ARC REVIEW: That Burning Summer – by Lydia Syson

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Title: That Burning Summer
Author: Lydia Syson

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Romance
First published: January 24th 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Finished reading: January 8th 2017
Pages: 336
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“It wasn’t his strength he needed. Nerve. That was what had deserted him. Like water into sand, it had seeped away while he wasn’t looking, and left him drained.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Sky Pony Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I always enjoy reading historical fiction, especially if the story is set during or around WWII, so that explains why I found That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson an easy choice. I was really looking forward to another WWII story, but unfortunately I wasn’t too convinced by this one. I’m not saying it was a bad read, but it took me a long time to get a proper feel for the story and I struggled to focus on the plot. I cannot put my finger exactly on the why though… It might have been the tone, it might have been the pace, but it just wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. The premise of That Burning Summer is interesting even though I’ve read about characters hiding soldiers in the past. The Polish airman Henryk has an interesting background, but I felt the focus of this story was too much on the ‘childish’ romantic feelings between him and Peggy instead of what is happening in the war. That angle would have been much more interesting, especially since as far as I could tell the descriptions of the war are very accurate and seem well researched. Instead, both the childish feelings of Peggy for the soldier and her annoying little brother distracted from what could have been such an intriguing story. Most people seem to enjoy That Burning Summer though, so it might just have been me…

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It’s July 1940 and the soldiers are struggling to keep the war out of England. Then one day a plane crashes in the march somewhere on the south coast of England, and it is the sixteen-year-old Peggy who finds the pilot. She is supposed to report the event, but Peggy feels for the young Polish airman who is afraid to return to the fight. She decides to help him find a place to hide, and leads him to a remote and abandoned church. Peggy knows what she is doing is illegal and tries to keep it a secret… But it is turning out to be really hard to hide a soldier when her younger brother follows her everywhere and she has to steal food at home to feed him.

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I really wanted to enjoy That Burning Summer, but unfortunately my experience wasn’t as positive as I thought it would be. I’m having a hard time putting my finger exactly on the way, but I’m quite sure the ‘childish’ romance scenes and slow pace did have a lot to do with. The historical elements are great though and it’s nice to see a Polish airman playing such a big role in this story.


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #119 – January 11th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently almost finished with The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about this book and to be honest I was a bit afraid to pick it up, but the story has pleasantly surprised me so far. I like the main characters and the fact that they belong to different ethnicities rather than the typical stereotype ‘white-American’ main character. I guess as an immigrant in Argentina, I can really relate to some of the problems they have to face. As soon as I’ve finished it, I’m reading The Thankful by Jamie Campbell, an ARC set during WWII I’ve been meaning to read for a while now. I’m also still reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, but I haven’t been in the mood for classics so I’m not sure when I will actually finish it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first picked up The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, a title that has been recommended to me over and over again and wasn’t able to pick up before the end of 2016. And boy do I wish I would have read it sooner! I can understand why so many people seem to love this story, because I’m now one of them. I was a little worried about the amount of religious talk included when I first started about it, but that soon went to the background. The story is exceptionally well written and basically an emotional rollercoaster. What an excellent way to start 2017!
* I then read a pending short story ARC I have been meaning to for too long, Americosis Vol. 3 by Haydn Wilks. I had forgotten just how weird and messed up this story is! In one word MADNESS, although you have to be in the mood to absorb such an amount of crazy action and weirdness.
* Afterwards, I picked up one of my most-anticipated-2017 releases, The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, and it turned out to be just as good as I thought it would be. Well written, fast-paced, plot twists, suspense… Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and my first 5 star read this year.
* I then decided to pick up Mosquitoland by David Arnold on a whim; another title I have been wanting to read for a long time now. I literally flew through the pages, and enjoyed every single minute of the ride. Another well written story with interesting characters and (road trip) plot… Looks like I have been lucky with my reading choices so far!
* Next up was another pending ARC, That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson. I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially if they are set during or around WWII, but I wasn’t too convinced by this one. It took me a long time to get a proper feel for the story, although I cannot put my finger exactly on the why. It might have been the tone, it might have been the pace, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.
* The last book I picked up is You by Caroline Kepnes, a book that has been on my radar ever since I found out it had a serial killer element. I was so excited about this one, but to be honest I don’t understand why so many people seem to love this book. It might just be that this isn’t for me, but I had to make the tough decision to DNF it after only 5%. Between the annoying prose and constant swearing and sex talk/scenes, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have to Netgalley ARCs pending I want to get to first: Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey and Missing by Monty Marsden. I’m also searching for my next fantasy read, which will probably end up being Splintered by A.G. Howard since I’m in the mood for an Alice In Wonderland retelling. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.


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You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #118 – January 4th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have been wanting to read The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda ever since my request was first approved, and words cannot describe how excited I am to be reading this story. I’ve only just started it, but I can’t wait to continue! I’ve also finally picked up Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which was about time since I have been posponing it for WAY too long.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, a coming of age story and modern classic that had a truly unique voice. The main character Molly is without doubt one of the most interesting characters of the contemporary genre I’ve encountered last year.
* I then decided to pick up After You by Jojo Moyes on a whim, mostly to have one less series on my still-to-finish list. I confess I wasn’t too impressed by Me Before You unlike most others, and I think this sequel was quite unnecessary and a lot weaker than the first book. The plot felt forced and the daughter was REALLY annoying.
* I then finally finished Point Of No Return by Martha Gellhorn, a novel that was first published in 1948 and then republished last month. It was a very interesting historical fiction read, although it did read a bit slow and I thought there would be more focus on the concentration camps… That final part felt a bit rushed if you ask me.
* My last book of 2016 was Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, an audiobook and a classic I enjoyed a lot better than I thought I would. It’s my first experience with the sisters’ work, but I’m definitely going to try and read more!
* My first read of 2017 was actually a graphic novel and ARC I was looking forward to: Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen. I had a lot of fun reading it and it was really easy to connect to the stories.
* The last book I finished is Witness by Caroline Mitchell, which turned out to be a more than excellent psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m probably going to read Bird Box by Josh Malerman next, depending on which genre I’m in the mood for. I also have the ARC That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson on my list, as well as The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. And I finally have a new TBR jar pick: The Five Stages Of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson.

Friday Finds #103 – October 14th

fridayfindsmemeFRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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