My 2018 reading challenge: What I read in June
If you’ve been following my blog this month, you’ll know that I’ve decided to put more of a focus on books…
It feels like a natural progression for me – I love writing about books, discovering new worlds within stories and reading constantly. I’ve written about how I make time for reading, and what direction this blog is heading in.
This month was a good month again for reading for me. I’ve decided to increase my 2018 reading challenge from 50 books to 75, so I’m hoping I can keep this momentum up!
36. Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Set in Shaker Heights, a wealthy town in Ohio in the 1990s, Little Fires Everywhere tells the story of two very different families. Pearl and her mother Mia, an artist, move to Shaker Heights after years of moving around. They rent a house from the Richardson’s, a wealthy family, and Pearl becomes friends with the Richardson children. The story explores race, morals, parenting and art. The key plot doesn’t really emerge until later on in the story – during the first 100 pages or so I wasn’t sure where the book was going.
I enjoyed the story, but I didn’t feel particularly satisfied with the ending, and I struggled to relate to any of the characters.
After I finished the book, I discovered that the author actually lived in Shaker Heights, and I wish I’d known that beforehand as I found it really interesting that she’d chosen to base a book here, rather than creating a fictional location.
38. Into the Water (Paula Hawkins) ⭐⭐
This story follows a number of characters living in a town called Beckford. In the town lies the Drowning Pool, a place where many “troublesome” women have lost their lives. Nel Abbott is the latest woman to have drowned there, and her sister Jules has come back to the town, and is struggling with her past and her feelings towards her sister.
Paula Hawkins is best known for writing The Girl on the Train, and so I was really interested to read her latest offering, but unfortunately for me, it just fell flat. I got lost in the different narratives, I couldn’t relate to any of the characters and it was a bit of a struggle to get to the end. I thought the idea was intriguing, but the story just didn’t grab me.
38. The Sisters (Claire Douglas) ⭐⭐⭐
Abbey very kindly sent me this book, and I was looking forward to read it. The tagline on the cover is ‘One lied, one died’ and so I was immediately curious. Abi is a young woman recovering from the death of her identical twin, Lucy, in a tragic accident. She meets Bea, and is immediately drawn to her because of the similarities between Bea and Lucy. Bea is also a twin, and Abi becomes drawn into her world, but all is not as it seems.
I did enjoy the book, and I was intrigued by where it was going, but the narrative switched between Abi to Bea and I wish it had just stayed with Abi – I think it would have been more effective in building suspense.
39. Tubing (K. A. McKeagney) ⭐⭐⭐
Polly lives in London with her boyfriend Oliver, although she seems fairly bored with her life. One night, drunk on the tube home, Polly has an encounter with an attractive man, and her world turns upside-down. She discovers the underground (literally!) world of “tubing” – sexual hook-ups on the tube.
So…when I started this book, I thought it was going to be a kind of psychological thriller (we all know how much I love them) and the first half was just a little more…Fifty Shades-esque. I understand why some of it was needed for the storyline, but some parts just felt a bit like they were written for the sake of it. I thought the story was very different from anything I’d read before, and I had no idea where it was going, but I felt the ending was a bit rushed.
40. Together (Julie Cohen) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I was first drawn to this book because of the pretty cover, and the tagline was: ‘Their love was unstoppable. Their life was a lie” so I was intrigued.
Emily and Robbie have been together for years. The story begins with them as an elderly couple, but Robbie’s health is failing and he wants to protect Emily, and do everything he can for her, which is what he has spent his life doing. Their story is told through a series of flashbacks, from just months before, to decades earlier. The story of their love, how they became a family and their relationships with others unfold as the book goes on. By all accounts, they are a loving couple, they have a son, Adam, who is married with children, and Robbie has a son from a previous relationship, who is also a part of their lives.
I was wondering what the lie was, but as the book continued, I had an inkling of where it was going. The ending should have been a dramatic twist, but my guess was confirmed, and I must admit, I felt a bit disappointed.
For me, the story is wonderful up until the end, I loved the writing, I liked the characters and I was touched by the romance between Robbie and Emily. It’s worth a read – I think I was a little let-down because I’d read a story with a similar storyline not too long ago and so I found it predictable.
I spent the last week of June on holiday in Sicily with Sam and Dougie, and I read a few books while I was there, so I’ll do a separate post to review the books I read on holiday!
What have you been reading this month?