2019 Reading Challenge: What I Read in May

June 6, 2019Hels

May was an incredibly busy month. We moved into our new house, we spent time staying at Sam’s family home while we had some work done, we spent hours each day commuting Dougie back and forth to his old nursery  (he starts at his new nursery today, yay!) and we still haven’t unpacked everything as there is so much work that needs doing! I did manage to get some reading done though, so here’s my round-up of my May reads…

Our Stop (Laura Jane Williams)*

Author: Laura Jane Williams
Genre: Fiction/Romantic comedy
Page Count: 400
Published: 8 August 2019

My rating:

Plot:7.5 out of 10 stars (7.5 / 10)
Characters:7.5 out of 10 stars (7.5 / 10)
Ending:8.5 out of 10 stars (8.5 / 10)


Nadia gets the 7.30am train every morning without fail. Unless of course, she oversleeps or wakes up at a friend’s house after too much wine. Daniel on the other hand, manages to always gets the 7:30am train. One morning, Nadia catches sight of a post in the ‘Missed Connections’ section of the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

This sets in motion a series of near-misses and close encounters…

This is a perfect book for the summer. It’s charming, sweet and funny but there is a lot more to it. Daniel is struggling with grief, and Nadia is feeling left out of her friendship group. There are a lot of near-misses – if I’m honest I think this happened a few too many times – I’m all for coincidences and it wasn’t unbelievable, but it made the book a bit predictable at times, and I found myself getting a bit frustrated with it. I thought the characters were written really well, particularly Daniel.

*GIFTED for review by NetGalley


I Heart Hawaii (Lindsey Kelk)*

Author: Lindsey Kelk
Genre: Fiction/Romantic comedy
Page Count: 384
Published: 30 May 2019

My rating:

Plot:5 out of 10 stars (5.0 / 10)
Characters:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)
Ending:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)


When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazy life. Returning to work after having a baby, Angela feels like she’s supposed to have it all, but learning to juggle work, a social life and a baby is no easy feat.

This is the final instalment in the I Heart series, and there were plenty of familiar faces popping up. There’s a couple of the I Heart books I’ve not read, but I didn’t feel like I was missing any inside jokes or anything, and I don’t think you need to have read all the previous books in order to enjoy I Heart Hawaii.

I did enjoy it, but I had a few frustrations, particularly with the guilt that seemed to be heaped on Angela after she went to Hawaii. Initially she didn’t want to go and leave her baby and Alex, her husband, and he said that of course she should go, then when she did agree to go, he wasn’t happy about it. There were a lot of comments like: “What man would be happy for his wife to disappear for three days, leaving him with the baby,” which really wound me up – she wasn’t leaving her baby with a stranger – plus her husband’s mother was there, it was only three days, and her baby was almost a year old… Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it frustrated me because I felt like it wouldn’t have been an issue for Alex to go away.

Despite this, it was a good read. I thought it was a great way to end the series, and it tied everything up nicely, it was pretty cheesy but that’s how it should be!

*GIFTED for review by NetGalley


The Perfect Wife (J.P. Delaney)*

Author: J.P. Delaney

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Page Count: 448

Published: 6 August 2019

My rating:

Plot:8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)
Characters:6 out of 10 stars (6 / 10)
Ending:7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)


Abbie wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there. The man by her side explains that he’s her husband. Tim is a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie she’s a gifted artist, a doting mother to their young son, and the perfect wife.

Five years ago, Abbie went missing, presumed dead. Her return from the abyss is a miracle of science, a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that has taken Tim half a decade to achieve – she is a companion robot, or “co-bot”.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives – and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together for ever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago?

The plot for this book really intrigued me. I’ve read J.P. Delaney’s two other psychological thrillers and enjoyed both of them, particularly The Girl Before – his storylines are always so unique.

There’s a sci-fi element with The Perfect Wife, looking at artificial intelligence, the future of robots in society, and the effect that could have on humanity.

Read my full review of The Perfect Wife

*GIFTED for review by Quercus Books


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer)

Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Genre: Historical fiction

Page Count: 274
Published: 10 May 2009

My rating:

Plot:10 out of 10 stars (10.0 / 10)
Characters:10 out of 10 stars (10.0 / 10)
Ending:9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)


It’s 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer’s block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book – she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time, with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. 

Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books – and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.

It took approximately one page of reading before I completely fell in love with this book. It is an epistolary novel (written in the form of letters), which is a style I don’t usually enjoy, but in this book, it works perfectly.

There is something so wonderful about reading about other people who love reading, and about how it brings people together. The debates and discussions that went on at the Society sounded so entertaining – obviously now I want a Society like that to join!

Read my full review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


The Family Upstairs (Lisa Jewell)*

Author: Lisa Jewell
Genre: Mystery/psychological thriller
Page Count: 432
Published: 8 August 2019

My rating:

Plot:7 out of 10 stars (7.0 / 10)
Characters:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)
Ending:6.5 out of 10 stars (6.5 / 10)


Henry, his sister Lucy and his socialite parents live a privileged life in a house in Chelsea, then one day, people start arriving at the house. They looked harmless enough, but soon, things take a dark, sinister turn…

I read this book in a few hours, it was one of those “gripping, unputdownable thrillers” I enjoy so much! The story moved between Libby and Lucy in the present, and Henry, retelling the story of the house in Chelsea and its residents. The stories of what happened in the house were suitably sinister, and I found the characters all really interesting, particularly Miller.

The story is intricately woven together, and it took a while for me to unravel all the plot threads, but I had fun working it out. I found the narrative switches a little confusing at times, but got used to them fairly quickly. I loved seeing how everything fitted together, and the ending was satisfying, although I’d have liked to have had a bit more of Henry’s story.

*GIFTED for review by NetGalley


The Paper & Hearts Society (Lucy Powrie)*

Author: Lucy Powrie
Genre: Children/YA Fiction
Page Count: 400
Published: 13 June 2019

My rating:

Plot:7 out of 10 stars (7.0 / 10)
Characters:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)
Ending:6 out of 10 stars (6.0 / 10)


Tabby is staying with her Gran for the summer while her parents prepare to move house, and she is quite content to spend her days reading, particularly after some events that happened back home. She joins a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society where she meets Olivia, Henry, Ed and Cassie, and slowly, she starts to find her place.

I have to start off by saying that I don’t usually read YA fiction, so I’m writing this as someone trying to read a bigger range of genres. I think The Paper & Hearts Society deals with certain issues extremely well, and very sensitively. I particularly liked the references to demisexuality, which isn’t something I’d ever really come across in books. The story is very much aimed at 12-17 year olds I’d say, and I definitely think this book would have impacted me more if I were younger.

There were a lot of literature references: Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and then plenty of references to YA authors as well. Sometimes this felt a little forced, but I guess it is a nod to several generations of book-lovers. I loved the literature book tour they went on, and having recently visited Bath, I could perfectly picture the time they spent there.

I think the book is well written, and it’s a very quick, easy read. I think it deals with issues of bullying very well – particularly how social media can play a part, and it touches on anxiety, although I think this could have been explored in more depth. If you love YA fiction, you’ll absolutely love this, and even if it isn’t your usual kind of book, it’s an enjoyable read.

What have you been reading lately?

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