May Reviews

Hello!

Today, I plan to write my first proper blog post by telling you all about the books I read and loved in May (despite the fact I planned to only reread because I was studying for exams. Oops!) There are quite a lot of them, so let’s begin!

 

four stars

Black Cats and Butlers by Janine Beacham

Drawn in by the unusual title and intriguing premise, I picked up the first in the Rose Raventhorpe series and discovered that it was just as good as it looked. It felt unique to other middle grade mysteries that are out just now, possibly due to the vivid, vibrant setting of Yorke, or the colourful cast of characters. I did find that at times I lost track of who characters were, so would have appreciated a list at the beginning of the book, but I really enjoyed the mystery and I didn`t guess who the murderer was. I`m really looking forward to reading Rose`s next adventure in July. 4/5

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

In this book, Keris Stainton tells the story of Milly and her two sisters Elyse and Leonie who are still reeling from their dad`s recent death as they go on their annual summer trip to Rome for the first time since he died. I found the three protagonists relatable and fairly likeable, especially the narrator Milly, and I really enjoyed seeing the sibling bond between them. I also adored Milly`s love interest Luke, who made me laugh out loud several times throughout the book, and I was really rooting for him and Milly as a couple. My very favourite part of the book had to be discovering more about Rome and its landmarks and culture, which I felt were really prominent throughout. Overall, this is a light, fun read for a summer`s afternoon (although try not to do what I did and get sunburnt because you`re enjoying it so much!). 4/5

Time for Jas by Natasha Farrant

In the 4th and final Bluebell Gadsby book, Natasha Farrant continues the story of young filmmaker Blue, who feels like the only normal one in her crazy family. I really enjoyed all of the siblings` individual plot points throughout this book, but I especially liked the way that Jas stood up to horrible bullies the Cupcake Crew (who were like the primary school version of Mean Girls) and Blue`s involvement with new character Marek, who I really empathised with and loved as a character. I did often find myself skipping the film transcripts throughout the book, but I really like Blue`s voice as the story is primarily told with her diary entries. I also thought the ending of the series was perfect for all of the characters, most of whom I have genuinely come to love since the series began. 4/5

th

 

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll

 

In her 5th novel, Emma Carroll explores the era of World War Two, specifically the area of child evacuees to the countryside and the treatment of the Jews at this time. I really liked the main characters Olive, Cliff and of course Pixie the dog (I continue to find that Emma Carroll writes some of the best dogs ever, as I love the dogs in all her other books too), as well as secondary characters who felt rounded and developed too, such as Esther and Ephraim. Emma Carroll`s writing itself is also excellent; it really draws you into her world and doesn`t let you go until the final page. 5/5

 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

 

In her 2nd novel, Becky Albertalli tells the story of Molly, a self-professed `fat girl` who has had 26 crushes but never had a boyfriend or been kissed because she`s so scared of rejection. I really sympathised with Molly, and thought she was really sweet, and I adored other secondary characters such as Molly`s two mums and Reid, but I absolutely couldn`t stand Molly`s twin Cassie, who fell in love with a girl called Mina and essentially just ditched Molly, then suggested Molly date Mina`s best friend Will so they could still see each other when Molly was upset about this situation. I loved not knowing who Molly would end up with between Reid and Will, and thought they really worked when they did get together towards the end of the novel. I also enjoyed the huge diversity present in the novel, both in terms of race and sexuality, and it really made me smile to see Simon and Abby from Albertalli`s previous book Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which I would also really recommend to fans of contemporary YA. I`m so excited to read more from Becky Albertalli, and after her two phenomenal reads I would now name her among my favourite authors. 5/5

 

Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

 

This book tells the story of Charlie, a normal girl who loves photography, who receives a message out of the blue from an old schoolmate who is now part of the biggest boyband in the world Fire and Lights, asking her to take backstage photos of them on their tour. This turns Charlie`s life into chaos, and I really sympathised with her, especially the situation that it puts her into at school with the bullying she faces escalating and the difficulties it causes in her friendship with her best friend Melissa. I also liked the members of Fire and Lights, as unlike other similar books I`ve read they all felt distinct from one another and equally likeable. My absolute favourite part of the book, however, was the mystery element of what Charlie discovers about the band`s lyrics and the cliff-hanger at the end was so unexpected that I`m now desperate to read the second book in July. I`m also desperate for the sequel to see whether Charlie chooses Olly, the friendly, likeable old schoolmate who`s changed her life completely or mysterious frontman Gabriel, both of whom expressed romantic interest in her in this. My only slight issue with the book was that it felt slow-paced in places, but its still a great read and it didn`t affect my enjoyment of the book. 4/5

 

Becoming Betty by Eleanor Wood

 

Equal parts hilarious and heart-warming, Becoming Betty tells the story of Lizzie Brown as she begins college and meets Viv, who convinces her to become the bass player in her new band so that they can enter a Battle of the Bands contest, despite Lizzie`s protests that she`s never played a note in her life. The characters were so well written; I adored Lizzie and the members of an opposing band Dirty Harriet, and loved to hate Viv, who I felt was incredibly manipulative and nasty. I also really enjoyed the ending as it felt perfect for the book. In short, this book is a lot of a fun, but also carries the important message that you shouldn`t change to please others, and I`d really recommend it to fans of authors such as Holly Bourne. 5/5

Moonlocket by Peter Bunzl

In the 2nd Cogheart Adventure, Peter Bunzl continues the story of best friends Lily and Robert as they become embroiled in a mystery with ties to Robert`s mysterious absent mother. The best part of this series has to be Robert and Lily`s friendship, which is incredibly sweet and I am beyond in love with mechanical fox Malkin, who really makes me giggle as he is so sardonic and witty. The mystery of this book itself is gripping and took turns that I didn`t expect in the slightest, and the escaped prisoner Jack Door was an incredibly sinister villain. Finally, the reimagined Victorian era in this book is so imaginative and different to other settings in similar series that it makes it a must read regardless of all its other merits. In conclusion, this was even better than Cogheart and the 3rd novel in the series is now one of my most anticipated 2018 releases. 5/5

The Graces by Laure Eve

In what is without doubt one of my favourite novels of 2017 so far, Laure Eve tells the story of enigmatic narrator `River` (whose real name is never revealed) as she becomes entangled with the Grace family, a mysterious, slightly magical family who everyone in town are obsessed with. I found the characters really interesting as they were all so well-drawn and rounded and felt like real, flawed people and I also enjoyed River`s narration. I read this in a matter of hours because it was so addictive and made me desperate to unfold the rest of the story as it was so tense and thrilling and I`ve never read anything quite like it before. The jaw-dropping twist at the end involving River made me absolutely breathless, and I can`t wait to get my hands on the sequel The Curses come September. 5/5

Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan

Even though I wasn`t the biggest fan of Jenny McLachlan`s Ladybirds series as they didn`t appeal to my sense of humour, I was compelled to read this because of the stunning cover, whose designer I am unsure of.This book tells the story of aspiring astronaut Meg as her mum abandons her and her baby sister Elsa to go to Myanmar. I thought Meg was an amazing character she felt unique to any other YA protagonists and I hugely admired her strength and resilience and I also really enjoyed the supporting characters such as Meg`s new friend Annie who made me laugh and love interest Ed who originally came across as a bit smarmy but I grew to love him and thought he was perfect for Meg. This is such a fun, sweet read and I`d recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA. 5/5

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

After having this on my radar for months, I was so pleased when I picked up a copy and it was even better than I had ever imagined it would be. The two main characters Frances and Aled were so relatable and lovable in their own ways; I thought Frances` witty narration was amazing and Aled was beyond sweet and felt like an incredibly special character. I don`t want to spoil any of the plot as a lot of it felt very unexpected and original, but it essentially focuses on Frances and Aled as they meet through their favourite podcast Radio City and become friends. I loved how the book began as light-hearted and grew more intense as it went on as it really hooked me and made me keep reading. Another part of the book which I liked was that it was very diverse in terms of race and sexuality and it also successfully tackled important topics such as the pressures on teenagers because of exams and abusive homes. Finally, I loved the way the book ends, which again I don’t want to spoil, as I was expecting it go differently to the way I wanted and then I finished the book and it was just perfect. I can`t wait to read whatever the author releases next, and also seek out a copy of her debut Solitaire. 5/5

The Thirteen Curses by Michelle Harrison

In the second book of the 13 trilogy, Michelle Harrison mainly focuses on Red (a supporting character from the first book), a girl who`s brother James was taken by the fae, as she strikes a bargain with the fairy courts that will allow her to get him back if she succeeds in finding the 13 charms of a bracelet representing the 13 treasures. This book has a really dark and eerie atmosphere, and I loved the fact that the faeries were much more sinister than in any other children`s books. I also loved the further development of Red and her backstory, although I was disappointed that it meant we saw a bit less of Tanya and Fabian who were the main characters in the first volume. I struggled to get into the book as it the plot doesn`t really get properly started until halfway through, but it was definitely worth the wait as I sped through the second half in a single sitting as it was so good. I`ve already bought a copy of the third book as I`m now an even bigger fan of this unique series and I`m really excited about reading it. 5/5

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Did you read anything during May that you would especially recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

Amy 🙂

 

 

Author: goldenbooksgirl

Middle grade/young adult book blogger

5 thoughts on “May Reviews”

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