with the ‘Improved’ and ‘Unimproved’, who were genetically modified towards ‘perfection’ before birth depending on their parents’ wealth, the storyline itself didn’t grip me. There were some interesting characters, such as Holman, the ‘deformed dwarf’ (as he describes himself) living in the Kross (Kings Cross, now the home of the Unimproved), son of a famous model. But there seemed to me to be little flow in the plot.

I Miss Mummy by Cathy Glass – 8.5/10 – Cathy Glass, who I’ve talked about before, is one of my favourite authors, but it’s always difficult to talk about her books and say I’ve enjoyed them because the stories she tells can be horrible. Cathy is a foster carer, and she writes the stories of children she has fostered over the years. This one follows Alice, a four year old girl, who comes to Cathy after being snatched by her dependent mother. Despite this, Alice desperately misses her mother and grandparents, who spent a lot of time caring for her. The book follows the struggles Cathy faces when looking after Alice, trying to figure out why she supposedly can’t be returned to, or even visit, the family she loves so much. The plan is to return her to her father, who she barely knows and has had little contact with. As new evidence emerges, the struggle becomes more difficult. It really is a heartwarming story and one I really enjoyed reading.

A Baby’s Cry by Cathy Glass – 8/10 – Okay, yes, I read three Cathy Glass books while on holiday! Cathy is asked to foster a newborn baby, before the baby is even born. While she has to come to terms with remembering how to care for a baby, she is given very little information about his background, aside from the fact that the mother left a suitcase of clothes with a note at the hospital, asking her to dress him in them. It soon comes to light that Harrison’s heritage needs to be kept secret for some reason, and very few people know he even exists. Another amazing story, and that’s all I can really say.

The Good Girl by Sinclair Macleod – 7.5/10 – This is the sequel to The Reluctant Detective that I read last month. Craig continues to act detective when a young migrant woman goes missing from the farm at which she works. A body is discovered, but is it or is it not her? The book eventually enters the darker world of agencies as he struggles to find out what’s really going. Another great mystery read.

Please Don’t Take My Baby by Cathy Glass – 7.5/10 – This time, Cathy receives a call to take in a pregnant teenager, just for a ‘little while’. She ends up having to stay longer and giving birth to her baby while still under Cathy’s care, meaning that Cathy has to deal with teaching the seemingly indifferent teenager to look after her own baby and stopping her from indulging in normal teenage activities. There are some close calls and it seems touch and go at points whether she can keep her baby, as she desperately wants to. Again, a good read but not my favourite Cathy Glass book.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – 9/10 – I didn’t want to like this book because of its popularity, but, I’m sorry, I did. I loved it. The story starts on Amy and Nick’s 5th Wedding Anniversary, and Amy is missing, signs of a struggle evident in their house. Nick narrates the present to us in alternating chapters with Amy’s diary that has been left behind that details their life together. The evidence seems to be piling up against Nick, and the town and media have turned against him, but is he really to blame? Every year Amy has left a treasure hunt for Nick to follow of clues with details from their relationship, and this year is no different. As Nick follows it, the reader begins to realise there are deeper clues hidden within it, until all is revealed half way through. And I can’t tell you any more, you need to read it yourself. This book takes you on twists and turns, you never know who you can trust. But it holds surprises right up until the end. I’ve read reviews saying there were loose ends left, but I thought that everything tied together well, and I really really enjoyed it.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – 8.5/10 – I’d had this book on my Amazon wishlist for a while, and needed something to add up my basket to £20, so I decided it was finally time to read this. It turned up as a hardback, which I was not expecting at all, but was a lovely surprise. The cover is beautiful in red, and the page edges are black, and it has a ribbon placeholder. But don’t just judge a book on its cover (okay, I’m guilty sometimes!). The content of the book was just as beautiful as the cover though. Le Cirque des Reves only opens at night; everything is decorated in black and white. And two ‘magicians’ are battling one another with the circus as their stage in a challenge they are bound to by their tutors, although the details of this are as unknown to them as they are to the reader. But the inevitable happens – they discover one another’s identities and fall in love. The descriptions of the circus are breathtakingly beautiful, with ideas you can barely even imagine. I so badly wanted to visit the circus and see the sights that are described to the reader in the second person every so often.

Ink by Amanda Sun – 7/10 – I read this book alongside the Night Circus because this was on my Kindle for reading at work on lunch breaks, while the Night Circus was too heavy to carry around! It took me a while to get into it because it felt too Young Adulty, despite the fact that I secretly sort of like those books. Once I got into it though, I did enjoy it much more. Katie, an American teen, has moved to Japan after the death of her mother to live with her aunt. She is struggling to get along with life in Japan, but slowly is making her way. Until she meets Tomohiro, whose beautiful ink paintings seem to move before her eyes. I really enjoyed reading about life in Japan; I love books set in Japan for some reason – Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my favourite books of all time, despite being set decades ago. And I wanted to know what happened in the story too, but it still had that YA feel to it that was difficult to shake off.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – 7.5/10 – Once I’d read Gone Girl (above), I saw that Gillian Flynn had previously written two other books, so I decided to read those too. Dark Places is her second book (Gone Girl is the third – reading them backwards!). Libby is the sole survivor of the gruesome murder of her family: her mother and two sisters, aside from her brother who is in prison, accused of the murders, and the father who wasn’t around. The book opens with Libby, more than 15 years after the murders have taken place, announcing to the readers what a horrible person she is, and finding out that she is running out of money, the money that she has lived on all her life, provided by caring people who worry about the little girl left alone. She discovers the ‘Kill Club’, a group of people obsessed with crimes, particularly murders, and finding out what really happened. They believe her brother didn’t really do it, despite the fact that Libby testified that she had seen him do so, but they will pay her to talk to the people involved. Did the brother really do it? What were the symbols inscribed on the wall in blood, and why? It’s a really good read, but not quite up to the standard of Gone Girl. I definitely really enjoyed it though, and wanted to reach the end to find out what really happened.



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