Hello everyone! Today, I’m bringing to you by June wrap-up. June was my best reading month of the year in terms of both quantity and quality. I read a total of 11 books, and am almost done with my 12th and 13th. Without further ado, let’s get into my monthly wrap up!
Coincidentally, I am exactly 70% through both of these. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore took me by surprise- it’s different from what I had anticipated it to be, but I’m enjoying it well enough. A Clash of Kings is a re-read, since I’m preparing for Winds of Winter, although I have no idea when it’s coming out – if it’s ever coming out. I should be done with both books early in July.
The Curse of the Bruel Coven (ARC) by Sabrina Ramoth | 2 stars | Review
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I felt that this book was ridiculously fast-paced, and in order to fully grasp what was happening and the gravity of the situation, it was in desperate need of a breather. We’re launched right into the action and are expected to care about the characters without even fully knowing who they are as people. However, the story had an immense amount of potential, and as soon as the author learns to pace herself better, I see myself liking her work more. Still, this book is good for people who enjoy fast-paced entertainment!
The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han | 2.5 stars | Review
This is another set of books that did very little for me, in terms of quality and substance. They were, however, extremely entertaining. I’m not usually a person who enjoys binge-reading series, but Han’s writing style is extremely addictive and simple without seeming juvenile. What brought this series down was the main character- I felt that she was extremely immature. Her life revolved around boys and she constantly flip-flopped between two perfectly decent people. I despise love triangles, and this series was a love-triangle fiesta.
With Malice by Eileen Cook (ARC) | 4 stars | Review
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. With Malice is the perfect summer read for people like me who enjoy fast-paced thrillers under the sun. I thought the characters were wonderfully constructed, despite me not having connected with them fully. The story was entertaining, and it was such a relief to read a book with no romance in it whatsoever. Cook paints a formidable picture of the teenage girl dynamic- something that was thought-provoking and realistic. I also really enjoyed the format, since it was told in several different forms: narration, interview transcripts, blog comments, articles etc.
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R. R. Martin | 5 stars
This was another re-read. After having read a certain book that made me doubt whether good storytelling still existed in the world, I had a strong desire to re-read this series. Honestly, it was better the second time around. The first time I read it, I had thought that Martin’s extravagant writing style was a little much- the descriptions bothered me, and I mostly just wanted to pay attention to the plot. My reading taste has largely matured since then and I came to appreciate Martin’s writing in a way I hadn’t before. The lavish descriptions did nothing but build the world-building to tremendous heights, and the introspection in the POV chapters showed me the characters in a light I had previously ignored. The plot was obviously always fabulous, but the second time around, I am certain that this man’s head is near perfect.
Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray | 3.5 stars | Review
I went into this book with very high expectations since The Diviners was one of my favorite books of 2014. Personally, I felt that the plot was a little disappointing and the novel was a good 100-150 pages longer than it needed to be; however, Lair of Dreams was a thematic masterpiece, and I do not say that lightly. This novel is so much more than what it is on the surface: set in the 1920s, it depicts the glamor and charm of the Roaring 20s while showing the audience that something so damned ugly simmered below the surface. Racism, prejudice, discrimination, homophobia, suspicion- all of these things were so prominent in American society, yet they were largely ignored. It was interesting (and rather tragic) to see how these themes still relate to modern times.
Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima | 3 stars | Review
Flamecaster was another book that was somewhat of a disappointment. I have come to expect a lot from Cinda Williams Chima, because I genuinely believe (after having read the Seven Realms series) that she’s one of the best voices in fantasy out there. Her characters are all very well-developed, her world-building is strong with plays of politics, and she has a gift of making heroes out of unexpected people. Flamecaster had elements of all these qualities, but in diminished quantities; I felt the world-building was stronger, but I was not nearly as invested in the characters as I was in Han and Raisa. I thought the romance was rushed, and I found myself missing that series more than enjoying this one. I will still continue, and I hope Chima can offer me something better in the next one.
We Awaken (ARC) by Calista Lynne | 2 stars | Review
I received a free copy of this review in exchange for an honest review. I was so glad when the author reached out to me and told me her story for was about two asexual characters- that sounds so awesome, especially since I’ve never read anything before about asexuality. I was familiar with the basics, but I hadn’t really researched the phenomenon. This book was very informative; I came out of it with a solid basic understanding of what asexuality was, but alas, this book did little else for me. The characters fell flat, the romance was rather rushed and I felt that otherwise important issues were abandoned to put the romance in the forefront.
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton | 2.5 stars | Review
Rebel of the Sands has been getting a shit ton of hype recently, so I went into it with reasonably high expectations. It started off very, very strong. I had a feeling that I would really enjoy the story and the characters, but by the midpoint, I came to realize that the characters had little to no potential for development, the plot was confusing and unnecessarily winding, and the world-building was rather lackluster. I also felt that the portrayal of the Middle East in its most negative, primitive form was problematic- this I speak more about in my review.
Persepolis (Vol. 1) by Marjane Satrapi | 4 stars | Review
I’ve always maintained that you don’t need to think a book is the best thing ever written to understand its extreme importance in a global, historical context. Heck, you don’t even need to like a book to understand that. Persepolis isn’t the most entertaining graphic novel, nor is the art style extremely detailed and eye-catching, nor are the characters people you would necessarily fall in love with. However, it is an incredibly important novel that makes you think about a country and a region that is so often overlooked because people feel uncomfortable talking about it. Because it’s a true story, the experience is rather jarring. I cannot fully express the significance of this story in such a short paragraph- there’s more in my review, if you’re interested.
So that’s it for all the books I read this month. I’m so happy with the amount of reading I got done, especially since I was in a slumpy mood for the past few months.
I also started a Bookstagram account! There’s a link to the side of my blog if you want to check that out! As always, thanks so much for stopping by and happy reading. <3