June was an interesting reading month for me! There were moments where all I wanted to do was read and then I would go days without picking anything up. That said, I was a co-host for Once Upon a Readathon and it was a blast!
The fact that both of my DNFs are contemporary romances makes me wonder if I just wasn’t in the mood for them in June, but neither of these worked for me.
I didn’t love Book Lovers but I wanted to give Emily Henry another try and I loved the sound of Happy Place. There is something about Emily Henry’s characters that I have a hard time connecting with. This is something I noticed in Book Lovers as well. I just struggled to cheer for the couple and isn’t that what you want in a romance? I think I am over these second-chance romances with split timelines. I made the mistake of pushing through Book Lovers even when I wasn’t liking it and I wasn’t going to do that again with Happy Place.
The fact that I DNFed Meet Me at the Lake is so disappointing and unexpecting since I really did have a good time with Every Summer After! I know that is ironic because I just said I was over the second-chance split timelines romances, but that one is an exception. I have a messy, fun time with it. Admittedly, I didn’t get that far into this one but there were already so many tropes I don’t get along with that I just could not push through. Sad times!
Admittedly, I don’t think I quite understood what The Salt Grows Heavy was trying to do. The write was beautiful but I spend the majority of the book utterly confused. I was into the relationship between the mermaid and the plague doctor but it felt like we were just plopped into the middle of the story and expected to grasp everything that was happening. This is a novella but it took me so much longer to read than it should have because I kept having to go back and relisten. Maybe audio wasn’t the way to go with this one! Also, if you do want to give this a try, I think it is important to know that there is a lot of gore.
Don’t let This Woven Kingdom’s placement on this list deter you from picking it up! I still really enjoyed it and would recommend giving it a try. My problem with it is that it was much more romance heavy than I was anticipating and the insta-love was a bit over the top for me. What kept me reading it was Alizeh herself. I was invested in her story and the ending got me and I will continue with the series.
A Dead Djinn in Cairo is only 47 pages, so it is a hard one to talk about. It is the first prequel in the Dead Djinn Universe, with the first full-length novel being A Master of Djinn. I thought that this was a great way to introduce the world and get me excited about what is to come. It also reaffirmed for me that I connect with P. Djeli Clark’s writing. It is pretty much a police procedural set in an alternative Cairo in 1912 and has djinn.
That Summer Feeling was a fun read set at an adult summer camp! The entire thing takes place over the course of a week, so it does have a bit of insta-love, but I thought that it made sense in this case because there is something about summer camp that doesn’t feel real and has that dreamlike quality to it. It follows Garland who is going through a divorce and is invited to this summer camp where she falls for a woman for the first time. There is also this weird fantasy element where she had a premonition where she was with this woman’s brother. I thought that was a bit strange but I just went with it! That Summer Feeling is just a fun time and there are all the games and competitions that you would hope a book set at a summer camp would have.
Aquicorn Cove is a graphic novel by the same author as the Tea Dragon series. I thought that this was a sweet and beautiful exploration of grief and environmentalism. I don’t want to say more than that because I went into it knowing nothing and was really moved by it. Also, it is available on Kindle Unlimited!
I know that Obsession does not look like something I would ever read but I have friends who are doing a readalong on Booktube and I figured I would join them. I was prewarned that this was going to be ridiculous and cringy and chock-full of cheesy one-liners, and that is what I loved about it. I cannot remember the last time I laughed out loud while reading. I was so invested! It follows Sunday, who is a werewolf who is unable to shift, and she is sent to a boarding school where every guy there happens to be super hot and into her. One is a werewolf who happens to be her mate who she rejected, then we have a vampire, a demigod, and a priest. It is a “why choose”, which is so out of my comfort zone, but it was so much fun! Also, the audiobook was a full cast and amazing.
Redemption in Indigo is one of those books that I think you should listen to on audio if you can. The narrator breaks the fourth wall and talks to the reader as if they want to tell them a story. This ends up reading like a fable and there was something special about it. Like most fables, it hits you over the head with the moral of the story, but I thought it was well done. It is one of those unique reading experiences where you have nothing else to compare it to. I read this for The Book Check Out Book Club and we did a live discussion of it, so check that out if you want to hear more.
I heard mixed things about The Stardust Thief when it first came out so I put off reading it for over a year. I think this was the right decision because it gave me time to adjust my expectations and in the end, it surprised me. You will notice I read a few djinn books in June for the readathon and I was so worried that they would all blend together or start to feel the same but that has not been the case. I have yet to be burnt out on them because they are each so unique. The Stardust Thief is adult but does read on the younger side but I knew that going in so I wasn’t bothered by it. It was evident that this was inspired by One Thousand and One Nights but it became something entirely new. The first half was a bit slow but it gave me time to understand the characters and the world but then the second half was action-packed and had some shocking moments. There were moments when I thought we were getting a romance but it never went in that direction, which was refreshing. We did get one perspective from a character I didn’t love or quite understand why her POV was needed but I am sure that will become more apparent in future books. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger and I cannot wait for the sequel!
Of all of the djinn-related books I read in June, The City of Brass stands out as my favourite. It took me about 30% to fully feel invested because there was a lot of setup, but I appreciated that. S.A. Chakraborty is a master storyteller and The City of Brass ended up being everything I like in my high fantasy. The slow-burn romance was also a bonus! It does end on a cliffhanger though so I need to continue on with the series sooner rather than later.
Claws and Contrivances is the sequel to Scales and Sensibility, which was an SPFBO 8 finalist and one of my favourite books of the bunch. This is like Jane Austen with dragons and I loved every second of it. Dare I say I liked the sequel even more? I think I related to Rose and became more invested in all of the side characters. There is also fake dating, which is an easy way to win me over. I hope that we get more books in this series because it brings me so much comfort!