My fantabulous MAY WRAP UP

Hello my honey bees! ? This month I read so many book, I’m overjoyed! At the same time, writing down this wrap up seemed such an enormous task…that’s why this post is arriving a little late; but please, bear with me and let me know in the comments your thoughts about these books.

I started off my month with “Nocturna” by Maya Motayne; it was a surprising entertaining story! Plus, I got the stunning Fairyloot special edition ? I’ve already written a review for this book; have a look and let’s discuss about it together!

I’ll go on with some other YA books that I expected A LOT. The first one is “Wicked Saints” by Emily A. Duncan.

It was so hyped that I was almost scared to be utterly disappointed; I was not! First of all, I should warn you. If you are sensible to violence and blood, probably this is not for you. It’s far from a sweet fairy tale, let’s just say that. Anyway, I loved the gory atmosphere that also recalls the Russian tradition. My favourite part is the characters, especially Nadya who’s got such a development. She starts has a devout obedient to a woman that discusses all her beliefs and finds her own courage. I can’t wait to see where her story will go on; I hope she’ll become a real frightening character, because I feel like no one really was scared of her. Moreover I think I found my new favourite OTP. Malachiasz and Nadya are amazing! The only flaw is that their background, as many aspects of the story and world-building, are not so explored. There are many unanswered questions. But, I mean, other two books are planned, so…nothing to worry about. Another thing that don’t really satisfied me is the conclusion. It all happens so fast that I was literally left confused; I didn’t understand what was going on. Compared to the general pace, the ending needed to have more room. But, Duncan’s writing style is awesome for me; I couldn’t stop reading, every scene is so vivid. She’s also able to handle the religious topic at best and I’m sure we will get even more about this conflict between human and Gods, between belivers and blood magicians.

Next, I also read “Finale” by Stephanie Garber, the last installment in the Caraval series. I was so excited because I fond of this story; but unfortunately the conclusion doesn’t really work for me.

Don’t get me wrog, probably you’ll get through the pages easily and maybe you’ll enjoy it, too. But in my opinion, it lacks of the magical sparkle of the other two chapters. The main focus here seems to be the love stories and that wouldn’t be a drawback potentially. But I think that there are the same scenes and situations continually repeated that bothered me. The love triangles resulted forced. And then, the adventurous element is not that relevant or present. I don’t even know how to put in word my disappointments; it’s a dull book. I’m sad because there was so much potential.

Let’s move on quickly on happier notes; I finally picked up “The Wrath and the Dawn” by Reéne Ahdieh.

I can’t praise enough this book! What an alluring atmosphere! You can really feel the Arabic vibes. I read it on one sit, I was so caught up. The female protagonist, Shahrzad, is so fierce and a real badass. But she doesn’t lose her womanly traits. The author’s so good that I could almost smell her perfume. And the romance…I’m fairly certain it will make you melt. As for the story, there are so many secrets to unravel and the country is on the brink of a war. It’ so dense and full of tension that I can understand why it enthralled me.

Then I loved “Aurora Rising“, click to read my complete review! After that I finished “King of Fools” by Amanda Foody.

I really don’t know how to rate this book; I’m feeling several mixed emotions. I can say is that “King of Fools” is definitely full of action and twists that will keep you glued to the pages; you won’t stop turning the pages to discover how the situation will be solved. Prepare yourself because the events are going to be complicated (and that’s an euphemism!). I liked to read about the girl gang and Enne’s still my favourite character; she decides to exploit her strong points without changing for anyone and this is amazing for me. Her relationship with the other girls, especially Lola and Grace, are great. On the other hand, there are some elements that really annoyed me, too. I need to figure out if it’s just a personal problem or if it’s some issue within the story itself.  I couldn’t stand Levi here and I hated that they stop working as partners, real peers; I didn’t like it because it brings to many avoidable misunderstandings. Overall, I think this is definitety an entertaining book that many could enjoy, I can’t deny it. That’s also why I will wait for the last book with high expectations (also because “King of Fools” ends with a major cliffhanger).

The last fantasy YA of May for me is “The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski. I know that it’s shallow, but this cover doesn’t make it justice..

This is such a complex story, nothing is easy in it, just like it would be in real life. The main protagonists seem star-crossed lovers since the very beginning; I appreciated how their relationship grows, from hatred to love, and they both learn from each other; for example, Kestrel, a cunning Valorian who doesn’t really know about the awful condition of slaves and behaviour of the soldiers, slowly opens her eyes and face a reality that is far more composite that what she expected. And also Arin, who swore to cut down every Valorian, understands that it’s not all black or white. Both their life are tragically affected by the interests of a great country that doesn’t care about love or equity (of course). Kestrel is such a good female protagonist; her strength lies her mind, she’s brilliant. I think it’s an amazing example for young readers. Get ready to have your heart conquered and then torn to pieces. …

Then it was the turn of “Poppy War” by R.F. Kuang, a book that’s been on my TBR since a very long time.

To be honest, at first it was so difficult to go on with the reading. The pace is definitely slow, due also to many descriptions and historical information; at the same time, I coulnd’t really bring myself to DNF it. I couldn’t stop. And it was worth it! The world-building is excellent and has many references to the actual story of the Asian countries, especially China and Japan. Rin is a peculiar protagonist; she’s determined to escape her miserable countryside life, she knows that she’s bound to more extraordinary deeds. And she sacrifices everything in order to reach her goals. It was almost scary to read, such a pure determination is striking. The other characters, although are interesting, aren’t that explored; I think that it’s more difficult to empathize with them. The story itself is fascinating, history is intertwined with myths; political intrigues and secrets are bind to supernatural powers; we look at a country torn by war; a war that don’t grant any kind of mercy. It’s brutally realistic and vivid. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!

That’s all for my fantasy readings, but now that I’ve exited my comfort zone, I can’t stop reading romances. The first one that I want to show you is “One day in December” by Josie Silver. I was so excited by this title, but unfortunately then it disappointed me.

Firstly, I have to be honest again, I’ve just discovered that love triangles are not my cup of tea definitely! I simply don’t enjoy reading about this topic and I get that this is my problem; “One day in December” has many love intrigues, so yeah, now that I know my likings, I’d probably avoid it or face it with the right perspective. Potencially the story was cute; I loved the idea of Laurie and Jack’s epic love story that starts with the most awesome and romantic exchange of glances. It’s a celebration of love at first sight. But then again, I couldn’t get attached to the characters; their actions were annoying in some ways (I’d talk about it but it’s a major spoiler so..). Also, the book is too long, in my opinion, especially compared to the events that actually take place. I’m sure that many of you could like “One day in December”; as for me and my tastes, I can’t really promote it 100%.

Next, I read “The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne.

This is perfect for you if you love the enemies-to-lovers trope; Lucy and Joshua are collegues, forced to work in the same tiny office. Apparently they couldn’t be more different, but they’ll find out that they have completely misanderstood the other’s behaviours. This book is ok for me, but nothing more. The story is predictable but cute; there’s nothing that really stand out.

But let’s discuss about my favourite romance readings of May; I’m so excited! The first title I’ll present you is “Ride” by Harper Dallas.

Don’t be fooled by the “cheap” cover, this book is awesome; it’s Harper Dallas’s debut novel and it’s so impressive! The writing style is flawless for the genre and the story is emotional and thrilling; I was immediately hooked! This is a sport romance, of course, and let me tell you this: the author is able to portrait all the snowboard adrenaline scenes perfectly. You can feel the rush of energy, as if you were looking at the crazy acrobatics of incredible athletes. You’ll get passionate to this sport, if you haven’t been yet! As a mountains lover, I could see all the respect, the awe and the fascination that they inspired reflected in these pages. The love story itself, between Brooke (a talented photographer) and Chase (professional snowboarder), maybe is a little cliché; however, since this is the first book of Dallas Harper, I think it’s definitely remarkable. Moreover, the chemistry between the two of them, their angsty relationship was enought for me and well developed. A pleaseant surprise!

Last, but not least, I read “The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary.

I loved it soo much! This is such a unique heartwarming story. In the end, I found myself crying so much; I felt good, hopeful and joyful. Leon and Tiffy share the same flat and the same bed, but they’ve never met at the beginning of the book. They start to comunicate through some post-its that they leave all arounf the flat; they soon develope a strong unconventional friendship that will bring many great outcomes. Both of them are so lovable, I can’t explain properly how much I got fond to them. Something that I really appreciate is Tiffy’s journey to overcome her emotionally abusive relationship with her ex-boyfriend. I found it very actual and also helpful. Emotional abuses aren’t less important; they are even more difficult to detect (often even the victim is unaware of them) and dangerous all the same. The only flaw that I can find is how the author’s decided to write Leon’s POVs. The majority of the sentences are without any subject; at first, it was really bothering. But when you settle in, then it’s not a big deal, in my opinion. I have to mention it though, because it’s a big part of the book.

OMG, what a long post! I’ve tried to summarize as much as I could my thoughts, otherwise I don’t know when I would have finished; I’m sure that I’d have bored you. Anyway, if you want to know more about any specific title, let me know in the comments below. Also, let me know your favourite May reading, I’m curious! Thanks for reading my post, until the next adventure!

Lots of love,

Debora ?

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