Month in Review: May 2017


All my reviews this month were of quite introspective and intense books, and all nonfiction (I think that’s a first for me). But that’s not all I read! I’ve just finished the new Joan Aiken collection from Virago, The Gift Giving, and was delighted that it included some of my favorite fairy tales by a marvelous storyteller. I also enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow for the local book club I’ve just joined, which, though it takes place in the tumultuous years following the Russian Revolution, maintains a generally humorous and uplifting tone. And I finally read another deliciously inventive Frances Hardinge novel, her debut Fly by Night.

Next month I have quite a few reviews of new releases in store, including some stellar children’s and YA books, plus I’ll be participating in the blog tour for The Essex Serpent, a historical novel that’s taken the UK by storm and is now getting a US edition.

And starting on May 31, I’m also looking forward to participating in Armchair Book Expo, an event I discovered in my first year of blogging that really helped me make connections to other bloggers. If you haven’t yet participated, here’s a complete how-to guide to get you started. I hope you will join us!



Other Books Read

  • Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • The Gift Giving by Joan Aiken
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – Review to come

Other Features and Events

Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

24 thoughts on “Month in Review: May 2017

  1. I can’t wait to hear about Essex Serpent! I got impatient of waiting for it to come out in the US and bought a copy at a charity bookshop when I was in the UK, and I’m looking forward to reading it. The cover is so prettyyyyyyyy.


    1. I have got to work on all my June release reviews, including Essex Serpent! Yes, the cover is fantastic and the contents are worthy of it. I had some quibbles but I believe those are a matter of personal taste, so I think there’s a good chance you will enjoy it hugely.


  2. So pleased you tracked down Joan Aiken’s The Gift Giving – I helped choose the stories, and put in all my old favourites, I wanted to make sure there was a classic collection out again for new readers… hooray for Virago! And The Essex Serpent was a wonderful read, you’ll enjoy that I’m sure.


    1. Thank you for choosing some of my favorite stories too! And hooray for Virago indeed. I also bought their edition of The Kingdom and the Cave to give to my son — he loved it, as I expected he would.


  3. I loved Joan Aiken as a child. I sometimes feel like you do the reading I would do if I had a calmer life. I love your taste, but don’t have the focus for many serious works.

    I considered trying Armchair BEA this year, but again, don’t feel like I could give it enough attention. Maybe next year! Enjoy your June.


    1. My focus for serious works comes and goes. One does need a certain amount of peace and quiet for that, with which I am fairly blessed at the moment. Perhaps you will be too at some point.


  4. Even though I already have a lot of Joan Aiken’s stories, I’ve ordered this, I pretend it is for my daughter who is already a burgeoning Joan Aiken fan, but really it’s for me heh heh. I actually prefer her stories slightly to her novels, wonderful though they are. Her powers of invention are just extraordinary.

    If you hadn’t written about it here, I’d never have known of its existence so I am very grateful to you, thank you! 🙂


    1. A major benefit of having children is the excuse to buy and read books for them – and with them. Although Aiken’s stories should require no excuse – they are ageless! Be sure to also check out The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories if you have not already, Virago has also published it recently.


      1. You are so right!

        I do have The Serial Garden, thanks, and I love it! Have you also come across The People in the Castle (Small Beer Press)? It’s excellent, though that goes without saying.


  5. Your non-fiction reading last month is so funny- I had the same thing happen. Not all non-fiction, but I almost never read it and last month I read 4 books!

    I’m so curious to know what you thought of Gentleman in Moscow!


    1. That is funny indeed. I guess it was just that kind of month.

      I enjoyed A Gentleman in Moscow – I think you describe it well as “storytelling at its immersive best.” I really felt as though I lived with the Count in that hotel for the time of reading.


  6. I’m going to look up the books you read at my local library. we are always seeking great books to read and these sound interesting. Armchair BEA does sound fun, though i missed most posts this year as it coincided with end of senior year stuff.


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