Wednesday, 31 May 2017

What I Read in May 2017 – Wrap Up & Mini Reviews

While I post book reviews on this blog, I actually read more in a month than I can cover in a weekly review and I thought it was high time to start with monthly reading round-ups, so all the books I've had the pleasure to enjoy that month can be spotlighted on here! This post marks the first monthly wrap up and is a real mix of adult reads (fiction and non-fiction), young adult and even children's. Out of the books I read in May my favourites were When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly ♥



A Thousand Lights Hotel by Emylia Hall (Headline Review)

From the moment I read Emylia Hall's debut The Book of Summers in 2012 I've been enchanted by her melodic way of storytelling, her words and stories entrancing me from the very first page. One of her biggest strengths has always been her incredible sense of place, and in The Thousand Lights Hotel the zesty yet sweet scent of the Italian lemons practically leapt of the pages throughout the novel as I journeyed alongside main character's Kit on her discovery of family and self. With some truly unexpected turns of events and a really interesting mix of core and side characters, this is yet another gorgeous read that will transport the reader to a place that feels exciting and wondrous through the pure magic of Emylia's words. 4 stars. Buy here.


Then. Now. Always. by Isabelle Broom (Michael Joseph)

After A Year and a Year, this is another beautiful piece of writing by Isabelle Broom that upon turning the final page will make you want to pack up your bags and explore a gorgeous part of the world that wasn't necessarily on your to-visit list before. The sense of place in Isabelle's books is incredible too, and combined with an enthralling story and a great mix of characters she has created a stonkin', sunny summer read. 4 stars. Buy here.


When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (Vintage)

When Paul Kalanithi is diagnosed with incurable cancer he not only views and feels the harrowing diagnosis from a patient's point of view, but from an expert's one as well. Having nearly completed his training to become a neurosurgeon he knows all too well the faith that lies ahead of him. His lifetime fascination with the human psyche and the meaning of life suddenly gets an entirely different perspective and he's on the clock trying to figure out what path is the right one for him in his considerably shortened life. Doctor? Writer? Father? With the clock thinking this was a hugely powerful and fascinating read, as Kalanithi's clinical observations blended with the emotional and personal. Its inevitable ending didn't make those final pages any less impactful, merely making the reader more acutely aware of their own mortality. Twenty year plans shouldn't be the be all and and all, Kalantithi was forced to realise, and his journey and decision are now captured forever within the pages of his inspirational book. 5 stars. Buy here.


Tin Man by Sarah Winman (Tinder Press)

This is a beautiful little tome about friendship, love and mortality. There is something lovely about such a short read that allows you to merely dip in and out of someone else's life for such a brief moment, and yet I do wish this novel had delved more into the aftermath of its current ending as there were some questions left unanswered. Other than that it was wonderful; beautifully written, thought provoking and raw, it is a story that celebrates first love and childhood friendships, among the hardships of growing up and adulthood. 4 stars. Buy here.



Show Stopper by Hayley Barker (Scholastic)

I was really looking forward to reading this book as it sounded somewhat similar to Caraval, the best novel I read in 2016. Unfortunately, while the dystopian future it's set in is an interesting one, I found all of the characters too unlikeable, and the situations they ended up in described too extreme and gory to enjoy it. I definitely understand the author's intentions but sometimes you don't have to detail everything to get the horror of a situation across, instead there should've been more of a focus on character development to make this an engrossing read from start to finish. 2.5 stars. Buy here.


The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chickenhouse)

I was very excited to read this novel after falling in love with Kiran's debut The Girl of Ink and Stars and wasn't disappointed. Equally beautifully written with a touch of magical realism, this is a book that tugs at the heartstrings as it deals with mental health, loss and acceptance in the most enlightening of ways. 4.5 stars. (Read my full review here.) Buy here.


Room Empty by Sarah Mussi (Oneworld Publishers)

Dystopian novel Breakdown by Sarah Mussi was one of my most surprising YA discoveries in recent years so I was excited to read another book by Sarah's hand. Unfortunately Room Empty wasn't what I hoped it'd be. The self-centred main character was annoying instead of interesting and with a collision of issues within a single book there was just too much going on (almost like a tick box YA to hit all of the popular topics), not allowing time to develop any one of them. 2 stars. Buy here.


Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly (Hot Key Books)

I can't believe it took me so long to read this book after Trouble is a Friend of Mine because it was absolutely brilliant! I loved being back with Zoe, Digby, Felix and the gang super sleuthing like Veronica Mars. On top of that there were plenty of developments that gave me the warm and fuzzies ♥ This is easily one of the best contemporary teen series out there right now, and really should get more recognition for its ace characters, hilarious escapades, and witty dialogue. I loved it so much I won't even grumble over its open ending, just bring on the next one already! 5 stars. Buy here.



Have you read any of the above books? And what have you read in May? Let me know in the comments below!


4 comments:

  1. Ah no, gutted Showstopper didn't live up to expectations!

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    1. Yes such a shame, you know how excited I was! Hope you enjoy it more. x

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  2. The island at the end of everything sounds great! Awesome to hear that you loved Caraval as I hope to read it soon! So happy to have discovered your blog, off to subscribe. Liv, www.thatfictionlife.co.uk

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    1. It's a beautiful novel, and rooted in real life historic events too making it even more remarkable.

      And thanks for your kind words, hope you enjoy my future posts too :)

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