Reading Wrap-Up May, 2018

Usually at the end of the month I do a quick post about the books I read during that month. However, I’ve noticed a few people asking me whenever I rate a book, “What are you thoughts about this particular book?” And I realize that, though I don’t have enough thoughts to write full reviews on many of the books I read, I do have enough to do quick reviews. So instead of simply rating books, I’m going to be adding a quick review about them too.

This month I really stepped back in how many books I was reading, partially because I’ve been busy with other things and partially because I’ve become so disillusioned by recent releases that I’ve hated. Thus, I’ve only read eight books this month, which is less than half that I usually read. In fact, I have no one star, so we’ll have to start with two stars.

2 Stars

2 star

  • My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran (released April, 2018)

3 Stars

3 stars

  • The Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories by Arthur Machen (released April, 2018)

    • In the last few years, I’ve really gotten into reading classic horror writers like H. P. Lovecraft and Algernon Blackwood. So when I heard Machen compared to Lovecraft, I was extremely excited to read this book. However, I will say I was slightly disappointed. The descriptions are beautiful and the stories are mysterious, but the horror itself is a bit vague. In the first story, “The Lost Club,” two men stumble upon a mysterious gentleman’s club where one man is chosen by opening a mysterious book to a black page and vanishes. But nothing is explained. Is it a demon? Was the man murdered? Instead of leaving me being chilled, I was annoyed. And many of these stories caused me to feel the same frustration. Horror is horrifying because you get a taste of the unknown and then have it snatched away . But with these stories you didn’t even get the taste, the food was just dangled over one’s mouth. Some of the stories were better than others. For example, “The Great God Pan” I would give five stars, whereas stories like “The Inmost Light” I would give one. Thus, overall I am giving this three stars. It’s an interesting read, but not half as good as other horror contemporaries of the time.
  • A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks (released April, 2018)

4 Stars

4 stars

  • Japanese-Style Gardens by Brian Funk, Sarah Schmidt, + (released Aug. 2015)

    • I’ve read several books about Japanese Gardens, but none describes both the meaning/symbolism and the organization behind it. The first part is organized in short essays, while later it talks about Japanese Gardens in America you can visit (I’ve only been to the Portland, Oregon one). However, I will say it is clearly directed towards the American consumer. It doesn’t really look at other Japanese gardens around the world. But I still really enjoyed reading this book!
  • Murder in Morningside Heights (Gaslight Mysteries #19) by Victoria Thompson (released May, 2016)

    • I can’t believe there are already nineteen books in this series! For this book, I have slightly conflicted feelings. I loved seeing Sarah and Frank start their new life (both as a married couple and as private detectives), but I missed seeing much of Maeve, as well as Gino and Maeve together. The mystery was great, and I did not guess who the murderer was. Saying that, the ending didn’t feel highly satisfying. Without giving any spoilers, let’s just say the murderer was found and Sarah and Frank were pretty much like, well, we know basically why they did it, but we’ll never know the details. That’s not good enough! Because of that, I felt the mystery was left a little open-ended. But despite its imperfections, I still really enjoyed this book. It had me up until midnight finishing it!

5 Stars

5 stars

  • Forgotten Ally: China’s World War II by Rana Mitter (released Sep. 2014)

  • Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue (Gaslight Mystery #18) by Victoria Thompson (released Nov. 2015)

    • Gino and Maeve takeover this series in this newest addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series. When I read the info, I will say I was a little apprehensive of a Gaslight Mystery without Frank and Sarah. However, I need not have worried. In fact, this mystery rather incorporates all the secondary characters from previous books into the mystery-solving, not just Gino and Maeve (Sarah’s parents, Frank’s mother, etc.). The mystery itself was interesting, though I confess I figured out the killer rather early on. But I feel like this book in particular gave more focus to the characters than to the mystery itself. I really like the direction this series is turning, from Frank being part of the police force to (possibly) opening a private detective agency. While I will be glad when Sarah and Frank return, I thoroughly had fun reading this book!
  • Because They Hate by Brigitte Gabriel (released Sep. 2006)

    • I cannot gush about how much I love this book! It reminded me very much of I Am Malala, which I read a bit ago. I listened to this on audiobook, which was read by the author, and it is so much more meaningful to listen to her read the book in her own voice than to read words on a page. I’m always interested in hearing the story of people who lived through war, whether during Communist China, the Khmer Regime in Cambodia, the Nazi concentration camps, etc., but never have I read a book which has moved me like this one. Some of the things Brigitte experienced are horrifying, from living in a bomb shelter from the time she was a child to an older teen, to learning that the boy she liked had been explored by a bomb, to realizing everything she knew about the world was a lie (from Israel to the US). How war can truly tear apart ordinary civilians lives. But I also loved what a strong woman she was, being a woman myself. She advocates for a woman’s right to be whatever they want to be. She overcame numerable obstacles to become a successful businesswoman. She taught herself English by working English TV. When the traditional people around her in Lebanon told her she should simply marry and be a man’s property, she got a job and provided for herself and her elderly parents. If that’s not an inspiring tale for young girls, I don’t know what is. Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book!


Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness, and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

2 thoughts on “Reading Wrap-Up May, 2018

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