May-June Reading Wrap-up and Goal Check-in
Updated: Jul 30
1. Beach Read by Emily Henry (Adult Romance) (361 pages) (5⭐️)
Down on her luck romance author January moves into her late father's beach house which he shared with his mistress. She and her neighbor, literary fiction author Gus, make a bet to write in each other's genre...and fall in love. This was a reread for me in anticipation of Henry's newest book release. This time around I was a lot more focused on January and her journey with grief and her evolving worldview. Be warned, it's not a story for those looking for a lighthearted romance.
Full Review (original and reread): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3294373982
2. The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (YA Mystery) (352 pages) (3.5⭐️)
This is the sequel to The Inheritance Games and picks up right where the first book left off. Avery and company must solve yet another of the late Tobias Hawthorne's 'games' to learn the location of his long lost son, Toby. Like the first novel this one is fast paced and full of riddles, clues, and romance. The cast felt bloated though and Avery (and thus the reader) was sidelined for parts of the game.
3. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Adult Romance) (364 pages) (4⭐️)
Travel writer Poppy and teacher Alex had a decade long friendship and took a trip together every summer. Two years ago they had a falling out but this year they are taking one last trip together. Like Beach Read this was a reread in anticipation of Henry's newest book. Upon reread I percieved less chemistry between the Alex and Poppy. However, I still found the expressions of longing and the dual timeline to be excellent.
Full Review (original and reread) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3745093152
4. Briarheart by Mercedes Lackey (YA Fantasy) (354 pages) (3.5⭐️)
Miriam is the elder half-sister of Princess Aurora (A. K. A. Sleeping Beauty). When a dark fae threatens her sister at her christening, Miriam discovers she has magic. This book is great if you're going through a fantasy slump because it's a very light, easy read featuring all kinds of magical creatures. I do wish the side characters were more developed and had more presence in the story.
5. Book Lovers by Emily Henry (Adult Romance) (384 pages) (3.75⭐️)
Nora is a literary agent who some consider to be a shark. She's also an overprotective big sister Libby. When the two get away for a vacation to a small town Nora comes face to face with her work enemy Charlie (and of course feeling develop). Out of all Henry's couples (from her romance novels) Nora and Charlie had the best chemistry. Sparks flew from every page. I just wish that things had progressed a tiny bit slower.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4395306020
6. Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross (YA Fantasy) (477 pages) (4.5⭐️)
Clementine is a magician in a small town who fights nightmares that come to life via an ancient curse. After her territory is stolen she disguises herself to get revenge against the man (Phelan) who took it from her. The writing of this novel is fabulous in that the world is rich and detailed. There are so many moments of foreshadowing that all lead up to dramatic reveals. You'll want to stay in this world long after the last page.
7. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (Adult Mystery) (313 pages) (2.25⭐️)
Magazine creator Jules and television star Will are getting married on a remote Irish island. Not everyone will make it back to the mainland alive. This novel is 90% drama between the characters with very few scenes taking place after the discovery of the body. It squanders its isolated setting and stormy atmosphere. Think of books like One by One by Ruth Ware then lower your expectations and that's what this book is like.
8. The Girls I've Been by Tessa Sharpe (YA Thriller) (356 pages) (4.5⭐️)
Nora is the daughter of a con artist who spent her childhood assuming different identities for her mother's cons. She'll have to use the skills she's cultivated to escape a bank robbery alive (with her ex-boyfriend Wes and girlfriend Iris). While the tense, fast paced plot draws you in it's the characters that keep you reading. Nora and Iris are quick thinking and complicated and Wes is sweet and reliable. Together their dynamics are heartwarming and devastating. See my full review for trigger warnings.
9. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley (Adult Thriller) (327 pages) (3.75⭐️)
A group of friends gather at a remote lodge in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate New Year's Eve. One is a killer and one won't make it back home. After loving The Paris Apartment and abhorring The guest List I had no idea what to expect. This one was thankfully closer to The Paris Apartment in terms of my enjoyment. The setting was perfect, the introspective writing was something I haven't seen a lot, and the red herrings kept me guessing.
10. The Resting Place by Camilla Sten (Adult Thriller) (328 pages) (5⭐️)
Eleanor's grandmother is murdered and she inherits a country manor she never knew about. She travels there with her boyfriend, aunt, and a lawyer. Soon they find themselves trapped and they may not be alone. This novel is perfect for fans of Lexie Elliot's The Missing Years. It has the exact vibe I look for in that it's a creepy, unsettling house story. I didn't see the reveals coming and the complicated relationship between Eleanor and her grandmother broke my heart.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4741498565
11. Life on the Line: Young Doctors Come of Age in a Pandemic by Emma Goldberg (Nonfiction) (277 pages) (2⭐️)
This book follows six doctors who have just graduated and are on the front lines (treating COVID patients) during the early days of the pandemic. This was not what I was expecting. I thought this would be an emotional roller coaster but instead I just felt removed and distant for a majority of the novel (and I myself had COVID in the first year). This read more like a textbook than anything when I wanted more of the new doctors and how they were coping.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4733795709
1. And They Lived... by Steven Salvatore (YA Contemporary) (363 pages) (4.5⭐️)
College freshman and budding animator Chase is struggling with his gender identity. He meets writer Jack who is struggling with his sexuality. Chase loves fairy tales, but can he find one with Jack? This book has lots of positive LGBT+ and mental health representation. It fills a void in the market for traditionally published college stories (often YA takes place in high school).
2. The Lost Village by Camilla Sten (Adult Thriller) (337 pages) (2.5⭐️)
Documentary filmmaker Alice and her crew travel to a small Swedish village where all the 900 residents vanished years ago. This novel absolutely delivers on the creepy, unsettling vibes. I was uneasy the entire time I was reading this. It lacks elsewhere such as the reveals which were underwhelming. The characters were either boring or unlikable and the mental health representation was straight up bad.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4754297866
3. The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson (YA Mystery) (383 pages) (5⭐️)
This is the fourth installment of the Truly Devious series about true crime aficionado Stevie Bell. This novel sees her solving a cold case at a summer camp. This was a reread for me. These books are what originally made me fall in love with the mystery genre and the first time I saw accurate anxiety disorder (which I have) representation. The series always feels like coming home after a long day to me.
4. The Charm Offensive by Alison Chochrun (Adult Romance) (354 pages) (4.75⭐️)
Charlie lost his job in tech after a mental breakdown. Seeking to redeem his imagine he joins a reality dating show. Instead of one of the contestants, however, he falls for his producer, Dev. Charlie has anxiety and panic attacks and Dev has depression (I have both). Seeing my own mental illnesses depicted with so much care and in the setting of a romance meant worlds to me. People like myself deserve these kinds of stories just as much as everyone else.
5. The Verifiers by Jane Pek (Adult Mystery) (354 pages) (4⭐️)
Claudia works for a secretive company who investigates the dates people meet on dating apps to confirm they're being honest. When a client ends up dead, Claudia decides to investigate. Following Claudia along on this investigation was a lot of fun. The family drama in the story was enough to fill its own novel and I wish it had been expanded upon more.
6. Ophelia After All by Raquel Marie (YA Contemporary) (335 pages) (2.25⭐️)
The titular Ophelia is coming to terms with the end of her high school days and preparing for the approaching prom. As she does so, she begins to question her sexuality after becoming attracted to another girl. I thought this would be perfect for me but Ophelia's annoyed me a lot. Also, the plot was more about her friends' love triangle than Ophelia herself.Not to mention the friends have zero chemistry with each other.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4792391503
7. Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez (YA Fantasy) (351 pages) (4.75⭐️)
Zarela hails from a family of dragon fighters but her family's legacy and home is at stake. She must hire a guarded dragon tamer to teach her how to fight. This book keeps up Ibañez streak of powerful female protagonists and rich, Bolivian inspired worlds. It's not just the dragons but also the romance bringing the heat.
8. Hide by Kiersten White (Adult Horror) (236 pages) (3.75⭐️)
14 people compete in a week long hide and seek camp at an abandoned amusement park. The prize is $50,000, but there's something sinister in the amusement park. This book reads like an adult version of Goosebumps: One Day in HorrorLand. There's not too much gore but the unknown is what makes it frightening. There were too many characters but I did grow to care for some of them.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4675441010
1. Camp by L. C. Rosen (YA Contemporary) (DNF'd at 92 pages)
This is a book about a boy who goes to a camp for LGBT+ youth. He pretends to be someone he's not in order to draw the attention of his crush. I DNF'd this book because I couldn't see any way that the author could conceivably convince me to root for this romance. Also, the dialogue between the campers and the counselors made me skin crawl.
TOTAL PAGES READ (MAY-JUN): 6,698 (avg. book length: 352.53 pages)
AVG. STAR RATING (MAY-JUN): 73.25/95⭐️ (avg. rating: 3.86⭐️)
TOTAL PAGES READ (JAN-MAY): 21,456 (avg. book length: 447 pages)
AVERAGE STAR RATING (JAN-JUN): 228.5/295⭐️ (avg. rating: 4.76⭐️)
GENRE BREAKDOWN (JAN-JUN)
AGE NA: 2/48
FANTASY/MAGICAL REALISM: 14/48
HISTORICAL FICTION: 2/48
MIDDLE GRADE: 1/48
1. Post a blog every weekend unless ill.
I posted one blog late and didn't post any blog at all one weekend. While this isn't ideal I am not going to beat myself up about it. I'll just strive to keep posting even more consistently.
2. Read at least 60 books.
I read 19 books total in the last two months. This means my goal is 80% complete.
3. Participate in Booksandlala's Buzzwordathon
The May buzzword(s) were directions (A.K.A. up, down, east, west, etc.). The June buzzword(s) was all. For May I read Dreams Lie BENEATH. For June I read Ophelia After ALL.
4. Read at least 5 nonfiction or poetry books.
I read 1 nonfiction in May so my goal is now 40% complete.
5. Read at least 1-2 adult books every month.
I read 6 adult books in May and 4 in June.
6. Reread at least 8 books in 2022
I reread 3 books in May and 1 in June. My goal is now 87.5% complete.