books read and reviewed Aug23

Books read and reviewed in August 2023

I had a huge blitz on books in the first part of the month, but as we were on holiday for the last week, I didn’t even manage to read one book that week. Unheard of! Here’s a selection of books I read in August.

Books read in August – 13

You can find all my read books for the year (and others), at my Goodreads profile, or my July summary of selected books.

books read and reviewed Aug23

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Plain Jane Wanted by Rose Amberly

After putting her dreams on hold to support her husband through law school and rising up the career ladder, Millie’s just lost her job and found her him cheating on her after blaming her for being ‘beige’.
She’s just about homeless, broke, and sick of people treating her like rubbish. After she accidently drives into a posh BMW and throwing an upset tirade at the good-looking owner who’s about to miss his flight, he sets her in a nearby cafe making sure she’s ok, pays for her drink, then leaves without saying anything.

Millie finds a ‘looking for a plain Jane’ assistant job ad and applies, getting the job to be assistant to stroppy old lord of a beautiful channel island. But the boss’ son George turns out to be the BMW car owner. As Millie finds herself and blossoms, will George be able to stay away as he feels he should or continue being pulled towards Millie? Will Millie find love alongside finding herself?

I loved this book. All the main characters are kind and nice, once you find out their true character, they’ve got interesting back stories. While there’s no real surprises, it’s nice to read a book that’s largely positive with no annoying characters (other than the soon forgotten ex-husband).

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We Used to Live Here by Daniel Hurst

I wasn’t quite sure how this one was going to end, I couldn’t see how it could be finished, so the twist was good to read. Quite horrific for the family involved, and a little epilogue which you somehow knew was going to be the case somehow.

For anyone who likes trying to solve the books they’re reading, you’ll be getting the same niggles as Steph who insists that something did happen to a child who previously lived in their new house. Husband Grant isn’t convinced – he’s got more to worry about as his world is falling apart around him with work, an estate agent who keeps turning up and his relationship with Steph.

A fast paced book that’s good for a fast holiday thriller read. Maybe don’t read it if you’ve just moved into an older property with some history behind it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Say her Name by Dreda Say Mitchell

Say her Name is a mystery thriller which incorporates the unfairness and discrimination that 4 missing black girls/women went through, and the fight (and obsession) that Eva (a bi-racial woman) goes through to find out what happened.

Was one of the women who went missing her unknown biological mother, and what is her former policeman adoptive father Sugar investigating. How is her biological father and sister caught up in the mystery.

Eva can’t help but try to find out the truth, not only about her own background, but for these women ignored and forgotten about. In danger of losing her medical licence, her husband, and more if she goes after what she believes she has to.

I found this interesting to read, and it really brings home what minority communities can go through (and did) with institutional racism. While the plot itself was interesting, more could have been made of the character of Eva. Considering she’s a highly regarded medic, she seemed a bit all over the place, and her job story was skimmed over. More could have been made of the relationship between her and her husband. But worth a read if only to understand more about the social and political aspect.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two metres from you by Heidi Stephens

A chick lit novel based during the lockdown era, where Gemma ends up escaping to the West Country after finding her boyfriend cheating on her. And then gets locked down due to Covid in a new village, with noone but her dog for company.

Until she meets good looking handyman Matthew who lives in a converted barn at the bottom of her garden.

How will Gemma cope with life in the back of beyond, how will the village accept her, and how will lockdown end up. Will Gemma learn that Matthew isn’t like she first judged him, and where will life lead her when (and if) she returns home to London.

A typical chick lit novel, with community coming together to beat the boredom of lockdowns and trying to help those in need while persuading Gemma that maybe village life does suit her. It’s an enjoyable enough book (although maybe not for anyone who was a stickler for lockdown rules)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Seaside Cocktail Campervan by Caroline Roberts

Love summer, seaside, festivals, food and cocktails, and romance, then the combination in this book is for you.

Lucy’s just starting up her pizza catering business, and meets cocktail making catering smoothie Jack. At first she holds off getting to know him, and there are problems between them that frustrates her as she tries to concentrate on building up her business.

As the events pile up when they’re both working, with Jack there to help her out and guide her, will she let him in.

This is an easy summer read, doesn’t take long to whizz through it, and you’ll know what will happen at the end. It does make me want to be sociable and get out to more summer events, eating my way round them in the countryside. I liked how the chapters were interspersed with the wedding or event invites. It made the book feel like you were there at the event with Lucy and Jack.

Likeable enough characters, although like most chick lit books, you do want to just knock some sense into the main characters (usually the girl) to just go for it. But then she usually has family or friends to do that for her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Stranger in my Home by Adele Parks

Stay at home mum Alison has the perfect life with author husband Jeff and 15 year old daughter Katherine, who’s good at sports, school and everything she turns her hand to. Alison’s life is very different to the childhood she wanted to escape from. All is going well until Tom turns up on their doorstep saying Katherine’s actually his, having been swapped at birth with the daughter he’s raised.

In the turmoil, Alison doesn’t want to let Katherine go, she’s scared of losing her. As they start to meet and mix families, and become closer, Alison believes Tom really understands her well, although why are his 3 children holding back from getting as close to Katherine.

I wasn’t quite sure which way the story would turn, and I was surprised at how much the lies continued and involved the children. Does all end well for Alison’s family, or does a crime go too far?

This book twists and turns, in the same way that Alison’s mind is changed time and time again as the relationships change. Can she trust Jeff, will Katherine be let out from under her mum’s wing, what’s going on with Tom’s family?

I think Alison’s relationship with Katherine is a little unhealthy, but understanding her backstory explains why she’s like that. Thankfully Jeff is more straightforward and they work well as a family.

It’s a decent Adele Parks book, I’ve not read a bad one yet

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown

The death of their beloved Grandmother Annie has brought back Dana, Harper and Tawny, plus Dana’s daughter Brooke to her cabin resort she previously ran with the help of her close friend from childhood Uncle Zed.

The sisters have never been particularly close due to half sister guilt and jealousy around having/not having access to their shared father, and the relationships they have with their mothers. It’s been years since they’ve been at the resort for the summer, but they’re now part of it, trying to keep it running under Granny Annie’s wishes, and her and Zed’s plans to make them happy and bring them back together as proper sisters should be.

Leaving their previous hard lives and experiences behind, will the girls find the resort the place they want to settle down, and will they build their relationships while they still feel Annie is there with them. What about love?

This is a sweet story of family, relationships, past, present and future, and there’s something in all of the main characters that’s likeable and real.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What books have you been reading this last month?

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