Now that we’ve reached the very beginning of September, it’s about time to recap the books that I purchased last month, and I’ve had quite a successful month for books in August.

My purchases this month include (want to read about a particular book in the haul? Click the links below to take you to each section):

  1. Eva Dolan’s Long Way Home
  2. Ian McEwan’s The Cement Garden
  3. Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea
  4. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
  5. Ilona Andrews’ Magic Breaks

 1.  I picked up Eva Dolan’s Long Way Home in a second hand bookshop in LLandudno at the very beginning of the month when visiting for my OH’s birthday. I’d never heard of it before so imagine my surprise when I discovered it was only published this year, with the paperback only being released in June.  I’m not sure it’s ever been read from the look of the pristine spine.

Long Way Home is the first book in a major new crime series.  Follow Detectives Zigic and Ferreira from the Hate Crimes Unit as they try to solve the murder of a man burned alive in a shed. There’s no fingerprints and no witnesses, only a positive ID of the victim.

Eva Dolan will be speaking with Oliver Harris as part of the Manchester Literature Festival on Friday 10th October at Manchester Central Library at 1:00pm.

 2.  Ian McEwan’s The Cement Garden was a gift from my brother.  I’ve read Atonement so he thought I might enjoy this novel too, if you can call McEwan’s writing ‘enjoyable’.

After the death of both their mother and father, four children attempt to avoid being put into foster care by concealing their mother’s death. Encasing her in a tomb of cement, they hide in their basement and try to continue life as normal.

Like I said, ‘enjoyable’ is perhaps not the best way to describe novels by Ian McEwan, but I’m looking forward to how he deals with such a macabre story.  The Cement Garden was his first novel and published in 1978.  In 1993 a film was made starring Charlotte Gainsbourg.

3.  I’ve never read any Hemingway, so I thought that The Old Man and the Sea might be a good place to start. It’s a little novel, so I thought it’d be something to fill a spare hour or so that I have in a day and now and I can say that I have, in fact, read some Hemingway.

Santiago has gone 84 days without catching any fish, he is considered to have the worst kind of unluckiness. So unlucky is he considered that his young apprentice, Manolin, is forbidden by his parents to sale with Santiago.

Manolin, faithful to the old man, returns to Santiago’s shack that night to bring him food and to talk about baseball, and his favourite player Joe DiMaggio.  Santiago tells Manolin that his unlucky streak is almost over and that tomorrow he will go out to fish. So, on the 85th day he does just that and there he has an encounter with a large fish, a marlin.

It doesn’t sound all that exciting, but I’m not sure how you can sell a novel about fishing in an exciting way? This is definitely one of those books that you can’t judge by it’s cover.

4.  I LOVE Neil Gaiman’s writing but I’ve never read American Gods, despite my best friend recommending it to me at least 10 times since it was published. I finally decided to purchase it when I was in my local independent bookshop with said best friend just a couple of weekends ago.

Gods exist. People believe that they do so they do. Immigrants bought their Gods to America when they landed but in recent years their power has diminished as the world and it’s people move onto new Gods; media, technology, celebrity and drugs. Follow recently released convict Shadow and his employee Mr Wednesday as they travel across America visiting Mr Wednesday’s unusual colleagues and acquaintances.

If you liked this then you’ll love Gaiman’s Sandman comics. If you’ve never heard of those then you’ve been living in a box”! I seriously recommend Sandman and am in no doubt that I am going to love American Gods too.

5.  Last but not least, I have Ilona Andrews’ Magic Breaks. I had this on pre-order and it came to me on the very first day of the month. I’ve just finished catching up on the rest of the Kate Daniels series, which I have really enjoyed and can’t wait to start on the most recent addition.

Kate Daniels lives in post-shift Atlanta; in a world where magic comes in great waves, wiping out technology as it comes, gnawing at skyscrapers and bringing with it mythical beings once confined to the imagination. As quickly as a magic wave hits, it can be gone again, leaving technology in charge once again, rendering magical beings inert for the time being. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found dead at the Conclave, a meeting of the heads of different supernatural factions, Kate is given 24 hours to hunt down the killer.

Urban fantasy meets, post apocalyptic crossed with detective style first person commentary and there’s some sexy werecreatures in there too. I’m not one for sparkly vampires, but a few buff werecats taking their shirts off every now and then is fine by me.

Leave a comment below letting me know what books you’ve been buying this month. Reviews for all of these books will follow over the coming weeks. Until then, Happy Reading!