If you’ve been around the book blog or Booktube world, for any length of time, then you will be familiar with wrap ups. They’re generally monthly, but they can be other frequencies as well – quarterly tends to be popular, as are end of year wrap ups. I’m not sure yet if I want to continue to post monthly wrap ups, or if I want to post them less frequently, but we shall see how it goes.
After having a very successful reading month in April with the Magical Readathon, May was borderline a reading slump. I’ve still been watching/listening to a fair amount of YouTube, so I haven’t listened to as many audiobooks as normal, and right up until the last week of the month, I could not bring myself to pick up an e-book or a physical book. I didn’t know what I wanted to read, and I had zero motivation. I still managed to have a not bad reading month, and I finally read a book at the end of the month that seems to have snapped me out of my slump… so here’s to hoping for an even better June!
The Books I Finished in May
Audiobooks = 3
E-books = 2
1. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle (2 Stars, Audiobook)
I was so disappointed with this book. Years ago I read a later book in this series and I can remember enjoying it, but never pursued reading more of the series. So, when I found the first book available as an audiobook at my library, I was excited to give it a try. I don’t know if it’s a matter of the series getting better as it progresses, or if this is a series that doesn’t hold up across the years or the way that I have changed and grown as a reader, but there was too much that bothered me and not enough enjoyable about the story to balance it out.
The book is dated in its language and some of its themes, and there was a lot that made me cringe. I am generally willing to provide a certain amount of leeway to account for the time in which a novel was written, but I had a hard time doing that in this case. And quite frankly, other than the information about coffee included throughout, the story itself was not engaging enough for me to overlook the many things that I didn’t like. I doubt that I will read more in this series.
2. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (4 Stars, Audiobook)
I originally gave this book 3 Stars on Goodreads, but on looking back, I think it’s closer to a 3.5 or a 4. This is the second book in The Dresden Files series, and I am really enjoying the series so far. The series focuses on Harry Dresden – a wizard living in Chicago, who specializes in paranormal investigations and consultation. He also consults for the police department… or at least he did.The start of this book finds Harry dealing with some of the consequences of his actions in the first book, and on top of all that, it seems like Chicago might have a werewolf problem.
Harry is a man of many flaws, many of which he is starting to become more aware of over the course of this book. I can only hope his personal development will continue. The mystery in this instalment was solid, and well written – even more so than that of the first book – and I really enjoyed it. And I am thoroughly enjoying the mixture of mystery and fantasy. So far, this series is shaping up to be everything I hoped it would be.
3. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (4 Stars, E-book)
The blurb describes this book as “Steel Magnolias meets Dracula,” and though I’m not overly familiar with Steel Magnolias, I would say that’s not a bad description. This is the book that pulled me out of my reading slump. Instead of needing to force myself to pick it up, I absolutely couldn’t put it down. I was hooked from the first page to the last – even if it made me somewhat worried about a vampire crawling into my bedroom window.
I don’t read a lot of horror because I don’t like a lot of gore or gruesomeness, and I often find that the topics in horror novels make me uncomfortable outside of the creepiness. I don’t often like to read those types of topics, so I have a hard time finding horror that I want to read. Because of that, I want to make it very clear that this book dealt with some very uncomfortable and terrible topics, and it will not be for everyone. The bad things are condemned by the book and the characters within it, but it is still uncomfortable, and at times upsetting, to read.
This book was creepy, and uncomfortable, and infuriating, and it was supposed to be. But I enjoyed the story and the women who were the main characters, even if they also drove me nuts at times. And don’t even get me started on the husbands. Overall, this was a hit for me, and I absolutely loved how the author pitted his monster against a group of Southern housewives.
4. Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco (4 Stars, Audiobook)
This is the fourth and final book in the “Stalking the Jack the Ripper” series, and I loved it! I’m not going to go into too much detail, since it’s the 4th book in the series, and I don’t want to include any spoilers here. I am also planning on doing a spoiler free wrap up of the series next week. What I will say is that I think this was my favourite book of the series, and I am going to miss the characters very much. I will definitely be picking up whatever the author writes next.
This book takes us on a thrilling chase from New York to Chicago in search of a serial killer stalking the White City. Based on the true story of the White City Devil, which I did not know much about prior to now, this book has moved Erik Larson’s non-fiction Devil in the White City higher up on my TBR for sure. Set against the background of the World’s fair, and with the main characters facing just about as much drama in their personal lives as in their search for th killer, this book was definitely a wild ride. Stay tuned for my series wrap up coming soon.
5. Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale (3 Stars, E-book)
This was a nice, light, summery read. Set in a small, coastal town in Maine, this story feels like summer through and through. The main character, Babe, is in that last summer between High School and the rest of her life. And her summer is not going to go anything like what she had planned. Between having a major fall out with her best friends at the start of summer, and breaking her one rule of “never dating a summer boy,” her summer will be one to remember, even if she’s not sure she’ll enjoy the memories.
While not joining the ranks of my favourite YA contemporary romances, this was enjoyable and fun. I had a hard time getting used to the main character’s name being “Babe”, which is a silly complaint, but it took me at least the first half to get used to it, and before that it was very distracting. I also wish that there had been a bit more depth to the characters. I always felt they were holding me at arms length, and I didn’t get as drawn into their lives as I would have liked. But overall, it was an enjoyable and fun read. I think this would be the perfect beach read.
Those are all the books that I have in May. Though there was one book that I really didn’t enjoy, overall I think that I had success with the books that I ended up reading. I think my favourite book from this month would have to be Capturing the Devil.
What about you? What was your favourite book that you read in May? Do you enjoy reading wrap ups? Or do you prefer to read individual book reviews? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,