I read eleven books in May, thanks to a tear of novels in the middle of the month. However, I should also add that’s cheating a little bit since there were also two short stories of just under 100 pages each tucked in there! I really loved Amy Ewing’s Jewel series, though, and would highly recommend it for lovers of page turning dystopian rebellion novels (like The Hunger Games and The Selection). This month helped me catch up a little closer to my goal of 100 books for the year, but I’m still woefully behind, and not really keeping the pace for June thus far :/
The Queen of Hearts, by Kimmery Martin: I loved this novel so much and found it hard to put down – this was definitely my favorite book of the month, and close to five stars! The story was really compelling, and it reminded me of a (more realistic but still dramatic) Grey’s Anatomy. I loved all the characters and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. The language was incredibly descriptive and beautiful, making it easy for me to put myself in the story and picture everything clearly, so even though the plot was centered around the romantic drama, I wouldn’t classify it as just another chick lit novel. Looking forward to the next book by this fantastic debut author!
Wedding Girl, by Stacey Ballis: Stacey Ballis always does a great job with chick lit that has just enough depth to not be silly. And since they’re usually about chefs and include recipes in the back, they also make me hungry! I especially want to try Sophie’s Mom’s Noodle Kugel. Overall, I loved this book and the characters – I’m always surprised Stacey Ballis isn’t more popular.
Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship with Food, by Rachel Herz: This had a lot of fascinating scientific studies I didn’t yet know; however, I found it a little bit dry and it didn’t totally capture my attention. I think I may be just burned out on non-fiction right now and needing to read some lighter novels, so I still gave the book four stars for some great science that will teach you a lot of interesting behavioral science factoids around food.
The Jewel, by Amy Ewing: This was recommended as a cross between The Selection and The Handmaiden’s Tale. I would say it’s much more the latter (i.e., fairly dark and creepy compared to the lighter Selection), which was a bit of a disappointment. However, I ended up really getting into it, and then couldn’t wait for the next two in the series! (This ended on a pretty big cliffhanger, so get ready to read more afterward.)
The White Rose, by Amy Ewing: This whole Jewel trilogy was very reminiscent of The Hunger Games – book 1 was about playing by the rules but trying to escape, book 2 was about staying in hiding and laying the foundation for revolution, and book 3 was the bloody battle. This second book in the trilogy was probably my least favorite of the three, but it was still an exciting page turner and I read it in just a few hours. I appreciated that Ewing did a good job setting the scene in the beginning (i.e., spelling out what happened in the last novel) without it seeming pedantic – that’s a skill that’s missing from a lot of trilogies, where each book picks up where the last left off and if you didn’t read them consecutively, you’re lost.
The Black Key, by Amy Ewing: This book was really exciting, and there were times I caught myself skimming rather than reading in full because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next! There were a few twists I picked up on in advance (e.g., meeting a character and immediately realizing s/he was going to be the sacrificial lamb at some point), but overall, I loved it – a really satisfying end to the series.
The House of the Stone, by Amy Ewing: After reading all three of The Jewel books, I couldn’t resist reading the novellas as well. This one was tough to read because of all the brutality, but I liked how closely it aligned to the regular books – it was clear that the author did her homework to make sure every piece of dialogue / action lined up, and I had a lot of “aha” moments when I remembered how it had seemed from Violet’s perspective. Because this ends chronologically when book #1 does, I’d recommend reading it between books 1 and 2.
Garnet’s Story, by Amy Ewing: Garnet was one of the most intriguing characters in The Jewel trilogy, and it was fascinating to see how he got brought into the revolutionary plot. I wish this could have gone on longer, as I would have loved to understand how Garnet felt about Raven once he was married to Coral.
Delirium, by Lauren Oliver: This was recommended for those who liked the Jewel series… but it didn’t live up at all. I couldn’t get myself to like the main character, Lena, most of the time, even though I was initially excited that she was a runner. I didn’t mind finishing this to see what happened, but I won’t be reading the others in the series.
I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella: This was a cute series of vignettes, but I found it to be a little hit or miss. Some were laugh-out-loud funny, but others felt like they were trying too hard (especially from Lisa’s side). I loved the insights from Francesca on 30-something single life / dating, though, and wish I could read a book entirely by her!
Comfort and Joy, by Kristin Hannah: This had a really strange premise – not at all the typical Kristin Hannah novel. It was way too mystical for my taste, and I was also frustrated that the main character seemed to just roll over and give in / forgive so easily. I’m really disappointed by this from an author I normally love.
Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.