Sunday, June 4, 2023

Monthly Reads - May 2023

I hope you all are enjoying all the book reviews, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

Funeral Songs for Dying Girls was received as a review copy - this post contains affiliate links

So, in May I read 9 books - a mix of genres from YA mystery to Adult non-fiction. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books, so I'm working on that! I read 3 physical books this month and 6 audiobooks. 

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult historical fiction/greek mythology retelling of Ariadne and her younger sister (surrounding the minotaur and her ending up on an island and a god falling in lover with her! I really enjoyed this. It follows Ariadne and her younger sister, and really focuses on how women in their time suffered for men's choices all the time and what it was like for both girls. This follows most of Ariadne's life and I thought it was a great perspective!

Funeral Songs for Dying Girls by Cherie Dimaline☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult magical realism book. We meet our main character Winifred when she is about to turn 16, so she's at a pretty vulnerable stage in her life, but she's also dealing with the grief of losing her mom and her late night prowling at the cemetery may have started a rumour that the cemetery is haunted and she wants to find a way to use that to save her home. But, as Winifred befriends an actual ghost of a young girl in the cemetery, she is quickly faced with choices of how far she will go to save her home - she doesn't want to hurt her friends or family, but the relationships are complex and she faces difficult decisions. I loved the exploration of friendship, family, grief and love with a haunted setting so it wasn't too heavy and still a great read!

Blind Spot by Paula Hawkins ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is an adult mystery novella - I haven't read a true thriller in a while, so this was fun. We start with a murder and the wife trying to figure out (along with the police) what happened to her husband - I thought it was exciting and I enjoyed the story. I always wish that these shorter stories had a bit more to them but I enjoyed the character dynamics and it was good if you need something short and fast!

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy with a viking setting - quite unique for a fantasy setting that I've seen and I'm trying to get through this author's backlist as I've enjoyed her books! I really enjoyed this story - more than I was expecting. This is a young adult fantasy, but it read like a historical fiction almost and I enjoyed that. I enjoyed the opposing clans fighting and how everything came together. The story was fast-paced and I enjoyed the characters and the gentle love story in there too. The only thing is, the characters didn't need to be 17 I thought with the time lines presented it would have made more sense for them to be in their early 20s. And, this read so well as a stand alone so I'm hoping I enjoy the sequel.

An Anthology of Monsters: How Story Saves Us From Our Anxiety by Cherie Dimaline ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a short adult non-fiction - a collection of short essays and thoughts on anxiety. A quick and honest look at living with anxiety - I will read anything that Cherie puts out, and this was just a look at life with anxiety, dealing with imposter syndrome, coping, etc. Enjoyed how this was organized.

The Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult mystery - different than what I expected from the cover (I think I was expecting fantasy, but not a bad thing!) This was different than a lot of books I read - our main character goes undercover as a confidential informant to help solve the problem of drugs in their community and the related murders surrounding it. I enjoyed this story overall - I like how the story unravelled and the characters were great. There was some pretty scientific parts and it dragged a little with that, but overall a good story!

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a young adult fantasy with an island setting where there are two opposing groups on each side of the island; but there are also spirits who rule the island. When young girls start going missing, they don't know who to suspect is behind the disappearances. I am a fan of Rebecca Ross and I think this is a good book. I enjoyed the setting and the characters - I liked the old rivals to lovers with a little bit of whodunnit was good. I found the story a tad repetitive and slow at times, but enjoyed it overall and looking forward to book two. 

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult historical fiction surrounding a female scientist trying to make her way in the 50s and 60s when women were not treated equally. This was an enjoyable read - after getting fired, she is hired to host a cooking show where she adds in a bunch of science to teach the housewives watching from home while cooking! She was subject to a lot of harassment, but made small gains for herself and her daughter while creating the found family. It was sciency, but cute and a really easy read!

The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult historical fiction/norse mythology retelling - it follows the "Mother of Monsters" or the witch who birthed the monsters (with Loki) that eventually led to the events of Ragnarok. I loved our main character and I loved the monster children. Overall good mythology retelling to me (but I'm not well versed in this area) but felt true to characters/time/situation and it was well written!

May was a pretty good reading month - all 3.5 and 4 star reads, so no misses for me! 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

What was the best book you read this month?! My favourite of all of these was Funeral Songs for Dying Girls. 

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