Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2021

Dear Readers,

Welcome to my first Monthly Wrap-Up here on my blog!

June has just been such an amazing month for reading with me that I was inspired to do a wrap up basically just so I can talk about all the brilliant books I have read even more!

So what books have I read this month that I am so super excited by? Lets see…

My first read of the month was a feverish speed read of The Fell by Sarah Moss. I have been so excited to read this book (you may know I am a huge Sarah Moss fan), ever since hearing a couple of months ago that it was due for publication in November this year. When a proof copy arrived at the bookstore where I work, I was ecstatic and promptly devoured it that weekend! Perfection. The Fell is set during the covid-19 lockdowns. Oh I’ve had enough of that, I hear you say – but no. You should definitely give this book a chance. Sarah’s compulsive, all-consuming, searingly perceptive style of prose is perfectly suited to tackling life as we know it. I will be posting a full review closer to the publication date later this year but for now all I’m going to say is that the narrative centres around one ‘shielding’ neighbour seeing another neighbour who should be ‘self-isolating’ sneaking out one evening in the direction of The Fell…

My second read of the month was Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal. I didn’t read The Doll Factory last year as it didn’t look like my kind of thing. However, as soon as I read the synopsis for Circus of Wonders I knew I had to read it! All my life I’ve loved books that are set in the circus (particularly if they double as historical fiction) – and this did not let me down. My favourite thing about this book was all the references to classical literature such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and also the real history surrounding the Victorians obsession with ‘Freak Shows’ – it really set the atmosphere and the backdrop for the psychology of the characters. And though it lost me a little in the middle, the ending secured it again. I really liked the ending.

Read more…

The Lucky List is the newly published YA novel by Rachael Lippincott who co-wrote Five Feet Apart and it is (obviously) just beautiful. This was of my buddy reads this month and safe to say – everyone adored it! Throughout the story, the main character Emily must come to terms with grief, change and truth to find acceptance and a new way to move forward in her life. A way to be brave, find hope, and embrace the chance to be lucky again. At the heart of the story is Emily’s own journey towards discovering and embracing her own sexuality and it is so beautifully told. There were tears guys… a lot of them!

Read more…

Venetia was my second ever Georgette Heyer and all I can say is I cannot get enough of her! This book is now in my top ten favourite books of all time and I would recommend to anyone in a reading slump or needing some proper comfort reading at the moment. It has a wonderfully independent heroine, a dashing hero and an all round beautiful period romance – true to Heyer of course! I was lucky enough to listen to an audio through Net Galley and I would definitely recommend this experience. The narrator was brilliant and perfectly captured all the characters, humour and atmosphere. Utterly loved it.

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Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachael Joyce is currently sitting in the top spot of my all time favourite book ever… I’m almost scared to say it because it’s such a big thing, but it really is! This book is just incredible. Set in the 1950’s, two women go to New Caledonia in search of a beetle that may or may not exist… It’s a heart-warming story of friendship, coming to terms with your past, looking for the best in every moment and finding your vocation. The character of Enid Pretty is quite possibly the best character I have ever encountered in literature – I can still hear her voice in my head, long after finishing. Don’t be deceived though – Margery and Enid encounter more than their fair share of hardship, but it is their strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other that makes it such an incredible story. I can only implore that you read it. Full review coming soon…!

The Feast by Margaret Kennedy was first published in 1950, but has been recently re-published by Faber with an introduction by author Cathy Rentzenbrink. I loved this. Since finishing it I have discovered that it is being categorized in the crime genre but I read it having no idea about this, and it certainly didn’t make itself clear to me during reading either…! It is structured like a crime novel – you are aware of the ending right from the off; a cliffside collapses onto a hotel on the Cornish coast killing the guests inside. The narrative takes us through the week preceding the event, with each chapter from the point of view of one of the thirteen or so people involved. But it is so much more than this. The language was to die for – honestly, Kennedy’s style is exquisite! And as the story unfolds you come to care for certain characters, then suddenly remembering the ending, you begin to feverishly pray for them to take certain actions….as events play out until the disaster. I especially loved the authors intricate portrayal of post war Britain. Also it was funny – really funny – at points, and I was chuckling out loud. This is probably the first book I have ever finished where I just wanted to go straight back to page one and read it all over again. Full review coming soon…!

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy. I’ve almost finished this one – just a few chapters to go! This was first published in 1958 and tells the story of a young, disaster-prone American living in Paris and hellbent on living. The edition I’m reading is published as part of the Virago Modern Classics series and has a gorgeous cover! I have really enjoyed it actually – not quite as much as I thought I would but still enough. It’s pretty light-hearted on the surface but does paint a perceptive portrait of 1950’s society, particularly that of foreigners in Europe. The pink-haired protagonist (and narrator), Sally Jay Gorce, isn’t always very endearing, but her scrapes and escapades make for entertaining reading and you can’t help but laugh with her and often feel sorry for her. The book is like a fizzing cocktail that sparkles dangerously with all the elements of youthful passion, a summer in Paris, and a girl looking for love.

The Storm by Elisabeth McNeill is my current audiobook, which I am listening to through Net Galley. I was really excited to start this as it’s set in Scotland and based heavily on true events and the history of the fishing community at Eyemouth. Unfortunately I am not enjoying it so far and have actually stopped listening for the moment. I am almost a quarter of the way through and so far nothing has happened that isn’t described in the blurb. I am enjoying the historical details and the Scottish accent of the reader but the story is very slow and the characters fairly blandly written. Teetering on the edge of persevering or DNFing….

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis is my current buddy read that I am reading with Lucy @ Bookworm Blogger and my Mum. We all read Dear Emmie Blue (you can read my review here) last year and really enjoyed, so were really excited to read her new book. It’s classic Lia Louis style – full of love, life, vivid characters and the beautifully and perfectly written hand of fate. We have almost finished and are loving so far. Full review coming soon…!

Well that’s all from me 🙂 Do let me know in the comments if you have read or are reading any of the books I have mentioned – or if you have been inspired to add any of these to your toppling TBR’s!

Bookish wishes,

Meg xx

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