Short Book Reviews for May

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I have no idea where the last month went. Haha. I’ve been trying to read, really, I have…but my brain often drifts off elsewhere. Anyone else? Luckily, I have managed to engage myself in a few really wonderful books lately and I’ll share some thoughts on them below! Linking up today with my beloved hosts, Steph and Jana, for Show us Your books day!! This time around, I plan to be a bit better about seeing everyone else’s posts in the link up!

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
Oh wow this book was SO good. I knew it was going to be good – it is so highly rated and I have NO idea how I can even call myself a bookworm without having read it earlier. LOL. Luckily Kristen offered to buddy-listen to it with me this month and that gave me the major push to just read the amazing book already.

I loved these strong female characters and their strength. I loved the funny bits. I loved that the story was about writing. The ending was ultimately quite hopeful.

The audiobook of this book was SO WONDERFUL. I highly recommend going that route although I did read approximately 1/3 of it via e-book alternately too and the words on the page are obviously just as fantastic.

Can’t wait to watch the movie which I hear is also fabulous!!!

The Bright Side of Going DarkThe Bright Side of Going Dark by Kelly Harms
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started off a little bit slow for me, but by the end I did definitely really enjoy it. I think I might have preferred Amy Byler from last summer a TEENY bit more but this one will probably be more relatable and popular overall.

I really found parts of this book extremely endearing, heartwarming, sarcastic at times, and funny too. The characters were fun and the dual perspectives really kept my interest.

Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews The Ordinary PrincessThe Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meredith mentioned this book on the Currently Reading podcast in early 2019 and I couldn’t find it at any nearby libraries/stores so I ordered it on ebay and then it sat on my shelf for about a year. LOL. We’ve been flying through the family read-alouds lately and this one popped out at me. WE ALL LOVED IT (well, my husband didn’t, but meh!). This is an adorable fairy tale story that is kind of perfectly suited to my girls’ ages and is a really short read. The plot and characters are heartwarming, and I actually felt a strong desire to pick it up and finish it myself after my kids went to bed. hehe.

HIGHLY recommend if you enjoy sweet fairytales with a feminist twist.

The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first came across this title on Netgalley, I was of course drawn to it instantly. I adore Austen and even really enjoy adaptations/retellings/anything related to her work. This book sounded a bit like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society but set in a town where Austen once lived. PERFECT!! This book was absolutely lovely. There was such a unique cast of characters, all with different backgrounds (both happy and sad). It took me a little while to get into this because you meet the characters one by one and it isn’t immediately obvious why you are reading about their lives but around the halfway point the book really clicks and it is impossible not to root for these characters and their goal of preserving Jane Austen artifacts in a house that she once lived in.

There are little thoughts and nuances about all of Austen’s works scattered throughout the book – of course some of the characters are big fans of P&P and others prefer Emma, which is entertaining. None of them seem to love Mansfield Park, which I could relate to myself. The characters grow together and support each other and the ending was absolutely perfect in many ways.

I highly recommend this if you are a fan of multiple perspective historical fiction (this book takes place around the end of WWII so it isn’t the classic WWII type of story though there is a lot of talk of rationing and events of the war). If you are an Austenite, you can’t miss this one.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!! When I finished this, I was delighted to find out that the author is Canadian! An excellent debut novel by her and hope there is more to come!

All the Devils Are Here (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #16)All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dare I say that this is the best book Louise Penny has written yet? I know, I know, I say that every time. This one was next-level amazing though. Set almost entirely in Paris, this was a definite change to not have glimpses of Quebec and Three Pines but fortunately the plot and character development here made me forget momentarily about my beloved Three Pines characters. This book was quite a page-turner too, and I could NOT put it down which was exactly what my quarantine reading life needed.

If you are a fan of this series, be on the lookout for this book’s release in September. If you haven’t read it yet, start with Still Life!!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Edelweiss and Minotaur for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!

UntamedUntamed by Glennon Doyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I will admit that I really loved parts of this, and found other parts a bit repetitive. Overall though, it’s impossible not to find her very authentic and inspiring and the audiobook read by the author was quite well done.

View all my reviews The Poisonwood BibleThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was exceptional in so many ways. It was also long and not my typical favourite genre (long family saga) BUT the characters did worm their way into my heart and I was fully invested in their story by the end of it. It was heartbreaking at times, funny at times, devastating, hopeful, and fascinating. It felt uncomfortable at times but that was the point. What an epic tale of this American family in the Congo. Read the hardback and alternated with the audiobook which was excellently narrated.

Always a BridesmaidAlways a Bridesmaid by Cindi Madsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I’ll settle on 3.5 stars for this. These characters and this town are definitely super fun and it didn’t take me long at all to pick up with them from the first book in this series (Also, after the way this one ended, I am super excited to read the third too). I really enjoyed Violet and Ford and this is exactly what I seek in a contemporary romance, so no complaints here.

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

An Heiress to Remember (The Gilded Age Girls Club, #3)An Heiress to Remember by Maya Rodale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series is a ton of fun and I really liked this addition to it. The narrator is wonderful and I read the e-book alongside it.
Beatrice and Dalton and their past and reunion in such a unique situation – so enticing and fun. Still really adoring this NYC setting for historical romances too. Really loved how Beatrice grew and of course it was impossible to not love Wes Dalton.

Thank you to Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!!

That’s about it! I also read the other books in the Gilded Age Girls Club, listened to Harry Potter narrated by Stephen Fry (SO good), and read a few other books with the kids. Currently reading Someday in Paris and Vanishing Girls (finally, Steph!) and reading The Penderwicks with the family (SO good).

What have you been reading lately?! Got any good recommendations? πŸ™‚

12 responses to “Short Book Reviews for May”

  1. YAY so glad you liked the help. can’t wait to watch the movie πŸ™‚ hmm i think i will give that kelly harms book a go. i’m going to try and get to the jane austen society this weekend! i’m glad you liked the heiress book, it was cute. oooh vanishing girls is on my list, i was thinking of buying it since i put it on hold right before the library closed lol. my library doesn’t have the ebook so…. maybe. determined to finish the bridesmaids book today!


  2. shootingstarsmag Avatar

    Looks like you’ve been reading some mostly good reads, so that’s awesome. I definitely don’t always have the concentrate for reading these days, but it’s getting better.



  3. The best part of The Help is that it was rejected 60-something times before someone said yes to it. And it’s such a great book, too! The movie is also excellent. Octavia Spencer is marvelous in it.


  4. It has been so long since I’ve read The Help, so now I totally want to reread it. Glad you enjoyed it! I forgot that I have The Jane Austen Society waiting for me in NetGalley – oops. I’m excited to read it!



  5. I’ve considered The Poisonwood Bible more than once. Getting into long sweeping stories is a huge investment of energy and time…especially if they deal heavy in setting and this one in the jungle seems to be like that.


  6. I just put a hold on The Jane Austen Society when you compared it to Guernsey, which I loved!! I’m #60 in line so it’ll take awhile 😦 I loved The Help, both the book and movie!

    Here are my April reads, if interested:


  7. I just LOVED The Help and I did think the movie was just as good as the book.


  8. I loved Untamed but it was a little repetitive. Not enough for me to dislike it which is usually the case.

    As I said to you on IG, The Poisonwood Bible is one of my all time favorites.

    The Help was so good!


  9. The Help is one of the rare movies that I saw before reading the book and love both. The actresses in the film are phenomenal. I’m only a few chapters into Untamed but enjoying what I’ve read so far. The Jane Austen book sounds really intriguing too. I’m somewhat over P&P retellings but this sounds like something I would enjoy, adding it to my TBR.


  10. Untamed is on my to-read list, glad to hear its a good read.


  11. I LIKE THE BLOG DESIGN! I have been kind of blog MIA for a while… just been busy doing other things I guess… YAY! I read The Help when I’d just gotten back in to reading in 20—14? and gosh it was so good. It just gave me every feeling. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I still haven’t seen the movie. Every once in a while I get it from the library and proceed not to watch it. Whoops. I have been adding your recommendations as you go! I am excited for The Lovely War, The Ordinary Princess (one of my close friends favorites!), and The Jane Austen Society! Glad you had a great reading month! πŸ™‚ XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


  12. My daughter and I rented The Help yesterday and watched it on Amazon Prime πŸ™‚ I’ve got too many books to read to re-read it now, but the movie is also very good. Lucky you having a bunch of five star reads! I’ll have to add some to my list. Take care of you and yours!


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