August was a decent reading month for me. I managed to finish six books, plus an audiobook.
I’m usually not a great fan of audiobooks, but I recently decided to give it another go. The one I chose was not a fiction book, but rather a non-fiction book, and I enjoyed it more. I had initially given audiobooks a try with fiction a few months ago, and it wasn’t something I really had to experience again. The thing with audiobooks, the voice of the narrator also has a lot to do with it. But this time it was actually quite an enjoyable experience.
Back to the order of business, let me sum up the list of books I read in the month of August.
Summer Darlings by May Cobb
This is the perfect summer read: sexy, juicy, filled with some gossip, and just enough drama. The cover alone screams summer, and I’m glad I managed to squeeze it in before the seasons changed.
The story is about three childhood friends that reunite as adults once Jen moves back to town after her divorce. The other two, Kittie and Cynthia, remained in the same town they grew up in, and along with their husbands, they lead a pretty comfortable life.
Jen is struggling financially but is trying to get her life back on track. But when Will Harding moves to town, his mysterious ways intrigue every single one of the women. They all become entangled in a web of lies trying to win him over, and their obsession takes a sinister turn.
The book was a fast-paced, intriguing story that at times seemed a bit juvenile. I did not care too much for Kitty and her spoiled ways, but she did give the book an entertaining element. It didn’t wow me, but it was a great summer read. It would be perfect for the beach or poolside, with a refreshing beverage alongside.
If you’re looking for something to keep your mind off things, the book will definitely engage you.
The It Girl by Ruth Ware
I read this book as a read-along for the @tandemcollectiveglobal initiative. I enjoyed following a schedule more than I thought, but I did finish it a couple of days later than expected.
While at Oxford, Hannah meets April Coutts-Cliveden, her new roommate and soon-to-be best friend. April is the life of the party, and she always seems to get her way. Their newly founded friend group worships her, but before the end of the school year, April is murdered. John Neville, the former porter is accused of her murder and recently died in prison. Relieved that she can finally move on from this tragedy, Hannah gets a visit from a journalist that shows up at her doorstep. He presents new evidence which says that Neville could have been innocent. Hannah, pregnant with her first child and married to April’s ex and mutual friend Will, starts digging up into the past until she finds the real killer. But finding the truth is far worse than she imagined.
For a good part of the book, I really thought I had the killer figured out. But in true Ruth Ware fashion, she added an unexpected twist just towards the end that I didn’t see coming. A dark academia thriller that has gothic vibes and lots of polite British conversations, it had all the elements of a great Ruth Ware novel. Although the ending felt a bit rushed and not given much explanation as to what led to that, I still liked the book.
My favorite one so far, plus that cover is simply gorgeous! I don’t want to brag, but I received a signed copy, which makes it even cooler.
Outside by Ragnar Jonasson
This book is my fourth Ragnar Jonasson I’ve read so far, but it is the one I liked least, unfortunately. It was for the Nordic Noir read-along organized by my friend Aina, aka @readbydusk.
Four friends decide to go away for the weekend in the Icelandic highlands. But a snowstorm strikes, and they seek shelter in an abandoned hunting lodge. Stuck until the storm settles, they realize they are not alone. Old wounds get reopened, and one of them might not survive the night.
I’m personally over the locked-room mystery that seems to be a favorite with authors lately. At least, this one did not offer great execution, therefore it left me with a meh taste in my mouth. It was ok for those whose favorite genre is locked room mystery, but it’s just not my cup of tea. All the characters were downright unpleasant, to put it nicely, and they were all acting super weird. All I have to say is, with friends like that, who needs enemies? Thank goodness for the short chapters, because it might have been a DNF for this one.
The Corpse Flower by Anne Mette Hancock
A new Danish author that I absolutely fell in love with. This debut thriller checked all the boxes for me, and I’m looking forward to her second book, The Collector, which is coming out later this year.
Journalist Heloise Kaldan gets called into her boss’s office because one of her sources was caught lying. Things are not looking great for her, and as she’s thinking about how things couldn’t get any worse, she starts receiving letters containing cryptic messages. The sender of these letters, Anna Kiel, was accused of murdering a young lawyer three years before.
Police detective Eric Schafer finds a clue when the reporter who first wrote about that case is found murdered. As Heloises’ name keeps coming up in the investigation, she and the detective try to figure out how she fits into all this. But in order to find answers, she has to confront the past she kept running away from.
A great nordic noir thriller that I didn’t get a chance to read back in May, I’m glad I finally picked it up. The storyline was developed beautifully and it brings the reader to discover that the motive is really revenge.
I also like Heloise, and I feel like she will be another favorite female heroine in the series.
The more the story unfolded, the more questions I had, but in the last quarter of the book, it all started to make a little more sense. The ending was shocking yet not mind-blowing, with enough gruesome details to make it a true Nordic Noir thriller.
I don’t want to give more details because it might spoil it for you, but it is a solid four stars read for me.
If you’re a well-versed nordic noir fan, this is a must-add to your collection. And if you’re new to the genre, this is a great book to start you off and give you a taste of it.
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan
Cleverly structured, the imagination of the author knows no bounds
As I didn’t read A Visit from the Goon Squad yet, which the book is supposed to follow, I did find this book can read well enough as a stand-alone. I don’t find the author making many references to it. But I might change my mind once I do get to read the first one. For now, I’m sticking to my opinion.
Welcome to The Candy House, a place where you can experiment with Own Your Unconscious. This is the new technology tech entrepreneur Bix Bouton developed, with the scope of accessing memories of loved ones and your own. The multiple characters introduced are all related to the story somehow, which you figure out once you get into the story. By taking a bite of the Candy House, the Eluders and Counters co-exist in the same universe.
Although I absolutely loved the concept and execution of this book, I was at times lost and confused. This is the type of book you really need to pay attention to if you want to keep track of what’s going on. In my case, this will warrant a reread at some point in the future, probably after I’ve read the first Goon Squad book.
That being said, I felt kind of not smart enough for this book, but one I still enjoyed reading, if that makes any sense. I do recommend it, just prepare for it mentally first.
With each chapter written in a different style, I really enjoyed the way the author can write so eloquently in such a wide range of styles.
The ending left me hanging as well, so I assume the author is planning to come up with the third book in this series. To be continued, I guess.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
The best part about this book is its cover. It really is a pretty one. That being said, it is an okay book, just not one that I will remember by next week.
This is another locked room mystery without the people actually being trapped inside.
Jess is broke, having just left her less than ideal job in England and coming to Paris to reconnect with her brother Ben. This new start will hopefully help her figure out her next steps. Although he wasn’t thrilled about her coming he did accept her visit, only he was nowhere to be found when she arrived. Tired and broke, she finds it strange that he would just up and leave without letting her know beforehand. As she starts digging into his strange disappearance, all the inhabitants of the apartment building seem like they have something to hide.
The book’s premise was okay, but the storyline was not the greatest. All the characters were insufferable, other than Jess, really. The execution was okay, but not enough to wow me, and the ending was a bit mediocre. An ok read if you want something of an entertaining, lighter thriller.
As previously mentioned, my days of looking forward to locked room mysteries are beyond me. An author that will captivate my full attention with that genre will have to do an amazing job.
I really don’t want to discourage anyone from reading this book, it’s just not a great book in my opinion. If you do read it, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Don’t let my opinion deter you from liking it, because we all have different tastes. If you absolutely loved this book, I’m really happy for you.
The One Audiobook
The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van der Kolk
This is the first non-fiction book I purchased in a long time, but I listened to it on audiobook first. It is a book I’ll need to revisit in physical form next time. I will need to take notes alongside it because there is a lot of useful information.
I can’t give a synopsis on it, since it’s more of a psychological reference to how trauma affects people’s lives. It isn’t a book you can skim through, but it isn’t a textbook either. It’s a very informative and exciting book reference manual that anyone can benefit from reading.
We all experienced some sort of trauma in our lives, and this book explains why we react a certain way following the effects particular experiences have on us.
These are the seven books I had the pleasure of reading this month. Have you read any of them? If you did, which ones did you like best? As of now, I’m not sure which is my favorite, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be the Nordic Noir by Anne Mette Hancock.
Until next time fellow bookworms, keep reading books that bring you pleasure.