May Book Round Up

I have to put my hands up and say my reading in May was shocking. I don't know if it was the fact I had a bit of a whirlwind month, or I was stressed about big changes that were happening within our family unit. But I just found it really hard to sit down and read a book and instead opted to read things on my Kindle, which really surprised me. I'm glad to say I've turned that around for June already. But here's the round up of things that I read in May. 

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League – but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighbourhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up – way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty police officer beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack. 

I'd heard lots of rumours about how great this book was, which normally makes me nervous when I read a book. Especially when it's been compared so much to one of my favourites, The Hate U Give. But I was pretty impressed with what I read. I loved the angst, honesty and development in the story. But I did feel like it ended a tad too early. I think I just wanted to find out what else was going to happen to the characters, where their stories would go next. I was fully engrossed and read it on a train journey. A fantastic read about discrimination and prejudice in the modern world. 

Christie Watson was a nurse for twenty years. Taking us from birth to death and from A&E to the mortuary, The Language of Kindness is an astounding account of a profession defined by acts of care, compassion and kindness.

We watch Christie as she nurses a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, we stand by her side during her patient’s agonising heart-lung transplant, and we hold our breath as she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive.

In our most extreme moments, when life is lived most intensely, Christie is with us. She is a guide, mentor and friend. And in these dark days of division and isolationism, she encourages us all to stretch out a hand.

I've actually done a whole blog post about this book, as I read it in conjunction with Mumsnet. My full review can be found here. Whilst the book may seem like it's solely for nurses, it's one that is more than just a tribute to those that put their lives to a career that is all about caring. It's an insight for everyone else that wants and needs to know about the diversity that a day in nursing can give. From looking after a patient, to counselling family and doing little things to help things run smoothly. It's a job that many of us will put their hands up and say they will never be able to do, but this book gives you another lever of appreciation of this profession that is severely under funded and stretched.

Bennett's Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It's a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money.

But, like so many bookshops, Bennett's has become a 'casualty of the high street' - it's strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking - but that's not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

As a bookseller, I loved all the little references and insider jokes that littered the pages of this book. The tales of regular customers and the little things like The Bookseller magazine and proof copies littering the staffroom. I honestly loved this book so much and didn't actually put it down until I had finished it. It was such a fun and feminist read that I smiled the whole way through it and can't wait to see what Paige and her friends do next. 

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town - and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost... 

Again, this was another Mumsnet book (in fact, it's this month's book club read so you can read my review here) and one that I couldn't put down. Little Fires Everywhere is less to do with literal fires, and more to do with the moral fires within you when it comes to being a mother. Whether you are good at the job of being a mother, whether you are ready to take on the role, or whether you deserve to have a child of your own. It left me with unanswered questions and wanting to find out more. It left me questioning my own parenting and wondering if I can do more. It left me wanting to reach through the page and comfort each character for reasons I still can't explain. Little Fires Everywhere is a book that is going to stick with me for a long time, that has set of little fires in my stomach and left me begging for more at the end of it.

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