Given that I basically only read one book in March - the audio version of Persuasion by Jane Austen - I'm pretty dang impressed with last-month-me.I managed to read *wait for it... drumroll* nine books in May. NINE! Granted, some of them were pretty short, but they still count! So here's a quick rundown of the books I read in May and my very brief thoughts on them. Please note, these are not listed in the order I read them, rather the order that made formatting this blog post easiest.
Predator and Prey by Liz Meldon
Paranormal, Erotica, Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Both 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Buy them on Amazon
I first picked up these books because I needed something different from my usual reading routine, and the fantabulous Sarina Langer, who has made several appearances on this blog, recommended them. Both books are well written, well paced, and interesting. I was disappointed because the consent aspect is a little squiffy, and Predator was incredibly short, so I didn't feel like the price was comparable to the amount of content I got. I don't know that I'm going to finish the series, though, because I am massively burned out on series at the moment.
Prompt Me by KJ Chapman
Education and Reference, Writing Skills
Buy it on Amazon
I had the pleasure of interviewing KJ Chapman a while back, and let me tell you, she is one creative mama. Prompt Me is a brilliant resource for anyone who needs to get those creative juices flowing. It's a collection of prompts, as you might have guessed from the title, but they're broken down between dialogue, narrative, and "what would you do if..." prompts. I can't recommend it enough, and it was the only book I read in May to receive the coveted 5-star rating from me.
Dark, Witch, and Creamy by HY Hanna
Buy it on Amazon
I've mentioned previously on this blog how I really enjoy cozy mysteries but haven't actually read many, so I've been trying to buy more. Sadly, I've been disappointed so far. I need Anna B. Madrise to come out with more because she's my favorite cozy mystery writer! Anyway, DW&C had a lot of potential, but it fell a little flat for me. Don't get me wrong, three stars is still respectable. That's a solid book, but it just didn't wow me. It played into a lot of tropes I don't enjoy/find a bit shallow, and the writing seemed a bit forced. I'm glad I read it, though.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible! by Jonathan Goldstein
Humor and Satire, Short Stories, Single Authors
Buy it on Amazon
I have to give credit to my sweet friend, andrea.hunter3, who I know through Instagram. She sent me this book in the mail after she finished reading it because she is a wonderful person. This isn't typically the kind of book I read - I hardly ever read short story collections - but I was happy to expand my horizons. I have a complicated relationship with the Bible itself, so this was a really interesting experience. There's a lot of bodily humor in this book, which I generally like if it's done cleverly, though I'll admit it eventually got a little overdone. Goldstein took an interesting view on some of the characters, giving them personalities (albeit very silly ones), but some of them I couldn't help but kind of feel like they rang pretty true *gives side eye to Jacob, his mum, and that whole crew*. The story of Joseph and Mary at the end had to be my favorite, though. Lemme tell y'all, I have had so many annoying conversations, wherein the other person was like, "Oh, poor Joseph. He was such a great guy for not embarrassing Mary." Okay, first of all, you don't get bonus points for being a decent human being! Being a decent human being is the minimum standard. Second of all, what about Mary? Ya know, being the one actually tasked with carrying the baby and being ridiculed and scorned. Rampant misogyny within the church is at the top of my crap list, so I loved the way Goldstein approached this story.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Classic Literature, French Literature
French existentialist fiction is clearly not my cuppa tea. I'll give the book this, though: it took me on a journey. Kaisha from one of my favorite podcasts, Read.Write.Repeat, loves this book, and for the life of me I can't figure out why. Here's my biggest issue with the book. Madame Bovary is unhappy, and she keeps thinking this new lover or having a child or whatever will make her happy, and it doesn't. This is totally understandable, but the only thing she really does to chase her happiness is by making bad decisions. Really bad decisions. There's not much about her that I like or appreciate as a character. She's pretty selfish and short-sighted. Sorry, guys. Not a fan.
The Alpha Drive by Kristen Martin
Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Buy it on Amazon
I met Kristen Martin last year at BookCon, and I'm subscribed to her YouTube channel, which I recommend as a resource for writers. The Alpha Drive is a pretty solid YA dystopian novel with an interesting premise. The action/pacing was good, and she does a good job keeping you guessing as to who can and can't be trusted. There was something in there that really bothered me; though, to be fair, this bothers me in a lot of YA literature. I am so over the trope of everyone in YA books being thin and gorgeous with perfect teeth and fabulous hair. I have such a strong dislike for this, and sooooooo many YA books do it, and this one fell right into that too. I liked the secrets a lot though, and I actually appreciated that the technology wasn't explained. I know hardcore sci-fi fans might not like that, but I'm easy. This suit is flame, bullet, and waterproof? Sure, I'm down with that. Let's read on! So, yeah, it was a fun adventure.
Haemans by Nicoline Evans
Dark Fantasy, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Buy it on Amazon
Nicoline Evans is another author I had the pleasure of meeting at BookCon last year, and she is such a sweet, helpful person! I asked her a bunch of questions because, at that time, I wasn't sure if I should have a booth there. She was so encouraging and helpful, and I really think you should follow this lovely human being. Okay, to the book. I actually bought Haemans thinking it was a vampire book. It... sort of is? Not really? It's hard to explain. Yes to the blood drinking and superhuman abilities, no to actual vampirism. So it wasn't quite what I expected going in. Still, it was really interesting. Firstly, it's set in Russia. I don't think I've ever read a book set in Russia before, so that was really cool. I didn't love the main character's mission, as it involves a dude saving a girl who doesn't want to be saved at the risk of a bunch of other people, and so I just couldn't get behind him at all. I really liked some of the side characters, though. I found the dialogue to be a bit clunky, but the action and pacing more than made up for that. And the villain is someone I would happily run over with a bus, back up, and do it again.
Okay, so there are all the books I read in May. What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below. Me, I'm currently beta reading Darkened Light for Sarina Langer (no publication date planned for that just yet as far as I know) and I am loving it!
Thanks for reading!