The Fiction Fox
May Wrap Up (Pt. 1)
You can probably tell that I’ve had a few days off in the month of May, because this was (both quantitively as well as qualitatively) one of my best reading months ever. Not only do I have 16 books to talk about, but I also have more 4.5- and 5 star-reads than in any month as far as I can remember. Because of the ridiculous amount of books, this wrap up will be going up in two parts. To make it easier for you guys to navigate I’ll also be going through the books in order of my rating, rather than chronologically. Part one will contain the books that I rated up to 4 stars. Part two will be dedicated especially to all my 4-, 4.5- and 5 star-reads of the month, and will contain my TBR for June. We have a lot to cover, so without further ado: let’s get into part one of my best reading months in recent history…
1. The Comet Seekers – Helen Sedgwick The first book this month is one that has been on my TBR for a very long time, and unfortunately the one I didn’t finish. The Comet Seekers is about two people who meet working at an isolated astronomical observatory in Antarctica and seem to find that they have a connection that is written in the stars. It’s been compared (tonally) to Station Eleven and The Time Travelers Wife and sounded completely up my alley. Unfortunately, my choice to try the audiobook didn’t turn out too well this time. As much as I was enjoying the story, I couldn’t stand the ridiculous and over the top accents the narrator was doing for the foreign characters, and it really hindered my enjoyment of the book as a whole. Instead of letting this taint my view of the book, I decided to move it back to my June TBR, and give it a second chance in physical format.
2. Black Leopard, Red Wolf – Marlon James Expect to see this one on my “Most Disappointing list” at the end of the year, because man, I’m still bitter about it… Black Leopard, Red Wolf had an awesome premise and a lot of hype surrounding it before release, and I was hoping for a new highly original fantasy series to love. “Original” is one way to describe it, “pretentious”, “graphicly disturbing” or “horrible” are others. As you know, I reserve the 1-star rating for books I actively dislike or even hate, and it has been quite some time since I hated a book as much as this one. Full review can be found here as well as on Goodreads. Rating: 1/5 star
3. White is for Witching – Helen Oyeyemi The first book I read in May was an intense one, and it took me a while to decide whether that was in a good or bad way. In the end, I had too many problems with this novel to rate it any higher than two stars. White is for Witching is another gothic-horror-meets-magical-realism story set in a Victorian mansion, where a family is faced with the question which is most haunted: the house they live in or their own minds. It deals with grief, family dynamic and mental illness, more specifically eating disorders. It was the representation of the latter, seemingly for pure shock value, that rubbed me the wrong way a little. I haven’t written a “coherent” review, but I did put my thoughts to paper, which you can find here. Rating: 2/5 stars
4. The Devouring Gray - Christine Lynn Herman Another of my most anticipated releases that turned out to be a disappointment. The Devouring Gray is basically Stranger Things meets The Raven Boys in book-form, but executed nowhere near as good as either of those. It’s a very obvious debut that had a lot of great ideas, but very lacking execution for all of them. In all honestly, I might not have judged it so harsh if it hadn’t been for the ridiculous amounts of hype surrounding its release, which might have helped set it up for failure. Full review to come soon Rating: 2.5/5 stars
5. The Lonely Hearts Hotel – Heather O’Neill Purely based on my personal enjoyment level, this would have been a 1.5 or a 2 star, but I am giving it the benefit or 2.5 stars, as I feel I just wasn’t the right audience for this book. Without going on a full tangent on misleading marketing by publishers, I feel like if this had been marketed properly, I would have known to steer clear of this novel. Despite its magical-realism-historical-fiction marketing, The Lonely Hearts Hotel is really neither of those things. It’s a romance novel. If you enjoy romance, you might like this, but for me it’s the one genre I know going I have zero interest in. Full review to come.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
6. The Hurricane Child – Kacen Callender I recently a video from one of my favorite booktubers Kayla at Booksandlala, in which she talked about one of her favourite, very specific book-tropes: Magical Realism YA books set on an island. Low and behold, that highly specific thing also happens to be one of my favourite things as well, so naturally I added every book she mentioned that I hadn’t already read to my TBR. One of them was The Hurricane Child. The Hurricane Child is a middle grade novel that deals with many important topics like racism, sexuality, homophobia, bullying and the grief over a parent that has abandoned their family. I absolutely loved it for that, but it did have quite a few flaws I couldn’t overlook. The main one being: trying to do too much in a short book, and consequently feeling a little disjointed. Despite not loving it, this is still a middle grade novel I highly recommend, even if just for the themes it can introduce young readers to. Full review to come.
Rating: 3/5 stars
The Lost Coast – Amy Rose Capetta After the mention of a friend group of teenage witches in the Californian Redwoods setting, coupled with a mystery storyline, I was basically sold on the synopsis of The Lost Coast. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publisher Candlewick for review, and ended up quite enjoying this novel. Think: Spellbook of the Lost and Found meets The Raven Boys with a hint of The Craft. Full review can be found here.
Rating: 3/5 stars