Hello lovelies! How are you? I hope you had a really lovely May! I know I already talked about this in my April wrap up, but May was definitley not my best month in terms of blogging. I took an unplanned break and my schedule hasn’t the most consistent. I’m hoping June will be better and I think it will, cause I have a lot of fun Pride themed post I’m really excited about! My reading month was slightly better than my blogging month, but only slightly. I read 16 books, but only a couple that I really loved and I think I’ve set the record for the most 2-star reads in one month. So let’s hope my reading will also be better it June!
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
From my notes: (Yes, I do take notes. Yes, I know it doesn’t show) this whole ass book is just one big, beautiful celebration of female friendship. Now you know why my notes aren’t helpful. But this book truly is a celebration of female friendships, there’s no slut shaming, no girl hate, no pitting girls against each other for no good reason. Instead there’s a fantastic cast of smart, witty, incredible teenage girls and a heartwarming story about making new friends in unexpected places and accepting that friendships sometimes change and evolve. I love everything about it.
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Oh look, it’s another Emma Mills book. How surprising. This one follows Sloane, who befriends a pair of twins and becomes part of their tight knit group of friends, after moving to a new town. There’s a whole plot about Sophie searching for a painting by the twin’s dead mother so she can return it to them, which was honestly so pointless and boring to me. But that’s the magic of Emma Mills! I can actively dislike a major plot point in her book and it’s still a 5 star book for me, cause that’s how well she writes her characters, their relationships and interactions. I’d read a whole book about them going to the grocery store an LOVE IT. Also how could I not love a book with a dad who becomes obsessed with gay fan fiction? Inconceivable.
The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The End of Loneliness is a story about three siblings who are orphaned as children, told from the point of view of the youngest brother. This was so beautiful, in a quiet, understated way. It could’ve been very bleak, considering all the loss and grief the characters endure – but it has too much heart to be an entirely soul crushing read. I haven’t watched This Is Us, but based on one trailer and other people’s tweets about crying, I think this book might be the literary equivalent to that show.
“We should all find something to be weirdly passionate about, don’t you think?” -This Adventure Ends
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Everyone hates this books so much and that’s exactly why I love it. It’s a series of, not even unfortunate, just really mediocre events in the lives of a group of girls in their 20s. They get drunk, they work jobs that hate, they date guys they don’t like, they judge people, they get dumped, they eat summer sausage and complain about their hangovers. But they also pursue their dreams, fall in love, support each other and start families. They’re flawed, they’re not always likable, they’re almost painfully ordinary – and I love that. I also deeply appreciate Jennifer Close’s dry sense of humor, which is probably a prerequisite for enjoying this book
If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I was fully expecting this book to be a 5-star read. It’s got an unlikable teenage girl protagonist, a Clueless-like high school setting, an enemies to friends plot and even a Perks style Rocky Horror moment. So I was having a fabulous time, until things got a little messy. It was as if authors weren’t sure how to solve the protagonists inner conflict, so they decided… not to. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the main character flip flops so much. She’d change her mind about her own motivations depending on the day of week and who was speaking. But even though I had some issues with this, I still think it’s a really fun, cute and enjoyable contemporary. And I adored the female friendships.
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I listen to this on audiobook and I really enjoyed it. It’s mostly a memoir about Steinem’s life on the road, as a child in a nomadic family and as a traveling journalist and political activist. I found some sections, especially the ones about her family and her experiences working for the women’s movement absolutely riveting. Steinem’s voice is warm, engaging, interesting and wise. The only thing I wasn’t as engaged by was the section on various political campaigns she’s worked on over the years, as a Non-American reader American politics don’t hold the universal appeal Americans seem to think it does.
“The road is messy in the way that real life is messy. It leads us out of denial and into reality, out of theory and into practice, out of caution and into action, out of statistics and into stories—in short, out of our heads and into our hearts.” -My Life On the Road
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ⭐⭐⭐
This was a good read, that could’ve been great if it’d had a less anticlimactic ending. I’m not going to spoil anything, but my biggest problem with this was that certain story lines which are given a lot of page time are pretty irrelevant to the actual mystery. Which in hindsight makes the pacing seem off and the book a lot longer than it needed to be.
The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby ⭐⭐⭐
This book follows an influencer after she quits social media and decides to hike the John Muir trail. I was really excited to read a book that explores identity and authenticity in the age of social media and while it did, I wish it’d dug a little deeper. Which pretty much sums up my whole reading experience, I always wanted a little bit more. Like when the protagonist befriends a group of hikers on the trail, I never get a real sense of their dynamic and they never stopped feeling like extras. And for the love of Artemis and Athena what was the point of that bland, underdeveloped romance? Is there an actual law preventing writers from not putting romance in their book? Cause that’s the only way I can make sense of this.
The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood ⭐⭐⭐
This was a really cute and fun, summery read about fours sisters. I loved the quirky small town setting, which truly earned it’s Stars Hollow comparison. I could vividly picture the main street with it’s cat cafe, book store and Mexican restaurant and I love that all the businesses were run by grandmothers. But four narratives in a 400 page book is just too much. Each sister had her own distinct voice and personality, but none of their stories felt fully developed or naturally paced. And that’s a shame, cause the stories were good – they just needed more time.
The Blackhouse by Peter May ⭐⭐⭐
This book should be called How To Kill a Guga Bird, cause the author sure does describes it in enough detail to make Melville look like a guy who was kind of into whales. People also get killed, in only slightly less graphic detail. I know I’m being sarcastic, but I actually liked this one. I like that it’s a crime book that’s like 50% coming of age story, 30% wildlife documentary and only 20% criminal investigation. Turns out that’s the ideal amount of crime to put in crime book if you want me to enjoy it.
The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco ⭐⭐⭐
I actually cared enough about this series to finish it within a reasonable time, which makes it even more disappointing that I didn’t like the conclusion. Since the beginning this story’s been split into two separate timelines, one where the protagonist tells her tale to a bard and one where we watch the evens of the past play out. I enjoyed this narrative choice in the first books. but when consecutive chapters describe battles where the same characters fight against the same enemy – it becomes increasingly difficult to separate the timelines. The constant back and forth robbed the plot of tension and kept me from truly connecting with the characters.
I still love my pretty monster children, though.
Robots vs. Fairies by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe ⭐⭐⭐
I’ve been reading this book SINCE MARCH 2018. All I can say is that I deeply underestimated how little I care about robots. Every other story in this book is about robots. Every time I got to one, I put the book down for a month. I realize this isn’t the books fault, but who else am I going to blame? Myself? Unlikely. Most of the fairy stories where really interesting takes on fairy lore though!
“Even as a child, I noticed that Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz spent her entire time trying to get back home to Kansas, and Alice in Wonderland dreamed her long adventure, then woke up just in time for tea” -My Life On the Road
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead ⭐⭐
I came for the female friendship and nearly left when I saw all the girl hate and petty high school drama. I knew this wouldn’t be my new favorite series and let’s be honest – I probably won’t read another one of these. But at least now I can agree with everyone when they say that this series is better than Twilight. Mead’s vampires make a lot more sense and the protagonist has agency, beyond wanting to kiss a boy.
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet ⭐⭐
On one level, I enjoyed this. It’s a fun fantasy story. I liked most of the characters and the world building was a little light, but pretty interesting and different. What ruined it for me was the toxic romance between a kidnapper and his victim, the lack of consent in several intimate scenes and (less serious, but still ridiculous) a 20-something character repeatedly exclaiming Yuck! or Gross! after being kissed against her will, as if that were a sensible reaction to sexual assault. I can’t.
The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman ⭐⭐
Listen, I was expecting a gayer version of The Raven Boys. This book reminds me more of one of the messier season of The Vampire Diaries. It gets bonus posts for having a diverse cast and I do love Harper, cause angry girls are the best, but mostly I found this one very forgettable.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith ⭐⭐
I knew there was a reason I’ve never read any Zadie Smith. I should’ve kept it up. I don’t know even know what to say about this book. It’s boring and I don’t like it. If there was a plot, I’ve already forgotten it.
Was May a good reading month for you?
What’s your favorite May read?