First and foremost, I apologise that this post is a little late. We’re well into June now (what a scary thought!) and this month’s reading is well under way, but it certainly is about time that I gave a little attention to the books that I enjoyed in May. There were certainly fewer than in April’s wrap up, which, if I’m being honest is somewhat of a relief, as that post was way too long! Despite the fact that I didn’t read as much as I was hoping to in May, due to the usual reasons of university work, dissertation stress and all of the other things that go along with being a Masters student, I very much enjoyed the majority of the books that I did get to. It was another month of easy reads, because my brain was way too overworked to get stuck into something that required too much effort or concentration, with genres ranging from cosy mysteries to children’s to Young Adult. A good month by not a great one, but full of fun and enjoyable books all the same.
# OF BOOKS READ: 15
TOTAL # OF PAGES READ: 4,006
Real Murders by Charlaine Harris | ★★★★
This was my very first venture into the writing of popular author Charlaine Harris, perhaps best known for her paranormal Sookie Stackhouse series. I was sucked in by the premise of this first instalment in the Aurora Teagarden series, and I was pleasantly surprised, devouring Real Murders in less than 24 hours. Fun, fast-paced and packed with just the right amount of detail, this was a thrilling introduction to the world of simple librarian Roe and her quirky interest in murder. I also enjoyed how the focus of the book, a series of murders taking place in Roe’s town, were based on real-life murders, and hearing a little about them made for an interesting take on what otherwise may have been a simple or slightly generic murder mystery.
A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris | ★★★
Having enjoyed the first instalment so much I was eager to continue on with this mystery series, and dived straight into A Bone to Pick. The story picks up an unspecified amount of time after the (rather dramatic) events of Real Murders, and our protagonist Roe has just inherited a house – and a skull. The mystery of this one was just a little less gripping than the first, as it lacked the sense of immediate danger and the thrill that goes along with it that was so very present and real within the first novel. However I did still enjoy the plot, and even without the drama reading about Roe’s life and her attempts at detection were highly entertaining. I will, of course, be continuing on with the rest of the books in the Aurora Teagarden mysteries.
The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five by Meg Cabot | ★★★★
Picking up a few months after the previous book, Give Me Five feels a little more grown up than the earlier books in the series. Mia is about to turn 15, and of course, the main things on her mind are her birthday party and whether or not Michael will take her to prom. Now, I’m not going to lie, Mia was pretty insufferable throughout – she’s extremely melodramatic and I was a little frustrated at her at times, but Michael more than made up for that! This instalment also contained one of the funniest scenes that I’ve read in a long time, even the thought of it nearly a month on still makes me giggle! (You can find a sneak peak here.)
The Princess Diaries: Sixsational by Meg Cabot | ★★★
This is the first book in the series where Mia’s boyfriend Michael is away at college, which naturally brings with it it’s own set of problem’s to Mia’s already complicated life. I did find Mia to be, yet again, rather melodramatic and irritating, but I did feel that the topic of teenage sex was dealt with in a particularly sensible and mature way. While it certainly wasn’t my favourite of the series, I still found it quick and fun, and it earns bonus points for making a few references to The Princess Diaries movies, which I really enjoyed!
The Princess Diaries: Seventh Heaven by Meg Cabot | ★★★
Again, this wasn’t my favourite of The Princess Diaries books that I have read thus far, but it was another fun read. I realise that these are fluffy reads, but I had hoped that by now Mia would have matured and grown up a little. This isn’t the case, and consequently this instalment feels a little superficial, however I did enjoy the addition of our newest character. Michael was, of course, brilliant, and I feel that he deserves a bit more recognition for putting up with Mia and her stupidity throughout Seventh Heaven!
The Princess Diaries: After Eight by Meg Cabot | ★★★
I’m not going to lie, Mia’s behaviour in this one made me want to throw the book across the room on numerous occasions! After Eight is much more focused on Mia and Michael’s relationship than any of the previous books in the series have been, and not everything goes to plan. Yes, Mia was incredibly immature, but I appreciated how Meg Cabot shows that immaturity has consequences that you then have to live with. I found this aspect of the book to be particularly refreshing, however Mia is at her worst in this instalment – you have been warned!
The Princess Diaries: To The Nines by Meg Cabot |★★★★
In contrast to the previous novel, To The Nines is a strong book in the series. Mia really starts to grow up here and starts taking responsibility for her actions in a way that don’t completely centre around herself. As a result, Mia is much more relatable than she has been in the previous books, despite the heavy emphasis that is placed on her ‘Princess Duties’. I also adored Mia’s friendship with Tina, and it made a nice change to have the focus placed on friendship and family relationships as opposed to boyfriends.
The Princess Diaries: Ten Out Of Ten by Meg Cabot |★★★★★
As annoying as Mia has been throughout a number of the books in the series, they were completely worth reading if only for this conclusion. Mia’s time at high school is drawing to a close, and as this final book takes place a couple of years after the previous it’s evident that Mia has done a lot of growing up. The characters and their relationships have evolved and grown so much, and once again there were some great friendship moments in addition to the romance. I also loved how we were given a few sneak peek’s at Mia’s novel, which was so fun! One of the strongest books in the series, and undoubtedly my favourite.
The Princess Diaries: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot | ★★★★★
Oh, this was completely and utterly, 100% worth the wait. Now 26, Mia has come a long way from the immature high school student she was in her teens, and she has proven to be a wonderful princess of Genovia, yet her life is just as crazy as it was in the original books. This was by far my favourite read of the month; it was such fun to catch up with Mia, Michael, Tina and co. again and find out what they’ve been up to since Ten Out of Ten. I love how not only is Meg Cabot able to get into the heart and soul of protagonist Mia, but also creating a cast of extremely lovable and well developed secondary characters. Royal Wedding was just as hilarious, perhaps even more so, than the other books in the series, and kept me smiling throughout. I hope that Cabot will return to Mia and Michael in the future, as something tells me their story isn’t over quite yet.
Rosie Goes to War by Alison Knight | ★★★★
I picked up this Young Adult historical fiction new release while browsing the airport bookshop before my flight last month, and thought that the premise was so intriguing I just had to buy myself a copy. Rosie Goes to War follows 15 year old Rosie as she accidentally finds herself being transported back to war-torn London. With no idea of how she got there or how she can get back, she is soon caught up in a whirl of rationing, factory work, and dances, but comes crashing back to reality when she realises that if she can’t find her way home, she may never be born at all. This was such a quick, fast read, rich in historical detail and I adored the added plot line of Rosie making friends with her grandparents in the past and the added hints they dropped about Rosie’s time travelling adventures. While it hasn’t been confirmed, the book suggests that there is more to come from Rosie, and if that’s the case I will definitely be continuing on with the series in the future.
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge | ★★★★★
You can read my full review here.
Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo |★★★★★
This is perhaps one of the most beautiful books I have read in a long time, both inside and out. Dreaming the Bear follows protagonist Darcy as she struggles to come to terms with her chronic illness, brought on by the change in altitude between her new home in the Yellowstone National Park and the town she grew up in, and her relationship with the injured bear that she accidentally stumbles upon one day. Darcy’s world is painted with lyrical and realistic detail, seamlessly blending in some supernatural/psychological ‘dreams’, and the writing was stunning throughout. I loved the relationship between Darcy and her bear, which moved me to tears on a number of occasions, and the relationship that Darcy developed with the surrounding forest. A unique and powerful animal tale, I adored this, and it’s definitely a book that I will be returning to in the future.
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell | ★★★★
Rooftoppers is one of those rare, special children’s books that feels like a classic within the genre, regardless of its publication date. This whimsical historical tale has something timeless and wonderful about it – like all the best children’s classics. The characters all well developed and unique, the writing is beautiful and the plot leaves you longing to pack up your things and head off in search of adventure. A brilliant summery type of read with some of the most loveable secondary characters I have come across, Rundell’s work is extraordinary.
The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold & Emily Gravett | ★★★★
Continuing on with the theme of fantastic children’s books, here’s another that I absolutely loved. It’s no often that you come across a children’s book that is both mesmerising and utterly enchanting for children and adults alike, and The Imaginary is most certainly one. The book follows Amanda and her imaginary friend Rudger as they fight to escape the terrifying Mr Bunting, who hunts imaginary friends and, if the stories are to be believed, inhales them to extend his own life, and reminded me a lot of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Terrifying, magical and full of beautiful illustrations, this is a wonderful story about the power of creativity, friendship and believing in the impossible.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate |★★★★★
I don’t really want to say too much about this one here, as it was just so incredible I really feel that it deserves its own full review. This breathtaking animal tale is one of my favourite books of the year, and I really think that everyone, regardless of age, would benefit from reading The One and Only Ivan.
What did you read in May? Have you read any of the books mentioned above?