May Reading Wrap Up (2020)

May was a rough month for me, especially in regards to reading, because my university work was so demanding. I only read 6 books for myself this month out of the 12 total, and those 6 were not very long or anticipated.

As always, all covers are from Goodreads, and please share your recent reads with us!

Now, on to the books!

your name. Another Side: Earthbound by Arata Kanoh, Makoto Shinkai (Original Story), Taylor Engel (Translator)

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊ ◊

I agreed to read this book with my fella since we DNF-ed Weathering With You last month, but I had been reading that book with him. So, this is our new buddy read together.

First, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK BEFORE WATCHING/READING YOUR NAME, the original source material! Okay, now onto the review…

I have to say, this book is a lot better, in my opinion, than Weathering With You. I don’t feel like this book is amazing or mind blowing, but I did actually enjoy it.

It is nice to see more of the characters from the movie. This book is in four chapters, each from the view of a different character. The first section is from Taki’s perspective, which really let me down. I would have preferred a new perspective than the one we got in the movie. Just imagine if we got Mitsuha’s perspective!

Anyway, the first two sections repeat a lot of the movie but with some new scenes. I liked getting Teshi’s perspective in the second part, but I was left wondering “why”. Same with the third section from Yotsuha’s perspective. Both were entertaining, but not really expanding the story much more.

The third section of this book is the strong point of the collection. It is sad, so please be aware of that. [This is not a spoiler for the book or movie] –> This section follows the girl’s father before and after their mother’s death. I think this section gave us the most new information about what actually happens in the movie. I feel like this section should have been the entire book.

So, I liked getting more lore and information on what happened in the movie, but I was left feeling like the first three sections, although interesting, were unnecessary.

This book isn’t perfect, and I won’t go recommending it to random people, but if you enjoyed the movie or the light novel, I do think you have a chance at liking the extra information in the fourth section of this book.

The Messengers by Lindsay Joelle

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊ ◊

I listened to this on Audible, because it is pretty short and I wanted a quick SciFi listen. This is a dramatized short story with several voice actors and even sound effects.

The story follows a guy who is working for the army on a foreign planet and a girl who is on a space delivery taking a secret message through space and time. The characters are actually very interesting and the twist at the end was pretty cool.

My only complaint would be that this concept is good enough to be a full story, and the world is vast enough that it was a bit hard to grasp in this short glimpse. If this author wrote a full book/series about this, I would buy it in a heartbeat. But, I think because it is so short, I didn’t have time to fully admire the story and its characters.

The voice acting is really good, and it was free with my Audible Originals for the month, so I am not mad about it. I am glad I listened to it and don’t feel like it was a waste of time at all, but I do wish there was more.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This is a children’s graphic novel about a girl who is forced to move with her family to a new town that is cold and rainy, because her little sister’s illness. This new town is weird and is strangely obsessed with Dia de los Muertos, so the main character has a hard time adjusting.

This story takes a dark turn that I didn’t expect. It is my fault for knowing nothing about this book when I checked it out from my library, but to be fair, I didn’t expect a kids book to delve so deeply into themes of death, family, and culture.

This is an amazing book if you want to teach kids about letting go and understanding death using Central/Southern American traditions. I was teary-eyed by the end of it, but it is a fairly positive book.

I would say this book is something I recommend, but only if you are in the right mindset to read something that deals with the heavier topics of life and death.

I really enjoyed this book, and I hope you do too.

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

This YA novel is about a group of women who ferry the dead to either paradise or the underworld once they have completed their rite of passage: killing three animals for “grace bones”, which grant them special abilities, and killing their soul mate, whom they will spend the afterlife with.

This book follows three main characters, which I did not expect to like, but I really did. We follow two Bone Crier’s and one human who is seeking revenge for his father, who was sacrificed by a Bone Crier when he was little.

I love this concept, and the author executes it well. There is magic and suspense along with forbidden love and family secrets. The characters are pretty likeable and the messages of familial love, and lack thereof, are really good in this story.

This book had some twists that I didn’t expect and some that I did, but I am a bit outside of the intended audience this book was written for. I know I would have swooned for this book as a teen.

My favorite part of this book is the magic and rituals. I was less invested in the romance than I thought I would be, because it felt a bit like insta-love towards the end, because the character’s opinions kind of just flip like a switch at some point. I was still rooting for them the whole way through.

I have to say there were also some pacing issues around halfway through the book, where I felt like things were dwindling a bit. I also had a problem with a few characters kind of just doing things for no reason and making me frustrated. (I felt like Bastien’s friends specifically did things that didn’t make sense to me.) So, around halfway this was starting to lean more towards a 4/4.5 star book for me.

With that said, the ending had me gasping. I now feel like this is a 4.8 star (a 5 star for Goodreads) book, based only on the fact that I am upset that I have to wait for the sequel to know what happens, because I enjoyed it that much!

Now, that is also a warning. The ending of this book is a cliffhanger and the second book won’t be coming out this year, obviously. So be aware of that if you don’t like waiting or cliffhangers.

If you like YA fantasy with themes of romance and Pagan rituals, then I have just the story for you.

There is a lot of death and blood and death animals in this book, so be weary of that if you are sensitive.

I would say this is a book you can read in any season, but summer may feel the most appropriate based on the adventure and nature-y feel that reads a bit like a summer night adventure. Sun (Shadow Squadron #6) by Carl Bowen

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊

This is a pretty fun children’s chapter book about an elite team of scientists and military men who complete top secret missions. I thought this was SciFi based on the cover, but I was kind of wrong. This is more like G.I. Joe soldier type fiction.

I love the art sprinkled throughout the book, and I am so pleased with how the author put key words at the beginning of each chapter with definitions. This helped even me to understand certain military/science words and acronyms that would be in the coming chapter.

I have to say the story does kind of expect you to just know some of the characters and what’s happening, but that is entirely my fault for reading the 6th book in a series… In my defense, there isn’t a single indicator on the book itself to show that it is part of a series.

With that, I do feel like the ending wasn’t very satisfying. These seem like quick little episodes as opposed to full length stories that adults are used to, which is a lot of fun. I just didn’t really know what I was getting in to, since I knew nothing about this book when I randomly picked it up for 25 cents at a used book store.

If your kid likes action packed mission style fiction, then this is not a bad choice. There are messages of friendship, doing the right thing, and working in a team. Plus they will learn a ton of new words while they are having fun.

This is definitely a winter read since it takes place in the snowy tundra.

What did you read this month?

Don’t forget to check out last week’s post on Monday at 12pm PST!

-Knight of Cups ❤

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