books read and reviewed May2023

Books read and reviewed in May 2023

I’m really loving reading at the moment. Well, I never really stopped. But now I feel like I just can’t put books down, and I’m trying to find even more time to read. It means I’m flying through the books I’ve got, and I’m pleased that I’ve had a whole 2 months where I’ve not bought any books. That’s pretty much unheard of, but I need to get through my mammoth to be read (TBR) pile – on and off Kindle – at some point. Here’s a selection of the books I read in May and what I liked about them.

You can find all my read books over on my Goodreads profile.

Books read in May – 18

books read and reviewed May2023

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Hot Desk by Zara Stoneley

For those of us used to working in an office before Covid lockdowns, then being thrown into working from home, Hot Desk will bring back memories of those times. For Alice, she can’t wait to get back into the office again, have her own desk space without her housemates and sister wandering in to interrupt or borrow/use her things.

But times have changed and to ensure everyone keeps their jobs at the place she works, they halve the size of the office space, and bring in half working at home and desk shares on alternate days in the office. Panic from Alice, how will she cope with sharing her ‘feels like home’ space with neat empty desk Jamie who she’s got a crush on since a magical drunken kiss at a festival years ago. He’s not even recognised her when she started working in their office.

Will Alice stand up for herself with her ex, her housemates, family, and how is the desk sharing going to go.

This is a sweet story, with an emergence of Alice starting to be herself and discovering what she wants, and telling people that. Will she end up with the man she wants despite the complications.

I did guess the issues that cropped up, but it wasn’t aiming to be a big reveal. The characters are generally likeable and you’re rooting for Alice with the support of those around her. I think many of us office workers, especially if your preferred working environment has changed in recent years, can relate. Relating to a book and characters helps with the enjoyment.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah Wilson

The Paid Bridesmaid is a classic rom com, with Rachel the owner of a business where they provide paid bridesmaids for brides who want to avoid hassles (or don’t have friends). She and colleague Krista are at influencer Sadie’s wedding run up and day to keep her mum under control, and ensure the live streamed wedding all goes to plan.

Rachel’s other challenge is trying to keep up her ‘never date wedding guests’ as she keeps getting thrown together with best man Camden while keeping the secret of who she really is from his probing questions.

There’s some funny moments, emotional sections, a lovely bride with a few nightmare relatives and friends hellbent on getting one up on her either accidently or on purpose.

Will Rachel be able to keep the event calm and running smoothly from her role as head bridesmaid, and will she be successful in holding Camden off…even though he seems like her perfect man.

I enjoyed this book. The horror of someone wanting to have their whole wedding live streamed, and hoping that they get the wedding they deserve, plus a love story, it works for me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Influencers by SV Leonard

Another book about influencers – from the view of a true crime blogger trying to get in to the higher levels by getting an invite to an awards cruise. Only to discover that mega star influencer Stella who wasn’t as loved as her fans might have suggested, ends up dead in her room before her win is called.

Cue Maggie and new influencer friend Reiss are determined to find out the truth and who murdered Stella. Despite the police telling her to stay off the case.

From her husband, to other influencers. The mum of a teen fan to an online hater. Who will Maggie find to be the killer.

A fast easy read, nothing to tax the brain. Considering I read a lot of these thrillers and crime novels, I totally missed the twist at the end. If you’ve been at all involved with the blogging or influencer world, or are just fascinated by it, The Influencers is worth a read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Under her Care by Lucinda Berry

Cleverly written book including autistic 14 year old Mason’s words inbetween the story of the police trying to work out if he was the person who killed the mayor’s wife. His mum Genevieve is keeping something quiet, and trying to protect him, while Casey a local autism expert tries to get through to Mason and help him and the police find the truth.

There are some chilling moments, and for the reader it’s clear that something’s going on in Mason’s house, but who’s in the wrong and how long has it been going on. Why has his sister seemed to cut off ties to her mum.

Quite horrifying how someone could have made it all happen and end up how it does. It’s interesting to understand a bit more about autism and how similarities and differences play out with the children with autism in the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The House Guest by Charlotte Northedge

Kate moved to London after having had a hard time, with her older sister disappearing, an ill father and mental health issues. She finds herself being brought into a life coaching group to help find herself and a better life, but why is she being singled out by the coach Della with her perfect life?

Despite other people and Kate herself thinking there’s something strange going on, Kate goes with it, and ends up being caught up in more than she’d expect.

How can she do the right thing for herself, for Della’s family, and will she ever find her sister.

The House Guest is a fast read, and one I enjoyed, although it does make me worry how people can be so unsure of themselves they cling on to any opportunity that might come their way without recognising how dangerous or strange it might seem.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning

A translation from German, but I didn’t really notice this. Based in the 1800s in a village in Germany where the main work is glassblowing, done by the men. When glassblower Joost dies leaving his 3 daughters, the book tells of their story. How will they get by with no jobs, no income, no man to look after them.

Joanna the eldest has always held off the neighbour Peter’s advances, even though he says he’ll wait until she realised they should be together. How and what will she learn from a glass wholesaler in trying to build a career?

Marie is the artist, the creative but doesn’t see how she’ll ever make enough money painting glass for other people.

Ruth is looking for a suitable man, but is her employer’s eldest son the right person for her to marry.

I really enjoyed The Glassblower. It’s a book about community, but more about the rise of, and strength of women in standing up for themselves, what they want in life, and their determination to get by and grow as life seems to be against them.

You can almost see the glasswork as it’s described, and it’s really interesting to think how those families would have worked back in those days compared to how trade is done now.

Now I need to look out for the other 2 books in the trilogy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Couple at Table Six by Daniel Hurst

Waitress Hannah has an obsession with the couple who come in to the restaurant without fail every Friday. Where does that obsession take her? What secrets does the wife Nadine have, and what will she do to keep her family safe and together? Who is regular customer Tom who seems to watch everything that goes on during Hannah’s shift.

There’s certainly plenty of back stories going on through this book, with characters turning up throughout that explain what has previously gone on and impacted in particular the 2 main female characters.

I did guess some of what happens, although didn’t quite fully get the final twist.

A good book that made me just want to keep reading to find out who wins out in the end.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Choice by SJ Ford

What would you do if you found out your neighbour was planning to blow up the school in your community that your children went to? Jane Bell takes matters into her own hand when opportunity arises before it’s too late. What choice did she have when the police didn’t listen.

The Choice shows the different views and developments of her legal case and trial, her family’s outcomes while she’s in prison, all from the different parties – those who believe that Jane should be released vs those who sasy she committed intentional murder.

I really enjoyed this book. The belief of the main police officer vs the law and his colleagues, Jane and her family and friends. Much of the story is also seen from a journalist’s stories while her friend Jane’s barrister tries to get Jane found innocent.

If you’ve got any interest in the law, or why people make the decisions they do, this book is an easy to digest, just enough view of what kind of thing can happen within a heightened threat situation that at times has been a threat to many communities over the years.

I was just a little disappointed by the suddenness of the ending (I like my endings nice and tidy and clear), but it worked for The Choice.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

I’ve seen several films of Nicholas Sparks’ books but I don’t think I’ve ever read one of his books. Every Breath was worth the read. I love a romance and while there’s always angst and pain amongst the love in his plots, there’s always the belief that love is there for everyone. Proper once ina lifetime, soulmate love.

Laidback, happy to be alone (apart from his son) Tru Walls is a Zimbabwean safari guide who thinks love isn’t really for him. Through family Tru ends up on the same beach in North Carolina as Hope who’s confused about her on off, but currently off relaionship with her long time boyfriend. Something clicks and they realise they’ve found their soulmate in each other. A beach where not far away there’s a mailbox which visitors can leave letters and stories of life, love and loss for others to read.

But they have decisions to make. Both options leave hurt behind.

Every Breath pulled me in from the introduction and explanation of how the story came about from the author, right through to the end summary from him again. I sobbed through the last couple of chapters, and a bit in the middle. It was worth the emotional highs and lows to have been part of Hope and Tru’s story.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara

Going to surprise her boyfriend for her boyfriend, Maya discovers he left his phone in a Lift cab, with the driving letting it slip he was in the cab with another woman. Maya’s stranded and alone, so the driver starts a text conversation to encourage her to be spontaneous and discover the coastal town of Carmel while she waits her return flight…with his guiding her itinerary.

Through their messaging Maya (and the driver) have the best day of their lives. But will they get to meet up at the end of it before she leaves.

The Meeting Point is a typical boy meets girl, although doesn’t face to face. Does Maya make the right or wrong decision, and how does she make it right. Does she get to meet Max again through his annoying author friend who’s now showing her a wonderful side to him as she gains confidence in choosing the life she wants.

It was a pretty obviously ending to the book, and didn’t take long to realise what actually happened and who Max is in the story, despite Maya’s confusion. This type of story is why most people read Chick lit and romance books, for the happy ending with the new friendships and changing life story as the heroines move through the plot.

I enjoyed it, and could just imagine the places that Maya was exploring on the Californian coast. It made me want to be there too. A good summer holiday read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You can read my March and April recommendations as well.

What have you been reading this month?

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    1. I am a fast reader, but I also don’t read really heavy books. I have a 2nd book in a series, tye first I read about 5 years ago, and I know it’ll take me nearly a month to read as it’s mammoth, so keep putting it off.

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