After hardly getting a chance to read at all in June, the past few weeks have seen me get through quite a few books to my ‘to be read’ pile. And with the holidays almost over up here in Scotland, I thought I would share with you what I’ve been reading this summer.
Fly Away Home – Jennifer Weiner
Sylvie Woodruff is married to senator Richard, and has spent most of her adult life being the perfect senator’s wife. When Richard makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Sylvie takes herself off to her family’s beach house in Connecticut to consider her future. The book also follows the stories of Sylvie and Richard’s daughters Diana (an ER doctor with her own family problems) and Lizzie (a recovering addict), and looks at their relationship as sisters and their relationship with their mother. I really enjoyed the way the story was told from the perspective of the different characters, and I thought the characters themselves were believable, particularly Sylvie who doesn’t really remember who she is apart from a politician’s wife. Chick lit with a twist, would recommend!
The Girl Under The Olive Tree – Leah Fleming
My mum gave me this book and I have to say it didn’t immediately jump off the shelf at me – historical fiction is not something I read very often. However, once I started reading I could not put it down. Set mostly in Crete during the Second World War, it tells the story of Penelope, a British woman who, against her family’s wishes, becomes a Red Cross nurse and remains in Greece under the occupation of the Nazis. She then returns to Crete 60 years later, and has to face her past and some of the secrets she thought she had left behind. It is clearly a very well researched book, with lots of historical detail, and very descriptive. It is such a compelling story, and you not only get a feel for the atrocities that went on in Greece during that time, but also the sense of friendship and kindness found among strangers. The only criticism I had was at the start I felt it was a bit jumpy between the past and the present day, but it didn’t really affect my enjoyment at all. Definitely a five star read!
House Rules – Jodi Picoult
I know Jodi Picoult is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoy her books. They always leave you with a lot to think about and House Rules is no different. Jacob Hunt is an 18yo boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. Although he has a higher than average IQ, he struggles to relate to human emotion, and if his daily routine is thrown off kilter he is prone to (sometimes violent) outbursts. When his social skills tutor goes missing and is then found dead, Jacob finds himself accused of her murder. The story is told from the perspective of various different characters, including Jacob, his mum Emma, brother Theo and Jacob’s lawyer, and it is interesting to see all these characters developing. A lot of research clearly went in to not just the character of Jacob as the person with AS, but also how it affects those closest to him. I have to say though, I was fairly sure I knew “whodunnit” very early on, although this didn’t spoil the story at all as I wanted to make sure I was right!
The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
I received this as part of a #BringBackPaper book swap run by Jocelyn over the The Reading Residence. I’d heard all about it and have seen the film trailer but had never bought myself a copy. For anyone who doesn’t know the storyline, it’s about terminally ill Hazel, whose life changes dramatically when she meets the gorgeous Augustus at a teenage cancer support group. I know, cheery stuff, right? I think the subject matter and the hype around it were what put me off actually going out and getting it for myself. It is a beautifully written book, of that there is no question, although some of the dialogue I found a bit unlikely for two 17yo kids. Having said that, they are not “normal” teenagers – Hazel has known she is going to die for quite some time, and Augustus lost a leg to cancer, so maybe they would speak in that way. Did I cry? Honestly? Not as much as I thought I would. There is lots of humour to break up the sadness/melancholy, and there are definitely some touching moments between the two main characters, but I wasn’t the blubbering wreck I thought I would be. Overall, I thought it was a good book, a 3 and a half out of 5, and I want to see the movie, but for me it didn’t quite live up to its hype. (*runs off and hides from all the John Green fans*)
The Honey Trap – Thea Wolff
This has been sitting on my shelf for ages, and I picked it up because I wanted something light hearted after House Rules and The Fault in Our Stars. Issy is a single mum making ends meet by working at The Honey Trap – an agency that tests men’s fidelity for suspicious wives and girlfriends. Her life starts getting complicated when her son finds a severed finger in their back garden, and then she breaks the golden rule of the agency by sleeping with one of the clients. I couldn’t get into this at all unfortunately – the story was very odd and I wasn’t keen on the writing style. Give it a miss!!
Would love to know what others have been reading over the summer. Any recommendations?!