Reading Retrospective: June 2018

It’s officially July… and I’ve been super busy but I’m somehow still ahead on my Goodreads challenge. I’m as mystified as you are and my friends all hate me in their usual loving way.

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As of 2nd of July, 2018.

So here are some standouts from June! As succinctly as I can because I am not that.

So I read 30 titles in June, I think that was 27 full novels because I know I read the three Ghosts of the Shadow Market stories that have at the time of writing this been released. My favourite was Every Exquisite Thing but Son of the Dawn got me damn emotional. I’m 100% Shadowhunters/Mortal Instruments trash but we all know that.

(Ideally I’d love to do a post like this after every month so I’m going to play around with format a bit until I settle on something so we’ll see how that goes.)

The Name of the Book: BOTM

So if you don’t already know, I’m a co-host of The Name of the Book Club and every month we choose – either among the hosts or through Twitter poll – a speculative fiction book to read before we meet at the end of the month. (We also do a livestream on YouTube channels PieraForde or LittleBookOwl.)

For June it was Not Your Sidekick by C.B Lee, which I definitely pushed to include in the poll because I love it. The novel is an Own Voices superhero narrative (confirmed but unconfirmed C.B Lee is a superhero?) featuring a biracial bisexual protagonist and a definitively queer romantic relationship. For me the most significant thing about reading this book was the normalisation of a queer relationship – and of a bisexual protagonist – in a speculative fiction setting.

I might write a separate post about the book so to distill it; the romance is adorable, the bisexual representation was super important for me as a bisexual woman, and as someone who enjoys cheesy superhero stories over grimdark superhero stories this was an absolute delight.

I also read the sequel this month and it was not as refined as the first but still good.

Standout Favourites

  • Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner. (4 Stars)
    • It was really nice to be back reading something by super-space-team Kaufman and Spooner, I absolutely loved their previous series so this book was an auto-buy for me (although I did get it in a YA Chronicles box so that saved a dangerous trip to the bookstore).
    • I think that they both have such strong, fantastic narrative voices, which translates really well to this kind of he-said she-said scifi novel.
    • I love Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider style movies (even the Librarians series come @ me)
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4 Stars)
    • throw me off a cliff I’ve read this book and I can die
    • I actually did the audiobook of this one, and it works really well as an audiobook. Maybe I cried a little. (I definitely cried a little)
  • A Shadow Bright & Burning and A Poison Dark & Drowning by Jessica Cluess. (4 Stars each)
    • listen I’ve loved these books since I heard about them so rereading the first and reading the second was a genuine DELIGHT
    • I love stories about women being underestimated and then using magic to surprise the Men so these books DELIVER
    • my heart was torn every which way thank you give me more

Special Mentions?

  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. (3 Stars)
    • I expected to hate it but I didn’t…
    • I expected to hate it because it is often marketed as magic realism, and while I can see the inspiration and the influence… this book is not magic realism.
    • if you want magic realism go read Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Frostblood was enjoyable but nothing special so I already can’t remember half of it.
  • Only Human was a fitting end to the Themis Files and I gave it four stars but while the pacing was necessarily lopsided it meant that while I loved it I didn’t love it like I did the previous books in the series.
  • Royally Roma was a romance that I picked up after abandoning another book that I had started and it was perfect. It’s a modern, gender flipped, retelling of the film Roman Holiday which is one of my favourite movies so it was exactly what I needed after…

The Worst

  • Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy is horrendously problematic. It was the only book I discarded in the month of June and I think only the second DNF for the year so far. Aside from the flippant treatment of eating disorders, bullying culture, and mental illness, I was later told that the author has been less than gentle in her response to criticism. Considering how triggering this book was for me, who has the privilege of only two triggers (although I ended up finding a third through reading this book) there is no way I would let it in the hands of anyone else, let alone a teenager.

Now that we’re into July I’m rereading American Gods, getting stuck into One Dark Throne, and looking forward to finally reading Godsgrave. So we’ll see if I can get my act together and post a July roundup once they’re done.