May Reading (and Listening)

Is is already June??  I suppose it should be clear to me that summer has arrived since the local roses look like this:

Last month was a good month for reading (and audiobook listening).  I made it through 5 books, most of which I found entertaining.  I think the warmer weather is reflected in what I'm gravitating towards.  Right now, I'm enjoying lighter, plot-driven books to keep me company as I do gardening and housework.  Without further ado, here they are!

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy
Although this book may have been more appropriate for winter months, I loved the fairy-tale nature quality of this tale about an old, childless couple in the Alaskan wilderness who seem to create a young girl out of snow and longing.  Even a few weeks after finishing the book, I find myself thinking about the characters and haunting story.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I haven't read a lot of Neil Gaiman so I'm not sure how this compares to his other books.  I'm also not sure about how I feel about it.  On one hand, it was a lovely peek into a child's world, albeit a child's world filled with supernatural characters and adventure.  On the other hand, the story seemed abrupt (maybe because it's only 181 pages?) and I found the way it was framed to be a bit lazy.  On the other other hand, it had some really great quotes, like this one:

So, if you're already a Neil Gaiman fan, I'd say give it a try.  If you're a novice like me, maybe try a different one of his books to get acquainted with.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
I picked this one up thinking that it would have actionable information to help me kickstart a new creativity habit.  Alas, it was more a collection of mini-biographies on a wide selection of well-known artists and thinkers with emphasis on their daily routines.  The "chapters" were usually only a couple of pages long, making it nice for bite-sized reading, but the whole premise got pretty boring about halfway through and eventually I just gave up.  I think the book grew out of blog that the author started several years ago and I feel like maybe it should have just stayed in blog form.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
This was by far my favorite book of the month.  I don't read a lot of Y.A. but Rachel Hartman has convinced me that I need to delve into this genre more.  The title character is utterly relatable even though she is half-human and half-dragon in a fictional world where the two species have come to a longstanding though uneasy truce.  This book is the first in a series and you can bet I will be reading more!

Help for the Haunted by John Searles
The beginning (and middle) of this book had a lot of promise.  A murder, family secrets, and, yes, a creepy doll, and sucked me in and made me want to know more.  The last 20% or so, though, was troubling in that completely new characters were introduced and the continuity of the story seemed to break.  This book was pleasant enough to pass the time but not something I'd recommend to you.

Please tell me: Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? If not, what was your best book of the month?