What I Read May 2021

by - June 01, 2021

May was a seriously busy month for reading, although most of it was admittedly devoted to one series/saga. The first two books in the list were both started the last week of April but were finished the first week(end) of May. We'll also be chatting about two books I've been waiting what feels like forever to come out, and of course there's a Finch Merlin book in here. I'll finish that series eventually.

I also want to take a moment to talk about Once Upon a River. I have been attempting to finish this book all month long. I've made it about 60 percent of the way through it and honestly don't know that I'm going to read the final part. So far I've found it to be very convoluted with little dialogue and several anecdotes that don't seem to have anything at all to do with the plot line. I've had the book so long that I've had to re-check it out twice. I'd say I've given it more than a fair shot, but at this point I feel like I'm forcing myself to pick it up.

Alright, let's get to it. Hopefully these will give you some ideas for your summer reading.

Author: Kristy Cambron

It seems I've gotten on a WWII book kick lately, and like the one I read in April, this one is set in France, as well. I loved the way this story was told - from the viewpoints of two women who did not know each other but whose work for the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation was entwined. Each chapter was told in two parts, the past and present (although only a handful of years separated those time frames). This book was based on several real characters but with the intention of shedding light on the brave Parisienne women who stood up the Germans right under the enemy's nose.

Author: Denny S. Bryce

This was also based on a true story, set in 1920s Chicago when gangsters ran the streets and the illegal drinking. It's the story of Honoree Dalcour, a young black woman who's determined to dance her way out of poverty. She thinks she's on her way when she lands a coveted dancing job at the Dreamland Cafe, but like so many other things in her life there's someone else pulling the strings behind the scenes. In 2015, film student Sawyer Hayes has found what he believes to be a lost film by black filmaker Oscar Micheaux and he's hoping Honoree can help him fill in some of the gaps in the story, but what he finds when he meets her is not what he expected.

Author: Kitty Cox

This is the first book in the series Shades of Trouble series, which unfortunately isn't finished. Kitty Cox co-authored the Gamer Girls series, which was one of my favorite series from last year. This book reads very similarly to those ones in terms of the character development and underlying moral themes. This series is about a juvenile diversion center in rural Texas that, of course, the community is strongly against. Like Gamer Girls, this book forced me to feel and think about some things differently. By the last chapter, I was crying. I can't wait for the second book to be released next month.

Author: J. Kearston

The Rise of the Sphinx series has been on my radar for awhile. Ever since her husband died unexpectedly, Raina and her daughter, Skye, have been on their own. Raina is fiercely protective of her daughter and works herself to exhaustion in order to provide for her. When a mysterious man attempts to abduct Skye from school, something in Raina awakens and she somehow kills the man. When she's referred to a therapist for Skye, things get even stranger, and three rare shifters - the last of their kind - swoop in to save the day. Raina and Skye learn that they are a breed of shifter thought to be extinct, the powerful Sphinx.

Author: Emilia Finn

I definitely put everything else I was reading on hold for this one. Ever since they introduced Abby and Troy in the Checkmate series, I've wanted to know more about the Rosa family, and this did not disappoint. Mitch is one of Abby's four older brothers. He's an EMT who will stop at nothing to save lives, even if it means endangering his own in the process. When Abby hires the new girl in town to work in her flower shop, Mitch goes on the offensive in a misguided attempt to protect his baby sister from being taken advantage of, but he doesn't anticipate Nadia getting under his skin.

Author: Stefanie Holmes

I love this series and have been (im)patiently waiting for this one to come out, although I have to admit that I absolutely missed the release date and was late to the party. As excited as I was to finally read the conclusion to the Dracula problem, I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the way it all went down. Not to say that it wasn't out of character for Mina at all. I just expected a little more...something. This series isn't actually over, but I don't know what's next for all my favorite mystery-solving literary characters.

Author: Ariel Lawhon

When I started this book, I had no idea it was based on a true story. Judge Joe Crater is neck deep in political corruption. Joe's rise to the bench left him indebted both to the leaders at Tammany Hall and notorious gangster, Owney Madden. He's unfaithful to his wife, is blackmailing the maid, and has no idea his mistress is feeding information back to Owney. Then he mysteriously disappears never to be seen again. This all happened in real life. Joe Crater's body was never found and no one was ever arrested for his disappearance. This book is a look at what could have happened.

The Coven Saga -- or at least all the ones that are out.
Author: Chandelle LaVaun

This series has taken over my life. I have fallen in love with these characters, the intertwined storylines., and the overall theme. I'm hooked totally and completely. I have linked to the boxset you should start with, Elemental Magic. You can find the reading order on the author's bio page. The Chosen Witch is a prequel that you can only get by subscribing to Chandelle's emails. I did not read it first, and I'm not mad about it. The Cursed Witch is the first book of the third season, Fae Magic, which is incomplete. There is no way I can summarize this without spoiling something for you, but I 100 percent recommend these for anyone who likes books about magic.

Author: Bella Forrest

Finch and his merry band of misfits are one step closer to Atlantis. All they have to do is find and unlock the magic gateway, but as with all things concerning Erebus, this mission is dangerous and deadly. Meanwhile, Finch and Ryann are still their awkward selves. Will they finally take the plunge?

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