I think we can all agree that May 2020 wasn’t a great month for many reasons. With all of the horrible things that have been going on in regards to racism, police brutality, and outright murder of innocent black people (not just recently, this has been going on for CENTURIES), I’ve recognized that my reading is not very diverse, and that that’s something I need to fix immediately. Looking at all of the books I read in May, I’m so disappointed to admit that nearly ALL of them were written by caucasian authors… and I didn’t even make a conscious effort to exclusively read books from authors of one race. I’m disappointed in myself, but I promise to do better. I’m lucky enough to have this platform, even if it is small, and I have an obligation to use it to speak up about the horror and injustice going on in our world. You can rest assured that this month’s TBR is going to be full of books written by authors of color, plus LGBT+ authors (happy pride month)! At the end of this post, I’ll also link some resources you can use to help educate yourself and spread awareness about the #blacklivesmatter movement. Remember, silence is NOT an option.
Even though I’m not particularly proud of the fact that I read books mostly by white authors this month, I would still like to tier rank them and include them in a wrap-up post, mainly just so I can visualize how un-diverse my reading currently is (and how I need to fix that!!). Plus, a lot of you guys seemed to enjoy my tier-ranking of the books I read last April, so I thought it would be fun to continue the trend!
Like I did in April, I’m going to be sorting these titles into seven categories because I’m indecisive and need a wide range of options. These categories are: Trash, Bad, Meh, Good, Great, Spectacular, and GOD. I’ll categorize the books and explain why I put them in a certain category, and then I’ll reveal the final image of all of the books tier-ranked together. I’ll also link reviews I’ve written to certain books’ titles! Disclaimer: I didn’t read any trash or god books this month, but I wanted to create the options in case I decide to tier-rank books for future monthly wrap-ups (which I most likely will)!
With that being said, let us begin!
Thankfully, I didn’t read any trash books this month!
- An Enchantment of Ravens by Maragret Rogerson (2 stars): I totally thought I was going to love this one, which is why I was so disappointed when I didn’t. The first 50 pages or so were pretty great, but then the female protagonist was introduced to the hot, brooding male love interest, and her brain essentially turned to mush. I hate insta-love, and I didn’t know that this book used said trope. If I had, I definitely wouldn’t have wasted my time reading it.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (2 stars): I know you’re probably all shocked to see this book on Bad Tier, and frankly, so am I, because I was so certain it was going to become a new favorite. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. The writing style is so beautiful, but I’m not really into lush, flowy, description-y fantasies like Strange the Dreamer. I need action and thrills, or else I get bored. I definitely see why people like this book, but sadly, it wasn’t an enjoyable read for me.
- Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal (2 stars): I picked this book up because the concept sounded really interesting, but unfortunately, the execution let me down. The plot moved soooo slowly, and the characters were very flat and difficult to connect with. I’m so sad that I didn’t enjoy this book, because it has AMAZING queer rep.
- Star Wars Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston (2.5 stars): I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so I was super disappointed when I didn’t love this one. The writing style just wasn’t for me, and the characters and plot were incredibly bland. Padme’s character was very watered down in this book, which might just be the biggest let down of all. I think I’ll stick to the movies, thanks. 😬
- The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (3 stars): I liked this book. The protagonist and I didn’t really connect, but I can appreciate how she was a very morally grey character, because that’s not something we see very often in YA. The plot was really interesting, and I’m so excited to see where it goes in the next book! I can already tell that this is going to be a super fun vampire trilogy.
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (4 stars): Guys… the hype is real! This book was so beautifully heartbreaking. I’ve mentioned that I’m not a fan of flowy, descriptive books that don’t have tons of action, and that’s true. But this book makes an exception because Greek mythology holds a very special place in my heart. ❤ I really hope Madeline Miller publishes more Greek mythology books soon!
- The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal (3.5): This was a pretty gorey read, but I think that with the goriness came very powerful themes about the ugliness of humanity. Truly, I’ve never read a book quite like this one, and though I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I recommend giving it a chance.
- The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (4 stars): The Queen of Blood has one of the most beautifully developed fantasy settings I’ve ever had the pleasure of being swept away into! The world was so original, and the characters were wonderful as well. I can’t wait to read the second book in this trilogy!
- The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (4 stars): This book was so good, I read it in one sitting! It’s haunting, thrilling, and action-driven, and it’s also full of thought-provoking themes and symbolism. I love that it’s a speculative fiction novel where you can’t tell if the alternate reality is one of the past or the future. The only weak aspect of The Grace Year is the romance. It’s poorly developed, and it disturbs the creepy atmosphere of the book. But other than that, the story was such a thrill to read!
- Across the Universe by Beth Revis (4 stars): This was such a fun sci-fi/dystopian/mystery novel! I get why the publishers changed the cover because despite what the steaminess of the original cover suggests, this is not a romance novel at all. Frankly, the hint of romance in this was what I liked least about it.
- A Million Suns by Beth Revis (4 stars): The wonderful sequel to Across the Universe! This book was just as enjoyable as its predecessor, and it was full of constant twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m currently reading Shades of Earth, the last book in this trilogy, and I can’t wait to see how this story ends!
- Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (4.5 Stars): I’m mentally smacking myself for having put off reading this book until just recently. It was so so good! The world, the characters, the romance… everything was amazing. I got more and more invested in the story as it moved along, and I can’t wait to read the remaining books in the series!
- The Unhoneymooners (5 Stars): This book was SO adorable and SO much fun to read! I don’t typically rate chick-lit books five stars, but I just enjoyed this one so much, there was no other appropriate rating to give it! Ethan and Olive might just take the cake for my favorite enemies-to-lovers couple. I can’t wait to read more Christina Lauren books!
- The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning (5 stars): I’m SO lucky to have received an arc of this one! The Princess Will Save You was definitely one of my favorite reads of the month, and I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel! I’m hoping to pre-order a finished copy soon so I can have this beautiful book on my shelves!
- The Wild Mermaid by Mel Braxton (5 Stars): The Wild Mermaid was one of my reads for #MerMay, and it was absolutely incredible! The story was so original, and every plot device was used in such a unique way. The Wild Mermaid is actually on sale NOW, for only $0.99! This sale only lasts until June 5th, so claim your copy soon!
- All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace (5 stars): Holy crap… this book was amazing! The characters were so loveable, and the plot kept me hooked from start to finish. I loved the world-building and magic system as well, and I think that Adalyn Grace overall just did a fantastic job at developing every aspect of her book. I can’t wait to read the sequel!
I’m trying to be VERY sparing with the number of books I put in God Tier… God Tier books are those super rare gems that you only come across once in a blue moon. So none for this month!
As you can clearly see in the image above, my reading in May was not diverse at all. I intend to fix that in the upcoming months, so feel free to recommend any diverse reads down in the comments!
From suggested donations to ways to learn to be an anti-racist, here are some resources that will guide you in volunteering time and money to Black Lives Matter. I’ve also listed some wonderful organizations and businesses run by Black people, which I highly recommend you support and donate to. Please link any additional resources you have down in the comments!
- Black Lives Matter
- #TalkAbout Trayvon: A Toolkit for White People
- BLM Activist Shorts
- Black Visions Collective
- Buy From a Black Woman
- The Okra Project
- Black Theatre Matters
- More Educational Resources