May Reads

May Reads

Sorry this one is coming late in the month, just hadn’t got around to writing it up!

I’m keeping track of every book I read this year, month by month.

Just in case anyone does fancy reading something I’ve mentioned, I’m giving details of the books (no more of a spoiler than you’d read on the blurb) and a rating. My rating system is 1 – 5:

  • 1 Awful, the writer should be banished to a far away land
  • 2 Poor, I didn’t die of boredom but it was a struggle to reach the end
  • 3 Average, fine but I’ll have forgotten about it in a year
  • 4 Good, I enjoyed this
  • 5 Excellent, hot damn this is a great book and the writer should be knighted

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May’s Books

Title(s): The Martian Chronicles – by Ray Bradbury

Category: Fiction, Sci-Fi

About: Man’s experiences on Mars as we try and colonise the planet. A series of short stories that link together told over the space of many years.

My Rating: 4 Good.

Although obviously really out of date for today’s science, this is still a nice read and one of the sci-fi classics. I particularly like the bit where the Martians think the humans are just crazy martians suffering from a delusion.

Read this if you like: Fahrenheit 451, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

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Title(s): The Martian by Andy Weir

Category: Fiction, Sci-Fi

About: Mark Watney is trapped on Mars after an accident separates him from the rest of his crew.

My Rating: 5, Excellent

I loved this book. I actually saw the film first, which is the reverse of how I’d usually do it but my reading of this wasn’t spoiled by knowing the plot. The character of Watney is very well written, he’s likeable, funny and you want him to survive – which is a good job really as we’re mostly pulled through the story via his narrative, with the occasional visit to the Hermes and Earth.

Read this if you like: Apollo 13, Life of Pi

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Title(s): A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

Category: Fiction, Crime/Thriller

About: After daughter Ellen’s best friend is expelled from school, her Mum Justine is pulled into a complex story linking past and present that has her fearing for her family’s safety.

My Rating: 2.5, Quite poor

I don’t mind Sophie Hannah books, they’re usually a quick and entertaining enough read. This one though… talking about stretching the limits. The story started off quite well and I was enjoying the guessing game of which way the plot was going to go next. Until it got ridiculous. At first, I liked the story within a story aspect – I thought it was going to move the narrative along to a particular conclusion but actually, it’s like Hannah got bored of writing and just decided to through anything she could think of on the pages without any plausible explanation.

I read one review of this book that said, ‘A life changing past event is hinted at and finally revealed but it’s so dull, and written in such an annoying way, it would have been better not to bother with it.’ I feel like this about the whole book.

Read this if you like: Other (better) Sophie Hannah stories, Anything by Jodi Picoult

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Title(s): Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

Category: Fiction, Crime/Thriller

About: Amber Hewerdine mutters the words ‘Kind, cruel, kind of cruel’ while under hypnosis, only to find they’re a key clue in the murder of a woman she’s never met.

My Rating: 3, Average

You can tell I got a ‘3 for £5’ offer on Sophie Hannah books… Meh, this, like the last, was a bit fanciful. I really don’t mind fiction stretching the reaches of possibility now and again but when everything is routed in the ‘normal’ world we live in then it’s hard to believe some of the crazy motivation behind stuff that we’re expected to just go with here. Without spoiling anything, the whole plot is a twisted mess and I guessed the murderer fairly early on, although quite why he/she did it all will make you roll your eyes and tut with confusion.

Read this if you like: Other (better) Sophie Hannah stories, Anything by Jodi Picoult

 

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Title(s): The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Category: Fiction, Crime/Thriller

About: Rachel catches the same train every morning, which passes a row of back gardens. She starts to feel like she knows the people, making up names and stories for them in her head; until she sees something shocking…

My Rating: 3, Average

Again, meh. Sorry to be negative about something that for a while, everyone was raving about. Motivation was the main problem again. I know, I know, it wouldn’t be an interesting book if someone killed someone else and then immediately got caught. But come on, just a teeny, tiny bit of realism… please?? I feel like these books treat us like idiots sometimes. I guessed the killer, again (I’m not looking for prizes but will accept chocolate bars in place of congratulations) but this is not because I’m a super sleuth, it’s just because these authors try so hard to throw you off the scent that they make it really obvious!

It ticked along nicely and was fairly fast-paced, but I found the characters problematic, not least because every woman was a miserable, jealous semi-nutter. Why are female authors the most guilty of that?

Read this if you like: Sophie Hannah books,  Jodi Picoult books

 

I’ll lay off the crime-thrillers next month. See you in July for June’s reads.

You can catch up on April Reads here.

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