May came and left in a hurry. We had a great trip out to Colorado to celebrate my brother graduating from college and Mother’s Day with my mama and paternal grandmother. I also am now employed after a year of transition from moving across the country. This month was also a more voracious reading month compared to April, so let’s dive on in!
Circe by Madeline Miller
The first book I finished in May was Circe by Madeline Miller. I saw this book recommended everywhere before its publication date and I think I was the first patron to borrow it from our local library. I really enjoyed the writing style and pacing. It felt both modern and ancient. It was captivating and easy to get lost in, as well as giving you themes to think on and stories to try and connect with from different Greek myths. This would make a great beach or book club read and I definitely recommend it!
Dear Farenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak In the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in her Life by Annie Spence
This was a fun epistalary book to a variety of books and genres from a Librarian’s perspective. What she’s loved and hated, what patrons have loved and hated, guilty pleasures and classics. It gave me some new titles to add to my TBR list and was just a fun conversation style book, where it felt relatable and funny as you reflected on shared ideas or differences of opinion with the author.
Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Y’all, this book was amazing! I’ve seen many elementary and middle school teachers I know use this book in class and I totally understand why! This book is about how differences make us special and allow us each a unique vantage point of the world. It is about friendship and kindness, and the power of gifted teachers.
The teacher, Mr. Daniels, is an incredible character who sees in his student the gift that she is and works and fights for her to get the education she deserves alongside the confidence to stand up for herself. He is everything good we want teachers to be and shows the heart behind why people pursue careers in education.
The main character, Ally, has dyslexia. She is gifted at math and art, but struggles with other subjects take because she hasn’t been given the tools to read that work for how her brain is wired. Mr. Daniels changes that, and in doing so, changes her world.
As we struggle as a country with how we treat our teachers, and see the strikes going on from coast to coast, this book is a beautiful reminder of the power of education and amazing teachers who are there to find the students slipping through the system and equip and empower them. This book is wonderful and I think everyone should read it.
Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco with Lauren Oyler
I have established my love of a good political memoirs, and books that center around the world of politics in general. It’s a world I’ve been fascinated by since studying Virginia state history in fourth grade and the amazing field trips Mrs. Moore and the other teachers took us on. She made the worlds of history and politics come alive, as did living in the D.C. metro area, and it’s captivated me ever since.
This book is written by the former White House deputy chief of staff to President Obama, and a woman who has a long credentialed political career before serving in that role. I love that she shares about the triumphs and trials of being a woman in a male-dominated career field, and about the amazing trips she was able to accompany the president on during her time on his staff.
She is funny and engaging, and shares interesting stories from her younger years to compliment the memories she is sharing from her time in the White House. If you enjoy this field of books like I do, you should add this one to your TBR list.
The Secret Lives of Royals by Shalini Dua
I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my review.
This book was intensely readable and had an interesting premise that pulled me in from page one. I will say that the last twenty percent of the book felt rushed and a bit disjointed, but I’d love to read a sequel to the story.
I found the characters enjoyable, the plot entertaining, and think this would make a perfect summer pool or beach read, as well as a great TV show, on a network like FreeForm or The CW or Netflix.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
I love all of Lauren Weisberger’s books. I find her snarky and funny, her writing is so descriptive and engaging, and this book followed the pattern that I love from her well.
The characters were flawed and real, while still living an aspirational lifestyle that inspired a sense of wonder and intrigue into their world. I loved that Emily struggled to adapt to the growing world of social media. I felt for the women and their messy relationships. I was laughing out loud often, and my heart hurt in solidarity for situations characters faced.
This book is fierce and funny, and would make the perfect beach or pool read this summer.
I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my review.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
I deeply enjoyed this book, just as I’d hoped I would. I loved the descriptive writing and the emotional depth of the characters.
It’s a book about loss, heartache, falling in love, moving on, learning to live a full life, and learning to feel again. This was a beautiful read, that I’ve already been recommending to loved ones, and that I can’t wait to recommend to patrons of our local library.
The Selection by Kiera Cass
This YA dystopian series takes place in a future country after four world wars and ruled by a royal family. There is a caste system in place, and once a generation, if the royal family has a son, there is a lottery for 35 women age 16-20 to be selected representing the different areas of the country, to compete to marry the prince. It’s like The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, but done with more decorum and poise than either of those. It’s a fun world to lose yourself in for a couple hours and I’m excited to read the rest of the series and follow these characters further.
The Elite by Kiera Cass
I am still really enjoying this series and the characters, but holy gracious did the indecisive nature of America become frustrating in this book. Yes, she is 17 in a dystopic society and overwhelmed with how her life is constantly changing, but girl… make up your mind.
I’m excited to see where the series continue to go, and enjoyed how this book ended. I like seeing some fight and strength to America’s stubbornness that’s on her own behalf.
The One by Kiera Cass
The third book in this series had so much happen within its pages. I enjoyed seeing how the characters grew and the resolution to some of the secrets and questions we still had as readers from the first two books. I enjoyed seeing Celeste fleshed out more, and other minor characters getting more depth. I feel the ending was rushed in relationship to the rest of the story, but found the epilogue to be a sweet way to wrap this story up. Given how the epilogue ended, I think this is where I’ll stop in the series.
This was a fun YA dystopian world to visit and I enjoyed them very much.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
I loved the PBS series Victoria and was excited to read the novel the show was based around. I appreciate the author was responsible for both the novel and the screenplay, and found that season one of the series and the novel were very much the same, which was not a bad thing, just not what I’d expected.
I love history and have always found England’s royal family fascinating, with a soft spot for Queen Victoria. I enjoyed this fictionalized account inspired by her own diaries of what it must have been like to become Queen so young and so indirectly, and to then need to find a husband and navigate the complicated political game.
I really enjoyed this book, and if you enjoy historical fiction, the royal family, and strong female characters, then I would recommend this book.
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham
This was a short encouraging read targeted at recent graduates, as it was inspired by a high school graduation speech Lauren made in 2017. It’s about living in and for the daily moments and a very appropriate read for this time of year as we celebrate graduation season and new jobs. I also just love Lauren Graham and wanted to read it solely because she wrote it.
What did you read this month? Any fun summer reads you’re looking forward to?