Looking at this list, I read a lot more than I thought I did.
Overall, it was a pretty decent reading month – definitely found some new favorites that should be on everyone’s TBR. But there were also quite a few disappointments – some more than others. Definitely some of my most anticipated reads didn’t meet my expectations, and others the story just fell incredibly flat. There were even some that I ended up DNF-ing because it wasn’t worth trying to force myself to read them.
I’m not upset with how May went – I truly did read some amazing books and I can’t wait to throw them at all my friends. Like in past months, most of these were audiobooks – thank god for them. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would read. And thank god for shorter/novella length books. they’re such a refreshing change of pace from long fantasy/NA reads. They’re perfect for those evenings where work has wiped me, but I still want to read.
But let’s check out what I read in May!
Fallen Academy: Year Three (Fallen Academy #3) – Leia Stone
“[…] Brielle is just unbelievable – and not in a good way. I just didn’t buy into anything she is selling. Not to mention, the time jumps. Again, with the time jumps. Everything happens so quickly, but timeline wise – months have passed. But it never feels like months have passed – Brielle never feels beaten down, hope is lost, I’m going to give in, because what’s the point.
I don’t know, I just expect more.
I’m just seriously let down by this book. Of all the emotional turmoil she could have gone through, it was really mild and unbelievable. I mean, it’s a battle between good and evil, light, and dark, Heaven and Hell, and Brielle legit always comes out unscathed. I don’t buy it.”
Fallen Academy: Year Three and a Half (Fallen Academy #3.5) – Leia Stone
“[…] I want to see them suffering. Okay, that sounded diabolical, but I’m a sucker for emotionally vulnerable male MC’s and I feel like we really only experience the trauma through the female’s POV. The male MC is usually left to react after the girl gets rescued/freed.
So, I was really hoping that this would be better than book 3.
Nope. Not really.
Once again, the damn time jumps. The lack of emotional weights. Panic and drama spur Lincoln along, but I don’t really feel for him. I get that we’re supposed to, that we’re supposed to care that he’s self-destructing and spiraling and needs help, but it just felt ingenuine.”
Fallen Academy: Year Four (Fallen Academy #4) – Leia Stone
“[…] I don’t know what happened with the last 2.5 books in this series, but they were major let downs.
This final book has like, 3 “final” showdowns, and each one feels like the end of the book, there’s about to be a winner in this battle, and then Lucifer slips away.
It was annoying. I’d think this was it, Lucifer is about to be toast, and then there would be at least another hour.
Needless to say, I lost patience quickly.
I also found Brielle and Lincoln’s relationship annoying as hell. He was moody, overly possessive and just not charming. She was equally as bad, engaging with his bad behavior (which, okay, is a trauma response) with “oh, he just loves me / I love when he’s like that”.”
The Rose Kiss: Beauty and the Beast Retold (Fairy Tale Love Stories #1) – Esme Rome
“[…] Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what happened in this book.
It honestly started off strong. I was pleasantly surprised with how vivid and engaging the start of this book is. The way it open is an instant hook and it made me think that this was going to take the typical BATB format, and really turn it into something new.
And I think that was the goal. But in doing so, in adding so much extra stuff, and switching around the plot, it became confusing.
I know I was confused.
I finished the book and just sat there trying to process what I’d just read, and I was coming up blank. Where there needed to be detail and description there wasn’t, and when it was mundane stuff, it was overly detailed. It kind of felt like maybe the author took all her favorite parts of various BATB stories and tried to mash them into one.”
Blade of Secrets (Bladesmith #1) – Tricia Levenseller
“[…] When I say “go buy this book” I mean it. Like, do it right now. If it throws you into a slump – sorry, not sorry. If you’ve read this book and need to chat, hit me up. I want to wipe this book from my mind so I can experience it for the first time over again. I want to fall in love with the characters for the first time all over again.
I loved Ziva. So much. She’s honestly so relatable. While I don’t have social anxiety to her degree, I can understand not feeling comfortable around people, needing to be alone, to prepare. I get it. I thought the way Tricia portrays it was spot on.”
Sunkissed – Kasie West
“[…] I was really excited for the whole summer camp setting, and while it was kind of a summer camp, it just felt more like a resort. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting something more stereotypical summer camp.
I also really didn’t like the MC and the love interest. I didn’t think they had chemistry. Their banter was cute but lacking any emotion. Like, Kasie West got the dialogue perfectly, and if I’d bought into the relationship, I would have been absolute trash. But because I didn’t enjoy their relationship or believe it, it all just kind of fell flat. And that outside of the stupid fucking choices he makes at the end of this book.”
Devilish Mate (Claimed by Lucifer #2) – Elizabeth Briggs
“[…] Hannah was a bit annoying to be honest, and once things come to light and start to make sense for her – her personality basically flips. In light of how the first book ends, you’d think that there would be a lot of tension and anger between her and Lucifer. There is some, but Lucifer was demanding and controlling as fuck in this book. And not in any sort of sexy way. He was just “you’re mine” – caveman style. He didn’t feel sinfully, dark and sexy, but just kind of like an asshole.
I wanted more from Hannah. She just really didn’t do anything for me. Certain things make sense to her now, and the bonds she feels/forms with specific characters just felt weird, anticlimactic?”
Unwritten (The Zweeshen Chronicles #1) – Alicia J. Novo
“[…] I didn’t connect with the MC, and I lowkey missed the inclusion of magic. I thought this was going to be a book about a girl who gets sucked into the realm of stories and gets to live out her favorite ones. But the magic system and the world of Zweeshen just seems really convoluted and I didn’t understand it.
But my biggest complaint is the writing. While it’s descriptive and pretty, it’s also a bit tedious. There seems to be a lot of extra words – to paint a vivid picture – but sentences were just long and did nothing for me. The book was already struggling to keep me engaged and I just grew increasingly more bored.”
Realm Breaker (Realm Breaker #1) – Victoria Aveyard
“[…] My biggest complaint about this book, and why I think I just never really got invested was the prologue + lack of world building.
The prologue did nothing for me. At all. As a writer, I get why it was included, but as a reader, I was instantly disconnected from the story. It’s also too long, too descriptive and the majority of the characters do not matter. Like, at all. I couldn’t even tell you – apart from 2 characters – who was in that scene. Too much information and description was given, for like, no reason. And if you’ve read it, then you understand why I say that.
As for the world building, I felt utterly lost. I didn’t get the history, the lore…any of it. I just never connected. This book is full of sweeping, vivid descriptions that do make images come to mind, but I couldn’t tell you why I was supposed to care about the world or its inhabitants.”
Prom Theory – Ann LaBar
“[…] Watching Iris grow and change a bit in this book was really great and there were moments that were quite funny. This book does and doesn’t play out like I expected, and that made it all the best. There were definitely moments in this book that had me giving a play-by-play to my work bff because I needed to share what was happening, or if characters were acting dumb lol.
Iris’ relationship/friendship with Seth – I thought it was so good! There were quite a few moments that I just wanted to reach into the book and shake some sense into the two of them. They were both so wonderfully dumb at times and it was adorable and equally aggravating lol.
Iris’ whole experiment to prove that love is just chemistry was such fun added element. You know that it’s going to cause drama and hurt feelings, and that she’s totally going to fall into a trap of her own making. It’s fantastic.”
Muse (Muse #1) – Brittany Cavallaro
Audiobook Finished: May 13, 2021 / DNF @ 15% / GR
I was really looking forward to this – it’s been on my radar for a little over a year. So, when I saw that it had released and that the audiobook was out, I grabbed it immediately. I’m usually a sucker for alternate US history takes – I find them incredibly interesting.
This one was a miss for me. The idea that Washington would agree to become King…I just couldn’t buy it. And then there’s the whole “magic/not magic” element. It confused the crap out of me. I couldn’t figure out if magic existed in the world, or if the MC was supposed to have magic, but really didn’t. I just couldn’t get immersed in the story. I put it down with ever intention of picking it back up, and two weeks had passed, and all desire had vanished. I couldn’t even bring myself to attempt to start listening again.
Gutter Girl (Twin River High #1) – Lynn Rush & Kelly Anne Blount
“[…] I still thought this book was incredibly cute and fun and kind of felt like basking in the summer sun. it just makes you feel good. I really liked the characters and the journey’s they go through. They have their own burdens, secrets and just shit they have to deal with, all while navigating high school. The progress of their relationship happened pretty quickly and organically – it helped that they had a past – I just wish things had been drawn out a little bit long.
Legit, my only real complaint for this book is just how short and quick everything happens. Though, on the other hand, I loved that it was a quick short read.
So much happens in this book, and a lot of it happens in ways I didn’t expect. I kind of knew the vibe this book was going to give off, and it lived up to those expectations. But it also did more, and that’s fantastic.”
Thorn (Dauntless Path #1) – Intisar Khanani
“[…] Y’all, this book was surprising. I knew Sammy loved it, and I figured it was going to be good.
I just didn’t expect to nearly rage cry at work on behalf of Alyrra. The beginning of this book infuriated me.
Intisar hit the emotional weights per-fect-ly.
I have no other words.
Actually, I have a lot of words.
I hated everyone in Alyrra’s family, her court, her home. They all suck. Like, epically suck. The reason they hate her – stupid, petty, childish. Her brother is a fucking asshole. And as for how much the beginning literally had me shaking with rage at work, I loved it. I love when authors are so good at their craft, that they make me feel things so viscerally. I literally had to stop listening to the book for a good 30-40 minutes to calm down. I was vibrating with rage.
My co-workers thought it was hilarious that I was having such a reaction to a book, but I just wanted to hug Alyrra. The people in her life, prior to her journey, failed her. Thoroughly and epically failed her.”
Project Personality (Twin River High #2) – Lynn Rush & Kelly Anne Blount
“[…] I inhaled this in one sitting. I’m thoroughly enjoying these Twin River High books. They’re kind of giving me JLA Wait for You series vibe (minus the NA classification). I’m such a sucker for these kinds of cute contemporaries that don’t shy away from harder topics and trauma.
Hope and Landon are adorable and the way they navigate each other, how Landon was just on board to help her…it was great. Was it a little rushed? Yeah, but I was lost in the story, so I didn’t care that much. Hope was so adorable – I feel like I’m saying that word a lot – but this book was adorable! She really grew as a character and learned to stand up for herself. I loved that she brought out a better side in Landon, as he did her. They complimented each other very well.”
Between the Sea and Stars (Lena #1) – Chantal Gadoury
“[…] I loved that this is clearly inspired by The Little Mermaid, but also keeps them as predators. They’re not gentle creatures. I loved the darker edge to this book; it was so good.
And the characters! I loved them – well, 2 of them can go kick a bag of rocks and drown. Terrible, entitled, vile little shits. You know the Lord (or whatever tf he was) from Pocahontas – the Disney version – the one with the dog…yeah, there’s a character in this book that straight up reminded me of him. So just skeevy, treacherous and a dick.
Lena is such a good character. She inquisitive and fun and just wants to live her life the way she wants to. And when things take a turn for the worse, she makes do with a crap situation – she finds the light, a purpose. She makes friends, finds people she can trust, and despite it all, for the first time, she’s seemingly found what she’s always wanted. I loved her.
Jace…well, I had high hopes.
But Sorin Emil…phew. You put a cute, attentive, bookish guy in a book as a potential love interest, and I’m going to be sunk. Absolute trash. I loved him.”
Chaos Theory (Twin River High #3) – Lynn Rush & Kelly Anne Blount
“[…] I’ve really enjoyed the books in the Twin River High series, but omfg this was easily my favorite. I loved Victoria and Corey so much. They were just so cute together.
Like with the first two books, I do wish this book was longer, but I also loved that it was on the shorter side. But I do think some of the more emotional parts were glossed over a bit in favor of wrapping everything up quickly. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing, and I would gladly read many more books in this world, in this series. I just wanted a little bit more.
This book was full of such cute moments, and lowkey, I kind of reminded me of You’d Be Mine and that book is one of my favorites. I will most definitely be recommending this book to everyone – hell, the whole series. I thoroughly enjoyed this third book, read it in one sitting and fell for the characters.”
Last Chance Books – Kelsey Rodkey
“[…] This book fell so flat. I kept hoping it would get better. I kept hoping that I would fall for the MC – Madeline. I hoped I would fall for the Love Interest – Jasper. I’d hoped the book would’ve ended a different way, because what was the point?
None of these things happened.
I borderline hated Madeline. She was supposed to be mature, but she felt like a child trying to act like an adult. She was terrible to everyone. The only time I felt any kind of kinship with her, was towards the end, but otherwise, she’s not likeable.
Jasper was boring. His thing that sets him apart from other Male YA Love Interests felt like exactly that – just something to make him stand out. I don’t think it felt natural to his character. Just some personality quirk to make him different. But as a whole, he was just kind of bland.”
The Shadow in the Glass – J.J.A. Harwood
“[…] Jfc, this was honestly so boring. Ella was just such an annoying character. And the ending. The ending pissed me off, because it leaves so much up in the air.
Ella – our “Cinderella Character” is tedious, and honestly quite dumb. Her whole personality is “I was jilted out of becoming a lady” and it was obnoxious. I can understand how and why she might be upset, but she never finds a purpose outside of lament of what should have been. In Cinderella stories, you’re supposed to feel for the character, and I just wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up. And then there is the whole “Fairy Godmother” character *cough* not a Bippity Boppity Boo kind of Wish Granter *cough* and that whole mess. The mess of 7 wishes, and Ella going on and on about how they’re not worth the cost, and then makes them anyway. And then it’s a crisis on conscious. And this happens every single time. It’s beyond repetitive. And then she’s somehow the victim.”
Stolen Shadow Bride (Stolen Brides of the Fate #4) – S.M. Gaither
“[…] And that’s my only complaint about this book. That it’s short, I want more.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved that it was quick, sweet Fae Fantasy read that just let me transport away for a little while. But true to S.M. Gaither fashion, I feel head over heels for this book and the characters and would gladly read a full-length novel (or novels) about Sephia and Tarron. It was just really good, and cute and sweet. I loved that it just came to life in my mind – I had no trouble imagining things, visualizing the world.
Sephia and Tarron are fun – a little insta-love-y, but honestly, it didn’t bother me. I knew going in, things were going to progress very quickly due the length of this book. But S.M. Gaither handles their expedited love story really well, and you fall for them completely. The sass, the worry, the cooking breakfast in the kitchen scene…
I loved it.”
Crownchasers (Crownchasers #1) – Rebecca Coffindaffer
“[…] It was brilliant and the ending had me on the edge of my seat, feeling everything Alyssa was feeling.
And Alyssa – omfg.
Can we just take a minute to appreciate what a fantastic and realistic character she is? I don’t know if have the right words to express just how much I loved her. I think about her, her journey, and just her characterization and I get giddy warm fuzzies. She’s badass, a free spirit, wants to roam and do whatever. The stars and the far reaches of the galaxies call to her. She’s loyal as fuck, strong and caring. She feels everything with her entire being – even when she’s not trying to feel anything at all. She doesn’t try to fit the mold people force her into – instead, she does whatever she wants, and people either have to get on board, or get out of her way.
She’s brilliant, and if I ever write a character half as good as she is, I’ll have won.”
Grace and Glory (Harbinger #3) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
“[…] This book is going to throw me into a slump. Which is saying something, since I usually read JLA books to pull me from slumps. But I’m just sitting here wondering what to do now.
I’m honestly still reeling, so I have no idea how coherent this review will be. But oh my god I loved this book. It’s definitely bittersweet but Jen carries it out with a bang. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for this story. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now, with no more Zayne, Trinity, Roth or Layla. God, I love them so much. And lowkey, I loved Lucifer. He was so much fun and added a nice dose of chaos…not that they needed more chaos.”
Reclaimed (Shadow Beast Shifters #2) – Jaymin Eve
“[…] So much happens in this book, and it all works so well. Between character driven moments, action scenes and just all the drama and tension – it keeps you enthralled. Shadow and Mera are at the top of their games in this book. Their give and take, the sass and banter…the spice.
And there is spice. Shadow is…well let’s just say he’s not called the Shadow Beast for nothing.
I really shouldn’t have been listening to this while at work, but OH WELL.
I definitely didn’t see some of the bigger twists coming. And I definitely didn’t see the ending coming. I really need to pick up book 3 because that shit pissed me off but made me so excited for the next book. I have a hate/love relationship with the way Jaymin chose to end this book. The trope is one that is infinitely frustrating if you’re into whatever Ship is sailing, but as someone who loved turmoil for characters, it’s so much fun.”
Summer (Evermore Academy #3) – Audrey Grey
Audiobook Finished: May 26, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Review TK / GR
I *think* this is the last book in the Evermore Academy Series, and I’m kind of bummed. I love Audrey’s books, and this was such a fun series. The very ending left a bit to be desired, but everything leading up to it was enjoyable. Ruby definitely stole the show – she’s a mess, but at least she’s loyal. I feel like she and Tink from JLA’s Wicked Series would get along swimmingly. Summer’s journey from book 1 to this one is one hell of a ride, and she often showed everyone what she was capable of. This book spends a lot of time beating her down and subjecting her to humiliation. Normally I’m totally behind putting characters through hell, but this wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped.
There were some good redemption arcs that I didn’t see coming, and overall, it was a pretty decent ending.
Stolen Goblin Bride (Stolen Brides of the Fate #1) – Emma Hamm
“[…] This one kind of fell flat. Whereas S.M. Gaither’s book felt like a short fantasy romance, this one really just felt like a novella, leading up to Of Goblins and Gold. Which, okay, it is. But it didn’t feel like a standalone short story.
Honestly, I didn’t really care for Ester as a character. She did nothing for me. I was more invested in her sister and her brief encounter with the Goblin King. Ester’s journey of self-discovery just fell flat. She felt naïve and childish. The whole situation that led her to being a Stolen Goblin Bride was really anticlimactic. There was tension – but not the animosity, enemies to lovers type.”
For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1) – Hannah F. Whitten
“[…] For the Wolf is atmospheric, lush, dark and gritty. It completely enraptures you and keeps you turning the page. I binged half of it instead of sleeping. Work is going to suck in the morning. I’m going to need a massive dose of caffeine to get me through my day.
Hannah makes you fall for her characters so quickly. I was enamored with Eammon after Red’s first encounter with him. And I loved Red. She’s brave, fiercely loyal, and when she loves you, she loves with everything she has. She’s also stubborn as hell. The two of them together just bring out all the emotions. They have such fiery explosive moments, but also these incredibly touching ones. Eammon has been alone for so long, but so has Red – the two of them finding their way towards each other is such a good journey.”
What was your favorite book you read in May? Let me know in the comments!