Another month of reading is complete and my current count is 60 books! Still basically on a 12 book a month pace but am gearing up for that to slow down once my summer graduate school classes start in July. Now on to May’s top three!
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I definitely recommend checking these books out and as always, let me know what books you’ve been enjoying!
#3 The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I picked it up other than I loved the cover and it was by the author who wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas meaning I was probably in for an emotional read. It is also quite a long book at 580 pages. It was so worth the length. It follows Cyril Avery through his entire life beginning and ending in post-war Ireland starting in the 1940s. He is born out of wedlock to a girl cast out of her strict, religious Ireland community and his life takes many unexpected turns along the way, both heartwarming and heartwrenching. It also follows his story of coming to terms with his identity and finding where he fits as a gay man first amongst this incredibly conservative Irish community and later during the AIDS epidemic in New York City. I realized I am talking about this book during Pride Month which feels appropriate as it gives an honest and eye-opening view of the struggles and prejudice experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community. As someone not a part of that community, but with friends who are, I think it is important to read stories like this and other works by authors in the community to gain a better understanding. That is just one part of this sweeping novel dealing with family dynamics, friendship, identity, and redemption. Will make you laugh as well as make you cry and by now you all know how I love a bittersweet book. Definitely, a book that surprised me in a great way!
#2 Happy Place by Emily Henry
This was our book club book for May as we have a lot of romance book girlies in our group. A lot of us had read her other books like Book Lovers and Beach Read, so we were excited she was releasing a new book this year! I really enjoyed this one because it dove into some different territory than her other works. There was still a love story at the heart of it between two characters who had broken up but neglected to tell their friend group. They end up all going on a last hoorah vacation to the place they summered together starting in college and they are forced to pretend they are still together. As you can imagine this results in some complicated feelings and general hijinks. But what surprised me about this novel was the heavier weight given to the friendship dynamics among the group. There were some very real moments of fighting and unresolved issues that crop up and made the side storylines sometimes more interesting to me than the main love story. It felt like a real look into transitioning from college friends to adult friends and how life changes can affect those dynamics. Definitely ranked high in my Emily Henry book rankings and is one I would recommend for those who are looking for a contemporary romance that isn’t as fluffy. Don’t get me wrong, I love a fluffy romance on occasion, but I really appreciated the extra depth in this book!
#1 The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Number one this month is this historical fiction novel written by the author who wrote The Alice Network. A five-star read for me that was even longer than the first book I discussed at 624 pages but I loved every moment of it. It centers around three female code-breakers at Bletchley Park during World War II and the spy that they must uncover after the war has ended. Taking place in 1940 is the story of how these three amazing women came to be code-breakers and their time working at this top-secret facility. The female friendship dynamics among the three of them as well as the ups and downs of relationships in a time of war provide their own intrigue outside the high stakes environment of their jobs. Woven in the midst of that story is a look at where these women ended up post-war in 1947, why they aren’t speaking, and the unlikely discovery of a mole giving out classified information to the enemy that brings them all back together. Expertly written with incredible character development, this book is everything I love about historical fiction. Bletchley Park itself is endlessly fascinating and I am now dying to go and take a tour of the place where women were celebrated for their minds in a time when society didn’t see them as valued outside social society and the home. I love this author because she creates complex female characters that give a voice to the women who have gotten lost in history. Definitely recommend any of her books if you are looking for a great historical book filled with intrigue!
Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano: This is actually the newest book in the Finlay Donovan series and I highly recommend you read it from the beginning! It follows an author turned accidental hitwoman and that is as ridiculous and wonderful as it sounds. Funny, suspenseful, and with a touch of romance, it’s a wonderful and quick summer read.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub: I love the idea of time travel and how it would affect my life if I did it myself, so anytime that concept is the backbone of a book, I’m probably going to enjoy it. This book follows a woman who goes to sleep on her fortieth birthday with her dad dying in the hospital and wakes up on her sixteenth birthday with her father as vibrant as ever. It explores family dynamics, idealism, and hope in a beautiful way.
The It Girl by Ruth Ware: I’ve read all the books by this author because she always scratches that mystery genre itch that lives in my brain most of the time. This one takes place in two times of the main character, Hannah’s, life. One back when she met her friends in college at Oxford where unfortunately she discovers her roommate April’s body after she was murdered and one in present day where the man she helped put away for the murder has died in prison and has left questions of his innocence behind. She decides she has to be sure she helped put the right man away, and there are tons of twists and turns as she uncovers more of the story. Highly recommend this book and any other written by her if you just need a good classic mystery novel!
As always, I’m always looking for new books so send them my way and let me know what your favorites so far this year have been! I hope you have a great day!