I’m quite excited about some of the books I read in May, friends!
This reading month felt a little bizarre. It started off pretty strong and then I hit a bit of a rough patch where I wasn’t enjoying the books I was picking up much at all. However, it ended on another strong note, so that made up for it! By the time Memorial Day weekend came around, I knew I’d be finishing out the month with thirteen reads in total. I’d say that’s pretty good, considering it’s been one of the busiest months I’ve had so far this year and my mental health hasn’t been the greatest because of all the stress.
I’m trying to use Audible a bit less this year, so I got myself three library cards and I’m listening to audiobooks on Libby like it’s my job. However, that is definitely messing with my TBR-planning to some degree, since I’m never 100% sure when the audiobook I’ve requested will become available for me to borrow. That being said, I wound up listening to a few books I hadn’t planned, as well as some that I planned to read later on down the line. I’m certainly not upset by it as it’s good to have some mood-reading in there even though I’m typically a major reading planner.
I can look back at what I read in May and easily note that Six Crimson Cranes and Ready Player Two were my favorites of the month. It was also fun to reread both Legendary and Radiant Shadows! Keep reading to see what else I enjoyed – and what I didn’t love so much.
Six Crimson Cranes Book Review // The Best Books to Read This Summer // May 2021 Book Releases
The 13 Books I Read in May
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The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1)
By S.A. Chakraborty
Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty, an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by–palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing–are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive.
But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. For Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass–a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.
Spurning Dara’s warning of the treachery surrounding her, she embarks on a hesitant friendship with Alizayd, an idealistic prince who dreams of revolutionizing his father’s corrupt regime. All too soon, Nahri learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say to be careful what you wish for…
I sort of wish I had a lot to say about this book, but I’m keeping this review simple, especially since it’s the first book in the series and I do plan to continue reading.
I listened to the audiobook. It was really well-narrated and the voice actor didn’t do any unnecessary accents or change the way each character spoke too much, which I really appreciated. My only qualm with the audiobook was that it was 17 hours long on double speed and I found myself waiting for it to come to a close over and over. I think if I had read the book, it might have been a little different. I kept getting distracted and losing bits of information as I listened.
The story itself was so interesting and the characters each had so much depth to them. I enjoyed that there were some great twists along the way and it ended on a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Crazy Stupid Bromance (The Bromance Book Club #3)
By Lyssa Kay Adams
Alexis Carlisle and her cat cafe, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts–her best friend, Noah Logan. Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush. Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.
This is quite possibly my favorite of the Bromance Book Club series. I was immediately excited by the best friends-to-lovers trope and found both Noah and Alexis to be very likable characters.
My itty bitty issues with it:
– Considering how much the book club has helped everyone in their friend group, I have to inwardly groan when yet another guy thinks the concept is stupid or the books won’t be beneficial. Like, come on Noah, you’ve seen the positive results, so stop your moaning about it and just read the dang book.
– I can’t imagine a hospital being okay with all the back-and-forth regarding a kidney transplant. One day they’re doing it, the next they might not, and medical procedures aren’t that flippant.
– Gosh, do these people have superpowers? Because if not, wouldn’t they get worn out with the literal constant sex? I mean constant.
Regardless of how I felt about those minor details, I really adored the story. Alexis and Noah felt like real, relatable people who didn’t want to screw up their friendship and miscommunicated because they didn’t want to hurt one another in the process.
One of the things I loved the very most was how Noah made a point to talk with Alexis about everything when it came to their sex lives, since she had been sexually assaulted and abused in the past. As someone who has experienced that myself, I appreciated the nonstop conversation. That’s so, SO necessary in an intimate relationship moving forward after an experience of that nature.
The found family plot was a little wild, but in the long run, I really liked how it played out. There were some natural dynamics of distrust and anger, of course, as well as understanding themselves and the role that each person would be playing in their lives moving forward. There were so many emotions behind this and it made me feel for Alexis and everything she had walked through in her life.
Okay, so yeah, definitely my favorite of the series so far. I think The Russian is hysterical, so I can’t wait to read his story next.
Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes #1)
By Elizabeth Lim
A princess in exile, the boy she left at the altar, six enchanted cranes, and a dragon from the deepest sea… From the author of Spin the Dawn comes a breathtakingly original fantasy inspired by East Asian folklore and perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo or Tomi Adeyemi.
Shiori’anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne–a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain–no matter what it costs her.
Second First Impressions
By Sally Thorne
From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women–under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.
Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work–until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.
Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously–something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees–he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.
Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.
Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a fa ade.
Hilarious, warm, and romantic, Sally Thorne’s novel delivers an irrepressibly joyous celebration of love and community for fans of 99% Mine and The Hating Game.
I’m beginning to question everything I thought I knew. Years ago, I read The Hating Game and loved it. Last year, I read 99 Percent Mine and violently hated it. Now that I’ve read Second First Impressions… I don’t know where I stand anymore. I think I need to go back and read The Hating Game again to gauge what I actually enjoy when it comes to contemporary romance, because maybe Sally Thorne’s writing just isn’t for me now?
I found this book to be repetitive, slow, and kind of forgettable. I liked the premise a lot and even related to the main character on a pretty regular basis. But I’m sitting here now and I’ve already forgotten her first name… and I finished the book last night. That’s not the best sign, right?
A slow burn is something I’ve never minded, but this can’t even be considered that… it was just slow. And also confusing. I found it really strange that the entire time that Ruthie (her name is Ruthie – I had to look it up) was trying to find a man, she was flirting with Teddy and he wasn’t just flirting back, he was literally offering himself to her. At one point, she wonders about what it would be like to kiss him and she wishes she could do so when the night before he – no joke – asked to kiss her and she turned him down.
She also had a very intense kinky, lusty thing going for his hair which kinda freaked me out. I get it, he has nice hair. Mention it once or maybe twice as a joke and move on. But all I know about him now is that he had nice hair and tattoos. I remember little else.
Also… the “sisters” plot twist at the end? Not a plot twist. Totally obvious. How on EARTH did Ruthie not notice it? And are we not gonna go into how awfully Mel was treated the whole time? Ah, the more I talk about this, the more I want to give it a lower rating. Just… not a great book.
A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3)
By Sabaa Tahir
Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger. Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister’s life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides: Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor’s volatility to grow her own power–regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path. Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But in the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight. And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender–even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.
Truthfully, I don’t have much to say about this book. I’ve really found this entire series to be dragging and while I keep hoping there will be something that hooks me and makes me want to stick around, there isn’t. It’s really depressing. At the end of every terrible moment, I expect there to be some kind of redemption and there isn’t. It just gets worse. I’ll be reading the last book to finish out the series, but I can’t say I’ve enjoyed this, which is a huge bummer.
Ready Player Two (Ready Player One #2)
By Ernest Cline
AN UNEXPECTED QUEST. TWO WORLDS AT STAKE. ARE YOU READY? Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous–and addictive–than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest–a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance. Lovingly nostalgic and wildly original as only Ernest Cline could conceive it, Ready Player Two takes us on another imaginative, fun, action-packed adventure through his beloved virtual universe, and jolts us thrillingly into the future once again.
This was so much fun!
Ready Player One was unlike any other book I’d ever read. It seamlessly meshed together adventure and pop culture in a way that just had me coming back for more. My husband and I listened to the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton on a road trip and it made the time fly!
When I heard there would be a sequel, I didn’t know what to expect. It felt as if the story had ended. I wondered if there would be another cast of characters or a completely different world or what?! If we’re being really honest, I didn’t go into this one with high expectations because I didn’t think anything could capture my attention as the first book had.
I was wrong. This is how you write a sequel, people! Once again, I chose to listen to the audiobook (because no one narrates quite like Wil) and it was phenomenal from beginning to end. Action-packed and quick-paced, never a boring moment!
There were two tiny elements that I didn’t adore and those were: the back-and-forth between avatar names and character names. It got confusing when the narration didn’t stick with just one of them so at first, I couldn’t even remember who “Samantha” was and it wasn’t until she was titled “Artemis” that I was able to recall who they were speaking of. In addition, I didn’t like Wade and Samantha’s relationship. It was all so dramatic and chaotic. I realize that it was fundamental to the plot, but for most of the story, it didn’t feel like that was the case and I kept getting frustrated with their immature tendencies.
I really loved the ending. It was not at all what I expected, but it was super cool and the epilogue really fascinated me. It felt like it was totally wrapped up and there couldn’t be any more story… but maybe there could be? Could we have a story for just the Low Five in the future? We’ll see, I guess!
The Summer of Lost and Found (Beach House #7)
By Mary Alice Monroe
The New York Times bestselling Beach House series returns with this tender and compassionate novel following the Rutledge family as they face a summer of upheaval and change with perseverance, unity, and a dose of humor, discovering unexpected joys and lessons that will endure long past the season. The coming of Spring usually means renewal, but for Linnea Rutledge, Spring 2020 threatens stagnation. Linnea faces another layoff, this time from the aquarium she adores. For her–and her family–finances, emotions, and health teeter at the brink. To complicate matters, her new love interest, Gordon, struggles to return to the Isle of Palms from England. Meanwhile, her old flame, John, turns up from California and is quarantining next door. She tries to ignore him, but when he sends her plaintive notes in the form of paper airplanes, old sparks ignite. When Gordon at last reaches the island, Linnea wonders–is it possible to love two men at the same time? Love in the time of the coronavirus proves challenging, at times humorous, and ever changing. Relationships are redefined, friendships made and broken, and marriages tested. As the weeks turn to months, and another sea turtle season comes to a close, Linnea learns there are more meaningful lessons learned during this summer than opportunities lost, that summer is a time of wonder, and that the exotic lives in our own back yards. In The Summer of Lost and Found, Linnea and the Rutledge family continue to face their challenges with the strength, faith, and commitment that has inspired fans for decades. Mary Alice Monroe once again delves into the complexities of family relationships and brings her signature “sensitive and true” (Dorothea Benton Frank, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling to this poignant and timely novel of love, courage, and resilience.
Review *small spoiler*
Welp, I did it. I read my first fictional book that took place during the pandemic. So bizarre and surreal to actually read a story where reality like that is taking place.
Part of me enjoyed relating to the strangeness that was the beginning of the pandemic, but part of me was frustrated because everything just seemed to go so perfectly for all of the characters. I guess when you have a beach house that’s available to you, free-of-charge, and you don’t have any other bills that need to be paid, quarantining in a smaller beach town near all your family can be a breeze. At least, that’s how this played out.
I realize that there was drama, conflict, and some really emotional moments, but I didn’t find any of it to be meaningful or of importance aside from Flo’s really awful disappearance and eventual death. There were only a few characters that I liked and they were Hope, Cara, and Gordon. I just couldn’t connect with anyone and was mostly frustrated with everyone’s actions.
If you’re looking for a literal beach read with very little substance but lots of lighthearted vibes and a bit of drama, this is perfect.
Anna K: A Love Story (Anna K #1)
By Jenny Lee
A national indie bestseller Meet Anna K: every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way…
At seventeen, Anna K is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie. As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all. Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina–but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
I really struggled with this book. When I started reading it, it felt like a fun mix of Crazy Rich Asians and Gossip Girl blended together. The teenage drama and angst mixed with a bit of comedy. There was the hijinks, the tabloids, the money, the sex.
But there were so many characters to follow and that made it challenging right off the bat. I know there was a cast of characters listed in the book, but listening to an audiobook, I couldn’t easily access those to keep track. And even if I had been reading a physical copy, I think I would’ve gotten confused. There were even super similar names that had me feeling upside down and backward a few times.
In addition, the fact that this book was YA with such intense sexual overtones made me really uncomfortable. It’s one thing to read about it when it’s an adult book, but we were talking about 15-year-olds watching other kids have sex (and describing the acts) and that just made me feel gross.
I know the story of Anna Karenina, so I wasn’t terribly surprised by the way things played out, since it followed that storyline pretty closely. The whole book was just incredibly long for not much actually happening – or a lot happening but nothing fruitful? I don’t know, but it wasn’t what I hoped for, I guess.
Legendary (Caraval #2)
By Stephanie Garber
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win. After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name. The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more–and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about–maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever. Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.
Much like the first book, Legendary takes place during the magical – and terrifying – world of Caraval. It’s full of illusions and grandeur. Again, no one is who you expect them to be, in the best way possible.
I’ve never really loved Tella’s character, so I can’t say that this middle book is my favorite. But I will say that this second time around with reading it was much more enjoyable even than the first time. I remembered some of what happened, so the plot twists didn’t give me the GASP moments like they once did, but I don’t mind. For anyone reading for the first time, know there are some cool twists but it’s also not quite as unpredictable as the first. You can kind of see some of it coming before it happens.
It does introduce Jacks, who I think is fascinating. He’s a fabulously complex character and I really enjoyed his banter with Tella. (This made me extra excited to read Once Upon a Broken Heart this autumn)!
Since it’s the middle book, there’s not a ton to say without giving away spoilers. If you’ve gotten to this book and haven’t adored every moment of it, just keep going. It’s all leading up to a spectacular Finale (pun 100% intended).
You Have a Match
By Emma Lord
A new love, a secret sister, and a summer she’ll never forget. From the beloved author of Tweet Cute comes Emma Lord’s You Have a Match, a hilarious and heartfelt novel of romance, sisterhood, and friendship…When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front. But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister. When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents — especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself. The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby’s growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything. But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.
I’m the type of person to thoroughly research a book and the synopsis before reading, but with this one, I didn’t do that at all (so unlike me) I read Tweet Cute and loved it so much that I just picked this up because I liked the author’s way of storytelling! Turns out, that wasn’t a bad thing to do because this book was adorable on so many levels.
It immediately gave me Parent Trap vibes. Two people who didn’t know they had a sister, brought together during a summer camp, pranking one another, but eventually putting their heads together to try and make a difference in their family. Such an adorably quirky story.
To be honest, I thought the plot would center more around romance, but that wasn’t the case and I loved it. It was fun to have the sisters and their family drama be the primary focus of the book. It made me root for certain people and it got me really involved with all of the most intense moments.
I was utterly shocked and baffled by the amount of cursing for a YA book. I get that kids curse or whatever, but the fact that the main character literally got away with cursing out her mom and there were no repercussions blew me away (and not in the best way ever). Hmmm.
If you’re looking for a fun and lighthearted summer novel with a really good plot, this is for you. The diverse cast of characters was also so great and made my heart really happy. It’s such a perfect beach read.
Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely #4)
By Melissa Marr
Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.
Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?
As I’ve been going through this series for the… 4th? 5th? (I can’t even keep track at this point) time, I’m realizing that my tastes have changed so very much. Initially, I stated that Ink Exchange was my favorite book, but I realize that is not at all true now. I also would’ve said that Radiant Shadows was one of the books I didn’t enjoy as much. However, that is also untrue now. If anything, this is almost tied with the first book for me!
I absolutely love the characters in this book. Devlin was a stand-out from the moment he was introduced and the Hounds are so interesting. To some degree, I wish their abilities were further explained, but at the same time, it’s really nice to have some mystery surrounding it. It makes them appear more powerful. Ani is extra intriguing, in that she has the ability to change everything for the courts. She and Seth were “side characters” at first, and now it seems the fate of Faerie rests on their shoulders, making them way cooler than they were to start with.
There are a few odd additions in this book, including the dreamwalking (Rae’s introduction in the prologue really confused me the first time I read this story) and the tying together of dreams. I personally know that this helps lead into the finale novel, but if you’re a first-time reader, it’s a very bizarre ability that really has no explanation.
I forgot how emotional the story gets towards the end and it hit me like a ton of bricks all over again. I definitely found myself tearing up and even getting angry on Ani’s behalf. Truly, I think emotions blend all of these books together seamlessly. Some books are mostly plot, others mostly character, these are mostly emotion and I think it’s really beautiful.
The Brightest Night (Origin Series #3)
By Jennifer L Armentrout
He is the darkest star.
She is the burning shadow.
And together, they will bring about the brightest night. Less than a year ago, Evelyn Dasher was a normal girl, living a safe, rather unremarkable life–a life that was a total lie. Now she’s learned the truth about who she was and what she is. Hidden within Zone 3, she knows that if she loses control of her dangerous abilities again, she not only puts everyone in the secret community at risk, but also the beautiful, deadly inhuman Luc. He will do anything to keep her safe. Lie. Barter. Beg. Kill. But there are truths that not even Luc can prepare for, and as Evie’s abilities evolve, the consequences of everything he’s done turn devastating. Luc is stepping into the darkness. But Evie might already be lost to the shadows.
Well, one thing I can say for sure that I wasn’t expecting was for this to not be the final book. I definitely thought this was a trilogy and I 100% went into this expecting for the story to wrap up. It did anything but. In fact, it only added more intensity and adventure and intrigue that made me frustrated when I got to the halfway mark and realized it wasn’t ending.
This one certainly had the largest cast and it brought in all of the Lux characters. While I only read the first Lux book, I did recognize all the names and knew enough about the characters that it didn’t feel totally confusing. However, it included some major spoilers so if you haven’t read the Lux series all the way through and you want to, make sure to read those first and not these. I didn’t care for that series, so I didn’t mind the spoilers in the Origin books at all. It actually made me feel better knowing what happened to those characters without having to read all the books.
This story introduced us to more of Evie/Nadia’s powers and gave us some insight on what she could do to hopefully protect the world and the aliens from the Detalists. [Please ignore how many spelling errors I might have in this review as I listened to all 3 on audiobook and have no clue how anything is spelled haha]. What I wish more than anything was that she would be powerful enough on her own rather than always having to turn to Luc when things get challenging. This world has given us some pretty badass main chicks and Evie seems like she could be one of them… if given the opportunity.
Again, I was totally certain this was the last book, so that gave me some wild emotions as I came to the realization that I’d have to wait goodness knows how long to find out what happens next. Since JLA is focused on several other series right now, I know it could be a while – especially since this seems to be her least popular grouping of books. But that’s my own cross to bear, I suppose.
Love Your Life
By Sophie Kinsella
Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.
At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.
But then their real identities–Ava and Matt–must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?
I’ll admit, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Love Your Life.
It was cute – with a whirlwind, insta-love romance that jumpstarts the story. I found myself laughing aloud at the antics that took place in Italy. From the goofy names to the uncomfortable story sharing. Then, I suddenly found myself laughing for different reasons. It all felt really ridiculous. They proclaimed their love to one another so quickly and so publicly, without even knowing real names, occupations, or locations. It just seemed outlandish.
I suppose that was the point in order to lead into the rest of the story, but it became a little difficult to actually feel bad for the couple when things began to go awry. And they kept pushing for their relationship to work, despite having barely known each other in the first place. I suppose, if it were me, I would’ve called it off, rather than forcing something that was clearly not at all working, but maybe I’m just thinking about it too practically. It is just a story, after all.
Towards the last quarter, I really just wanted them to make the decision to lead their own separate lives and find what they love without being mushed together. I was both appreciative and frustrated with the ending of the book.
One thing I will say is that Herold was, by far, the best character!
Zoe Grace (littlebookfae) says
Some good reads that I’ve either read or want to read when my tbr is down low. (that’s not gonna happen for a while yet)
Lovely photos as always honey bee x
Genesis @ Whispering Chapters says
For The Brightest Night, I just had a feeling it wouldn’t be the last book, since the Lux series has four to five books. I figured she’d do the same for this one. Same for Dark Elements and The Harbinger series (spin-off to DE). She kept the spin-off as a trilogy, the same as it’s OG series. I’m excited to read You Have A Match, and hopefully start Caraval soon!
Genesis @ Whispering Chapters
Great list! Six Crimson Cranes sounds like a a really entertaining read! I’d love to check that one out!
Laura Leigh says
okay I need to get on it with this bromance series – I love reading series and this is about the 100th time I’ve seen something about this one. definitely reassures me it is a good one! thank you for sharing this – excited to get reading!
xo Laura Leigh
Neely Moldovan says
I really want to read the bromance books! I have heard such good things about them!
I felt the same way about Anna K and Love Your Life. What a shame about Second First Impressions! I’ve seen a few reviews say the same and now I’m quite worried to read it 😬
You inspire me so much to read more and I love it!!! In May I read a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury (for a book club haha) and I read The Vanishing Half (slow start, but SO good /worth it) and We Begin at the End (LOVED it)
Lee | LegalLee Blonde
Merry Sari says
I have read “You have a match” and I love it! You have some good reads here that I haven’t read before. I just read one of the bromance series and might need to pick more next time! Thank you for sharing x
You had some interesting reads in May. I adored Spin the Dawn, and I’m positive Elizabeth Lim will end up on my list of favorite authors soon. And how gorgeous is the cover of Six Crimson Cranes!
A lot of the books you’ve read are on my TBR list. Hopefully I can pick them up soon. Awesome wrap up!
Kelly Diane says
13 books is still a great score. I love the sound of a few of these books so will definitely be adding some to my TBR list.
I love the variety of books you have on your list! The title “Crazy Stupid Bromance” is fantastic. There’s a couple titles that have caught my eye that I want to check out. I had a bit of a disappointing May for reading too. I was really excited to read a book that a show I love was based on and was so let down by it. I was surprised because books are always better than movies, but not in the case of this tv show.
Brooke Ressell says
I just bought Ready Player Two but haven’t started it yet. I loved the first one though. I’ll have to add some of these others to my list too.
Nick @ The Infinite Limits of Love says
I’m excited that you loved Six Crimson Cranes as it’s on my list for this month. I loved her other series so I had high hopes. I also liked You’ve Made a Match. I really enjoy Emma Lord’s writing style a lot. I hope your June is not so up and done and you end up having a great month!
Jennifer Prince says
Aw! I feel bad you had a run of bad book luck, but it also seems like you had several 5 star ones, which is great. The Crimson Cranes one sounds like a fun read – I may pick it up for a beach read!
So envious of all the books you read in May!!! I’m actually glad that the books I was contemplating on reading you gave them a 2-stars. This saves me the trouble of buying haha. And the ones I really want to read like You Have A Match, you really really enjoyed it which gives me all the reasons to read it!
Thanks for all the suggestions! I have a long road trip coming up so I need all of the recommendations!
Cristina Rosano says
Sorry to hear May has not been the best for your mental health and hope June will be better! I see many books I have on my TBR already and really can’t wait to read Six crimson cranes!! I thought the second first impression sounded great from the blurb, so we will see! x
Jenny in Neverland says
Woah you read a lot of books in May! Congrats! I didn’t read a lot and also finished on a DNF – so not that successful tbh! I’m hoping for a better time in June, now that I’m reading a book I’m hooked on!
Hmm! It seems like a lot of people had a bizarre month! Crazy Stupid Bromance has the cutest cover oh my goodness! Here’s to your June, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing x
Lynn | https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com