Mini Book Reviews // May Library Reads

Today I am here to talk about and review the three books I read from the library last month!  Two of these were books I read during the Bout of Books 13 read-a-thon, so I've decided to just review them here and not do a wrap-up of that read-a-thon.

I only really loved one of these, but I'm still glad I read the other two, and I'm excited to talk about them!
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King - This was the book I didn't read as part of the read-a-thon, but the one I really loved, which, by now, is no surprise, as the Mary Russell series is my most favorite mystery series of all time.  The Beekeeper's Apprentice is the first book in the series, and it begins with Russell just meeting Sherlock Holmes for the first time.  From there, it progresses through several of their first small cases, and eventually hits a couple big ones.  I absolutely loved the way this book was written.  I loved reading the back story first, then the short cases, which felt like short stories almost, since they were all mostly unrelated.  I really enjoyed that because it hearkened back to the style of the original Sherlock Holmes.  This book was so much fun.  I loved getting to see the early stages of Russell's relationship with Holmes and her training and apprenticeship.  One of my favorite things about the entire series is how much it humanizes Holmes, and this book was no exception.  You see a lot of Sherlock's father-ness coming coming out in this one, and it was great.  As always, I adored the characters.  It's so much fun seeing Russell as a teenager.  She's moody and snarky, and I think that's why the two of them got along so well.  Also, I would like to say that if you are looking to get into the series, make an effort to start with this book (which I guess is obvious, but I didn't do that).  Overall, this was just a fantastic look at the early relationship between Holmes and Russell, and as always, the characters were brilliant and fun.  I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck - This is my second Steinbeck book, and I have to say that I liked Cannery Row much better.  This one just had a terrible ending.  Ugh.  The Pearl is short - less than a hundred pages, and I enjoyed the writing style, and also the wife of the main character - her name is Juana - but the ending was just really sad and depressing.  I guess the point of this book is to illustrate the awful consequence of human greed, and it did that all right.  I don't really have a lot more to say about it.  I enjoyed the setting and most of the characters - they were all pretty believable - but the ending ruined it for me.  I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr - This book the first short story collection I've read, and while I really like the short story format, these stories were kind of hit or miss for me.  I didn't enjoy Doerr's writing style in this as much as I did in All the Light We Cannot See, for some reason; all the stories seemed really surreal to me, which I don't enjoy, unless that's the point and it's about unreal things.  Most of these stories were just okay, they didn't really make me feel very much.  I found all of them interesting, but unlike with All the Light We Cannot See, I didn't feel much empathy with the characters or connection with the stories.  That said, I really enjoyed two of the stories: "The River Nemunas," and "Afterworld."  I loved those two (especially "The River Nemunas") and I would read those again.  "The River Nemunas" was really moving and I got a legit lump in my throat at the end of that one.  It was beautiful.  Overall, I liked the collection because I loved a couple of the stories in it, but I did not loved the collection as a whole.  If I could have just read "The River Nemunas," I would not have had to read the whole book.  I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars based on the two stories I really enjoyed.

And those are my thoughts on the three books I read from the library last month!  Thanks so much for reading and I will be back soon.  xo, Ella

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