June 2021 Wrap Up

Open book and coffee with the words June 2021 Wrap Up in the top left and a squiggle in the bottom right.

Probably a bit late for a June wrap up, but here we go… In June I read 15 books because I got swept up in LGBTQ+ romance and I usually get through those pretty fast. It was just what my brain seemed to be craving this month but it also coincided with Pride Month, yay! Overall, a good reading month with quite a few 5 star reads.|

E-Book – 3
Physical Copy – 7
Audiobook – 5

Six Crimson Cranes  by Elizabeth Lim
Six Crimson Cranes was an ARC and I enjoyed this YA fantasy retelling of the Grimm brothers’ The Six Swans fairytale, set in an East-Asian inspired world. I wrote a full review which you can read here but essentially I really enjoyed this book. It was a nice easy read with a great focus on family, magic and love. Definitely recommend if you’re looking for a book with fairytale vibes and a strong female protagonist.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wendy, Darling by A.C Wise
Again, another ARC. I love everything Peter Pan so when I saw this on NetGalley as a Peter Pan retelling, I jumped at the chance to read it.

This book looks at two timelines, present and the past which focuses on Wendy returning from Neverland with her brothers who promptly ‘forget’ Neverland and at her insistence of its existence, have her committed. There are definitely trigger warnings for trauma and abuse during her time there and the book follows her journey in refusing to give up Neverland but still lead a ‘normal’ life and rebuild that relationship with her brothers, one of which has seen the terrors that come with being a soldier during a World War.  In present day, she is married and has a daughter called Jane. She is trying to live a ‘normal’ life when one day she finds Peter in Jane’s room, not believing she is Wendy (she is too old for him), he takes Jane instead.

Whilst there is a minor focus on family, the main focus is on the mother daughter relationship between Wendy and her daughter, Jane. It is billed as a feminist retelling of Peter Pan but it just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t like any of the characters and found the darkness of Peter Pan a bit too similar to Lost Boy by Christina Henry. You can read my full thoughts here.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab This is my first foray into V.E Scwab/Victoria Schwab and I thought I’d try her middle-grade series on audiobook.

The series follows Cassidy Blake who nearly drowned but was saved by her now best friend, Jacob, who is a ghost. Because of her near death experience, she can travel between worlds, walk through the veil into the world of ghosts. All three books in this series follow her adventures and sinister experiences as an ‘in-betweener’. In City of Ghosts, Cassidy heads to Edinburgh along with her ‘ghost-hunter- parents as they film a new show on ghosts in the historic city. As Cassidy is exploring she discovers the sinister Red Raven, who will stop at nothing to get the blue line running through Cassidy, her life.

I really enjoyed it (except the many, many, many HP references…). The friendship between Cassidy and Jacob was entertaining and this was a relatively short read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab
The second book in this middle-grade series picks straight back up with Cassidy and Jacob, (and her parents) this time in Paris. Whilst in the catacombs, they accidentally discover a poltergeist who is now terrorising the city and it seems they are the only two who can stop their destructive streak.

Once again, not much to say about this but I enjoyed it. Nice, light, easy read (but again, a plethora of HP references).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
I was excited to read this book as it had definite A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder vibes so when I found out the main character was bisexual, I was even more sold.

The story follows Nora, a con artist raised by a con artist, as she gets stuck in a bank robbery with her girlfriend and ex-boyfriend. It definitely went a different way to what I thought it would but I liked the parallel timelines of the robbery and Nora’s past leading up to this moment. Definitely one with twists and turns but I would advise to check the trigger warnings before picking this one up as a large part of the book centres on abuse.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
This was the cutest story. Whilst at times it was a bit predictable – that’s why I usually turn to romance books because they are predictable feel good stories that are easy to read.

Meet Cute Diary follows Noah, a self-proclaimed romance expert and the owner of popular tumblr blog titled ‘Meet Cute Diary’. The thing is, all the stories in it are made up but it has become a beacon of home for trans teens and Noah doesn’t want to give that up when a troll tries to expose his lies. Enter Drew, a cute boy who is willing to fake date Noah for the sake of the blog – that’ll solve Noah’s problems, right?

Honestly, this was such a heartwarming story and with a trans protagonist at its centre, it was perfect.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn MuirGideon the Ninth is one of those books that I probably would not usually pick up. It is a bit too dark for me but the front of the book literally says “lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space” so it sounded intriguing and Sappho’s Library was raving about it when she read it. “The Emperor needs necromancers.The Ninth necromancer needs a swordswoman.Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.”It took me a while to get into it and I found bits confusing but overall it was a really good read. The characters were interesting and a good mix and the plot seemed to move along fairly quickly after the first third of the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales
I read Only Mostly Devastated last year and although I liked it, I didn’t love it so I wasn’t planning on reading Perfect On Paper but then Twitter kicked off with biphobia because someone questioned the author saying her character was bisexual when she ends up with a guy *insert facepalm here* So I had to buy it for support and also because bi main character, yay! Also, the characters go to Disneyland – Disney Parks should feature in more books!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hani & Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
Fake dating is MY JAM. I absolutely loved this and Hani and Ishu are great characters. This book explores relevant issues like biphobia, Islamophobia and the pressure that parents put on their kids to perform well in school and be successful. At times, it made me so mad – especially at Hani’s friends *shakes fist* but it serves as a reminder that this kind of stuff goes on all the time. Please add this to your TBR, you won’t regret it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Artemis by Andy Weir
Whilst I’ve not actually read The Martian (I’ve seen the movie because hello, Sebastian Stan), I wanted to read Artemis because the premise felt a bit like a heist in space. Whilst it was like that, it fell short for me, maybe because I read Relentless Moon recently and that had a similar premise and was just so much better. The characters in Artemis were ok but not loveable and whilst I did like the world Weir created with a moon base, I just couldn’t help the comparisons to Mary Robinette Kowal, which is a shame because I really wanted to read Weir’s latest book Project Hail Mary but now I’m not so sure.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Aaaaah Casey McQuiston, they can do no wrong. I adore Red, White & Royal Blue so was keen to read One Last Stop, but equally scared it wouldn’t live up to expectations. I think I have only ever read two time travel type stories ever and they aren’t tropes I usually gravitate to so I was worried that element would pull me out of the story. I was wrong, it did the opposite. It actually took my around seventy pages to get into the plot because, as I now realise, I was waiting for that element to kick in. And once it did, I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down.

This is an ode to love, to found family and to New York. I absolutely love how McQuiston describes New York, through August’s observations, through her feelings and through Jane’s memories. I could almost feel myself walking through the streets of NYC, with the sights and smells all around. Full review coming soon…

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Me holding One Last Stop in front of Waterstones shelves.

Bridge of Souls by V.E Schwab
For some reason I didn’t enjoy this as much as the other two in this series. This one is set in New Orleans and I did enjoy being back in the world of Cassidy and Jacob but I just didn’t love it as much as the other two.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
I have actually pre-ordered this book but I thought I’d try my luck with an e-ARC since I couldn’t wait til September to read this and Hodder & Stoughton granted my request!

I think Stephanie Garber has done a brilliant job of expanding the Caraval world. Her writing makes it so easy to imagine yourself in the story watching it all play out. I loved all the magic weaved in and Evangeline’s interpretation of it.  And of course Jacks. What can I say about Jacks except he is the same ol’ loveable fate that we saw in Finale, still keeping his cards close to his chest and leaving the reader to try and figure out just what his plan is. Overall, whilst it took me a while to get into the story (and I think I ultimately still prefer Scarlett and Tella as protagonists), this was a great foray into a new branch of the Caraval world and I can’t wait to read the sequel. You can find my full review here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sheets by Brenna Thummler
This was a cute graphic novel about a ghost who takes up residence in a family laundromat. I liked the premise of the story and the artwork but I just didn’t love it so I probably won’t be reading the sequel.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Loveless by Alice Oseman
I listened to this on audiobook and loved it. Honestly, I love everything Alice Oseman writes but was a bit worried as this book had a few mixed reviews but I loved reading about Georgia’s exploration of herself before finally coming to terms with her sexuality. It also gave me definite flashbacks to Uni and freshers week/first year, and student nights at clubs with sticky floors and bathrooms that flooded and horrible, cheap vodka…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As always, please check trigger warnings before you pick up these books; you can find them on The StoryGraph.

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