I never set goals around the number of books read because I read a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot. On average, I power through 10 books per month but not in May. Last month I fell off the wagon with zero new books opened the first couple of weeks of May. Nothing appealed to me and I hate forced reading because I read for enjoyment and entertainment. But I also felt guilty. Like I should read, which is kind of silly. But then again, I am silly. 😀
The Books I Loved, Liked and Loathed in May
Fortunately, once I buckled down and started reading, I devoured some darn good books. No book earned the dreaded loathe title, which makes me very happy!
The Book I Loved
The book that made angels sing and the clouds part. In other words, I loved it. A lot.
The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Book Description: Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo chooses an unknown magazine reporter to spill the salacious details about her seven marriages.
Book Review: I am officially now a member of the Taylor Jenkins Reid fan club and completely understand the well-deserved hype that surrounds her books. This book immediately sucks you in and never lets you go. Evelyn is cunning, capable, gorgeous, smart and passionate. She is flawed and real. I’m not 100% sure that I like her, but I respect the hell out of her. My only teeny, tiny quibble is that a certain revelation didn’t hit as hard as intended because my connection to Monique was fairly passive. I actually shrugged a bit at the “twist” and then I felt bad about it. 😀
To Read or Not To Read: Heck ya! It’s a great read — perfect for summer.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is available now. Go read it.
The Books I Liked
These books I enjoyed overall, from most liked to liked.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Book Description: Ruth, an African American nurse, faces criminal charages after a baby of white supremacists dies under her watch.
Book Review: I read this book with a bit of trepidation, knowing that it would be a difficult read. It was also well worth it. In fact, everyone should read it simply for the TJ Maxx scene, which I have lived multiple variations of in my life. The parts with Turk and Britt broke my heart but also rang a sad truth because some are taught to hate from birth. My only real quibble (and what keeps this from a love) is that Picoult wrote herself into a bit of a pickle with those two (in my opinion) and while her resolution worked fine, it also left me deflated. I wanted something more powerful than a quirk because a quirk is just that — a quirk. And yes, life is made-up of quirks but I wanted something more. Kennedy’s journey, however, was done exceptionally well.
To Read or Not To Read: I encourage everyone to read this. And if you start to feel defensive, lean into it and be honest with yourself. Picoult throws some good, solid (and deserved) punches at white privilege that left some of my book club uncomfortable and yet ultimately more self-aware.
And a Must Read Article
I also strongly recommend this Washington Post article on Derek Black, someone like Britt who grew up being told everyone non-white was bad. He is, in fact, the actual godson of the infamous David Duke, the one-time leader of the KKK. And Derek changed his way of thinking and beliefs with no quirks involved. It is a long, but worthy read and honestly, if you have to chose between the two, read the article (but try to read both!). It left me feeling hopeful that a racist, even someone taught to hate from birth, can change his or her stripes.
The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
Book Description: After the suicide of her husband, FBI Agent Jane Hawk uncovers a massive conspiracy with ties to the government and technology do-gooders.
Book Review: It took me awhile to get fully engaged as Koontz kept details close to his vest as to what was really happening and Jane interacted with few people (mostly bad guys), which made it hard to get a good read on her. I can see influences from Captain America: The Winter Soldier to Transcendence to Terminator, making it more sci-fi than horror (at least at this point), which tends to be Koontz’ genre. You do eventually go down the rabbit hole and get sucked into a big conspiracy theory that left me a bit paranoid because Utopia is always eye of the beholder. And everyone has different eyes. At the end of the book, Koontz previewed book 2, which left me anxious to get my little mitts on it.
To Read or Not To Read: Absolutely. This is a good book for people who love conspiracy theories. Note: multiple suicides do factor heavily into this story, so please be aware of this if that is a trigger for you.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. The Silent Corner is available on June 20, 2017.
Unsub by Meg Gardiner
Book Description: The Prophet destroyed her father’s promising career, and now 20 years later, she has a chance to restore her family name.
Book Review: A fast, engaging read. I liked Caitlyn. She had fire and smarts, which is just how I like my heroines. The murders were memorable (and inspired by the real Zodiac Killer) and even occasionally frightening. Some nail biting tension kept me on the edge, but the killers didn’t quite reach the highs of some of my favorite bad hombres. While their kills were horrifying, they were more standard-fare, in other words, Hannibal Lecter remains the King. It appears to be the start of a series, which I am interested in continuing.
To Read or Not To Read: Yes. It’s a good pick for mystery/thriller lovers who can handle some graphic violence and like cat-and-mouse games.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Unsub is available on June 27, 2017.
TL;DR – My Recommendations for You
So let’s break it down: I recommend EVERYTHING! Woot! Woot! Seriously though, everyone needs to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It’s a great book club selection because you will want to (need to) discuss it afterwards. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a perfect beach read for those who love intriguing and strong women. Mystery lovers will enjoy Unsub by Meg Gardiner and Sci-Fi fans will find themselves going down the rabbit hole with Dean Koontz in The Silent Corner.
To More Great Reads
Overall, I read fewer books than normal but enjoyed every book so I cannot complain! Several new books currently reside on my dresser (including the latest Paula Hawkins) and I am eager to dive into them as well. Plus, I cannot seem to quit NetGalley. Seriously, people: I have a problem. 😀 As usual, I’m joining Jana and Steph for my favorite link-up: Show Us Your Books! Be sure to check it out and see what everyone is reading.
What was your favorite book from May?
I have a Netgalley problem too. And a library problem. BUT there are worse problems to have! LOL! 🙂 I’m going to be reading Evelyn Hugo this week since it just came out today 🙂 Into the Water (the new Paula Hawkins) was really good, in my opinion!!! Small Great Things is on my list. I haven’t read any Picoult (shocking, I know) because I know they are going to wreck me emotionally, but that one sounds too good to avoid.
I have those same problems, Heather! And they are good problems to have, except when I have to return books unread. 😀 I adored The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and hope you do as well. I’m anxious to start Into the Water. It’s gotten a lot of mixed reviews, which makes me even more curious. 😀 Small Great Things was actually my first Picoult book too. It did wreck me but it’s a book that everyone needs to read.
kathy @ more coffee, less talky says
Seven Husbands isn’t yet available at my library (like, at all). Rude. I haven’t read any of TJR’s books yet; I have my first one on its way (One True Loves)…which isn’t my typical genre but it’s summer and work f*ckoff time so time to expand my horizons! 😀
It was my first TJR book because my library weirdly only has one of her books. And it’s one that didn’t interest me. It’s not necessarily my typical or favorite genre either but it’s really well written. You can’t help but drawn into the world she creates.
Brittany Pines says
Seven Husbands is getting great reviews everywhere! Just commented on that one. Small Great Things sounded good too.
Seven Husbands is fantastic. I was actually surprised by how much I loved it. Small Great Things is great too. Not always easy to read, but has a very important message worth any discomfort.
Nancy @ NY Foodie Family says
I cannot wait for the newest TJR book! I’ve been on hold for it at the library. Since it comes out today, I will hopefully get it soon! I loved Small Great Things. Definitely a book with issues worth talking about.
You’ll love it, Nancy. It’s so darn good! Evelyn is a fascinating character. She’s not always likable (who is) but knows who she is and owns it. Small Great Things is such a good read and Picoult did a fabulous job writing about such a difficult and complex topic.
Rebecca Jo says
I just read my first TJR book last month & have heard so much about her new one – ICANT WAIT!!!!!
Isnt it funny how reading trends work? You’ll get your mojo back soon.
This was my first TJR book and it won’t be my last! I hope you love it as much as I did. Yes, some days I devour everything in sight and other times no books interest me! LOL!
Ashley Ziegler says
I’m definitely going to check out Unsub! Sounds like a great book! Also, 10 books a month!? Haha, I can barely make it through 1 if not half a book. I think it’s incredible that some people can read so fast!
Unsub was really good. There was some crazy stuff happening. 10 books has been the average this year and to be honest — it’s a bit too much. I think between 6-8 and is a better fit for me.
Still holding off on Small Great Things. Loved Evelyn Hugo!
Evelyn Hugo was fantastic. And I am now more eager than ever to dive into her other books.
Jana @ Jana Says says
I love, LOVE TJR (this is not a secret. At all) so I absolutely agree with your love of Evelyn Hugo. SGT is an amazing, important read.
I am now officially a fan as well and cannot wait to read more of her catalog! Your constant praise is one reason I was so eager to read Seven Husbands. I agree wholeheartedly that SGT is such an important read. It wasn’t always an easy read, which made it even more important to me.
Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings... says
Although I haven’t read many of Taylor Jenkins-Reid’s books (only 2-3, I think), she is, in my opinion, one of the most consistent authors I’ve ever read. Maybe in Another Life still is one of my all time favorites. i have added The Seven Husbands… to my ever growing Goodreads TBR list.
I’m so excited to read more of TJR’s books. My library unfortunately has only one of her books that doesn’t interest me so I’ll have to hunt down her other books. I’ve decided that my TBR is one list that I’m okay if it grows more than it shrinks. 😀
Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders says
I have a serious Netgalley problem as well and feel like I need to go on ahead and just delete my login lol! Even though it was a slower reading month for you, I feel like you did read a lot of really great books, so that’s a definite win! I need to get on the TJR bandwagon already! I keep on hearing how great her books are! The Silent Corner also sounds like a really good thriller as well!
I go through spurts with netgalley. Some months I have no books and other times I have like eight. 😀 It was a slower month but I did read lots of great books, which is what matters most. Seven Husbands was my first TJR and I’m looking forward to reading more her books. She is one of those authors who gets consistent praise and adulation. The Silent Corner started slow but I was definitely hooked by the end. And book #2 comes out this January, so I’m glad Koontz isn’t waiting a year between books. Book #1 did have a complete ending, not a cliffhanger to be clear. Cliffhangers can be fun but also irritating if you have a long wait!
Hi! I just received The Seven Husbands via BOTM on Friday. Not sure when I will crack it open. I also have Small Great Things waiting one of my large TBR piles. I’m thrilled you recommend them both. 🙂
I procrastinated reading Seven Husbands because I was nervous I wouldn’t like it for some unknown reason. But I loved it so much! Small Great Things is so good. Not always the easiest or most comfortable read, but a good, important read.
Olya @ The Siberian American says
I liked Evelyn Hugo (though I agree that I didn’t feel a huge attachment to the twist) and Unsub. I’m the same way about reading where I read a ton and then feel guilty when for some reason I don’t! Haha.
Yeah, the twist or reveal fell a bit flat for me, but I loved the book so much that it didn’t annoy me as badly as it may have. After your review of Unsub in the previous link-up, I requested Unsub so I appreciate the recommendation. It was a really good book!
Megan Krzyske says
Thanks for the link to that Washington Post article re: Small Great Things! I read that book in April (I think) and recently posted about it. You’re right; everyone should give it a try even though it’s a tough read. Very eye-opening.
I apparently have to get the Evelyn Hugo book. I was debating between that and The Sisters Chase for BOTM and ultimately went with TSC, but now I feel like I missed out on another good one! Perhaps I’ll grab it as an add-on next month 🙂
Thanks for visiting my blog! Yours looks great, so I’m excited to see more.
You’re welcome, Megan. The article gave me so much insight into that world and also both the possibility that hate can be renounced and the courage it takes to go against what you were taught from birth. Definitely read Evelyn Hugo when you get the chance. It’s so good! Thanks for stopping by and connecting with me!
NetGalley gives me nothing and then ten books all at once and I can’t keep up! Haha! I love it though. I’m first on the wait list for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so I hope I get it today!
LOL! That happens to me all the time. I’ll get denied and cranky about it and suddenly they can’t get enough of me! I hope you enjoy The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I thought it was terrific!
Confuzzled Bev says
Haha… your title literally made me laugh out loud because I only read 3 books in May and I had basically the same reaction.
I feel like I’m the only person on the planet who has never heard of Taylor Jenkins Reid. I feel the need to check out that book now though!
I honestly thought I had read more and it shocked me that I had read so little. Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way sometimes! 😀 Honestly, until I started participating in this link-up, I had never heard of Taylor Jenkins Reid either. But everyone always seemed to rave about her so when I had the chance to grab her latest off of netgally, I took advantage of it. Glad I did because I understand why everyone raves about her.
So many bloggers had a good reading month last month! That article on Derek Black is interesting… This country is such a weird melting pot… with some rather unsavory ingredients =/ Definitely a lot to think about in this day and age!
I read the Derek Black article before the election and it resonates even more strongly today. I can’t imagine growing up in that environment but that’s norm for some kids. I applaud Derek for opening himself up to explore other cultures and learn to see people as people.
Teh Megan says
Small Great Things really packed a punch for me. Listening to the author’s note at the end of the audio was eye opening since Picoult actually interviewed white supremacists for her book. My mind is always blown by the fact that people like Turk and Britt actually exist in real life.
Her author’s note really struck a chord with me as well. Normally, I don’t always (rarely) read them but other reviewers had strongly encouraged readers to do so. You could see how hard she worked to make her story real as could be. I honestly had to keep reminding myself that the story was taking place now, not years ago, because I can’t believe that mindset still exists today.
I’ve seen quite a few reviews on The Seven Husbands so now I’m really interested to read some of her books! It’s a little different from what I normally read but it’s good to branch out, haha. LOVED Small Great Things. I went through so many emotions while reading– as I do with most JP books. I’m excited to see the movie!
It’s a little bit out of my typical genre too but I really loved it. And a good, well-written book is also a welcome read to me, no matter what the genre! I’m excited to see the movie too, even though I’ll probably have to watch portions of it (and you can likely guess which parts) with my eyes covered.
Jill K. says
Your last month sounds like my this month. I think I’ve played Candy Crush more than I’ve read.
Unsub sounds great. I’ll have to add it to my list.
Some months, you gotta entertain yourself with other things besides books! Unsub was really good and I hope you enjoy it!
I feel like I haven’t read that much lately either! Between moving and end of the school year stuff, I’ve just been tired. Hopefully now that that is all over with, I can pick up some good books to dive into 🙂
It sounds like you’ve been crazy busy, Mackenzie! Moving is such an undertaking and a pain but I know you’re moving into a bigger place which will be nice. Hopefully things are a bit more chill so you can read some good books this month!
Emma @Ever Emma says
I finished Small Great Things last night. SUCH a great book. Picoult did a really, really great job and I’m glad this was the first of her books that I have read!
It an amazing book. Piccoult really did a fantastic job and you can tell how much research she put into the book. It was my first Piccoult too. I’ll definitely check out some of her other books.