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July Wrap Up

Another month has come and gone. And I had a reading month that was very varied. Some of these books will potentially be in my favourites at the end of the year. Some I found disappointing. Read below to find our which ones I loved.

I only managed 8 books this month, mainly because one of the ones I didn’t enjoy to me forever to get through. I hoping to read more for the month of August because so many books are on my tbr!

So let’s talk about these books shall we?

First up was She Who Became The Sun by Shelly Parker-Chan. This was one of my most anticipated releases for the year, but unfortunately it let me down. I started this June 26th and it took me so long to read it mainly because I just couldn’t get into it. There was some beautiful writing and I liked what it had to say about gender, but the rest didn’t do it for me. At all. I found the story especially in the beginning and middle dragged for me. The ending was definitely better than the beginning I will say that. But I definitely seem to be in the minority with this one, as lots of other people seem to love it. Thank you to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Then I read Meet Me In Another Life by Catriona Silvey. I did enjoy this one, but I just think it could’ve been better. We don’t say this very often but I think this book could’ve benefited from being longer. I felt the ending was a bit rushed and we needed more detail into what was actually happening. But overall I did enjoy this book. I loved the connections between the stories and how the plot unraveled. It just needed a better ending. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Thirdly I read Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn. This features many different authors that Natasha has interviews and it’s a truly wonderful book. It’s moving, heartwarming and helpful. And being nearly thirty and single I needed reminding that it’s ok. I really recommend this book. So many interesting perspectives on love, loss and everything in between. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now.

Up next I read The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. Hands down one of my favourite books of the year. It’s so beautifully written, so clever and engaging. It has so much packed into, yet I was left with a smile on my face when I finished it. I absolutely loved it. Will definitely be in my top 10 books of the year. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out August 5th. You can check out my full review here.

Then I read This Is My Truth by Yasmin Rahman. This is a really hard hitting young adult book that features some really difficult subject matter. It can be hard to read at times, but it was still brilliant. Full of great characters and wonderful friendships, it was hard to put down. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out now. You can check out my full review here.

Sixth this month I read Crying In H Mart by Michelle Zauber. This is a truly special memoir. It’s filled with food that you’ll want to eat and relationship between a Mother and Daughter that’ll break your heart. It details loss and grief in a nuanced and powerful way. It really made me emotional in places. I can’t recommend this one enough. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out August 5th.

Up next I read Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson. This one started with such promise but ultimately I was let down by the ending. It felt like the author threw away the detailed for 3/4 of this move for a shock factor ending. It was so disappointing. It did have fantastic characters though, that I won’t forget. Lots of potential in this book that unfortunately wasn’t fulfilled. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out August 3rd.

Eight this month I read The Magician by Colm Tóibín. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and for it fell totally flat. It was so disappointing. I was missing feeling anything towards the characters. I felt absolutely nothing for them. I was just incredibly uninterested in the whole book. Thanks to the publishers for my copy. It’s out September 23rd.

So that’s it! That was my reading month.

Are you planning on reading any of these? Or have you read any? Let me know.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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ARC Book Review: The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak

Title: The Island of Missing Trees

Author: Elif Shafak

Publisher: Viking Books Penguin Random House

Length: 343 pages

Synopsis: Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. The taverna is the only place that Kostas and Defne can meet in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic and chilli peppers, creeping honeysuckle, and in the centre, growing through a cavity in the floor, a fig tree. The fig tree witnesses their hushed, happy meetings; their silent, surreptitious departures. The fig tree is there, too, when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns – a botanist, looking for native species- looking really, for Defne. The two lovers return to the taverna to take a clipping from the fig tree and smuggle it into their suitcase, bound for London. Years later, the fig tree in the garden is their daughter Ada’s only knowledge of a home she had never visited, as she seeks to untangle years of secrets and silence, and find her place in the world.

I need to start by saying that this book was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year and I feel very lucky and grateful to have been given a proof copy.

I love this book. I love it so much. I don’t think any review I’ll write will ever be able to do it justice. To capture what makes this book so special I know you’ll have to read it. And you won’t be disappointed when you do.

From the very beginning of The Island of Missing Trees you are immediately swept away by the glorious writing. Elif manages to evoke such beautiful imagery throughout the book with some of the most evocative writing I’ve read.

As we follow the love story of Kostas and Defne, who find young and forbidden love before civil war breaks out in Cyprus, and the effects it has on Ada their child as a teenager. I was immediately drawn to these characters because they are so real. They way Elif shows how the past trauma can carry on for generations is so poignant. You can feel Ada yearning to know more about parts of her. I also have a special place in my heart for Yusuf and Yiorgos, a gay couple who run The Happy Fig Kostas and Defne meeting spot. I always love to see LGBTQ+ representation in books, especially when it’s this well done. But did I expect anything less from Elif? No, no I did not.

Another thing Elif captures in the book is humanity and connection. Through characters and world conflicts, Elif captures the importance of connections to others, to where we come from and to ourselves. She conveys the complexity and lasting effects for the people living through wars, both those who stayed and fled, in the most profound and heartbreaking ways.

Partly narrated by the The Fig Tree, Elif reminds us how important and how connected we are to the natural world. I have to say I really loved these sections, they were my favourite of the book. It’s fiction writing at its finest. The way Elif had an animals visiting the tree and how they moved the narrative forward really is something special.

Although the book deals with Civil War and loss, it’s also full of hope. It’s a reminder to live life with an open heart, an open mind and to be accepting of joy in your life. It’s a book that has so much depth to it and so many layers.

There’s no denying the Elif is a master storyteller. She captures the complexities and nuances of the human spirit like no other author. It’s remarkable. By the end of the book I was smiling and it brings a smile to my face to even think of the book. It’s the kind of book I was telling my friends about at work, the kind of book I couldn’t wait to get home and read, the kind of book I’m looking forward to reading again.

There’s no doubt this will be in my top 10 books of the year.

Until the next review

Jthbooks