2018 has been flying by recently but my god, wasn’t May a long month? I don’t know if it is just me who feels this way, but I felt like May went on for an eternity. When I sat down to start writing this post, it felt like my April Reads where published forever ago. I can’t wait for June. Not only will the 1st mark a year until we get married (eeeek!), I also am attending the Blogosphere Awards since I am nominated for Book Influencer of The Year which still feels so surreal. On top of the ceremony and flying visit to London, we are off to see The Rolling Stones who are one of my favourite bands of all time. So many exciting things are happening but before we get on with the sixth month of the year, it’s time to get the show on the road and share what I read in May.
This is a re-read for me and is one of my favourite books. There is just something about Mitch Albom’s writing that I find so magical and comforting. This book follows Eddie, an old war veteran working as an engineer for a theme park who dies in a tragic accident. When Eddie reaches heaven, he meets five different people – some strangers, some people who he knew – who share with him how he touched their life. I absolutely love the concept of this. How cool would that be if that were the case when you died? It’s a charming book that gets you thinking about life, death and how you touch other people’s lives.
This is my second read by Celeste Ng, and all I can say about this book is WOW. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a week or two after reading it, and that is when I know a book has really given me all the feels. Lydia Lee is the favourite child of both Marilyn and James Lee. When her body is found in a local lake, her family are distraught and are on the hunt for answers. This is a raw, candid book about how grief affects a whole family and that sometimes, it’s what isn’t said that speaks loudest. Out of Celeste Ng’s novels, this is easily my favourite. It’s beautiful, haunting and engrossing.
Soon to be a movie starring Kerry Washington, The Perfect Mother is a perfect summer read. The May Mothers are a group of new mums who meet up weekly in a park in Brooklyn to talk about everything motherhood with their babies in tow. When the ladies are on a night out at a local bar, Winnie’s son Midas is abducted from his crib. The May Mothers are completely distraught and make it their mission to help in Midas’s disappearance as much as possible. But just how well do they know Winnie? Along with the tale of Midas’s disappearance, The Perfect Mother also encompasses female friendship in a similar style to Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies – a TV series I adored! It gave me my quick fix, and I can’t wait to see the movie. It has great twists and turns but what stands out is the friendship dynamic between all the woman within the book. A must read.
I think most people who follow me on social media will have seen me raving about this book. It is hands down the most gripping, dark, creepy book I’ve read in a while. This is another engrossing read I can’t recommend enough. You can find a more in-depth review on my blog here.
I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt quite recently and instantly fell in love with her writing. I could even say that I think it might make the cut as one of my favourite books of all time which is a very bold but accurate statement. Hype has always surrounded the Goldfinch and I had high expectations. It’s a helluva chunky read at 771 pages. The book follows Theo, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker who loses his mum in a tragic accident. All he has to remind him of her is a painting his mother was fond of – a portrait of a goldfinch. The story unfolds as Theo grows up, the different places he lives and eventually, his place in the criminal underworld. I enjoyed this book, but for me, something was missing. Personally, I didn’t think it lived up to the hype, and there were massive chunks in the book that could easily have been left out. I’m glad I read it to form my own opinion but it fell flat, and it’s not something I would ever re-read.
My only YA read of this month was The Astonishing Colour Of After. I’d seen this book a lot on Instagram as it was one of the Book Of The Month selections for April and I was very intrigued by the story. Our main character, Leigh, tragically loses her mum to suicide. As she comes to term with the loss of her mother, she begins to see a bird and believes this is her mum in afterlife form. When her mother’s parents, who she has never met, invite her to Taiwan, Leigh goes in search of finding this magical bird, to learn more about her mother’s upbringing and bond with her grandparents. The book has a lyrical prose which made for a beautiful read, but for me, it was just average. It felt too teeny for me – I’d say despite the themes of suicide and grief, this book is more for the 15/16 age mark.
Ugh. This book was probably my most anticipated read for May, and I couldn’t wait to start it once it arrived but boy, what a letdown this was. I’d seen so many of my favourite book bloggers rate this on GoodReads, and it sounded like something that was right up my street. Tilda and Felix seem like the perfect couple. To the world, they appear to be a match made in heaven, but there is more than meets the eye. Tilda’s sister, Callie, is deeply concerned for her sister and tries to uncover what really goes on behind closed doors in her sister’s relationship. She joins an internet support forum for victims of abuse and begins to get obsessive over her sister’s safety. I personally didn’t like any of the characters in this book. I found them all to be incredibly bland and couldn’t gel with a single one. The book felt a little repetitive and boring at times, and there wasn’t really any huge twist for me. Easily the most disappointing book from May.
Meg Woiltzer is an author I’ve heard so much about and her new release, A Female Persuasion, has been all over bookstagram. It is on my TBR list for June, but when I managed to get The Wife for just £2.99 on the Kindle store, I decided it was best to acquaint myself with her work before I dived into a book as controversial as A Female Persuasion. This is the first line of the book, and it instantly had me gripped:
“The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquillity. Just like our marriage.”
Joan Castleman is onboard a flight to Finland with her husband, Joseph, for him to receive a literary award for his writing. Joan is unhappy in her marriage and begins to tell the tale of how their relationship developed, the ups and downs of their marriage and how she has settled on divorcing her husband. I found Woiltzer’s writing completely addictive and found myself rooting for Joan all the way. It gave a great insight into marriage and included a twist I didn’t see coming. I’m looking forward to picking up The Female Persuasion in June and hope it is as gripping as The Wife.
WOW. This book was recommended to me by my fellow bookstagrammer @booksforbrunch, and it is the best recommendation I have had in a long, long time. I don’t read much historical fiction, but when I do, I find myself engrossed in the stories. Pachinko was absolutely no exception, and it is hands down, one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read. The book follows four generations of the one family. When Sunja becomes pregnant by a married member of the Yakuza, her pregnancy will bring great shame to her family. Her mother, a widow who runs a boarding house, can’t believe how foolish her daughter has been. When a lodger at the boarding house – a Christian minister – offers to marry Sunja and take her to Japan, she agrees. Set from between 1910 to 1989, we follow her journey from Korea to life in Osaka and her children’s stories and paths. It is a mesmerising, heartbreaking, vivid read that I just couldn’t put down. I rarely re-read books, but this is one I will definitely pick up again in the future. There are absolutely outstanding ratings and reviews online about Pachinko, and they are very much deserved. All I can say is read this and believe the hype – it really is worth it!
I have lots planned in June, so I don’t think I’ll be able to read quite as much as I managed to in May but I have a great to be read stack so I know I won’t be lacking inspiration – just time. We’ve had great weather lately, very rare for Scotland, so I’m hoping it sticks around. Reading in the sunshine is one of my favourite things in the world. Have you read any of these books? What have you got planned to read in June? As always I love to know what you’re reading. You can comment below or tweet me @amysbookshelf_ or Instagram me at @amysbookshelf. Thanks for reading!