Thursday 3 June 2021

May 2021 Reading Wrap Up

May seems to have flown by but it also kinda dragged in places but that's probably because I got ill (again!) therefore the amount I actually read wasn't as much as I wanted it to be. Saying that I am close to finishing three books at the time of writing this (the 2nd) so it kind of picked up in the last few days of the month. I'm taking part in Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon in June so fingers crossed I get plenty of reading done as the weather picks up.


The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

This middle grade fantasy started out so promising what with all the fairytale theming, the fact that the characters destinies were switched and the banter between Agatha and Sophie all seemed like this would be the perfect book for me. The worldbuilding is super fun, I loved how different fairytales and different cliches were used to create contrasting classes, rooms and the backstories for some of the secondary characters. It just lost me in the second half. It definitely didn't need to be as long as it did (544 pages is a LOT for a middle grade) because it started becoming slightly repetitive and the pacing went askew. I was also disappointed in the romantic subplot as there was definitely more chemistry between Agatha and Sophie and I couldn't understand why they kept fighting over the princely character who's name I can't remember... 
I'd be up for continuing the series and I'm interested in the upcoming adaptation too.    

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett

I read the absolutely stunning MinaLima edition with the beautiful colour illustrations and interactive elements which may have upped my rating slightly as it became such an immersive reading experience. This children's classic has such a magical and whimsical feel to it. I've never been one for gardening myself but if I could have a hidden one like in the book (along with my own Dickon!)  I think I could reconsider. I also love Mary's character development from sullen and spoilt to full of wonder and love for her friends and her garden. This is definitely a product of it's time though as the language used and the casual racism can be uncomfortable to read. I also think this is a pretty sophisticated children's book as even I struggled with the Yorkshire dialogue and the slow pacing at times.

Incredible Doom (Volume 1) by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden      

This was my first ever physical ARC (thank you HarperCollins!!) so I was more then excited to dive in to this contemporary style graphic novel set in the 90's and focusing on teens and the early years of the internet. I'm still pretty new to graphic novels so take my rating with a pinch of salt due to my unfamiliarity with this format. It definitely has an interesting premise and the characters are fun to follow. I had some issues with the dialogue feeling unrealistic at times and one of the storylines feeling more developed then the other. The art style is the best part for me though as it just fits so well with the time period and themes. You can read my full review here.      

What Makes Us by Rafi Mittlefehldt

I finally got round to reading one of my oldest ARC's on Netgalley 🙌 and it honestly surpassed my expectations. This is a contemporary YA novel that mainly follows Eran, an Israeli teen, who's involvement in a protest that turns violent sets of a chain reaction and he eventually unearths some hidden secrets about his father's association with a terrorist attack. We also have two other POV's in here too, Devorah (Eran's mother) and Jade, one of his classmated who's family has secrets of their own. This was really fast paced with fascinating commentary on religion, family and the prejudice people hold against others. It's by no means perfect but it will definitely get you thinking about how much we judge someone based on the actions of their family.   

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman     

A murdery mystery set in a retirement village? Exactly my cup of tea. I love a good cozy mystery and this did not disappoint on any level. I LOVED the British humour, the characters were all so real like they felt like somebody's grandma/grandad. Richard Osman really nailed the voice and characteristics of the elderly characters and the main group of four were equal parts adorable and a force to be reckoned with. The mystery kept me guessing and it was just so much fun to see the characters reaching conclusions for all the clues they'd gathered. If you like a more lighthearted, witty side to your mysteries rather then the dark grittiness you often find then I think you'll really enjoy this one. I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment. 

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry  

The final book I finished in May was this collection of Greek myths that I listened to as an audiobook. This was definitely the way to go as Stephen Fry is just an excellent narrator and his voice really brings these stories to life. It took me most of the month though because this book is long. Like 15 hours long! It's a great introduction for someone with little knowledge of Greek myths AKA me, as Stephen Fry adds plenty of humour and energy into every tale making it plenty accessible. Because of the length I did find myself tuning out a few times though although that may be because audiobooks are still a format I'm adjusting too. Overall, it's a highly entertaining audiobook with a modern way of storytelling. 

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