What I read over the summer break

Hi everyone, this post he’s about the books I read during my summer vacation. I suppose you think how can she possibly have read anything else? Well friends, the thing is you sometimes need a little extra to sort of ‘cleanse’ the reading palette. If this has intrigued you, why not press the button below.

So like I said I was reading manuscripts for that children’s fiction award judging panel and boy did I quite a lot to get through. The time I would have spent just reading random books decreased. Mind you, I didn’t mean that I didn’t read anything. I managed to find pockets of time  to read some of my selections for March along with a few of the new titles I had placed on request some months ago!!

I’ve selected for your reading a trio of books that I enjoyed the most. 

cover image is light beige with orange swirly patters running through large multi-coloured letters Emma Straub This time tomorrow.
An engaging read

Title: This time tomorrow

Author: Emma Straub

Genre: Adult Fiction

Publication details: Riverhead Books; NY, 2022

What this book is about: On the eve of her fortieth birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, romantic status, and her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But something is missing. Her father, a single parent who raised her, is ailing and out of reach. How did they get here so fast? Did she take too much for granted along the way?  When Alice wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, living her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her highschool crush –  it’s her dad, the vital, charming 49-year- old version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her life and some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything you would change if you could?  With her  celebrated humour insight heart beloved New York Times best selling author Emma Straub offers her own twist on traditional timetable talks and a different kind of love story –  above the lifelong reverberating relationship between a parent. 

My review:  What a mesmerising and gripping read this was! I hadn’t read an adult time travel storage quite like this since I dread the time traveler’s wife! Reminiscent of the theme of the movie 13 going on 30 but more like 40 going 16 –  backwards! Straub’s buildup in the beginning of Alice’s character is quite striking. I found myself comparing my own life to her as I was an adolescent in 1996. The events that conspired as she consequently changed her timeline are expertly crafted and woven together. I enjoyed getting to know Alice, her father and friend Sam. I don’t know why but the irony of her father being a writer known for a time travel novel and TV series was not very significant for me. For me I guess it was the relationship Alice has with him. A really interesting read by a best-selling author! I’m looking forward to the imminent movie adaptation directed by Jason Moore!! 

cover image is bright green with snaking white path running from top to bottom with cartoon style people walking along it. dark blue letters at top reads The Art of Flaneuring.
An interesting read

Title: The Art of Flaneuring: how to wander with intention and discover a better life

Author: Erika Owen

Genre: Adult – self-help

Publication details: Tiller Press; NY, 2019

What this book is about: Have you ever been walking home from work and spontaneously taken a different path to learn more about your neighbourhood?  Or have you been on a vacation and walked around a new city without an itinerary?  Then chances are you’re a flaneur and you didn’t even know it! Originally used to describe a well-to-do French man who would stroll city streets in the 19th century, “flaneur” has evolved to generally mean someone who wanders with intention. But even if you have already embraced being a flaneur did you know that flanneuring has benefits beyond  satisfying your wanderlust?  In this book discover the many ways flanneuring can spark creativity, support  a more mindful mentality and improve your overall well-being. With this fun and practical guide  you can learn how to channel your inner lanyard and cultivate more creative, fulfilling, and mindful everyday life. 

My review: An interesting read! Filled with lots of techniques and tips that anyone can use to ‘flaneur’ in their daily life. I love how she talks about the female flaneurs that emerged in a very male-dominated hobby. The practical nature of this to our modern times and how to flaneur safely for us women was one I felt quite happy about. Being someone from an Asian background we don’t ever walk by ourselves and the concept of flaneuring seems quite radical but inspiring! I loved the handysize and the way each chapter was structured. The cute drawings added another layer and the little image of the girl holding an ice cream ‘walking’ from page to page added a whimsical layer to it!

cover image of large grotesque face of clown on right of image with clowns with balloons in front of it. background and buildings in purple-pink or grey. large yellow letters at top reads Empty smiles.
Small Spaces series

Title: Empty Smiles

Author: Katherine Arden

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Publication details: G.P. Putnam’s Sons; NY, 2022

What this book is about: It’s been three months since Ollie made a daring deal with the smiling man to save those she loved and then vanished without a trace. The smiling man promised Coco, Brian, and Phil that they’d have a chance to save her, but as time goes by, they begin to worry that the smiling man lied to them and  Holly is gone forever. But finally. a clue surfaces. A boy who went missing at a nearby travelling carnival appears at the town swimming hole, terrified and rambling. He tells anyone  who will listen about the mysterious man who took him. How the man agreed to let him go if he delivers a message: Play if you dare. Game on! The smiling man has finally made his move. Now it’s Coco, Brian, and Phil’s turn to make theirs. And then adjust where to start. The travelling carnival is coming to Evansburg. Meanwhile Ollie is trapped In the world behind the mist, learning the horrifying secrets of the smiling man’s carnival, and trying to help her friends find her. Brian, Coco, and Phil will risk everything to rescue Ollie –  but they soon realise this game is much more dangerous than the ones before.  This time the smiling man is Playing for Keeps. The summer nights are short and Ollie, Coco, Brian, and Phil have only until sunrise to beat him once and for all – or it’s game over for everyone. 

My review: The fourth and final installment of the Small Spaces quartet was anything less than terrifying and exciting in equal measures! Mystery and suspense gripped me at every chapter to a most thrilling end! We get to see more of Coco’s courage and Brian and Phil’s problem solving. The parents have a bit more in this story and the different layers of the story finally unwind and give us an amazing ending. I really loved this despite the fact that I had to spend daylight hours reading it all!

I hope you all enjoyed these reads. 

Stay safe and keep reading

Miss Mahee

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