Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quick Lit: May 2016

My 2016 Goodreads goal is 36 books -- 3 books a month -- after not quite making that goal last year.

(This doesn't count the books I read to/with my kids -- I try to post a few times a month what my kids are reading too, click here to read those reviews)

I started out the year FLYING through books, though now I seem to be getting back to my normal pace. I'm still plenty ahead of the game, with 24 books read so far this year. Here's what I finished in May!

On this Foundation by Lynn Austin
I love love love Lynn Austin's historical fiction writing. A year ago I flew through the first two books in the trilogy, then was disappointed that this third book wouldn't be released until fall. I wasn't able to interloan it at my library until this spring, but it was definitely worth the wait. Enough time passes between the books that I didn't have to worry about remembering everything that had happened.

The Restoration Chronicles tell a fictionalized story of characters and prophets from the biblical time period when the exiles of Israel start returning to Jerusalem. We met Jeremiah and Ezra in books one and two, and this third book is about Nehemiah. He was the one who returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the city's wall that had been destroyed when the Israelites were taken into captivity. But neighboring governments are annoyed and afraid that they will lose control of Israel, and so they scheme up ways to halt the work and plan to assassinate Nehemiah. I love the way Austin stays true to the biblical text, while expanding characters and including other storylines to enhance the overall story.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I mentioned in my April Quick Lit and my April family book club post that I don't ever reach for books set in World War II. I'm not sure why. But after a good experience with a YA book set in Korea in WWII, I went ahead and reserved this one from the library.

It's been quite awhile since I had a book keep me up at night because I just had to finish it... Starting in 1939 (with a few flashbacks and a few looks ahead), this book tells the story of two sisters in German-occupied France, and the ways they dealt with things like limited rations, Germans living in their home, and secretly helping Allied soldiers. I felt an emotional rollercoaster with this book, from high excitement when something went right to grieving when something went wrong.

Since I've now had a few weeks to recover from the depth of this book, I think it might end up being one of my favorites of 2016. I definitely had to switch gears and read something totally different next. But I'm no longer afraid of WWII novels, and found a copy of All the Light We Cannot See at a garage sale that's sitting on my shelf waiting for me.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
After the depth and all-the-feels of The Nightingale, I went to my go-to genre to just get lost in a YA fantasy world. Unfortunately this one didn't do it for me. I'm not completely sure why, but I think maybe it just seemed too similar to other YA books I've read in recent years (Legend and Lunar Chronicles especially). Girl from the low society becomes someone important and well-known and schemes (along with others) how to overthrow the oppressive government.

I might come back to the series another time, especially since the books are still coming out, but probably not for awhile.

After not enjoying A.J. Fikry, I was a little hesitant to pick up another book about a man and a bookstore. But this one had plenty of plot-driven elements (that I thought Fikry was lacking) to keep me interested. The story was more about the bookstore (and a secret society, and codes, and even Google) than about the man himself. It was a great read over the long holiday weekend, though a few times when I had to stop and start I lost track of who some of the secondary characters were and had to flip back to remember them. I loved how there were both elements of old (handwritten logbooks, a printing press, bookshelves that can only be reached with a rolling ladder) and elements of new (graphic design, supercomputers, Google) that work together throughout the book.

This book has been on my TBR list for at least a year, so I'm counting it as "a book you've been meaning to read" in the MMD Reading Challenge.

Linking up with Anne Bogel's June Quick Lit on the 15th!

This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. Purchases you make after clicking through will help support The Lion is a Bookworm, without changing the cost to you!


  1. I have been wanting to read The Nightingale. I am glad you liked it! All The Light is excellent! I have the opposite problem: I read too many books about WWII. I had to take a break after finally getting The Nightingale from a long library hold because I realized I wasn't excited about reading it since I had just finished All The Light and had read 6 books that year that were focused around the same time period. I figured I would give my brain a break for a few months so I can come back to it ready to read some of the tough things that happened back then.

    I didn't like A.J Fikry either! So many ppl loved it, so I thought I was the only one. I will have to look into Mr Penumbra. I think Anne Bogel mentioned it because I have heard of it. Another bookstore + man story that came out recently is The Little Paris Bookshop and I liked that one!

    Here are my May reads: http://elle-alice.blogspot.com/2016/05/may-book-reviews.html

    1. I'm so glad to hear of someone else who didn't like Fikry! I was feeling so alone! :) Little Paris Bookshop is on my TBR list, glad to hear you liked that one.

  2. I enjoyed The Nightingale but not quite as much as everyone else. I definitely thought that All the Light was better (more engaging story, higher caliber of writing). I hope you give it a try.

  3. I will have to check out Lynn Austin's The Restoration Chronicles. I loved the series she did on the Kings of Judah. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I've checked The Red Queen out a few times, but haven't read it yet. I think you hit the nail on the head for the reason why - I've read too many others like it!