What I Read In May | 11 Mini Book Reviews

12 June 2020

If you follow me on twitter or instagram then you would have seen that throughout May I became a little bit of a bookworm and read quite a lot. 11 books to be exact. Being furloughed from work means that I have all this free time that I definitely wouldn't have under normal circumstances and reading is something I have thoroughly enjoyed doing so today I thought why not talk to you all about all the books I read in May. Grab a cuppa and be sure to have a pen and paper/phone/kindle ready because I'm sure you'd be interested in a lot of these books. I'll try not to give too much away of each of the stories but I can't promise that I will be able to achieve this. I will also provide my own personal rating of the book at the end as well. Enjoy! 

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
I absolutely loved Queenie. Queenie is the main protagonist in the book. She is a journalist and the story evolves around her recent break up with her boyfriend. The story focuses on the importance of family and friendship whilst also focusing quite strongly on the theme of racism throughout the book. Queenie is an novel that made me laugh out loud from page one and I definitely struggled to put it down in places. I also found it was incredibly cleverly written in parts tackling sex, race, family, mental health in places and even friendship all whilst still being humorous. Considering everything that is going on in the world at the moment this is definitely a book that I would say is an essential read. It's very eye opening to what black people do go through on a daily basis and definitely gave me a lot of perspective. 

Rating: 5 Stars 

Blood Orange By Harriet Tyce 
At the beginning of May I couldn't escape this book. It was absolutely everywhere and for good reason too. It's just so good. The story follows Alison who is a barrister in a very toxic marriage and from the extremely risky prologue you know that there's going to be references to auto-erotic asphyxiation which is definitely something I personally never really knew a lot about before stumbling across this book. The first half I thought was quite slow paced for a thriller but because Alison is so hellbent on self destruction it definitely kept me reading more.

Alongside Alison's personal life she is also working on a murder trial which is one of the main focuses on the first half of the book and it's crazy how this and her personal life sort of interlink in a way. It's definitely a storyline that I loved throughout the book and one that could have been a novel in itself as it left the reader wanting more. The second half the book was absolutely incredible and when I had finished it I was absolutely gobsmacked and could not stop thinking about the book for a good couple of days after I had finished. The ending is just absolutely incredible. Despite all this I must say that not one character was likeable throughout this book apart from Alison's daughter which sometimes did make it quite difficult to continue.

This book is definitely an incredibly heavy and can be a quite triggering read due to themes of sex, alcoholism, gas lighting, rape and a lot of emotional abuse throughout the story so it is definitely one to think about before picking it up as it definitely will not be for everyone.

Rating: 3 Stars 

How To Keep A Secret By Sarah Morgan 
I came across Sarah Morgan's books earlier last year and I absolutely love her style of writing. Her books are so light hearted and easy to read and it just kept me wanting to read more. I found 'How To Keep A Secret' in my book cupboard and knew it was something I had to read. The story follows the journey of four woman all part of the same family, The Stewart Family; but from different generations. Each of these woman are at different stages of their lives and all have their own secrets that they have kept from each other for most of their lives which quite often has contribute to them drifting apart rather than bringing them together however as with most books like this they have no choice when an unexpected crisis brings them all together, thus the story of each of their pasts begins to unfold. Despite being told from 4 different angles there are no gaps as to what happens. It all slots in quite nicely and there was never a 'but what about this person' as I was reading it at all.

I thought the story was beautifully written and centres around the strong importance of family, love, trust and honesty as well as the importance of being brave and strong. It was quite an emotional read in parts but definitely one I would recommend to everyone.

Rating: 4 Stars

Guilty by Laura Elliot
This book was actually sent to me by a friend when she was doing a book clear out at some point last year and I only got around to reading it last year and I don't know why I put it off for so long. The story is told over a six year period and is split over four different parts. The story follows the story of Karl Lawson and his journey when he is falsely accused over the disappearance of his 13 year old niece, Constance, who one day just goes missing. Over this period he has constantly got the attention of the media on him and the attention of one reporter in particular, Amanda Bowe, who as it happens knew Carl right at the beginning of her career. Not only is the media against him, but so are the general public and his family who also suspect that Karl is involved with the disappearance of Constance.

One thing I loved about this book was how it was split over four different parts and the narrative was told from both Karl's and Amanda's point of view which I thought was interested. One thing I will say is that I thought the book went on for longer than was necessary especially the last part of the story. I thought it would have been better as a three part story. I also absolutely hated Amanda too. But what I found interesting about this book was how Laura Elliot explored the theme of the last couple of years 'fake news' and just how destroying it can actually be. This book is enjoyable but you may find it quite long winded in parts.

Rating: 3 Stars 

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood 
I won't lie, this book is probably my least favourite of all 11 I read. It is a good read but I just found it so incredibly difficult to get into and really didn't connect with the main character, Susan at first at all which actually spoilt the book for me in certain places. I just found her quite irritating but the more you read the book the more you start to realise that she is more than likely on the spectrum. She is definitely super prickly, hence the name of the book, super organised and very awkward.

The story follows the life of Susan and her brother after they find out the death of their beloved Mother and realise they need to figure out who will get the estate that has been left behind. Tensions begin to rise as to who will acquire the property and who should rightly get it. Their Mother did leave it in the care of one of her children but is it the right one? This was a story line but one that you realise is incredibly important for Susan. Along the way Susan finds love and strong friendships in incredibly unlikely places. It's a very nice little story but not one I would pick up again personally.

Rating: 3 Stars 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Oh I absolutely loved 'The Nightingale'. The story is based during the war, but unlike most war books that have a male focus, this book is told purely from a woman's perspective. The story focuses on sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during occupied France during the Second World War and how they go about their day to day lives. They are both incredibly different. Vianne, the oldest has a young daughter and has to think about her life as her husband has just gone off to War. The youngest, Isabelle, has always had a bit of a rebellious side and wants to add something of value to the war. This difference between them ultimately tears them apart due to their different passions and circumstances.

I cannot, cannot express just how beautiful and incredible this book is. It is told from the start of the war right through to the end of the war. It is a beautifully told story, not just about war, but about family, about womanhood and about the strong mother/daughter relationships and sisterhood too. It is so moving and so beautiful and I lost count of the amount of times I cried at this book. It is one everyone has to read. It's recently been announced that 'The Nightingale' will be hitting the screens in December 2021 and I for one, cannot wait. I really hope it's done the book justice.

Rating: 5 Stars 

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary 
I adored the Flatshare and it's definitely in my top 5 favourite rom-coms of all time. The story follows the lives of Tiffy and Leon. Tiffy has recently broken up with her boyfriend and has had to move out and look for her own place in London. She does have a budget and unfortunately what she does come across in London is pretty awful. She stumbles across an advert from Leon where he is looking for a roommate, however they have to share a bed. No problem because they will never be in the house at the same time as Leon works nightshifts. In order to communicate they leave post-it notes, food that they have left over for each other.

This book is incredibly funny, warm and you are definitely rooting for both the protagonists however it isn't as light and fluffy as I thought it might have been for what you'd assume is a chick-lit novel. It does have a theme of an abusive relationship throughout the novel but this is done so sensitively that you never really feel the novel is that dark because of it. I just loved this book and thought it's an incredible debut novel.

Rating: 5 Stars 

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano 
This book is just so beautiful and another one of my top reads from May. It follows the life and story of 12 year old Edward after he was involved in a plane crash. He is the sole survivor and unfortunately lost his Mum, Dad and brother. The story is told from two different angles which is something I loved about the book even though it did make me sad in parts. The story alternates between the hours on the plane through to just before it comes down and Edward's journey through life after the accident.

What I loved about this book is that it is such a gentle read. It's not a book that is full of twists and turns but at the same time you're still wanting to know more about what happens and how Edward develops the longer the story goes on. Obviously the book deals with a lot of sensitive topics like loss, grief, trauma and what happens when life goes on. It is just such a beautiful story and I honestly have nothing bad to say about it. It's not as sad as you may think and I found I was really rooting for Edward and was so proud of him. It's definitely a book I would recommend.

Rating: 5 Stars

I Heart New York #1 by Lindsey Kelk 
The 'I Heart' Series is a book series I started ages ago but only recently discovered the books again and also realised that there are two books I didn't actually have so of course I picked them up and decided that I would start reading them all again because ya know, who doesn't love a good rom com series. The story follows the life of Angela Clarke after she finds her boyfriend cheating on her at her best friend's wedding. She also finds out that all her friends knew and didn't mention it to her so not only does she get incredibly angry, make the bride cry and break her best friend's new husband's hand but she gets on a plane and moves to New York that very same night with nothing but the clothes on her back, money, phone and laptop. There she means the lovely Jenny and starts dating not just one but two gorgeous men and gets a job blogging for an online magazine. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for that you'll need to keep reading.

I just loved this book so much and realised just how much me and Angela actually have in common, the main one being we are literally both walking disasters. I absolutely love her. This is the first book in the series and I would highly recommend reading it. You'll laugh out loud.

Rating: 5 Stars 

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle 
Oh I absolutely adored this book. I was a bit sceptical of picking it up at first as I heard so many mixed reviews but when I asked people which book I should read next they all said this one and I'm so glad they did.

The story follows the life of single mum Kerry Hayes who is not only an incredibly hard worker but also lives on an incredibly run down estate in London. She was taken into care as a child and separated from her brother Noah Martineau who was adopted by a fairly well off family however Kerry can not forget what happened in her past. She reaches out to Noah, who she knew as her brother Jason and sets in motion a chain of events that will change their lives forever. I won't lie I first got the impression of a Parent Trap-esque story line from the description but I honestly couldn't have been more wrong and it was such a unique story to read.

The book explores certain themes throughout the novel such as race, cancer (which can be quite triggering), different social class, and obviously adoption which is one of the main themes at the beginning of the book. All these themes are done so sensitively. Ultimately the book is about family and knowing where you truly belong and I absolutely sobbed when I was finished. Would I pick it up again? Probably a not as in some places I did feel like it was aimed more for young adults but if you haven't read it it's definitely one I think needs to be read.

Rating: 4 Stars 

I Heart Hollywood #2 By Lindsey Kelk 
In the second novel of the 'I Heart' series we join Angela and Jenny in Los Angeles where she has been assigned the very exciting task of interviewing one of the hottest Hollywood stars at the moment, James Jacobs. In this story Angela is more clumsy than the first novel. One thing I don't like about Angela is just how much of a big drinker she is and this is how she's introduced to James Jacobs by throwing up on his doorstep. Angela definitely underestimates his popularity and even though his generosity extends to showing her all the non-tourist hot spots of LA little does she knew that the paparazzi are following their every move and soon she's splashed all over the internet and in magazines and is considered to be the new love of James Jacobs life which isn't good when she has a boyfriend back in New York. Will their relationship be able to pass this test and will Hollywood win Angela's heart?

In some ways I preferred this book to the first and I love seeing how Angela develops and grows over the course of the books. Like I said above, I just couldn't recommend this series enough.

Rating: 5 Stars

So there we have it, all the books that I have read during May. I hope you find something here that rmeets your tastes. Unfortunately a lot of these book are rom-com/chick lit type novels which may not be for everyone but if you're looking to get back into reading and are after something a little more light-hearted then a lot of these books will be absolutely perfect for you.

What have you been reading recently? 
Hugs and Kisses


  1. These are some great books! I adored The Flat Share and I hope it's made into a film one day! I read Blood Orange and like you, I only liked the daughter as all the other characters were extremely unlikeable! The ending of that big was quite harrowing but brilliant nonetheless! I'm currently reading The Cactus and like you, Susan is a character I'm struggling to like x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

    1. Me too!!! If it is I'm rooting for Emilia Clarke to play Tiffy haha! Keep going with The Cactus...from 60% onwards it kind of pulls everything together!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! If you leave me a comment below I'll be sure to respond within 24 hours. If it's urgent please tweet me at _fleurdanielle. Thank you & Have a good day!