It never fails to astound me when I come to sit and write these monthly posts…how can another month have gone by already?! We are now halfway through the year and I am so not prepared for it to be June! That said, I do also love rounding up what I have read each month, especially when I have picked up so many great books. It was always going to be tricky to top April and although I didn’t read as many books, I read some amazing ones in May. Which more than makes up for it all in my opinion. Quality over quantity…isn’t that a famous saying?!
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
This was, hands down, my favourite book of the month. It is a YA fantasy book which is the first in a trilogy and has been a highly anticipated read for me for the longest time. I always had in my head that it was Celtic-inspired and I definitely got those vibes from it which was right up my street. We follow the story of Finnikin, a young man who is an exile from his country, Lumatere, along with a number of other people after a curse was cast. The Lumateran royal family has been murdered, an imposter king sits on the throne and half the population of Lumatere are trapped outside the curse, and half are trapped on the inside. Finnikin is working with an ambassador to try and find a permanent place for the exiles to rebuild but then a mysterious girl shows up who claims that Finnikin is key in the removal of the curse and the eventual freeing of Lumatere. This is very much a coming of age story but I loved how easy it was to read and how you could just hit the ground running with reading it. I’d definitely recommend this if you like YA fantasy which has great characters but doesn’t dive too heavily into complex world-building.
The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
I read The Passenger when I had my wisdom teeth removed and although it served its purpose as I couldn’t have handled any thing more complex, I was a little letdown by this book. It is a suspense thriller in which a woman goes on the run when her husband falls down the stairs and dies. She believes that she will be accused of his murder and as the story goes on, we begin to discover that she might be running from more than it first appeared. The book was easy to read but I found the protagonist hard to like (I’m not a fan of unreliable narrators in general) but what really felt flat for me was the ‘big reveal’ at the end. I’ll be honest, I was expecting something a little more and I felt it could have been better executed. I can’t say that I’ve read many suspense thrillers but this one wasn’t for me.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Bookish Mamas pick for the month of May, as a huge fan of The Nightingale, this was another highly anticipated release and read for me. It is set during the 1970s and is about the Allbright family who move to the unforgiving Alaska to try and create a new life for themselves. Dad, Ernt, is a POW from Vietnam and suffers from PTSD and there is some abuse between Ernt and his wife and daughter which could be a trigger so is worth bearing in mind. Kristin Hannah definitely weaved her magic with this story and the characters, which I’m beginning to think is her real strength as an author and I thought the setting was fantastic and definitely reflected the story we follow. I could say plenty more but I won’t as I think this is a journey worth going on as blind as possible. The plot overall was a little slow but the last few chapters really pack a punch and are worth waiting for.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This was my first Neil Gaiman book and I picked this one up to dip my toe in the waters of his writing so to speak as I have my eye on American Gods but that is a huge book by comparison! This is a strange little book about childhood memories and not much takes place in the present day. We meet our protagonist who has returned to his childhood home for a funeral. Whilst there he escapes to a place not far away, at the end of the lane, and there he is flooded with memories he had somehow buried and forgotten. This is magical realism at its best and I really enjoyed it.
Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce
I was sent an ARC copy of this book back in April and it’s one I had really been looking forward to picking up. Set during the Second World War we follow the story of Emmeline Lake, a young lady who dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent. Emmy answers an ad in a newspaper to work for one of the biggest publications of the time but once she arrives she discovers that she will actually be answering letters on behalf of a magazine’s stern agony aunt ‘Mrs Bird’. Mrs Bird doesn’t like anything slightly untoward and certainly nothing modern but Emmy finds herself moved by the letters and decides to start answering them herself. As you might imagine, this doesn’t quite go to plan and various things unfold from there. This is an entertaining read which I flew through, and although it does also have a sad story line running alongside, I enjoyed it immensely.
And that is it for the month of May! If you are a reader and want to know what I will be picking up in the month of June then you can see my TBR video here.