May 2019 Books to Read (and Skip)

May 2019 Books to Read


May brought me more DNF’s than I’d like, but the two books I’m recommending today are fantastic! And, my 2019 Summer Reading Guide is coming on Tuesday with tons of awesome books!

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Favorite Book of May 2019

Ask Again YesAsk Again, Yesby Mary Beth Keane
Literary Fiction (Release Date: May 28, 2019)
400 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Scribner)

Plot Summary: Two NYPD cops, Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson move their families next door to each other in a suburb of New York City…setting the stage for a friendship between their two children (Kate and Peter) and a tragic event that causes ripple effects years down the road.

My Thoughts: Ask Again, Yes has been slowly gaining steam over on #bookstagram and I’m thrilled to say it’s worth the hype (5 stars for me)! It’s a character-driven novel that I couldn’t put down…a type of book I tend to love. But, these are always the hardest to review because they’re just stories about people living their lives (i.e. nothing fancy). But, these particular people struck a chord with me. The first 10% is a little slow, but I started flying through it after that. It’s a coming of age story and an unconventional love story. It’s about mental illness, addiction, and how these characters cope during the aftermath of a horrible tragedy. The beginning reminded me a bit of My Sunshine Away (the neighborhood kids hijinks), while overall, it reminded me of The Female Persuasion (my review) without the feminism angle. I predict you’ll be seeing this one on multiple Best Books of 2019 lists come December…including mine!

One thing leads to another which leads to another, yes, but who could have predicted that the last fallen domino would skid so far from the neatly toppled row.

Also Read This One

Out East by John GlynnOut Eastby John Glynn
Nonfiction – Memoir (Release Date: May 14, 2019)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Grand Central Publishing)

Plot Summary: Amid an anxiety-filled time in his life, Glynn joins a Montauk share house for the summer and finds friendship and love for a man.

My Thoughts: You might expect a memoir about a Hamptons share to be 100% debauchery (think Bravo’s Summer House) and Out East certainly contained a lot of that, but it’s one of the most heartfelt and emotional memoirs I’ve ever read about friendship and love. Glynn perfectly captures that unsettled feeling you can get in your mid-twenties when your friends are at very different stages of life (some are single, some are getting married, some are having kids, and some haven’t found their calling while others have). And, he nails the camaraderie a share house can bring, filling a void of loneliness common during that moving from college to early adulthood. Unlike many other LGBTQ memoirs, Glynn didn’t always know he was gay…he always felt he just hadn’t found love yet, but that he was interested in women. Until he met the one man who would change all that. This background added another level of poignancy to Glynn’s struggle to come out. If things didn’t work out with the man he fell in love with, would he ever be able to date women again? Would he even want to? Was he gay or bi-sexual? Did that even matter? By the end of the book, I was frantically turning the pages late into the night dying to find out what would happen with John and the man he fell in love with. And, after finishing, I immediately stalked his Instagram for pictures of the entire endearing cast of characters and clues to his current relationship status. PS – John was an Editorial Assistant at Scribner and Out East is peppered with book mentions (plus, we have similar reading taste!).

As I grew older, I assumed those days were behind me – the carefree intimacy of profusion. The sense of living life as a group. But the Hive, by definition, was communal. We existed as one unit, for better or worse.

The DNF’s

Furious Hours by Casey CepFurious Hours by Casey Cep (May 7, Knopf)
DNF at 14%
I’m so sad about this particular DNF. True crime about Harper Lee trying to write an In Cold Blood style book about an Alabama minister who was killing his family for insurance money sounds fascinating. But, the writing was dry and there were numerous long, historical background tangents that were boring and, in my opinion, unnecessary.


The Farm by Joanne RamosThe Farm by Joanne Ramos (May 7, 2019)
DNF at 32%
The Farm was fine (I’m guessing it would’ve been a 3 star book) and I probably would’ve kept reading at any other time of year, but right now I’m laser-focused on great books for my 2019 Summer Reading Guide (coming on Tuesday!), so I’m quick to DNF. Regardless, I didn’t care much what happened to the characters.


Night Before by Wendy WalkerThe Night Before by Wendy Walker (May 14, 2019)
DNF at 28%
I loved Wendy Walker’s last thriller, Emma in the Night (it’s the only thriller other than Gone Girl I’ve ever rated 5 stars), but this one just wasn’t doing anything for me. And, the writing wasn’t as good as I remember it being in Emma either.



What’s the best book you’ve read so far this month?

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May 2019 Books to Read


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  1. I’m at the 25% make in Ask Again, Yes and can’t wait to get home from work later today so I can get back to it.

    I keep forgetting about Our East, but need to add it to my summer audiobook list. Did you listen or read?

    Posted 5.14.19 Reply
  2. Susan wrote:

    I’m glad to read that you really loved Ask Again since I already have it on my request list from my library. I like a interesting memoir and hadn’t heard of Out East will have to see if my library has it.
    I appreciate your honest reviews and like when you explain why you were bored with a book. I think I will take a hard pass on all the books you DNF’d, and consider myself forewarned. Life is too short to read books your not enjoying for sure!

    Posted 5.14.19 Reply
  3. “Fine” says all I need to know about the Farm

    Posted 5.14.19 Reply
  4. Claire wrote:

    I keep hearing about Ask Again Yes! Will add Emma in the Night to my thriller list.

    Posted 5.15.19 Reply
  5. Ask Again, Yes is going on my TBR list. And Out East was already there, but I’m tempted to get to it sooner. Thanks for the reviews!

    Posted 5.15.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      2 excellent picks!

      Posted 5.24.19 Reply
  6. I am adding Ask Again, Yes to my TBR!

    Posted 5.15.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Good! I loved it!

      Posted 5.24.19 Reply
  7. Bummed you didn’t like The Farm! I’ve heard good things. I’m learning more and more to quit books I’m not into, definitely.

    Posted 5.15.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Good for you! Too many great books out there and too little reading time to get mired down in stuff that’s not working for you.

      Posted 5.24.19 Reply
  8. Mel wrote:

    Added Ask Again, Yes and Out East to my TBR! And thanks for the warning about The Furious Hours–I’m so burned out from ridiculous thrillers (Sometimes I Lie and The Silent Wife ugh) that now I only read a thriller if you recommend it first!

    Posted 5.15.19 Reply
  9. Catherine wrote:

    I’m so glad I read this! I am slogging through Furious Hours and it is SO dry. I’m almost 40% in and we’re still doing backstory on the history of the South (I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much). I am DNFing right now.

    Posted 5.19.19 Reply
  10. Wendy wrote:

    The problem with The Farm was they marketed as a dystopian novel about women and conception plans and really it was about immigration and The Farm was an add on that was not that interesting.

    Posted 5.21.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Yeah – I didn’t feel like it was particularly dystopian and I was kind of bored. Just didn’t care that much about the characters. It wasn’t awful, but wasn’t really grabbing me either.

      Posted 5.24.19 Reply
  11. Diane R. wrote:

    It’s nice to find a blog that not only has recommendations but suggests books to avoid too! I have seen so many TBR lists with The Farm on it and I am now happy to say I am going to take it off my list. Thanks for your honesty! I recently finished a great book by MC Fox called “Countdown America.” It’s a fast-paced thriller with a really bad ass female lead. It’s different from your typical espionage action book too because it not only focuses on her work as a CIA agent but it focuses on the importance of her family too. She is a single mother of two and even though she tries to take on a job that should be safer (Chief Supervisor of the CIA) she finds herself targeted, and her children. I think it’s great to read about a strong woman taking charge in such an action-packed story. It kept me at the edge of my seat from start to finish. Hope you will check it out! Would love to hear your honest review

    Posted 5.21.19 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Thank you so much! I’ve always felt it’s important to talk about the books I don’t like (even the ones I don’t finish) as well as the books I do because it benefits readers. There are definitely multiple camps on this in the book blogging community, but I’m firmly in the “I do talk about books I don’t like” camp!

      Posted 5.21.19 Reply
  12. Sorry to hear Furious Hours and The Night Before didn’t work for you! I finished Furious Hours, but didn’t enjoy it as much as expected – too few answers, too little true crime. I’d still like to get to The Night Before, since I also enjoyed Emma in the Night, but I’ll try to keep my expectations low.

    Posted 6.2.19 Reply

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