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June Reading Wrap-up + Goal Check-in

1. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (YA Fantasy) (511 pages) (4 ⭐️)

Before reading this it is essential to read the Shadow & Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology as the events of the novel take place after these books. The novel follows Nikolai (the king of Ravka), Zoya (the general of the second army) and Nina (a Grisha solider/spy). This was a reread as the sequel was recently released and I enjoyed it more upon the second read. There was a lot of political maneuvering which I like in fantasy novels but some readers may find boring. Crows fans will like seeing Nina in another heist, though, and Zoya is much more likable than she was in the Shadow & Bone trilogy to the point she was my favorite character in the novel.

Read (the Grisha books) if: You're looking for a fantasy series that has good world building and character development (King of Scars is sort of the best of the original trilogy and the Crows duology).

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2712085399


2. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (Adult Romance) (368 pages) (4 ⭐️)

Single mom Jess and scientist River match on a DNA based dating app (the technology for which River is behind). The two agree to date to promote the app. While appearing at first to be rude and standoffish, as Jess gets to know River he becomes thoughtful and sweet. I don't often get to read books with single moms and I liked the dynamic between mom and daughter as well as how good River was with Juno (the daughter). The pacing could have used some work but the authors (it's a duo) did a good job of writing a modern romance.

Read if: You like romance but not the tropes (this one plays with them but doesn't fully commit to any one).

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4016332191


3. Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace (Poetry Collection) (127 pages) (3 ⭐️)

This collection features poems largely centered around self-care and self-love. The poems in this collection are very, very short and simple. It's quite cliche but might serve as a nice gift for a young person who is struggling with self-esteem issues or someone who has just gotten out of a toxic relationship (another recurrent theme within the collection).

Read if: You need a pick me up or are new to poetry.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3987652609


4. Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (YA Fantasy) (588 pages) (5 ⭐️)

This novel is the sequel to King of Scars. Like its predecessor it follows King Nikolai, general Zoya, and spy Nina as well as a few new POV characters. There is war, blight, a heist, romantic pining, and character cameos. It's epic, glorious, and my favorite Grishaverse book to date. If you've already read all the Grishaverse books up to this one then feel free to check out my full review on Goodreads linked right below!

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4041538534


5. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Adult Historical Fiction) (384 pages) (4.5 ⭐️)

Four siblings (Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit) who are children of a famous singer come together for a wild party where secrets are revealed. This is my third book by Reid (and shares similarities to both of the others). If you love books like The Vanishing Half that deal with family drama over multiple generations and are very character focused then this is one I'd recommend to you.

Read if: You like family drama and house parties.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4053848974


6. The Hand of the Wall by Maureen Johnson (YA Mystery) (368 pages) (5 ⭐️)

This is the conclusion to the Truly Devious trilogy which follows a true crime aficionado (Stevie Bell) as she solves a crime that took place at her remote boarding school. This was a satisfying conclusion that continued to effortlessly merge past and present timelines and features a dangerous snowstorm. This was a reread for me as I've been rereading the trilogy in anticipation of the recently released standalone novel featuring the characters solving a new mystery.


DNFs


1. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman (Adult Contemporary) (read 115 pages)

The novel is about a young family moves in across the street from a grumpy old widower with a sad past. It's a shame I had to DNF this book because I think the writing was good quality and I was invested in Ove's (the old widower) story. The reason I DNF'd it is because of the suicide attempt scenes. As someone who suffers from mental illness (anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, panic attacks) I am sensitive and aware of mental health representation in books. I found it pretty careless that Bachman included scenes of the suicide attempts. It's fine if he wanted to include this as an aspect of Ove's character, but why not just mention the attempts (a la The Midnight Library by Matt Haig) instead of detailing them and potentially triggering many people?


2. A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole (Adult Romance) (Read 248 pages)

A companion novel to A Princess in Theory, this novel follows Portia who is trying to turn her life around by traveling to Scotland and apprenticing with a swordmaker who, as the little implies, discovers he's the heir to a dukedom. There were things I liked about this novel. Portia was more sympathetic than she was in the first novel in the series and she and Tavish (the swordmaker) are able to be vulnerable with each other. As someone who dreams of one day going to Scotland I loved the setting and the history of Scottish weaponry. I DNF'd it, however, because I felt like it was going to put me into a reading slump. I just wasn't that engaged with it and I did stlil have problems with Portia as a cahracter


3. Final Girls by Riley Sager (Adult Mystery/Thriller) (read 155 pages)

This novel is about Quincy who was the sole survivor of the a weekend massacre. She is known as a Final Girl of which there are two others but one dies under mystery circumstances. The mental health representation was messy, the story was boring, and, perhaps worst of all, a male author wrote a character who was telling a woman character that if she didn't sleep with her boyfriend he'd get bored with her. That's NOT a good look (nor would it be if a female author wrote this about a male character being pressured into sex, either way is problematic).


TOTAL PAGES READ (APR): 2,864 (avg. book length: pages)

TOTAL PAGES READ (YTD): 14,230 (avg. book length: 355.75 pages)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (APR): 21/25⭐️ ( avg. rating)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (YTD): 170.25/200⭐️ (4.26 avg. rating)


GOAL CHECK-IN


1. Read at least 60 books

I read 6 books this month meaning that I have completed 46 books this year and am 17 books ahead of schedule. I'm sad I DNF'd so many books this month (so much so that I read the equivalent of another book in terms of pages).

2. Have at least one book a month be a reread

I completed 2 rereads this month, King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo and The Hand of the Wall by Maureen Johnson. This means I completed my goal for the month.

3. Read at least 1-2 adult books a month

I completed 2 adult books in June: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Thus I completed my goal for the month.

4. Read at least 10 nonfiction and/or poetry books

I read one poetry book this month: Break Your Glass Slipper by Amanda Lovelace. This means I've read 3 nonfiction and 3 poetry collections to date and my goal is 60% complete.

5. Post a blog every weekend unless ill and/or recovering from surgery

I posted a blog every Saturday this month despite spending a lot of time and physical and mental energy into moving. This means I completed my goal for the month.


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