Thursday 2 June 2022

May 2022 Reading Wrap Up

I'm extremely happy to say that I had a really successful reading month in May and read a total of 11 books. A lot of this is down to taking part in Becca and the Books 48-hour readathon where I read three books over a weekend and has given me a surge of reading energy since. I'd say quality wise it was pretty good too, no five stars but mostly 4-star ratings with a few 3 and then a sneaky 1 star as well. I'm hoping that June will be just as good with my participation in the Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon and Clear Ur Shit readathons happening month long.     


I've been struggling with audiobooks recently. I can't seem to concentrate on what I'm listening to and I'm finding my mind wandering which leads to missing chunks of the story. From what I remember a young boy called Ludlow Fitch arrives in a small English village and is taken on as an assistant by the local pawnbroker. He quickly discovers that his employer deals in secrets, trading them for money and keeping them all written down in a closely guarded book.      

I know that I liked the atmosphere of the book, it felt historical with the village setting and characters but it had a magical undertone to it as well. I enjoyed the way it was written (most chapters are titled 'taken from the memoirs of Ludlow Fitch) and I liked listening to the individual stories and secrets of each of the villagers. It was well told, the characters were fine and the plot progressed well. It was an interesting read for what it was and had a lot to say about human nature and how we carry our guilt and regrets. 

Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth

The dreaded one-star rating. This just wasn't a book for me, unfortunately. I was hoping for something similar to Ghosts by Dolly Alderton but instead, it was a vapid look at a woman in her 30'30ss obsessed with social media. I strongly disliked the main character, Jenny was egocentric and revolves her life around her Instagram account and if one account, in particular, has noticed her. She neglects all the relationships in her life, in the end, I wasn't surprised in the least when they all collapsed around her. 

The writing itself was fine but being inside Jenny's head got tiresome very quickly. During all of the passive-aggressive draft emails and outbursts that happened; I wanted to scream at her that she was the one in the wrong in this situation and to get a grip on herself. I'm not cutting myself off from this author but let's hope that if I pick up another of her books, it's a better experience than this one. 

Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard     

A fun YA thriller that follows two teenage girls as they fake their deaths and set off to make a fresh start but ultimately leave behind them a string of crimes that threaten their plans. I really liked our two MCs; Maude and Frankie, both intelligent and resourceful in their quest for freedom. My downside with this book was the believability as by the last quarter we were delving into everything becoming too convenient for me. I was lucky to take part in a blog tour for this one so if you want a more in-depth review you can read it here.  

Whispering to Witches by Anna Dale

A re-read for me and a childhood favourite! I first read this book when I was around 12/13 and adored it but over the years I seem to have misplaced my copy so I ordered a new one from a second-hand site. When it arrived I knew I wanted to pick it up again and see if the magic was still there. And it was! 
I loved Joe and Twiggy, their magical adventure, and the wintery vibes (bit odd reading a book set during Christmas in May). The plot is so well done for a middle grade and I really enjoyed seeing which parts I remembered and which plot points only came back to me as I was reading them. Overall, a really fun and engaging witchy book that still holds up and has inspired me to pick up more of my childhood favourites.      

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie 

I listened to the BBC Radio 4 dramatization from the 90's so it's not technically the full novel as it was just the dialogue between the characters with no description or anything but it still counts, right? I mean it was available on my library app so... I went to see the film version last year in the cinema and I enjoyed it. The voice actors for this radio production were phenomenal though, it's so well produced and definitely holds up 25 years later. Obviously, I knew the plot and conclusion but I still had a good time listening to this version and I definitely want to read more Agatha Christie in the future. 

My favourite part about going to the library is being able to just grab random books off the shelf without needing to know anything about it. I grabbed this one because it was short and I liked the lake on the cover, that simple! Set in the Toronto wilderness, Hummingbird is a novel about loss and moving forward that had wonderful descriptions of the setting and harsh environment. Zack finds his quiet life on the lake disrupted by the arrival of a neighbour's niece and her mission to discover the wreckage of the plane crash that killed her parents. The characters don't feel developed enough but I'm putting that down to this book being less than 200 pages. Overall, a quick read with lovely prose. 

Medusa: The Girl Behind the Myth by Jessie Burton   

My first book for the 48-hour readathon for the prompts a book under 300 pages and a book with gods, which I combined together. It's just luck that I had this sitting on my library pile when the prompts got released so I immediately picked it up! This is a really enchanting retelling of the story of Medusa interspersed with gorgeous illustrations by Olivia Lomenech-Gill. Burton captures the classic feel of the story perfectly and gives it a fresh voice, relating Medusa's situation with those feeling like they have to hide parts of themselves. It reinforces the message that we all feel lonely, about surrounding yourself with people who don't want to change you and that happiness and strength is found within. 

Blackbird by Natalia Gomes      

My second read for the prompts; an eBook or audiobook & a book with a colour in the title. Let me tell you I searched for ages for a book to fit both of these prompts and eventually had to renew my Scribd subscription to do so (yes, I was committed to this readathon!). It also took me forever to find this book on Goodreads as it was under a different author name then the one listed on Scribd! 

Anyway, the actual book was a YA mystery revolving around the murder of the MC's sister. Alex is determined to discover who killed Olivia and involves herself in the investigation but did she know her sister as well as she thought? This book was fine, in most senses of the word. There's nothing overtly wrong with it but at the same time it does nothing new or interesting. The plot was pretty predictable, I worked out most of the mystery early on in the book and could tell easily tell what would happen next. It was also a little misleading opening with the whole 5000 blackbirds died on the same night as my sister went missing (it even mentions it on the cover!) but the blackbirds have absolutely nothing to do with the plot afterwards. I thought it was going to be a major plot point but it's not. I breezed through it but it didn't leave a lasting impression.        

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland 

The last book I completed, for the prompts a YA book & a book with creepy vibes. This was such a gruesome, horror filled book that had me gripped very early on. Following three sisters who go missing for a month during their childhood and return with otherworldly looks and abilities. Jumping to present day, the oldest sister has gone missing and her siblings set out to find her, revealing impossible truths about their original disappearance. 

The body horror in here is *chefs kiss*. I didn't realised this was something I liked in horror but I was equal parts horrified and captivated by the descriptions. I loved the premise, the characters, the journey they go on. The banter between Tyler and Vivi was hilarious and lightened the mood at vital times. The dark fairy tale/fable vibes were just my cup of tea and I read it as fast as humanly possible. 

What I Was by Meg Rosoff

I've now read four Meg Rosoff book and this one is probably going into the number 3 spot in terms of ranking. I adore Rosoff's writing so much and it's still impeccable here but I wasn't blown away by the characters and this is a very character driven story. Our MC has moved to a new boys boarding school (I think it's set in the 50s/60s but it's not specified) and finds himself forging a friendship with a boy who lives on the nearby beach. 
The pacing is pretty slow and I didn't feel like I got much out of the plot. The writing had me reading on but the overall story never really got going. 

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen    

I've only read a couple of books by Sarah Dessen now but she's definitely an author I want to keep exploring. Her books are perfect summery beach reads and are a nice blend of contemporary and romance. This is her latest and follows Emma Saylor who is sent to stay with her deceased mother's family for a few summer weeks and reconnects with her relatives and childhood friends whilst discovering her mother's past. I enjoyed the story for what it was, it didn't blow me away but I had a good time and the romance between Saylor and Roo was so sweet although I would have liked it to have been explored just a bit more. 

What did you read in May? Have you read any of these? Leave a comment below. Happy Reading!       

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