20 Books of Summer 2019

Not usually one who joins in with memes, challenges and the like I spotted this one devised by Cathy at 746Books and have taken part for the last three years. I think I’ve only made it once!

Cathy is hoping to read 20 books between 3 June and 3 September, meaning she has the mammoth task of reading about 7 books a month. You can read about the challenge on Cathy’s excellent blog here.

I think I’m doomed to failure before I start but I need to make a dent in the TBR and this challenge gives me the push I need. I’ve selected 10 books and I’m allowing myself 10 wildcards so that I can choose my read as my fickle taste dictates. I may swap some of these out if I change my mind or find I can’t read them. I may even swap a lengthy book for a shorter one if I’m running out of time. Some are books I’ve agreed to review or are future releases, others simply because they caught my eye when I was scanning the TBR. The trouble is, when I was scanning the TBR I found loads I wanted to read straight away. I had narrowed it down to 38 and I’m still wavering as I type so I may end up reading 20 completely different books!

I’ll be reviewing all of the books I manage to read and I’ll be using the 20 books of Summer logo picture on each one. I’ll also link back to my reviews on here so I can keep track of how many I have read.

Here’s what I’ve picked (I’ll add the wildcard reads as I pick them)…

1. Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso

In Old London, where paranormal races co-exist with ordinary humans, criminal verdicts delivered by the all-seeing Heralds of Justice are infallible. After a man is declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death, his daughter turns to private investigator Yannia Wilde to do the impossible and prove the Heralds wrong.

Yannia has escaped a restrictive life in the Wild Folk conclave where she was raised, but her origins mark her as an outsider in the city. Those origins lend her the sensory abilities of all of nature. Yet Yannia is lonely and struggling to adapt to life in the city. The case could be the break she needs. She enlists the help of her only friend, a Bird Shaman named Karrion, and together they accept the challenge of proving a guilty man innocent.

So begins a breathless race against time and against all conceivable odds. Can Yannia and Karrion save a man who has been judged infallibly guilty?

2. The Reading Cure by Laura Freeman

At the age of fourteen, Laura Freeman was diagnosed with anorexia. But even when recovery seemed impossible, the one appetite she never lost was her love of reading. Slowly, book by book, Laura re-discovered how to enjoy food – and life – through literature.

Read but still to review

3. Toffee by Sarah Crossan

I am not who I say I am.
Marla isn’t who she thinks she is.

I am a girl trying to forget.
Marla is a woman trying to remember.

Allison has run away from home and with nowhere to live finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there – and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee.

Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be.

But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself –where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?

You can read my review here.

4. Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson

Pieta has a secret.
Ten years ago, Pieta was kidnapped by a man calling himself The Blindfolder who said he wouldn’t kill her if she kept her eyes closed for 48 hours. She never told anyone what happened to her, vowing to move on with her life. But when The Blindfolder starts hunting down his past victims, Pieta realises she may finally be forced to tell her deepest secret to stay alive . . .

Jody has a secret.
Fifteen years ago, policewoman Jody made a terrible mistake that resulted in a serial killer known as The Blindfolder escaping justice. When Jody discovers journalist Pieta survived an attack by him, she realises she may finally have found a way to catch him. But that would mean endangering at least two innocent people . . .

They kept quiet to protect themselves.
Will telling all save or sacrifice each other?

5. The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme

This book about Thomas and Jane Carlyle’s life together at 5 (now 24) Cheyne Row, Chelsea was written in the 1960s by a former actress who was then living there as co-custodian of the house with her husband. The Carlyles at Home evokes everyday life from the day the Carlyles moved in, in 1834, until Jane’s death in 1866. Each of the eleven chapters describes different aspects of the house, whether it is yet another builders’ drama or a maid giving birth in the china closet while ‘Mr Carlyle was taking tea in the dining-room with Miss Jewsbury talking to him!!! Just a thin small door between!

Read but still to review

6. Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost.
Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

Read but still to review

7. House of Glass by Susan Fletcher

June 1914 and a young woman – Clara Waterfield – is summoned to a large stone house in Gloucestershire. Her task: to fill a greenhouse with exotic plants from Kew Gardens, to create a private paradise for the owner of Shadowbrook. Yet, on arrival, Clara hears rumours: something is wrong with this quiet, wisteria-covered house. Its gardens are filled with foxgloves, hydrangea and roses; it has lily-ponds, a croquet lawn – and the marvellous new glasshouse awaits her. But the house itself feels unloved. Its rooms are shuttered, or empty. The owner is mostly absent; the housekeeper and maids seem afraid. And soon, Clara understands their fear: for something – or someone – is walking through the house at night. In the height of summer, she finds herself drawn deeper into Shadowbrook’s dark interior – and into the secrets that violently haunt this house. Nothing – not even the men who claim they wish to help her – is quite what it seems.

8. The Plotters by Un-Su Kim

Plotters are just pawns like us. A request comes in and they draw up the plans. There’s someone above them who tells them what to do. And above that person is another plotter telling them what to do. You think that if you go up there with a knife and stab the person at the very top, that’ll fix everything. But no-one’s there. It’s just an empty chair.

Reseng was raised by cantankerous Old Raccoon in the Library of Dogs. To anyone asking, it’s just an ordinary library. To anyone in the know, it’s a hub for Seoul’s organised crime, and a place where contract killings are plotted and planned. So it’s no surprise that Reseng has grown up to become one of the best hitmen in Seoul. He takes orders from the plotters, carries out his grim duties, and comforts himself afterwards with copious quantities of beer and his two cats, Desk and Lampshade.

But after he takes pity on a target and lets her die how she chooses, he finds his every move is being watched. Is he finally about to fall victim to his own game? And why does that new female librarian at the library act so strangely? Is he looking for his enemies in all the wrong places? Could he be at the centre of a plot bigger than anything he’s ever known?

9. Hudon’s Kill by Paddy Hirsch

New York, 1803. The expanding city is rife with tension, and violence simmers on every street as black and Irish gangs fight for control. When a young girl is found brutally murdered, Marshal Justy Flanagan must find the killer before a mob takes the law into their own hands.

Kerry O’Toole, Justy’s friend and ally, decides to pursue her own inquiries into the girl’s murder. When they each find their way into a shadowy community on the fringes of the city, Justy and Kerry encounter a treacherous web of political conspiracy and criminal enterprise. As events dangerously escalate, they must fight to save not only the city, but also themselves…


10. Surfeit of Suspects by George Bellairs.

You can read my review here.

11. Birthday Girl by Huraki Murakami

You can read my review here.

12. Perusasion (half of it anyway…)

13. Nothing to Report by Carola Oman


Let me know if you are joining in or if you’ve read any of my choices. And do feel free to suggest any books to fit one of the wildcard slots.


15 Comments Add yours

  1. I think having ten wild cards is a really good idea! And i must get that Carlyles Persephone!


    1. janetemson says:

      I’m very much a mood reader so I can guarantee that I would end up not wanting to read any if I only had a set list to read from 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m joining again this year and definitely swap some books along the way. I love the look of the Dorothy Koomson!


    1. janetemson says:

      Good luck! I’ll keep a look out for your reviews and progress 🙂


  3. I shall look forward to your reviews of The Carlyles at Home and House of Glass as I’m interested in both of those myself. I’ve read Fallible Justice and it wasn’t quite my genre, although I think it was well written and a good story.


    1. janetemson says:

      Fallible Justice isn’t my usual genre but I thought I’d challenge myself 🙂 I’m particularly looking forward to The Carlyles at Home.


  4. Kate W says:

    I’m using this challenge as a way of tackling the stack of books I already own but know that my eye will wander over the course of the three months (not helped by the Melbourne Writers Festival in August!). Good luck with your challenge!


    1. janetemson says:

      Good idea. I’ve tried to get a mix as I’m behind on all my reading. Good luck with your challenge too, and the added challenge of the Writers Festival!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good luck! I’m having the same problem you had – narrowing down the list of books that I’m most keen to read. I think I’ve got 60 on it at the moment so need to whittle that down. I like your plan on aiming for ten and having ten wildcards, I might do something similar. I hope you enjoy all of the books you read this summer! 🙂


  6. Thanks for joining in Janet – I like your wild card strategy! I’m really keen to read The Plotters so look forward to hearing what you think x


  7. priscilla says:

    Don’t think of yourself as fickle…just think of yourself as too curious about all the books! Ha, at least that’s what I tell myself (I’ve failed this challenge twice). I’ve not heard of a thing on your list, but so many of them look good! More for the TBR (and next year’s challenge?).


    1. janetemson says:

      That’s a good way to look at it 🙂


  8. Jules_Writes says:

    Great choice of books – Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors, I’m looking forward to your review.

    Happy Reading!

    I’m joining in too – https://onemoreword.uk/2019/06/02/20-books-of-summer-2019-20booksofsummer-amreading-books-summer/


    1. janetemson says:

      Thank you. You’ve chosen a fabulous range of books. Hope you enjoy them all 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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