May 2018 Wrap-Up

Didn’t I just do one of these posts last week? I swear, time is going by faster and faster. Early to mid-May was a whirlwind of mental health issues and emergency hospital visits, so I’m kind of surprised that I still managed to squeeze in 11 books. So let’s dive right in:


Shirewode (The Wode 2) by J Tullos Hennig: (9.0/10)
If you saw the new Robin Hood movie poster and thought, “So it’s exactly same as the dozens of other Robin Hood adaptations except Robin gets to wear a machine-stitched hood?” then boy, do I have a series for you. With The Wode books, Hennig weaves Welsh mythology into the classic tale and reimagines Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne as lovers and Maid Marian as Robin’s sister–and all three entwined by magic and fate. The worldbuilding is intricate, the language is gorgeous (though some of the Welsh slangs flew over my head), and the characters are achingly flawed. It’s the best Robin Hood retelling I’ve encountered and I’m definitely going to need to do a full review on it sometime in the near future.

The first two books also feature a “friends to lovers to enemies to lovers” arc and I can’t believe this isn’t a more common trope, because holy hell, it is a beauty of an emotional rollercoaster.

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle 2) by Maggie Stiefvater: (8.5/10)
This was a great sequel to a book that I thought was interesting but still lacking something. Ronan is fascinating and I adore stories that explore dreams, so this one was just made for me. Review here.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang: (8.5/10)
Worth all the hype. Explores the atrocities of war and the dangers of vengeance without blinking an eye. I had some issues with the pacing and prose, but those are very much just new-author problems. Review here.


Armistice (Amberlough Dossier 2) by Lara Elena Donnelly: (8.0/10)
A slower-paced sequel to Amberlough that was, at times, a little too slow, but the excellent character work makes it worthwhile in the end. Review here.

The Enchanted Chest by Jean-François Chabas: (6.0/10)
A weird little graphic novel that doesn’t seem to know who its intended audience is. The subject matter is a bit to mature for children, but the story is too hand-holdy for adults.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum: (9.0/10)
A beautiful genre bender that explores mental health and codependency in microfiction-multimedia format. Review here.


A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White:
A fun space opera featuring a bisexual car racer (who’s also a WoC) and a mouthy veteran-turned-treasure-hunter. It’s not without problems, but I had a great time with it overall. Review to come!

The Prince of Mirrors by Alan Robert Clark: (4.0/10)
This was supposed to be a character-driven historical fiction set in Victorian England, but I found said characters uninteresting and their relationships flat. I did appreciate the exploration of mental health and LGBTQIPA+ issues through a 19th century lens.  

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno: (5.0/10)
I’d expected a lot of great things from this book but was left severely disappointed. At least the cover’s pretty. Review here.


The Rig by Roger Levy:
This is a very ambitious story that’s reminiscent of Black Mirror, with the cynicism dialed down a couple of notches. It juggles many complex subjects, and while I can’t say that it’s a complete success, I have to give props to the author for trying. Review to come.

The Curse of the Wendigo (The Monstrumologist 2) by Rick Yancey:
A reread–or a re-listen, rather–of one of my favourite series of all time. Though I’ve read and listened to the first and third book many, many times, it’s been years since I’d picked up the second one, so I decided to listen to the audiobook. Not as good as the third, but still very, very good, and the narrator does a pitch-perfect job.




Then and Now: “Strong Female Characters”


T5W: Favourite Non-Written Novels
T5W: Favourite SFF Covers
T5W: Intimidating Books on My TBR


DST: Historical Fantasy
DST: Portal Fantasy


And that’s it! Tell me how your month went and if you’ve read any books that you think should go immediately into my TBR!


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thebookwormdrinketh June 3, 2018 - 2:08 pm

Great wrap up! I love the look of Shirewode! I’ll have to look into that one more.

Tammy June 3, 2018 - 2:19 pm

I just got a copy of A Big Ship in the mail and I’m eager to read it! Looking forward to your review😁

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 3, 2018 - 8:46 pm

Woot! It’s such a perfect summer read! Hope you enjoy it. 😀

Sionna (Books in Her Eyes) June 3, 2018 - 3:19 pm

Looks like a great reading month! I just read The Dream Thieves myself and liked it. Ronan is my favorite character though, so I might be a bit biased 🙂

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 3, 2018 - 9:00 pm

Haha, same here. He’s just so well-written. I’m already excited about the new Ronan trilogy and I haven’t even finished *this* series yet!

Sionna (Books in Her Eyes) June 3, 2018 - 11:53 pm

Ooohhhh I didn’t know there was a Ronan trilogy coming!! That is super excited!

Justine June 3, 2018 - 6:41 pm

You had such a good month! How are you liking the Raven Cycle as a whole so far? I’ve been thinking about trying to read it again after I put it on hold while reading Harry Potter last year lol >.>

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 3, 2018 - 8:44 pm

I don’t think it’s the best thing I’ve ever read (yet) but I’m really enjoying it so far! I REALLY love the writing style and I’m surprised by how much it reads like adult “lit”, with so much symbolism and metaphors packed in. And I’m a little meh about Blue and Gansey but Adam and Ronan are pretty fantastic. 😀

Justine June 4, 2018 - 1:51 am

Ahh I think I need to put it back on my radar lol.

@lynnsbooks June 3, 2018 - 7:36 pm

You’ve had a fantastic month. I love the sound of the Wicker King. The Poppy War was awesome, I loved it, I’m intrigued by The Curse of the Wendigo.
Lynn 😀

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 5, 2018 - 2:34 am

Poppy War was the perfect start to the month. 🙂 And if you like gothic horror and flowery language, I definitely recommend The Curse of the Wendigo and the rest of the Monstrumologist series!

anna June 3, 2018 - 7:54 pm

oh my u had such a good reading month!!!
okay shirewode seems to be hitting all my favourite points, i am definitely adding it to my tbr 😮

anna June 3, 2018 - 7:55 pm

do i need to read greenwode first or is this more of a companion novel ???

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 3, 2018 - 8:34 pm

Woot! And you DEFINITELY need to read greenwode first! The first book goes through the three characters childhood and how they meet and stuff. It lays out all the foundation for the angsty bits. 😀

anna June 3, 2018 - 8:42 pm

ooooooohhh…………. sweet!!!! hopefully i’ll get my hands on a copy soon!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 3, 2018 - 8:48 pm

I hope you like it! <3

Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum June 4, 2018 - 3:53 am

Grats on a productive month. Now I’m kind of glad I passed on The Rig when I got the pitch; it sounded interesting, but I was worried it might be a bit too “weird” for my tastes.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 5, 2018 - 3:07 am

I loved the first 100ish pages but then things got a bit…esoteric? It’s one of those books that make me question if I’m not smart enough to understand the big picture of the story or if the author’s just not telling it very well.

Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight June 4, 2018 - 6:31 am

I’m not very familiar with the original Robin Hood story, but ok, you have *sold* me on The Wode. I will definitely give that a try!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 5, 2018 - 2:58 am

Woot! It’s a little slow-paced at times (the first two books, at least), but I think the emotional payoff is so worth it. 🙂

Vera June 4, 2018 - 11:29 am

Such a great reading month! 🙂

Listening to We Should All be Feminists was something that really stood out for me in May. I think you would enjoy it too. 🙂

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 5, 2018 - 2:30 am

I don’t know why I don’t listen to audiobooks more often because I enjoy most of the ones I listen to, so I’m gonna try to make an effort to include more of them in my monthly readings. I’ll definitely check We Should All Be Feminists out–thanks, Vera! <3

auroralibrialis June 4, 2018 - 3:29 pm

Looks like you had an amazing reading month! I’m sorry Summer of Salt was so disappointing, I had such high hopes for it. I hate it when the story doesn’t live up to the blurb. You’ve made me even more excited to read The Wicker King though, it sounds perfect!

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 5, 2018 - 3:04 am

Oh, you totally need to read the Wicker King, Aurora! (And join me in my gushing lol) I was a little wary because of all the complaints I’d heard last year, but this pretty much exceeded all my expectations.

Nadine - todaysechoes June 4, 2018 - 4:18 pm

I’m going to start The Poppy War today and I’m pumped!
I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of A Big Ship. It sounds so good.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 5, 2018 - 2:26 am

Oh boy, you’re in for a wild ride with The Poppy War! I hope you like it, Nadine! <3

Nadine - todaysechoes June 5, 2018 - 2:31 am

Almost halfway through and it’s awesome!! It’s a little slower pace, but I’m loving every second.

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 5, 2018 - 2:53 am

Yay! I loved Rin and Jiang’s training scenes in the first half. 🙂

Joanna @ Starburnt Reads June 5, 2018 - 4:38 pm

You had such a great reading month! I can’t wait to read The Wicker King; I’m so glad you liked it. Hopefully June will be amazing <3

Kathy @Pages Below the Vaulted Sky June 6, 2018 - 4:58 am

Aw, thank you so much Joanna! <3 Happy June reading to you as well!

Susy's Cozy World June 6, 2018 - 9:37 am

How many interesting books!!! *_* I liked the second Raven Boy books more than the first, too. I wasn’t so enamored of this series, but the second and third book weren’t bad (it’s not that the first was bad, but it was lacking something and I wasn’t so interested in it), and I have to read the last one. I have to read the last one for some time, now, and I keep on postponing it, because too many books and not enough time! But I hope to finish this series sooner than later.
And I have on my wish-list some of the books that you have mentioned, like The Monstrumologist and The Poppy War, while I have to add on the list some of the others, like The Wicker King and The Wode series because they seem so awesome!!!
Sorry for the long comment, but you have put on display so many interesting books!!! *_*

arubunwritten June 6, 2018 - 12:30 pm

Shirewode looks really cool. Did you ever watch the BBC Robin Hood series years ago? I used to love it at the time, but rewatching it recently means it doesn’t really hold up that well. I don’t think I’ve really been interested in the Robin Hood story since, but I might give this a go. Plus the “friends to lovers to enemies to lovers” storyline sounds AMAZING.

Anna @MyBookishDream June 7, 2018 - 10:56 am

I have no idea how it’s already June either! May passed by way to fast.
I’m so happy to hear that you loved The Curse of the Wendigo and that it’s one of your favourites. I have read that book and The Monstrumologist and I adored them both! They were such fantastic reads. 😀 For some reasons I never actually picked up the last two books in the series, though I definitely plan on doing that in the future. Great post! 🙂

justonemorepaige June 27, 2018 - 1:37 am

Ok, I LOVED Amberlough and totally did not know there was a sequel yet. Def going to find that now. Thanks!


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