June Book Reviews

While five books in a month may seem like a lot, for me I was slightly disappointed.  Considering in January I read eight and May ten; five seemed like a bit of a step back.  The positives however are that I almost enjoyed every single novel I stuck my nose into this month.  The theme of murder seemed to be quite prevalent throughout June with three out of five of them carrying themes of death and mystery.  I wonder if I was feeling okay, or who I was feeling adverse towards…

In June, I fell head-over-heels in love with Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, was captivated by the writing of Andrea Bartz in The Herd, and controversially didn’t get on too well with Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer.

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As always,  follow me on Goodreads for every day up-to-date book findings and reading progress.

Follow me on Instagram also for updates and to view my ‘books 2020’ highlight.

This post contains affiliate links and gifted items.  The latter clearly marked ‘GIFTED’.

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The Herd – Andrea Bartz
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Imagine The Wing with more scandal, more controversy, and more murder – that’s Andrea Bartz’s The Herd.  A murder mystery for millennials, The Herd follows three creative friends whose lives change forever when their boss and associate Elenor Walsh – big-wig of elite women-only co-working space, The Herd –  is murdered on its rooftop.  Enthralled and obsessed, the murder of Walsh is just the tipping point as secrets and tantalisingly dark secrets and forgotten pasts begin to spring to the surface.  

Whether you love it or you hate it, Bartz’s second novel was such a fun read.  Although the storyline was somewhat predictable and meandering, I found that The Herd offered a great sense of escapism.  Time rushed by quickly as you climb through climax after climax, making it an easy thriller. 

 

Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
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Hurtling through every day without the firm grip of a seatbelt, golden girl Queenie is an instantaneous classic.  Covering diverse themes of love, loss, mental health, sexual abuse, friendship, being black, family trauma, and more; Candice Carty-Williams has managed to write life in its truest form.

This Women’s Prize For Fiction nominee is so poignant and delightful because of the sheer relatability Carty-Williams has managed to lace throughout Queenie.  There is a slice of its protagonist in everybody.  From being the princess of procrastination to suffering from a broken heart; watching gentrification happening on your doorstep to attempting to process trauma, there is something in Queenie that we can all see in ourselves.  It is rich and personable and that is why it sticks – Queenie is us, and we are her.  

 

My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
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Just pushing past 200 pages, My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a snappy read; perfect for an under-the-duvet afternoon.  The story – told from the perspective of a jealous sister, Korede – opens as she receives a distressing call from Ayoola.  She has killed another boyfriend.  Turbulent and troublesome, the book follows the ‘body dumping’ proceeder and thus labours quickly through the merry-go-round of murder.  This is not Ayoola’s first rodeo. 

Although a fascinating premiss, I allowed the hype to get the better of me where My Sister, The Serial Killer is concerned.  To call the book ‘okay’ would be an insult, but my feelings towards it are very neutral.  While fast-paced and somewhat eerie, the story itself seemed rushed and little details were steamrolled over by the advancement of the plot.  It was too fast-paced for my liking.  While I do not regret reading My Sister, The Serial Killer, I know that it just was not my cup of tea!

 

A Thousand Ships – Natalie Haynes 
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The Trojan War.  There have been blockbuster films and television series’ as well as books by Stephen Fry, Pat Barker, and now classicist Natalie Haynes.  A Thousand Ships is the Women’s Prize for the 2020-nominated novel, telling the aftermath of the Trojan War through the eyes of its women.  The pleading voices of Andromache and Penelope contrast with proud Hecabe while event accounts take the form of letters, speeches, and nymph songs.  

While nothing spectacular or new (Troy and the Trojan Women is a subject well-tread) Haynes brings life, empathy, and also backstory to the characters we all know and love.  A great read for any Greek Mythology buff. 

 

GIFTED: The Killings At Kingfisher Hill – Sophie Hannah
Read via Kindle

I love a murder mystery.  When Harper Collins sent me a free copy of The Killings At Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah in exchange for a review it was like music to my ears.  Before picking up this novel, I had no idea that thriller writer Hannah had reprised the iconic Agatha Christie character, Belgian hero Hercule Poirot.  Four books in, however, it seems Hannah is still extremely comfortable in her role.  

Without giving any part of the plot away, The Killings At Kingfisher Hill is, on the first thumb, slightly complex and clunky to first engage with.  While its writing style is engaging, the main story itself is difficult to establish due to the many sub-plots and characters.  Despite this, however, Hannah manages to create a middle-class mystery worthy of its place in the Agatha Christie estate.  A labyrinth of possibilities, I found this novel worth the uphill struggle it first presents. 

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