2020 · Long post · Wrap ups

June Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

Wow! June was epic reading-wise.

I did Queer Lit this month of which a wrap-up can be found here. First time I participated and loved it. I did not do any of the social stuff just the reading challenges. I read so much good stuff that week!

Overall this was the month of big books. I finished 12.5 books this month. My TBR had a few more on that I didn’t get to. I’ll shove them over to the July TBR.

Let’s just dive in 🙂

As a reminder: To me, 5 ivy leaves is an amazing book that stuck with me, surprised me, one I could stop thinking about, I got lost in, etc. 4 ivy leaves is an enjoyable read something I really liked, but that’s it. 3 ivy leaves are either a disappointing read, or the book is just OK.

Fun Home

Physical book – Borrowed

The story follows the author as she narrates her relationship and history with her dad after he passes away. Turns out that this strict, clean-freak, house restoring, sunbathing, not church-going, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

I thought it was ok. I wasn’t overly amazed by it. I’m not sure what to actually say about it. It was ok.

Darius the Great is Not OK by Adib Khorram

Audiobook – Library

Darius is half Iranian and half American. He has depression, is bullied, and loves tea. He has never met his family back in Iran, but when his grandfather becomes worse in his illness (brain tumour) they decide to make a long visit. This is Darius’ first-ever visit to Iran. He connects with his grandparents, find a friend, and travels around Iran to see some sights and understand history.

I loved this book!! Its heartwarming and sad at the same time. Its filled with family and food and tea and friendships. Darius is so sweet and gentle. Even though he has depression its nice to know that he can live with it (which is the whole point of the book). Its was interesting to see Iran and visit these places with Darius. It also touches point of systematic racism with security checks at the airport etc. And yes I cried at several point in this book.

I can’t wait for the sequel in August 🙂

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter To The World by Ashley Herring Blake

Audiobook – Library

When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm–and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.

Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush.

This was another super-sweet book! I loved how this was middle grade and told a story about a girl crushing on another girl. Yes I cried in this book.

I think my favourite thing is how she forma friendship with the landlady of an inn they are staying at at some point who also has a girlfriend. The landlady is clearly trying to help Ivy without pushing her too far. She rather waits for Ivy to speak to her. And she does. Its really sweet.

They Both Die In The End by Adam Silvera

e-book – Owned

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

As the title suggest this was sad, but not as sad as I was expecting. It was really sweet too. I loved the concept of the book and how it was interpreted. I also think that I would be a bit like Mateo if I knew my life would end.

There is something familiar with Adam Silvera’s books. I knew what I’m going to and I know what I’m going to get. It’s always a nice feeling.

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

Audiobook – Library

Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay.

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

I’m not sure what I expected but I didn’t get it. Yes its queer. Yes its faintly magical realism. No its not interesting.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Audiobook- Library

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

I enjoyed this read! It was a nice journey to be on even though its was a violent one. I loved the relationship she and her husband has in the end after all they’ve been thought. I glad I read this.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Audiobook – Library

Eileen is sick of being 79. Leena’s tired of life in her twenties. Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.

A cute contemporary romance with a focus on family and chosen family. I love how Beth O’Leary can make such a village/family feel around all her main characters. She did the same in The Flatshare. It gives this comfortable and friendly feeling of escapism. I love that about her books 🙂

The Empire of Gold (City of Brass #3) by S. A. Chakraborty

e-ARC – NetGalley

The final chapter in the bestselling, critically acclaimed Daevabad Trilogy, in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.

Daevabad has fallen.

O M G. What an ending! Totally worthy end to the series! I did a full review here.

The Facinators by Andrew Eliopulos

Audiobook – Library

Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam needs his friends James and Delia—and their time together in their school’s magic club—to see him through to graduation.

But as soon as senior year starts, little cracks in their group begin to show. Sam may or may not be in love with James. Delia is growing more frustrated with their amateur magic club. And James reveals that he got mixed up with some sketchy magickers over the summer, putting a target on all their backs.

With so many fault lines threatening to derail his hopes for the year, Sam is forced to face the fact that the very love of magic that brought his group together is now tearing them apart—and there are some problems that no amount of magic can fix. 

This felt more like a contemporary YA novel than a fantasy which is probably what it went for. It was sweet and enjoyable but didn’t quite live up to by expectations. Though I’m not sure what those expectations were…

A History of the World in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

Audiobook – Library

Jenni Murray gives the lie to Thomas Carlyle’s infamous declaration that ‘the history of the world is but the biography of great men.’ Women have played just as great a role in the story of humankind, only for their own tales to be marginalised, censored and forgotten. Their names should be shouted from the rooftops.

Marie Curie discovered radium and revolutionised medical science. Empress Cixi transformed China. Frida Kahlo turned an unflinching eye on life and death. In A History of the World in 21 Women, Jenni Murray celebrates the lives, struggles and achievements of some of the most extraordinary people to have ever walked the Earth. They ruled empires, they led nations. They were pioneers in the arts and geniuses of science. They led while others followed, spoke truth to power and fought for change. All left behind an indelible mark.

I love this female focused world history. the author focuses of females who have made life for other females easier. From Marie Curie and the x-ray and chemo therapy, to Frida Kahlo who panted herself in female pain in the form of miscarriage, and Coco Channel who we can thank for now being able to wear trousers on an everyday basis.

I also enjoyed he narration and story telling with a few personal stories in between.

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant

ARC – Library

1828 and the citizens of Paris still mourn in the wake of their failed revolution. Among them, in the dark alleys and crumbling cathedrals of the city, the most wretched have gathered into guilds of thieves, assassins – and worse. Together they are known as The Court of Miracles.

Eponine has lost more than most. When her father, Thénardier, sells her sister to the Guild of Flesh she makes a promise to do anything she can to get her sister back, even if that means joining the Court of Miracles, the very people keeping her sister a slave.

Eponine becomes perhaps the greatest thief the Court has ever known, finding a place among them and gaining another sister, Cosette. But she has never forgotten the promise she made, and if she’s to have any hope of saving one sister, she will have to betray the other.

I love Les Mis! I Love Six of Crows! This book had a lot to live up to. And it didn’t entirely do that. I did enjoy it a lot. But I felt the marketing was a bit too heavy on the comparisons. I felt more like a Lies of Locke Lamora than Six of Crows with a whole network of criminal underground.

Full review to come!

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin

Physical book – Owned

A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose – and change – their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters.

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.

I struggled to get through this. It was heavily written. I’ve never read anything by Ursula K LeGuin and didn’t know what I was going to. I was confused int he beginning, I didn’t understand the jumps between the chapters. Turns out it was different narrators. Once I got that, the book became more enjoyable.

In the end, I was glad I read it. but I wished I knew about the dual perspective in the start.

Reading Challenge check:

Let’s hold me accountable.

I have two goals this year which involve acquiring books;

  1. only buy two books a month,
  2. only request two ARCs a month.

Rules: For buying books it only for books I, personally, spend money on including subscription boxes (one per box), but it excludes my audible membership and all free books and gifts. For the ARC’s I’ve focused on my request-button-pressing and not getting the requests approved because you don’t know if it will be approved, nor do you know when it will be approved. Therefore, only two request-clicks per month. I can move the points between the months and if I don’t use them in one month transfer them to the next month.

I will have this on my wrap-ups every month.

Let’s check if I stuck to my goals:

  • Only buy two books a month: 
    • none

Available credit from last month; 6

Credit transferring over to next month: 4

  • Only request two ARC’s: 
    • All the Stars and Teeth
    • The Burning God

Available credits from last month; 4

Credit transferring over to next month: 2

TBR Shelf Reads

I also had a goal of reading one book form my physical shelf and one books from my e-book shelf per month. None of these can involve 2020 acquired books. Based on all the books I read this month these are the once from my shelves:

  • Physical shelf
    • none that I finished – bad Ivy!
  • E-Book shelf
    • They Both Die in The End
    • The Color Purple (even though I got an audiobook from the library, I had a ebook stored too)

That’s it!

Have you read any of these?

Of all of them I think either the Darius the Great or Empire of Gold were my favourite. What was your favourite read this month?

Until next time; happy reading!

4 thoughts on “June Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

    1. I have good and bad months, but June was a good one. It’s all about the need for escapism. Who needs to cook and clean when you can read right. LOL. Also there are a lot of audiobooks involved which I can listen too while doing stuff. But thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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