monthly review

(Late late) May Wrap-Up

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I knew that it had been a while since I’d last written anything on here but I didn’t think it had been nearly six weeks!  Oops.
Life Stuff
I started a new job at the beginning of May and I’ve been super busy ever since.  Moving jobs is always unsettling and the change has taken some adjusting to but I feel much more settled and involved in the team now that I’ve been there just over a month.  It’s nice to feel less adrift again.  Working back in Leeds has made a massive difference to my days; not having to spend two hours a day in my car is a huge bonus and the buzz of working back in a city I love doesn’t exactly hurt.
At the beginning of the month, we went to the wedding of some good friends and had the nicest day.  It was beautifully sunny for most of the day, meaning we all got to stand outside and enjoy some canapés and champagne in the sun before the dinner and dancing part of the day.  To add to my list of wedding ideas I want to steal: piles of cheese instead of a wedding cake; sweepstake cards on the table for people to guess at things like the first person to cry during the speeches and the lengths of various speeches and whatnot. 
Plans for our wedding are coming along nicely too.  I’ve found The Dress (which I adore), we’ve picked our venue in Florence and have a trip out to Florence planned to meet our planner and start looking at the details.  All incredibly exciting. 
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Then at the very end of May, we headed to Montenegro for a week.  Kotor bay is absolutely stunning and we spent a week reading and relaxing in the sun, cycling to explore the nearby towns, eating tons of seafood and drinking local beer and wine.  I’d absolutely recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere a bit different to visit that’s not yet got particularly touristy.  It was a bit more chilled than the slightly hectic city breaks we usually go on and the break was just what we both needed.  Countdown to our next trip away in August starts now…
Book Stuff

Needless to say, what with work and various wedding related days, I didn’t get a great deal read.  I started If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino and that really stalled my reading.  It’s an odd story that is written half in the second person, with events described as happening to “you”.  It’s entertaining at first but to be honest, it lost its appeal later on and I felt like I was reading one of those ‘choose your own story’ books that I loved when I was a child.  The basic idea is that ‘you’ pick up a book but then part way through find that pages are missing.  On going to find the book at the local bookshop, you’re given a book with the same title but entirely different contents and so on and so on.  The chapters then alternate between the main character’s efforts to track down the original story and the first chapters of each of the writings that he’s given by various third parties as the book they believe he is looking for.  In the end, I returned it to the library unfinished.  It felt less like a novel and more like a range of creative writing exercises smushed together with a loose narrative and I just wasn’t interested in reading it, which is sad because I was really looking forward to it. 
On a brighter note, I then picked up Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  I’d heard a lot about the book on YouTube so I had high hopes.  It absolutely lived up to every single one of them.  It’s a YA science fiction story about the population of a small planet who are attacked and mostly killed. The survivors are on board a couple of spaceships trying to outrun the team sent to finish the murdering job.  I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads and I’ll review it soon but until then, if you do like science fiction and want something pacey and unique, get yourself Illuminae.  I can’t wait for the next book to come out.  
On the comic front, I read three volumes: Rat Queens: Volume 1 – Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe; Wytches: Volume 1 by Scott Snyder; and, Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan.  I really enjoyed Rat Queens.  The characters are great, the writing is witty and the artwork was bright and fun.   A series that I’ll definitely keep reading.  Wytches was about a horde of children-eating wytches who have targeted the protagonist family.  It’s incredibly dark and actually pretty damn freaky in places.  One I only read in daylight! It was brilliant in places and there were some great twists but it just wasn’t quite my thing.  Paper Girls was…weird.  It’s about some paper girls who find themselves largely alone after the world is attacked by…something.  I didn’t follow a lot of it, really, and the whole thing felt haphazard and as though it was trying to do too much.  I might read the next volume if I come across it at the library but it isn’t one that I’m going to be buying.
And that was it!  My reading month.  June has been better already so I’m hopeful that I’m starting to find a balance between the busy day job and finding time to read.  Any books that I need to be squeezing in sooner rather than later?