ADULT, ARC, BOOK REVIEW, Book Reviews, CONTEMPORARY, Fantasy, MAGICAL REALISM, New Adult, RETELLING, Sci-fi, Wrap Up, Young Adult

May Wrap Up | 2020

Hello bookworms! I’m Nia and today I’m going to be talking about the books I read in May!

May was a decent reading month for me. I was in the middle of a reading slump when it began, and I went through another in the middle of the month, so I didn’t read as much as I wanted to. Also, I was pretty much obsessed with Animal Crossing and spent a lot of time terraforming my island, so I didn’t listen to any audiobooks or read during that time. Nonetheless, I read quite a lot of books this past month, so I can’t really complain.

As always, I’m going to be leaving synopsis of each book mentioned, in case you’re interested in any of them, as well as link my reviews if I’ve already posted them.

Without any further ado, let’s begin with my May wrap up!

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Pretty Stolen Dolls | Ker Dukey & K. Webster

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★★★


When Jade and her little sister Macy meet a dollmaker named Benny at a local flea market, they have no idea their lives are about to change forever.
Kidnapped and held prisoner by the psychotic serial killer, they spend years in captivity, lost to the world.
Resolute in seeking freedom, Jade finally manages to escape the clutches of the brutal monster of a man and his sadistic torture. But it comes at a devastating price.

Macy is left behind.

Years later, and now a detective herself, Jade is determined to hunt down her kidnapper and finally free her sister. She soon learns, after a string of new murders with an eerie familiarity…

She’s not the only one on the hunt.

Her past is about to catch up with her.
And Benny is a lot closer than she thinks.

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Pretty Lost Dolls | Ker Dukey & K. Webster

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★★★

Have you ever touched another’s soul with the essence of your own and breathed them in, so they become a part of you?
I have.

Finally starting to live, feel, and fall in love, amongst all the chaos surrounding her, Detective Phillips lets her guard down. The demons from her past come raging back with a vengeance, haunting her present.

Nothing will ever be the same.

She left herself open and he came back to take what he believed was his.
Her.
Now she’s right where she started…his captive.
The only difference this time?

All the rules have changed.

She’s not the innocent child she once was.
And he’s not the only threat she has to fear.

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The Shadows Between Us | Tricia Levenseller

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★★★★★

My Review: I’ve already posted a review of this book, so click here in case you’re interested to know my thoughts about it.

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Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

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Hunted By the Sky | Tanaz Bathena 

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★★★.75

My Review: I’ve already posted a review of this book, so click here in case you’re interested to know my thoughts about it.

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Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. 

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A Whisper in the Dark Jessi Elliot & K.J. Sutton

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★★

Charlotte Travesty lives in a world of comfort. Glittering nightclubs, a lavish mansion, and a staff of humans at her beck and call. Being a royal vampire means her future is secured—all she has to do is get through the Awakening, an ancient ceremony every vampire experiences when they come of age.

But when her Awakening arrives at last, everything changes in one terrifying instant.

Cast from her home and rejected by the royal family, Charlie is forced into a life of fear and brutality. Where creatures called weepers live below the city, kept at bay by an unlucky sector of fighters enslaved by the very king who cast her out. Charlie now finds herself among the ranks.

She soon learns that weepers aren’t all she needs to fear in her new life. Other workers are dying in the tunnels below ground. Charlie knows that if she’s going to survive, she must form alliances with the very humans that despise her. But will she win their trust in time? Or will she die in the very darkness she was born to rule?

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Violent Delights | Jessica Hawkins

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★★★.75

In the de la Rosa family, old grudges run deeper than loyalty, and betrayal is a three-letter word: war. But this feud isn’t between enemies. It’s between brothers. And I’m the prize.

I was born a princess among criminals. An untouchable among thieves. Heiress to a life others have killed for, and one I’m prepared to trade for my freedom. I vowed not to leave without Diego, my first love and best friend, but if his ruthless brother has his way, I won’t leave at all. Cristiano de la Rosa is a man as big and bold as his legend. Once upon a time, he was our cartel’s best soldier . . . until he became my family’s worst enemy.

A man like Cristiano will bend fate to his will to get what he wants. Even if it means dragging me to hell—and tearing me from his brother’s arms.

“She is mine.” Three words from two different men.
A life, future, and love I don’t get to choose.

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Macbeth | William Shakespeare

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★★★★

One night on the heath, the brave and respected general Macbeth encounters three witches who foretell that he will become king of Scotland. At first sceptical, he’s urged on by the ruthless, single-minded ambitions of Lady Macbeth, who suffers none of her husband’s doubt. But seeing the prophecy through to the bloody end leads them both spiralling into paranoia, tyranny, madness, and murder.

This shocking tragedy – a violent caution to those seeking power for its own sake – is, to this day, one of Shakespeare’s most popular and influential masterpieces.

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The Court of Miracles | Kester Grant

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★★

My Review: I’ve already posted a review of this book, so click here in case you’re interested to know my thoughts about it.

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In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

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Her Every Fear | peter Swanson

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★★★

Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full-blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

Soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves–until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment and accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? What about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jet-lagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself, so how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

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A Song Below Water | Bethany C. Morrow

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★★★

My reviewEver since I read the word “siren” in the synopsis, I immediately added to my TBR, because I’m a sucker for anything related to mermaids or sirens. And I think I was expecting something completely different, because this was more a contemporary than the full on fantasy about sirens that I was expecting.

To be honest, that was a “me” problem, but I’m not the biggest fan of fabulism/contemporary with slightly fantasy elements type of books. I have read quite a lot in the past, and though some I’ve really loved, most of them were a 3 star for me. And this ended up like the last one.

The thing about this book is that I really enjoyed it, but since I was expecting something totally different, I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed. The fantasy elements weren’t really touched or explored, and we didn’t learn more about the sirens. I think that element was there to add a touch of something different, but the author didn’t explain that magic system to the reader, so at times it was a bit confusing.

However, the characters were absolutely fantastic. I don’t know what I was expecting this book was going to be, but it ended up being such a hard-hitting contemporary, with scenes that were so sad and heartbreaking to read. It had such great commentary, and a very clear and powerful message.

The characters were pretty complex, and even though A Song Below Water was a pretty short book, I had the feeling that their arcs were so complex and well written. Their evolution throughout the story was smoothly written, and I adored the relationship between Tavia and Effie, and how much they cared and protected each other.

The ending felt a little rush and happened quite suddenly, and there were some revelations that were a bit confusing and under-explained. I think that the fantasy elements were mostly there to create something unique and not because it was a fantasy story, which was what I originally thought, and if it was labelled differently I wouldn’t have been confused the entire time.

Overall, I would totally recommend this book if you’re looking for a hard-hitting contemporary with a raw and powerful message, or if you enjoy contemporaries with a fabulism or whimsical twist, but if you’re expecting a hardcore fantasy you might be disappointed. However, the characters made the book so worth it, and the sisterhood was so pure and beautiful.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

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Six of Hearts | L.H. Cosway

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★★★.75

I think in triangles. You think in straight lines.
I show you a table and make you believe it’s a chair.
Smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand, misdirection. I trick and deceive.
But most of all, I put on a good show.
The world thinks I killed a man, but I didn’t. Bear with me. It’s all a part of the plan.
Revenge is what I want. I want it for me and I want it for her.
I want it for all six of us.

She doesn’t remember me, but she’s the reason for everything. She’ll be my prize at the end of all this–if I can hold onto my willpower, that is. Maybe I’ll slip up a little, have a taste, just a small one.

So go ahead and pick a card. Come inside and see the show. Look at my hands, look so closely that you can’t see what’s happening while you’re so focused on looking. I’ll be destroying your world from right here in the spotlight.

You’ll never see me coming until it’s too late.

I’ve only got one heart, and after I’ve pulled off my grand deception I’ll hand it right to her.

So, sit back, relax, and let my girl tell you our story. You’re in for one hell of a ride.

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Cinderella Is Dead | Kalynn Bayron

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★★

My review: I’ve already posted a review of this book, so click here in case you’re interested to know my thoughts about it.

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It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

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Take a Hint, Dani Brown | Talia Hibbert

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★★★★.25

My reviewEver since I read and adored Get a Life, Chloe Brown last year this series became a must read for me, because not only I adore Talia Hibbert’s writing, but also her way of creating characters and relationships, so I was so excited for this upcoming release because we got little snippets of her in the first installment, and I ended up absolutely adoring this story, and cannot wait to pick up the third book in this series.

One thing I notice with her books is that they are so unique and different. I don’t usually read romantic comedies that much, so the tone of the story was a little bit different from everything that I’m used to. It took me a few chapters to get into the story and to keep wanting to continue reading, but once I passed that mark I found myself absolutely loving these characters and rooting for them.

I adored Dani as a main character, and I think she had such a different personality from other romance novels. She was sassy, intelligent and unapologetically sincere, and I think that her arc was so interesting and fun to read. I adored so much her personality and how confident she was, and the way she spoke about the things she wanted. I also think that the romance between her and Zaf was oh, so good.

Talia Hibbert has a way with romance. I don’t know exactly what she does, but somehow she manages to create a realistic and complex couple in 300 pages, and a totally believable one. I adored Zaf and Dani’s chemistry and how their relationship progressed, and basically their interactions throughout the entire novel. Somehow there were times where I was laughing out loud at some hilarious moments, and others that were more hard hitting and deep, but they balanced out so well.

Overall, I highly recommend this series to anyone who’s a fan of romance. It’s got steam, great and diverse characters with realistic problems, and an amazing romance, so I can’t really complain about anything, because this book was a hit for me.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own. 

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Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

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King of Libertines | Pam Godwin

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★★★★

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The Hunter | L.J. Shen

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★★★★

Hunter

I didn’t mean to star in a sex tape, okay?
It was just one of those unexplainable things. Like Stonehenge, Police Academy 2, and morning glory clouds.
It just happened.
Now my ball-busting father is sentencing me to six months of celibacy, sobriety, and morbid boredom under the roof of Boston’s nerdiest girl alive, Sailor Brennan.
The virginal archer is supposed to babysit my ass while I learn to take my place in Royal Pipelines, my family’s oil company.
Little does she know, that’s not the only pipe I’ll be laying…

Sailor
I didn’t want this gig, okay?
But the deal was too sweet to walk away from.
I needed the public endorsement; Hunter needed a nanny.
Besides, what’s six months in the grand scheme of things?
It’s not like I’m in danger of falling in love with the appallingly gorgeous, charismatic gazillionaire who happens to be one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors.
No. I will remain immune to Hunter Fitzpatrick’s charm.
Even at the cost of losing everything I have.
Even at the cost of burning down his kingdom.

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The Dark Tide | Alicia Jasinska 

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★★★★

My review: A review will be posted later this week, so stay tuned if you want to hear my thoughts about it.

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Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.

Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.

When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin | Roseanne A. Brown

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★★★★.25

My review: A review will be posted later this week, so stay tuned if you want to hear my thoughts about it.

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For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

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Sea of Ruin | Pam Godwin

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★★★★

Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.
Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.
Can love prevail in the sea of ruin?  

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What books have you read this past month and which one has been your most and least favorite? Have you read any of these books I’ve mentioned above? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “May Wrap Up | 2020”

  1. I’ve read hardly anything thanks to my reading slump but I’m sure I know the cause of it now so in theory I can overcome it. It sounds like you’ve read some fantastic books though. I so can’t wait to read The Shadows Between Us as it sounds amazing. So many of these are on my TBR and sound incredible.

    Like

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