I had a pretty great reading month in May – my best this year, in fact – and read some pretty excellent books. I also read some not-so-great books, but that happens too. One of my big goals for May was to start catching up with all of the past sub-box books that have been sitting on my shelves. For the last 3 years I have subscribed to 2 book boxes each month (FairyLoot and OwlCrate) on the self-made promise that I would read each month’s book before the following month’s box arrived. I diligently followed this rule right up until October of 2019 when I devoted my entire month to rereading the ToG series, followed by November where I read the entire Outlander series, and then it just snowballed from there.
In January 2019 I became a UnicornCrate rep, adding a THIRD book into my mix each month, and things got totally out of control for me. The worst of it was these were (mostly) all books that I REALLY wanted to read, but just could not seem to get myself to pick up. SO, I made myself a strict promise that after Finale released and I had finished that, I would focus my energies on finally reading my SubBox Backlist. I moved them all onto one shelf in my library, made a physical list which I put right in my book journal, and hunkered down. I will admit that I did sprinkle in a few other reads (namely eARCs I needed to review), but I stuck to my guns and chunked away a LOT of the books! As of today I am all caught up through the month of March and am now working on April and May! I also plan to immediately read my June books when they arrive, and hope to be back on track for reals by the end of the month!
To celebrate, lets do a quick run through of all 18 (yay!!!) of my reads for May 2019.
Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford – 5/5 Stars
This was a NetGalley eARC that I decided to knock out before starting my pre-Finale Caraval reread, and it was SO GOOD. Not only did I finish it in one day due to its unputdownable nature, but it was a total 5-Star. The world building was excellent and the characters perfect. Nor made a fabulous MC and Talin was a total cinnamon roll. Ceren was our villain and played the role spectacularly and with some serious Maven vibes. The book left off with a cliffhanger, so I can’t wait for the sequel! Sadly I will have to wait a good while, as Crown of Coral and Pearl doesn’t actually release until August 27th.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber – 4/5 Stars
I love this series, but Caraval is not my fave of the three. That being said, I still loved every minute and know I will be glad I did a reread when it comes time for Finale! I focused this time on the little details and also made note of the many great quotes to be found. Mostly it just made me more excited for my next read…
Legendary by Stephanie Garber – 5/5 Stars
Legendary is a prime example of the second book surpassing the first. Tella is hands down my favorite of the Dragna sisters and I absolutely love her. I also LOVE both Dante and Jacks, and the whole not-really-a-love-triangle between the three of them. This got me SUPER geared up for…
Finale by Stephanie Garber – 5/5 Stars
I cannot express enough just how amazing this ending was! The dual-POV with Tella and Scarlett was awesome, and I was surprised how much more I liked Scar in this book verses the others. Don’t get me wrong, Tella is still my number one girl, but Scar bumped up a notch. We got plenty of Julian and Dante and Jacks and I was here for that. This story had SO MANY twists and turns and magical moments and I am already ready for a reread! I may add these into the Audible line-up just to get them in again in 2019. Expect a full review soon!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JKR and narrated by Jim Dale – 5/5 Stars
Part of my 2019 reading goal is to listen to all of HP on audio, and this capped things off! My FAVORITE of the series, I relished every moment, spent one drive into work crying because of the Forbidden Forest scene, and ended things with a deep seated contentment. This series will never not make me happy.
DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff – 5/5 Stars
So I got approved for this eARC, freaked out, and immediately dropped all other reading plans so I could binge it. Jay is a total hero for including a “previously on…” in the beginning to remind us of the happenings in LIFEL1K3 (something every author should do) so I didn’t do a reread of book one. OHEMGEE this book was SO GOOD. We got so much more focus on LemonFresh, which I am ALL ABOUT, plus Zeke and Crikit! I laughed, I gasped, I got a little misty eyed but not too much, and I relished every page. SOOOOO GOOD. Expect a full review ASAP.
Tinfoil Crowns by Erin Jones – 3.5/5 Stars
Another NetGalley eARC that I needed to review, and one where the description was more interesting than the book. The concept was very unique and touched on some interesting issues, but the biggest letdown was that I just couldn’t get myself to like the MC, Fit. She was selfish and self-centered and threw several ACTUAL tantrums within the first few chapters. At age 17. I would LOVE a spinoff about her little brother Frankie, as he was waaaay more interesting and likable, but this book will not make the reread pile at all.
Something That Could Last by Ashley Cade – 3.5/5 Stars
Another NetGalley eARC with a low rating. Despite this getting the same rating as the last read, I actually liked it better (think of it as leaning towards a 4, where the other leaned towards a 3). The plot was well written, the characters great with a dual POV that paced well, BUT it was far too smutty for me. Long winded explicit descriptions and unrealistic dirty talk (do real people seriously think like that?!) are so not my jam. I just skimmed over those bits and enjoyed the rest. I would definitely recommend this to those who enjoy their books steamy.
Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop by Rebecca Raisin – 5/5 Stars
Yet another NetGalley eARC, this time an adult romance. A genre I read infrequently, I was pleasantly surprised by this fun little read! Rosie is full of flustered OCD, wit, humor, and a good dose of bravery. She is a wanderer at heart and it was a joy seeing her grow as the story progressed. Aria was a fab BFF and I super envy her mobile bookstore! This book combined so many of my favorite things – tea, books, baked goods, and vintage autos – and was just what I didn’t know I needed to read! I will definitely be checking out more from this author!
Realm by Alexandria Weis – 2/5 Stars
My most disappointing read of the month and tied for lowest rated of the year thus far. Honestly, if I hadn’t been asked to review this as part of a book tour, I would have DNF’d it. While I am happy to say that the book was clearly well researched (being historical fiction), the author kept using super anachronistic phrasing that pulled me right out of the story. I also found I had no real ties to the main characters (some of the background cast was better) and the pacing was strange. I hate giving poor reviews, but I was not a fan.
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto – 4.5/5 Stars
I really loved this book! A great pick-me-up after some disappointing reads of late, I found myself sucked right into this story. Veronyka and Tristin were awesome, Sev was interesting, and I loved the multiple POVs. The story was well written and I loved seeing Veronyka and Tristin grow, usually with help from the other. I also love the idea of giant epic awesome phoenixes! Where can I get one of those for myself? I am super excited because I actually got invited to join the Street Team for the sequel, Heart of Flames, and I am STOKED (pun intended)!!!!!
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing – 5/5 Stars
LOVED THIS! I actually did a full review of this recently, so I won’t ramble on, but know that it was one of my favorites this month and I can’t wait for the next in the series! Plus the cover is gorgeous!
Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith – 5/5 Stars
Another great read! I loved the world building in this book and also that it had some serious Remnant Chronicles vibes. Aurelia was a great main character and I loved her determination and drive to learn/use magic in a world that will burn her for it. The plot was fast paced and I came to love the whole cast. Zan needs more pages in the next book – maybe he will get a POV?! – and Nathaniel and Kate were so sweet and heartbreaking. This author was not pulling her punches! I can’t wait for the next book.
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, narrated by a full cast – 5/5 Stars
Aurora Rising was SO GOOD that I broke my cardinal rule by reading it twice in one calendar year. However I am saying it doesn’t count as cheating since this time I listened to it on audio! And, oh man, what a fabulous audiobook this was! Following the trend they set for the Illuminae Files, this was narrated by a full cast! A totally amazing and perfect full cast made up of lots of old faves!!! I hung on every word and fell more and more in love with the characters with every minute. SO GOOD. Also, feel free to check out the full review I did for the book back before it released.
Pride by Ibi Zoboi – 3/5 stars
I have to say that I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn’t for me. A bonus book in the October 2018 OwlCrate box, this Pride and Prejudice retelling seemed right up my alley, but I couldn’t get into it. Zuri was difficult for me to like and I had a hard time with the slang and how she would play that up as it suited her. It was VERY at odds with the beautiful poetry sprinkled throughout, and it almost felt like two different people, despite all being Zuri. The pacing of the story was a bit off, and everything sort of fell flat for me. A great book for some, no doubt, but just not the book for me.
To Best the Boys by Mary Weber – 4/5 Stars
I enjoyed this very much! Rhen was a great MC and I loved her relationship with her BFFL/Cousin Seleni. Their friendship was epic and awesome and really made the book for me. Lute made the perfect love interest and he wasn’t out to change Rhen at all, which made him even MORE perfect for her. Beryll was also just the right match for Seleni and was so awkwardly adorable. The book had some Caraval vibes – although less dark – and the Labyrinth was very intriguing; I only wish we had seen more of it! Clocking in at just over 300 pages I would have been happy with another 100 on top of that! Still, excellent and worth the read!
Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan – 4.5/5 Stars
A great read! I loved the story and ALL of the characters, despite their impossible-to-pronounce names. 😉 Nadya was fierce and brave and took what she wanted while still walking a morally good line. Malachiasz was the dark broody villain that everyone claims The Darkling to be (I never saw it) and I ship he and Nadya SO MUCH. The magic system was unique and I loved it. Serefin, the High Prince, has the potential to be my favorite character so I look forward to seeing where his story goes in book two. The ending was totally unexpected and left me ready for more!
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy – 4/5 Stars
I have been seeing this book floating around for years and figured I would someday check it out. Then the eBook came up for sale and I knew now was the time. I was not disappointed in what I found! This book was full of adventure, mystery, magic, and a healthy dose of humor. Stephanie is a fun MC that seemed far wiser than her 12 years would suggest, and Skulduggery was worthy of having the book named after him. This series has like 12 books in it now and I will certainly be exploring them in the future.
And with that we reach the end of my May reading month! I have high hopes for June and can’t wait to share that with you too. What was your top read for May? Share in the comments below!