May wrap up

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I am getting really behind in writing blog posts (thank procrastination and work for that one) so I figured I’d post my May wrap up. Relatively on time! For once!

I think I read quite a respectable seven books in May, which is definitely better than my April effort, so I’m quite pleased with that.

Here’s the books I read:

Final Girls by Riley Sager

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Rating: 3/5

I wanted so much more from this than I got. I ended up giving it three out of five stars because it was okay, but honestly I thought it would be so much better than it ended up being. I’d heard loads of rave reviews, and I thought the premise was definitely something that I’m interested in reading. I think the main issue that I had with this book was purely that I didn’t care about the characters. Any of them, but specifically Quincy. I actually respected this book a lot more in the last few chapters, but it wasn’t enough to really make up for the ‘meh’ feeling I had for the other 80% of this novel. The original twist I saw coming, but then another one turned around and slapped me in the face. In hindsight, I felt like I should have seen it coming, but definitely didn’t. Honestly upped this one in stars purely because of the ending- the rest I found bland and there was too many convenient and unbelievable moments. I do feel like I’m in the minority here though, because a lot of people LOVE this book.

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

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Rating: 4/5

Three Things About Elsie follows a lady called Florence, and her friend Elsie, who live in a residential home. Their life is turned upside down when a new resident arrives, who is a ghost from their past. Different things happen, which leads Florence to suspect the new resident even more, but has the staff questioning Florence’s sanity. The novel follows Florence as she tries to remember things she has forgotten, including what happened to her dear friend Elsie’s sister. I won’t lie, I knew what the third thing about Elsie would be from the get go, it’s not a difficult “plot twist” to decipher, but that didn’t mean that I enjoyed the book any less. If you liked Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, you’d probably like this one as well.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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Rating: 4/5

Based on a true story, The Tattoist of Auschwitz follows Lale, a Jewish Slovakian resident who ends up in Auschwitz during World War 2. While there, he takes up the role of tattooist for the camp, giving prisoners their numbers, which affords him some level of protection. While there, he meets Gita, who is also a prisoner, and falls in love with her. The novel follows Lale’s life, from his role in Auschwitz, tattooing and trading gems with locals in exchange for food and other goods, to leaving the camp and ending up working for Russians. Although it focuses quite a lot on Lale’s backstory and his life, and the day to day running of the camp, it is at it’s core a love story. Which I’m usually not into, but I really enjoyed this. Recommend.

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides

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Rating: 2/5

As you can tell by the rating, I did not enjoy this. I’d seen it in Waterstones, and had gone backwards and forwards on whether to buy it a couple of times, but ultimately decided not to. Thank goodness. I took this out of the library as an e-book, which in itself was a bit irritating to read, but only really added to my annoyance of this book. It’s utterly forgettable. It’s a collection of short stories written by Jeffrey Eugenides, what seems like over the course of his career. It’s called Fresh Complaint, but it doesn’t seem like any of the stories had any similarity. Most of them barely had any discernible plot. I think there was about 10 of them, and I had to try my hardest not to give up and add this to my incredibly small DNF pile. I liked some of the stories better than others, but I just found that because they were short stories, I didn’t care for the characters, and by the time I felt like I had a grip of what was going on, it ended. My advice is don’t waste your time. Take out the Virgin Suicides or something instead.

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

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Rating 3/5

Going into this, I thought it was going to be a thriller, tinged with the supernatural. Along the lines of chalk men appear and are killing people. That isn’t really at all what this book is about. It plays up the role of a newcomer to the area, who is albino, which puts him at the centre of suspicion anyway, and he is even nicknamed the chalk man from almost the get go. There’s a couple of deaths, which in my mind I was putting down to some supernatural entity. It ended up being more like a crime, influenced very strongly by morals and a family/town drama. I thought The Chalk Man was alright, but it really didn’t end up going even remotely where I thought it was going to go.

Stoner by John Williams

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Rating: N/A

I could not for the life of me decide what rating to give Stoner. I can say with a lot of certainty that this book really frustrated me. There’s actually not an awful lot of plot going on, but it follows a good chunk of Stoner’s life, from getting married and his interactions with his wife, having a child and his career teaching English in a university. I did enjoy the book, but I prefer books that are plot-driven, so I think that contributed to the fact I didn’t really know how to feel about this one.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

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Rating: 4/5

The final book I got round to reading last month was actually a graphic novel, albeit a very long one! Blankets is a sort of memoir by Craig Thompson, and follows his late teenage years. He shares a room with his younger brother, and is bullied at school. His parents are very religious, and he ends up attending a catholic summer camp where he meets Reina, a girl who he connects with while feeling ostracised from the rest of the group. Quite a good chunk of it is told when he goes to visit Reina at her home, where they fall more in love with each other. It goes through the struggles of Craig’s young life, his relationship with God and his blossoming relationship with Reina, as well as where he ends up several years later. Normally I’m not into anything that has religion as a remotely central plot point, but I actually enjoyed this graphic novel. The art was beautifully drawn, and was a great mix of full page, and boxes of different sizes and design.

For once, I’m actually on track to doing my Goodreads challenge of 50 books this year, and hopefully I can keep that up for this month as well! I’m going to try and be less absent on here for the next while, but as usual, don’t hold me to that.

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