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.
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!
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.
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
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!