May 2021 Wrap Up

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So I guess I slacked a little bit more than I thought. Here I was thinking that I was only 7 months behind in my TBR posts only to realize that I’m actually 8 months behind. I should have realized that even though I’d posted in June it didn’t mean I’d wrapped up the month before. It was the start of the decline of my posting, after all.

Being 8 months ago, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing in May. I know I participated (very minorly this year) in the Asian Readathon. I know I went on probably a million walks with my adorable pup, Yzma.

Instead of talking your ear off about who knows what, I think I’ll let the books speak for themselves:

As always, here are some pictures of my pup, Yzma.

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Or, check out my BookStagram account @PhantomOfTheLibrary1995 (which I will definitely be posting to as soon as I finish this dang move):

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This month, I also participated in the Asian Readathon. The list of books below does not include the books I read specifically for this Readathon. A separate post has been created for those books (link below once post uploaded).

Without further ado, here are my reading stats for May:


For reference: Physical books, eBooks, AudioBooks, and Library books.

Total titles completed: 10

Total pages read: 3188 pages (avg. 319 pages)

Average rating: 4 stars


Completed Books:

  1. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, Book 1)[4.5 stars] 406 pages
  2. TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey (Goodreads)[3.5 stars] 336 Pages
  3. Technopaladin: Clarity’s Edge by Elizabeth Corrigan (Goodreads / Amazon)[3.5 stars] 198 Pages
  4. A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly, Book 2)[4 stars] 408 pages
  5. Every Step She Takes by Kelley Armstrong (GoodReads)[5 stars] 320 pages
  6. Journey to New Salem by Mark Rosendorf (The Witches of Vegas, Book 2)(Goodreads)[3.5 stars] 294 pages
  7. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (GoodReads)[3.75 stars] 300 pages
  8. City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong (Rockton, Book 1)[5 stars] 471 pages
  9. Ellipsis by Kristy McGinnis (Goodreads)[4 stars] 282 Pages
  10. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children, Book 1)[3.5 stars] 173 Pages

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Review Posts:

  1. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
  2. Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine
  3. TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey
  4. Technopaladin: Clarity’s Edge by Elizabeth Corrigan
  5. Journey to New Salem by Mark Rosendorf

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Spotlight Posts:

  1. She’s the One Who Gets in Fights by S.R. Cronin
  2. Weathering Old Souls by Didi Oviatt & James J. Cudney

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Wrap Up:

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss:

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular points towards Edward Hyde, her father’s former assistant and a murderer, being nearby. Knowing about a reward for information leading towards his capture, Mary knows this reward would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

When the hunt heads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, she finds a feral child left to be raised by nuns. Assisted by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for Hyde and the truth about her father’s life. She soon befriends more woman, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

Their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power crazed scientists, causing the horrors of their pasts to return. Now it’s up to these “monsters” to triumph over the monstrous.

Honestly, I adored this story. I know that my TBR for this month was already a bit ridiculous, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to jump straight into European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman right away. I adore retellings as well as classic novels, which made this twist of a classics right up my alley. The story was riveting, the characters engaging, and their situations heartbreaking. Right from the beginning this story had me engaged and the second I finished reading The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter I couldn’t wait to continue on with the series. (Okay, so I didn’t jump straight into the next story, but I wanted to! I still can’t wait to read it!)

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TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey:

It is the year 2288.

Earth is reeling from the most horrific terrorist attack it has ever endured.

The Quest, a pseudo-religious splinter group, have taken up arms against the Earth Alliance’s authority.

It is down to Youssef Haseem, the highest-ranking official left in the EA, to build a team to face the threat of total inhalation if they don’t bow to The Quest’s demands.

Then the leaders of The Quest disappear, and a legend emerges in the year 1888.

Just who is the mysterious stranger stalking and viciously killing women on the streets of Whitechapel, London?

A mission is launched! A battle of wits against time itself. A fight to be played out in the present and the past, with the fate of all humanity at stake.

Legends can happen anytime…

It might be morbid, but I adore the story of Jack the Ripper. I’ve read a couple different “retellings” and “inspired by” tales based on this story, and I’m sure I’ll read more before I’m finished. This story in particular was a new twist on the tale and is wonderfully written. The story is told in multiple POVs, which certainly helps understand the minds in this world.

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Technopaladin by Elizabeth Corrigan:

Clarity’s paladin order forbids her from entering the Azure District, the one location in her high tech city that refuses paladin rule and technology. When she receives an illicit invitation to violate the prohibition, spurred on by rumors of suffering in the district, she passes through the crumbling brick entryway into no-man’s land. Within, she finds the residents lack not only the ocular implants and three dimensional computers she takes for granted, but also medicine to fight a disease infecting the children. Clarity knows her order isn’t perfect—after all, they stole her from her parents when she was a small child to raise her with their values—but she cannot believe they know what’s going on in the Azure District. When she confronts the head of the order, he refuses to aid people who have rejected his help in the past, even the children. Unwilling to take no for an answer, Clarity enlists the help of the leader’s son Cass and takes matters into her own hands. Desperate both to cure the children and keep her place in the order that is her only home, Clarity engages in increasingly questionable behavior—deleting official records, lying to her friends, and manipulating people who can help her. As the nefarious nature of her actions tarnishes the purity of her cause, she must determine what it truly means to be a paladin, in both name and action.

At the time that I read this story, I’d only read one other book by Corrigan – The Oracle of Philadelphia. Since then, I’ve read more of her works and absolutely adored them (reviews for these reads will be coming out soon, I promise!). This read was different from the Earthbound Angels series, but I enjoyed it just as much. If Corrigan keeps writing stories like these, she’ll quickly become a new favourite author of mine.

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A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard:

Perfect for fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners and Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series, this spellbinding sequel to Something Strange and Deadly delivers a mix of supernatural forces and intense romance, set against the enchanting backdrop of nineteenth-century Paris.

With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and sees haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.

To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she’ll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there’s a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.

In Paris, there’s a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.

I have to reiterate: I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to pick this story up. Something Strange and Deadly was everything I wanted in the story and I was thrilled to see that this story definitely keeps up. The Steampunk elements of this story were perfect to progress the narrative, the interpersonal relationships shocking and dynamic. I can tell you for certain that it won’t take me almost as full year to continue on with this series!

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Every Step She Takes by Kelley Armstrong:

Sometimes there’s no use running from your past. . . .

Genevieve has secrets that no one knows. In Rome she can be whoever she wants to be. Her neighbours aren’t nosy; her Italian is passable; the shopkeepers and restaurant owners now see her as a local, and they let her be. It’s exactly what she wants.

One morning, after getting groceries, she returns to her 500-year-old Trastevere apartment. She climbs to the very top of the staircase, the stairs narrowing the higher she goes. When she gets to her door, she puts down her bags and pushes the key into the lock . . .

. . . and the door swings open.

It’s unlocked. Sometimes she doesn’t lock it because break-ins aren’t common in Rome. But Genevieve knows she locked the door behind her this morning. She has no doubt.

She should leave, call the police. What if someone is in her apartment, waiting for her? But she doesn’t.

The apartment is empty, and exactly as she left it, perfectly tidy and not a thing out of place . . . except for the small box on her kitchen table. A box that definitely wasn’t there this morning. A box postmarked from the US. A box that is addressed to “Lucy Callahan.”

A name that she hasn’t used in ten years.

Like always, I heard that Armstrong had a book that I hadn’t read yet so I had to pick it up. I’ve had this AudioBook for a while now but I haven’t really been listening to AudioBooks for the last couple of months. Now that I commute into work further, I’ve got more time to listen as I drive. And I’m so glad that I picked this story up.

Genevieve might not have expected her past to come knocking, but she faced it head on. Well… she faced it on a diagonal, with her head down so that no one recognized her. But she was strong in spirit and fortitude to be able to do what needed to be done to solve the mystery ahead of her. Armstrong did a fantastic job at writing a mystery that kept me guessing until the last second.

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Journey to New Salem by Mark Rosendorf:

The Witches of Vegas are back, and their lives will never be the same again.                           

 A year has passed since The Witches of Vegas saved the city from the evil Wiccan vampire, Valeria. Since then, the show has hit an all-time high. So has the romance between teen witch Isis Rivera and teenage magician, Zack Galloway. 

Things couldn’t be any better for them until Isis develops seizures that cause her power to spiral out of control. Fires and earthquakes are just the beginning of the chaos caused by the misfired witchcraft. Unable to find a cure, Isis’ family journeys to New Salem, a fabled village of witches which may or may not even exist. Meanwhile, Zack ends up face to face with the only being who may have a cure…Valeria. But does he dare pay her price?

I received a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

This story certain took twists that I didn’t see coming. While the base storyline of this story was simple and straightforward, the secondary plot lines took some turns that I didn’t see coming. I enjoy a story that can surprise me. While I enjoyed the first book more than this one, I still enjoyed every second I was in this world. The ending of this story left me wondering where this story would go next, and my mind certainly started spinning. Personally, I think that when a book can keep my mind occupied even after I’ve read the last page, that’s a good read.

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

With the flick of her paintbrush, Isobel creates stunning portraits for the dangerous fair folk. These immortal creatures cannot perform human Craft without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, trading valuable enchantments for Isobel’s paintings. But when she meets Rook, the autumn prince, Isobel makes a deadly mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his throne, and even his life.

Furious, Rook spirits Isobel into his kingdom to face trial for her crime. But something is seriously amiss in his world, and they are attacked from every side. Isobel and Rook must work together, their unlikely alliance blossoming to trust, perhaps even love… a forbidden emotion that would violate the fair folks’ ruthless laws, rendering both their lives forfeit.

I enjoyed this story, but enjoyed Sorcery of Thorns much more. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed being in Isobel’s head. I listened the the AudioBook version of this story and the voice acting truly brought the story to life. However, it’s clear that this story was written first. Everything that I loved about Sorcery of Thorns – the amazing characters, fantastic world building, a gripping plot – were all here, just less refined.

I enjoyed seeing the way Isobel – that all humans – viewed the fair folk, and how the fair folk viewed them in return. The magic in this world was unique, even among fair folk stories. The trading of enchantments for human craft was fascinating, a great way to see the whiles of the fair folk getting the upper hand on the humans in town. I’m thrilled with the way that this story ended, the resolutions that were showcased and the plotlines that were left unanswered to leave this world feeling real. I can’t help but wish I knew what happened after the last page was over, but I appreciate the way it ended, the open ended nature of the story.

I look forward to reading what else Rogerson comes up with.

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City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong:

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster so she knows it’s inevitable that her past will catch up with her. Casey’s best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When her ex finds Diana and Casey is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it’s time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town for people like her, a town that take sin people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to Rockton and, if you’re accepted, walk away entirely from your old life and live off the grid in the wilds of Canada. No cell phones, no internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out of town without the council’s approval.

As a murderer, Casey isn’t a good candidate. But she has something they want: She’s a homicide detective and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving Casey realizes the identity of the murderer isn’t the only secret that Rockton is hiding. In fact, Casey has started to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve read this book. Like all of Armstrong’s books, I adored living in this world every second I got to. Funnily enough, I reread this book again just before working on this post. You can trust me when I say this is one of my favourite mystery series of all time.

Casey is an amazing detective. She does a wonderful job at sussing at clues and building her case. Even more impressive than that is Armstrong’s ability to write a cop/detective story where the main protagonist isn’t over explaining everything they discover. Casey is slowly building the case herself but even though you’re in her head while reading this book, you’re able to work the clues out on your own. We’re not privy to every thought and line of questioning Casey is going to undergo, making this a truly captivating read.

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Ellipsis by Kristy McGinnis:

Smart, determined and beautiful; college student and art model Nell seemed to be the girl who had it all. When unplanned pregnancy threatens to derail everything, she fears life is over. Instead, she discovers motherhood to be her new calling. For thirteen years she and her son Charlie are a unit and her world is complete. Everything changes when violence erupts at Charlie’s school. As she reaches out via text in desperation, only the words and the animated ellipsis on the phone screen offer a buffer between life and death. Can she save the person on the other end of the messages in time, and in the process can she save herself too?

Even months later, this story still pops into my mind sometimes. It took me a while to get into the flow of the story, but that could have been because of my habit of reading a million books at once. Okay, maybe not a million but usually at least 4 different tales.

Putting aside that, this story spoke to me on so many levels. Nell’s emotions are so raw they almost jump off the page. She goes through so much in this short book. The rollercoaster of emotions and the determination of this woman are unbelievable. This is a book that talks about some serious issues, and the world is all the better for it.

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire:

No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

While this story didn’t rip emotions out of me the way that In an Absent Dream did, I still really enjoyed the read. I’ve been left with fond memories of this story and its characters. Which is kind of a morbid thought, all things considered. If you haven’t read this series yet, I’d recommend giving it a try. I’m looking forward to picking up more of the tales in this world.

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This is usually the part of the post where I ramble on about things that happened during the month. Since I can’t remember what I was doing or how I felt (with any real specifics, anyways), I’m going to leave it here. I hope you enjoyed the reading that you did in May of 2021. Whether you discovered a new favourite or reread something old, I hope you enjoyed your time in a different world.

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