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May Reading Wrap-up + Goal Check-in

COMPLETED READS


1. Serpentine by Cindy Pon (YA Fantasy) (274 pages) (4 ⭐️)

Skybright is a maid to the daughter of a wealthy merchant family who discovers she is the daughter of a serpent demon. This novel was recommended to me by my bibliologist from Tailored Book Recommendations (more on that in a future blog). It had pretty much every element I look for in books including: own voices mythology (Chinese), a sweet female friendship, and a sweet romance. I wish this book had been longer because I wanted the mythology and the character's relationships to be further explored.

Read if: You like the world of Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan.

Book Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/i-used-the-same-book-recommendation-service-as-my-favorite-youtuber-tbr-round-1


2. Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera (Middle Grade Fantasy) (326 pages) (5 ⭐️)

Cece desperately tries to save her sister who has been stolen away by a dark criatura (evil spirit). In order to do so she must ally herself with another legendary criatura, Coyote. This was an unofficial/bonus recommendation from my bibliologist from Tailored Book Recommendations. I don't read a lot of middle grade so I was surprised by how much I fell for this novel. The world (which takes from northern Mexico as well as lore from other latinx countries) is engrossing. What really sold me, though, were the messages of friendship, teamwork, and acceptance which are especially great for the target demographic. Be warned, though, it touches on some pretty heavy topics.

Read if: You want a book that is a melting pot of Latinx mythology.

Book Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/i-used-the-same-book-recommendation-service-as-my-favorite-youtuber-tbr-round-1


3. A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole (Adult Romance) (360 pages) (3.5 ⭐️)

Naledi 'Ledi' is a grad student studying epidemiology and working multiple jobs. Thabiso is a prince of a small (fictional) African country. Unbeknownst to Ledi she was betrothed as a child to the prince. Now he's followed her to America to get to know her without reveling his true identity. This was a recommendation by my bibliologist. I liked how spicy the romance was and how the female lead was independent and intelligent. Thabiso wasn't my favorite but grew on me. The downside is the story was predictable and didn't feel very original and the plot twist at the end was obvious.

Read if: You want a diverse rags to richest/Cinderella story.

Book Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/i-used-the-same-book-recommendation-service-as-my-favorite-youtuber-tbr-round-1


4. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson (YA Mystery/Sequel) (369 pages) (5 ⭐️)

Stevie Bell is back at Ellingham Academy still determined to solve the infamous Ellingham Affair where the founder's wife and daughter went missing. This series means a lot to me for its anxiety representation and I'm rereading through the trilogy in anticipation of the release of The Box in the Woods (same characters featuring a new mystery and location). The sequel keeps things fresh by adding a new mystery to solve (where did Ellie from the last novel disappear to) and giving Stevie a mentor. The past chapters this time focus on two former Ellingham students whose story intersects effortlessly with Stevie's present day chapters.

Read if: You like mysteries in secluded locations (and anxiety representation).

Book Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/truly-devious-by-maureen-johnson-a-review


5. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (Adult Romance) (384 pages) (5 ⭐️)

Best friends Poppy and Alex used to take vacations together every summer until they had a falling out two years ago. Poppy convinces Alex to take one last vacation together and wants to fix their relationship. Her last novel Beach Read (also an adult romance) was one of my favorites last year and so I was highly anticipating this one. This exceeded my expectations. I way it was written (past and present) suited the story and Poppy and Alex fit together just right. It's my favorite adult romance I've read.

Read if: You want a summer read to take on vacation.

Book Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3745093152


6. Rules for Vanishing (YA Horror) (402 pages) (4⭐️)

Sara's sister Becca vanished and Sara believes it was because she played the game. The game where you follow the road to find the ghost of a girl named Lucy Gallows. Sara and her estranged friends decide to play. This novel is imaginative nightmare fuel featuring monsters, body horror, and psychological horror. It struggles to balance its large cast though said cast offers plenty of diversity. Trigger warnings for mentions of self-harm and domestic abuse. Trigger warnings for: mentions of self-harm and domestic violence.

Read if: You want to know where Lucy went.

Book Review: Coming to the blog soon!


7. How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black (YA Fantasy) (173 pages) (5 ⭐️)

This functions as both a prequel and sequel to the Folk of Air trilogy and follows Cardan who is a faerie prince of Elfhame (as opposed to Jude the protagonist of the main series). This was a nice if unnecessary addition to the series. It doesn't add a lot of new information but that's unsurprising given the short length. I liked the story telling aspect of the story because at my core I'm a fairy tale lover. I also liked the cyclical nature of the book.

Read if: You just finished the Folk of Air books and are craving more faerie content.


8. King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Middle Grade Contemporary) (259 pages) (5 ⭐️)

King is grieving the loss of his elder brother while also struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. This book was powerful, emotional, and important. I think a lot of young people will be able to relate to King. The relationships were incredibly well written. Even if you're my age (late 20s) I still recommend you read this because it is just that good.

Read if: You're struggling with understanding your own sexuality/coming out.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3359780504


DNF(s)


1. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (Adult Mystery) (read 134 pages) (DNF'd at 35%)

Maggie Holt returns to the supposedly haunted home her family fled when she was a child seeking the truth. This was my third Sager book after very much disliking Lock Every Door and very much liking The Last Time I Lied. I love creepy mysteries so I had (decently) high hopes. The reason I decided to DNF this book was because it wasn't creepy, spooky, or scary. It was cliche and bordering on cartoonish. Also, in all of Sager's books I've read there is the same problem with his protagonists. They're never fleshed out. They're always given a singular trait (maybe two if they're lucky). I haven't entirely given up on Sager but I'm losing hope and I do think he's overrated.


2. The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (Adult Mystery) (read 87 pages) (DNF'd at 28%)

Ambrosia returns to Wesleyan for her 10 year college reunion but someone from her past is threatening her. This book felt very juvenile for an adult book and was a snore especially for a mystery/thriller. I kept waiting for something to happen but nothing did and there was no intrigue. The main character was grossly unlikable as she was a classic mean girl and was incredibly judgmental. Really there was nothing good about this book and it was seeming like it was headed for a 1 star review if I had continued and finished.


TOTAL PAGES READ (APR): 2,768 (avg. book length: 346 pages)

TOTAL PAGES READ (YTD): 14,230 (avg. book length: 355.75 pages)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (APR): 36.5/40 ⭐️ (4. 56 avg. rating)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (YTD): 170.25/200⭐️ (4.26 avg. rating)


GOAL CHECK-IN


1. Read at least 60 books

I read 8 books this month meaning that I have completed 40 books this year so far and, according to Goodreads, 16 books ahead of schedule.

2. Have at least one book a month be a reread

I completed 1 reread this month, The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, meaning I completed my goal for the month.

3. Read at least 1-2 adult books a month

I completed two adult books in May (A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole and People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry). Thus I completed my goal for the month.

4. Read at least 10 nonfiction and/or poetry books

I did not read any nonfiction or poetry books this month so I am still at 50% of the goal complete.

5. Post a blog every weekend unless ill and/or recovering from surgery

I posted a blog every Saturday this month meaning I completed my goal for the month.

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