Saturday, June 2, 2018

Monthly Reads: April & May 2018

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Long time, no see, eh?

As many of you who follow me elsewhere will know, every spare minute of time I had over the past number of weeks was taken up by trying to help Repeal the 8th Amendment (which we did) so I had to sacrifice the blog for a while. I still read a fair amount in the evenings when I could, so this is a joint April/May Reads post.

Over the two months, I read 16 books. About half of those were free ones that I picked up via BookBub, I needed light escapes from reality on days where I'd been out canvassing or speaking with people online.

Click on any individual cover to go to my full Goodreads review.

Young Adult


The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr
Having enjoyed The One Memory of Flora Banks by the same author, I picked this up in the library via Borrowbox. It's about Ella, who has a very dark side to her in the form of Bella, or Bad Ella. Ella's parents have been keeping a huge secret from her, and their years of secrecy culminate in a last-minute dash to Rio. Here's where it fell apart for me, I felt like the whole Bella angle was dropped and the plot got messy. This just wasn't for me.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

A Court of Frost and Starlight  by Sarah J Maas
Fans of the series will know that this is the fourth installment of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. It's a novella, and the sole purpose is to wind up Feyre & Rhysand's story in order to focus on different characters for the rest of the series. Not a lot happens bar a Solstice and a truly gross sex scene, but it's a nice teaser for the next book, which will more than likely feature Feyre's sister Nesta as the main character.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Every day, people receive calls from Death Cast, informing them that they are due to die that day. There's an app called Last Friend where people can message each other, and this is how Rufus and Mateo end up meeting. Rufus is a foster kid in trouble for beating a guy up, while Mateo lives alone because his Dad is in a coma. Together, they have the best last day - doing things they've always wanted to do. This sounded so good, but my cynical little heart didn't buy it. I found it so hard to care about either of them, I didn't feel like I knew them well at all and I didn't like the chapters from other people. Thousands vehemently disagree with me going by the Goodreads reviews, so I'd say give it a go if the premise interests you.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository


Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
This was the Book Box Club pick for May, and I really enjoyed it. I read it pretty much in one sitting. All over the world, Angels, or "Beings" are falling from the sky. They're usually dead by the time they land, but Jaya's Dad is convinced that he knows where the next one will fall and it's only a matter of time before one survives the fall. One does - but it's Jaya who finds her. 
This was unique, lovely, and touching. I'd have loved to know more about the beings themselves, but it was a really fresh take on grieving and letting go.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
This was another Book Box Club pick, and it's by far my favourite book that they've featured so far. The Swan Sisters were put to death for enchanting local men centuries ago, but every Summer they rise from the ocean and inhabit the bodies of local women to exact their revenge. There's a lighthouse, a mysterious stranger, a curse, a beach party - all the things I love in a Summer read. I loved this one. Think Practical Magic meets We Were Liars and you're about halfway there. 



Calypso by David Sedaris
David's latest collection of stories features his family and how they deal with getting older, the death of their mother, and the death of David's sister Tiffany. At times very sad but mostly witty and warm, I enjoyed this - but not quite as much as some of his previous works.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Cornflakes for Dinner by Aidan Comerford
Comedian Aidan Comerford has written a very touching, honest book about his family and the stress that comes with having two children on the autism spectrum in Ireland. He chats about his wife Martha, their marriage, their daughters, their family outings in a frank, friendly way. There is sadness, but there is also hope. Really enjoyed this, it was a Rick O'Shea Book Club pick earlier in the year.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

The Woman Who Fooled the World by Beau Donnelly & Nick Toscano
This is an account of how Belle Gibson grew a following on social media as a wellness influencer, gaining lucrative sponsorship and publishing deals after she documented her journey with cancer and how she treated it with diet and alternative therapies. Only - she never had cancer in the first place. A fascinating read, really gripping, and there's a Fair City fact towards the end that Irish readers may find interesting!
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Books I Received for Review


One Click by Andrea Mara
This is Andrea's second novel, her first being The Other Side of the Wall which I read last Summer on holiday. This is about the dangers of Social Media and what happens when a woman takes a photo of a stranger and uploads it to Instagram. It goes viral and both women are put into unimaginable danger. I liked this a lot, I liked how the storyline showed both the positives and negatives of being active online. This would make an excellent holiday read.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Stalker by Lisa Stone (published June 14th)
This is Lisa's second crime thriller, having previously published non-fiction books about fostering under the pseudonym Cathy Glass. In this book, loner Derek Flint is a middle-aged man who lives at home with his mother. Derek runs a security firm, providing cameras for clients - but the clients are unaware that Derek can, and does, watch their every move. However, someone is watching Derek - and he's about to be dragged into a web of crime.
I received an e-mail about this and downloaded it from NetGalley - I was only going to read the first chapter to see what it was like and I got completely sucked in. It read like a really gripping TV crime drama, I think fans of things like Prime Suspect or Happy Valley would really like it.
Pre-Order: Kindle | Book Depository



Play by Piper Lawson
Payton works at a bank. She needs to land game designer Max Donovan as a client in order to nab herself a promotion - but Max isn't being entirely honest about his finances. Payton and Max are both solid, decent characters - likeable, sexy, with great chemistry. The plot is decent, this was one of the better contemporary romance books that I read in May.
Buy: Kindle

Bet Me by Lila Monroe
Lizzie works at a museum and needs help with finding rare Old Hollywood merchandise for an upcoming event. Jake is drafted in, and Lizzie realises that they've met before - they had a very saucy encounter that didn't end well. This is a typical will-they-won't-they-when-will-they type of read, it's not one for the faint of heart (think Samantha Jones) and leaving the awful side plot of someone betting on a woman's sex life aside, this was enjoyable enough. I really liked the museum setting and the wittiness of the characters.
Buy: Kindle

Nashville Heat by Bethany Michaels
Sydney is a singer songwriter with a dream. Dex Wylder is a rising country star. The chemistry between them is instant, and they end up having a one-night-stand. Roll on a couple of years, they haven't seen each other since that night, but Sydney is still trying to make it and Dex is a big star. This one dragged a lot for me - I felt like Sydney needed a kick in the ass, she didn't know what she wanted but kept arsing about going back to Dex then dropping him then going back then dropping - etc. This took me the guts of a week to finish and I was sick of them both by the end.
Buy: Kindle


Shy Girls Write it Better by May Sage
Cassandra Franklin is a shy, quiet accountant by day - but by night she's Cassie Frank, writer of erotic novels. There's just one problem - her next novel will feature BDSM but she has no experience. When her manuscript ends up in the hands of her sexy boss, Carter, he offers to teach Cassie everything she needs to know.
This is blatantly based on that other famous BDSM sexy boss/quiet woman series, but it's actually hilarious - the sex scenes alone are worth a read if only for the term "nether lips". I found it cheesy and predictable, but I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for so I couldn't complain. I almost bought the sequel purely on the fact that it's called "Scrooge McFuck" - I mean, COME ON.
Buy: Kindle

Tempted by Her Boss by Karen Erickson
Paige takes a job as a Nanny to the young son of a wealthy Italian single Dad. Matteo is pretty moody and boring, but Paige inexplicably develops a huge crush on him. I didn't enjoy this - I felt like it romanticized being a total dickhead, and that Paige as an employee was treated horribly. At the beginning of the story there's a revelation about why she left her previous job, and I felt like based on that alone the events that followed with Matteo weren't appropriate or believable. I also thought he had zero redeeming qualities and really didn't like him.
Buy: Kindle

The Cowboy's Runaway Bride by Laurie LeClair
Elizabeth Eve Barrington is due to be married. On the morning of her wedding, she overhears her fiancée making his intentions clear - he's only doing it to gain control of her father's business. She flees, hides in a truck, and feigns amnesia when she's discovered by a handsome cowboy. It's a pretty tame romance after that, it's wholesome enough (aka no sex) and is more of a ranchy, horsey, cowboy type thing full of kisses and chemistry and secrets. It verged into very twee territory towards the end but it was a light, pleasant read and by no means the worst of the month.
Buy: Kindle

So - there we are, I've lots of posts to catch up on and a few new things in the pipeline for the next few months. If you've any reading recommendations or there's anything you'd like to see me cover, please shout!

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