I had a summer reading achievement in May, the last month of the super hot weather days in the Philippines. I was able to read and finish three books! With my always-on-the-go schedule back these days, I hardly have time to sit still and just read so I consider finishing three books in a month a real achievement! The last time I was able to read so many books was in June of last year.

It may no longer be summer in the Philippines but it is summer in other parts of the world so in case you’re looking for summer reading recommendations, read on for a short review of the books I read in May.

Summer Reading Book One: A Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

I got this book as a gift last Christmas from a friend. It was one of my Christmas gifts wish list.

I read Tuesdays with Morrie back in College. Ever since then, Mitch Albom has become one of my favorite authors to read. His books may or may not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to summer reading recommendations or a recommended read in general. His books are all about life and faith and they will have you reflecting.

That’s certainly what The Stranger in the Lifeboat had me doing. The story is about survivors of a sunken boat, most of whom are prominent and rich people. They were all on a lifeboat, in the middle of the ocean, hoping to be found and rescued. There they meet and rescue a young man who claims he is God. He tells them that to be rescued, all they need to do is to believe that he is who he says he is. While reading this, I was reminded of a couple of Bible verses. In the New Testament, Jesus calms the storm and Jesus walks on the water, the apostles’ faith in Jesus was tested in Jesus. Would I believe a stranger who says he is God?

A Stranger in a Lifeboat was another masterpiece of Mitch Albom. The characters in this book certainly feel like they can be someone you know in real life. I love how Albom introduced me, the reader, to each character as he fleshed out their backstories in the chapters. I was definitely intrigued by the stranger. At every turn of the page, my curiosity built up. There’s also a well-written plot twist here that I did not see coming. Overall, I’d say it’s a very uplifting story and I highly recommend it.

Summer Reading Book Two: Roses are Red by James Patterson

Those who follow me on my Bookstagram or have been readers of this blog for some time, know that James Patterson is also one of my favorite authors. Roses are Red is one of the books I bought from Big Bad Wolf Books sale a few years back. It is another one of his Alex Cross’ novels.

In this crime fiction, Alex Cross has to solve a series of robbery and murder crimes. The villain is called the Mastermind and he’s such a smart one that even the FBI are having a hard time figuring out who he is.

From the Alex Cross novels I’ve read so far, I’d say the stories are not all good. Some plots are predictable which doesn’t make for a good reading. Where does Roses are Red fall for me? This one is a thrilling read. Everytime I had to put it down, I’d find myself itching to get back to reading so I could find out what happens next. I think the Mastermind was a great villain and the overall story for me was intriguing. Looking forward to reading the sequel to this, Violets are Blue. Two thumbs up for this particular book.

Summer Reading Book Three: Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty

And finally, for the third and final book in my summer reading, Megan McCafferty’s Perfect Fifths. It’s the last installment of the Jessica Darling series.

It’s five years later after Jessica and Marcus’ breakup. They meet again at the airport when Marcus hears Jessica’s name being called on the PA system. She’s running late for her flight to go to her best friends, Bridget and Percy’s wedding. Marcus and Jessica are now both in their late twenties and they’ve grown up a lot. Jessica misses her flight. Marcus gets accosted by the airport security. That’s how and where they reconnected.

In this blog, I shared that I struggled to finish Fourth Comings. I thought the writing had gone bad, especially how the characters’ dialogues were written. It was also a boring story. I had hoped that McCafferty would redeem herself with Perfect Fifths. Unfortunately not.

This book was also boring! It was worse than Fourth Comings. The supporting characters I’ve known and liked from the first four were gone. There was also a subplot about a character named Sunny Daze that I thought did not matter to the story.

The main characters talked a lot in the book. But they were mostly surface-level conversations that were almost borderline gibberish. Unlike in the first three, I didn’t feel the love connection between the two characters in this story. It didn’t feel like Jessica and Marcus’ love story was one a reader like me would root for.

Other readers of the Jessica Darling series thought McCafferty should have ended by Fourth Comings. They were okay to end it with Jessica turning down Marcus’ marriage proposal. I wanted a happy ending for the two. But Perfect Fifths failed to bring out the romance that would have wrapped up their love story nicely.