What I Read in August | 2023
Ooh, now this is an old format isn’t it?! The “what I read” posts are back to help me keep track of the books I read, what I liked and the authors I love. In August I picked up and finished 4 books, and although all 4 were very different from each other, I enjoyed every single one of them.
How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne
Published back in 2019, this is one I picked up in a second hand book shop and I was so pleasantly surprised by what a goo read it was.
Everyone wants to be Tori Bailey.
A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir and uplifting posts online. What’s more, her perfect relationship with her long-term boyfriend is the envy of all their friends.
But Tori isn’t being honest.
While everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies, Tori’s boyfriend will barely look at her, let alone talk about marriage. And when her best friend Dee unexpectedly falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in danger of being left behind.
Tori’s built a career out of telling women how to live their best life, but is she brave enough to admit it’s not what she wants?
WHAT I THOUGHT
I really enjoyed this book. Tori is such a likable character and I found How Do You Like Me Now to be a really good reflection how social media and public opinion can influence all our lives. Tori is struggling to adjust from her 20’s to her 30’s and what she wants from her life. Her boyfriend is a d……ouche and she cares far too much about what other people think.
Available on Amazon for as little as 50p for a used copy, this is a great easy read.
DAYBOOK by Anne Truitt (ARC)
This was a Tandem Collective readalong so just to be up front, I was sent this book to take part in the community on Instagram which was a lot of fun!
‘I am an artist. Even to write it makes me feel deeply uneasy.’
Renowned American artist Anne Truitt kept this illuminating and inspiring journal between 1974-8, determined to come to terms with the forces that shaped her art and life.
She recalls her childhood on the eastern shore of Maryland, her career change from psychology to art, and her path to a sculptural practice that would ‘set colour free in three dimensions’. She reflects on the generous advice of other artists, watches her own daughters’ journey into motherhood, meditates on criticism and solitude, and struggles to find the way to express her vision.
Resonant and true, encouraging and revelatory, Anne Truitt guides herself – and her readers – through a life in which domestic activities and the needs of children and friends are constantly juxtaposed against the world of colour and abstract geometry to which she is drawn in her art.
Beautifully written and a rare window on the workings of a creative mind, Daybook showcases an extraordinary artist whose insights generously and succinctly illuminate the artistic process.
WHAT I THOUGHT
You can pop over to Instagram to find out what I thought in full, but this was a little different to what I would usually read but it was a good kind of different. The diary entry format was easy to follow and it’s a great insight into an artists mind.
The Other Son by Nick Alexander
Borrowed from Prime Reading, I just really liked the blurb on this one and finally got stuck in while we were away on holiday this month.
From the outside, Alice’s marriage looks successful. It’s true that Ken was never her first choice, but four decades in, she’s learned to tolerate him. Their two sons have chosen their own paths, Tim as a successful banker and Matt a carefree globetrotter she can’t keep up with. But when circumstances collide to make her question the life she’s quietly accepted, Alice realises she’s been lying to herself for years.
It’s time to stand up and put her own happiness first, but where do you begin when you’ve turned your back on everything? Alice craves the support of someone who understands her, but Tim won’t take sides and his trophy wife won’t give her the time of day. It seems the only person she can really rely on in her new start is herself.
Unless…Can her other son come through for her? Matt’s been travelling so long that she barely knows which continent he’s on. But could his experience as the black sheep of the family be just what she needs to finally reveal the secret she’s bottled up for years—and find the happiness she gave up on so long ago?
WHAT I THOUGHT
I don’t know what I was expecting from The Other Son, but this wasn’t it. I was expecting drama but when I got instead was a lovely reflection of an older woman who was born of a different time and had to settle for a life that she never wanted. I love the fact it was told from so many different perspectives, giving you a real insight into the characters and their motivations.
This is the first time I have read a book which is told from the perspective of a woman in her late 60’s and I really enjoyed it. I loved how well the differences between how Alice thought she behaved vs. how her actions were perceived by others was delt with in The Other Son and I really enjoyed following along as she rediscovered who she is.
Mill Point Road by JK Ellem
This one is a rare “read in on day” book. The combination of a flight, a bath and an early night meant I flew through it quickly!
When Rebecca Cartwright, young and recently widowed, moves into the exclusive gated community of Mill Point Road, in the town of Ravenwood, Maryland, she thought she had found her sanctuary.
Amongst the beautiful homes, manicured lawns, and high walls, she soon discovers that the other women on Mill Point Road are hiding dark secrets.
But no one knows Rebecca is hiding her own secret, and it’s the darkest and most sinister of them all…
Detective Marvin Richards, a thirty-year veteran homicide cop from the tough streets of New York City moved to picturesque Ravenwood for peace and quiet. That was until a serial killer decided to dump their fourth victim near Mill Point Road.
Then there is Haley Perez, a rookie police officer who graduated top of her class, the only female in her entire cohort. And that can be a little tricky, especially when her fellow officers are now all male too. Some say she’s abrupt, a little abrasive, and downright rude. Maybe it’s just sour grapes from her work colleagues who have tried to hit on her with no success. But Detective Richards sees something else in this intense, young woman whose instincts and cold-focus are wasted as a patrol officer walking the streets downtown.
Richards enlists the help of Perez, and together they go on the hunt for the Eden Killer, a cunning, evasive serial killer whose victims are all young, male, and named Adam.
The trail of clues leads them to Mill Point Road, where they discover something dark and sinister is lurking in this seemingly tranquil and insulated Garden of Eden.
WHAT I THOUGHT
Well, I stormed through it in a single day so there is no denying that it gripped me from the first page. All of the women on Mill Point Road are not only wealthy, but they all have something to hide. Some secrets are most certainly darker than others.
I enjoyed the varying perspectives and the little hints given throughout. The only thing that stopped me loving this book, giving it 5 stars and recommending it to everyone I know, is that I didn’t love the ending. It was ok, but a bit of a let down compared to the rest of the book which was brilliant.
And that’s what I read in August. What about you? Any recommendations?