May Reading Round-Up
May was an ... interesting... month for me. I feel like my emotions and energy level has been all over the place lately. But, that's the great things about books, right? Nothing like the lives of fictional characters to distract you from your own life.
Am I right?
Let's get to it then.
Some notes on how I do wrap ups: I rate books on a 1-5 star scale. (1= worst book ever why did I read this?; 2= did not enjoy; 3= this was good!; 4= I really liked it! 5= OMG LOVED THIS IT'S THE BEST EVER!) For the most part, you're going to see 3-5 star ratings from me and not a lot of negative simply because if I don't like a book, I'm not going to finish it.
A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses 3.1) by Sarah J Maas
- Genre: New Adult Fantasy Novella
- Format: Hardcover
- Rating: 3.5 stars
- Plot Summary: Everyone in Pyrithian is preparing for the winter solstice.
Being the Sarah J Maas fangirl that I am, it's probably no surprise that this was a highly anticipated book for me. ACOFAS serves as a transition between the ACOTAR trilogy and the upcoming books set in this world.
If you want a novella filled with adventure, plot twists, and a lot of things going on... you're not going to like ACOFAS. Simply stated, there really isn't much of a plot whatsoever. However, if you want to pop in and check up on your favorite characters to see how they're doing after the events of ACOWAR with a side of holiday fun ... you'll like this novella. It's as simple as that.
Personally, I think this novella fulfilled what it needed to. Is it her best work? No. But, I'm glad she wrote it because we can fill in the gaps between the books and see where everyone is and we can just jump right in when the next full length book comes out Although, there might be other novellas on the way as well? I'm not entirely sure how it's all going down and when what is being released.
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: the other ACOTAR books, holiday stories, romance, sexy times, found family, squad goals, fantasy, fae
- Trigger Warnings: PTSD, memories of war, depression, aftermath of abusive relationships
Fortune's Flower (Passport to Romance #1) by Anetha Lawson
- Genre: Historical Romance
- Format: ebook
- Rating: 4 stars
- Plot Summary: Artist Lily agrees to one last adventure before bending to her parents wishes of marrying.
I decided to tackle this book next because of how much I enjoyed Lawson's novellas in December. This was a complete delight - and I think it featured one of my favorite heroes thus far. (He's like a 19th century Indiana Jones! How could you not love that?)
The flirting and banter was so cute and fun. There's something about historical romance flirting that I sometimes prefer over the contemporary romances. Since the culture is so much more "proper" than ours, they had to be a tad more clever in how they flirted and I love seeing how they can play with words.
There was travel, adventure, and scheming plot twisting villains! With historical romance I've been reading hate-to-love stories a lot lately, and this was more of a forbidden love because of the class system which was a nice change. Definitely want to read her other books!
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: class difference trope, travel adventures, historical romance, Indiana Jones
- Trigger Warnings: assault
Every Which Way but Dead (The Hallows #3) by Kim Harrison
- Genre: Urban Fantasy
- Format: Mass Market Paperback
- Rating: 4.5 stars
- Plot Summary: Rachel deals with the aftermath of working with demons and putting away Cincinatti's big bad.
I don't know why it takes me so long to continue on with this urban fantasy series because it is just SO SO GOOD. The Hallows series has some of the best characters (Jenks!) and I love how I can see these different relationships bonding and changing and growing while being challenged as well. It's one of the huge draws for me. I want to keep reading the books because I want to see the friendships and romantic relationships equally. Even the relationships with the villains are FASCINATING.
The plot and world building are fantastic as well - don't get me wrong. Those pull me in so much and I want to see what happens next! I wish I could say more but you know... spoilers for the first two books.
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: bi-sexual rep, vampires, witches, fae, urban fantasy, demons
- Trigger Warnings: torture, emotional and physical abuse, blood, explosions, near drowning
The Plastic Magician (The Paper Magician #4 - Spin Off) by Charlie N Holmberg
- Genre: New Adult Fantasy
- Format: ebook
- Rating: 4 stars
- Plot Summary: Alvie begins her apprenticeship as a Polymaker Magician and helps create a new invention.
This was another highly anticipated release for me. I LOVED the Paper Magician trilogy and was ridiculously excited when I heard she was writing a spin-off book.
You do not need to read the Paper Magician trilogy to read this book. They take place in the same world, and you may have some great appreciation or understanding of some elements of this book if you have, but it's not needed to understand the story and she does a great job of explaining the world and magic system.
It had a very different plot than The Paper Magician, which I liked. In a sense the stakes weren't quite as high, or at least not as you normally would see in fantasy. But it felt so realistic and a story which could happen to anyone. Just with magic. Which was so great!
I loved the new characters and we did get a cameo from some old favorites which made me very happy. AND we had some disability rep and conversation which was so awesome! On top of that, our heroine was super nerdy and loved math, engineering, and knew how to work cars - while in the early 1900s! How great is that?
I breezed through this book and I hope we get even more!
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: The Paper Magician trilogy, magic, historical fantasy, books in the UK, disability rep, innocent/clean romance, women in STEM
- Trigger Warnings: amputation
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J Maas - Re Read
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Format: Hardcover
- Rating: 4 Stars
- Plot Summary: Celeana begins her work a the king's champion.
I'm still going through my re-read of the Throne of Glass series before the final book is released in October. I'll admit, I didn't pay as close attention as I did the others. But, I've read the early books so many times I figured it was okay. It made me super excited to get to the later books which I haven't read as much though.
As I've said with Throne of Glass and The Assassin's Blade, it's a lot of fun to go back and see all of the pieces Maas was putting together all the way at the start. So many details I didn't notice or didn't think were important have all new meaning. The best part though is knowing more about the character arcs. I see more now of how she was building the characters, why certain people don't end up together, why one character had to do a specific thing, etc. Since I know more of where it's headed, it all makes so much more sense.
If you are reading the Throne of Glass series for the first time, this is the order I recommend reading them in:
- Throne of Glass
- Crown of Midnight
- Assassin's Blade
- Heir of Fire
- Queen of Shadows
- Empire of Storms
- Tower of Dawn
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: the other Throne of Glass books, high fantasy, fae, young adult, romance, friendships, assassins
- Trigger Warnings: brutal murders, allude to sexual and physical abuse, beheading, loss of loved ones
The Queen's Rising (The Queen's Rising #1) by Rebecca Ross
- Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
- Format: Library Hardcover
- Rating: 5 stars
- Plot Summary: Brienna finishes her training in the Passions, but her path doesn't lead where she expect.s
Pardon me while I fan girl flail a bit.
My friend Trina from BookTube told me to read this book so she would have someone to fan girl with, and now I'm asking the same of you. This was such a wonderful surprise of a book!
It has a lot of your "typical" fantasy tropes. Magic school! Lost princess! Prophecy! Visions! Abandoned by a parent!! But.... ahhhhhhhh I loved what Rebecca Ross did with them. The main character was so relateable and was one of those strong women, but that didn't mean she went around killing everyone either. She had a great balance of trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted while still having agency and making her own choices. The found family element was one of my favorites too!
I was pretty wary of one romance plot line because it did involve a teacher and a student - but I think she handled it well. Nothing happened between them until after they were no longer teacher/student.
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: fantasy, lost princesses, magic schools, slow romance, squad goals, found family, coming of age
- Trigger Warnings: loss of parents, violence, war
Second Position (District Ballet Company #1) by Katherine Locke
- Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance
- Format: ebook
- Rating: 4 stars
- Plot Summary: A prima ballerina and her ex reunite four years after a car crash which changed their lives forever.
This book was not quite what I expected. It was very good! But much more intense than I anticipated. Which... I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. It's about two ballet dancers who were in a car accident and reunite four years later. But, being considered a contemporary romance, I was still expecting it to be somewhat light-hearted. (Don't worry, there's still a HEA!) I was simply anticipating more of a Center Stage or Step Up story.
Second Position was packed with issues the characters were dealing with. From what I could tell, they were all handled very well. Granted, I don't know anything about most of these issues. (They're all listed below in the trigger warnings.) Even the disability rep I can't say a whole lot on because it was about amputation which is not something I've experienced.
Although, the one thing about the advisability rep that I really connected to was talking about how you can't always rely on your body and depend on it the way others can. That's something I have a hard time expressing to people who ask me about why my disability is such a big deal, and it was awesome to have it in this book so I could be like "Yes! That's what I'm talking about!"
I definitely enjoyed this book and was rooting for the characters the whole time. I liked how hard they had to work at the relationship. It made it feel very realistic.
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: reading about mental health in relationships, disability rep, dancers, serious contemporary romance
- Trigger Warnings: depression, amputation, car crash, negligent parents, eating disorders, anxiety, PTSD, miscarriage, suicidal thoughts, alcholoism
Dirty Little Secret (On Goodreads as My Strongest Weakness) by Brighton Walsh
- Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance Novella
- Format: ebook
- Rating: 3 stars
- Plot Summary: A college football star and a punk rock film maker have a secret relationship.
After Second Position, as much as I liked it, I needed something light and fluffy. Especially since I also was reading Crown of Midnight and that book has some emotionally intense moments too.
Brighton Walsh is always exactly what's needed when this happens!
This novella was super easy to get through and a lot of fun. It was odd because it talked a lot about cliques and social groups in college, but it felt a bit too much like high school for me. But, the couple was sexy and cute and that's what ultimately matters. Particularly when it's such a short novella.
And yes, I did have the song "Dirty Little Secret" by All-American Rejects stuck in my head the entire time I was reading.
- You'll like this book if you also enjoy: novellas, opposites attract romance, secret romance, 1990s, college settings, punk rock girls, athletic guys
- Trigger Warnings: loneliness, peer pressure
Head On (Lock-In #2 - stand alone follow up) by John Scalzi
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Format: Library Hardcover
- Plot Summary: A famous athlete with Hayden's Syndrome suddenly dies in the middle of a pre-season game.
I read Lock-In last year and while it wasn't my favorite, it was good and I liked the exploration of disability in a futuristic (but not too futuristic) world with a fictional syndrome. So, I was curious about the sequel. When I saw it sitting on the new arrivals shelf at the library, I thought I'd pick it up.
While it is a sequel/follow-up to the first book, you can read it on it's own.
I haven't gotten very far yet, but it's interesting. The opening was a bit boring because it was this "sports article" talking about the game and the athlete. I could have skipped that and gone right into chapter one. Beyond that, so far so good.
What did you all read in May? Have you read any of these books? Have any recs for what should be on my June TBR?
Also, I’m hosting a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card on my Instagram! https://instagram.com/p/BjVgfXTlxtL/
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