May - June 2023 Reading Wrap-Up


Welcome to my May and June 2023 reading wrap-up! These past two months have been quite a journey for me as I tried to get back into reading after a reading slump. Thankfully, I found some amazing books at my local library and took part in a reading challenge by Neverland Bookclub, which really helped me find my reading groove again. During this time, I read a total of nine books: seven in May and two in June. I read four physical books, listened to one audiobook, and enjoyed three e-books. I also have published a wrap-up video on my channel for you who prefer video format. Join me as I share the wonderful stories I discovered and how they helped me fall in love with reading all over again.


1. Spell Sweeper by Lee Edward Fodi

Rating : 3.5 / 5

Spell Sweeper is an exciting and imaginative book for middle-grade readers that combines fantasy, adventure, and friendship in a magical world. In this story by Lee Edward Fodi, we meet Cara Moone, a young wizard who didn't do well in wizard school and got sent to become a MOP (Magical Occurrence Purger), whose job is to clean up the dangerous residue of wizards' spells.

As the story unfolds, something unexpected happens. Harlee Wu, who is believed to be the Chosen One destined to save the magical world, accidentally creates a rift there. Now it's up to Cara and her team to fix the mess and save the day. [FULL REVIEW]


2. Alamanda (dan Sihir yang Berujung Salah) by Nellaneva

Rating : 4 / 5

In Alamanda (dan Sihir yang Berujung Salah) by Nellaneva, we meet Alamanda Garthran, a sorceress who had put herself into a deep sleep using a powerful spell called the Eternal Sleep, for an astonishing 233 years. But now, she's awake and determined to find Dave (or someone like him, born again) to make things right and resolve a misunderstanding from the past.

Alamanda must also find time to teach magic to a young boy named Rasmus, who claims to be her descendant. In return, Alamanda asks Rasmus to help her understand the modern world, with its televisions, cell phones, and other technologies that she's never encountered in the past 200 years.

While adjusting to the new era and searching for Dave, Alamanda discovers that there's another part of her past that still haunts her. Her old enemy, Cecile Hecates, seeks revenge for a past humiliation and is determined to settle the score. [FULL REVIEW]


3. Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide by Cecily Wong, Dylan Thuras

Rating : 3.5 / 5

Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras is an exciting book that takes us on a journey around the world to discover fascinating foods and amazing dishes. It's not just about the food itself, but also the stories and history behind it. The book also has cool pictures of the food and places, and it even includes recipes for us to try. While I feel that certain parts could have been better researched or covered more diverse places such as South East Asian countries, overall, Gastro Obscura is an exciting mix of food, travel, and culture that will spark our curiosity and make us want to explore the world through food.


4. Her Radiant Curse by Elisabeth Lim

ARC copy | Houder & Stoughton | Released date : August 29, 2023

Rating : 3.5 / 5

Her Radiant Curse by Elisabeth Lim is a fantasy book about two sisters, Channi and Vanna. Channi, who has a serpent's face due to a curse, tries to protect her sister from a contest where suitors compete for Vanna's hand in marriage. The story explores the importance of sisterhood and the true meaning of beauty.

In my opinion, this book had some good parts and some not-so-good parts. I liked the strong bond between the sisters and how they cared for each other. The idea of a curse and the presence of dragons were interesting. However, I didn't like the revenge and despise themes that were sometimes present in the story. There were also moments when the plot felt silly or childish to me.

The characters didn't feel fully developed, such as how they make their decisions were not fully known by us, the readers, even though it's told from first person point of view. Additionally, some parts of the book felt dragged on, while others felt rushed.


5. The Grace of Wild Things by Heather Fawcett

Rating : 4.5 / 5

The Grace of Wild Things by Heather Fawcett is a magical and enchanting book that reimagines the beloved story of Anne of Green Gables. It follows the journey of Grace, a young girl who is good at magic but is constantly overlooked by others. Determined to find her place, Grace apprentices herself to a witch who turns out to be more wicked than expected. In a risky deal, Grace must learn 100½ spells or risk losing her own magic. Along the way, she forms unexpected bonds and faces challenges that test her courage and imagination.

I absolutely loved this book! It takes inspiration from Anne of Green Gables but creates a unique and fresh experience. The nods to the original story are subtle and cleverly incorporated. Grace, the main character, is vibrant and full of life, reminiscent of Anne Shirley. I also adored Windweaver, the poetry-loving crow, who added charm to the story.

The magical elements and spells in the book were delightful, especially for younger readers. The friendships portrayed were heartwarming, and the characters showed growth and resilience. The author's writing style was beautiful and evocative, capturing the whimsical nature of the story. And the most important thing is the vibes! It's cottagecore vibes! You'll find kids gathering mushrooms and plants for witchy potion in the forest while talking and laughing.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, there were a few aspects that didn't fully resonate with me. The witch's wickedness was sometimes hard to reconcile, considering the dark actions she had taken. I would have preferred a more nuanced portrayal.


6. Na Willa by Reda Gaudiamo

Rating : 4.5 / 5

This heartwarming story follows the daily life of Na Willa, a young girl who shares simple yet profound sentences about her experiences. Set in a time when radio and cotton beds were commonplace, Na Willa's everyday routines and surroundings evoke a nostalgic yearning for a simpler era. As readers immerse themselves in Na Willa's world, they are transported to a time where life moved at a gentler pace, eliciting emotions of longing and fondness for bygone days. Moreover, the interactions between Na Willa and her mother, Mak, strike a deep chord with adult readers as Mak's words and guidance mirror the universal wisdom and love that can be found in the relationship between a mother and her child. [FULL REVIEW]


7. The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read byPhilippa Perry

Rating : 4.5 / 5

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read offers a fresh and compassionate perspective on parenting. Through its key points of reflection, empathy, effective communication, setting boundaries, addressing contemporary challenges, and prioritizing emotional well-being, this book provides a roadmap for parents to build stronger, more meaningful connections with their children. It is a must-read for anyone on the journey of parenting, reminding us that with love, understanding, and self-reflection, we can create a positive and nurturing environment for our children to thrive. [FULL REVIEW]


8. Cooking With You by Yoana Dianika

Rating : 3 / 5

Cooking with You by Yoana Dianika is a captivating novel that takes readers on a flavorful and heartfelt journey. From the moment I laid eyes on the book's cover, adorned with charming cooking utensils illustrations and the inviting title. What I discovered within the pages exceeded my expectations. The detailed descriptions of dishes, their origins, cooking processes, and historical context awakened my senses and expanded my culinary knowledge.

It is a book that will appeal to those who adore culinary tales, seek a lighter romance narrative, and yearn for immersive descriptions of places and emotions. So, if you have a taste for mouthwatering dishes, crave a heartwarming story, and long to be transported to enchanting locales, I highly recommend adding Cooking with You to your reading list. [FULL REVIEW]


9. Sayap-Sayap Patah by Kahlil Gibran

Rating : 4 / 5

Kahlil Gibran's Broken Wings (Sayap-Sayap Patah) is a timeless masterpiece that delves into the complexities of love, personal freedom, and the human spirit. Through its universal themes, relatable characters, and evocative symbolism, the novella offers readers a profound exploration of the human condition. It prompts introspection and invites us to examine our own lives, choices, and the societal influences that shape us. Broken Wings continues to inspire and resonate, reminding us of the enduring power of love, the pursuit of personal freedom, and the boundless potential for spiritual growth and transcendence. [FULL REVIEW]


As we conclude the reading journey for May and June 2023, I reflect on the three books that stood out to me with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. These books have brought me joy, inspiration, and a sense of adventure. But now, I turn to you, fellow readers, how was your own reading journey during these past two months? What interesting books did you discover? I encourage you to share your favorite reads and recommendations in the comment box below. See you on the next reading wrap-up!


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