As our list of contributors grows, so do these group book lists. We are reading TONS of different books this month! Take a look and make sure you have your TBR list open so you can add a few more 🙂
Fellow bloggers: This is a linkup! Link up your May post about what you’re reading or mini reviews, or even just a May book review you like. Look for this post and linkup every month going forward!
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley- My daughter and I read this as a read-aloud. I was familiar with it when I taught middle grade lit, but never read the whole thing. I didn’t realize how much I was missing! Ten-year-old Ada has spent her life watching the world from the window of her family’s one-room flat. Her mother refuses to let her leave because of her club foot. When her little brother, Jamie, is sent to the countryside to escape the threat of German bombs in London, Ada decides this is her chance to escape her cruel mother. When they reach Kent, Ada discovers a whole world she’d been missing and begins to realize she might be much more capable than she ever thought possible.
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez- I picked this up after falling in love with the cover and I’m so glad I did. I could spend ten minutes telling you the backstory of this action-packed, intricate, fictional world set in an alternate place and time, but I’ll just tell you that it is so good. Even though it’s fantasy, the story based on historical and political events from Bolivia. It’s filled with unique magic, unexpected love interests, sumptuous food descriptions, and super cool fight scenes. This was a perfect escape from my current world. I can’t wait for the second book, Woven in Starlight, to be released in December.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: I ordered it from Thrift Books a while back and started the Hulu series while I waited for it to arrive so I could compare the two simultaneously. The book is relatively short, so I expect there to be a lot of embellishment on the show’s part, I’m just hoping the additions jive with the book’s vibes so I don’t end up with a bad taste in my mouth.
So far, I love Celeste’s narrative tone and I really enjoy her descriptions of Shaker Heights. I just moved to Ohio, just an hour from Cleveland, so I’m enjoying the virtual tour while it’s not possible for me to explore the area myself.
I have to force myself to read these suburban drama, 300-page novels in moderation. They’re so addictive and there have been so many good ones in the last couple of years, and for some reason I find these perfection-obsessed mom characters to be SO fascinating. It’s fitting that Reese Witherspoon is playing that character on this show right after her role as essentially the same woman, Madeline McKenzie, in Big Little Lies. I think even if I hadn’t seen her on the show first, I’d imagine her as Elena Richardson anyway.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I picked up this book because I was lacking writing inspiration and who better to give advice than the king himself?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this as my experience with non-fiction is pretty limited. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to like non-fiction more and more. When I was younger, I didn’t relate to it because I hadn’t yet experienced enough of the world to appreciated others struggles.
This book begins with stories fro Stephen’s childhood which are both amusing and saddening. We go on to hear stories about his wife and kids and he talks about his financial struggles. More than that, he talks about his self-doubt as a writer and how his wife was instrumental in reinforcing his will to continue. He said if it wasn’t for her he might not have been successful. There is one part where he talks about three of the novels he wrote before Carrie: Rage, The Long Walk, and The Running Man. He says that The Long Walk may have been the best. I enjoyed that immensely because The Long Walk is my favourite Stephen King novel.
I liked this book because I find it inspiring to read about how people have overcome their struggles. He talks about his experience writing and selling Carrie and I actually got chills when he got the phone call telling him how much the rights to the book sold for. I might have actually teared up a little bit
His life story is honestly a little rough and dark so you have to be in the right mindset to read it but all in all, it was an incredible book!
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – true to my “cannot buy unless it’s on my TBR list”, I picked this copy up at my local bookstore (which is honestly a GEM) last winter, and just hadn’t had time to get to it. I’m loving the premise so far: a young girl has reiterations of her life, until her death or persistence, in each chapter. Pretty interesting!
Suffering in Silence by Jochen Schleese – I don’t usually write about my non-fiction horsey reads, but I think that continued development is really important for riders. As we become more knowledgeable about the sport, we can make better decisions for our health and our horses’. I own 2 Schleese saddles, because they are A) continually adjustable for horses developing in their musculature and B) designed in the balance for female riders, because we have different pelvis shapes.
I’m currently reading The Period Repair Manual by Dr. Lara Briden. It’s a guide on how to restore your bodies hormonal balance using natural treatments. It was recommended to me by a translator who specialises in women’s health and it has been really interesting so far. Lara’s explanations are easy to understand and give you clear information. So far, I’m enjoying it and I’ve learnt a lot of things already.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – The prequel to this trilogy, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, comes out the end of this month, so I am re-reading these. Suzanne Collins is an incredibly economic writer, not a single scene or word is wasted. There is absolutely NO slow sections. I am having so much fun with these!
Run Wild and Be by Sydney Zester – I am a runner but also am a writer. Lately I have been o b s e s s e d with finding authors who are runners as well. They are a somewhat rare breed! Sydney Zester is a poet and runner- also her Instagram (@runwildandbepoetry) is breathtaking in its own very distinct way, and not typically what is called “breathtaking” on Insta. Her poetry and essays were so resonant, not just about running and the great outdoors, but also about being a woman. Sydney Zester lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so yeah, I was sold.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami – In continuation of the writers-who-run streak, Murakami started running for exercise when he became a novelist. He now runs a marathon every year. This book is a series of essays about writing and creativity, and, of course, running – some of which he wrote while training to run the New York marathon for the first time.
I just finished The Bright Side of Going Dark by Kelly Harms. This is the author who wrote The Overdue Life of Amy Byler (review here), which I loved! I got to read an ARC of this one and was definitely excited about it. While it didn’t quite hit the same notes as Amy Byler, I did enjoy it overall. Basically, it’s about two characters who are both somehow addicted to technology in some way. They’re both very different people, but share that common characteristic. They’re very separate at the beginning, but their worlds end up colliding. I feel like I’ve read too many of these types of storylines these days, but this one felt somewhat fresh and different. In the end, it left me inspired to put my phone away more often. 3.5 stars.
I started off the month with Jennifer Close’s The Hopefuls, which I’ve had on my shelf forever but hadn’t gotten around to yet. I loved it and ended up reading her other book, The Smart One, over the next few weeks. Both books had great characters and felt like the best kind of realistic fiction. The Hopefuls centers around a couple who moves to D.C. during the Obama years and how their marriage and friendships change over the course of several campaigns. The Smart One centers around a family of siblings that find themselves at different moments of crisis and transition. I would recommend both of them to anyone looking for good storytelling and well-written female characters.
I also picked up some non-fiction, including the The Crown: Volume 2 by Robert Lacey, as inspired by my love for the Netflix series. It was more of an overview than an in-depth look at the events of the second and third seasons, but enjoyable nonetheless!
I’m currently reading The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, which is about a mysterious island on which everyday things (birds, calendars, perfume, etc.) will randomly disappear and cause its inhabitants to lose all of their memories about that object. The disappearances are enforced by the Memory Police, who detain anyone who is somehow still able to hold onto their memories of the things that have disappeared. The inhabitants don’t know why or how things disappear and never know when the disappearances will occur. It’s a really interesting read, and I’m almost done with it! I plan on writing a review for LQ after I’m done, so keep an eye out for that coming up.
Beach Read by Emily Henry – I picked this as my Book of the Month for April and actually read it in the same month!! I feel like that’s a significant accomplishment in the book world, so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself over here. This is a terrific option as you gear up for summer reading. Two writers, one writes romance and other writes literary fiction, decide to swap genres after facing writers block. Throughout the summer they give each other lessons in researching their genre and develop significant feelings along the way. I was laughing out loud at parts and thoroughly enjoyed the story. I actually read it in 24 hours! Overall the beginning was stronger than the ending but it’s still a 4 star read that I happily recommend!
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust – I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of this book through NetGalley. It’s a YA fantasy novel that’s coming out in July. Soraya is cursed with poison in her veins that will kill anyone who touches her skin. As part of the royal family, she’s hidden away to protect their status. When a demon is captured who may be able to break her curse, she has to decide if she wants to sacrifice her family for that chance. This was a pretty standard YA Fantasy novel, but had the unique influence of Persian culture. I absolutely loved that aspect and felt it sets it apart from other similar books!
My current read is The Outsider by Stephen King, and it. is. GREAT. I’m completely hooked and finding any excuse to stop what I should be doing and read even just a couple of pages. I can be found most days standing in my kitchen reading as many paragraphs as possible while I wait for the kettle to boil! It’s my first Stephen King novel (I know, I’m way late to the party) because I tend to avoid scary books or movies, but I’m so glad I braved this one.
I thought Big Little Lies was a really interesting twist on your standard murder mystery, and loved that you don’t actually know who’s been murdered until the very end.
Sharp Objects was profoundly disturbing on multiple levels, but was an absolute thrill ride and I could not put it down.