Let me start off by saying that May was a month of re-energizing. I think I needed a break after all the Dewey pre-readathon and readathon activities. In addition to that, I also participated in two other readathons: OWLs and Spring into Horror. So while I read nine books, three of those were short stories/novellas, and one was a poetry collection, giving me really only 5 longer books (and one of those I had started reading in March, lol). Anyway, I am still happy with my accomplishments, partly because I branched out to a new genre: True Crime, and partly because three of my books were ARCs and that counts toward my ARCs to review goal of 2018. I also started two audiobooks in May (The Boy on the Bridge and Eleonor Oliphant Is Completely Fine) that I am making my way through and should finish soon. I am still working on my slow-read of short stories by Tom Hanks, Salem’s Lot (which I had to pause in between because my library Kindle copy expired), and The Great Gatsby to add to my 1001 books goal. For June, I decided to focus on books that either fulfill my Popsugar Reading Challenge goals or count toward the Sci-fi Summer readathon hosted by Seasons of Reading.
Now that I rambled on enough, here are my reviews for May!
***SPOILERS POSSIBLE *NOTE: UNDERLINED TITLES WERE SHOPPED FROM MY OWN SHELF
The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov) ♠♠♠♠
When I found this book while looking through the 1001-books-list, I knew I had to read it – a satire about the Soviet Union – duh! I was a bit nervous about the style (satire) as I struggled with Catch-22, which in fact I have never finished reading, and my predictions were correct. This was a difficult and slow read for me. There were times I flew through 50 pages and really got into the book, and then there were times I read 10 pages and had to stop because I got sleepy. Overall, though, I loved the story and could really relate to the things Mikhail Bulgakov made fun of. I think I would quite enjoy watching this story as a play! I am glad I read it and might do so again in the future, for nostalgic reasons and such.
You’ll enjoy this book if you: know a little (or a lot) about the Soviet Union, like political satire, enjoy a story with devious characters such as satan
Nope on this book if you: don’t understand sarcasm because this novel is dripping with it
The Key to Every Thing (Pat Schmatz) ♠♠♠
This book felt like you just turned on the TV in the middle of a movie and just started watching – you are a bit lost on the characters’ pasts, you don’t really understand all the inter-relationship issues and events, and you don’t quite know if you’re supposed to like or hate a specific character. Honestly, the story itself is interesting and the characters are unique but I felt lost most of the time and that hindered me to really care about anything in the book.
This book is for you: if you’re the target audience (middle grade) – adults need to know too much about the how and why to get into the story
Skip it if you are: older than 16
the sun and her flowers (Rupi Kaur) ♠♠♠♠♠
on the last day of love
my heart cracked inside my body
i spent the entire night
casting spells to bring you back
Hauntingly beautiful. Grotesquely raw. Rupi Kaur didn’t disappoint with her follow up to Milk & Honey.
This poetry collection is for you if you enjoy: a good and ugly cry, feminism, going from swooning to being angry in seconds
This poetry collection is not for you if you: have been living under a rock and have never felt heartbroken/sad/mistreated
Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice) ♠♠♠♠
I cannot believe it took me so long to pick up a book by the famous Anne Rice! I gotta say I am a fan, now. I’ve always loved the movie and thus reading this book was a given. Her writing fits the plot perfectly. Her characters are well developed and complex, and the settings of a vampire world in New Orleans, Eastern Europe, and Paris are magical. I think I am going to read the second book soon, though I am a bit afraid I’ll go down a rabbit hole with this series – there are so many books! Not a terrible problem to have though 😉
Read this if you like: vampires, a bit erotic romance
Don’t read it if you are: looking for a fast-paced vampire story
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark (Michelle McNamara) ♠♠♠♠♠
Well, well, well. This was a treat! I flew through the pages. This book gives you not just insight into the Golden State Killer but also Michelle McNamara’s obsession with true crime and her struggle to manage work and family. I loved the way she wrote this book: half memoir and half factual accounts of the mind and doings of a serial killer. Her prose is also all kinds of special – it really takes a lot for me to get hooked on non-fiction.
Devour this story if you: love creepy serial killer accounts, seek to understand the minds of other people
This book is not for you if you: get scared easily, can’t read about murder
late night partners (Fennel Steuer) ♠♠♠
The vampire theme continues with this novella. I gotta say the author is very talented. His writing is descriptive and eloquent. The characters are diverse, and I have never come across a black vampire as protagonist before. I loved the urbanization of this old tale of vampirism! The biggest issue I had with this book was that it was too laden with descriptions, which was too the detriment of the plot. I wanted a bit more action.
This will be a quick read for you if you: enjoy modern vampire stories, are looking for diverse characters
Avoid this book if you: need a lot of plot
Jurassic, Florida (Hunter Shea) ♠♠♠♠
Giant iguanas. Gore. Characters being eaten alive left and right. Townspeople turning on each other. A teenaged female mayor. A lesbian couple. Old wise men. Young wannabes. This book has it all. I loved it. Hunter Shea did not disappoint with this novella. And I personally found the characters in this book much, much more believable than the ones in Fury of the Orcas, which I read last month. Also, that cover art is spectacular and perfect for the book!
This is the perfect read for you if you: love b-rated 60s horror movies
Don’t even try if you: cannot take gore or giant iguanas as main characters
The Outsider (Stephen King) ♠♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
Guys, I am still swooning hard about this book. King remains King. I know lots of avid King readers didn’t like Sleeping Beauties (though I really did) but I hope we can all agree that this book is amazing and that King is back/did it again/is still the old King we know and love. The first half of the book is probably one of the most gripping thrillers I’ve ever read. The crime is despicable. Beloved characters are slaughtered off by the author that your heart brakes with every page turned. You have no idea who to believe. Everyone is a suspect. Your mind is reeling with ideas and hypothesis on what’s actually going on. And honestly, I wouldn’t have been mad had King not gotten into the supernatural but kept it as a thriller throughout. But, as is clear from my previous statement, the second half becomes paranormal and full of horror through and through. True, it’s not entirely new what King presents here but his antihero/villain is creepy, reminds me of the force behind IT, and seems basically undefeatable – which are all perfect King elements. I loved learning about the outsider. I loved the chase through the cavern system. I loved Holly as a female lead in the second half. What I didn’t love was the fairly rushed ending. How is it possible that wordy King time and time again just sort of vomits out the ending onto paper? This has always bugged me a bit about his writing style. Here, it’s not super detrimental because the whole novel felt perfectly edited and each word appeared to be important for the story but I am still deducting 1/2 spade from an otherwise amazing piece of literary work.
P.S.: There are some Bill Hodges trilogy spoilers in this book. So, if you want to read those, read them first. If you don’t, you don’t need to read them to understand this novel or understand the character Holly.
Stop what you’re doing and open this book if you: love Stephen King, are looking for the old King in a new book, have never read Stephen King, enjoy being scared
This story is not for you if you: get upset about gruesome murders (involving minors), get scared too easily
Laurie (Stephen King) ♠♠♠♠♠♠
Who would’ve thought King can write a heartwarming story of redemption, grief, and animal love? I did! But what I didn’t think was that he could do it oh so well. This short story was simply lovely and I wished it would be longer.
Read it it’s free and very short!