July 2015 favourite reads

Deborah CookLife 9 Comments

Editor’s note: Please welcome back Deborah from Debbish dot com who’s sharing her favourite new releases with Styling You readers each month. 

As an obsessive avid reader I generally get through 3-4 books a week. I read for pleasure so mostly stick to what I love… suspense / thrillers / crime fiction, some literature and smatterings of romance. I feel I should apologise for the lack of non-fiction offerings but, well… #meh, if I wanted real life stuff I’d leave the damned house for god’s sake!

I have however this week ventured into the land of children’s non-fiction and I’m fairly sure you’ll be keen to trust the viewpoint of a 40-something non-parent when it comes to teaching your kiddies about the birds and bees.

So without further ado, my July favourite reads:

1. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter’s popularity started increasing a few years ago and one of those reasons is because she excels in creating strong savvy women. Her writing is also fabulous. I’ve never really noticed it before… which is usually a good thing as it gives way to the plot; but here it’s blunt and refreshingly addictive.

Her latest release focuses on the family of a young woman who disappeared without a trace over 20 years earlier. Torn apart by the lack of closure they’re forced to relive their loss when another teenage girl goes missing in similar circumstances.

My verdict: Slaughter has a slew of fans and this one won’t disappoint.

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Penguin Random House – 1 July 2015

Pretty Girls

2. Those Girls by Chevy Stevens
It’s 1997 and Dani, Courtney and Jess are Those Girls. By their mid-late teens they’ve lost their mother, received beatings at the hands of their alcoholic father and done a stint in foster care.

The girls go on the run and before long they find themselves trusting the wrong men and their lives are at risk.

Fast forward to 2015 and the three sisters have new identities and lives far from those they dreamed of when young. All three have struggled to move on; sure their past will catch up with them. Which… inevitably it does.

Stevens does a great job with her characters and it was hard not to share in their ordeals. Part of me was in disbelief that so much bad stuff could happen to one family of girls. I tried to warn them, but… my shouting had no impact at all. Funnily enough. 😉

My verdict: A frustratingly good read.

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Hachette – 14 July 2015


Those Girls

3. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
Nikki linked to my review of this much-awaited sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird earlier in the month so I’ll be light on detail here. As you’re probably aware, Lee wrote this before TKAM but publishers liked the childhood voice of Scout (Jean Louise) and requested the author come up with something from a young Scout’s point of view.

TKAM is much revered by many, as is Atticus Finch… father and lawyer. Go Set a Watchman provides a very different perspective of Atticus…. though the only real difference is we’re now seeing Atticus and the world through Jean Louise’s 26yr old eyes. This will surprise you. If you’ve not read any reviews it might even shock you.

It’s kinda long-winded (the book, not me. Well yes me, but mainly the book!) but there are many glimpses of Lee’s talented turns of phrase.

My verdict: Not what you expect but worth the read.

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Penguin Random House – 14 July 2015

Go Set A Watchman

4. Little Black Lies by Sharon (SJ) Bolton

Catrin and Rachel grew up together on the Falkland Islands and were childhood besties. In fact their lives were intertwined until the day Catrin’s two young boys died while in Rachel’s care.

We meet Catrin just days before the third anniversary of her sons’ deaths and her plans for revenge (against her now-estranged friend) are temporarily put on hold when a young boy goes missing. He’s the third boy to have disappeared in the last couple of years which now seems to be more than a coincidence.

I must confess I knew little about the Falkland Islands (and war) before reading this book. The community, landscape and the ecological beauty of the area offers a fascinating backdrop to this tale of suspense.

My verdict: Surprisingly twisty. And the end? Gah!

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Random House – (hardcover) 15 July 2015

Little Black Lies

5. The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made by Fiona Katauskas
I suspect I was just one of hundreds of thousands of children scarred by the 1975 Danish book: How a Baby is Made. Although I gather the 1973 book Where Did I Come From? was a little less trauma-inducing, selling the birds and bees to kids seems fraught with risk. However, on recognising the lengthy gap in offerings cartoonist Katauskas has brought the age-old ‘how babies are made’ question into the 21st century.

It’s a beautiful book but one I’d suggest parents need to read WITH their pre-teens rather than handing it over and sending kids on their merry way. I found elements a bit confronting and the language a tad complex for its target audience, but it’s certainly a good start.

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Harper Collins – 20 July 2015

The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made

6. Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

Unemployed journalist David Harwood’s pays a visit on his cousin as a favour to his mother. He knows Marla’s been struggling since she lost her baby 10mths earlier so he’s gobsmacked to find her busy with her son… who she informs David was dropped off by an angel the day before.

Things get complicated when David discovers bloodstains on the baby’s pram and tracks down its owner, only to find a mother murdered and child missing.

This is the first of a new series so there’s a lot going on in this novel as Barclay’s obviously setting the scene for sequels. It’s got that small town drama-filled feel about it. Barclay’s writing even felt very folksy… inviting readers into Promise Falls, complete with its interesting characters and idiosyncrasies.

My verdict: A fabulous start to a new series.

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Hachette – 28 July 2015

Broken Promise

I received a huge pile of new books last week which will keep me busy for the next month (or ten), but I’ll be checking back in then to share my August favourites.

Until then… did you learn about the birds and bees from a book?
Does this updated version appeal?

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 9

  1. I don’t specifically remember learning where babies come from. Of course, there were the “your changing body” films in school. I also remember learning more about sex in school, but not the initial knowledge.
    Go Set a Watchman has so many different covers; just in the US I’ve counted 3!
    Thanks for the recs!

  2. I already talk to almost-4yo Pickle about where babies come from. Not so much how they get there, though he knows the proper names for private parts. I’d be interested in having a look to see if it’s something I could introduce to him. Discussions around the ethics in an accessible way, is something I’d like to see for an older age group.

    Lots of other interesting reads there too! Looking forward to your next batch.

    1. I actually thought it might be appropriate for younger kids as well but it talks about embryos and fertility so is a bit more complex etc. (Though early parts of the book include some simple ideas.)

      I’ve actually given it to the psychologists I’m working with in case it’s something they’d like to use with clients or parents etc.

      One of the psychologists suggested that it would be a good idea to have a book or series which targets kids as they grow – so… a series of age-appropriate reading.

  3. My Mum from the hippie era gave me a book age 4 all about it. I was so grossed out. And I got into trouble age 6 when I told some friends (one was about to have a a baby brother) the truth. Their parents were not happy and I am sure it got my name cut from a few birthday parties.
    On a different note, great reviews I need to get something new to read.

  4. Thank you for the book review,I can’t say I’ve read anything great lately!
    I used to borrow books from the Library about the birds and the bees and more interesting things and I remember I was in year 4 at school and my mother got a phone call from the librarian asking if she thought i was too young to be reading these “sorts” of books of course she said yes she was a very honest and open woman she told us whatever we wanted to know,why they were in the school library if you couldn’t read them to this day I don’t know!! Have a lovely weekend reading Deborah Xx

  5. Hmmm I might buy number 5 for my daughter, to read to her daughter. I learned about the birds and the bees from the kids at school, and then couldn’t look at my father for weeks. I was disgusted that he would ‘do’ that to my mother haha! Poor Dad. I would like to read ‘Broken Promise’ it looks good. I have a massive stack of books waiting to be read, and a gift voucher burning a hole in my purse. Can’t help myself, I love books. Kathryn 🙂

    1. The Linwood Barclay was great Kathryn and I read somewhere it’ll only be a series of three, which I guess is kinda good cos you’re not committed to buying sequels for years to come! 🙂

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