June 2015 favourite reads

Deborah CookLife 14 Comments

Editor’s note: Please welcome back Deborah from Debbish dot com. Deb and I go way back … to primary school in regional Queensland. As a nine-year-old I was in awe of her jazz ballet skills and as a fellow 40-something, I’m in awe of her voracious reading. Each month she’ll now also be sharing her favourite reads with Styling You readers. 

It doesn’t seem fair that Nikki’s off gallivanting around Europe while we’re here slogging away doing, well… doing very important things. Luckily I’m here to share my favourite reads released this month in an attempt to help us escape the monotony of our everyday existence. And yes, you’re welcome. 😉

1. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

The film rights were sold and Reese Witherspoon lined up to produce a movie based on this book months before it was released. Which is usually an indication that it’s a goodie. And it is. Despite the unfortunately-named lead character, TifAni FaNelli, who the backcover blurb tells us we love to hate, because she… “has it all”.

It’s important therefore that I tell you: I did not hate TifAni (Ani) FaNelli because she has it all. I hate Ani because she’s a vapid, superficial, elitist, arrogant b*tch.

Anyhoo, Ani’s about to marry her black Amex card-carrying fiance when she’s asked to participate in a documentary about an event which shaped her teenage years. Thinking the exposure will be good publicity for her upcoming nuptials she happily agrees.

If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself drawn into this story because you HAVE to know how this seemingly normal teenage girl became such a vacuous and unlikeable creature.

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Pan Macmillan – 1 June 2015


2. Finders Keepers by Stephen King

This is the second in the series though it isn’t necessary to have read its predecessor, Mr Mercedes, as the crossover is fairly limited.

In 1978 Morris Bellamy breaks into the house of a once-famous novelist–ostensibly to steal the cash in his safe—but Bellamy, furious with the author’s treatment of his favourite character, kills him and takes off with the cash and a stack of unpublished manuscripts. Before he has time to enjoy his spoils however, he’s arrested and imprisoned for the next 30 years. #karmaisabitch

In the meantime 13 year old Peter Saubers, living in Bellamy’s old house, stumbles across the cash and manuscripts. The money couldn’t come at a better time for Peter’s cash-strapped family, but of course the it’s all gone four years later when Bellamy comes looking for his treasure.

I was a fan of some of King’s early work and have enjoyed his move away from ‘horror’ into suspenseful thrillers. As usual his character development is great and I particularly liked honour-student Peter.

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Hachette – 2 June 2015


3. Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Diehard Sex and the City fans you can rejoice because the creator of Carrie and her gang is back with a new novel, rumoured to be a case of art imitating life. (But I’m not gonna buy into that here.)

Pandy Wallis has become a victim of her own success. Her ‘Monica’ novels are adored and have been translated onto the big screen. Monica has brought Pandy fame and fortune. But it’s not enough. Pandy wants to write something meaningful. She just needs to kill Monica off first.

Of course vortexes and the like collide, bringing things to a head and Pandy has the chance to make some big changes. But will she? #dumdum

I was a bit disappointed in the end of this novel (which was reminiscent of the second SATC movie!) but I know others will love it nonetheless.

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Hachette – 23 June 2015


4. Hush, Little Birdy by Nicole Trope

In her latest release Trope puts us in the heads of two very different women: Birdy, who’s grown up with learning issues and (at 33) still thinks like a child; and Rose, the 55yr old wife of a TV celebrity who’s dedicated her life to her husband and daughters.

Birdy’s just months off being released from her low-security prison when Rose arrives. The women have a shared history, but Rose doesn’t recognise Birdy as the child who lived next door almost 30 years earlier. Which also means she’s not aware of Birdy’s plans for revenge.

This talented Aussie author delicately deals with the issue of pedophilia—sharing with us, this sensitive tale of innocence, regret and retribution.

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Allen & Unwin – 24 June 2015


5. The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop

It’s 1963 and Henry, a literary professor who grew up in India and hates England’s cold winters, convinces his wife Charlotte to move to Australia and start afresh. Charlotte, struggling with the challenges of motherhood, reluctantly agrees.

As expected the couple aren’t prepared for life in a new country and they each cope differently with the changes before them. And as the months pass in their new hometown of Perth, Charlotte finds herself clinging to her old life and is unable to see a future in this new world; while Henry cannot imagine going back.

This new Australian book is sad and breathtakingly beautiful. At the same time.

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Hachette – 30 June 2015


It’s a busy time of year with a LOT of new releases coming out (I have 10 to be read in the next week alone!!!) so I’ll be back with more favourite reads next month, including the much-awaited Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.

Do any of these new releases jump out at you?
And… I’m wondering do you think you can still enjoy a book if you hate the lead character?

debbishDeborah blogs about books, not-dieting and life in general at debbish.com. Her life-long love of reading is only surpassed by her addiction to vanilla diet coke, baths, chocolate and champagne. 

Comments 14

  1. I was wondering that, not sure if I can stomach Ani (her name is off putting enough). But it does sound like a good read. The last one sounds really cool too, although not my typical favourite genre (which is all things creepy and criminal).

    1. In my (long) review I joked that I perhaps would have liked Ani when I was younger and impressed by someone with the right clothes and right job. Now I’m far more evolved (!!!!) I found her really superficial. But – she’s exaggeratedly so, which is what kept me reading!

    2. In my (long) review I joked that I perhaps would have liked Ani when I was younger and impressed by someone with the right clothes and right job. Now I’m far more evolved (!!!!) I found her really superficial. But – she’s exaggeratedly so, which is what kept me reading!

  2. Very hard to like a book if you hate the lead character but that’s not to say that you can’t like a character who does terrible things. Good writers know how to add enough complexity and nuance and explanation of motivation so that even characters who do the worst things, can still be enjoyable to read…

    1. I think that’s the case with Ani in Luckiest Girl Alive Cassie. She very purposefully contrives this Devil-Wears-Prada world – working out what to wear when meeting potential interns so as to intimidate them etc. I was interested in her lack of identity and the fact she shapes herself to whoever she’s hanging out with. (Kinda!) 🙂

  3. Great recommendations Deborah, a real mixed bag. I haven’t read a Stephen King for decades so perhaps now is the time to reacquaint myself with Mr King. I might also give Luckiest Girl Alive a whirl. I do think you can love a book whilst disliking the main character … sometimes … not always. I couldn’t finish Barracuda for that reason, but also acknowledge that it showns excellent character development to generate that kind of reaction.

    1. Ahh, Christos Tsiolkas is an expert in creating unlikeable characters and I struggle with his books for that reason. There usually has to be SOMETHING about them I can relate to. Indeed I’ve actually liked psychopaths on occasions!

  4. I love your reviews,I’ll definitely be getting some of these. I’ve just finished Nora Roberts “The Liar”. Excellent book and worth a read. Have a great weekend ☺️

    1. The Liar was a goodie. Nora Roberts is sometimes a bit hit and miss for me. I prefer when her books fall more on the side of suspense than romance. (I love her JD Robb ‘In Death’ series incidentally.

  5. Thank you Deborah I love reading and I’m a fellow Stephen King lover!
    I will check out some of these books and put them on my reading list.

    1. You’re very welcome Lisa. I like the direction King’s taken as some of his scarier novels can be a bit confronting. (Am fairly sure I didn’t sleep for weeks after Salem’s Lot!)

  6. I really like your posts! The Other Side of the World looks good, would love to read it. I am going to look out for The Secret River too, after watching the mini series. Winter + weekend + good book = heaven 🙂

    1. Oh thanks Kathryn! Not enough space for too much detail but The Other Side of the World features Australia (Perth) and England beautifully too. Bishop does a great job creating a sense of ‘place’. And yes… I’m a Kate Grenville fan – so glad Aussie books are making onto the big or small screen!

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