May Reading Wrap-Up

This month I finally got back into reading. It’s been a long go with me just sitting there and scrolling through social media mindlessly but I decided I needed to pick up a book. I opened up my Kindle app and started rereading an old favorite and bam, here is the result of that.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

5/5 stars. Decided to pick this book up because I had no more social media to scroll through on my phone and so BAM reading slump was gone. 100% favorite guilty pleasure read.

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Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

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3/5 Stars. I enjoyed it overall, but there were definitely aspects of the book that I didn’t enjoy. But it was a fun read and made me nostalgic for London so I would recommend it for a summer read.

Here’s a link to a more in-depth review that I wrote right after reading the book.

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Save the Date by Morgan Matson

4/5 Stars. Well, I finally picked up this book and read it. Took me long enough considering I buy and read every single one of Morgan Matson’s books… I feel like a sham of a fan because I waited until this one was out in paperback whereas with The Unexpected Everything I had that preordered well before it came out. Oh well though… I did enjoy this book but it brought up an issue that I had never really thought of before now. I wrote a post about that here.

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

5/5 stars. Still probably my favorite MM book at this point. Though I really do love all her books.

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

4/5 stars. I actually changed my rating on this from what I’ve had it at the previous times I’ve read it. It is still a favorite of mine but I’m rating it 4/5 stars now because there are some aspects of it that I now don’t love that I glossed over before but still love the book overall.

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

5/5 stars. All of SJM’s books are my guilty pleasure reads to be honest. I reread this for two reasons. The first being that I am reading this and comparing it to the book Graceling by Kristin Cashore for a post I’m going to write. And the second reason being that I still have not read Empire of Storms and Kingdom of Ash so I really need to refresh myself on the story so I can finish those books. Now I just need to find my copy of Graceling so that I can get going with that post!

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A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah

2/5 stars. I was so thoroughly unimpressed by this book and I was do disappointed by that! I was so interested in this book going into it, I mean the synopsis sounded so intriguing. Then as the book dragged on I was getting more bored as it went. And the ending was incredibly lackluster and I just wished for more!! Overall it really wasn’t a bad book but I think it could’ve been way better. If you want a spoilery short review to read, here’s my post on Goodreads.

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Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

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5/5 stars. Favorite book of the month, hands down! Might possibly be one of my favorites of the year or even all time. I just can’t believe how well written this was, how heartbreaking and riveting this story was. And it’s based off of very real people and events. Here’s the link to my gushing review about it. Highly, highly recommend!

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So that’s what I read this month! What was your favorite book that you read this month? Did you read any duds? What are you excited about reading in June? I’ve got a huge pile of books that I want to read all at once. I’m really excited for some good summer reading! Hope you’re all having a good weekend! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

Review: Lilac Girls

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is the harrowing tale of three women during World War II and their interweaving stories that take place over the course of more than a decade. It is based off of real people, real stories, though the dialogue has been fabricated by the author. The women in this story are Caroline, a New York socialite, Kasia, a Polish teenager, and Herta, a young German doctor. Caroline Ferriday and Herta Oberheuser were real people while Kasia (and her sister Zuzanna) were created by and based off of women who had been imprisoned in Ravensbruck, like Kasia and Zuzanna.

I devoured this book in about two days when I finally sat down to actually read it. I bought it last year and on multiple occasions I was tempted to just declutter it and now that I’ve read it I am so glad that I didn’t.

The period of time that this book is based off of, World War II, is one of my favorite parts of history to learn about. And although I am so passionate about learning about it, reading of the atrocities that occurred to so many people just never gets easier. This story was no exception. It was heart wrenching and painful and beautiful all at once, I found myself experiencing every emotion as I turned the pages, I truly couldn’t read this fast enough.

From here onwards contains spoilers… But, before you go (if you don’t want to see the spoilers) if you haven’t gotten a copy of this book, I urge you to pick one up and read it. It’s a stunning story that I won’t soon forget and I will be recommending it to absolutely everyone from here on out. If you’re interested in picking up a copy of your own, here are some links:

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Caroline, from the beginning, was a striking heroine. She is headstrong and passionate and oh boy do I wish I could have met her in real life. As a side note, the second book that Kelly wrote is a prequel about Caroline’s mother called Lose Roses and I am so excited to get my hands on this book soon! And though I found her storyline with Paul to be somewhat interesting, I couldn’t help but just want to go back to hearing more about the work she was doing. I really loved how the romance aspects of this book didn’t overpower the other messages. It was incredibly realistically written.

Herta was a complicated character. I wanted to hate her, I really did but I couldn’t help but find bits of sympathy hidden in my disgust for her actions. She was so disillusioned to the horrible work she was doing, so passionate to be doing the work of the Reich and Hitler. It gives me chills just thinking about how people could believe that these murders and experiments were just. The small parts of her inner turmoil that were shown, with the cutting, helped to humanize her and I felt empathy in those moments, she felt like she was doing her job and yet felt not right. Her suicide attempt was one part of the book that I had to skip but I saw it coming from a mile away. She knew she was in the wrong and I think deep down she realized that she could’ve backed out when she first had to administer the lethal injections. She chose to keep working even after feeling initial disgust and for that I feel no sympathy.

And finally, Kasia. She was such a painful character to read. So young and naive to be caught up in such turmoil and disaster. Her mindset so stuck in her ways that it was obvious that despite her older self saying that she wasn’t damaged, she was truly hurt psychologically by Ravensbruck. Her inability to let things go and to want to change and fix things, it just broke my heart. Seeing her fall apart slowly despite so many things going right was incredibly difficult to read and I just wanted to reach into the book and grab her, shake her, and take her to a therapist. I think that seeing what she was going through after being liberated was something that needed to be seen. Recovery from any sort of traumatic event is difficult and the fact that Kasia was trying to just return to a normal life is absolutely evidence that sometimes you really can’t do that. Everyone suffers and recovers in their own way but everyone needs help and everyone should try and accept help.

The ending was pretty open and I didn’t mind that. Not every story needs to be wrapped up with a pretty bow and this was definitely one of those stories. Though I would have appreciated knowing what the hell Paul wrote in his letters, Caroline. But that’s beside the point.

I truly could not recommend this book enough. And I’m totally on that post reading a great book high and just want to shout from the rooftops about this book but I was truly wowed by this book.

So please, please, please, buy this book and read it and learn these stories. There are few things I push more than learning about our past, learning about the bad that happened in this world because how else are we supposed to prevent ourselves from doing something this bad again.

PS… This post contains affiliate links!