Hello, lovelies! Here we are at the end of another month that went by way too quickly! The month of May was a super good reading month for me. I was able to read 16 books, and I ended up five starring 9 of them! (In April I read 20 things and only five starred only three of those; with one being a classic and one being a graphic novel. I’m not salty.) What blessed reading month, seriously! But before I get into everything I read…
A lot happened in the month of May:
➽ It was Asian/Pacific Heritage Month! So, I read some amazing stories to help celebrate, honor, and fill my soul with so much happiness!
➽ I read my favorite book of the year, most likely! (Praise/Bless my fae queen Holly Black!)
➽ This was the last month of the BooktubeSFF Awards, so I got to compile my picks!
➽ Also, as of May 20th, I have received as many blog hits so far in 2018 as I did the entirety of 2017. (Never give up, friends! I promise, growth will happen! Just really unexpectedly sometimes.)
➽ I got nominated for an amazing award, because of all my amazing book friends! And I think that tomorrow, on Joce’s blog, we find out who wins! (And thank you all so much for voting, regardless of the outcome! Forever thankful for this community and you all allowing me to be a part of it!)
➽ I gained an additional 3,000+ followers on Goodreads for some reason this month, and I’ve probably never felt so blessed in my entire life. And it made me the #6th most followed USA user on the website! As of today, I’m sitting between Stephen King and Rick Riordan! (What a weird, but amazing, sandwich!)
➽ And after all these years, I finally hit that number one spot for USA reviewers on Goodreads:
Friends, THANK YOU! I love the book community more than any word combination that I could possibly come up with! I still can’t believe one person reads my reviews, let alone so many! From every bone in my body, from every fiber of my being, thank you! 💛✨
But on to what I read in May…
Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.
➽ A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas – ★★★★
“The first snow of winter had begun whipping through Velaris…”
A Court of Frost and Starlight starts out a few months after the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin, and Feyre, Rhysand, and the Inner Circle are preparing for the Winter Solstice. The entire gang is also suffering in their own ways with the trauma they are enduring from the events of the war. Overall, I’m not saying this was a perfect book, but I had a lot of fun with it. And I truly am excited for what is going to come next.
➽ Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody – ★★★
“The City of Sin was a game, but not everyone was a player.”
This story starts out with a girl and her guidebook and a city filled with sin and mystery. We get to follow her during the span of ten days, while also seeing if this new town will ultimately make or break her. And Enne Salta was forced to come to New Reynes, because her adoptive mother went missing, but not before she was able to send a letter to Enne letting her know where to go and who to trust. Overall, I really did think this was a fun and different story, it just took a bit of time for me to get into it.
➽ The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – ★★★★★
“Kill him before he makes you love him.”
This is a true masterpiece in every sense of the word. This book killed me and then breathed new life into me. This book was the best thing I’ve read this entire year. I’ve already written my review, where I completely pour my heart out. And even though it’s spoiler free, I still feel gross posting it so early because this book doesn’t come out until 2019. So, I scheduled it on my blog for August 27th, my birthday, and I will also post it on here then too. Because I honestly can’t think of a better way of celebrating than sharing my love for this once in a lifetime series. But I promise you this: you don’t want to miss out on this book. Preorder it now. It’s going to be the best book of 2019.
➽ Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles – ★★★★★
“It became pretty freaking clear that, book after book, adventure after adventure, the heroes weren’t like me at all.”
This book has so much! Black stories, Asian stories, Native stories, Persian stories, Latinx stories, Muslim stories, Bi stories, Trans stories! Contemporary stories, play acts, fantasy stories, historical stories, sweet stories, heavy stories, superhero stories! And every single one is ownvoices. What a damn blessing in 2018. I loved this anthology.
➽ Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill – ★★★★
“There is, at its center, something immutably miraculous about the substance and process of reading stories. We read because we hunger to know, to empathize, to feel, to connect, to laugh, to fear, to wonder, and to become, with each page, more than ourselves. To become creatures with souls.”
This is a beautiful collection of eight short stories and one novella by Kelly Barnhill. And you will very quickly learn that their writing is lush, lyrical, and absolutely haunting. But sometimes the speculative fiction felt a little too speculative for my personal tastes. But if you like lyrical prose and speculative writing? You will love this collection.
➽ Filthy Gods (American Gods 0.5) by R. Scarlett – ★★★★★
“The only thing I was afraid of was my own mortality in front of him. Gods fell in love with mortals and demolished them piece-by-piece.”
Filthy Gods has the atmosphere and feeling of The Secret History, but the romance and the sexiness of nothing else I’ve read before. Best new adult romance I’ve read all year. And my heart breaks that it’s only a novella, because I need so much more.
➽ Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud – ★★★★★
“On a small moon orbiting a large planet, in a small farmhouse in a small village, there was a box, and in this box was a feather.”
Mirage is a magical, wonderful, important, gift to the YA SFF world. This story is an ownvoices Moroccan inspired story, and from characters I fell in love with, to the messages about the importance of your culture and your family, to the most lyrical and beautiful writing. I loved this story with my whole heart, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with it.
➽ A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman – ★★★★★
“We fell in love with all those myths about powerful gods being vulnerable, about humans becoming heroes. Such stories taught us about mythology, about the beauty of folktales and legends, and about how stories of gods and goddesses are also stories about the human heart. But we never found similar compilations that were distinctly Asian.”
Friends, please preorder this and fall in love, too! If you’d like to get me a birthday gift this year, please just preorder this, read, and review this collection. Honestly, it’s the only thing I want in 2018. I’ll beg, I’ll plead, I’ll scream from the rooftops: please preorder this anthology and show the world that Asian stories can not only sell, but can also change lives. I will cherish this book forever and ever. My favorite anthology of all time.
➽ Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen – ★★★★★
“As the descent begins, I hold on to one truth: I am more than what they would make of me.”
This is such an amazing YA Sci-Fi series that is so beautifully inclusive with some very important themes and discussions. The writing is amazing, I pulled around thirty quotes for this review alone. The characters have completely stolen my heart and soul, and they are a tier above most in all of literature. This series is amazing, and this second installment was everything that I wanted and more.
➽ The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan – ★★★★★
“If he looked in my eyes straight on, he would know how he’d pierced me with an arrow, how its shaft was still sticking out of my chest, twitching each time my heart contracted. And maybe he’d see how my mother had sliced up everything else.”
This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s powerful, moving, poignant, lyrical, important, and touched me beyond words. From the discussion about mental health and the stigmas we still have in 2018 (especially in Asian cultures), to the true portrayal of grief, to the heartbreaking truth about depression, to the realistic depiction of what it means to be not only biracial but to be white passing, to the discovery of your identity. The Astonishing Color of After is a book I will cherish for the rest of my life.
➽ A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab – ★★★
“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”
I have read one book in this series every year for the BooktubeSFF Awards. And every year I enjoy what I’m reading, I close the book pretty pleased, and then I sit down to write my review and start thinking about how these are such big books with so little happening. And I know they are character driven. One of my favorite books of all time is the most character driven thing out there, but for some reason I just don’t love this series like everyone else does.
➽ Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1) by Jessica Townsend – ★★★★★
“The point is—as far as the Society is concerned—if you are not honest, and determined, and brave, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are.”
I read this so slowly, and I kept having to put it off for other books, but I ended up loving this more than I have words for! And the messages that filled this book? So important. Once I actually sat down with this book, it was such a treat to read. I love this with my whole heart.
➽ Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber – ★★★★
“For it was also said the Prince of Hearts was not capable of love, because his heart had stopped beating long ago. Only one person could make it beat again: his one true love. They said his kiss had been fatal to all but her—his only weakness—and as he’d sought her, he’d left a trail of corpses.”
I know that Caraval was a super polarizing read last year when it released, but I fell on the side of totally loving. From the game, to the mystery, to the lyrical writing, to the compelling characters, I couldn’t get enough. I devoured it in two sittings and never wanted to stop the reading experience. And guess what? Legendary was no different.
➽ All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover – ★★★
“The problem is, love and happiness are not concordant. One can exist without the other.”
Okay, so I have written my review for this, but I’m going to wait until publication to post it, just because my review talks a bit about the subject of this book which isn’t even hinted at in the synopsis. I’m going to put trigger and content warning on my Goodreads review, and you all can see my final thoughts come July 17th! But All Your Perfects is a book that made me feel every emotion in the world. I wanted to hug my iPad, and throw my iPad. I wanted to give it five stars, and I wanted to give it one star. I swear, this book made me feel everything. And even though I had problems with some of the content, I still think this book is super important. And the subject matter of this book is something I’ve never read about before, and it’s a topic that we need to be normalizing and start discussing more.
➽ Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2) by Zoraida Córdova – ★★★★
“This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.”
I loved being back in Zoraida’s story, even though this book very unexpectedly followed a different character than Labyrinth Lost! I loved this, I love all these characters, and I loved this book. And my review will be up before the June 5th release date, I promise!
➽ Even Money (All In Duet #1) by Alessandra Torre – ★★
“I’d always been a gambler, with my money, my time, my safety … but never my heart.”
I really wanted to love this. I mean, Vegas AND Alessandra Torre? It was supposed to be my new favorite combination. But sadly, this one just really let me down. It was a bad way to end the month! But my review for this will be up with the June release of this one!
Okay, my loves! I think that’s everything! Sadly, I do think I’m going to have to carry over my current reads, Spinning Silver and The Bird and the Blade, into June, but that’s okay because I’m loving them more than words! Also, I hope you guys enjoy my June TBR tomorrow. And if you’ve made it this far through this massive wrap up you’ve earned this little secret: I’m reading mostly all queer books this June and I am so damn excited! I hope you all had a wonderful May, and I’m wishing you all the love, happiness, health, and good books this June and for always! Happy reading!
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Also, I just wanted to add a little shout out to my immensely talented friend, H. D. Harris, who blows me away daily with all their amazing art on every medium they bless. This month, he was inspired to created Cilena, Goddess of Books and Reading, and he might have taken a bit of inspiration from a certain book blogger you all know! (Spoiler alert: It’s me!) But seriously, his art is a gift to the world and his friendship is one of the greatest blessings in my life! Check him and his patron out, friends! 💛✨