June Wrap-Up

Wow, what a month! I slowed down on my reading a bit and didn’t get as much done as I thought I would. Part of it was being busy, but part was just not being as motivated. I’m not in a reading slump by any means, but I think decompressing from school took a lot of out of me, and I got distracted by other things. No matter. I’m still reading and reviewing and that’s what’s important.

In June, I read:

11 books, all of them physical copies. I didn’t listen to one audio this month or read anything on Kindle. Crazy!

3,264 pages (an average of 109 pages a day)

5 YA, 1 middle-grade, 2 self-help, and 3 adult books

1 purchase and 10 library books

Caravel by Stephanie Graber

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

City of Ember by Jean DuPrau

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton

H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton

Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsey

Top 5 Debut Novels

Literary Dinner Party

Top 10 All-Time Favorites

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Top 5 “Main Males”

Coffee Book Tag

Top 5 Fantasy

So, in retrospect, I actually read 12 books, because I did finish Ever Alice, but I forgot to add it to my spreadsheet. I’ll have to do that. Not my best reading month, but still respectable.

How was your month? What was your favorite book you read this month? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: On the Come Up

Bri has dreams of being a rapper, following in the footsteps of her father, who was killed before he made it big. Drawn to words and rhythm, craving the limelight, perhaps, most of all, Bri sees rap as her way out of her neighborhood and as a way to help her struggling family. After an incident at school sparks a song in her, the song goes viral, but starts attracting a notoriety that she didn’t quite intend. Now, there’s trouble in her family, trouble in her neighborhood, and trouble at school. Can Bri find a way out? Or will her dream be taken away from her?

This is such a fantastic book! Bri is so incredibly realistic and sympathetic. There were so many parts I got angry on her behalf and at the injustices that she faced. I admire her drive and her talent. I felt so sorry for her, trying to do what was best, being manipulated by outside forces, and dealing with things that no sixteen year old should have to deal with. She was amazing.

Like The Hate You Give, all the characters felt very real, like they were in my house while I was reading. I don’t know how Angie Thomas does it, but she breathes a life into her characters that I rarely see. They fell like flesh and blood people that she’s recording and jump off the page.

I just think this is an incredible book. It’s easy to relate to the characters and to feel what they are feeling. The plot is interesting, the songs are good, and the ending leaves you satisfied. Angie Thomas is amazing and I cannot wait to read more from her.

WWW Wednesday July 3

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, you answer three questions:

What are you reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles, which is the first in the series A Charm of Magpies. This is actually a reread for me; I’ve read it twice before. It’s just such a fun book, and I need something lighter and fun. It’s about a man named Lucien Vaudrey who is under a curse and Stephen Day, the magic user who agrees to help break the curse.

I just finished On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. This book was so amazing! I loved Bri so much and really felt for her and her struggles. It tapped into some issues for me, and I found it hard to read at times, but the characters were so real and nuanced and the plot so good, that, despite having stress dreams, I couldn’t stop reading it.

I don’t know what I’m going to read next. I checked out stuff from the library, but I think they all might be too heavy for me right now. I’ll probably look for some m/m romance or just reread the ones I have. I also kind of want to read Let’s Talk about Love by Claire Kann, and the library does have it, so I might do that.

What are you reading this week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top Five Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah @Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and people are invited to post and participate. This month, the topic is the alphabet and this week’s letters are A, B, C, D, E.

AAurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This exciting sci-fi story is about a squad of misfits and the strange girl their commander Tyler Jones, rescued from cryo-sleep. On what they think is a routine and extremely dull mission, their lives turn on their heads when Aurora stows away and now some very powerful and very scary people want to get their hands on her. I loved this book so much and cannot wait to read the sequel.

B –Beauty by Robin McKinley. I’ve talked about this Beauty and the Beast retelling many, many times on my blog. It remains my favorite retelling after what feels like hundreds of years. It’s just magical.

C –A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. Another Beauty and the Beast retelling, I loved the strength of the characters, especially Harper. I adore it when characters do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do and do it without a second thought, and that’s what Harper does.

D- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have to admit, at first I was skeptical of this book because I’d heard it was told in an interview format, and I didn’t think I’d like that. But I’d loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, so I though I’d give it a try. I was thoroughly engrossed by the book and found it really easy to follow. I loved the characters and their struggles. The women were awesome. It was a great book and very well done. One day, I’m going to listen to the audio, too.

E-Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Okay, so this is another repeat from last week, but I don’t remember any other E books well enough to talk about them. I love this book so much. I love how strong Ella is and how rebellious. I love her and Char’s relationship and how it grows and matures throughout the book. I love the magic and her fairy godmother. And I love the ending. It’s just a great book.

All right, I made it! And I didn’t have to resort to putting a Sue Grafton novel, which I could have done for every letter except E. This was challenging, but a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what books everyone chooses!

Review: The One

With the Selection down to just four girls, the competition is heating up. America lives in a constant state of tension, unsure if she really has Maxon’s love, afraid of the king and his power, and insecure about her place with the other girls. Then, the Northern Rebels approach Maxon and America and offer their support in return for help. At the same time, the Southern rebels start threatening the castes if the Selection is not called off. Times are tense and America has to learn to be strong.

I enjoyed this book so much more than The Elite. Not only did America stop taking dangerous chances with Aspen, but there was more of the politics involved. I do think there could have been more and the world could have been fleshed out more deeply, but for a mostly lighthearted book, I’ll take what I can get.

I thought the plot was good and I liked the inclusion of the Northern Rebels and their goals and aims. I wish there had been more involvement of the Southern Rebels and that they had been given a face, even just to vilify them. They stayed this shadowy threat the entire time, and I really would have liked to get to know them and their agenda.

I also really liked how America came into her own and started being proactive. What made it so great was that she wasn’t doing and saying things as part of the competition, but out of genuine concern for the people. It really showed that she’d be capable of being princess if she one.

Overall, this series was light and entertaining. I would never call it great literature, but it was a nice read and a fun time.

Sunday Post June 30

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the Caffeinated Reviewer . It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things you’ve received. The rules are here: The Sunday Post.

Not a whole lot to report this week. Like I said on Wednesday, I’m in a therapy program (technically a partial hospitalization program for depression/anxiety) so my days are mostly sitting around talking and listening. Things got really intense Thursday, and I was exhausted and weepy all night. I haven’t felt much like writing. I did finish The Elite by Kiera Cass, but am struggling with On the Come Up. It’s very good, but it’s a little intense (and the chapters are long and I am tired).

Monday: H is for Homicide (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Fantasy

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Ever, Alice (review)

Monday: The Elite (review)

Tuesday: A-B-C-D-E (books titles that start with those letters)

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: On the Come Up (review)

Saturday: June Wrap-up

How was your week? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Review: Ever Alice

Title: Ever Alice

Author: H.J. Ramsay

Publisher: Red Rogue Press

Publication Date: August 1, 2019

Source: NetGalley

After returning from Wonderland, Alice can’t stop telling stories of her adventures. Unfortunately, not only does no one believe her, they think she’s mad. She’s put into an asylum with appalling conditions and a nurse that hates her. Desperate to be freed, Alice agrees to try an experimental procedure in another hospital. Once there, however, she changes her mind and escapes from the hospital with the White Rabbit, who whisks her back to Wonderland for one reason: to help the Aboveground kill the Queen of Hearts. Can Alice win the trust of the mad queen in order to get close enough to accomplish their mission? Or will a traitor in their midst endanger Alice’s life?

I really did not like this book at all. I want to be positive and point out something that was good, but nothing comes to me. The writing style was flat and choppy. None of the characters felt real or lifelike in any way. The author tried to be whimsical and nonsensical, but all the little things just fell flat or annoyed me. I was put off by the descriptions of the rotten food the Wonderland inhabitants ate. I wasn’t sympathetic to the queen, who was being haunted by her murdered husbands. Alice didn’t seem to have much agency; she just sort of did what she was told or stumbled into situations by chance. This was just such an unpleasant book to read.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read Alice in Wonderland, so maybe if you love that book, this book is for you. But if you are looking for a well-plotted adventure with a good prose and interesting characters, this is not that book.