May Wrap-Up


Can you believe that it's the end of May already? It feels like only yesterday I was sitting at my laptop writing April’s Wrap-Up. Yet here we are again!

First, a general sum up: I read the same amount as last month, 5 books in total. This isn’t as much as I wanted to read, I kind of got distracted by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.. Season 6 is phenomenal! One season to go now, plus two more seasons of Angel. I’m not the best at binging tv shows, I can’t watch a whole series in one night like some can, I need my beauty sleep, we don’t want a grouchy Vena! Buffy took up a lot of my time in the day so I fell behind on blogging too. Oops! But in June I will be more organised! Once I’ve powered through the rest of Buffy of course.

Enough about the best fantasy show ever! Onto what you guys are most curious about, the books I read:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

May had an interesting start with Water for Elephants. Newly orphaned Jacob Jankowski jumps on a moving train to escape his old life. He soon finds out that this train is none other than a travelling circus. Using his veterinary skills to earn his keep, he learns the harsh realities of this circus’ life during the Great Depression. Romance is added to the mix as well.

I got through Water for Elephants quickly, but throughout I wasn’t sure on how to think. Although I enjoyed the book, the reviews on the cover were misleading, making me have different expectations on the book’s contents. Water for Elephants may be enchanting to some, but I found it gruesome and raw. The language was simple and easy to read, surprisingly graphic at times. Sex is featured a lot more than you’d expect, most characters are twisted, and animal cruelty is included more than I'd be comfortable with. So, not so pleasant to read! What baffled me the most? In a Q&A at the end, nothing about the misuse of animals in circuses was mentioned. A fantastic opportunity to bring up an important issue was wasted.

Water for Elephants left me on the fence, it definitely made me think, if I’d known what I’d be greeted with I might’ve seen it in a different light, but for now it’s rated 3 stars.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave me some fantasy vibes, so the next book I read was Seraphina. Named after the main character, an illegal half-breed, Seraphina must keep her two species together after the murder of the Prince of Goredd causes tension between humans and dragons. All the while, her parentage must stay a secret, as she uses her position as to help Prince Lucian and Princess Glisselda to investigate the heinous crime.

Seraphina was an unexpected gem. The writing was slightly muddled at times, but the detail and intelligence that showed through was astounding. All characters were complex, especially Seraphina. I was hooked as soon as I found out that she was half-dragon. In this universe, dragons can take human form, and don’t feel emotion. Therefore, the narrator becomes an intriguing character, as everything is shown through a different light than usual. Faults are evident in this book, there is indeed something missing, but they’re overshadowed by the complexity of the world and characters. Confusion doesn’t matter when there’s so many fascinating quirks in Hartman’s novel.

A re-read may be on the cards, I need to understand it more! Another tough one to rate, but I couldn’t help but give it 4 stars.

This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire

A theme of beginning a book with incorrect expectations is frequent this month. This Modern Love, a Youtuber book, is a collection of love letters, beginning from that first spark of love to the sorry end. For some reason I’d expected there to be more variety, not just romantic love, but family and friendship too. That was slightly disappointing, though I have no idea where that expectation came from.

Non-fiction collections surrounding people are always enjoyable to read. Like most, This Modern Love is a good table read. You can read it all in one go or spread it out, open it at a random page and see what you find. Some letters moved me more than others. A few one-liners made me laugh, I never cried while reading it but I did feel a little sad. I liked the order they were placed in, and the pictures scattered throughout although the letters were repetitive at times. The ending self-fulfillment letter was wonderful to read. More of those would’ve been grand.

Each individual letter could have its own rating, but as a whole, This Modern Love is a 3 star for me.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I forgot that I borrowed Gemina from the library. Quick! Read it before I get fined! The story follows on from Illuminae on a different ship, the Heimdall. Hanna finds space station life boring, that is until an elite BeiTech team invades their station, leaving it up to Hanna and her drug-dealer Nik, to defend their home. With the Kerenza invasion unknown, they must fight for their lives.

What a whirlwind! I won’t say much, I wouldn’t want to spoil Gemina’s predecessor, Illuminae. Everyone raves on about The Illuminae Files series, and it’s no wonder! These books are fantastic! So gripping, once I’ve started I can’t put them down. The Illuminae Files take a unique epistolary form, comprising of emails, pictures, surveillance camera footage and lots more. Gemina is a fantastic sequel to Illuminae, I’ve heard that the audiobooks are just as impressive too.

5 stars makes Gemina the winner of this month. Throws confetti in celebration.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman struggles to fit in with other people, he still hasn’t found his match, so he takes matters into his own hands! Using his organised skills he creates The Wife Project, a survey to eliminate all unsuitable partners until he finds the one. As described on the back, he soon learns that you don’t find love, love finds you.

The Rosie Project was a strange experience. It’s rare to find a main character with aspergers in a book, at first it was difficult to get into. I adjusted very quickly though, Don is a hilarious character, his little routines and misunderstandings make him lovable, though he was fairly stereotypical it was still lovely to read. A few pages got quite factual, Don likes his facts! That’s no surprise from a geneticist; some scenes were really fun to read, especially Don learning about cocktails! Unfortunately, I didn’t feel connected to the story. The surrounding characters were fairly boring and selfish; the ending was predictable too. Something was missing, although I’m not sure what.

The Rosie Project was very easy to get through, and I’m definitely glad I read it! May ends with an uncertain rating of 3.5.

Song of the Month

Malibu by Miley Cyrus

Have you guys heard Miley Cyrus’ new song, Malibu? It’s so much more mellow than her wrecking ball phase, and I love it! I bought it the moment I heard it, it’s been on repeat since. What do I love about it? Malibu reminds me of Fleetwood Mac, it’s strange and also sounds familiar. Whenever l listen to it I find myself relaxing completely; imagining myself sitting on a beach listening to the waves. Miley Cyrus seems to be content with life now, I'm inspired. I'm loving the summer vibes coming from this song, it's the perfect time to start listening to music like this. 

Musical of the Month

Closer Than Ever

I’m a sucker for romance, that’s clear. A concept musical about life in your middle ages, songs about love, loss and time? I’m in! Closer Than Ever has and always will be a regular on my ipod. Anytime I feel sad, I’d pick a song from Closer Than Ever. Frustrated? Closer Than Ever. Happy, thoughtful, whatever feeling, I find a relation to it in this musical. You could say that it speaks to me. I loved it so much, I used Patterns for my dissertation. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: Miss Bird, There’s Something in a Wedding, It’s Never That Easy/I’ve Been Here Before.

May is over now, and June is now here. You could even say it’s bustin’ out all over! Gimme a shout if you got that. The books had a good mix of ratings this month, perhaps June will be same. I’m currently reading The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. So far, I’m unsure, we’ll see how it goes. Overall, I think this month went quite well, although I could do with some better organisational skills. Let’s see where June takes us!

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  1. Someday I'm going to binge Buffy , as I've never seen it (I know, I know). That and Veronica Mars which I also heard was good. But anyway- interesting about Water for Elephants. I've only seen the movie and it was okay- not great, not terrible. I do think the animal cruelty should be addressed though, especially in this day and age.

    Gemina was awesome!! I loved Hanna in that one (and the hacker sister of Nik, or cousin I guess- I'm drawing a blank on her name) but she was amazing. I will be all over the third one when it comes out (come on 2018)!!!

    1. Someday! I can't nag, I've only just seen it! Binging isn't my strong point as it took me several months! I've heard Veronica Mars is really good too! Supernatural is meant to be popular, Ghost Whisperer intrigues me too. Water for Elephants was a bit of a surprise, I've got the movie so I'll see how it compares! And the lack of chat about animal cruelty was a let down. I mean, isn't that the biggest taboo about the circus?

      Gemina was the best part of this month! Hanna was kick-ass, so stealthy! I love that she was trained to be like that too, it wasn't a "I just woke up like this" sort of thing. 2018 can't come soon enough! Have you listened to the audio books? I've heard they're really good. :)

  2. Wow, you had a good reading month as far as I'm concerned! I remenber enjoying Water For Elephants, though I definitely do agree about the unnerving amount of animal cruelty and sex in it.

    Seraphina, still haven't read it! Glad that you seemed to enjoy it!

    Oh, and I'm digging Malibu too! It's so relaxing. <3

  3. Wow, you had a good reading month as far as I'm concerned! I remenber enjoying Water For Elephants, though I definitely do agree about the unnerving amount of animal cruelty and sex in it.

    Seraphina, still haven't read it! Glad that you seemed to enjoy it!

    Oh, and I'm digging Malibu too! It's so relaxing. <3