June was a really great reading month for me. I managed to read 16 books in total, though some were definitely short reads. More importantly, I managed to find two new favourite books, and the majority of the books I read this month were 4 and 5 star reads. I have been really interested in my reading stats at the moment – you can find my reading stats and goal progress here – and so I have added a ‘Reading Stats’ section to my wrap up that breaks down my reading by format and star rating.
Book of the Month – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
- Physical – 7
- Audio – 5
- ARCs – 4
- ★★★★★★ – 3 (1 re-read)
- ★★★★★ – 4
- ★★★★ – 7
- ★★★ – 2
The False Prince
Jennifer A. Nielsen
This is one of my all-time favourite books, and I am so glad that I still loved it during this re-read. Everything about it is perfect for me. It has sarcastic, witty and fun characters, an intriguing plot, good pacing and excellent writing. I have re-read it so many times, and yet I never bought the next two books in the series. I have finally gone and bought them, and I hope I love the next two books in the trilogy just as much!
I had mixed feelings about this book. I really wanted a fun, light-hearted and entertaining read, and this just didn’t deliver. The majority of the book concerned themes of gaslighting, emotional abuse and dysfunctional relationships and I struggled to enjoy it. It did redeem itself in the last 20% or so and I’m glad I didn’t DNF it, but it just wasn’t the book I was hoping for.
The Last Piece of My Heart
This book has a little piece of my heart. It was such a wonderful novel, and I fell in love with the plot and the characters. It was slightly predictable, but that didn’t make me love it any less. It is my new favourite Paige Toon book, and I am looking forward to reading even more of her work. It has such an interesting premise – a travel blogger is commissioned to ghostwrite a novel after the original author tragically dies before completing her highly-anticipated sequel – and it was executed really well.
Ways to Make Sunshine
This was a super cute and fun Middle Grade novel about a young girl overcoming several challenges in her life. Her dad recently lost his job, forcing the family to move house. She rarely sees him as he has started working nights, and her friend has moved away. It dealt with these difficult topics in a really fun and positive way, and I really think the younger Middle Grade audience will love it! I enjoyed Renée Watson’s writing style, and I am sure I will love her YA novel Watch Us Rise, which I added to my wish list as soon as I finished this book, and received for my birthday.
I loved this book! It is written from the perspective of the devil, who is interested not in creating evil and chaos but in influencing people to make choices that lead to the most interesting and exciting outcomes. The devil is following a mother as she escapes from her abusive husband with her three young children and the consequences that arise from this choice. This is a very dark book and deals with themes of domestic abuse and violence, so it is definitely not for everyone, but I would highly recommend it if you are able to read about these topics. I will be posting my full review on my blog towards the end of July as part of a blog tour with Agora Books.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse
I read this in one sitting, and I fell in love with the art style and the simple commentary on mental health and life. It is a book I will be re-reading over and over again and I definitely consider it a favourite. It has stunningly beautiful linework drawings, some in black and white, some simple, some more elaborate and some in full colour. The sentiments within and the journey that characters go on is just beautiful. There is nothing else really to say about it except that I would recommend it to everyone, and I would like every page of it framed on my wall.
The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House
This is a wonderful collection of 5 essays by Audre Lorde. She tackles themes of white feminism, what it means to be Black and a lesbian, the importance of poetry and the need for Black creators to be found in all academic panels, not just the ones talking about diversity. Each essay read both as an academic work and an elaborate piece of prose. It was equal parts beautiful and eye-opening, and I would really recommend it if you are looking for an eloquent introduction to the role of race, sex and sexuality in America and throughout the world. I am really looking forward to reading her larger collection ‘Your Silence Will Not Protect You’, which I hope to get to soon.
Remembered is a piece of historical fiction so firmly rooted in reality it will leave you heartbroken. It had an interesting, fragmented writing style that complimented the narrative voice and the fact that the story being told by the narrator has been pieced together through word of mouth, newspaper articles and the help of her dead sister’s knowledge of the dead. It spans decades of Black enslavement, subsequent emancipation and the transition to freedom. It is gripping, devastating and a must-read.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Roseanne A. Brown
This is my new favourite fantasy book! I am already desperate for the sequel and this book hasn’t even been released in the UK yet! I am really looking forward to my @fairyloot exclusive edition arriving and I am very happy with myself for ordering it before I finished the audiobook and not waiting until after I knew I loved it in case it went out of stock (it is now out of stock)! If you love fantasy, dual perspectives, competition, enemies to lovers romance and an all-round gripping and incredible plot, you will love this. I will also definitely be posting a full review on my blog soon – probably when my physical copy arrives!
This is a cold case thriller with several perspectives: a nameless male character, a police detective and a victim of the crime, who is slowly beginning to regain her memory after 10 years of amnesia. I enjoyed this novel, and I thought the premise was very interesting, but the characters fell flat. The main characters had no personality outside of the case, and very little is learnt about them that isn’t directly related to furthering the plot. I find it difficult to root for characters I know nothing about, so I didn’t really care what happened to them. If you’re interesting in learning more about my thoughts on this book, you can find my full blog tour review here.
Claribel A. Ortega
This was an amazing and fun Middle Grade novel, filled to the brim with ghosts, witches and young badass ghost-hunters! I would definitely recommend it for younger and older audiences alike, as I really think that anyone can enjoy the Middle Grade genre. MG has a way of combining humour and fun with an exploration of more serious topics –– in this case, financial struggles, an absent parent, and self-confidence issues.
All Boys Aren’t Blue
George M. Johnson
This is a raw and honest insight into George M. Johnson’s life growing up Black and queer. It deals with very difficult and triggering topics, and these are all announced at the beginning of the book. I listened to the audiobook, and it genuinely felt as though he was telling me his life story – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the very ugly. And yet it all pulled together to make something beautiful, and I would really highly recommend it.
You Should See Me in a Crown
This was such a cute and fun YA prom-com. I have never understood the fascination with and the spectacle that is prom in America and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a novel centred around it, but I really enjoyed it – mostly because it isn’t your tradition girl meets boy novel. Instead, girl meets girl as Liz falls for newcomer Mack. But, she’s not really out at school, and she’s already having to deal with running for Prom committee and being one of the only Black girls in the school. It was a really cute story, and I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook.
The Simple Wild
This was my first novel by K.A. Tucker and it definitely won’t be my last. City girl (and quite frankly rather irritating) Calla travels to Alaska in an attempt to reconnect with the father she has never met and hasn’t spoken to in over a decade. There, she meets grumpy Jonah and, since they’re neighbours, her attempts to avoid him are rather unsuccessful. You can guess where this is going but it goes beyond a typical slow burn romance and explores difficult themes of illness and second chance families. I also haven’t read a novel set mostly in Alaska and it was interesting to see a glimpse into the rural life (albeit in a fictional town).
More to the Story
This was such a fun and cute novella that only took a couple of hours to listen to. It is a retelling of Little Women (which I still haven’t read) with a modern American Muslim family. The main character, Jameela, is a passionate writer and editor, desperate to tell important stories in the school newspaper, and it follows her family as they deal with some difficult issues. It was a brilliant and heartfelt Middle Grade novel that explores familial relationships, micro-aggressions, illness and friendship.
The Paper and Hearts Society: Read with Pride
This is the second book in The Paper and Hearts Society series, and it is my favourite so far. It follows Olivia, one of the side characters from book one, as she navigates the stress of GCSEs, maintaining a relationship with her girlfriend, and battling the school’s new policy: banning LGBTQ+ books from being taken out of the library without parental consent. I really enjoyed this book and the friendships within it. I do think it is written for the younger end of YA so the writing style isn’t my favourite, but the characters and themes more than made up for it. There are amazing conversations around sexuality, coming out, friendship and mental health in this book, and I think it’s a really important read for all readers to know that it is okay to read with pride.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? If you posted a June wrap up, leave it down below – I’d love to have a look!