Last month was a pretty good reading month. It was full of some really, truly fantastic reads, some mindless enjoyment, some re-reads and some not so good reads. All in all, I’m not complaining. I gave some books a chance – some were fantastic, others not so much. It happens. I’m not complaining. I’m glad I knocked some books off my TBR – some that I’d been meaning to read for month. I’m kind of glad I let BookTok convince me to dive into a certain series about Blue Aliens – a series a bunch of my male coworkers now know about…I have not known peace LOL
I’m also glad BookTok showed me the Inheritance of Hunger series, because, uh hello new favorite. And I’m judging BookTok over the Zodiac Academy series.
There were a couple of anticipated releases that just missed the mark, and some re-reads that still hold up after years of being out.
Honestly, I read some books that I’d been dying to, I read some that were new to me and I re-discovered what it was like to just read for enjoyment and no stress or pressure to review. I read whatever I wanted – went with whatever mood I was in. I inhaled series and standalones. Read next installments and final books in series.
While they weren’t all five star reads, I loved everything that I read last month and the freedom I felt while reading them. Re-discovering reading for fun lead me to taking a step back from blogging (though not this week lol, oops) and I’ve had more time to just do whatever.
So, let’s jump in and see what I read last month!
The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) – Kaitlyn Davis
“[…] I’m not a Malek fan, and my strong dislike for the man made me borderline want to stop reading. He’s 100% a manipulative asshole, and his slight charm did nothing to endear him to me. I saw through his bullshit early on, and I kind of just wanted to drown him in the ocean. I’m not a fan. I took an insane amount of pleasure at his crumbling plan and revelation at the end of the book.
As for the other characters, I really only found myself caring about Rafe. That poor boy. He needs to be protected at all costs. He was the only one in this book whose choices didn’t annoy me at any one point. He is very much the victim in all of this. He needs a hug and I’m so glad he finds friends who look out for him.”
Better Together – Christine Riccio
“[…] For me, this book only got interesting after Jamie and Siri switch places, and the Freaky Friday element comes into play. The whole stint at the camp was boring and it was nothing more than a tool to get them to “accidentally” meet. I wasn’t invested until they stepped into each other’s shoes. But even then, it was mild investment at best.
I did eventually get sucked in, I started liking Jamie and Siri more – it was almost like, if they’d be each other from the get-go, they would have been infinitely more likeable. But, honestly, probably not.”
Instructions for Dancing – Nicola Yoon
“[…] I requested this almost immediately once I saw it hit NG. I’d never read any of Nicola’s other books before, and this sounded adorable. It gave me similar vibes to Rachel Harris’ Eyes on Me and I loved that – so I assumed this was going to be right up my alley. Cute, rom com, with a dancing element and just adorable moments.
I’m definitely a fan of characters who don’t believe/have lost faith in love, only to get proven wrong and fall in love – so I liked Evie. She’s pretty cynical, and there were moments when I wanted to shake her and just tell her to open up and relax. But overall, I liked her journey and the realizations she comes to.”
Stolen Mage Bride (Stolen Brides of the Fate #2) – Sylvia Mercedes
“[…] This didn’t feel like a prequel, or a sequel, but its own thing. Yeah, it ties in, but I was invested. I could easily read a whole, full-length novel about Lodírhal and Dasyra. I’m serious. One of my favorite tropes in fantasy books is two characters having to travel and face down life threatening tasks, while slowly getting to know each other, trust each other, and fall in love. Fated Mates is a definite bonus.
I just love enemies to lovers and Lodírhal and Dasyra deliver. I swear it makes for the best chemistry. And they do have it – it’s just lacking a little due to the length of the book. Honestly, if this were a full-length novel, I’m pretty sure I would have given it 5 stars.”
Wraith (The Scarred Mage of Roseward #3) – Sylvia Mercedes
“[…] I wasn’t surprised by anything that happened in this book. Everything kind of just conveniently happened. I get that it’s a retelling and that there are only so many things that can happen, but I was hoping for some twist.
My favorite element of this book – this series, really – is the relationship between Nella and Soran. I honestly really loved the two of them together and how much they change and grow. I thought their chemistry was so great and so enjoyable. Their arc in this last book is full of ups and downs, love and betrayal. The way Soran is just about completely undone by her, and the way Nelle cares for him so deeply…it’s so good. It just makes what goes down between them so much worse.”
The Nature of Witches – Rachel Griffin
“[…] I remember seeing people rave about this book, get really excited for it. For awhile, it was all over my timeline. Having read it, I don’t get why. Now, it’s not a bad book, but it’s just really meh. The whole premise just feels half baked, the MC is back and forth on her emotions, and the romance while cute, just leaves me feeling nothing for the characters. I’m so, unimpressed by this book.
Nothing happened plot wise to make me really care. The characters didn’t do anything to make me care. The MC was kind of annoying, she never made up her mind, constantly was changing her mind about her emotions. She was whiny and full of self-pity.
I can get behind a character who is terrified of her powers, wants nothing to do with them, but that can’t be her entire personality. I can get behind a character who pushes those she cares and loves away to save them from her power, but she can’t make herself out to be the victim in the same breath.”
Reborn (Shadow Beast Shifters #3) – Jaymin Eve
“[…] I didn’t love it quite as much as the second book – but I am a sucker for plot lines were the characters suffer from memory loss. And they know something isn’t right, but they’re not sure what – and this book delivers. If you’ve read Reclaimed you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about – since the ending to that book kills. Mera is on a mission, she doesn’t buy into the bullshit Torma seems to be selling. She knows something isn’t right, she just doesn’t know what. Her journey to get back to where she belongs is good – and I’m glad only a small portion of the book was spent back in Torma. Because let’s face it – the selling point of this book is Shadow Beast.
I love him. I love that Mera wormed her way into his life until he was wrecked by her. I’m such a sucker for big, bad, mean, gruff alpha male assholes, who turn into a teddy bear with a naughty streak when it comes to the girl they love. Since he’s fictional, I feel like I shouldn’t be so attracted to him (LOL) but fuck, Jaymin did him so well, it’s hard not to be.”
Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1) – Ruby Dixon
eBook Finished: June 10, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️.5 / GR
BookTok made me do it. Honestly, I had no desire until I saw this one video and then my curiosity was piqued. I get why it’s addicting and bingeable, but it’s also not good, lol. I don’t think I’ll do individual reviews for these books (or at all outside these wrap up posts) but this did make for a fun, stress free, mindless read.
Curse of the Specter Queen (Samantha Knox #1) – Jenny Elder Moke
“[…] I fucking loved this book so much. It was so good, so engaging and captivating – I never wanted it to end. Thank goodness it’s the first in a series, because I love these characters so much and I’m not ready to give them up yet. I’m already hating having to wait for the second book because I’m impatient and ready to get back to these characters. I can’t wait to see what journey they go on next.
I’m a sucker for Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, National Treasure…hell, The Mummy (and I’m sure I’m missing a few) – give me explorers (unwitting or not – doesn’t matter) and put them on a journey to discover long lost secrets – I’m sold. If they wake up some evil spirits along the way – even better. I just want drama, action, adventure and if two characters fall in love along the way…well…you won’t see me complaining.”
Stolen Midsummer Bride (Stolen Brides of the Fate #3) – Tara Grayce
“[…] Well, I guess it’s been too long since I read the OG Play, and this book honestly took so much brain power to remember all the hijinks and machinations of the play. This pretty much reads as the “background going-ons” of the play – but even then, it just read as tedious. I spent more time trying to remember the plot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream than actually enjoying the story.
Also, having now read 4 of these books, I want to see a bride actually be stolen. In some way or another, all the “brides” have willingly gone with their Fae counterparts. I just want some more tension and angst. These books are so short, and often the guy and girl fall in love very quickly – like drop of the hat, sudden realization, fall in love. For a series that is called “Stolen Brides Of The Fae” no one is actually stolen…”
A Bargain of Blood & Gold (Midnight Guardians #1) – Kristin Jacques
“[…] Then I met Johnathan and he was just such a little naïve cinnamon roll with a really heavy past. Not completely helpless or unaware of how the world works, but also a little blinded. Honestly, didn’t see his backstory coming. I felt like it added such an interesting element to his character and really explained how he viewed the world. The guilt that boy carries around, the secrets he holds close. Ugh, I just want to give him a hug. He deserves all the hugs. Was traumatize as a child, exploited by numerous people and then just wants to do good, protect humanity. Ugh, like I said, a cinnamon roll…who could possibly kill you if he set his mind to it.
Then there’s Victor he’s not quite a cinnamon roll, but he is a softy. And he’ll probably find someone else to kill you, since he’s motivated by…other means…”
Untethered (Shielded #2) – KayLynn Flanders
“[…] ’m honestly kind of at a loss, because the book was so good, so captivating – now that I’m done, I don’t know what to do with myself. I fucking loved this book. Whereas Shielded was basically non-stop from the first moment, this book is more of a slow burn with a fiery explosive ending. Everything just keeps building and building with little bursts of action and high stakes to relieve a bit of the mounting pressure. But then you get towards the end, and you just know it’s going to be intensive, explosive, an outcome to change the world…
And I honestly don’t think it disappoints. At all.
I loved the inner conflict, panic and turmoil that haunts Ren. The need to explore, do and see, to prove herself – Chiara is a fearless badass.”
Half-Blood (Covenant #1) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Pure (Covenant #2) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Deity (Covenant #3) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Apollyon (Covenant #4) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Sentinel (Covenant #5) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
I’m just going to put a general review here, since this was a re-read for me. My work BFF forgot her headphones one day, so I told her to listen to a book with me. She wanted something Percy Jackson-esque, so I introduced her to this series. We got all the way through the 4th book and started the 5th before it was her last day (she left for a new job). This series wasn’t even on my radar to re-read since I re-read it back in 2019, but it was so nice just being able to enjoy a book with no pressure and buddy read it with a friend. It was so refreshing and reminded me of how much I loved that series, and what it’s like to just read for fun, with no expectations.
Of Goblins and Gold (Of Goblin Kings #1) – Emma Hamm
“[…] I’ll admit, it took me a bit to get into this book despite my excitement. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting – not that that’s a bad thing. I guess I was expecting more of an enemies to lovers kind of vibe, but it honestly felt more whimsical and more along the lines of Alice in Wonderland. I’m pretty sure this book primarily meant to set up the world and the conflict and introduce the characters – whereas the next book (and subsequent books after that) will really delve into the plot, conflict and the characters.
I really liked the more whimsical vibe of this book – I enjoyed Freya as a character. I liked her a whole lot more than her sister, for sure. Freya has very much convinced herself of what she wants, but she clearly yearns for more. I find when characters double down in their beliefs they tend to want more than what their lives typically provide them – and Freya is no different.”
Daughter of Sparta (Daughter of Sparta #1) – Claire M. Andrews
eARC Finished: June 24, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Review / GR
“[…] So I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I also have like zero knowledge about the myth of Daphne and Apollo, so I went in pretty blind.
I should also preface this review with – I think I’m in a bit of a reading slump. It seems to be ebbing and flowing – sometimes I feel no desire to read, and then other times I want to do nothing but. So, it took me like 3 weeks to read this book.
I definitely thought the second half of the book was better – more engaging. I actually read the last 40% without feeling the urge to put it down. Which is something I struggled with, with this book. While reading I was invested and would knock out 15-20% at a time. But if I had to put it down for any reason, there was very little desire to pick it back up. I was feeling a bit bummed, because this was one of my most anticipated reads, and it really wasn’t living up to my expectations. A book featuring Greek Gods and Mythology is rarely bad, and this one wasn’t, but I was confused as to why I wasn’t really clicking with it.”
“[…] I know where they got Dark Harry Potter from – it’s set at a magical school – but honestly, this felt more like dark Winx Club. No, not the live action Netflix adaptation Winx Club – but like, if someone took the animated show, aged the characters up a few years and made it dark. I kind of found the whole thing ridiculous and I kind of wish I hadn’t read it – or wasted the money on it.
I know I’m being harsh, but y’all this book wasn’t it. I really don’t understand why it has such a high rating. From unlikeable MC’s, to really surface level writing with like, no description, a fucking convoluted af magic system that I couldn’t keep straight – it just wasn’t that good. Now, by the time I reached the end of the book I was wishing that all those things were big turnoffs for me, because the plot is actually kind of interesting. Like, if all those things were better – even marginally so – I could probably convince myself to read book 2 and the rest of the series. But as it stands, it’s not enough to keep me interested.”
The Queen’s Line (Inheritance of Hunger #1) – Kathryn Moon
“[…] I’d initially seen a recommendation on BookTok, so I took a screenshot to save for later. I have so many books in my Audible library, but I wasn’t really in the mood for any of them, and I remembered the screenshot of this book. So, I went and downloaded it and a few other titles. Then not being able to choose and wanting to read them all, I asked a friend to pick, and he picked The Queen’s Line. So, I dove in.
This book (and the whole series really, because yes, I’ve already finished it) is amazing. It’s the perfect blend of really good spice and really good plot. This is probably the best Reverse Harem book/series I’ve read. I’m still relatively new to RH books, and I’ve read a few, but hands down, I’m 100% recommending this series. And I’m definitely recommending the audiobooks, because omfg.”
The Princess’s Chosen (Inheritance of Hunger #2) – Kathryn Moon
“[…] There are a few twists in this book that I definitely didn’t see coming. And omfg you actually end up hating Camellia. She’s absolutely terrible. What she ends up trying to do…it broke my heart and thank god Bryony and her men showed up when they did.
As for the other twists – they were good! I enjoyed them. One felt a little like of course that was added in, but I think it served its purpose well. It more thoroughly tied Bryony to the people she wants to help and protect.
And speaking of Bryony – she’s pretty badass. You kind of forget just how capable she is, because she’s lived blinded by rose colored glasses for so long. But she’s incredibly strong, fierce and fucking determined. She’s kind of a brilliant character quite honestly.”
The Kingdom’s Crown (Inheritance of Hunger #3) – Kathryn Moon
Audiobook Finished: June 29, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Review TK / GR
This one is bittersweet, because it’s the end of an amazing trilogy. I need more. I want more. I loved the epilogue at the end – seriously, I’ll take some slice of life content please. There was one element that I didn’t necessarily love in this book – it felt a little unnecessary. It does add an interesting element, but I just didn’t think it was needed. It felt a little performative on Bryony’s part.
Bryony has all her men at this point, and while I have my favorite, it’s honestly hard to choose – the benefits of RH books amirite LOL. They’re all so wonderful in their own ways. I love that Bryony and her Chosen kind of break the mold with what’s been done. This was a fantastic conclusion overall, and it only leaves you desperate for more, because you fall so hard for the characters. The story is wrapped up so well and on a happy note. It has everything you could want and once again, the spice isn’t sacrificed for plot, or vice versa.
The Return (Titan #1) – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Audiobook Finished: June 30, 2021 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Review TK / GR
This was honestly a much needed re-read. I hadn’t picked this book up since its release and I’m so glad that my work BFF wanted to dive into JLA’s Titan Series after finished The Covenant Series. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do a full review for each book in this series, or just a series review. But it’s so fun being back with Seth and Josie. I forgot how much I enjoy Seth in this series – he really comes into himself. And I love that Josie is the opposite of Alex, but just as strong and resilient. I forgot a lot of what happens in this book, except for some vague things. It really was like I was reading it for the first time – surprisingly this is only the second time I’ve read this book.