I know that I say this every single month, but how the heck is it actually June already? This year seems to be moving at the speed of light, and I cannot believe that we’re already half way through the year. 

This is the first time that I’ve been late publishing a review blog post, but I have been having a hard time. I can’t put my finger on exactly why that is, but something has been draining my energy for the past few weeks. 

That said, today is the first time in a while that I have actually felt like getting some work done and today’s goal is to catch-up with some of the bits that have fallen by the wayside. 

Starting with this blog post, which is written for myself more than for anyone else anyway.

I’ve rejigged the arrangement of this blog post because I wanted to start with the one thing that has been really helping me this month. Books. 

I have been in a reading mood for a very long time, at a guess, I’d say that I have been wanting to read for over 8 months. During that time I have fallen back in love with fiction and so far this year, it has been keeping me sane. 

This month, I read a fair few books and I am proud to report that I have also managed to tick off a few of the books that have been on my list for a while. 

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden

This was the first book that I read in May 2024, and it is very much one that has been on my list for a long time. This is a well-written and binge-worthy thriller that is incredibly fast-paced. I loved this book and while it’s certainly not a 5-star rating, it is one that I throughly enjoyed reading. 

Killing Thatcher by Rory Carrol

This book tells the story of the IRA’s infamous plot to assassinate the then Prime Minister, Thatcher. Telling the story in a thriller like fashion, I found this book to be very informative and it presents the history of the Troubles in a manageable and easy to follow way. 

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

This speculative novel by Maggie O’Farrell seeks to tell the forgotten story of the child that William Shakespeare lost. Utilising the little information that we have about Hamnet’s death, combined with beautiful and descriptive speculation, this book is powerful and emotive. I loved this book and I am not entirely sure why I left it so long before reading it. 

King of wrath by Ana Kuang

One of my big goals for 2024 was to push the boundaries of my reading, to move away from the typical content that I read and to instead attempt to read books that are outside my comfort zone. I have a love-hate relationship with Tiktok books, with the overwhelming focus of that equation tending to be on ‘hate’. Sigh, I tend to overwhelmingly disagree with the fuss that most of those books tend to garner but this year, I really wanted to try a few more of those that are loved by tiktok creators. This was one of the first ‘tiktok’ books that I read this year and to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I might have guessed it to be. For me, this started off pretty strongly and for the most part, I was enjoying it. It’s very hetro-normative and toes that line between being alluring and sexist. However, the more and more I read, the less and less that I enjoyed it. I found myself really disliking both characters and about 60% of the way through, and that point I very much skim read it. I did finish it, but it wasn’t a full read.

Carrie by Stephen King

This is one of the books that I placed on my 24 to read in 2024 list and it’s actually one of a few King books that I want to read this year. I feel as if this is a good book to begin with for newbies to Stephen King, because it’s more human and less monster. I mostly enjoyed this book, but I did find myself a little bit bored towards the end.

  • Just for the summer by Abby Jimenez
This book stole my heart, broke it and then put it back together again in the closing chapters. It was my first Abby Jimenez book, but it definitely won’t be the last one that I read. 

Darling girls, Sally Hepworth
First things first, I listened to this as an audiobook and I think that was part of the reason why I enjoyed it so much. It’s narrated incredibly well and the characterisation is spit on. That said, I did really enjoy this book overall. I liked the story, it kept you guessing, the ending was breathtaking and the diversity amongst characters was a huge tick for me. 

A Little Life by Hanya Yangihara

Another book that was on my 24 for 2024 and this is one that I have had on my TBR pile for years. Literal years. This was actually my third attempt at reading this book, but on this occasion I got it done. I know that this book can be fairly controversial, so I won’t go in to much detail here. However, two things that I want to say. The first is that I found the audiobook really helpful for breaking the back of this novel. Listening to that helped me get stuck in to the novel itself. Secondly, I did rate this fairly highly because I personally took a lot from it, but I can completely understand why it’s a difficult one for others.
 
Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang

The final book that I read in May and this is also one that was on my 24 in 2024 list. I loved this, I ate it up and finished it fairly quickly. 

 

May was a movie month for me because I actually watched a fair few of them. 

Anyone but you

Loved, loved, loved. Old school romcom. Brilliant.

Unfrosted

This is such a weird, almost slap-stick movie and yet, I really, really enjoyed it. It’s pure escapism and a good giggle. 

The idea of you

I am a huge fan of Anne Hathaway and this is an incredible movie. I love the story, i love how the film has been made and it is genius. 

Mother’s Instinct

Amazing. This is such a good thriller. Fast-paced, easy to follow and kept you guessing.

Civil War

I love speculative fiction and this was a must-see for me, but it did not live up to my expectations. I ended the movie wondering what the point of it was. It was lucklastre, boring and a letdown. 

Miranda’s victim

This is an incredibly powerful, true story about the case that led to the strengthening of the Miranda Rights in the USA. Amazing. 

 

Much like books and films, I watched a fair few TV shows this month. 

The Circle

This is an old-school favourite of mine and I loved this season of the show. No spoilers – but the right person won in my eyes. 

The fortune hotel

I was skeptical about this show, but ended up really enjoying it.

Ashley Maddison: Sex, lies and scandal

Netflix doing documentaries in the way that only they can. I loved this. It was brilliantly made and fascinating. 

The fraudster footballer

Another good one, and one that I highly recommend. 

Having not one a single competition in April, the month of May was a good ‘un. I actually won TWO competitions and both prizes were one’s that I really, really wanted. 

Not only that, but one of them was an utter surprise! I didn’t know that I had won until it turned up on my doorstep!

– 2 tins of V33 decking stain

– 2 annual tickets to Blenheim Palace

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Kindle Scribe

This month I purchased myself a new Kindle, having gifted my older model to my grandmother a few months ago. Last year, I found myself reaching for my ipad more than my kindle and so I had gifted my old Kindle to my nan. 

But, I was very much missing my eBook and seeing as my nan was actively using my old one, I decided that it was time for an upgrade. I managed to find a Kindle Scribe on an auction website for a brilliant price, and so, even though it wasn’t the model that I’d envisioned myself choosing, I decide to give it a go. 

I LOVE it and it’s definitely helped me to hit my reading target this month. To be clear, I’ve not really used the ‘scribe’ element of this Kindle and instead, I am only using it as a eReader. It is much more clunky than my older model, but for the most part, it’s a purchase that I have really enjoyed. 

I was lucky enough to have been invited to review TWO shows for Theatre and Tonic in May. These were Constellations and Nye, both reviews are on the website. 

Kay Page