Monthly Roundup – July 2019

July has been a month of ups and downs with family life providing challenges as well as moments of pleasure and calm. Unlike many, it seems, I am enjoying the warm weather. Holidays in sunnier climes are no longer an option for me so heatwaves are the closest I get to the Mediterranean holidays I indulged in as a young, single woman. I wouldn’t swap my life now for how it was then but, for a time at least, it feels good to go outside and soak up the sun. In depth discussions on climate change are for another space. Suffice to say, I see few people radically changing their lifestyles.

I posted reviews for thirteen books this month. These included a poetry collection, a short story collection and one translated novel. Click on a cover below to find out more about the book. Click on the title to read my review.

Poetry to challenge

Poems of the Mare Nostrum / Costa Nostra by Arturo Desimone, published by Prote(s)xt (Hesterglock Press)

Translated Fiction

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland (translated by Rosie Hedger), published by Orenda Books

Short Stories

Melting Point by Baret Magarian, published by Salt

Reviews originally written for Bookmunch

This Brutal House by Niven Govinden, published by Dialogue Books
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls, published by Hodder & Stoughton


The early review I was requested to take down in April – until after the book was published – could finally be reposted. Ducks, Newburyport has garnered rave reviews across the mainstream media and social media. I’ve rarely seen a small publisher attain so much coverage. And then, last week, the Booker Prize longlist was announced and included this title. I am delighted for the author and for Galley Beggar Press. This is a huge deal for a small publisher. How wonderful it would be for them if Ducks could win.

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, published by Galley Beggar

The rest of these books reviewed were enjoyed, some more than others as will always be the case.

A Killing Sin by K.H. Irvine, published by Urbane Books
Turbulent Wake by Paul E. Hardisty, published by Orenda Books

The Carer by Deborah Moggach, published by Tinder Press
Expectation by Anna Hope, published by Doubleday

A Right Royal Face-Off by Simon Edge, published by Lightning Books
The Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen, published by Obliterati Press

There was one standout novel, The Far Field, which I am naming my Book of the Month. The Weighing of the Heart, for its lingering impressions, deserves an honourable mention.

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, published by Grove Press

Once again I did not attend any literary events in July despite being tempted by a few invitations. I’m not sure what needs to happen to rekindle my enthusiasm. Perhaps if home life becomes less demanding of my mental energy I may welcome the chance to be more sociable. Until then I will continue to support the bookish world on line, sharing thoughts on my own and other’s reading.

As ever I wish to thank the publishers who send me their titles to review – the arrival of a book parcel remains a cheering event in my day.

My thanks also to those who share my words across their social media platforms. Your continuing support is always appreciated.

4 comments on “Monthly Roundup – July 2019

  1. Sorry to hear home issues are a problem at the minute Jackie. I can relate to that! Hope the sum comes out for you again soon. It’s wet with lowering skies here this morning sadly…

  2. I was delighted to see Galley Beggar Press in the spotlight – I love the books they publish although the 1000 pages of Ducks is daunting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.