May 2024 Wrap-Up

May 2024 Wrap-Up

Hi friends! I can't believe we're getting close to halfway through the year. I hope things have been going well for you and you've been enjoying nice weather! The spring-summer transition here is always my favorite - we've been getting out hiking and fishing and camping every weekend and I always am happier when the sun sets after 8PM.

Anyways, I read four books in May: two physical books and two audiobooks. I also DNF'ed a book. Let's go!

Flawless Girls - Anna-Marie McLemore

DNF @ 52% | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to Feiwel & Friends and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own.

I'm always here to try out a book where the synopsis gives off Gothic or dark academia vibes. I enjoyed a good part of what I read, but at the 30% mark this book began to drag and get too repetitive for me. Anytime it takes me almost a week to make a 10% progress jump on a book I have to consider jumping ship to avoid putting myself in a slump.

I did like the writing and I enjoyed the start of what seemed to be an extended metaphor that was going to carry throughout the rest of the book. I was interested in our protagonist and the plot of her missing sister, but the rest of the story seemed to lack the substance needed to keep it going.

I'd consider reading something else by this author in the future because I really did like her prose, but this one just wasn't for me.

Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror - Jordan Peele

⬤⬤⬤◕〇 | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: I really enjoyed this collection of short stories edited by one of my favorite horror directors, Jordan Peele. There were a number of stories here that I enjoyed (my rating is the average of my rating for each individual story). Here are my five favorites/most highly rated titles:

Happy Place - 4.75
Eye and Tooth - 4.5
Flicker - 4.5
The Other One - 4.25
Dark Home - 4.25

These stories had me captivated during my morning walks and commutes, and I loved how this audiobook was performed by a full cast. There was only one story that I had to skip because I could not understand the narrator (I didn't include this title in my rating calculation). I'm so glad I listened to this anthology and I would love to continue to explore works by these authors or other horror anthologies in the future!

content warnings: body horror, death, racism, drug abuse, police brutality

How High We Go in the Dark - Sequoia Nagamatsu

⬤⬤⬤◕〇 | paperback | purchase here

My Review: I didn't realize going into this book that it was a collection of perspectives, similar to WORLD WAR Z but with tangentially connected characters. The first chapter really pulled me in and I was admittedly disappointed to see that we wouldn't be continuing the story with characters and a plot I was drawn into.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed most of the chapters and characters I was introduced to. My favorites were probably the opening chapter, the chapter about the theme park for terminally ill children, and the chapter about the search for a new home planet. I thought the scale, both in terms of the number of characters and the time frame for the story, was very impressive and well constructed. I appreciated the science fiction elements of the story paired with real experiences and thoughts derived from the pandemic in 2020.

I admit I don't think I fully understood or really enjoyed the final chapter, but I can appreciate it for what it was. This isn't a book to pick up lightly, but if you know what you're getting into I think it can certainly be impactful.

content warnings: death of parent, child death, pandemic/epidemic, terminal illness, animal death

The Vixen Amber Halloway - Carol LaHines

⬤⬤⬤〇〇 | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to Regal House Publishing and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own.

This was a perfect book for what I needed it for, which was a quick read to get my mind off a heavier book I'd just finished. This book reminds me a lot of YOU by Caroline Kepnes, but it was different enough to be interesting. I really hated our main character in a satisfying, love-to-hate them way, but was impressed with the author's ability to still make her a little sympathetic to the reader.

Apart from that, there wasn't a ton that I loved. The comparisons to Dante fell flat for me, and while I understood its purpose in the story, I really don't like the girl-on-girl hate that was so prevalent here. Overall this book served its purpose for me, but I don't see it being anything remarkably deep-cutting.

content warnings: infidelity, animal death, murder, stalking

The Ministry of Time - Kaliane Bradley

⬤⬤⬤◐〇 | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: If you don't know me, know I am a time travel HATER. The biggest hater. So I surprised myself when I was looking forward to listening to this audiobook, where "Time" is literally in the title. I appreciated that for most of the book, time travel was a catalyst for the story to occur and not a primary plot element. I found the characters and their relationships with one another to be charming and endearing, if not fully realistic for the time periods they were from.

I enjoyed the spy thriller aspect of the novel as well, but not as much as the romance and character building. Unfortunately, this element takes over the plot towards the end of the book, and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the first 75%. I won't get into spoilers, but more time-travel based plot also comes into play here which I also didn't like (and am a little confused on the ending).

All in all, I really enjoyed most of this book, but the ending fell a little flat for me. I think it's a very strong debut and I look forward to keeping an eye on Bradley in the future!

content warnings: death, gun violence, colonisation, racism, murder, sexism, cannibalism


What was your favorite book you read this month? Let me know!

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