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Back-to-back Reading Wrap-Ups? Yep…that’s how I roll. I have zero excuses…well, maybe a few. May got away from us. The month started off strong…but then kinda went sideways. We went on vacation…which was a delight! But we returned from vacation with a little souvenir called COVID…which was not infact a delight. What is the opposite of a delight? Whatever it is…that’s what we were rocking. We are still recovering now, but thankfully we are on the mend! Anyhoo, on to the books, right? I have 6 books to share with you for our May Wrap-Up! Let’s check them out!
Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor
Ok…this book. I stalked the heck out of Hotel Magnifique on Amazon before it was released. I am not sure if it was the cover or the description that did me in but man I knew I had to have this book. I actually had a suspicion that this would be the April 2022 OwlCrate book…because I have mad skills…and I was correct! So, the cover that I have is not the same as this. It is gorgeous and glows in the dark…oh yes…but I still want this purple cover. I am contemplating purchasing this one also just because I loved the book so. This is all things magic, mystery, whimsy, and wonder. Creativity oozed from every page and I adored it. Author Emily J. Taylor created a world that I didn’t know I needed. 5 magical stars!
All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town.
The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel—appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.
With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa—and the other staff—from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin
Have you regained consciousness after passing out due to extreme book gorgeousness? Ok, we shall proceed. I too passed out after feasting my eyes on this cover. A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin is a stunner…both inside and out. This book came highly recommended on Instagram. Frank from OhYouRead absolutely gushed over this one…he may still be gushing because it is THAT good. And…he was right! We chose this book for our May Book Club read over at The Booknerd Cafe…and I loved every single page. I can’t even contain myself that book two will be out soon-ish. So beautifully written…almost had a lyrical quality to it. The perfect blend of history, mystery, and Chinese mythology. Reaaaad this book! 5 Tea-Rific Stars!
I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”
For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her―the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.
When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi―masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making―she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.
But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.
Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez
Next up we have Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. This one was part of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club. I have only read a couple of the books that she has included but they have ALL been so good so I thought I would give Furia a try. Wow. I was blown away by how much I loved this book. Not only one of my favorite books of the year…but possibly…definitely one of my all-time-favorite reads. I was a little leery at first just because I am not normally drawn to books that feature sports in the forefront…but this book was about so much more than soccer…uhh…fútbol…I meant fútbol. The writing was absolutely phenomenal. It was about following your passions, familial expectations, first loves…just perfection. 5 stars for sure!
In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
Filled with authentic details and the textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance, and breathless action on the pitch, Furia is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Oh Evelyn Hugo…how do I love thee? My friends, if you have spent even a minute over on Bookstagram you will likely have seen The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo mentioned at least 4938 times. Turns out…there is a good reason why it is mentioned so often. Its amazing. I binged this book in a day and a half. Loved every page. Loved Evelyn. Loved the old Hollywood feel. Loved Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing. Just loved the whole book. 5 stars all. day. long.
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.
The Boy Who Met a Whale by Nizrana Farook
Next up we have a Middle-Grade novel. The Boy Who Met a Whale by Nizrana Farook. This was such a lovely book. This is a quick and delighful read that is perfect for kids who love the ocean. This is a swashbuckling tale full of adventure, danger, and excitment. I think this would be a spectacular read aloud as well! This was sent to me for review by Peachtree Publishing. This was a 4 star for me. I loved the love the kids had for the ocean!
A Sri Lankan fisherboy is swept up in a thrilling seafaring adventure, complete with kidnapping, missing treasure, and a huge blue whale! From the author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant.
Razi, a local fisherboy, is watching turtle eggs hatch when he sees a boat bobbing into view. With a chill, he notices a small, still hand hanging over the side.
Inside is Zheng, who’s escaped a shipwreck and is full of tales of mutiny, sea monsters, and hidden riches. But the villains who are after Zheng are soon after Razi and his sister, Shifa, too. And so begins an exhilarating escapade in the shadow of the biggest sea monster of them all.
Author Nizrana Farook has crafted another briskly paced, action-packed quest that swells with empathetic heroes, peril on the open sea, and a great beast lurking beneath. Set against a vibrant landscape inspired by Sri Lanka, this delightful caper will thrill young fans of adventure and fantasy.
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
I did it. I judged a book on its cover…again. Honestly though…two things sold me on this book. First…the cover. I mean, stunningly gorgeous! Second…it sounded like a twisty retelling of Peter Pan and I was on board for that for sure! Lost in the Never Woods is beautifully written by Aiden Thomas. They have created such a dark and spooky story that takes what we know about Peter Pan and definitely gives it a big ole twist. This definitely has some hard to read parts as it deals with kidnapping and childhood trauma. It was done in such a heartfelt way though! 4 Stars on this one! Really enjoyed it.
When children start to go missing in the local woods, a teen girl must face her fears and a past she can’t remember to rescue them in this atmospheric YA novel, Lost in the Never Woods from the author of Cemetery Boys.
It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into the light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road…
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, asks for Wendy’s help to rescue the missing kids. But, in order to find them, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
Thanks for Reading!
How was your reading this May? Any 5 star reads you want to share with your good pal Kelly? You know I am always looking to add to my TBR!
If you missed my April Wrap-Up you can check that out here.