May Wrap Up

Hey everyone! 😺

I thought it was time for me to start doing monthly wrap ups for all the books I’ve read for the month!
Mainly because I don’t always review everything I read, and some of my books get lost along the way.

Honestly, I put a lot of pressure on myself to review everything, and sometimes I need to remind myself to just stop.
This website is something I do for me, it’s my passion, my hobby, and I don’t have any expectations from it so why am I punishing myself when I don’t have time or it’s been so long since I’ve read the book I’m then forcing myself to read it again just to finish the review. It’s stupid. So monthly wrap ups seemed like the way to have the best of both. I get to blab about everything I’ve read without putting too much pressure on myself and you get to be inspired to add some more books to your own reading list. BAM! Two birds!

..Just so you know, I got through quite a few books this month as I was off work for over two weeks, so you’ll probably find over the next few months less books on my monthly compared to this. I’m happy to report that it’s brought me ahead of my goodreads reading challenge so it was a good month to start!

So, here we go! A list of all the books I’ve read this month from my personal best to worst with a small review to summarise!

1. A Curse so Dark and Lonely
2. A Touch of Darkness
3. Uprooted
4. Just The Way I Am
5. A Deal with the Elf King
6. A Palace of Lost Memories
7. The Secret Diamond Sisters
8. Voyage
9. The Beautiful
10. Stolen Goblin Bride
11. Love and Lockdown
12. Lights Out Boys #2

A Curse so Dark and Lonely

First book on my list this month has to be A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A beauty and the beast retelling that was so much more than the typical fairytale we’ve all come to love – me in particular as they are a guilty pleasure of mine.
It had all the right pieces; a prince who becomes a beast and a girl getting caught up in it, both trapped in an enchantment created by an evil sorceress that can only be undone with the power of love. So what happens when you know that love isn’t going to be the answer and it’s the last chance to break the enchantment on the kingdom that’s been suffering for so long? Help the people while you still can. This is exactly what they do and it was so empowering and unique that I don’t even want to put it in the same bracket as a fairytale retelling because it told a story of it’s own. The characters are relatable with their individual weaknesses, the plot will keep you on your toes as the curse counts down to zero, and the overall world building was absolutely fantastic as we go from modern day DC to a fairytale kingdom. I loved every part of this book and it hit my favourites list instantly. I honestly don’t feel the need to read the next part of the trilogy because I was content enough to have this as a standalone. Check it out! You’ll find the full review on my website here.

A Touch of Darkness

Second on my list, we have; A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

I’m having a real Hades and Persephone month, I can’t seem to get enough of their retellings. This one is a modern tale with greek gods still running the show as well as other beings and creatures wandering around that was perfectly accepted. The gods are praised by what they do for humanity and make their presence known around the city to be around people – such as in nightclubs, which is where our story begins. Hades runs a nightclub full of sin, gambling and a way to get lost in oneself. It’s also where you’ll have a chance to make a deal with the devil himself, there is always one who feels like they can beat Hades in a deal, but the risk is always the same – losing your soul to the underworld. When Persephone goes behind her mothers back and joins her best friend for the chance to see inside the nightclub, she had no idea she would find herself at a table with Hades himself, even worse, realises too late she made a deal that will tie her to the underworld for the next 6 months – if she fails, she’ll be trapped there forever.

I adored this book because the characters felt so relatable, I loved watching Persephone come to grips with her feelings about the god of death, and I was completely smitten with Hades as he fell in love with her and already made a place for her by his side before she really knew what was going on. Deal or no deal. It was magical, romantic and I can’t recommend it enough!


Third on my list, we have; Uprooted by Naomi Novik

A mix of rapunzel meets beauty and the beast in this wonderfully well written fantasy retelling. You either love it or you hate it and I absolutely loved it. Whilst I actually read this book a few months ago, it took me a while to write the review so I ended up re-reading most of it this month and so it hit my May list.

The story was fantastic and I could not put it down! Whilst I didn’t fall over head heels in love with the characters I still liked them a lot, and the plot of the story was so absorbing didn’t let it faze me and still hit 5 stars. It was beautiful, enchanting and dark in all the right places. The characters were well written, unpredictable and surrounded in mystery, the storyline was fantastic you never knew what was going to happen around each corner, and the overall scenic atmosphere was perfect whether the characters were in a small cosy village, in the tower, in the city or in the cursed wood, the world building was spot on. To sum up the plot, a wizard known as the Dragon choses one girl from the village next to the wood once every ten years before releasing her, only for her to never be the same after. When he comes to collect the next girl, Agnieszka is sure he’s going to take her best friend Kasia, so when he stands in front of her claiming his choice, everyone is just as shocked as her. She’s a nobody with no skills or talents, but the Dragon sees something more.

If you didn’t pick up on it – I loved this book!

Just The Way I Am

Next up! I give you; Just The Way I Am by Jo Watson

I felt I was reading too much fantasy lately – and then quickly realised my reading challenge is like.. 75% fantasy, so I decided I needed to change it up a little with some romcom. Jo Watson has already become one of my favourites with her book Love To Hate You and I was keen to explore more of her work.
This book hit me in all the right places. I was in love with this story and it had me in tears by the end, it was unpredictable in all the right places and complete predictable where it mattered. The story is centred around two main characters, and it’s enough. Whilst the additional characters have a heartwarming purpose, they don’t need more than a few pages to get the job done. The build up around the main character is where it’s at, and it will be everything you want for a woman rediscovering who she is after losing her memory and her childhood. It will make you laugh out loud, cringe, swoon and cry with an ending so perfectly full circle you’ll keep wanting more. I thoroughly enjoyed going through the changes Zoe experiences with her second chance at life and I for one cannot recommend this book enough for someone looking for a sweet romcom to fill their evening. My full review can be found here.

A Deal with the Elf King

Next up; A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova

Yet another Hades and Persephone retelling, but this time it’s more subtle with an Elf King who manages the magical world and it’s barrier of the world of the dead, and a human girl born with elven powers that balances the natural world and the magical world with life. Both characters tied together to create a balance that has been diminishing for the last three thousand years. Luella will likely be the last Human Queen to sit on the magical throne that draws in the power of life to the magical world. The pull is too strong and her life force will be pulled from her the more she tries. When she comes up with a plan to destroy the magical treaty between worlds in order to save her and all future Human Queens, the Elf King makes a deal that if she can find a way to keep life in the magical world without the Human Queen’s magic before her coronation, she will be free to leave, if not, she will stay by his side for the rest of her life.

I loved this story, it felt so unique in its own way, the characters were great, the world building was brilliant, and the magical elements were really cool. The storyline felt rushed at times and you always felt you were one step behind the main character and her thought process, but I still enjoyed the plot. You can find my full review here.

A Palace of Lost Memories

The next book on my list; A Palace of Lost Memories by C.J. Archer

I’m becoming a big C.J. Archer fan after reading the Glass and Steele series and the Freak House series. She always has me wanting more of her historical fiction with her damsels being far from distress as they push against the limits of society. Each series has their own magical aspect that is wonderfully unique and brilliantly written. It didn’t surprise me to find me loving After The Rift series too.
A palace suddenly appears out of nowhere full of royalty and servants – non of them with any recollection of who they are or how they suddenly came to be near their quiet seaport village of Mull. Add a dash of romance and a murderer, it became a story I wanted more of.
Josie is the daughter of the village doctor, the best in the kingdom. She knows everything there is to know as his assistant, but can only take the role as midwife for her own since women can’t be doctors.

When she takes it upon herself to help one of the guards who was shot by an arrow from the mysterious palace that appeared out of nowhere three months ago, she finds herself getting caught up in the secrets of the palace and all those living there. With so many secrets going around, Josie teams up with the captain of the guard, Hammer, to uncover the truth.
Check out my full review here for more information!

The Secret Diamond Sisters

Next I give you, The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow

I actually came across this book from another book lover whilst browsing their reviews, the cover is different, I’m stuck with the UK kindle version, but I still like it. I watched a lot of Netflix during covid last year, a LOT of Netflix. I ended up watching a few seasons of Gossip Girl and whilst it isn’t usually my thing, I found it to be a nice distraction at the time. This book is basically Gossip Girl with the perspective of four teenage girls living the highlife in Vegas. Three poor extremely different sisters discovering their father is in fact a billionaire and find themselves struggling to fit into their new rich lifestyle whilst having the world judge them on every decision they make. One being a rich princess wannabe who quickly realises the sisters are here to stay and will do anything to push them out the way to stay in the spotlight.
15/16/17 years old, I couldn’t put too much hope in the main characters, they are childish, immature and whilst they’ve been living it rough their whole lives to give them an independent practical view of the world, it doesn’t take them very long to quickly get lost in the extravagant lifestyle in their own individual way – whether it was boys, shopping or forbidden romance. There was too much romance, too many guys, and too many changes they go through that the girls just seem to accept. I still liked it in a way. There is more to the story and their past than meets the eye and I’m keen to find out more. The full trilogy is available on Kindle Unlimited for those who have it


Next up! Voyage by Camille Peters

I’ve read a couple of Peters’ now, standalone books but all part of The Kingdom Chronicles. Inspired fairytale retellings and such that are quick easy reads about romance and adventure. They are sweet and innocent and are all about building up the characters to better themselves rather than an evil villain messing everything up. The romance is sickeningly sweet and sometimes goes a bit overboard and overpowers the adventure, you’ll come to hate the words ‘I love you’ by the end of it. It’s a romance, we get it, but I can’t deny it’s charming and endearing that will give you the warm and fuzzies.
I really liked the adventure in this one, a lonely princess known for her cold temper who’s duty is to marry for an alliance to a prince she’s never met in a kingdom she’s never seen across the ocean. Captain Ronan is the first person who treats her like a normal person and refuses to go by her title, even though he’s already announced that he’s her intended Prince Ronan, she laughs it off as she can’t believe a Prince and a Captain could be one in the same. Instead of taking her to her new kingdom to form the alliance, they find themselves on an adventure following a magical map that will take them to a treasure island.

If you’re keen to discover more, I’ve found the chronicles are available on Kindle Unlimited, there are seven books total and each one with a lovely romantic story like this one full of adventure.

The Beautiful

Next up! The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Whilst I actually read this book a month ago, I didn’t review it up until now so it made my May cut, especially since I ended up reading most of it again anyway for my review. I tend to do that a lot. You’ll find the full review on my website here.

You could call this a vampire romance, but in honesty – there aren’t many vampires to begin with. The main female protagonist is human, the dark mysterious man in charge is human, and the group that surrounds him are what I’ve described as mystical beings, since they are a mix of the occult that are described as illusionists or mentalists with various skills that are also vampires – I think – since they drank the blood of a man on a rooftop once, but it isn’t made clear throughout the entire book. Even the murderer, who you get to delve into the mind of with his own perspective occasionally, isn’t clear who or what he is, just that he is undead, immortal and a demon who had power over other demons. It’s a confusing cocktail of historical fiction based in New Orleans in 1872, unclear fantasy, romance that lacks passion and mystery where we already have the answer. I still loved it though. It created a fantastic foundation to the story that I can imagine only gets better with book 2!

Stolen Goblin Bride

Almost there, hang tight! Next, I give you; Stolen Goblin Bride by Emma Hamm

This cute little book popped up on my goodreads recommendation and I was curious as to why it did. I didn’t expect the blurb to be so off from the story which was slightly irritating. Our main character Esther did not steal anything from a goblin, it was given to her freely as a gift from the sweet rat goblin Lux, although she made the mistake of giving him money for it thinking she would be cursed if she didn’t – not aware that it’s the other way around. Esther finds herself taken away from her sister Freya into the magical fae world, she would have put up more of a fight if it wasn’t for the fact that she saw it as a wish come true to live in the fae world and naively prepares herself for a new life filled with adventure. Even when she discovers she is in fact Lux’s bride as per the rules of the goblin curse, she’s pretty open to the idea. She’s completely full of innocent optimism this one.
It’s a sweet short story that is definitely more suited to being in the children’s section than young adult, what started off as a ‘kidnapping’ ends up being happily ever after with happy go lucky feelings all over it. Nothing goes wrong, decisions are from the heart, and true love is found from the unusual happenstance that brought them together. Our sweet Lux is NOT the guy you see on the front cover, he looks more to be the fae king described with his silver skin and dark long hair.. so no idea what happened there. This entire story is the prequel to the ‘Of Goblins Kings‘ series where we get to explore the fae world with Freya and her association to the goblin king when she comes to find her sister.

Love and Lockdown

Almost done! Next, Love in Lockdown by Alyce Caswell

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley for an honest review. I thought it was appropriate for my time in self isolation this month. It was cute and reminded me of home. A lovely light romance that will make you remember the good times and the bad from covid as well as feel grateful for finally seeing it from the other side. I’m looking at you UK! Japan is still in the middle of it and I can’t wait to go home to some normalcy!

It’s a story about Angela, a woman who becomes jobless and very soon will be homeless as her savings have officially run out. Since her boyfriend isn’t up for her moving in with him, she has no choice but to go back to her parents. That is, until her neighbour Colin finds out about her predicament and offers her his spare bedroom. She quickly takes him up on his offer even though she would usually go out of her way to avoid him – right now she would do just about anything to avoid moving in with her mother.
The story is also told in Colin’s perspective, a radio show host who needs a new story. When his listeners find out about his new good deed in giving his neighbour a place to live, they are all ears for a potential romance situation. Not knowing how to keep his boss happy with this new development, he turns to Angela for help to create a lockdown romance the world wants to listen too.
The characters were sweet but didn’t blow me away, the romance was heartwarming but not swoon worthy, and the overall plot was predicable for a romance, but I liked the additional characters that pushed the story along.

Lights Out Boys #2 (Caught by the Bad Boys #4)

Finally – Lights Out Boys #2 by Raathi Chota.

This book flat out destroyed me. I’m so disappointed with it. I’m sure you’ve seen my first two reviews of the Caught By The Bad Boys series if you follow my blog, well this is essentially book 4, the finale of the series. Not only did I have to hunt it down and read it online because the author hasn’t published it, is it called a different name to the original trilogy which doesn’t make any sense is it’s literally the end to the Caught By The Bad Boys #3 cliffhanger. It LITERALLY follows on from the story.. So why is it called Lights Out Boys #2?? Just WHY?! So much rage.

*SPOILERS* Since the book is only available on inkett, it’s full of grammatical errors that appear everywhere, it’s messy and the ending makes you wonder what the hell was the point in the entire story. The author has spent three books building up this large group of friends surrounding our main character Lana, has given us at least four boys who are in love with her (Blake, Levi, Carter and Benny), built up a dangerous drug dealing murderer who wants to destroy her for ruining his plans, there are secrets, suspense, and you know something big is coming but you don’t know what. In book 4, YES BOOK 4 CUS THAT’S WHAT IT IS, after months of being in a wheelchair after the fire, Lana finally finds herself broken up from Benny who finally accepted she deserves more than him, and at Yale, her dream, with Carter by her side who still looks at her from across the room. You want something to happen since she’s now single but it never quite goes there. Fine. Friends forever 🧑. She had this trip with Blake that makes you wonder whether he will finally get the chance since she asked him to wait for her and we all know he will.. but then nothing happens. Fine. Friends forever 🧑. Levi shows up on her doorstep and literally takes her off her feet and they finally get together. Perfect. Swoon worthy perfect 🧑. THEN SHE GOES TO JAIL. THE END. Seriously?! What was the point in the whole drug dealer when she could have just been attacked by a homeless man and used self defence in book #1, because the outcome would have been exactly the same. WHAT WAS THE POINT. The bullet hole in the body didn’t matter. I totally saw it coming – but I repeat – IT DIDN’T MATTER. The entire drug dealers association didn’t matter. All the suspense and build up literally lead to nothing. N.o.t.h.i.n.g.

Like I said.. so much rage. I had such high hopes for this book but it let me down in every way possible. Almost felt like the author gave up by this point. She literally didn’t want to add this book to her ‘trilogy’ it was that bad. Argh.

So, there you go! My first monthly wrap up!

Let’s see what books I get my hands on for June!
I’m not going to do a monthly TBR list, because I never plan what I read – even with my reading challenge. I don’t understand how people do tbh. I guess normal people buy books and plan their blogs around them. I just read whatever I’m in the mood for at the time or if anyone recommends something great! That goes to show how many books I’ve currently got downloaded on my kindle.. yeah.. it’s a lot.. plus access to kindle unlimited keeps me busy. Anyhow..

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

See you next month!

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Hey! I'm Gemma :) I moved to Japan with my husband and cat three years ago which has been one big adventure. The only downside (besides missing my family and dairymilk) is that I've moved to a country where English bookshops are limited, plus the idea of transporting so many books back home sounds dreadfully expensive. I've grown to love my Kindle which is why I'm fixated on ebooks. It connects nicely to my goodreads and netgalley account also which means I'm always adding more to my never ending list of books. I read fiction and love all things fantasy, YA, historical fiction and classics. Add a bit of mystery and I'll be hooked!

4 thoughts on “May Wrap Up

  1. just the way i am, and secret diamond sisters sound super cool!! i love the recommendations and its super cool that you managed to read so much this month!! happy reading in june~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I had two weeks off work and took advantage of the time with my kindle 😊 next month I’m not so lucky but you never know! Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! πŸ™‚ I had a lot of time this month to curl up on the sofa with a book, I’m sure next month won’t be the quite same!


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