May was a difficult month for me this year. There’s a lot happening in the world. There’s a lot happening in my life and the two combined created a great evil that I couldn’t defeat. I burned myself out by mid-month and by the last week, I wasn’t reading anything at all. But despite the mental and emotional struggles I’ve been dealing with, I was still able to finish the month with five books.
I also only had two favorites from this month, but it doesn’t mean that the rest on this list were duds. They had their own merits and I can see how they can really surprise another reader. All of these stories were intriguing and delightful, but I wish my mood leaned more towards reading than it did not reading. If anything, these books deserve a better reader than me because it took a lot out of me to do it.
Favorites of the Month
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah – Sweep me away to a desert isle with jinn, magic, rivalries, and kingdoms to save. These stories always grab my attention and I loved what Chelsea Abdullah did to take the old A Thousand and One Nights and make it something that belongs to her. I loved following the characters and learning about this world. And as you get closer to the end, more secrets are revealed and more intrigue will keep you on your toes until the next book is out. You can read my full review here.
I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston – I promised myself I wouldn’t read any more contemporary YA romance stories. Why? Because something about being my age and feeling the disconnect between myself and the young people in the story and how that all makes me feel incredibly old. But I decided to try I Kissed Shara Wheeler when my mental health was at its lowest and something like a nice and easy YA romcom will keep me out of my own mind. This was such an unexpected delight. Not only did I love the mystery aspect (without the high-stakes concerns of losing someone’s life), but I also loved the deeper perspective on persona, who we portray ourselves to be, especially in a high school setting, and the discovery of your true self amongst it all. Also, it’s got a compelling romance. You can read my full review here.
Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire – I was so excited about this read because of my adoration for Middlegame. And while it didn’t hit the same way Middlegame did, it still blew me away. In this one, Seanan McGuire features the seasonal monarchs, the competition to the throne, and the cut-throat process of claiming Winter and Summer. Alongside Jack Frost and Corn Jenny, Melanie and Harry find that their lifelong friendship is way more connected than they thought. Also, you get a better idea of The Up-And-Under, which is probably my favorite part of the entire series. You can read my full review here.
For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten – There is so much I love about this book. I loved the reimagined Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and a few nods to Howl’s Moving Castle. I loved the matriarchal society, the way the trees played a huge role, even the romance! It was such a beautiful debut and definitely looking forward to reading the second book soon. You can read my full review here.
Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard – This was the shortest fantasy book I wished was much longer. I don’t know if I’m a huge fan of novellas because I always end up wanting to read more if the story is intriguing. And this one is definitely intriguing. A princess who’s been held captive in a rival kingdom only to return and not meet her mother’s expectations. On top of that, falling in love with the princess of the rival kingdom and dealing with PTSD of a fire that nearly killed her. And let’s not forget her mother appointed her the diplomat for her country as well. I mean, it’s a lot and this book was less than 100 pages. I wanted a whole series about the young princess, her journey to freedom, her feelings for loving the rival princess, and coming to grips with her mental struggles. I needed way more. You can read my full review here.
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – I know. It feels weird to put Becky Chambers into this category and not into my favorites, but this particular story wasn’t a favorite of mine. I loved the existential discussions, the look at a spaceship that holds all of human life after we left earth (think Wall-E, but with more human experiences), and the classic connection all of these characters have to each other. But in comparison to the other books in her repertoire, it wasn’t my favorite. You can read my full review here.