Saturday 3 July 2021

June 2021 Reading Wrap Up

I am so so happy with how my reading went in June, best month of the year so far and I managed a total of 13 books plus a DNF. Although I didn't get to all the physical books that I wanted to, I sped through a ton of ebooks including a couple of ARC's I was really excited for. You can read all of my thoughts on the books I read down below!    


Things to Do Before the End of the World by Emily Barr

This Netgalley ARC (oddly my request came through on the publication date...) was an interesting read but didn't leave me wowed. I would describe this book as a contemporary with sci-fi and thriller elements, a combination where I felt the sci-fi got overshadowed. This book follows Olivia as everyone on Earth discovers that the world is ending in nine months, as a shy teenager she sets out to do a bunch of things to make her more confident with the help of her long lost cousin. I didn't feel like the plot really got going until the last quarter of the book and I had trouble with the odd pacing. The last portion of the book was very exhilarating though so it definitely had it's positive points too. You can read my full review here.         

I listened to this as an audiobook which was definitely the right decision as the narrator was really great and captured the northern accents of the characters as well as the stilted dialogue that is the voice of Newt, the main character. Bearmouth is a dystopian book set in England and takes place in an underground community consisting of all men that mine for a reusable source. Newt, a young worker discovers flaws in Bearmouth's system and sets about to find the truth. The plot was really interesting and there were some really shocking moments in there as well, I just had some trouble focusing at times but that's mostly on me. 

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks          

I got about an hour and a half into this audiobook before I gave up. I don't read a ton of Sparks books although the films are my guilty pleasures and this is one I hadn't even heard of before but I wanted something light and romance focused. I just hated the narrator, his voice grated on me for some reason and therefore the story got lost. Of what I listened to it seemed the main plot was a volunteer firefighter rescuing a young boy and i'm guessing eventually falling in love with the boy's mother. The plot was pretty boring too so it was an easy DNF in the end. 
So, I enjoyed the Netflix show for what it was but I actually think it was a massive improvement on the book. It takes all the main elements from the book but definitely fleshes out the characters and builds drama in different places which obviously works for the show. I was just a bit indifferent to the characters in the novel although I still dislike Daphne for that sexual assault scene which is just as bad in the book. I'll continue with the books purely because I want to get to Colin and Penelope but I think I'm looking more forward to more seasons of the tv series then the books. 

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston

This was an incredibly fast paced YA fairytale-esque fantasy that I flew through over a single weekend. We follow Cerys as her kingdom is infiltrated by menacing forest creatures and her best friend is in need of saving. Cerys must take on the task with a fox and a bear for companions and armed only with a curse that runs through her blood. This was a lot of fun, I really liked Cerys and her relationships with her best friend, her father and the fox. The plot was really captivating and had that magical feel to it. The conflict and danger felt real as well as the development of Cerys and her curse/powers. Overall, I had a really great time and I can't wait to read more from Ashley Poston. 
A nice little romantic contemporary that had a really interesting plot device. After an awful break-up, Josh decides to let fate make his choices from now on by flipping a coin to decide what he should do in certain situations. The coin takes him on a wild goose chase across Europe in search of a mystery girl that he believes is The One. This was obviously very cute, with a fun premise and lots of British humour. Josh was fine as a main character and the romance had a fair bit of chemistry. I just found a lot of scenarios that happen in here wildy unrealistic at times, I mean how much bad luck can one guy have?? It also entered into stalker territory at times as well, but overall very reminiscent of a Richard Curtis rom-com.   

How To Be Brave by Daisy May Johnson

A charming middle grade, it's set in a British boarding school and follows Calla who finds herself in the middle of evil headmistresses, Amazonian ducks, helicopter flying nuns and lots and lots of biscuits. The plot is very zany and wild, there's kidnap plots and secret passageways so a lot of it isn't realistic but it does add to the fun. There's also footnotes in here too, a weakness of mine so that was an element I really enjoyed too. It's heartwarming and fast paced and I think middle grade readers will really enjoy it. You can read my full review here.      

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

This one has had some fairly average reviews but I really enjoyed it for the quick, summery read that it was. This is a contemporary but it borders on literary fiction for a YA audience. An unnamed narrator is spending the summer at a holiday house with her family when a family friend deposits her two sons to live with them for a few weeks. The titular Godden brothers find themselves entangled with the rest of the family and change the course of the summer. I really liked the way this story was told, it was incredibly poetic and lyrical and really emitted those classic summer vibes. A coming of age story that felt mature and refreshing. 

The Project by Courtney Summers     

I adored Sadie by Courtney Summers so I grabbed the audiobook for her newest release on audible with my free credits. Whilst this wasn't as good as Sadie, this authors audiobooks are always so immersive with fantasic narrators that really bring the story to life. The Project revolves around a budding journalist that investigates a 'cult' called The Unity Project, an organisation her sister became involved with after their parents deaths. Courtney Summers is terrific at creating thrilling plots with vivid characters. I liked the dual narration and being able to see things from both sister's perspectives. The intrigue was a little lacking for me but the writing is so phenomenal that I can't wait to read whatever Courtney Summers writes next. 

Junk by Melvin Burgess       

In celebration of the 25th Anniversery of this book, I snagged a review copy from Netgalley. I have read another of Burgess's books before but this one really blew me away. Closely following two fourteen year olds in the 90's who after running away from home find themselves caught up in a world of homelessness and drug addiction. The way the author handles heroine addiction is fantastic and you can tell this is a topic he is familiar with and he wanted to make it as realistic as possible. Incredibly emotional and shocking, some scenes reference suicide and prostitution, but captivating and powerful at the same time. You can read my full review here.   

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey 

I was so lucky to be invited by HarperVoyager to review this on Netgalley after I loved Threadneedle by Cari Thomas and this was described as the next 'biggest fantasy debut' so of course I had to start it as soon as possible! Whilst it has fantasy elements I would say this book has a big sci-fi presence as well. This is essentially a book that follows two people, Santi and Thora, across multiple lives as they try to figure out why they are destined to be thrown together. Such a creative premise that delivers on all fronts; plot, characters, setting, writing... I loved the different scenarios they found themselves in too from teacher and student, father and daughter, nurse and patient. It's been shelved as a romance but this isn't a typical love story by any means. The pacing is a little off towards the middle but this is such a unique story. Full review coming soon. 

We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation by Leighton Brown & Matthew L. Riemer

A fascinating non-fiction book that examines the Queer Liberation movement from it's conception in the 60's up until the mid 90's. This is definitely more of a coffee table book with a heavy focus on photographs and the people that dominated that era. I read an ebook version but i'm sure a physical copy would have been more immersive, to see these photos in person. The authors do a great job of collecting together all of the main talking points of the movement such as Stonewall and the Aids epidemic whilst still making it easy to understand. It does have a lot of focus on the different activist groups and their significant members as well as the different marches that occured around the country. Obviously very focused on the movement in the U.S rather then the world as a whole but really interesting and it was great to all of the moments captured. 

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee    

I'm incredibly disappointed that I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I was going to but my God, Noah has to be one of the most dislikeable main characters ever. Meet Cute Diary follows Noah, a trans male who runs a popular tumblr blog where he writes fictional meet cutes to inspire transgender followers that love is out there. The basic premise is that Noah wants the perfect relationship and has set out 12 steps from the meet cute to the happily ever after that will accomplish this. I strongly disliked Noah though, he's incredibly judgemental, has no empathy for others and believes the whole world should revolve around him. The positives were that there is so much representation in here with trans and non-binary characters and a pretty cute gay relationship towards the end. I also loved that one of the characters in here explored their pronouns and introduced me to a few that I wasn't familiar with. If the story had been from another character's POV then I may have liked it more but Noah had no redeeming qualities for me. Full review to come. 
To be honest I forgot I'd even read this in June because I think I just blocked it out. I really like the sound of The Faraway Collection novellas but with this being my first one, I'm not getting my hopes up for the rest. I just really didn't like the way the story was told, it felt very forced and I didn't get along with the writing style. It was also so dark, a lot darker then I was expecting. I mean this is a Hansel and Gretal retelling that takes place in some kind of sex trafficking ring. Pretty disturbing and not a particularly pleasant reading experience.     

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