Good morning, as it is the end of the month it is time for my wrap up. I had a very productive month of reading which I am really happy with. I read a total of 18 books, 7 of which I read during a read-a-thon. This month was the Bout of Books 16 read-a-thon which I participated in and read those 7 books during that week. I did a separate wrap up for that – check it out here. It was really great taking part in my first read-a-thon and I will definitely be interested in participating in more. Overall I had a really good reading month: I even managed to finish one of my reading resolutions by finishing the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis and I ended up reading more books than I anticipated. Anyway, onto the wrap up.
Ruined / Amy Tintera ★★
I got this book in the May Fairy Loot box. This book is nothing new – the story feels very familiar and very predictable. Once the romance is introduced, it is pretty much the only thing driving the plot and I am not a big romance reader so it kind of dragged for me. The characters and the world are underdeveloped and so not particularly gripping – they both lack depth. It would have been interesting to know more about the world and the politics but unfortunately it was quite lacking in that department. Overall just an OK book in my opinion. I won’t be continuing on with the series. It kind of makes me think I need to take a bit of a break from YA maybe.
Mage’s Blood / David Hair ★★
This one is a bit of a weird one for me… it took me a little while to get into – it wasn’t until around 100 pages that I began to feel engaged, and then that went away… It would then drag for a bit and then I’d get engaged again… You get the idea. It just felt uneven throughout – which is kind of disappointing because it had a lot of potential. The characters lacked depth and there was little to no development through 600 pages. I also question the motives of a certain character at the end of the book – a certain relationship suddenly changes and it just seemed so easy as well as unrealistic. The pacing was sometimes abit uneven as well. Despite these things, there is nothing really wrong with this book, but I just could not get into it. I have concluded that this series is just not for me.
The Horse and His Boy / C. S. Lewis ★★★
More like a 2.5/3 stars. This was an entertaining story – I fully realise how problematic they are in terms of their treatment of people for example race, women etc. However I am trying to put that aside and just enjoy the story. I will say that this is not my favourite book so far.
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet / Becky Chambers ★★★
For the most part I enjoyed this book but it didn’t blow me away. I thought it was an interesting read and a refreshing change to the other science fiction books I’ve read. It is a slow, character driven story so if you are looking for a fast paced, action packed sci-fi book, this is not the book for you. However if you want a slow, meandering book with interesting commentary on life/existence and well developed characters from different cultures than you should definitely check this out. I enjoyed it, but wasn’t blown away by it – I can’t put my finger on any particularly reason though.
The Wolf Wilder / Katherine Rundell ★★★.5
I really enjoyed this book, and although it did have flaws I flew through it. It was a entertaining story with great interactions between the characters and a great setting. I love the concept of a wolf wilder – wolves are one of my favourite animals and I came very close to tearing up which is rare for me (apart from when animals are involved). The pacing was a bit off for me: the beginning was quite fast paced, the middle dragged a little for me and then it ends quite quickly. I also question the fact that they ride wolves but artistic license, I guess. I think if you go into this for a fun, entertaining children’s book set in Russia then you will enjoy it. I would recommend it and I absolutely love the illustrations!
The End of All Things / John Scalzi ★★★.5
This is the sixth book in the Old Man’s War series and I read it on my kindle. This was another great addition to this series and the structure of it worked very well. It is divided into four novellas, each focusing on a different perspective of the different areas of conflict. However I will say that it wasn’t my favourite, but it was a good conclusion to the issues from both this book and the previous book as well. I think I just kind of miss John and Jane. I highly recommend checking out this series though.
The Picture of Dorian Gray / Oscar Wilde ★★★★
3.5/4 stars. This was actually a really interesting book into some of the darker elements of human nature – of sin, morality, vanity, the search to stay youthful and how susceptible young people can be. This was my first experience of Oscar Wilde and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. I don’t know why but I had gone into this with a little trepidation – I thought that it wouldn’t be my thing but I actually quite enjoyed it. I found the book quite accessible (in terms of language and content) and although perhaps a little slow, especially at the beginning, it was engaging throughout.
The Return of the King / J. R. R. Tolkien ★★★★
3.5/4 stars. This is obviously the third and final book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I really enjoyed this conclusion, however it is a very dense and sometimes quite slow book. It is the type of book (and trilogy) that you can reread multiple times and learn something new with each read – there is just so much detail. Although I really appreciated that detail because it creates an amazing world as well as characters, I also found that it made the story drag a little for me. However I am very happy I have finally finished this trilogy and I would definitely recommend it.
Green Rider / Kristen Britain ★★★★
This is the first book in a fantasy series. It follows Karigan, who is suspended from her school and runs away to her home. On the way she encounters a dying Green Rider, messengers for the King, and agrees to deliver the message, despite the apparent danger. Stuff then happens. I thought this was a solid first book in a series and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The plot is engaging throughout – it is fast-paced and enjoyable to read. The characters are well written and interesting (I am intrigued by the Berry sisters) and although I did get frustrated with Karigan (mainly her constant denial), overall she is a great strong female character. I absolutely love the Horse. Definitely recommend, especially if you are a fan of fantasy. I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to continuing the series.
Nothing to Envy: Real lives in North Korea / Barbara Demick ★★★★★
I picked this up after reading In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park because I wanted to know more about North Korea – it is really astonishing to learn about this regime and I highly recommend reading both. It is an incredible book – we meet 6 North Koreans who eventually defect to South Korea. It is very interesting, but also incredibly accessible – you don’t need to have prior knowledge of North Korea before reading this and it is written in a way that is easy to follow but also keeps you engaged. I think it is so important to be aware of the world and what is going on in it, so this was a real eye opener for me because I knew very little about North Korea prior to these two books. Once again I highly recommend both books.
Quick edit – I also finished The Oakleaf Bearer by John Flanagan which is book 4 in the Rangers Apprentice series. I gave it 4 stars on goodreads – it was another great instalment to the series.
In terms of my June TBR I am keeping it simple. I am only setting myself two books that I definitely want to read by the end of the month. Firstly The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I am buddy reading this with Shannon from ShannonRoseReads on Youtube. You should definitely check her out – you can also find her on Twitter. We had both been debating whether to read this series for a while so we decided to read the first book together. The other book is my classic pick of the month and that is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – this book is huge so wish me luck :). I am currently reading it and have only made a small dent in it. I’ve also included some books that I want to get to soon so some of those may turn up in my next wrap up.
Hope you had a great reading month. Let me know in the comments what your favourite book was this month and what you plan to get to in June. Hope you have a wonderful day and I will see you next time.