May Reading Wrap-Up: My 4 and 5 Star Reads

Since This Dread Road is in edits right now, I’m taking a bit of a breather before launching full-speed into my next writing project. I’m using this time to read as much as I can, for what better way is there to rejuvenate after a long, grueling seven months than pausing to “fill up” on creativity?

Unfortunately,  I didn’t love everything I read during the month of May, but I did have good luck. Out of fifteen books read, I gave ten four- or five-star reviews. If you’re looking for something read this month, I recommend these!

Regrets Only by M.J. Pullen

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At thirty-three, Suzanne Hamilton has no regrets. A successful event planner with a swanky condo in a hot Atlanta neighborhood, she’s got a close group of friends and a list of men a mile long who would happily bend over backwards to win her heart. Plus, she’s just landed the event that will take her career to the next level.

Then a freak accident changes everything. Humiliated, with her career in tatters, Suzanne’s lost her business not to mention her self-respect. She’s managed, however, to retain the surprising support of her newest celebrity client: the sexy country music star, Dylan Burke. Against her better judgment, but without any better offers, Suzanne agrees to plan a wedding for one of the Burke sisters. But when she comes to realize her freak accident was anything but, her catalog of past relationships turns into a list of suspects and Suzanne must question everything—her career, her friendships, and most acutely, her own dating rules.

As it turns out she might have quite a bit to regret after all.

Taking place a few years after the events of The Marriage Pact, M. J. Pullen returns to the same captivating group of lovelorn friends, this time following Suzanne as she discovers that her trusty rules no longer apply. Raising the stakes, Pullen delivers an absorbing, romantic novel that shows how someone with a “perfect life” can lose it all—and then find everything.

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (Reread via Audible)

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“‘You are sharing the Dark Lord’s thoughts and emotions. The Headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord.'”

Dark times have come to Hogwarts. After the Dementors’ attack on his cousin Dudley, Harry Potter knows that Voldemort will stop at nothing to find him. There are many who deny the Dark Lord’s return, but Harry is not alone: a secret order gathers at Grimmauld Place to fight against the Dark forces. Harry must allow Professor Snape to teach him how to protect himself from Voldemort’s savage assaults on his mind. But they are growing stronger by the day and Harry is running out of time…

 

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

 

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

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The enchantment continues. . . .

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories – and secrets – that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories – five of which have never before been published – and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Reread) (Audible)

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“There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building…wherever they had murdered….”

When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort’s darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny….

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Reread) (Audible)

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl….

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

 

Cold Calling by Russell Mardell

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Still reeling from the break-up with the love of his life, insurance firm cold-caller Ray English has become a bit of a screw-up. Cynical and withdrawn, Ray is aimlessly drifting through life in London with his longsuffering best friend, Danny. However, once he is asked to reform his college band for a friend’s wedding, Ray is soon forced to face up to his old life, and the hometown he had tried so hard to turn his back on.

Anya Belmont is a woman with a secret and a history that continues to shape her life. A coffee shop owner in Salisbury, Anya is successful, yet bored; married, yet lonely. She is also slowly being driven to distraction by her highly temperamental friend, the child-hating children’s author, Eva Cunningham.

Through fate, coincidence or just bad timing, Ray and Anya’s lives begin to change when Ray cold-calls Anya and the two strike up a seemingly innocuous conversation. Against their better judgment, their conversation is soon the start of a relationship played out over the phone. But can there ever be anything real in a phone call?

A sharp-witted, saccharine-free, thoroughly modern tale of lost loves and found friendships.

 

Dear Thing by Julie Cohen

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After years of watching her best friends Ben and Claire try for a baby, Romily has offered to give them the one thing that they want most.

Romily expects it will be easy to be a surrogate. She’s already a single mother, and she has no desire for any more children. But Romily isn’t prepared for the overwhelming feelings that have taken hold of her and which threaten to ruin her friendship with Ben and Claire-and even destroy their marriage.

Now there are three friends, two mothers and only one baby, and an impossible decision to make…

Thought-provoking, heart-rending but ultimately uplifting, Julie Cohen’s Dear Thing is a book you won’t be able to put down, until you pass it on to your best friends.

 

The Truth About the Sky by Katharine Grubb

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As a Pastor’s kid, Kim has been told her whole life that God can see every mistake she makes. Now that she’s a college dropout, unemployed and in a questionable relationship with a party guy, her mistakes are all the more obvious. (Especially to her demanding mother, who, apparently, thinks wearing jeans on a commercial flight is a sin.)

If only she could move away! Then she could hide from gossip and no one would see her mess up!

Kim can’t move to Dallas unless she saves her money, so she swallows her pride and heads back to her childhood church to reluctantly serve as her father’s secretary. Her mother makes it clear: Kim better get her act together!

Not only is the church watching her, but Kim is also bothered by her theme obsessed mother; a creepy mortician who wants to court her; a sad, but good-looking music minister (whom she may or may not have been kissing) and her childhood friend, Eddie, who, as a lawyer, has an inexplicable interest in lawn care. Even if God was in her childhood church, Kim would be too busy and discouraged to find him.

Then her father is caught in a scandal — one that challenges her already shaky faith and her dysfunctional family. She has to choose: will she run away from critical eyes to Dallas as quickly as her car can take her? Will she be as critical and condemning as her own family has been to her? Or will she take her brother’s advice and believe, for the first time in her life, that God’s grace is as big as the Oklahoma sky?

 

Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges

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“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact–including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she–the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe–is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.

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