Reading · To Be Read

June TBR

For the first time since lockdown begun, in May I started reading a lot of fiction again. Up until then I found it really difficult to get into stories, mainly because they felt so dislocated from our ‘new normal’. But in May, I began using reading as a escape again (a throwback to the good old days of hiding in the school library to escape bullies!)

All this reading has led me to the decision that planning a To Be Read would be a Very Good Idea, not only to keep track of everything I’m reading, but also to ensure that I actually take some time off work and read for fun. SO, these are the books I’m hoping to read this month. (Disclaimer–some of these books are e-arcs I was kindly given by publishers, but all my reviews will be, as always, honest!)

The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery

Sometimes at the darkest hour, Hope shines the brightest… undefined

When Col’s childhood imaginary friends come to life, he discovers a world where myths and legends are real. Accompanied by his guardians – a six-foot tiger, a badger in a waistcoat and a miniature knight – Col must travel to Blitz-bombed London to save his sister. But there are darker forces at work, even than the Nazi bombings.

Soon Col is pursued by the terrifying Midwinter King, who is determined to bring an eternal darkness down over everything…

Middle grade fantasy is my kryptonite, so I am VERY excited to read this. I love the idea of imaginary friends and I adore a book that centres sibling relationships. I’ve never read any of Ross Montgomery’s works before, but I’ve been meaning to, so I’m excited to get to this.

Kidnap on the Californian Comet: Adventures on Trains #2 by M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

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After his adventure on the Highland Falcon, amateur sleuth Hal Beck is excited to embark on another journey with his journalist uncle. This time, they’re set to ride the historic California Comet from Chicago to San Francisco.

Hal mostly keeps to himself on the trip, feeling homesick and out of place in America. But he soon finds himself drawn into another mystery when the young daughter of a billionaire tech entrepreneur goes missing!

Along with new friends—spunky 13-year-old Mason and his younger sister, Hadley—Hal races against the clock to find the missing girl before the California Comet reaches its final destination.

I am a big fan of Maya’s Beetle Boy series, and I LOVED the first book in this imaginative fun-filled series! I can’t wait to dive back into Hal’s world and solve a mystery or two.

The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

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Aleja whiles away her days in her family’s dusty tavern in Seville, dreaming of distant lands and believing in the kind of magic that she’s only ever read about in books. After all, she’s always being told that girls can’t be explorers.

But her life is changed forever when adventure comes for her in the form of a fabled vessel called the Ship of Shadows. Crewed by a band of ruthless women, with cabin walls dripping with secrets, the ship has sailed right out of a legend. And it wants Aleja.

Once on board its shadowy deck, she begins to realize that the sea holds more secrets than she ever could have imagined. The crew are desperately seeking something, and their path will take them through treacherous waters and force them to confront nightmare creatures and pitch-dark magic. It will take all of Aleja’s strength and courage to gain the trust of her fellow pirates – and discover what they are risking everything to find.

GIRL PIRATES?!! Sign me the heck up. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say about this one.

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn

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London, 1887

After burying her spinster aunt, orphaned Veronica Speedwell is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as with fending off admirers, Veronica intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans when Veronica thwarts her own attempted abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, who offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker, a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. But before the baron can reveal what he knows of the plot against her, he is found murdered—leaving Veronica and Stoker on the run from an elusive assailant as wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

This series keeps popping up on social media and it sounds RIGHT up my street so after a stressful week I decided to treat myself to it.

Gargantis (The Legends of Eerie-on-Sea #2) by Thomas Taylor

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In the second fantasy set in Eerie-on-Sea, Herbert and Violet team up to solve the mystery of the Gargantis — an ancient creature of the deep with the power to create life-threatening storms.

There’s a storm brewing over Eerie-on-Sea, and the fisherfolk say a monster is the cause. Someone has woken the ancient Gargantis, who sleeps in the watery caves beneath this spooky seaside town where legends have a habit of coming to life. It seems the Gargantis is looking for something: a treasure stolen from her underwater lair. And it just might be in the Lost-and-Foundery at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, in the care of one Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder. With the help of the daring Violet Parma, ever-reliable Herbie will do his best to figure out what the Gargantis wants and who stole her treasure in the first place. In a town full of suspicious, secretive characters, it could be anyone!

This is another one in the ‘I read and loved the first book, so obviously I’m reading the second’ bag, Malamander was so much fun, and the intricately plotted mystery and mythological underpinnings completely drew me in. I’m very excited to see what Herbie and Violet get up to next!

Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

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Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

This is the only non-fiction I’ve planned to read this month and it is research for a WIP I’ve only just started! YAY WRITING PRODUCTIVITY. (TBH, even if this wasn’t for book research I’d still read it–it sounds fascinating!)

SO, those are the books I’m hoping to read this month. What’s on your TBR?

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