Sunday, 24 September 2017

September Reading

Sunday 24th September

I've been back at work for 3 weeks and I haven't been able to do as much reading as I did over the summer. This post is about the books I've bought this month and the books I'm currently reading.

Books I've bought:

1) The Officer's Lover, by Pam Jenoff

"Ten years ago Jordan Weiss suffered the devastating death of her boyfriend Jared, a gifted rower at Cambridge. Since then her work as an intelligence officer has taken her to the world's hot spots where she has faced terrible dangers. However, it's the thought of returning to England that haunts her the most.
When a twist of fate sends Jordan back to London, she and rakish agent Sebastian Hodges are assigned to an investigation into mafia activities that quickly throws them into a whirlwind drama of lies, cover-ups, and corruption. Who can Jordan trust? As she desperately tries to pull the pieces together, secrets start to emerge that are strangely connected to her past and will ultimately shape the course of her future."

2) The Winter Guest, Pam Jenoff
"Twins Helena and Ruth Nowak have always been the closest of sisters. Staunch allies in the constant struggle to protect their impoverished family during the brutal war in Poland, there is nothing that can break their bond.
Then Helena discovers an Allied paratrooper, wounded but alive - and risking the safety of herself and her family, she chooses to hide Sam, who is a Jew. Now her loyalties are torn, sparking jealousy in Ruth and an act of betrayal that endangers them all and sets in motion events that will reverberate for decades to come."

3) Keeping My Sisters' Secrets, Beezy Marsh

"Eva, Peggy, and Kathleen were sisters born into a close-knit working-class family, living in a tiny terraced house in a street so rough the police would only walk down it in pairs. As they grew up between the wars, they dreamed of escaping their father's anger and the struggle of daily life in Waterloo.
Peggy was a studious and principled girl so appalled by conditions in the factories that she became a Communist. Beautiful Kathleen with a voice like silk, experienced tragedy too young and was destined to have her heart broken time and time again. Feisty Eva became a thief as a child so she could help their mother put food on the table - and never lost her rebellious streak.
As the years passed, the sisters stayed together, sharing each other's lives, supporting each other through hard times and protecting each other by whatever means necessary. Keeping My Sisters' Secrets is the rich, moving story of their fight to survive through decades of social upheaval - their love for each other the one constant in a changing world."

 4) Dancing at the Victory Cafe, Leah Fleming

"When Isobel Morton takes over the cafe in Lichfield's market square, she had big plans. Soon renamed the Victory Cafe, with a menu that delights despite rations, the girls who work at the Vic are swept away by Belle's lust for life.
Amongst the regular customers is a trio of soldiers from the nearby American base and waitress Dorrie Goodman soon befriends them, learning about jazz and romance in the process. But the stifling morality of a Midlands town in the forties cannot accommodate such a friendship; jealousy, hatred, and the weight of public disapproval combine to precipitate a tragedy.
It is not until many years after the war that friendship and reconciliation can begin to heal the wounds of the past..."

5) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
"Passionate, poetic, and revolutionary, Jane Eyre is a novel of naked emotional power. Its story of a defiant, fiercely intelligent woman who refuses to accept her appointed place in society - and instead finds love on her own terms - has become famous as one of the greatest romances ever written, but it is also a brooding Gothic mystery, a profound depiction of character and a transformative work of the imagination."

6) The Ambassador's Daughter, Pam Jenoff
"Brought to the peace conference by her German diplomat father, Margot resents being trapped in Paris where she is still looked upon as the enemy. Yet returning to Berlin means a life with the wounded fiancĂ© is barely knows. 

Torn between duty and the desire to be free, Margot strikes up unlikely alliances; with Krysia, a musician who protects a secret; and with Georg, the handsome, damaged naval officer who makes Margot question where her true loyalties should lie.
Against the backdrop of one of the most significant events of the century, a delicate web of lies obscures the line between the casualties of war and of the heart, making trust a luxury that no one can afford."

7) Dangerous Crossing, Rachel Rhys
"England, September 1939. Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz, and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go...
Australia, six weeks later. The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto a dry land with handcuffs.
What has she done?"

8) Before it Rains, Dinah Jefferies
"1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.
But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually, they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts..."

9) Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave
"When war is declared, Mary defies her family to protect the children her country would rather forget. 
Tom refuses to sign up for a conflict he doesn't believe in.
Alistair answers the call of duty, but can't silence his heart.
Could you dare to fall in love while the world around you is falling apart?"

10) Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
"Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars. 
Since then, she has been drifting. But when she's contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben's innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother's? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?
She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day... especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.
Who did massacre the Day family?

11) A Hidden Affair, Pam Jenoff
This is the sequel to The Officer's Lover and the blurb contains spoilers.

12) The Orphan's Tale, Pam Jenoff
"In Nazi-occupied Holland, seventeen-year-old Noa saves a baby from a train bound for the concentration camps, fleeing with him into the snowy wilderness.
Passing through the woods is a German circus - a troupe of waifs and strays, led by the infamous err Neuroff. They agree to help Noa and the baby. 
On one condition.
To earn her keep, Noa must master the flying trapeze - under the tutorage of the mysterious aerialist, Astrid. Soaring high above the crowds, Noa and Astrid must learn to trust one another - or plummet. But, as war closes in, Noa will learn that loyalty can be the most dangerous trait of all."

13) The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas.
"Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed."

14) The English Girl, Margaret Leroy.
"When seventeen-year-old Stella Whittaker is offered the chance to study at the Academy of Music in Vienna it's a dream come true, made possible by old family friends Rainer and Marthe Krause who offer her a place to live.
Seduced by the elegant beauty of the city, Stella explores the magnificent palaces, gardens and fashionable coffee houses, and after a chance meeting in an art gallery, falls in love with Harri Reznik, a young Jewish doctor.
But as the threat of war casts a dark shadow over Europe, Stella soon discovers that both the household where she lives and the city she has come to call home, are not as welcoming as they once seemed. And at the dawn of this terrifying new world, no one is safe."

15) The Returning Tide, Liz Fenwick.
"In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begins - the story of Adele and Amelia and the heart-breaking betrayal that will divide them forever.
Decades later, as the generations gather for a wedding at the rambling family home on the Cornish cliffs, the effects of one reckless act still echo..."

16) The Human Universe, Brian Cox.
"Human Universe tackles some of the greatest questions that humans have asked to try and understand the very nature of ourselves and the Universe we live in. Through the endless leaps of human minds, it explores the extraordinary depth of our knowledge today and where our curiosity may lead us in the future. With groundbreaking insight, it reveals how time, physics, and chemistry came together to create a creature that can wonder at its own existence, blessed with an unquenchable thirst to discover not just where it came from, but how it can think, where it is going, and if it is alone."

17) Wonder Woman: Warbringer, Leigh Bardugo.
"Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.
Alia is a Warbringer - a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possesses the Warbringer. 
To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war. 

Currently reading:

A Brief Affair, Margaret Leroy:
"September 1940. England is at war and London has become a fragile home for widowed Livia Ripley and her two young daughters. So when Livia meets charismatic publisher, Hugo, she is hopeful her life is about to change for the better. Before it can, the wail of the siren heralds the arrival of the Luftwaffe. 
As the raids intensify, Livia volunteers to be a warden at the invitation of enigmatic Justin. It's during these dangerous nights that she experiences the true reality of war - a great contrast from the afternoons of cocktails and comfort spent with Hugo. Opening her eyes to the difficult task ahead, Livia must discover an inner strength that will help her save those she loves.

I'm also currently reading:

- The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
- The Things We Cherished, Pam Jenoff
- The Spiderwick Chronicles: Field Guide, Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.
- Dark Places, Gillian Flynn.

Most of the books I've bought are historic romances, which will be part of my research for my novel. Pam Jenoff is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors, as you can probably tell by the fact several of the books I bought this month are written by her. I also highly recommend checking out Margaret Leroy's novels.

My GoodReads challenge says I'm 3 books behind scheduele - I've read 18/30 books for this year's challenge and I'm determined to beat that. I'm gutted I haven't had as much time to read, which has been my own fault as I didn't organise my evenings as well as I'd have liked. Still, I'm 3 months away from the end of the year and I've still got loads of time left to finish my reading challenge. 

What books have you bought and/or enjoyed reading this month?

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