Book Review

May 2015 Reads – Part 1.

Time for me to round up the books I read in May and share my thoughts on them. I read lots in May, I spent the last week of the month on holiday which allowed me a bit more reading time. I finished 12 books in total, though I read about 85% of another at the end of the month but didn’t finish it until 1st June so I’m being good and not counting it as a May finish. I’m splitting the round up into two posts with six books in each so here’s part 1.

Wait for You by J. Lynn. Harper.
I really don’t read many New Adult books, when I do they tend to be ones I’ve had recommended. This was an author recommendation rather than a specific book one, luckily it still worked out well. The book centres around the growing relationship between the two main characters, Avery and Cam, they both have difficult things in their past and the reader is drawn in to rooting for their development both as individuals and a pair. I must mention that Cam having a pet tortoise called Raphael brought in an extra thing for me to love about the book.

Joe All Alone by Joanna Nadin. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
By the time I started reading this book the online buzz was already building well, this of course meant that my expectations were really high. I was very pleased with how well they were met, this is a really good book. Joe has been left home alone while his mother is on holiday with her boyfriend, to begin with he manages well (particularly when you consider he’s just 13) but as the days go on the challenges he faces just grow and grow. This book is the sort of book that gets under your skin, it’s absolutely brilliant but I found that for days and days after I finished reading it I was still thinking about Joe and his life. This book made me laugh out loud and it made me sob, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. Balzer + Bray.
This is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for years and years but have just never got around to. I found it a really interesting reading experience, I thought I knew what it was about but it turned out what I knew about the book didn’t happen until a good way through the book so there was a lot to come first. I enjoyed this book a lot, though there were times when I wished the book would just get on with it. I found this to be a fairly slow paced and wordy book, whether part of that was down to my inaccurate expectations of it I’m not sure. I also found I didn’t entirely connect with Cameron herself, I think this again may be due to the wordy nature of the book. I realise this all sounds a bit negative, which is not how I felt about the book – as I say I did enjoy it a lot, I just didn’t love it the way I expected to.

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot. Macmillan Children’s Books.
I haven’t read many of the Princess Diaries books but I’ve loved the ones I’ve read. When I saw that Meg Cabot was writing a new series linked to them I was really excited for it, when I started reading this first book in the series my excitement just grew and grew. I loved this book, it’s funny and cute and just downright lovely. The princess in question is Olivia, her mother died and her father is absent so she lives with her aunt and uncle and cousins. When she discovers there’s more to her family tree than she realises we get to experience her joy and excitement first hand – I found reading this I smiled so much my cheeks actually ached a little. Familiar faces from the Princess Diaries return along with a whole host of new characters, I can’t wait for the next book so that I can spend more time in Genovia and more importantly with Olivia.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black. Indigo.
I’m not actually sure where to start with reviewing this book. It’s brilliant, and I loved it, and I’m not entirely sure how to be suitably eloquent about this. This is a fantasy ya filled with fae but at the same time its contemporary setting is filled with the characters’ personal lives and interactions, being a teenager is hard enough without having to navigate all of the rules of the fae. I really liked the setting of this book, the fae are known and a part of the fabric of Fairfold and so this means there was no need for some of the secrecy that can come with fantasy books that mix the real world and some sort of other world. There is of course secrecy, and hiding activity from adults – what good fantasy adventure doesn’t have some sneaking around – but this is allowed to be more story specific because of the town’s knowledge of the fae. I loved the characters and their relationships, I was completely drawn into their lives and found that as the peril was increasing so too was my worry for them. This book was a real contrast to the other Holly Black book I’ve read (The Coldest Town in Coldtown) but I loved it just as much.

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell. Jo Fletcher Books.
This book was recommended to me separately by two friends, I’d fallen out of the habit of reading adult fantasy and they both knew that this was a book I may have missed but needed to read. They were both absolutely right, within the first chapter I was in love with this book and these feelings only grew over the time I was reading it. It’s the sort of book that sucks you right in, I found I was really resentful of the times when I had to put it down and do other things. This fantasy world has magic and some fantastical creatures, it also has a hugely corrupt political system with Dukes over throwing Kings and it is the aftermath of these struggles which provide the backdrop for the book. Our focus for the book is Falcio, one of the remaining Greatcoats – a group who had served the King travelling far and wide to uphold the law. Named for the magnificent coats that they wear, the Greatcoats were effectively disbanded during the Dukes’ victory and now Falcio and his close friends Brasti and Kest are in the wind. This central friendship is wonderful, the closeness of the bond that they share leaps off the page and is one of my many favourite things about the book. There’s so much action in this book, so many brilliantly written fight sequences, and then at the same time some truly beautiful quieter moments. There are also some twists that I didn’t see coming – it absolutely felt like everything I’d known about the book had been ripped away but at the same time felt entirely right to the plot, in hindsight nothing came out of nowhere. This book is truly brilliant, the sequel Knight’s Shadow has been published already and is waiting on my Kindle for me, and then there are two more books planned in the series.

My copies of Joe All Alone, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess and The Darkest Part of the Forest were all provided for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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2 thoughts on “May 2015 Reads – Part 1.

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