May Wrap Up 2019

Here are the books I read in the month of May.

Resort to Murder by TP Fielden (4 stars)

This was another good instalment to the new murder mystery series by TP Fielden. I found the case to be far more engaging than the previous book, the addition of the character Valentine to be a brilliant choice and the ending to be a lot more satisfying than the original novel. That being said I did find some problems with the characterisation of one of the female characters in this book. She could have been written a lot better.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1.5 stars)

This was boring! I DNFed this book at 25% and because I only read 58 pages of the 230-page book, I didn’t feel like I had enough reasons or have read enough of the book to review it. This is my first 1 star of the year! To me, since it’s a character-driven novel, I had no idea where the plot was going, nor did I care! I also found the main character to be annoying and whiny. His stream of consciousness kind of monologue was dull and painful to read.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden (5 stars)

Another book which avoided 2nd Book Syndrome! I read the first novel and felt underwhelmed. But I decided to pick up the second book as I quite liked the direction it was going and it blew my mind! I loved how it kept to what made the first book so great, most importantly the folklore creatures but it also expanded on where it initally faultered. Vasya’ character development was done very well in this book.

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel (2 stars)

This was a disappointing one for me. Mainly it felt like a middle grade trying to be YA. Also the book was full of a variety of genres that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, one minute it’s historical fiction and then it’s fantasy. The writing was lacking for me as well and I was just completely underwhelmed with it all.

Viper by Bex Hogan (3 stars)

This one I enjoyed. One of the last books I read from my Fairyloot subscription boxes and I loved it. I had never read a pirate story before so I was excited going into it. My favourite thing was the father/daughter dynamic between our main charcter and her father the infamous Viper! This story is incredibly action-packed and heart-breaking. I recommend everyone should give this a read!

To Best The Boys by Mary Weber (4 stars)

My last book for May and I have left the month very happy. This was one of my highly anticipated reads of 2019 and I loved it!! A book that every young girl should read. It’s incredibly empowering with an amazing message with two strong female characters at the forefront of the story. This story is like Viper, full of twists and turns and you root for girls the entire way through the novel. It also has a deadly labyrinth and who doesn’t love Labyrinths!

To Best The Boys Review

  • Author: Mary Weber
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Magic Realism/Action Adventure
  • No. of pages: 314
  • Dates read: 21.05.19 – 29.05.19
  • Star Rating: 4 stars

WOW!!!!!!

This is the kind of book I need more of in my life! This book is incredibly empowering and is something that all young girls should read.

Plot: Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port have received a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well, Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition. With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone is ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.

First of all, you have a female protagonist who aspires to be the first female scientist while also dealing with dyslexia, I love it. While dyslexia only plays a small part in her character it really shows her determination to want to learn and succeed. I thought she was an amazing protagonist and I found myself relating to her a lot!

One of the main themes of this book is about a women’s place. Who she should be in accordance to the male characters, you see Rhen try to break free from the societal constraints placed on her and she says numerous times that she is not owned by any man and that she is her own person to make her own decisions. Then you have Seleni who enjoys the more stereotypical roles of a housewife and mother and I loved that both women were empowered to lead their very different lives and the Seleni wasn’t ridiculed for her choices by Rhen and vice versa.

Seleni and Rhen’s relationship was one of my favourite parts of this book. I love their support for each other, their love for each other and how Seleni didn’t bat an eyelid in taking part in the contest to support Rhen. They were never really pitted against each other and even if they were they had each other’s back which I loved to see.

Many men in this book were awful! Point blank awful. I have never wanted to launch a book across the room as much as I have with this book, as some of the boys (the privileged, rich kids) were so rude and horrible. We had attempted assault, gaslighting, classism etc. Weber did a great job of making you hate these characters. I also felt that Weber did a great job though in separating the bad men from the good men who were allies to Rhen and Seleni. Like Lute, Beryll, Sam etc. These boys were a ray of light, especially Lute, who didn’t feel emasculated next to the girls and didn’t feel the need to bring them down but actually lifted them up and gave them opportunities to succeed.

What I liked about Beryll, especially, was he was raised exactly like the horrible boys were. Rich, privileged lives but he didn’t look down upon others and he took his experiences and the people he met and ultimately learned from it and tries to be the best ally he can me and I loved that about his character!

The setting for this book is really interesting. It’s sort of light fantasy/magic realism and I really enjoyed the setting. I loved that it was the norm to avoid going out at a specific time or specific areas because of ghouls and monsters and how some people didn’t bat an eyelid about it. The labyrinth was my favourite part of the plot, I do think we could have spent more time and I was disappointed that it was over so quickly. I felt it was incredibly imaginative and that not all was as it seemed, I love seeing the character dynamics play out with each obstacle. But I felt more time should have been spent in there.

The next book I will be reviewing is Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve. I have heard some amazing things about this novel so I’m excited to give this a go. I will also be re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at the same time. I will go into a bit more detail about my re-read and why I am re-reading the series in a future post.

March Wrap Up 2018

Below is a list of the five books I read in March. The photo is missing Thunderhead sadly 😦

Legendary by Stephanie Garber (3 stars)

A great sequel to an amazing debut novel, though not without faults. Garber’s writing was enveloping, she welcomed you back to her world like she welcoming you back home. Yet the strucutre of the plot was a bit lacking at times.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (5 stars)

A jaw-dropping sequel! It was so good I have a friend from work picking up the series just so he can read this book. The world building is the standout feature in this story and more so than ever we see our own society reflected in this novel.

The Power by Naomi Alderman (4 stars)

A pre-dystopian novel I didn’t know I needed. The multi-perspective/characters were the highlights of the story. Alot of triggers litter this book, which I list in the review but this is just a warning going into the book.

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson (3.75 stars)

My very first arc! This was a promising debut and I will definitely pick up the next book she releases. The representation in this book stood out to me alot and I felt it was done really well. The main character was really great and I enjoyed reading her POV.

How to Adult by Stephen Wildish (3 stars)

A satirical non-fiction book I read but I don’t know how to review a book like that so I gave it an average rating. It was very funny and a quick read for March.

The Power Review

  • Author: Naomi Alderman
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Sci-fi/Feminism
  • No. of pages: 341
  • Dates read: 19.03.19 – 24.03.19
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

I have never read a book like this before! I don’t read much science fiction but I was quite intrigued by the synopsis.

There numerous trigger warnings in this book, so please be careful if you ever decide to pick it up. I don’t mention the triggers in my review but this is my warning for triggers such as:
Rape, Sexual Assualt, Violence and Torture

POSITIVES

I loved the whole concept in general of women having this dormant power and women becoming this unstoppable force and rising up from oppression. I was also interested to see which way Naomi would go with this story. Would she go down the route of “society was changed for the better because women were now in charge” or would she go down the route of “society collapses from the rise in power.” I was very happy with the road she took.

I loved all the characters in the stories both good or evil or in-between. I felt each character introduced a new perspective to this changing world and all actions were justified in their minds as their knee-jerk reaction to these sudden changes.

I really enjoyed the multiple POV’s, I think for us to fully understand the worldwide/societal change this new phenomenon brought, we had to see it from varying characters in different parts of the world. All 4 POV’s represented certain parts of society and through them, we see how those parts responded.

Tunde was the media. Margot was the politics. Allie was the religion. Roxy was the organised crime.

I don’t normally like this dystopian novels as I get bored quite quickly but what I liked about this book is we actually witness all the small changes that lead to the quickly forming dystopian society. We are not introduced to the story halfway through like we are with books such as the “The Hunger Games” where the dystopian setting was established years ago but at the very beginning and we watch everything unravel.

The language switch was intriguing. A lot of words and phrases were used to describe men and their horrible situation, especially by the end of the book, that normally gets associated with women or references something that women go through every day and I thought it was interesting to see that switch. In which these things were being said about men instead of women. It was a weird experience to read it!

NEGATIVES

While I really enjoyed the book, I didn’t care for the ending. It didn’t pack a punch for me. A lot is left unsaid. We don’t know what happens to the characters we have invested our time into which was quite disappointing for me. I had to go to a forum on Goodreads to fully understand the ending, which when explained to me sounded really cool but I didn’t care for the execution.

Overall, I started losing momentum about 3/4 of the way through the book. If it had been a bit shorter I probably would have enjoyed the ending more than I did.

The next book I will be reviewing is an ARC I received in their December 2018 Fairyloot box. I will be reading The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson.