28 Jun My Top Reads for June
June has been a great month for reading here in Dundee. The sun has shone down, and I’ve been sitting outdoors enjoying my books against the background of blackbirds and sparrows flying in and out of the laurel hedge to feed their young.
As you may imagine, I’ve got through quite a few books – along with my regular blogtour reads, I’ve fitted in two thrillers and two books with an air of magic of mystery that really had me hooked. Here’s my round-up for June.
After That Night by Karin Slaughter, HarperCollins, hardback
The latest – and in my opinion, so far the best – of the Will Trent/Sarah Linton series introduces us once again to the worst and best of humanity. Dr Sarah Linton must confront her trauma of fifteen years ago when she learns that her violent rape may have links to ongoing and historic cases where young women have been stalked, abducted, and raped. At least two girls have died – can Sarah and Will stop the cycle before any more fall victim to the predator/s out there?
A dark, disturbing yet nevertheless enthralling plot kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading, and I finished it in just two sittings.
Along with the crime-solving plot, the story moves on Will and Sarah’s relationship as they draw closer to their wedding date, and we learn more about the unhappy incidents in their past that have made them the strong, resilient and morally upright people that they are today – in contrast to the criminals they are investigating, who camouflage their base desires under a cloack of privelege and respectability.
Karin Slaughter is a great story-teller and so amidst the horror and evil of the crimes being investigated, the narrative also offers humanity, humour and a reminder that with love, family and friendship in the world, it can never be a truly bad place.
A gripping and convincing read.
The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges, PanMacmillan, hardback
This was a story that defied genre-typing. It reminded me a little of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with its aura of magic that isn’t always wholly benevolent.
Myra’s minuscule mansion – which she inherited from her step-grandma Trixie when she was just five – consumes her lonely life, while its real-life counterpart shapes and influences the life of its current inhabitant Alex.
In both houses, objects move, music plays, lights flash, and the two halves of the whole draw together almost inexorably.
The rarefied atmosphere of the narrative is balanced by the characters. They may be living in a slightly alternative universe, but both Myra and Alex are strong, believable and very sympathetic characters, while their friends – elderly Ellen for Alex, Gwen for Moira – lend humour to the story with their down-to-earth attitude to their friends’ apparent foibles.
The narrative jumps back and forward in time, to explore the history of the mansion and the “lady” associated with it. She and her home are supposed to be a source of good, but it felt rather sinister at times – I suppose, like people, even houses will do what they have to do to get the results they want.
Overall, a compelling read, and one that leaves you thinking about the story long after you have finished it.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Tor, paperback
When straightlaced civil servant to the Ministry that regulates the care of magical children, Linus Blake, is sent to a remote island to report on the orphanage run by Arthur Parnassus, he doesn’t expect what he finds there.
The motley collection of children include a gnome, a wyvern, a shape-shifter, a sprite, a young lad who defies definition but whose closest relation is probably a jellyfish, and the son of Satan! Arthur himself is an enigma. His time spent with them will change Linus’s perceptions for ever, and might just bring some needed magic into his life, too!
This was our book club choice for discussion this month – the brief was a beach read, and this fitted the bill admirably – it was a book you couldn’t put down, with engaging characters, a flowing narrative and a plot that, while it carried suspense and surprises, you didn’t have to think too hard about.
It has humour, empathy and carries the message of how important it is to accept yourself as well as others.
I loved it, and am going to seek out more of TJ Klune’s books.
Coming To Find You by Jane Corry, Penguin, paperback
I’ve read all Jane Corry’s book, and I think this is one of her best.
Nancy’s mother and stepfather are dead – murdered in her presence by her stepbrother who has been sentenced to life in prison. Now Nancy has her own sentence to serve – judged guilty by association and haunted by her own dark secrets she flees to the family home of Tall Chimneys – which harbours secrets of its own. What happened there during the war? A dual time line tells the parallel stories of Nancy and her grandmother’s best friend Elizabeth, who was one of Churchill’s secret army – civilians who had to be ruthless when necessary.
Two women touched by tragedy and unable to trust anyone around them – will they find the strength to overcome the very real dangerous challenges that lie ahead?
I really enjoyed this book – both the present-day and wartime story were gripping and suspenseful, with characters who drew you into their lives. The plot was well-paced and the threads pulled together perfectly,
There are no huge surprises in the story but there’s plenty of drama. It’s an easy read, perfect for fans of family drama noir.
Read all my June Reviews