My favourite blog posts of July 2018!

Hi friends! My ‘favourites’ post last month went down really well so I’m definitely going to continue spreading the love 🙂 Here are some posts I loved this month!

 

Reviews

Rachel wrote a great review of Sadie by Courtney Summers. I haven’t seen this book around much but it sounds like a dark and intriguing read – added to the wishlist!

Steph reviewed The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, which has been on my radar for a while. Another YA on the darker side, I’ve heard great things about this one and would love to try it!

Briana wrote a super cute review of a sweet-sounding middle-grade, Annie’s Life in Lists by Kristin Mahoney. It’s all in lists!

Ali reviewed Goodnight Mister Tom, a classic I’ve never read but definitely want to try now!

Sim wrote a wonderful in-depth review of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. I loved this book last year and it makes me so happy to see someone else embarking on their own Bardugo journey!

Melanie got her hands on an ARC of Muse of Nightmares (lucky duck!) and her review has made me even more excited for this highly anticipated sequel. I am dying over here waiting for this book! Melanie is a reviewer whose opinion I rate highly so it fills me with joy to know that she loved this sequel – that means it’s likely to meet my high expectations!

Mandy wrote a great review of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (wow, that’s a long title!) I added this one to my wishlist yeeears ago but still haven’t got round to it – maybe this lovely review will make it more of a priority for me!

Tara reviewed Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen and got me even more hyped for this sequel!

 

Discussion posts

Samantha wrote a post about why unhauling books can be a good thing. I definitely need to keep this one bookmarked as I always struggle to get rid of books!

Kelly always writes great discussion posts but I particularly enjoyed this one about family values and whether they are absent in YA books.

Marie raised the question of new releases and whether we place too much importance on them. I found this post very relevant; since I began blogging, I get seduced much more regularly by new releases!

Justine shared some things she has learned from months of blogging. I always enjoy reading about other bloggers’ experiences and Justine gives some great advice in this post.

Heather listed some plot concepts she wants to see more of and I am totally with her on these!

 

Other fun posts

Krysta created a list of books set in every state in the USA! This was a great post for Independence Day and has me wanting to challenge myself to read a book for each state! Who’s interested? 😉

Zuky made a list of films she wishes were books – I thought this was such a cool idea for a post and I loved Zuky’s choices. It’s definitely got me thinking about some films that I’d like to see in book form.

Nyx made a post for the ‘Book Aesthetics’ tag and it was gorgeous! I’m definitely going to be trying this one myself!

Kristin did the ‘Literary Dinner Party’ tag and I loved her choices! This is another tag I really want to do soon.

LaRonda recommended some lesser-known fairytale retellings she enjoyed. Fairytale retellings are some of my favourite books to read so I’m always on the lookout for more! These five are now all on my wishlist.

Swetlana compiled a great post about her bookstagram process. As a bookstagrammer myself, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve and I think this post would be a great guide for beginners wanting to break into the book photography scene.

Cait wrote a list of books that have misleading titles and (as her posts always are) it was a delight to read.

Tina did an amazing job in the 24in48 Readathon, completing a full 24 hours reading! I am a frequent participant in the readathon but have never managed to hit a full 24 hours so I am in awe of Tina’s achievement!

Callum shared some photographs of his time in Copenhagen and added a new destination to my travel wishlist!

 

Thank you to everyone mentioned in this post for creating such great content! (If you weren’t featured, please don’t feel bad – I could have made a post twice as long but I’m only human!) I hope you all discover some new favourites from this and make some new friends in the blogging community! x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘A Thousand Perfect Notes’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be reviewing A Thousand Perfect Notes, the debut novel from our very own Paper Fury! I was over the moon when Cait announced she would finally be getting published; imagine my delight when I then discovered that her debut novel would be about a pianist?! Never has a blog been more suited to reviewing this book 😉

 

What the book is about…

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

 

What I thought of it…

I just knew I was going to love this. As a musician myself, I found it so refreshing to read something this unique – I mean, how often do we get to see a retelling of a classical musician’s life?! It was utterly brilliant. The way it was done was so clever and had me grinning like an absolute idiot.

The characters were definitely one of my favourite aspects of the book. Joey was a little bundle of joy and I loved her to bits. The sibling relationship between her and Beck was great and shone right from the outset. It was obvious that Cait was writing the kind of characters she enjoys reading about: those cinnamon boys and sassy girls were giving me life. I also thought it was very clever to constantly use the term ‘the Maestro’ as it really helped with the depersonalisation of that particular character.

Everyone (including the author herself) said that this book would emotionally compromise its readers but I wasn’t expecting to have my feels shredded from the very first chapter! It was an emotional rollercoaster, at times genuinely brutal, and I just wanted to wrap everyone up in fluffy blankets and feed them all the foods.

I cannot express how much love I have for this book. Beck, August and Joey have all carved themselves a place in my heart and will remain there indefinitely. I knew that Cait’s debut would not disappoint; having been a long-time fan of her blog, I could see that her voice was delightfully clear in every sentence. This book was so authentically HER and I can’t wait to read more from her.

I wholeheartedly recommend A Thousand Perfect Notes for fans of YA contemporaries with lashings of feels or for anyone with an interest in music. (It’s like Cait wrote this book for me 😉 )

 

a thousand perfect notes paper fury book review piano

Is anyone else a fan of Paper Fury? Have you read A Thousand Perfect Notes yet? 

‘Summer of Salt’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m reviewing the wonderful Summer of Salt by author Katrina Leno!

 

What the book is about…

A magic passed down through generations . . .

Georgina Fernweh waits with growing impatience for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has been passed down through every woman in her family. Her twin sister, Mary, already shows an ability to defy gravity. But with their eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.

An island where strange things happen . . .

No-one on the island of By-the-Sea would ever call the Fernwehs what they really are, but if you need the odd bit of help—say, a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight—they are the ones to ask.

No-one questions the weather, as moody and erratic as a summer storm.

No-one questions the (allegedly) three-hundred-year-old bird who comes to roost on the island every year.

A summer that will become legend . . .

When tragedy strikes, what made the Fernweh women special suddenly casts them in suspicion. Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, of love, of salt—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.

 

What I thought of it…

This was absolutely gorgeous. The writing was stunning and lyrical, exactly the kind I love. Anyone who enjoys whimsical books will love this.

I really liked the protagonist, Georgina; I found her to be real and funny, and I really liked how her personality came across in the writing. Supporting characters were also well-developed which is always a positive in my book (it’s never fun when everyone but the main character is two-dimensional).

The representation/diversity was great. The f/f romance was awkward and adorable, and I was rooting for Georgina and Prue the whole time. I also LOVED the inclusion of an asexual character (if I’m remembering correctly, the word itself was actually used). Vira was a real gem; she was hilarious and sassy, and is a new contender for my favourite female character in literature (up there with Laini Taylor’s Zuzanna).

I had a couple of small complaints in that there was a little too much focus on birds – I’m really not a bird person! I also predicted the twist STRAIGHT AWAY. I’m talking IMMEDIATELY. But it was still a fun and cute story so I wasn’t too perturbed.

I will say that things took a very dark turn. I had actually known in advance due to trigger warnings on another reviewer’s blog (I know it’s considerate to warn other readers of potentially upsetting content but in this case, it was a huge spoiler!) So I wasn’t hugely shocked by what happened but I can’t blame the author for that.

My final word is on the ending. It was phenomenal. Right up to the end, I was unsure whether this would be a 4 or 5 star rating but Leno deserved all the stars for those last few pages. She handled the situation so tactfully and said exactly what needed to be said. I’m so happy with her for writing those words.

Overall, I’d say this was a 4.5 but I rounded up because of the way Leno handled the ending. I’d definitely recommend this one for fans of magical realism or cute contemporaries.

 

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Have you read Summer of Salt? Or any of Leno’s other books? Tell me your favourite magical realism book! x

 

‘The Mermaid’ spoiler-free review!

“Hope is a clinging, tenacious thing, almost impossible to dislodge.”

– Christina Henry, The Mermaid

 

Hi everyone! Today I’m reviewing The Mermaid, the latest book by Christina Henry. Having really enjoyed Lost Boy earlier this year and then falling in love with the movie The Greatest Showman, I just had to get my hands on this book!

 

What the book is about…

From the author of Lost Boy comes a beautiful historical fairytale about a mermaid who leaves the sea, only to become the star attraction of history’s greatest showman.

Once there was a mermaid called Amelia who could never be content in the sea, a mermaid who longed to know all the world and all its wonders, and so she came to live on land.

Once there was a man called P. T. Barnum, a man who longed to make his fortune by selling the wondrous and miraculous, and there is nothing more miraculous than a real mermaid.

Amelia agrees to play the mermaid for Barnum and walk among men in their world, believing she can leave anytime she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he’s determined to hold on to his mermaid.

 

What I thought of it…

This was such a fantastic book. It took no time at all for me to become invested in the story of the mermaid. I loved the folklorish start but felt completely transported when the action moved to New York. I was flying through the pages.

Amelia was a brilliant protagonist. She is such an activist and I bloody loved her for it. She stands up for so many things – feminism, animal rights, racial minorities – and it added so much extra depth to what could have been a simple tale. By adding these issues, Christina Henry has created a multi-layered plot that defies categorisation.

I was also impressed with the Barnum that Henry created. Having recently watched The Greatest Showman, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t constantly picturing Hugh Jackman; however, Henry managed to give her Barnum a distinct personality and make him more morally grey than the all-singing, all-dancing movie version.

The writing itself was also beautiful. I flagged so many quotes that really spoke to me and I loved Henry’s message about accepting everyone no matter what.

I am so impressed with this one. Christina Henry is fast becoming a favourite author.

 

the mermaid christina henry book review

Have you read any of Christina Henry’s books? What did you think of them?

‘Monday’s Not Coming’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today I’m reviewing Monday’s Not Coming, the second novel from Tiffany D. Jackson. (I’m ridiculously late with my review of this one but I’m finally getting round to it.) Huge thanks to Harper360 for sending me an ARC!

 

What the book is about…

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

 

What I thought of it…

Unfortunately, this one left me feeling a bit ‘meh’. I acknowledge that the author tackled an important topic that is not being given the attention it deserves in the media; sadly, I just didn’t particularly enjoy the execution of it.

The narrative voice felt VERY young, to the point that I felt like I was reading the thoughts of a ten-year-old at many points. (And don’t misunderstand me here, because I enjoy reading young narrators when it’s middle grade and they are supposed to sound like ten-year-olds.) The immaturity may have been a conscious choice on the part of the author (for reasons I can’t discuss because they would be gigantic spoilers) but the tone just felt really incongruous to the character’s age. The whole ‘secret language’ thing felt very childish.

The book also featured the most confusing timeline ever (and I didn’t really feel any less confused when it supposedly resolved itself. I still don’t know when certain scenes took place.) It made it difficult for me to become invested in the story; I didn’t feel gripped because I was constantly being pulled out of the action into random ‘filler’ scenes in the past (or what I believe was the past anyway). I wasn’t very shocked by the ‘twist’, though I did find some of the details quite harrowing.

It wasn’t all bad. I liked the use of colour throughout the book – it was an interesting technique that I haven’t seen done very often. I also loved Claudia’s dad as a character – he was parent goals! He was so supportive and helpful, and a great father, which is something we rarely get to see in YA literature.

Overall, I respect what the author tried to do here in raising awareness of an issue she believes is not acknowledged enough (as explained in her author’s note). I just didn’t particularly enjoy the execution of it. This was a fast read but I feel like, ultimately, it will be forgettable.

 

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Has anyone read this one? Or Tiffany Jackson’s first novel? What are your thoughts on books that tackle difficult current topics? 

Alex’s Alphabeticals! ‘D’

Hi friends! It’s been quite a while since I did one of these but I want to get back into it so, without further ado, it’s time for the fourth instalment of my blog series ‘Alex’s Alphabeticals’! Before I get started, I want to thank everyone who has shown so much interest in this series – I’ve had a few people asking if they can make their own posts and that’s amazing! Of course you may! I’d love to see them. All I ask is that you credit me for the idea/link back to me in the same way you would with a Top Ten Tuesday/Waiting on Wednesday post. Post at your own pace, do as many or as few letters as you want; the idea is just to post your favourite authors, books and characters (ABCs) for a particular letter of the alphabet. We’ll call it the ‘Alphabetical’ tag. One lovely blogger who already got on board is Rita – you can check out her ‘A’ post here. Any other questions, drop me a comment at the end of this post!

And now, onto my ‘D’ favourites!

 

Authors beginning with ‘D’

Charles Dickens

I don’t know if I can call Dickens a favourite when I’ve only read 2 of his books… but I really enjoyed Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol and I’d like to read more from him in the future. It’s not just the books he wrote himself either; I find him a fascinating subject to read about and always enjoy picking up works inspired by his life or reimaginings of his stories.

 

Roald Dahl

No-one can deny the everlasting appeal of Dahl’s children’s stories. My favourites were always George’s Marvellous Medicine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and, of course, Matilda. I haven’t read a great deal of his books for adults but they’re on my list!

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Books beginning with ‘D’

The Diabolic

I read this book with my book club in 2017 and I was really pleasantly surprised by it! I tend to be a little intimidated by sci-fi books but the premise of this one was interesting enough to catch my attention, and I thought it would be easier to handle as it was YA. I ended up really liking it; it was a twisty story with a badass protagonist and I’d definitely recommend it to others who, like me, are a bit scared of sci-fi. Just treat it as a standalone though; the sequel kind of ruined things for me!

 

The Dress Shop of Dreams

Another read from last year, this was an adorable little book that was so much more than I thought it would be. At a time when I was feeling burnt out by heavier reads, I was admittedly looking for a ‘bit of fluff’ – but what I got was a meaningful story filled with great characters and sprinklings of magical realism (my favourite). This book came into my life at the perfect time and I now definitely want to read more from the author!

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

My introduction to the goddess that is Laini Taylor! I love the stunning setting of Prague and the fantastic characters. This series is even more special to me because I actually went to a signing event where I got to meet Laini as well as one of my favourite people from the bookstagram community, @ab_reads! Special memories.

 

Daughter of the Burning City

I loved the rich and complex world-building in this story and could totally see it being made into a Tim Burton movie! Dark and atmospheric, this wasn’t a straightforward fantasy novel but a murder mystery too. And you guys know how much I love a circus!

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The Dollmaker of Krakow

I read this in January this year and absolutely adored it! I already know it will be on my favourites list for 2018. This is a completely magical read and, in case you missed it, you can read my full spoiler-free review here.

 

Characters beginning with ‘D’

Death

Many authors have provided their own take on a personification of Death. There are two in particular that I love. The first is Markus Zusak’s incarnation in The Book Thief; having a book narrated from the perspective of Death is such a unique concept and made for such a compelling and beautiful read. And the other representation I love is from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Pratchett’s version of Death is more satirical and definitely gives me a giggle!

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Daenerys Targaryen

Dany is one of my favourite characters in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Her character development is superb and she is a truly FIERCE queen. I’m not holding my breath waiting for The Winds of Winter but I’m definitely curious to see where Dany’s story goes.

 

Diana (Wonder Woman)

So I still haven’t seen the DC movie but I really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s take on this character! Like Daenerys, Diana is a badass woman who fights for what she believes in, and is definitely the kind of role model we need more of in YA literature.

 

Dobby

And finally, a special mention for the absolute hero that is Dobby the house elf. He is brave and selfless, and I’ll never be over it.

 

I forgot how fun these posts are to write! I seem to love a lots of books beginning with ‘D’ but not many authors!

Who are some of your favourite authors/books/characters beginning with ‘D’? Let me know in the comments or feel free to make your own post and link me to it so I can read it! 🙂 

‘The Language of Thorns’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I’m still catching up on reviews after my mammoth reading month in June so please bear with me!

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo was one of my favourite reads of last month. Before I tell you why, here’s the synopsis…

 

What the book is about…

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a love-struck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairytale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

 

What I thought of it…

This book is everything I never knew I needed. I love the way Bardugo subverted all the fairytale clichés with this collection, giving us dark and twisted endings, unexpected romances, defying notions of beauty and speaking out for women and minority groups everywhere.

As always, the writing is seriously gorgeous. For some reason, I always forget how great Bardugo is at descriptions – this book definitely serves as a reminder. There were phrases in this book that moved me to tears (not something I’d expected!) Bardugo’s beautiful writing really helped to convey the messages at the heart of each story, all of which were so powerful and impactful.

The tales read like classic fables, reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling, Aesop and, of course, Hans Christian Andersen. However, there is an originality here that showcases Bardugo’s wonderful imagination. She would pull me in with what seemed like a simple fairytale and then I’d be absolutely floored by the endings!

There was also SO MUCH FOOD in this book and I was living for it. I love a foody description and this book was filled to the brim with them.

My favourite story in the collection was When Water Sang Fire. It is the longest and most developed tale in the book and I adored it. It was everything I wanted from The Surface Breaks but didn’t get. This right here is how you write a feminist take on The Little Mermaid.

Finally, a special mention for the illustrator because this book is truly a work of art. The drawings grow with every page, ending in full double-page illustrations, and they are things of beauty. I wish every book looked like this.

I hate that I waited so long to read this. Please pick it up if you haven’t already!

 

the language of thorns leigh bardugo

I don’t know why the book looks blurry in this picture, but I’ve noticed even on Goodreads it looks like this?! It clearly does not like to be photographed! *cries*

 

Who else has read this one? Please leave a comment below and fangirl with me! x

‘Her Name Was Rose’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I was recently sent a copy of Her Name Was Rose by the lovely people at Avon Books and it was such a fun read!

 

What the book was about…

Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy.

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no-one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

 

What I thought of it…

Guys, this book was crazy! It was like a car crash that you are unable to look away from (perhaps that’s the wrong choice of words given how the book starts but I can’t think of a more accurate description). The twists and turns had me racing through the pages, desperate to know what was going on. And just when I thought I had it figured out, things would get flipped on their head again!

At first, I really didn’t like the main character but I weirdly found myself warming to her as the book progressed and the author revealed more details. I found myself not necessarily empathising with her or excusing her poor choices but I gradually found her less hateful!

Her Name Was Rose was a fascinating exploration of the human psyche and the author tackled some heavy topics in a sensitive manner. I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers but I really liked the author’s choice of themes and the way they impacted my feelings towards the characters and the story.

Overall, this book was a wild ride and a great debut thriller from Claire Allan!

 

her name was rose review

Who else has read this one? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! x

June Wrap-Up! (In which I devour the most books I’ve ever read in a single month)

Hi lovely friends! Brace yourselves because this is the most insane wrap-up I’ve ever written. I managed to read 22 books in June! I’ll try to keep my thoughts on each book short so that I’m not keeping you here all day haha.

 

 

Classics

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

I’ve been loving the classic sci-fi lately. This one wasn’t a new favourite, feeling a bit more farcical, but I am still determined to make my way through Wells’ catalogue as I enjoy his style.

 

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Definitely not a book for dog lovers! I’m sure there are some valid themes in here but the degree of animal abuse was just too much for me to overlook.

 

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

As a huge fan of all things Gothic, I’m glad to say I’ve read this, the first of its kind. However, I can’t say it was an enjoyable read. It really hasn’t aged well. The dialogue felt completely ridiculous and I really had to force myself to get through this one.

 

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

A charming story reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables, with one of the best catalysts for action I’ve found in a children’s classic. A bit too sweet to become a new favourite but a lovely read with a valuable message at its heart.

 

 

Review Books/Books I was sent

The Spirit Photographer by Jon Michael Varese

A really interesting read with some fantastic historical detail. Though it felt a little slow at times, the quality of this debut was excellent. My full spoiler-free review is here.

 

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen

There was a good story here but the execution disappointed me. The pacing felt off and I found the book very tame compared to other Scandinavian thrillers I’ve read. You can find my full thoughts here.

 

Song by Michelle Jana Chan

I was honoured to be part of the blog tour for this book. The writing was superb and I loved the characters. The book tackled a lot of heavy topics but, overall, had an inspiring message at its heart.

 

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

This was a crazy twisty read that had me flying through the pages to figure out what was going on! I’ll be reviewing it in full within the next couple of days.

 

 

Books from my TBR

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

I read this as part of #translatedjune which was hosted by Abbie on Instagram. I’m glad she hosted this, as this book could have sat on my shelf for years otherwise. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did; it was hilariously clever and one of the most ‘meta’ things I’ve ever read!

 

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

This book really seems to be dividing people and, unfortunately, I landed on the negative side of things. I really didn’t like how sensitive topics were handled. In case you managed to miss my scathing review, you can find it here.

 

Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

Another fun read from one of my favourite contemporary series. It made me giggle on numerous occasions.

 

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

I spent a few days in June visiting family, and my young cousin (who knows I’m a huge Gaiman fan) left his copy of this book on my bed the night I arrived. Too sweet. I managed to read the whole thing in less than an hour and definitely found it to be one of the more childish of Gaiman’s works but it was fun and I loved Chris Riddell’s artwork.

 

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

This was my second read from Sarah Addison Allen but, sadly, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Garden Spells. I didn’t really feel a connection with any of the characters, it was very slow to get going, and it felt much more twee. ‘Nice’ is the strongest word I have for this one.

 

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

This was perfection. A new all-time favourite! I loved everything about it. For more details, check out my gushing spoiler-free review here.

 

Boy Underwater by Adam Baron

This was a sweet middle-grade with a very strong narrative voice. It was incredibly fast-paced and I read it in one sitting! I’ll have a review of this one coming your way soon.

 

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read this one! This is how you write feminist fairytales (side eye for The Surface Breaks haha). The writing was seriously gorgeous and I loved how Bardugo subverted all the usual fairytale clichés.

 

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Another sweet middle grade, this one was an interesting and original take on Baba Yaga. I found it a little repetitive at times but enjoyable overall. Like Boy Underwater, I plan to review this one properly soon.

 

Arrowood by Laura McHugh

I love stories about creepy old houses and this Southern Gothic mystery was so atmospheric! The author created a constant sense of tension and made good use of red herrings to keep me guessing. And this was perfect to read during the heatwave we’ve been having!

 

 

Rereads

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I reread this one in preparation for the sequel, Legendary, as I couldn’t remember very much about it. It was nice to come back to it when the hype wasn’t at its peak and I felt I was able to be more objective about it this time around. I still loved the magical world that Garber has created but I could see this time why it might not work for everyone.

 

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This was my choice for the BookBum bookclub theme, ‘Movie Nights’. Rereading this one reminded me of what I love about classic Gaiman. You can find out for yourself here 😉

 

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Having struggled a lot this month with my mental health, I reread this one to get a little perspective. It was a more difficult read this time round due to the headspace I was in but I still think it’s a hugely valuable book and I think everyone should read it.

 

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

A pure comfort read, this is one of my favourite books of all time. I can’t even put into words how much I love it.

 

 

Stats

Total pages: 6288

Average pages per day: 209.6

Longest book: Song (464 pages)

Shortest book: The Castle of Otranto (125 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Bone Gap

Biggest disappointment of the month: The Surface Breaks

Male authors: 9 (2 books by Gaiman)

Female authors: 12

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 7

 

june wrap up

Well done you if you made it all the way to the end! This was definitely not an average month for me but I’m delighted to have ticked so many books off my TBR. While I had a few disappointing reads, I also found some new favourites. I can’t wait to see what July brings!