As we knew it would be, May was even more packed than April. Sebastian was training for his half-marathon (which he successfully completed!), we celebrated multiple family birthdays, ate delicious food at a food truck festival, and went on several excursions. We spent a day and a half in Maastricht, visited a friend in Aachen, took a day trip from Aachen to the quaint town of Monschau, and toured a historic village/open air museum. We’re surprised we managed to read at all on top of all that!
Books & Audiobooks
Fool’s Errand – Robin Hobb
As usual this was a re-read for Maraia and a first read for Sebastian, and while Maraia was happy to go back to her very first Robin Hobb book and read it again with all the knowledge from the other series, Sebastian even considers it his second favorite Hobb book after Ship of Destiny. For him adult Fitz was much easier to bear than his rather stupid younger self and it was also great to meet the other characters from the Farseer trilogy again. Compared to the Liveship Traders trilogy, the story was rather simple, but Sebastian appreciated the mystery aspect that came with the search for Prince Dutiful.
West Cork – Sam Bungey & Jennifer Forde
This was the first podcast we’ve listened to together and since we usually enjoy crime novels and thrillers a lot we thought this true crime story could be a good choice – and it didn’t disappoint. The case was interesting and while some parts unintentionally made us laugh (like the super annoying prime murder suspect) and other parts were really hard to understand (either because the recording was poor or because Irish accents are quite a challenge) the producers definitely did a good job telling this story – though we had wished for some kind of conclusion even though we had never really expected one since the West Cork murder case is still unsolved.
Six Four – Hideo Yokoyama
We read this book back in 2016 and loved it, despite the fact that it’s not your typical, fast-paced thriller. Instead, the author takes his time and slowly builds what ends up being an absolutely fascinating case. We reread it as part of a readalong hosted by Sebastian and another blogger, in honor of its publication this year in German. It was even better the second time around, and we both added another star to our ratings.
Terror – Ferdinand von Schirac
This 1.5-hour audio drama was perfect for our drive to Aachen since it had the perfect length and was also interesting enough to keep us awake while driving. The story was basically a murder trial that dealt with the question of if it is the right decision to sacrifice a few lives to save the lives of thousands, and what made it so fascinating was that every point of view felt logical and convincing, which made it next to impossible to give one final answer to that difficult moral question. We also liked that this audio drama was a bit interactive by giving its listeners the possibility to choose between two endings, depending on if they find the defendant guilty or innocent.
Illuminae – Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
We both loved the first installment of the Illuminae Files trilogy when we read it for the first time, but sadly our re-read with the audiobook version turned out to be quite a disappointment for us – which surprised us a lot since we had heard a lot of good things about the narration. But right from the beginning we had the impression that the narrators didn’t really fit the characters (mostly because they sounded much too old), there were way less sound effects than we had hoped for, and while in the print version it was easy to skim the censored parts or the time stamps etc. it was just super annoying to listen to these things since it always sounded as if there were errors in the recording. Fortunately the second half was more interesting, but we’re both convinced that this book works much better in the print version.
Hangman – Daniel Cole
Ragdoll, the first book in this series, was one of our favorite thrillers last year, so we were looking forward to the second installment. It doesn’t quite live up to the first novel, but it was still an addictive read, and we’re already looking forward to more. The ending is a bit confusing, though, and we both went back to read the prologue to see if we’d missed something. Hopefully things will be explained a bit better in the next book.
The Woman in the Window – A.J. Finn
We’ve seen a lot of mediocre reviews of this book, but we were both impressed. The author drew on his own experience with depression to write his main character, and it shows. We did guess some of the twists, but the ending still managed to mostly be a surprise. Our only complaint, really, is the excessive amount of alcohol the main character drinks throughout the book. That’s one of our least favorite tropes, and we see it all too often.
Im Netz des Spinnenmann („Abducted“) – T.R. Ragen
This was another book I tried from the Prime Reading library and I’m glad I did since it turned out to be quite a suspenseful thriller. The story was good, the characters likable and while I definitely didn’t need the romance parts I’m sure I’m going to continue the Lizzy Gardner series some day.
Codex („The Codex“) – Douglas Preston
I’m a huge fan of the Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child but I think this was the first book I read from only one of these authors. I expected some adventurous treasure hunt in the jungle and that was exactly what I got. The author used some clichés for sure but the story was always entertaining and never boring, so I’m happy to have found out that Douglas Preston apparently is also a good storyteller on his own.
A Girl Like That – Tanaz Bhathena
This isn’t a pleasant book to read, but I do think it has an important story to tell about rape culture, bullying, and double standards for boys and girls. It was painful to watch how Zarin, one of the main characters, was treated her entire life. (It’s hard to say how exaggerated this was, as I’m not familiar with the cultures portrayed in the book.) However, I didn’t like the entirely negative portrayal of both the city Jeddah and every Muslim character in the book. According to the author’s bio, she lived in Jeddah during her childhood, so I understand that she’s writing from her perspective as a non-Muslim ex-pat. But she seriously couldn’t find even ONE single positive thing to say about the city and the people living there?
Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now – Dana L. Davis
My thoughts on this book are conflicted. I I absolutely adore the main character, Tiffany Sly. She’s bold, she speaks her mind, she doesn’t let herself be bullied into following orders blindly, and she has anxiety and OCD. Like Tiffany, the author is black and has anxiety, so the representation is of course great. I also appreciate that there issn’t any romance in the novel! However, it also has a long list of weaknesses that I was only able to look past because of how awesome Tiffany Sly is.
What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
This book is undeniably cute. Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera are great at writing characters, and it was easy to tell who influenced which character. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between one of the main characters and his best friend. I also found myself laughing time and time again while reading, and I loved all of the Harry Potter references. However, as much as I enjoyed the book, I was also disappointed. I think this would have worked much better as a short story, as there is essentially no plot outside the romance. I guess I expected more from such accomplished authors. The ending is also unsatisfying, which is a completely letdown after so much buildup.
A Dead Djin in Cairo – P. Djèlí Clark
This a mystery short story set in a magical version of Cairo, and really enjoyed it. It’s available for free on Tor.com, so I recommend checking it out! My only complaint is, not surprisingly, that it’s too short. I hope we’ll see more from these characters and this world.
Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
After giving up on the unabridged version, I thought the shortened manga version might be easier to manage. And it certainly was. Unfortunately, I still found it a drag to read. So much is crammed into 400 pages that I was constantly confused as to who the characters were and which roll they played. (I learned only at the end that there was a character guide, which would have been helpful.) I couldn’t tell anyone apart – this was my first manga, so I’m not accustomed to the art style or the lack of color in the illustrations. I also didn’t like Dantés at all. I understand that he feels betrayed, but the things he does in the name of revenge are just as bad as the things done to him. He destroya so many lives, and there was one thing in particular that completely ruined him for me. I honestly don’t know what people see in this book. However, I’m glad that I now know what the book is about, and I feel good about the decision to not force myself through the 1300-page version.
Radio Silence – Alice Oseman
I was nervous to reread this, as it was one of my favorite books of 2016, and I didn’t want that to change. I needn’t have worried, though. I was immediately drawn back into the story and characters. I love this book so, so much, and I really can’t recommend it enough. I relate deeply to Francis, and I take comfort in reading her story. Also, for those of you who avoid YA due to the obligatory romances, this book is one of the rare exceptions.
The Prince and the Dressmaker – Jen Wang
This is such a delightful graphic novel. The art and the dresses are gorgeous, and the story is surprisingly deep for such a short book. It’s sweet and heartwarming, and it sends a clear message that who you really are is worthy of being loved.
Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie
Although I liked the first book in this series, it took me a while to get into the story. I didn’t have that problem with Ancillary Sword, so I was able to enjoy it right away. I’m starting to really love the fact that there’s only one gender pronoun in this society. It’s interesting to see how my brain automatically assigns a gender with some characters (based on their actions) and doesn’t even think about it with others.
- SUITS: We’re done with season 7 now, and even though it isn’t our favorite, it’s hard not to enjoy watching Mike, Harvey, and co. take down their enemies.
- THE BIG BANG THEORY: We’re sad that this hilarious show is over for the season, and we can’t wait for the next one!
- DESIGNATED SURVIVOR: We watched this at the beginning of the month and are both finding it hard to remember what happened, but we’re sure we enjoyed it as always.
- STROMBERG: We’re finally on the last season! Maraia won’t be sad to say goodbye ?
- PEAKY BLINDERS: This show comes highly recommended by Asti, so we thought we’d give it a try. We like it more than we did after the first episode, but it’s certainly not a favorite. The characters are undeniably fascinating, but it’s hard to actually root for gangsters. We do want to continue the show, though. Eventually.
- THE KILLING: We watched and (partially) enjoyed the American version of this show last year, and now we’re watching (or re-watching, in Sebastian’s case) the original Danish version. It’s interesting to see the direct parallels between the two, as well as the differences. This one is definitely more detailed.
- BROOKLYN NINE-NINE: Every time we watch an episode, we’re grateful that this amazing show has been picked up by NBC. Considering how progressive it is, it’s honestly a surprise it lasted as long as it did at Fox.
- 13 REASONS WHY: We started season 2 while in Aachen but have only managed to watch two more episodes since getting home. So far we’re wondering why it was necessary to continue after the first season.
I loved reading your wrap-up! So glad you enjoyed The Prince and the Dressmaker! Unfortunately, I fell into the camp of those who thought The Womsn in the Window was mediocre, but I’m glad you enjoyed it more. ? Peaky Blinders has been recommended to me by a friend on IG so it was interesting reading your thoughts on that one. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Kelsea! ?
You were actually one of the two people who convinced me to read The Prince and the Dressmaker, and I’m so glad I did. I want more!
I think sometimes it helps to read thrillers in German. I don’t pick up on little things that would bother me if I understand every single word. ? I remember seeing your rating on GR, but you didn’t review it, did you? I’m curious to know what your issues were.
Let me know what you think if you watch Peaky Blinders!
Ahh I’m glad you had a good May! And I’m glad the food truck festival was awesome because honestly…food. Such a good things. Such a fan. ? And for Maraia: so much agreement for Tiffany Sly and What If It’s Us…I mean unsurprisingly.? (I’m so curious to know what we’ll think of Leah, right?!)
I think my biggest highlight of May was getting to hold a finished copy of my book and rereading three of my favourite books. ?
I don’t know what I’d do without food, haha.
I hope we don’t completely hate but I also am expecting that. ?
I don’t think anything can beat that!
Wow your month of May was very busy!! congrats to Sebastian for the half marathan then 😀
Omg I need to read The Prince and the Dressmaker!! It’s been translated in French so I’m waiting for it to be available at the library *o*
And haaaaaaaa I’m so happy you loved Ancillary Sword! <3
Happy june to you both!
Hopefully June will be less hectic. ?
YAY, I can’t wait for you to read it!
I really hope I have time to read Ancillary Mercy this month before I forget everything. ?
Happy June to you as well!
you’ve had quite an exiting month!
Illuminae is one of my favourite books of all time and I thought the audiobook was fun – sorry, that it disappointed you!
I’ve heard so much about „Radio Silence“ the last few week, maybe I should give it a try.
Sadly, the second season of „Designated Survivor“ isn’t as exciting as the first one. I haven’t watched all episodes and I’m still hoping for an epic finale.
The second season of „13 Reasons Why“ is very interesting and becomes a bit shocking towards the end; looking forward to your opinion.
My highlight in May was definitely „Little Fires Everywhere“. Such an important and thought-provoking book, I really loved it.
We loved Illuminae as well when we first read it, but the audiobook just couldn’t convince us. ?
Ooh, please do try Radio Silence. It truly is amazing.
We’re almost finished with The Killing, so hopefully we’ll have time to finish 13 Reasons Why this month. I’m curious to know how it all wraps up.
I’ve heard really good things about that book! I should look for it at the library. ?
I still have to start a Fool’s Fate. Must not fall behind, haha.
Sorry to hear What If It’s Us was so dissapointing. 🙁 I love Becky but after glancing in a few of Silvera’s books I know his writing style just isn’t for me. So I already was a bit hesitant about it.
Fool’s Fate or Fool’s Errand? The good news is, all three books are shorter than the shortest book in the Liveship Traders series, haha. And we’ll have a month off in August!
I like Silvera’s books, but only one of them has really wowed me. Let me know if you end up reading What If It’s Us, I’m curious to know what you’ll think!
Maraia with the ruthless Monte Cristo review. ? I’m sorry you didn’t like either the unabridged or the manga! On another note, I once trie the Illumnae audiobook and gave up almost immediately and the voice actors were definitely part of it.
Hahaha. I feel bad, I know you love it. I guess it’s just not for me.
LOL, I’m glad we’re not the only ones who thought it was terrible. The voices were painful to listen to at times. ?
I’m glad to hear What If It’s Us was cute, even if the plot was its weakest point. I’m really eager to see both authors‘ influence and how their different writing styles combine. Happy June!
You’ll have to let me know what you think of it when you read it! Happy June to you as well. ?
Ooh, I’m glad you enjoyed Six Four! It’s facing outward on my shelf, so it’s literally glaring at me for not reading it! I’ll get around to it…
I’ve been meaning to read Illuminae forever; do you think I’d like it? I probably should bite the bullet and try it since I’ve been dithering around buying it for so long!
A Girl Like That sounds really interesting; I didn’t realise what it was about. I think I’ll probably pick that one up. Also, did you get an ARC of What If It’s Us? I thought it wasn’t out until about October, because I told myself I’d finish History is All You Left Us and Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda by then!
Let me know what you think about 13 RW Season 2. I think you know how I feel, haha! Totally second you about B99 and Peaky Blinders though! One day I’ll get past the first episode…
I’ve just finished my May wrap up, and it’s got a shout out to you for inspiring my new format! Hope you like! 🙂
I hope you read it soon! Just keep in mind how long it takes for the case to build, etc.
I think you will, actually, as long as you don’t go the audiobook route, lol.
Haha, yeah, it’s out later this year. I probably should have waited to read it, but too late. ?♀️
We’re almost done with the show we’re watching, so I assume we’ll continue 13 RW next.
I saw! ? I read it on my phone, so I still need to comment from my computer.
I wondered how you’d got on with The Count of Monte Cristo, haha. I wonder how everyone else in the readalong got on with it… Sorry to hear that you didn’t much enjoy the manga version either!
Alice Oseman’s books sound intriguing but I still haven’t picked one up yet. Would Radio Silence be the one you recommend starting with?
I’m glad I enjoyed The Prince and the Dressmaker too. You sum it up really well here. <3
I just started the fifth series of Suits and I'm still enjoying it a lot! 😀 Also, my sister and I tried the first episode of Peaky Blinders ages ago, but haven't bothered to watch more, even though many people say it's amazing! I'd like to go back to it one day though.
I'm actually still rather surprised by the number of books I read in May. I'm going to guess that having two bank holidays helped, hehe.
I keep meaning to ask if anyone has finished it besides you. ?
Definitely! It’s the only one I’ve read, haha. I’ve heard that her first novel isn’t as good, and her most recent novel hasn’t been published in the US yet, so I can’t get it from the library. The audiobook for Radio Silence was really good, so you could always try that!
I’m glad we’re not the only ones who weren’t wowed by the show.
I wish there were more bank holidays!
Maybe no-one else has finished it, haha. I wonder if anyone else gave up?
Ooh, thanks for the audiobook recommendation! From what I heard of her first novel, it seems very… British. Like, I think reading about the secondary school setting(?) would annoy me. But I guess we’ll have to see!
Do you have any more bank holidays? Our next one isn’t until August! *cries*
Maybe no one wants to admit it, haha.
Yeah, Radio Silence is a bit like that, too, but for me it’s all fascinating. Our system is so different! Yours sounds incredibly stressful. ?
Our next on is on Sebastian’s birthday, in October. ?
Noooo, the US system sounds so much scarier than the UK one, hahaha. And I still can’t believe how little holiday allowance people get over there. :O
Ahhh, so far away! But it’s nice that it’s on Sebastian’s birthday. 😀
And in Maraia’s case, read the most amount in 2018 XD Howww? Haha
Ah, I really want to read Six Four! It’s a bit disappointing that Hangman isn’t quite on the level of Ragdoll and left some things unexplained. Why do thrillers do that? =/
I totally get what you mean by A Girl Like That being an unpleasant yet important read if nothing but for the rape culture. Oh and this was the review that I was talking about on Instagram a while back.
I still need to write a review of What If It’s Us and your thoughts on it reminded me yet again just how much I hated the ending haha.
The Killing sounds interesting! LOL and they already renewed 13 Reasons Why for a third season so even more wondering
Nope, that was March. 😛
I think you’ll like Six Four. As for thrillers, I think authors are worried that people won’t read on in they don’t leave lots of questions and end on a cliffhanger. xD
Thanks for linking the review! I definitely agree, and I would certainly feel insulted if someone wrote about my city and culture in such a negative way.
Omg, WHY is that necessary? Do you watch the show?
As always, I really enjoyed this roundup! It’s cool that you both manage to read so much and so widely (haha I read like 3 books total in may). You should share some travel photos too!! This is giving me some good recommendations for books I should read 🙂
Thanks so much, Shar!
Haha, it does help that we’re not college students. And the fact that we can read together and still feel as if we’re spending time together also makes it easier. ?
At some point we really should put together a travel post! But there are some on Sebastian’s Instagram account and my personal one that you already follow.
I can’t wait to read The Prince and the Dressmaker! I’m planning to read it this week since it will come due while we are away. I was so glad to hear about you and Sebastian’s enjoyment for The Woman in the Window! That’s one I’ve been thinking about lately. Thrillers are fun during the summer.. or any time of year it seems. lol. I’m sad to hear that What If It’s Us was disappointing. I was hyped for that one!
I hope June has been a good reading month thus far!
Text me when you finish! ?
Maybe you’d like it, but…I don’t know. It just wasn’t as good as it should have been.
I haven’t read as much in June as in other months, since we had our mini vacation and now the World Cup.