May Wrap-Up // ft. lots of books, blogging slump and blog redesign!

Hello guys! Hope you had a wonderful month and read some amazing books (what more could a bookworm possibly want?).

I always enjoy writing my monthly wrap-up posts, and this time it’s no different. So grab some snacks and get comfy, because this is going to be a long post (as usual😉). And if you’re on WordPress Reader, please click here to enjoy better formatting!

Believe me when I say that May was an A M A Z I N G reading month, in fact, it has been the best one so far this year! I read so much more than I usually do (thank you, summer vacations🤗).

I read 8 books and a total of 3516 pages in May (compared to 2410 in April and 2059 in March) and though this may not seem a huge number to most of you, it is a big deal for me!

Let’s take a look at all the books I read this month. I will be putting the cover images, the title and author, my rating, a mini-review and link to my full review. (click on the cover image to visit the goodreads page of any book that catches your eye!)

The Flame of Olympus  (Pegasus, #1)
The Shadow Watch (The Shadow Watch #1)
Six Bad Boys

The Flame Of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn [4 stars]

For a book based on Roman mythology, this book did a really good job at not info-dumping all the names of the Roman gods, their life at Olympus etc. And it certainly was a surprise that most of the gods at Olympus were killed or captured right at the beginning of the book (yes, I’m not kidding) so that the story could focus on Emily and Joel rather than the gods. The ending (and the story in general) was quite predictable, but it is a middle grade after all, so that’s acceptable.

The Shadow Watch by S.A. Klopfenstein [3.5 stars] FULL REVIEW

I received a copy of The Shadow Watch for a blog tour I was part of this month. I found it to be a typical YA fantasy in a lot of ways. But it was definitely worth a read, to know why, do have a look at my full review.

The Six Bad Boys by Enid Blyton [4.5 stars] I talked about this here

I reread this in May for the umpteenth time in my life. In my discussion post on the role of fictional parents (linked above) I talked about The Six Bad Boys and how it is an extremely important book for coming-of-age children as well as new parents, and how it makes my all emotional every time I read it🥺

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)
Supernova by Marissa Meyer

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan [4 stars]

I am buddy reading the entire Heroes of Olympus series with my amazing friends Cass and Nefeli! To be honest, I have always been a little skeptical of Rick Riordan books, but I have to admit, The Lost Hero was pretty good. Jason always seemed a little distant, Piper really needed to sort out her priorities, but Leo pretty much made the book for me.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor [4.5 stars ] FULL REVIEW

Ahhh my second ever audiobook but my first audiobook love😍 (don’t ask me about my first one, it was meh). It was a roller coaster ride of a book, with the narrator increasing his pace and making his voice more urgent and making my heart beat faster as I waited for something to happen and then jumped out of my skin at the narrator’s perfect but ear-splitting imitation of a desk bell (yeah, that actually happened once). Seriously, go read Malamander.

Supernova by Marissa Meyer [4.5 stars ] FULL REVIEW

Whoa whoa. This book was PACKED. It was full to the brim with action, secrets, pressure, redemptions and what not. I think Supernova would have got full 5 stars from me had it not been for that epilogue. But focusing on the good things, I would say, read the Renegades trilogy for the last book guys!!

The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2)
The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)

The Son Of Neptune by Rick Riordan [3 stars]

Idk why exactly, but I liked this one a lot less than The Lost Hero. I understand the Romans are more disciplined and harsh and stuff, but I wanted this book to be entertaining and light, like The Lost Hero. If my mental image of The Lost Hero is a fluffy peach teddy bear, The Son Of Neptune looks something like a dark foreboding castle. Just me? Okay.🙃

The Mark Of Athena by Rick Riordan [4 stars]

Ahh definitely better than The Son Of Neptune…but remember when I said that Jason always felt a bit distant in my mini review of The Lost Hero? Well, take that feeling and multiply it by 10, that is how Jason was in Mark Of Athena (atleast give the guy a POV, man!) Otherwise, it was all good and I cannot wait to start House Of Hades!


So this month I took part in Wyrd and Wonder, and they had a bingo board! Here’s how my completed bingo board looks like –

The one month I decided not to follow my blogging schedule, I face a blogging slump and go on accidental week-long hiatuses (moral of the story – blogging schedules are very important). Nevertheless, I did have some posts already planned, so it wasn’t that bad.

Some of my favourite posts from May are:

Discussion Post: Role of Parents in MG and YA fantasy (Part 2) + 8 book recommendations with active parent roles!

Book Review: Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Into The Mist || A short story penned by me

Okay, now for the big news. *holds breath* I REDESIGNED MY BLOG!! *lets out the breath in a whoosh* (okay I realize a lot of you have already noticed that, but…now its official, you know?) Of course I didn’t do it all alone. A big thank you to Evin @A Curly Sue’s Ramblings for helping me in setting up the new theme! So what are you guys waiting for? Go check out my new home page HERE!!

In other news, it was my first blogging anniversary on 27th May! (I have a post for that coming up soon) This blog is now 1 year old, you guys!!

A regular feature of my wrap-up posts, this section is all about promoting other bloggers’ content!

REVIEWS

Ritz @Living, Loving and Reading reviewed These Violent Delights and made a playlist!

April @Booked Till Midnight shares her thoughts on King Of Scars!

Jan @The Doodlecrafter reviewed Rule Of Wolves!

Lia @Chain Of Books reviewed The Immortal Game as part of a blog tour!

OTHER POSTS

Nehal had her first blogging anniversary a few days ago! (can’t believe we both started our respective blogs only 10 days apart!)

Aria @Book Nook Bits discusses age categories in books!

Veronika @Wordy And Whimsical recommends books with the found family trope!

Maya @Pretty Little Scribbles did a character case study!

And that’s a wrap! A pretty eventful month, don’t you think?

Let’s Chat!

What did you read in May? Found any new favourites? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Do you like the new blog design? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!!

Blog Tour: The Shadow Watch by S.A. Klopfenstein [Review + Favourite Quotes]

Hello everyone, and welcome to my stop for The Shadow Watch by S.A Klopfenstein blog tour hosted by Storytellers On Tour. You can click the banner below to view the official tour schedule and check out the tour stops made by other bloggers!

Title: The Shadow Watch

Author: S.A Klopfenstein

Published: September 2020

Series: Shadow Watch(#1)

Pages: 400 (print length)

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Young Adult

Review

Synopsis

A fierce sorceress on the run. A charismatic rebel with dangerous ambitions. Will their revolution save the realm or bring it to ruin?

Ripped from her homeland and sold for a handful of coins, seventeen year old Tori Burodai grew up a slave in a foreign empire. All her life, surrounded by injustice and cruelty, she has ached for the chance to fight back.

When her only friend’s life is threatened, a buried power awakens, catapulting Tori into a harrowing new reality. For the first time in centuries, magic has returned to the world, and Tori may finally have the opportunity to change her fate.

Desperate for answers, Tori joins forces with a charismatic rebel bent on righting the scales. Soon, she is thrust into the heart of a magic revolution. But magic is not the only power that has returned from the depths of the world. And some secrets should never be uncovered.

War is coming. But does Tori have what it takes to defy an empire?

Filled with complex characters, slow-burn romance, wild plot twists, and epic battles, the Shadow Watch series is perfect for fans of Throne of Glass and the Grishaverse.

Welcome to the breathtaking world of the Shadow Watch, where sorcerers are hunted, monsters rise out of myth, and the fate of all hangs on love and betrayal. Start the Four Book series now!

The Shadow Watch started off just like the Shadow and Bone netflix series (I am talking about the series because I haven’t read the s&b books). The main character, Tori (aka Alina) living her life until her best friend Darien (aka Mal) is about to die, and that’s when her powers awaken and she saves him (but ends up dooming both of them). Enter the chancellor (aka General Kirigan, but a worse and probably uglier version), who wields some magic himself. He (kidnaps and) dresses up the mc and treats her like a queen and talks about using their magic “together”. That is where the story begins going on a different track than s&b. Tori is tortured by the chancellor for months before getting rescued and whisked off to a place where there are others like her.

So what I liked was how we were taken straight to the point; the events of actual story started almost immediately after beginning the book. There was no beating around the bush, and this allowed for so much to happen within those 400 pages of the book.

The pacing was pretty balanced too. The story started off with a medium pace, but in the later parts it speeded up and I barely had time to process everything that was going on.

Another thing I enjoyed was the ambiguity of all the characters. There was no telling who was the good guy, who was the bad one. This made it all the more interesting, I never saw the surprises and betrayals coming.

That being said, one thing that disappointed me was how there was no likeable character at all. I mean, I understand the need for morally grey characters, but still, none of them made me want to root for them. Often, just as I began to like a character, he/she would do something horrible which would change my opinion immediately.

Final Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

(3.5 stars)

Favourite Quotes

She did not know how to say goodbye. The people she cared for usually just disappeared from her life.

Beauty meant little to him these days. It served no purpose.

“Let’s eat! I’m starving,” said Mischa. Then she looked Tori’s rail-thin body up and down. “Sorry, no I’m not. Don’t worry, Tori, you will not stay skinny long around these halls.

Don’t forget those who live as you once did. But don’t cheapen what they themselves long for and die for – comfort and freedom.”

I’ve learned to guard my mind from those dark thoughts because…they would rule me if I let them.


About The Author

S.A. Klopfenstein

S.A. Klopfenstein grew up on a steady dose of Tolkien and Star Wars. As a child, he wrote his first story about a sleepwalking killer who was executed by lethal injection. He lives in the American West with his wife and their dog, Iorek Byrnison. He can be found exploring the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, or daring the halls of the high school where he teaches English and mythology.

Have you read The Shadow Watch? Is it on your TBR? And are you excited for book 4 which is coming out soon? Let me know in the comments!

We’re going on an adventure! || Wyrd & Wonder 2021 TBR

It’s been so long since I took part in any readathon or reading challenge, that when I found out about this entire new world of fantasy lovers, Wyrd and Wonder, I signed up right away! It runs throughout the month of May, and there is like a prompt for every day of the month. What I liked the most about this is that there are no hard and fast rules to this – we can respond to the prompt with a photo, a blog post, anything we want. (psst! As far as I know, sign ups are open throughout the month, so it is not too late to join in! Click HERE to see the intro post, where you will find everything you need to know!)

Obviously I will be reading only fantasy this month, and most of my blog posts will also be centered around the same. Here is how my planned TBR looks like.

(from top left to bottom right)

  • The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  • Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray
  • The Flame of Olympus by Kate O’Hearn (The Wyrd and Wonder mascot this year is a pegasus, so how can I not read this?)
  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • Supernova by Marissa Meyer
  • The Shadow Watch by S.A. Klopfenstein

Buddy-read call out!

I would love to buddy read any of these books with you guys! So if any of them is on your TBR as well, let me know in the comments so we can arrange a buddy-read!!


Before ending this post, I would like to inform you that I will not be following my regular posting schedule in May. There are two reasons for this – 1) because I will be following the respective dates of the prompts from Wyrd & Wonder and 2) since I am comparatively less busy with other stuff this month, I hope to post more frequently than my regular schedule permits. However, I will most probably be back to following my schedule from June.

Are any of these books on your TBR? Are you taking part in any readathon/ reading challenge in May? Would you like to suggest me ideas for different discussion posts, lists, etc related to fantasy that I can do this month? Let me know in the comments! See you there!!