2020 Reading Challenge: May Recap

Wow, I just get later and later at posting this as the year goes on. So much for summer being less busy! Despite my lateness, May wasn’t a bad reading month. I finished 14 books which has me officially over halfway through my reading goal for this year and, perhaps foolishly, thinking of upping my goal for the year. We’ll see how it’s looking by the end of June. For right now though, we have a lot of books to talk through, so we’ll get right into the run-down.

The Books of May

  1. The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen is set during the Great War and follows Emily Bryce, an independent young woman who signs up for the Women’s Land Army. I really liked this book for it’s unique time setting. The Women’s Land Army is such an interesting topic and one that isn’t commonly covered in historical fiction. I did feel like the plot was a little too predictable and stodgy through the middle though, and it lost points with me for that. Still, a solid read. 3 out of 5 stars.
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabaan by J. K. Rowling. This remains one of my favorite series of all time, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so stingy with handing out 5 stars. Basically, if I can’t imagine re-reading a book, possibly multiple times, it doesn’t get one. The Harry Potter series is one of my annual or possibly biennial rereads. 5 out of 5 stars.
  3. Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel. I’ve become increasingly interested in personality types and how they can relate to learning styles. This book provides more of a broad overview of the different kinds of personality testing available than any specific information, but it was an interesting read. If nothing else, it added at least 5 more books on personality typing to my to-read! 3 out of 5 stars
  4. The Interrupted Tale by Maryrose Wood (Incorrigibles #4). We are still reading through this series and absolutely loving it. Easily one of my favorite new children’s series. 5 out of 5 stars.
  5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. A YA twisted version of the traditional story of Beauty and the Beast. Intriguing, and a decent story line, but it moved rather sludgily through the middle, and didn’t really twist the original fairy tale beyond the point of predictability. 3 out of 5 stars.
  6. Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate. This was a solid, inspirational book with some helpful insights and tips for managing your home and homeschool life. Enjoyable, but not ground-breaking. 3 out of 5 stars.
  7. One Little Wish by Gina LaManna. Light romantic suspense involving several murders and the unexpected return of a high-school flame. It kept me guessing and I didn’t figure out ‘whodunnit’ until the big reveal, so points for that! 3 out of 5 stars.
  8. The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle. Sabrina arrives at her birthday party to find three people from her past, her best friend and Audrey Hepburn. Over dinner, they talk through some of the significant events that have bound their lives together. This book came highly recommended, but it just didn’t work for me. The back and forth between all of the characters was irritating: interesting, but not particularly plausible. I was invested in the story right up until the end, and the end particularly ruined it for me. However, I know many other people read and loved it. I’m curious to hear what you thought if you’ve read it! 2 out of 5 stars
  9. Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential by Barbara Oakley. Barbara Oakley is one of my favorite nonfiction writers, particularly as she writes about how we learn. This was an excellent look at how some people overcame significant learning obstacles and went on to be incredibly successful. 4 out of 5 stars.
  10. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy In A Store by Cait Flanders. The title is really the book in a nutshell with this one. Part memoir, the book follows her year-long spending freeze and delves into some of the personal issues she worked through. You wouldn’t expect a book like this to be riveting, but it was very engaging. As a hard-core budgeter, I was less impressed by what counted as ‘no-spend’ for her, but I think the mentality check is something we could all use. We need a lot less than we think we do, and things don’t make us happy.
  11. The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory. This particular chick-flick style book involves a girl, who has a fling with a boy, who happens to be a bros-maid (sp?) for her best friends wedding. The only problem? They profess to hate each other publically, and agree to end it when the wedding is over. I won’t tell you the ending, obviously, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from a chick flick. I don’t think that’s really giving away anything, because you can’t pick up the book without getting that vibe from it. That said, it was racier than I normally read, but snappy enough that I couldn’t put it down. The character progression was great, and actually reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. I hate throwing around comparisons like that, but it really did have an Austen flair, in my opinion. 4 out of 5 stars
  12. Secrets of Mental Math by Arthur T. Benjamin. Finally finished this book. Thank God. That’s all I have to say about it. Just kidding. It was good, if you’re in the habit of doing math tricks at parties for kicks or teaching elementary math. While the thought of the former makes me die inside a little, the latter is actually a daily occurence. Ultimately, the time it would have taken me to become proficient in the methods he used to be ‘super fast’ at mental math weren’t really practical for my daily life. I will teach them to the kids as we work through different math concepts, but for myself, not that interested. 3 out of 5 stars.
  13. Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-guessing, and Bring More Joy to your Life by Anne Bogel. Boy, that title could have been written for me, haha. This was a quick read but did have some good tips for getting out of the over-thinking cycle–something I fall into almost every day of my life. 4 out of 5 stars
  14. About Your Father and Other Celebrities I Have Known by Peggy Rowe. I don’t read much in the comedy genre but this was a gem. Peggy Rowe is witty and hilarious, but not nasty. The few times I’ve read comedy, I’ve generally come away annoyed by how nasty it gets. Peggy is just funny. So refreshing! 4 out of 5 stars.

Whew. If I start reading any more than 14 a month, I’m going to have to break it up into two posts. That’s a long post! If you lasted with me this far, thanks for reading! What was your favorite book of May?