The BFR Round Up May 2021

A home library with a yellow ceiling and a picture gallery along one wall

I don’t know about anyone else, but my routine has gone out of the window these last few months. A combination of changing lockdown patterns and work have turned whatever semblance of order I had in my life upside down.

I’m in awe of people who manage to hold down jobs, blog weekly, post on IG regularly, read 2 books a week and look after families. I’ve managed to do a bit of nipping and tucking behind the blog scenes though – updating old posts and resizing photos which needed doing. Can’t wait to be writing new stuff again though!

The one entry I always want to write, although far from being my most popular, is our monthly reading round up. I’m rubbish on Goodreads so this is where I keep our records. Here’s May’s retrospective:


After a fantastic reading roll, I hit the skids in mid-May with a couple of meh reads. Best book was Parable of the Sower, which despite being a totally bleak near-future novel with practically no plot, at least had some prescient social commentary.

The Betrayals was my first DNF of the year. On paper, it looked perfect for me, but I just couldn’t get into it. The players were pretty flat and the story was too close to her earlier novel, The Binding, yet without a compelling goal or magical system.

I finished the Moorcock (just). Although it had an interesting premise (man time travels back to the time of Jesus and finds out that the messiah is unable to achieve his purpose), the main character was a disappointment – too self-pitying and warped. Perhaps this was Moorcock’s intention, but the lack of emotional depth undermined the potential of the story.

Phillipa Perry’s audiobook saved the day at the end. A sound reflection on bringing up kids and working on your own behaviours. I’m planning to write a review on this soon.

5 books read – taking my yearly total to 34/80, which means I need to read 6 books in June to stay on track.

  • salt slow by Julia Armfield (4/5)
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E.Butler (4/5)
  • Chocky by John Wyndham (4/5)
  • The Betrayals by Bridget Collins (DNF)
  • Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock (3.5/5)
  • The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Phillipa Perry – Audiobook (4.5/5)


Al wasn’t impressed by his choices this month (he warned me about the Moorcock). He’s been picking these novels up in secondhand bookshops – mainly because they’re short and also because he can pass them on if he doesn’t like them! Needless to say these are both going on the charity donation pile.

Books Read

  • Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock (2.5/5)
  • Seize the Day by Saul Bellow (2.5/5)

Little M

Little M slowed down her reading for the last installment of the Scarlet and Ivy series, which has been a complete hit. Carrying on the boarding school mystery theme, she’s moved onto Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. First impressions are that it doesn’t have the spooky atmosphere that M prefers so I’m not sure whether she’ll continue with this series afterwards. We’re now keeping our eye out for soft MG horror of the same ilk.

Books Read

  • Scarlet and Ivy: The Last Secret by Sophie Cleverly (5/5)
  • Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (ongoing)

Film and TV

We dipped out of film and TV in May after binging on The Mandalorian and Shadow and Bone in April. Feeling quite excited about The Magicians though so will check that out.

Days Out

We really ramped up going out with visits to Picture Book bookshop in Leek, Thornbridge Hall, Rudyard Lake and Haddon Hall Mercatum – rounding off with a mad day trip to York on the bank holiday (not advisable folks!). Despite the crowds, we had an excellent time in the city though and really enjoyed going to York Ghost Merchants. Basically we’ve called this a recce and will be going back in the Autumn with a proper plan. It’s an awesome place for booklovers.

Somehow, we also managed to get a few well-overdue jobs done at home including creating a gallery wall in our home library (see image at top). It was surprisingly easy and finishes off the room nicely – blog post coming soon.

Have a lush June filled with shady reading nooks, picnics and lazy Sundays.

Mel, Al & Little M


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  1. June 15, 2021 / 7:59 am

    I watched the first episode of Shadow and Bone, but just wasn’t feeling it as much as I was the book. Should I stick with it? I just started watching The Magicians and just finished episode 3 and love it so far. Loving the book recommendations, my little one has Scarlett & Ivy on her tbr pile. She’s reading Jaz Santos Saves the World just now. xxx

    • thebookfamilyrogerson
      June 21, 2021 / 1:06 pm

      Hi Susan! Shadow and Bone improves over time (I agree that the first few episodes take a while to get going). I found the main characters a little bland, but really liked the supporting cast.

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