WHEW. Just last week I began working on this post, not realizing that I wouldn’t finish it before heading to the ER with some crazy symptoms, then getting hospitalized for Salmonella poisoning!! It’s….not something I recommend. BUT. I’m back home, doing better, and finally ready to publish this lovely list of books the LQers read in May. Some of us had pretty lean months in terms of how many books we read, but that’s okay! We’re all busy ladies 😁.
Anyway, here’s what we read in May. Please let us know if you read anything amazing we should check out!
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
I squeaked in a full book on May 30th!
I read The Radcliffe Ladies’ Reading Club by Julia Bryan Thomas in one morning as a sort of recovery therapy after a LONG couple of weeks of work. (Reading can be truly healing!) The book was engaging and I enjoyed it, but I just wasn’t wowed. Check out my full review to find out why!
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
I read 2 books this month.
The first was Mad Honey, which is a collab effort by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. Centered around a suspicious accident where a girl is killed, the town immediately starts to suspect the son of local farm and beekeeper Olivia McAfee. But will Olivia’s own past traumas cloud her certainty that her son Austin is innocent? Definitely I liked Mad Honey but I will say, please proceed with caution: there are some pretty tough topics covered.
Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
The second book I read was Matthew Perry’s Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. I got this one as an audiobook read by the author and I was sorely disappointed. I was basically in love with Chandler growing up, so I think the bias I bring to this is that I sometimes expect Matthew to be him, which just simply isn’t possible. I’ve also seen Perry in interviews as recent as maybe the last 3 years, and I did know there was some deeper trauma running deeply – you can see it in the way he wears his humor now, as though it’s more scathing.
But the biggest letdown for me about this book was that it felt like a proud listing of his sexual roster hiding behind this idea that these amazing women didn’t deserve the terrible treatment from him while he bounced in and out of various degrees of catatonic state from drug abuse. His slurred words suggested that at the time of recording, he was probably still medicated (which is fine and he does acknowledge due to the one drug he might never be sober) but is difficult to stomach. And lastly it doesn’t seem like he has learned much, and the only redeeming quality I was left with was that he feels its his place in life now to try and get others sober. Commendable, but also just kind of like… dude, you could have been a FORCE if you were a little kinder and less of a narcissist. Anyway, wouldn’t recommend and I was left sad at the end. Your move peeps.
I read just one book this month but it was massive!
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Note: I’m actually reading the German translation, Der Weg der Könige translated by Michael Siefener, as I couldn’t find the original English title in my local bookshop.
I read another book by Sanderson last year (Warbreaker) and it was so good I thought I’d give some of his other books a try.
The Way of Kings has lived up to my expectations. Sanderson’s writing is utterly amazing – it’s descriptive, dramatic, energetic. It sucks you in and spits you out at the end, leaving you with a feeling that you’ve actually been to this epic world.
Siefener is clearly a talented translator, I imagine translating epic fantasy is not an easy task. But the German translation reads easily and you get Sanderson’s vibe coming through.
I think Der Weg der Könige will be getting 4 out of 5 stars from me.
The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
I only managed to finish one book this month, but it was a good one! The First to Die at the End is a prequel to They Both Die at the End. I actually started the series back in December, and I finished it on May 31. To be fair, it was 550 pages.
The book tells the story of Valentino and Orion, two boys whose fates are tied together. It covers a wide range of difficult topics, from the death of a parent to domestic abuse to heart transplants. It’s been a minute since I last read a series like this, but I loved it! Now if only Silvera would reveal how Death Cast works. I wonder if he even knows! I’d give this book 4/5 stars.
Like multiple other LQers in May, I only read one book! This one just took me some time, though, so I’m okay with that.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Alright, show of hands: How many of you are sometimes reluctant to read those insanely hyped, popular books? 🙋♀️
I also don’t love buying hardcover copies of books if I’m not sure I’m going to love it. It’s such an investment! But you can’t get these new ones from the library for a long time, and I’m not one to buy an eBook. At least there are local bookshops to patronize 😃.
Anyway, this one was pretty good! I did find it slowed down quite a bit towards the middle, but there were a lot of feelings and hardships and beautiful moments to be had, so I did enjoy it. The characters were so original, too — I’ve never read something from the perspective of video game designers.
I did get really annoyed with Sam and the way he acts, but it makes sense that he is the way he is because of what happened to him as a child.
Overall, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow was pretty gorgeous, and the references to Shakespeare were a favorite.
My reading this month was all over the place, from science-fiction, to rereads, to middle grade, and lengthy nonfiction.
There Will Be Fire: Margaret Thatcher, the IRA, and Two Minutes That Changed History by Rory Carroll
Continuing my modern Irish history non-fiction theme from April, I started May with this narrative account of the events leading up to the Brighton hotel bombings of 1984. The book weaves together the lives of those involved in carrying out the bombing and the political history between Thatcher’s government and Ireland. This is a compelling book that reads like a well-researched thriller.
Red Widow by Alma Katsu
I knew Alma Katsu was a horror writer, but I had no idea she had a previous career in intelligence and a series of novels about a CIA analyst. These books follow Lyndsey Duncan, a disgraced CIA analyst who has been reassigned to a desk job after her last posting got her into hot water. Lyndsey has been brought back to Langley to identify a possible mole in the organization who has been revealing the names of Russian CIA assets, but as the story progresses, Lyndsey begins to suspect that the CIA itself may be using her as a pawn.
Red London by Alma Katsu
In Red London, we again meet Lyndsey, this time in London. She has been sent there as a handler for a new asset, but becomes entangled with the case of a Russian oligarch and his English wife. As Lyndsey goes deep undercover to investigate the family, she is constantly at risk of her cover being blown.
That’s our list! What did you read in May?