Books I Read In May 2020

Books I Read In May 2020

Yes, I know, July is about to start and doing a recap of all the books I read in May 2020 now seems a bit irrelevant. Especially as I also have to do my recap for June, which contains quite a few books as well. Twelve to be precise. As many as in May. Even though I was in a really good place reading-wise, I had no motivation to write blog posts and manage my blog these past few months.

I am sporadically working from home but mostly back to the office now. Indeed, New York City is finally reopening after COVID-19 (which is not over yet, don’t be a fool, wear a mask). But it is still a bit grim out there and although I really enjoyed reading all those books in May, I just did not feel like writing this recap just yet.

Books I read in May 2020

Now is time though. Because I have a lot of books to present, although I will not include the French books I read in May 2020 in this reading wrap up. If you are French or a French speaker, you may check out my Booktube channel!

May was overall a good reading months although there were a few deceptions, but I guess that is how it is.

1. Bloodwitch, Susan Dennard

Author: Susan Dennard
Published: February 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Series: The Witchlands

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4/5

Synopsis: Aeduan teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop a bloodthirsty horde of raiders preparing to destroy a monastery that holds more than just faith. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

My review: First of the books I read in May 2020 is Bloodwitch. Although I overall enjoyed this read, I have to admit that the first half of the book was pretty slow. Then, the pace increased very quick to give us a rather explosive ending. I noticed that we have this kind of build up in each book of the series but Bloodwitch took it a bit too far for me.

I like how the characters are complex and contrasted, never cliché. We also have a great cast of female characters and amazing female friendships, which is not that frequent in fantasy. Usually, we have female rivalry and jealousy.

The end was amazing and really makes me want to read book 4, which is  coming out in February 2021 if I am not mistaken. There is still a lot of mystery and questions I want answers to.

2. The Guinevere Deception, Kiersten White

Author: Kiersten White
Published: November 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Series: Camelot Rising

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Ending: 4/5

Synopsis: Princess Guinevere came to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land.

My review: One of the best books I read in May 2020. I think it was a great retelling of Camelot and the Arthurian legend, with a feminist twist. We have representation, diversity, interesting and complex female characters, great female friendships. I read through this book in just a couple of days and I can’t wait to read book 2.

However, I have to admit that some bits were a bit predictable and some descriptions a bit long, but beyond that, it was a great read. I love that this book lets the princess be the heroin of her own novel, have her fare for herself and never be the damsel in distress.

3. Bringing down the duke, Evie Dunmore

Author: Evie Dunmore
Published: September 2019
Genre: Historical romance
Pages: 368
Series: A League of Extraordinary Women

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Ending: 5/5

Synopsis: England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. The target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn’t be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn’t claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring…or could he?

Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke….

My review: I do not often read historical fiction but OMG, I think this book might be my favorite of 2020 so far. Definitely the best of all the books I read May 2020. I had so much fun reading it. It took me just a few days to get through it.

I loved the banter, the jokes, the coming-backs, the characters, the feminism, the romance in this relationship. This book felt like Pride & Prejudice with Suffragettes and it was such a fun read! Here again, we have interesting female characters and strong female friendships that really make this novel even better.

Each book of this series is a stand-alone and the next one comes out this fall I believe.

4. Heir of fire, Sarah J Maas

Author: Sarah J Maas
Published: September 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 592
Series: Throne of Glass

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Celaena survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life-and her future-forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

My review: This is a re-read so I do not have much to talk about. Of the three first books, it is my favorite, simply because that is really when the plot fastens. We discover new countries, territories, uncover new political intrigues as well as meet new great characters.

Celaena has a really interesting and deep character development. She lost a friend, she feels guilty, she refuses to accept her past, she has to deal with PTSDs. And so, we see her do that, which gives the reader a complete new perspective on Celaena, which was perceived as arrogant and whiny in the previous two books.

5. The mirror visitor, book 4, Christelle Dabos

Author: Christelle Dabos
Published: November 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 468
Series: The Mirror Visitor

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Plain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations.

Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she must marry Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan. Ophelia must leave all she knows behind and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold, icy ark known as the Pole, where danger lurks around every corner and nobody can be trusted. There, in the presence of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia slowly realizes that she is a pawn in a political game that will have far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world.

My review: This is the only French book in this reading wrap up simply because it the first two books are already available in English. I think this fourth installment was the perfect conclusion to an amazing series that I will definitely re-read soon.

The main characters have amazing development. We have a lot of very interesting female characters who all contribute to the plot in some ways. The open ending is to me the perfect way to end this book as it leaves the door open for a sequel and for the reader to imagine who it should carry on.

I admit the plot and final mystery were quite complex and sometimes felt a bit chaotic but overall I had an amazing time reading this book and highly recommend it!

6. Heart of flames, Nicki Pau Preto

Author: Nicki Pau Preto
Published: April 2020
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 640
Series: Crown of feathers

Plot: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Ending: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander.

Sev is spying on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, wants to regain the empire she lost – even if it means inciting the war herself.

My review: I really enjoyed book 1, despite the sea of information we get and the lengthy descriptions throughout the book. However, the book ended on a huge revelation which of course made me want to read book 2. Unfortunately, this was one of the most disappointing books I read in May 2020.

The plot was super slow, nothing really happened and the descriptions were even longer than in book one. We were changing point of view each chapter, fragmenting the reading pace even more. I do not understand the choice of the author to have an additional male character point of view, especially as it did not bring anything to the plot but just made it slower.

The few last pages are indeed action packed and promise an explosive last book to the trilogy but it took so long to get there. I had such high hopes after book one and wish book 2 were more straightforward. It did suffer from the middle book syndrome.

7. The fellowship of the ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Published: September 2012 (new edition)
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 432
Series: The Lord of The Rings

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Ending: 4/5

Synopsis: In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him.

After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

My review: I was so afraid to pick up this book as I had heard the English was quite difficult to read and the descriptions never ended. To be honest, I read through that book fairly quick and quite enjoyed it. Yes, things take some time to happen, but at the same time, a first book is always there to install the world and magic system.

It was a bit surprising to see how small a role Arwen plays in this and how even less female characters we have here. Sassy, confident and talkative book Frodo is very different to movie Frodo. I do not get why the character changed so much in the adaptation.

Overall, it was a good read and I want to start book two soon and complete the trilogy. In conclusion, one of the most surprising books I read in May 2020.

8. The boyfriend project, Farrah Rochon

Author: Farrah Rochon
Published: June 2020
Genre: Contemporary romance
Pages: 356

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Ending: 4/5

Synopsis: Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah – along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men and no dating.

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

My review: I don’t often read contemporary romance, mostly because of all the clichés they usually feature. Thankfully, this one did not and was quite a refreshing read.

It was a bit predictable and the steamy scenes were not that steamy but it was quite enjoyable a read. The romance was cute, cheesy at times but still nice to follow. I must admit I would have liked to have more of the three women’s friendships because in the end, it was really taking place backstage and the summary seemed to promise us it would be the focus of the book.

The book was also tackling issues such as racial stereotype, the hostility met by people of color in the workplace, double standards and how people of color and women are always held to higher standards than male. The main character was smart, funny, witty, accomplished and a good role model.

9. Winter, Marissa Meyer

Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: November 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 832
Series: The Lunar Chronicles

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

My review: I love the Lunar Chronicles. It is a brilliant science-fiction series with incredible characters, that does not fall into easy clichés, where the female characters are not damsels in distress, with representation and diversity.

Winter was a great conclusion to this series, action packed, with a lot of political intrigues, plotting and mystery. I read through this book very fast and was not bored at any point. Not everything is easy or solved fast. Everything takes some work.

I admit that I imagined another ending. Since the Lunar people love Winter so much, and despite the myth that non royal blood cannot rule otherwise Lunar magic would disappear, I still thought she would end up queen. Since Cinder does not know a thing about Luna and never really meet any Lunar. That would have been a great way to challenge the status quo and show that it is not blood that makes royalty but, heart, compassion and empathy.

Still a great ending! One of the best books I read in May 2020! Which makes for quite a few amazing books!

10. The last wish, Andrzej Sapkowski

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
Published: July 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Series: The Witcher

Plot: 0.5/5
Characters: 1/5
Ending: N/A

Synopsis: Geralt is a Witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good…and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

My review: I hated this book and DNF’d it. I cannot be bothered with this book and will just copy and paste my Goodreads review. Cliche, boring, misogynistic, sexist, male-gazy. The writing style is so stilted. I couldn’t get into the story even after 200 pages. I don’t get the hype. The worst book I read in May and in 2020. 

What books did you read in May? Did you read a lot of books? Is the lockdown over where you live? Are you back in the office?

Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.

See you soon,
Love,
Corinne.

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