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Books I read in June & July 2020

June was a bit of a slow month reading-wise. When the lock down restrictions eased slightly I found myself living real life and not so much book life, but I did miss getting lost in the pages so I picked up the pace in July and decided to combine the summer month reads into one post…

Dear Edward – Ann Napolitano

What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them are a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured veteran returning from Afghanistan, a business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. Halfway across the country, the plane crashes.
Edward is the sole survivor.
Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a part of himself has been left in the sky. But then he makes an unexpected discovery – one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do you find the strength to put one foot in front of the other? How do you learn to feel safe again? How do you find meaning in your life?
I read this title after a recommendation from The Mummy Book Club. I had real high hopes for it but I felt a real struggle to connect to any of the characters – so I found myself not desperate to finish it. I rated this one 3 stars.

page of a kindle book

Pretending – Holly Bourne
He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.
April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry.
If only April could be more like Gretel.
Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.  The problem is, Gretel isn’t real. And April is now claiming to be her.
As soon as April starts ‘being’ Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?
This was the first book I picked up in July and I was really looking forward to it as I enjoyed Holly Bourne’s debut adult novel ‘How’d you like me now?’ [You can read that review here]
This one just didn’t really wow me though. I felt it dragged out a lot longer than necessary and it was all a bit too obviously predictable. Which is a shame as I really wanted to love it. I gave this one three stars.

The Nanny – Gilly MacMillan
When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind.
Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew.
Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…
In this compulsively readable tale of secrets, lies, and deception, Gilly Macmillan explores the darkest impulses and desires of the human heart. Diabolically clever, The Nanny reminds us that sometimes the truth hurts so much you’d rather hear the lie.
This was my first Gilly Macmillan book and I stumbled across it in the 99p Kindle suggestions, and for under £1 it’s always worth a punt isn’t it! I was looking forward to getting invested in a nitty thriller but I felt this lacked it a little, it didn’t really go anywhere or leave me wondering ‘what if’ I sort of guessed the storyline from the outset and instead just read to the end to see if  my suspicions would be confirmed. Which they were! I gave this one 3 stars.

the nanny
the ex factor

The Ex Factor – Eva Woods
Is it possible to freecycle love?
Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.
So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Why not recycle people you’ve dated and share them with your friends? That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.
What could possibly go wrong?
Through bad dates and good, the four friends are starting to realise that dating your friend’s exes – and falling for them – can come with some serious pitfalls.
This one was an easy read, but again – I didn’t feel desperate to stay up late reading or eager to see where it was going to go. It was actually a bit far-fetched and ridiculous. And I love trash TV…so that says a lot! Another three star rating for the penultimate book of July.

Don’t you forget about me – Mhairi McFarlane
If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.
Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.
Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…
I saw this after seeing a recommendation on a book account on Instagram, having never read a Mhairi MacFarlane book I wasn’t sure what to expect. So my final July book was easy reading but I felt the pages could have given a bit more; it was just a bit ‘So?’. Another three star rating.


So there we have it, my July books all with a three star rating. Nothing exciting to shout about, nothing terrible to report.

What have you enjoyed reading this month?