Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham by M.C Beaton ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham is the eight book in this cosy murder mystery series set in the Cotswolds, and maybe my favourite so far. This time we follow Agatha as she investigates the murder of a hairdresser with a lot of enemies. I really enjoyed the pacing of this one a lot more than some of the previous books, which made the mystery rather compelling. It also helped that while I’ve seen the TV episode I couldn’t quite remember who the murder was, which makes it easier to go on that journey with Agatha. In past reviews, I’ve complained about James and it’s nice not to have to repeat that here as he does not appear. Both James and Charles have messed Agatha around, but at least Charles knows that he’d not a good guy. James thinks he’s a good guy, and somehow that just makes it worse. Overall this is one of the better ones, and up there with The Quiche of Death.
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
As the fifth book in the Mistborn series, or the second book in the Second Era series it’s difficult to say much without spoilers. I can say that both series’ are high fantasies where one can use certain powers after consuming certain metals. I have mixed feelings about this book because I found that the middle dragged a little, which messed up the overall pacing. However, something was revealed in the final few chapters that really changed my feelings for the book. Up until that point, I was really questioning the inclusion of a backstory but that reveal made everything make sense, and I found myself loving the book again. Ultimately it’s still not as good as the original Mistborn trilogy, at least in my opinion, but I am most definitely warming to the series.
Women Talking by Miriam Toews ⭐️⭐️⭐️
**Trigger warning for rape, and sexual abuse**
Women Talking is a contemporary novel that takes the true story of sexual abuse within a Mennonite colony and imagines a fictional response. The women involved in the attacks come together to decide what they should do next when they find out that the perpetrators are returning to the colony. This is a really difficult book to review because I can’t decide how I feel about it. While the title of the book implies that we will hear women talking, the women cannot read nor write so the book is told through the point of view of a male character. This male character did feel bland, despite having an interesting story, and his involvement felt like something I could write an essay about. However, I’m not sure how I feel about his presence as he colours the narrative and openly admits to his failures as a chronicler of these women. The narrator, August, tells us that he ‘put his pen down’ or that a certain potion is ‘a loose translation’, which suggests that there could be more omission that he is not even aware of. There were also questions regarding his gender, not because he was LGBTQIA+, but rather because he was a teacher and not a farmer, the latter being how the men of the colony define their masculinity. August had a really interesting ARC, but because of the writing style I was not wholly invested which was such a shame, as I didn’t feel the full force of that ending as deeply as I think that I should have. It seems telling that in a book titles Women Talking the most interesting character was the male chronicler. As I said, I would love to write an essay on this book, and on August in particular, but I don’t think that the book is strong enough to stand on its own as a brilliant pleasure read.
Bound by Temptation by Cora Reilly ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Bound by Temptation is the fourth book in the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, an adult mafia romance series. This one follows Lilliana as she falls in love with her bodyguard, Romero, and the perspectives are split 60/40 in favour of Lily. I didn’t think that I loved bodyguard romances, but this book might have changed my opinion because I just could not get enough of it. I always say that I love an angsty romance, and it does not get angstier than a forbidden romance which this of course is. This book is also really interesting because, despite the characters, a third daughter and a mafia soldier, being a lot less powerful than the Capo’s and Consigliere, there is much more of a ripple effect onto Reilly’s world. I loved Bound by Temptation, and it makes me excited to keep going with the series!
Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship by L.M Elliot ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship is a YA historical fiction book that claims to be about the friendship of U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton and his eventual sister-in-law Peggy Schuyler. I say ‘claims’ because Hamilton’s presence in this book is very minimal, and the friendship is more of a friendly acquaintanceship. I feel that both the title and the synopsis of this book is very misleading and that it’s intention is to capitalise on Hamilton: An American Musical. I feel like someone, and it could be the author, the editor, or someone in marketing, is trying to trick the reader and that’s very irritating. It also means that my expectations for this book were very different from the synopsis and as a result, I was left disappointed. If you’re looking for a book about Peggy Schuyler and the Revolutionary War then it’s pretty good, but if you’re here for Hamilton there’s no point.
Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’ve been watching Agatha Christie adaptations for what feels like most of my life, and for some reason Ordeal by Innocence was always my favourite. Just when the Argyle family thinks that they can move on from the tragedy of Jacko Argyle being convicted for the murder of his mother, new evidence comes to light that exonerates him. However, if Jack is innocent that means that one of the family is a murderer. While this was quite different from the adaptation which I am most familiar with- It was adapted for ITV’s Miss Marple series- I think that I enjoyed it even more. There’s ominous darkness to this book as what it lacks in action is made up in tension, with everyone suspecting one another. Ordeal by Innocence is less of a traditional Christie mystery and more of an examination into the psychology of this family, which is an utterly fascinating experience for any reader.
Die Laughing by Carola Dunn ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The twelfth book in the Daisy Dalrymple Series is Die Laughing which follows Daisy as she investigates the murder of her dentist. My favourite part about reading long series’ like this one is getting to see the writer improve and I think that this might be the best mystery so far. The suspects seemed fewer but more distinctive which is much better than in some of the previous books, and it reinvigorates the series in my eyes. It remains true to it’s genre of being a cosy murder mystery enough that it still has a sense of familiarity to it which keeps me coming back to the series time and time again. I really enjoyed Die Laughing and look forward to Daisy’s next adventure.
The Cost of Living by Rachel Ward ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Cost of Living is the first book in Rachel Ward’s Ant & Bea Mysteries, a cosy murder mystery series set in a supermarket. After reading the third one earlier this month I was able to get the first from my local library, thanks to BorrowBox. When when seems to be a stalker escalates to assault, and eventually to murder checkout assistant Bea decided to get to the bottom of it, with the assistance of her new colleague Ant. This is a nice contemporary mystery series that revolves around working class character which is a nice change from the ones I usually read about. It also makes the genre feel that much more aware of the world it now exists in, as today’s society is a lot different to that of the Golden Age of Detective fiction. While I wasn’t floored by it I did have a great time reading and hope that I will be able to pick up the second book too!
Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden by M.C. Beaton⭐️⭐️⭐️
The ninth book in this series, Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden follows Agatha’s adventures in a seaside town after a Francie, known for her potions and remedies, is found dead. I came to this series from the TV show, and while they have an episode with the same title it is a relatively different story. I actually didn’t mind this. I realised pretty early on that the murderer was not going to be the same and so it was fun to guess at the culprit along with Agatha. There was something lacking in the structure of the novel, as Agatha was not doing as much active investigating which was a little strange. It’s been a running joke that she doesn’t solve murders but stumbles across the murder, which this book really emphasises. Still, I did enjoy the book, and s always the lack of James’ presence makes the book more enjoyable for me.
Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Aurora Rising by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Bloodfever by Karen M. Moning ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Expiry Date by Rachel Ward ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Aurora Burning by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What about you… what books did you read in the month of May? Any stand out favourites?