May 2019 Reading Round-Up

The Birds That Stay *  by Ann Lambert ★★★★☆ Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with an item of clothing or accessor...

The Birds That Stay* by Ann Lambert ★★★★☆
Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover

Brief synopsis: After an old woman is found dead in her garden, suspected homicide, Chief Inspector Roméo Leduc takes on the case. Meanwhile, Marie Russell, a fairly close neighbor, is dealing with the sell of her childhood home and her mother's worsening dementia. Yet her mother's failing memory sparks something that may be a clue in the old women's death. Through a series of intermingled stories, secrets are unburied, and the old women's death may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Overall thoughts: This is the first novel in a new series of detective novels and I really enjoyed this one. I felt it was incredibly character-heavy, which was hard to follow at times, but this book had a good mix thriller, crime, and historical fiction. Full review here.

Lock Every Door* by Riley Sager ★★★★★
Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book featuring an amateur detective

Brief synopsis: This novel follows Jules, a 20-something in NYC with no family, a crappy ex-boyfriend, and no job. When she comes across a Craigslist ad that directs her to her dream apartment (also setting of her favorite novel), it seems too good to be true. For three months and $12,000, all Jules needs to do is apartment-sit. But there are some weird stipulations that her best friend is totally creeped out about, and the apartment building does have a kind of mysterious past. They say if it's too good to be true, it probably is. And that may just be the case in this situation.

Overall thoughts: I've read all of Sager's books and they each get better and better. This one has been my favorite yet. It reinforces how great of writer Sager is - his writing is beautiful, haunting, and pulls you in, but it's easy to read instead of being incredibly dense and difficult to navigate. Just when I thought I'd had this book figured out, something new would pop up. And the character development? Out of this world! Full review here.

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak ★★☆☆☆
Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book revolving around a puzzle or game

Brief synopsis: The novel focuses on 14-year old Billy and his group of misfit friends (Alf and Clark), who are attempting any and everything they can in order to get their hands on a copy of the newest edition of Playboy - the one with Vanna White on the cover. In their attempt to get the magazine, Billy meets Mary, a 14-year old computer programming girl who he immediately likes but is too embarrassed to tell his friends, so instead becomes involved in a plan to use her to get what they want.

Overall thoughts: With an 80s setting full of computer science and gaming geekery, I thought I would love this book. There's even a fat girl gamer, but this book is full of fat-shaming and harsh, hard jokes that were really harmful. And the wrap up? It doesn't make it any better whatsoever. Full review here.

Little Lovely Things* by Maureen Joyce Connolly ★★★★☆
Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A

Brief synopsis: This book follows Claire, a wife and mother to two young girls, who is working on her doctorate program residency. After a required vaccine causes an allergic reaction in Claire on her way to take her daughters to childcare for the day, she wakes up on the floor of a gas station bathroom with her car and children missing. The story takes place over the immediate weeks and years following the kidnapping/car theft, and the impact of those involved.

Overall thoughts: This novel was intriguing and terrifying and at times, sickening. I enjoyed the genre-bending (is it thriller? is it literary?) and the mash of cultures in the story, but reading a book about POC writen by a White woman can be really cringey. Full review here.

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper ★★★★☆
Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A

Brief synopsis: This novel follows Andrew, a 40-something government employee who scavenges homes after individuals die alone with seemingly no close friends or relatives. For the past five years, he's worked in the same role, with the same people - who all believe him to be happily married with children. So, when he becomes close to a new co-worker, he begins to feel guilty about his family, because well, they don't exist.

Overall thoughts: This novel was really laugh-out-loud funny, but I kind of disliked the characters, especially the main character, a lot. He was so incredibly selfish! But I very much enjoyed Roper's writing - it was beautiful and smart, and I'll certainly read his writing again.  Full review here.

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King ★★★★★
Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a two-word title

Brief synopsis: Set in 1970s Jerusalem's Lot, Maine, the novel focuses on writer Ben Mears, a young man who returns to the Lot 20 some-odd years after last living there to find inspiration for a new book he's writing. After a series of weird happenings take place, Ben gathers a motley crew of folks to fight the evil in 'Salem's Lot - an English teacher, an artist, a priest, a doctor, and a pre-teen boy.

Overall thoughts: Classic King. Classic horror. This book is terrifying, but a bit dense (which is totally to be expected from King). I appreciated the full-out horror, instead of the sexual lust that seems to accompany current-day vampire novels (though I do enjoy those, too). Full review here.

What did you read in May?

* denotes I received a copy free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

You Might Also Like


  1. i've always been too much of a scaredy cat to attempt any of King's novels, but I will be adding Lock Every Door to my TBR list!

    1. Yeah, King can be terrifying and give me some nightmares (though I really love them), but Lock Every Door is just as thrilling, but maybe not quite as terrifying. Enjoy!

  2. I feel like my reading has totally sucked lately... time to step it up!

    1. That's how I feel basically every single month. I finally felt like I read a decent amount this month. You kill it every month though!