Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October Books

Here's what I've been reading in October:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - I loved the TV series and watched it before I read the book. The series is very true to the book and I'd recommend it. The Republic of Gilead offer young women like Offred one function - to breed.  If women refuse they will be hanged at the wall or banished.

Offred used to have a job, a life, friends, a husband and a child. She is now only allowed to leave the house accompanied by another handmaid, who is not a friend. The shops are signposted with pictures as the women are not allowed to read.. Their every move is monitored by "eyes" and they are forced into the oppressive lifestyle. Once a month the ritual is performed with the Commander and his wife Serena Joy where they hope that Offred will fall pregnant. She randomly meets her friend from her life before who is working as a jezebel in the club the Commander frequents.  The book like the TV series leaves us with more questions than answers. A book I'm still thinking about (and may read again).

Erotic Stories for Pujabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswall* - Nikki is a modern Indian girl who has shunned traditions and lives alone above the pub where she works. She dropped out of University which cased rifts between her and her dad. When her dad dies suddenly she's sad they never made up. Her sister is searching for the perfect husband via an arranged marriage (something which Nikki thinks is wrong).

She takes a job teaching creative writing to Punjabi widows in Southall and finds out early on that they are illiterate and were expecting to be taught how to read and write. Instead they share their stories, fantasies and memories. The stories are shared far and wide and more and more women want to join the group but they need to be careful and keep the brotherhood at bay...I found the story a little slow at first but was soon totally absorbed by the story and characters within.

The Angel in the Stone by R L McKinney - Calum now lives in the cottage where he was brought up on the west coast. There are constant reminders of his brother Finn who fell to his death in a climbing accident 20 years before. He tends to live a solitary life although has an on-off relationship with the woman who lives next door.

His mother Mary, has Alzheimer's Disease and after a fire at her flat of her making comes to live with him. A short while later his estranged daughter, Catriona turns up looking for a place to stay until she comes to terms with something which happened to her.. I really warmed to the wonderful characters and setting. Highly recommend.

Second Life by S J Watson - Julia lives with her husband and her son, Connor. Her sister is murdered in Paris where she lives and she'll stop at nothing to find out why. She visits Kate's friend and flatmate Anna and she finds out that her sister went online to meet men for sex. She decides to sign up to the site to try and find out her sister's last movements. 

What happens next is unexpected She meets a man called Lukas who is not what he seems. She's quickly drawn into a secret and obsessive affair. She suddenly finds that her past is about to catch up with her second life..

I found the book slowish to begin with however the second half is a lot better with twists and turns some of which I didn't see coming. The story doesn't have a definite conclusion which makes you think about the book long after you turn the last page.

If only you knew by Cynthia Clark* - Elizabeth has a secret which she's kept to herself for many years. As a student one wrong decision shaped her whole life. Even her loving husband Miles doesn't know. Someone however does know and lets her know by sending anonymous letters. Can she keep her secret, having to look over her shoulder forever or is the past slowly catching up with her?

An absolutely enthralling read which I couldn't put down.

Broken Bones - DI Kim Stone #7 by Angela Marsons* - A young prostitute is found dead and a baby abandoned on the same night. Are the cases connected? Three more sex workers are murdered and the team wonder if this is the work of a serial killer or a brutal pimp.

Kim and her trusty team - Bryant, Dawson and Stacey pull together to put those responsible behind bars. What is the connection to the handbag factory and the immigrants who work there? And will Ellie get out alive? There's a twist which I didn't see coming. Highly recommend it's a fast paced and exciting read.

My final read this month is the fabulous It started with a tweet by Anna Bell* it's not out until the beginning of December so I'll post my review in my November roundup.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from Netgalley

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