Summer Reading mini reviews

Summer holiday Reading

Over the past six weeks or so, as well as reading review books, I’ve been catching up on some of my own books which have been languishing too long on the pile at the side of my bed! A couple I wasn’t so keen on and since I only blog about books I’ve enjoyed, I won’t be reviewing them here. But below are a few mini-reviews of books I do recommend. If you click the titles, you will go to the Amazon page where you can read the official blurb and can order them if you fancy the sound of the book. Or, of course, you should be able to buy any of them at your usual book retailer.

The Stranger: A gripping story of secrets and lies for fans of Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce by [Riordan, Kate]

The Stranger

I really enjoyed this story of three young women working as landgirls in Penhallow Hall in Cornwall during WW2. The story starts with death of Diana, sent to be Land Girl by her mother who wants her far from London. The story then goes back six weeks and works towards her death where and we hear her thoughts through her diary. Rose is married but still longs for Sam, her childhood sweetheart. Jane is really too young to be Land Girl and is actually a member of the family who own the hall but this is her first time at Penhallow Hall in years.

Eleanor is one of the owners of the hall but hasn’t left grounds in years. The house are clearly holds some bad memories for her. Her mother was a very unpleasant character who is not afraid to speak her mind but obviously has issues with the house and past secrets too.

I was very intrigued throughout and although I guessed one of the central secrets it certainly didn’t spoil the book for me. This is a very mysterious, very atmospheric read and put me in mind of a Daphne du Maurier novel. I devoured this book in a day and could not put it down.

The Great Alone: A Compelling Story of Love, Heartbreak and Survival, From the Multi-million Copy Bestselling Author of The Nightingale by [Hannah, Kristin]

The Great Alone

This is a story about a family moving to live at the edge of the world in Alaska. It’s a wild, remote place with a very simple way of living. There’s no electricity, no running water and an outside toilet. It’s a very hard life, especially in the harsh Alaskan winter. However, there is strong community support including from the memorable ‘Large Marge’! Teenage Leni is the main character and her father, Ernt, is a Vietnam vet who is clearly suffering from PTSD and is often violent towards his wife. She always forgives him though but she and Leni are effectively trapped. Leni feels a responsibility to mother and that she can’t leave her. Her only escape is school where she meets Matthew who becomes her great love. Ernt grows steadily more crazy leading to a dramatic situation. I have to say the last 25% seemed almost like a different book and I felt it was overly dramatic. However, there was a very satisfying ending and overall, would say I enjoyed it.

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I’ll Keep You Safe

I do love to read ‘on location’ as it were and I enjoyed reading this book while I was on holiday in Lewis last week. I love that I know so many of the locations now having visited Lewis a few times. My photos above show Dalmore beach and the cemetery above it, both of which feature in the book. The book is about Ruaridh and Niamh who work in the tweed industry. I actually learned quite a lot about the island and island life too. It’s really two stories: the story of investigation into Ruaridh’s death in Paris (not a spoiler, you know that from page 1) and the story of his and Niamh’s lives from when they first met as children living on the island, throughout their married life and the building up of their Ranish Tweed business. It’s a terrific thriller with plenty of twists and turns and quite the surprising ending!

Origin: (Robert Langdon Book 5) by [Brown, Dan]

Origin

You know what you’re getting with a Dan Brown book – an action packed thriller. This latest Robert Langdon adventure didn’t disappoint. A genius scientist is about to reveal huge discovery which will explain the origin and future of human life and throw all religion into turmoil. However, dramatic events at the launch event leave Langdon in mortal danger (again), working with an intelligent and stunningly beautiful woman (again) and racing against time to uncover what has happened (again). And I loved it – again!

Little Liar: From No. 1 bestselling author of The Guilty One by [Ballantyne, Lisa]

Little Liar

This is a classic tale of he said/she said so who can you believe? A drama teacher is accused of sexual assault by young pupil. The book follows the repercussions for Nick, a married father of two who is adamant he is innocent and Angela, the unhappy almost teenager who accused him. We see the way both families are hugely affected. My sympathies for both characters changed several times throughout as more was revealed. I didn’t particularly like either of the main characters and I’m not sure I can say I enjoyed the book, given the subject matter. It’s an uncomfortable read but it’s certainly compelling. 3.5*

So there you have it, a few of the books I’ve enjoyed over the summer. What have you been reading? I’d love to know so do comment below.

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12 thoughts on “Summer Reading mini reviews

  1. brmaycock 07/08/2018 / 10:46 am

    Great reviews! My husband had been looking (would you believe he couldn’t find it anywhere!) for Dan Brown’s Origin. Everyone was sold out of it. I was gutted for him because he never reads and was as excited as I am for every book I read! Finally found it! Great that you enjoyed (will probably nick it when he’s done;))

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne - Portobello Book Blog 07/08/2018 / 11:05 am

      Thank you. I really enjoyed it, he certainly knows how to write and entertaining story. Hope you and your husband enjoy it too 😊

      Like

  2. jen_bookworm 07/08/2018 / 1:45 pm

    I love all Kate Riordan books, I had an ARC of The Stranger and loved it. I’ve read one Peter May but it didn’t really turn out to be much of a crime more of a drama crime, The Blackhouse though I did enjoy it wasn’t what I expected. I’ve only read one Dan Brown which I did enjoy but felt that you could tell when some action was going to happen, like he had a formula so haven’t read anything else yet. The Da Vinci Code was the book. I might read something again as I did like The Da Vinci Code

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne - Portobello Book Blog 07/08/2018 / 3:22 pm

      This is the fifth in the Da Vinci code series and I agree, it can be quite formulaic. But it’s a formula that works well for an entertaining read! I’ve enjoyed all the Peter May books I’ve read. I think he writes well about islands. Thanks for commenting. 😊

      Like

      • jen_bookworm 07/08/2018 / 3:24 pm

        There’s more in the series? Hmm Peter May dies write well about the islands enjoyed the book

        Like

  3. emmasbookishcorner 07/08/2018 / 3:16 pm

    LOVED The Stranger… also whipped through it in nearly one sitting. My first Kate Riordan but it won’t be my last!

    Liked by 2 people

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