Friday, June 3, 2016

Reading Roundup | May Book Reviews

Hi, Look at that massive pile of books! May has been an awesome month for reading where I've used every bit of free time working my way through my TBR shelf. I think the fact that it's light a lot later has helped as I feel more alert into the evenings. As you can imagine this is quite a long post so get comfy and maybe grab a drink before you start, good luck!

May Reading Roundup - Year Book Count 17

The Martian

Author - Andy Weir
Page Count - 369
First Published - 2011

Mark Watney is one of a six manned mission to collect samples from Mars. A large storm hits and the team are forced to make an early exit from their mission. Five of the team successfully leave but Mark Watney was struck by debris and feared dead, he is left on Mars. To every ones surprise Watney didn't die and so his solo mission to survive alone on Mars beguines.

I'm going to start by saying I have mixed feelings about this book, I think with all the hype and the fact that it has recently been made into a film I expected more. The writing style (log entries) was one I was excited to experience and it made total sense within the story. I think part of the excitement was lost with the retelling of past events for example there's a major issue, one that could cause Marks untimely death, but he's documenting it after the event so you know he's fixed it before you even find out how bad the event was. I loved the concept and the problem solving element, the what will try to kill Mark Watney next element but it was undermined by the for-mentioned point.

I can't help but be a little bit disappointed by the point in time that the book ended as well. I've since seen the film and I think it worked a lot better because you'd see the event and then he'd go talk to the log about it. The film did make his survival appear a lot easier and a lot shorter so for that I'm glad I read the book first because I felt a lot more strongly about the ending of the book versus the film.

The Girl With All The Gifts

Author - M.R. Carey
Page Count - 460
First Published - 2014

I featured this book on my Spring TBR list and I was told it's a good read which I can now confirm to be true. I enjoyed this book so much, I'd picked it on a whim unknowing it's true content. This might be a spoiler but the book is about Zombies and it totally for filled my need for a zombie fix. I don't think knowing about the zombies makes any difference as I would have worked it out by about page 20 anyway.

Set in a time of a zombie invasion there is a research center where Melanie is kept. She is strapped in her chair and taken to class with a gun pointed at her at all times. Days with lessons from Miss Justineau are the best and Melanie looks forward to seeing her favourite teacher. Her friends start being taken away never to return and she starts to wounder what's really behind the big metal door at the end of the corridor.

The story dragged a little in places but I always wanted to read on and see what would happen next, it's so hard to write reviews that don't include spoilers. The ending was a lot deeper than I envisioned and the story had a really nice twist on the classic zombie outbreak.

The Glittering Art of Falling Apart*

Author - Ilana Fox
Page Count - 294
First Published - 2016

This book was one of a group of books I won on Goodreads, you can see what I won here. With that in mind I don’t think this is a book I would ever have picked up but I am so glad this book came into my life. The story is set in the present day from the perspective of Cassie. She has a love for her family’s rich history and Beaufont Hall which has been left to the elements. One day when it becomes inevitable that they must sell the hall Cassie finds some old diaries while clearing up. These diaries belong to Eliza a member of her family she has never heard of, reading the contents starts to unravel a dark family secret.

The chapters are split between the present day and the past setting of the dairy entries, this was really well done and I never got lost with the time difference. I liked the element of mystery and the shared feelings of dismay and elation of Cassie as she discovered the history of Eliza life. I worked out the ending quite early on but that made me want to read quicker to confirm my theory and I don’t think any other ending would have satisfied me.

Just a Girl Standing in Front of a Boy

Author - Lucy-Anne Holmes
Page Count - 403
First Published - 2014

Jenny Taylor never had it easy, the target for the classroom bully's and picked on by her own Father, she now suffers from depression. That is why 'The Smiling Fanny Manifesto' was created by her best friend, it's a set of daily tasks that Jenny must complete to keep her depression at bay. These tasks have led Jenny on some crazy adventures and made it possible for her to meet her roommate Al and current boyfriend Matt. One day Jenny's mum turns up after leaving her father with the plan of bonding with her daughter. Meanwhile Matt proposes and Jenny meets Joe King who changes everything.

I can't say any more with out giving away the plot but it was so good. I always doubt chic-lit novels of having a well thought out plot and an unexpected ending but this book had both. I need to give this genre more credit but I read some really bad chic-lit books in the past. This book would make a really great summer read.


The Age of Miracles

Author - Karen Thompson Walker
Page Count - 369
First Published - 2012

Julia is eleven when the slowing first starts, the Earth is taking longer to rotate and the days are getting longer. When people finally become aware of the shift the days are already a few hours longer and people start to fear the end of time. Society starts to split between real timers and clock time followers, causing a rift among humanity. The animals and plants start to die and the world looks very different.

This book was so much more than I was expecting and I was hooked from the first chapter. I honestly hadn't payed that much attention to the blurb and I think that made me love it all the more. From the cover I was fooled into thinking it was a young adult soppy romance but it's so much more. The concept for the story was so new to me and really got me thinking, the fact that such a small amount of time could cause the degeneration of the Earth and it kept getting worse.


What Milo Saw

Author - Virginia Macgregor
Page Count - 419
First Published - 2014

Milo is a nine year old boy with Retinitis pigmentosa, he's slowly going blind and this gives him a new perspective on the world. His gran is taken into a nursing home and Milo realised it's anything from perfect and sets out to expose the Nurse in charge for all the wrong doing. There are loads of other intertwined character plots but I don't want to add spoilers.

The first book I've read since my book haul and the one I was the most excited to read but sadly it left me feeling like it was hard work. I loved the idea behind the story of people only seeing what they want to see for an easy life and that a small boy had so much passion to put things to rights but it just seemed to drag. For me personally there was too much of characters feelings included, I wouldn't have minded if they where plot integral but they just weren't. I would still recommend this book because the subject matter is so interesting and overall it was a good read but it should have been a bit shorter.

If you made it to the end of the post well done, it took forever to write so I hope it was enjoyable and you've maybe found a new favourite. What have you been reading recently?

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*These books where won via a Goodreads Giveaway


  1. I loved reading this post as I really am such a massive fan of reading. I read mostly chic lit so I think I'd enjoy just a girl standing in front of a Boy! It sounds really intriguing!

  2. I've wanted to read The Martian for the longest time ever but as with you mentioned, it had a lot of hype and I don't do too well with hyped books. I still want to read it as reading is subjective but it's nice to hear a not too hyped review, I'd still wanna read the book before the movie though as well. I've also wanted to read The Girl With All The Gifts as well, but I don't know too much and haven't read too many reviews on that one. The only one I've read out of all of these is The Age of Miracles and it was enjoyable, but more thought provoking than anything, it's incredible (as you said) that it takes such a small amount of time for the world to degenerate. It was interesting seeing all the different reactions.


  3. This was such a good roundup post, your reading recaps always make me want to go out of my comfort zone and try new genres! I love the sound of Just A Girl Standing In Front Of A Boy, right up my street xx

  4. I haven't read any of these books but I've heard really good reviews of The Martian. I personally don't mind the spoiler as I usually spoil myself anyway hahah x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

  5. I have been dying to read Just a girl standing in front of a boy for a while now but still haven't got round to it. Great round up, check out my book reviews!

  6. I loved reading this post! It gave me a lot of inspiration what to read next. The Glittering Art of Falling Apart sounds very interesting. I love reading books that are split up between the present and the past. I will definitely put this on my to-read list! :)
    Patti Shifting Tales

  7. I really love the variety of books here and all the different genres, there's lots for everyone to enjoy! I have a long list of books 'to read' and will definitely be adding to it with some of these!

    Musings & More