Books & Reviews

5 Summer Reads for 2016

We’re halfway through summer but it doesn’t look like we’re going to be seeing much of the summertime weather any time soon. So whilst we’re stuck inside wishing for some sunshine, what better time to tuck into a good summer read and pretend we’re sitting by the pool or on the beach? So here’s a list of some of the best books I’ve read so far this summer, to get you in the holiday mood.

‘Distress Signals’ by Catherine Ryan Howard


Warning: if you’re dream holiday is on a cruise ship this might not be the book for you. When Adam Dunne’s girlfriend Sarah goes missing after a work trip to Barcelona, he begins to fear the worst. He can’t believe the stories her friend tells him about another man, and the note supposedly from Sarah left in his mailbox along with her passport only confuse him more. He decides to look into things himself and he finds out that Sarah was last seen on a cruise ship, The Celebrate. But the more he looks into the ship’s past the more worried he becomes. And when he meets a man who’s wife went missing under suspiciously similar circumstances he decides to pay a visit to The Celebrate himself. A well-written and gripping thriller that will have you itching to turn the pages. The ending is as surprising as it is distinctive, making this a fantastic read for fans of a unique thriller.

‘The Swimming Pool’ by Louise Candlish

An ominous tale about a woman who falls under the spell of a prettier, more glamourous neighbour. Natalie Steele is amazed when the new local ‘it’ girl, Lara Channing, takes a shine to her. She soon becomes captivated by the woman’s dazzling lifestyle and starts to ignore her own friends and husband in favour of seeing Lara. But something happened in Natalie’s past that she has spent years trying to forget, and as she lounges by the pool with Lara, she has to figure out if she has managed to put it behind her once and for all. Candlish has written a tense story about secrets and peer pressure.The claustrophobic and suffocating atmosphere creates a sense of foreboding throughout the book, so that the reader is constantly suspicious, but never quite sure what of. Natalie is an extremely unlikable character, acting selfish and shallow, but she is also easy to relate to. Her journey through the book as she tries to bury her past will have you engrossed till the last page.

‘The Girl From The Savoy’ by Hazel Gaynor

An elegant and dazzling book about a wannabe actress in London in the 1920’s. Dorothy ‘Dolly’ Lane has just started a job as a maid in the Savoy Hotel in London. she is excited, but her dreams of becoming an actress take up most of her thoughts. A chance encounter with a struggling musician leads her to Loretta May, a stage actress at the height of her career, and May takes her under her wing. The atmosphere of the 20’s is wonderfully captured in this book, both the excitement of the stage and the desperation that came in the aftermath of World War I. Both girls have pasts that they struggle to forget and futures that they are unsure of and must decide if they can give up one for the other. While it does come to nearly 500 pages, it’s well worth every single one if you’re looking for something with a bit of optimism to read this summer.

‘Little Bones’ by Sam Blake

Everyone loves a good police crime story and this one does not disappoint. Sam Blake’s debut novel, and the first in (fingers crossed) a series of books about Garda Catherine Connolly, hooks you from the very beginning. While investigating a break in at the home of Zoe Grant, Connolly comes across the gruesome discovery of a child’s bones sewn into the hem of a wedding dress on Zoe’s floor. The dress belonged to Zoe’s mother, who Zoe hasn’t seen for years. The only link to her mother is through her grandmother, Lavinia Grant. But when they find Lavinia dead of an apparent heart attack at the top of her stairs they have to figure out how else to find answers about the bones. A tense read that will have you gripped with every page. Blake manages to weave the main story with two others, an American criminal on the run in Ireland, and an elderly lady in London who can’t remember where she came from, without making it confusing or annoying. All the pieces of the puzzle come together satisfyingly at the end, while also leaving room to set up a new crime series that will definitely be enjoyable.

‘This Must Be The Place’ by Maggie O’ Farrell

I’m a big Maggie O’ Farrell fan. I loved ‘Instructions For A Heatwave’ for it’s simplicity and the way it dealt with relationships and people. ‘This Must Be The Place’ gives the same sort of insight into how people interact with each other. It’s a book about people and how they are affected by other people. Daniel Sullivan is a happily married man. He loves his wife Claudette, even if she can be a bit eccentric at times, and adores their two children, Marithe and Calvin. He tries to keep his life as uncomplicated as possible, even though he has children in California that he never sees, though wishes he could, and family in Brooklyn that he doesn’t speak to. Everything is going fine for him until he hears a voice on the radio that brings back memories he thought he had buried a long time ago. A voice that sends him on a trip to America and London in search of answers. But he has to figure out if the answers he wants are worth risking his life with Claudette and everything he cares about in Donegal. This book is an intimate portrait of a couple and the ways in which their pasts have a hold on their future. Both Daniel and Claudette have things they would rather stay in the past and they must figure out a way to stay together despite it all. O’ Farrell’s ability to write about real, believable relationships shines in this book and it will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. 

So these are some books I would recommend giving a go to get you through this rainy summer we seem destined to have. I’m sure they won’t disappoint.

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