August 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. 

We’re starting to reach the pointy end of the year so reading fodder is now coming at us thick and fast. In my true all-or-nothing style the month has been characterised by alternating binge-reading fests and reading detoxes. Indeed, most of these favourite reads, I’ve been *forced* to read in a sitting!

1. Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid
Fans of the series featuring (now retired) detective Carol Jordan and psychologist Tony Hill (or TV show, Wire in the Blood) will be thrilled the pair are back in the ninth instalment of the series. And thankfully it’s a goodie! In this outing the Carol and Tony are looking into a spate of suicides that have occurred following online bullying—and I love that McDermid’s keeping the series relevant with topical and contemporary issues such as online trolls.

Newcomers can pick up this book without needing any backstory but regular readers will be interested to see that Carol’s forced to confront some personal demons in this latest outing.

Splinter

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Hachette Australia – August 2015

2. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
I’d de-prioritised this book several times before finally opening it… and reading it in a sitting. I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but Hoffman sometimes produces some amazing work and certainly does so here. This surprisingly addictive book’s set in the early 1800s and follows the life of a young woman, Rachel whose (Jewish refugee) parents escaped the European Inquisition. They now live on the beautiful island of St Thomas but headstrong and rebellious Rachel dreams of a different life.

Alas, she’s forced to marry a much older man to save her father’s business, but soon gets a second chance at love. Loosely based on fact, Rachel’s the mother of Camille Pissarro, a founding member of the Impressionists’ era… though as he (like his mother) is passionate and obstinate and the pair are doomed to clash.

marriage-of-opposites

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Simon & Schuster – August 2015

3. The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman
I’ve long been a fan of Kellerman’s Dr Alex Delaware / Milo Sturgis series which has spanned thirty years but (like me) they’ve started to feel a little stale and soft around the middle. So news of this standalone novel was a welcome change.

Dr Grace Blades is a psychologist and a child prodigy who survived a torrid upbringing to become highly respected in her field. She’s hiding some dark secrets however and her past comes back to confront her when one of her clients is killed. The strength of this book is the unfolding tale of Grace’s childhood and Kellerman does a fabulous job intertwining that with her investigation into her client’s murder.

the-murderer-s-daughter

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Hachette Australia – August 2015

4. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book will most certainly appeal to anyone wishing they had a chance at a do-over. I’m sure it’s not just me who’s fantasised a little over our own Sliding Doors – (what if) scenario. I mean… PLEASE TELL ME IT’S NOT JUST ME!?!

Hannah Martin is unemployed and recovering from a bad relationship when she returns to her childhood hometown to crash in her bestie’s spare room. They’re out on the town just after her arrival when her high school boyfriend appears. It’s a small (though ultimately life-changing) decision when Hannah has the option of leaving with her friend, or staying out with Ethan.

She does both. Kinda. In concurrent storylines she lives out the consequences of both. In one version she stays with Ethan and they spend the night together and in the other she leaves with her bestie and an accident means her life is forever changed. Reid very cleverly unravels the two tales without ever needing to tell us which timeline we’re in and the book has something interesting to say about friendships, relationships and (importantly) fate.

maybe-in-another-life

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Simon & Schuster Australia – August 2015

5. The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth
Dear SY readers… forgive me for I have sinned and not actually read this book. I’ve read some of Kate’s work and know she’s a beautiful and stylistic writer, however some of the themes of her novels just aren’t for me. This latest offering comes highly recommended by some fellow book bloggers whose opinions I respect, so I feel confident in sharing it here. It’s described as a ‘re-imagining’ of The Beauty and the Beast, albeit set in Nazi Germany.

To save her father’s life Ava’s forced to marry a young Nazi, though she remains steadfastly opposed to Hitler’s regime and… the unexpected happens, she starts to fall in love with her husband.

the-beasts-garden

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Penguin Random House (Australia)

And finally, cos I’m out of time and space… if memoirs or non-fiction are your thing there’s an array of new releases in time for Father’s Day, footie grand finals and as a precursor to Christmas. (All out this month or in coming days!)

non fiction new releases

What was the last book you binge-read or couldn’t put down?
Or, more importantly, where do you stand on the do-over? 

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 just finished reading In the Quiet by Eliza Henry Jones. It’s beautiful but be warned though overall it is really uplifting you will need a pack of tissues! It’s set in regional Australia and tells the story of a young Mum who has recently died from reasons unknown looking down on her family and seeing how they cope without her.

  2. Ohh now I want to read the maybe in another life. I used to love the thought of fate, sliding doors etc. Now I am more cynical and less idealistic but I still think I would enjoy this one!

    1. It’s really well done Jess and is interesting in the sense that some of the characters come across very differently in the two timelines… it made me wonder how much events can shape people’s behaviour and our perception of them!

  3. Hi Deb,

    Great list. I really want to read “The Marriage of Opposites” – looks intriguing. “The Beast’s Garden” is on my bedside table waiting to be read. I heard the author, Kate Fortsyth, speak recently – a great storyteller! I am reading “Distant Marvels” by Chantel Acevedo – a Cuban epic, which I would highly recommend.

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