Guys, I am SOOO IMPRESSED with myself! I participated in Medieval-a-thon in May, and I set myself the super ambitious goal of reading 10 books for the readathon, and I don’t ever think I’ve read 10 books in a month…ever. I ended up actually finishing 13 BOOKS IN MAY, with 1 DNF. This is going to be an incredibly long wrap up this month, and it’s taking me forever to write this post!
So first, wrapping up the readathon. I ended with a rank of Empress, and a companion rank of Queen. I also managed to finish all the prompts for Bard and Blacksmith, so I’m a music-playing, sword-making Empress, so I guess I’ve got some good talents to fall back on!
As far as stats, I read 4,615 pages, with an average rating of 4 stars.
Gallant by V.E. Schwab – ★★★☆☆.5
This was in one of the recent Illumicrate boxes (March, I think?) and I was cautiously excited about it. I do like Schwab’s books quite a bit, but some of them are just okay. This one fell closer to the just okay side, I think mostly because I didn’t feel super connected to the characters or the story. I liked the idea of this family that’s in charge of keeping another world from taking over our own, but the plot was more straightforward than I was expecting. A lot of what happens is given away in the synopsis for this one, and in addition to that, it read a lot younger than I typically read. This is categorized as a YA, but it felt more like a middle grade to me which is fine, just not what I usually like. Ultimately, this came down to the fact that this just wasn’t for me. I read this for the medievalathon prompt to read a hardcover.
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho – ★★★☆☆.5
I’ve read one other book from this author so far (Black Water Sister – Review) and I enjoyed it, especially the writing. I had this short novella on my shelves for quite a while and it fit perfectly for one of the medievalathon prompts for a great first line (There was a brief lull in the general chatter when the bandit walked into the coffeehouse.) which really piqued my interest. This book is very character focused, talking through themes of identity, trauma, and culture. I was a bit surprised by how often I found myself chuckling at the banter between the characters given how heavy some of the discussions were. I definitely enjoyed this, especially Guet Imm’s character!
An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn – ★★★★☆
I read this one for the travel element prompt, since I’ve been catching up on this series via audiobook and most of the books have included traveling of some sort. This one had a little less traveling than previous installments, but Veronica and Stoker did still travel around London, so I’m counting it. This is the 6th book in the Veronica Speedwell series, so while I can’t say too much to spoil the series, I will say that I liked this book more than I liked the last installment. The mystery is a great one, with a murder and a disappearance and it felt like it got back to the overall essence of this series. I’m definitely looking forward to reading book 7, which will mean I’ll officially be all caught up with the currently released books in the series!
Elektra by Jennifer Saint – ★★★★☆
I’ve now read both books by Jennifer Saint, and I enjoyed this one just as much as I enjoyed Ariadne! This I read for the title is a characters name prompt, and I’m so glad I was able to fit this book in. I absolutely love reading books centered around any sort of mythology, and this focuses on Cassandra, Clytemnestra, and her daughter with Agamemnon – Elektra. Like Ariadne, this is a feminist retelling of the events surrounding the Trojan war from these three women’s perspectives. While it doesn’t necessarily show anything new, I enjoyed seeing more of their thought processes, especially Clytemnestra and Elektra. I understood why Elektra was so loyal to her father, but at the same time I wish she was able to understand more about why her mother made the choices she did. I’m very excited for Jennifer Saint’s next book, which based on her published works on Goodreads seems to be a retelling of Atalanta so I’m VERY excited about that one!
The Ravens by Danielle Page and Cass Morgan – ★★★★☆.5
I was searching for books that had multiple authors, and since I wanted to use Obsidio for another prompt, I ended up seeing that I had a sample for The Ravens on my kindle and gave it a shot for the multiple authors prompt! I was pleasantly surprised by this book, because a lot of urban fantasy in a college setting is pretty hit or miss for me. It was easy to get into and I liked the two main characters Scarlet and Vivi. I liked the mystery and trying to figure out who was causing all the issues, and I didn’t really see who was behind it all until a little bit before the reveal. This was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to read the sequel!
A Taste for Poison by Neil Bradbury – ★★★★☆
I didn’t have this book planned for any prompts, but it counted towards the number of books read! I picked up this really interesting non-fiction because I saw Emily from Books with Emily Fox on YouTube talk about this book, and it was available on Scribd so I gave it a go! I enjoyed reading about the science behind the different poisons and some examples of how they were used historically. It was especially interesting how some of the poisons can actually be used as medicines in smaller doses, which I knew about but it was still interesting to read about! I definitely had a brief moment when I started listening to this that it sounded almost like a ‘how to’ guide and that I’m definitely going to end up on a watch list somewhere, especially since I also love listening to true crime podcasts!
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah – ★★★★☆
I read this book for the gold, silver, or bronze in the title or on the cover prompt, and overall I really enjoyed this one! The middle definitely dragged a bit for me, but I loved Loulie’s POV and I can’t wait to see what happens with the characters next because the way this book ended was interesting and I think we’ll learn more about Qadir which is exciting. I do have a full review on my blog for this one since I read the ARC, so if you want to read my full thoughts go check it out!
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe – ★★★★☆
I was talking about reading this book with a coworker, and when my original plan for the over 400 pages prompt didn’t work out, I figured I would listen to the audiobook for this one! If you don’t know who the Sackler family is, they are the family that owns Purdue pharmacy and are responsible for making and marketing OxyContin, which started the opioid crisis. The only way I can think of to describe this book is mind boggling. Reading this, you can’t believe how out of touch this family is and how little they care. I never would’ve thought that an entire family could be so callous and irresponsible, but this family would win that prize easily. Just more reason why the rich need more accountability for their actions.
Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica – ★★★☆☆.5
Wow is this book TWISTED. I read this for the ‘book you’re scared to read’ prompt, and honestly this was the PERFECT book to read for this one. Imagine a world where a virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans, so governments transition to eating human meat, keeping and breeding humans like cattle. It’s certainly thought provoking and is a great discussion about humanity and morality. I did think there would be more gore and horror, so I was surprised when there really wasn’t much of that (compared to other horror books) however the ending was so twisted. So many people said to not eat while reading this book, and either I have an iron stomach, or I read too many gory books for it to not affect me as much anymore.
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn – ★★★★★
I’m soooo happy that I was approved for an ARC for this book, as it’s written by the same author of the Veronica Speedwell series which I’ve been loving! I read this book for the weapon on the cover prompt, and since it doesn’t come out until September I won’t be posting my review until a little bit closer to the release date. This was such a fun read, and was super funny as well! It follows four newly retired female assassins who find that they are suddenly the targets and set out to find who ordered the hit against them in order to survive. If this doesn’t become a movie or a limited series I will be so upset!
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – ★★★☆☆
I’ve been wanting to finish this series for a while so I can unhaul it, so the series finale prompt was perfect for this one! This was okay, the series as a whole is very repetitive. I definitely think I could’ve read Illuminae as a standalone, because I don’t think Gemina or Obsidio really added anything new and were pretty predictable. I didn’t feel the connection with the characters as much in this one, and maybe that’s because it’s been so long since I started the series, or maybe it’s because it felt like rereading the first two books.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher – ★★★★☆.5
This was another ARC that I read, and at this point I finished all the prompts so this was just a bonus! Since I had a review copy, I do have a full review available on my blog, if you want in depth thoughts. This was my first T. Kingfisher book, and I really enjoyed it! It’s a retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher, and the atmosphere was impeccable! The fungus was so creepy and made my skin crawl, especially when they were discussing Madeline’s hair. I’ve now started The Hollow Places by the same author, and I’ll definitely be reading even more!
Oleander by Jennifer Allis Provost – ★★★☆☆
This was the final book that I actually finished in May, and it was fine. This just wasn’t for me, I liked the premise but the execution was lacking for me. I didn’t feel like there was any chemistry between the love interests, and the characters felt flat. It also seemed like I was missing an entire book before this because it seemed like it jumped into the middle of an ongoing story, but I couldn’t find any indication that there was another book before this. Things just seemed really convenient and Eli’s decision to become the ‘Mistress of Seers’ was very anti-climactic. I also have a full review for this one as well!
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake – DNF
Finally, I feel like this is the one DNF I should mention because I read 70% of the book so I’m counting it in all my page counts, since I was so close to finishing it. I just could NOT bring myself to push through the last 30%, I didn’t care about the characters AT ALL and it was just too existential for me. I would be reading a sentence, my eyes would glaze over, and I’d have to restart the sentence and it was just taking me far too long to read this book. Everything about this book is too pretentious and obnoxious. In the amount that I read, I don’t think I could tell you at all what was happening with the plot because essentially there isn’t one. I also see so many people talking about shipping different characters together, and unless something miraculous happens in the last 30%, none of these characters even like each other and there was hardly any connection or relationship development between any of them.
What books did you read in May? Do we have anything in common if you’ve read any of these?