June Wrap Up – A Collection of Mini Reviews

 

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June was a fruitful month for me. After literal months of a reading slump, I immensely enjoyed most of what I read this month. Yay me.

N O V E L S

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | ★★★★☆ | I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, honestly. I’ve learned since I’ve started reading again that I’m not a huge fan of YA that takes place in high school, but I took a chance on this one since it’s John Green. See my full review here.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | ★★★★☆ | “It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.” This is an adorable hate to love romance story about two office workers and their slow burn romance. I definitely had the flu while reading this and barely remember it, so maybe one day I’ll re-read it and see if I feel differently. However, I do remember the moments of the fetishization of classic masculinity. For example, the protagonist compares her ex who couldn’t lift her, to her current love, who can pick her up and carry her places. It just rubbed me the wrong way as someone who doesn’t like hyper-masculinity, hence the 4 stars instead of 5.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | ★★★★★ | I listened to this as an audiobook and highly recommend it in this form. I had tried reading it ages ago in book form, but couldn’t pay long enough attention. The audiobook, though? Oof. Yas. The narrator does an absolutely fantastic job of representing each character uniquely. I will definitely be listening to the next book in audiobook form.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | ★★★★★ | “They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.” I fucking loved this series as a kid. This is Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching sub-series within the Witches series within the Discworld universe. One of my personal goals is to continue reading all the Pratchett I can get my hands on because it’s pure genius. For anyone that is unfamiliar, the Discworld novels are kind of a huge fantasy version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide in terms of comedy and snark. There are many reading guides, since there are just so many books and I recommend reading them thematically, starting with whichever series snags your interest.

Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore | ★★★★★ | “The woman who insisted Fel call her Abuela Lila told him that, between the flower beds, the blossoming trees, and the sunken garden, there were more petals in La Pradera than souls in the world. Everything here bloomed. The clouds of hydrangeas and lilacs. The arbors and trellises. The beds of lilies and hyacinths.” This book and author 100%. I have read all of her published works and they have all impressed me. Full review incoming. Wild Beauty definitely leaned more towards fantasy than her other magical realism books. I adored the garden imagery and her dreamy writing style. It’s a fantastic story of love and loss and family and fitting in.

P O E T R Y

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein | ★★★☆☆ | Don’t hate me for giving a Shel Silverstein book 3 stars. I got this at a library book sale for like 50 cents, remembering it as pure genius when I read it at 6 years old. It’s definitely a book for 6-year-olds.

Pansy by Andrea Gibson | ★★★★☆ |Andrea Gibson is lovely. I love that she can combine poems about love and sexuality with humor and light-hearted jokes. The video below is her performance of one of my favorite poems in this collection.

Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson | ★★★★☆ | This poetry collection was visually very cool. It’s not really a book you read though. I kept expecting a summary or some bit of history, but no. It’s literally just a collection of photographs of bits of paper she wrote poems on and then a digital representation of the piece with words that are easier to read. Very cool though, it definitely humanizes Dickinson.

G R A P H I C   N O V E L S

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes | ★★★★☆ | I’m not sure what I expected from this collection, but it was very cool. My favorites were Emily Carroll’s (of course) and Kazu Kibuishi’s.

T R A S H   R E A D S

Cum For Bigfoot by Virginia Wade | ★★☆☆☆ | Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Chuck’s Unicorn Tinglers Vol 1 and Lonely Author Pounded By Dinosaur Social Media Followers by Chuck Tingle | ★★☆☆☆ | “‘All of you?’ I shout, throwing my hands up in the air. ‘Each and every one of you is just a gay dinosaur?’ The crowd of reptilian beasts nods. ‘And I’m just a character in a book? Even though I wrote a book about that very idea?’ I continue, exasperated. The dinosaurs nod again. ‘Then who is writing this book?’ I ask. Bunter steps forward. ‘Chuck Tingle.’ He says.” I don’t–I don’t know what this is. I got these ebooks from a Humble Bundle and then watched this video where Cam from Wolfshot Publishing (jokingly) calls him the best author ever and… I was intrigued. It’s weird, though.

 

May Wrap Up

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May review pie chart

I had a pretty decent reading month in May, all things considering. I’m recovering from a major reading slump and after slowly getting though Misery, I decided to continue my read-through of Tamora Pierce, which was basically nostalgia-juice and got me back on track.

Misery by Stephen King | ★★★☆☆ | Ehhhhhhhh. I keep going back and forth on my opinion about Stephen King. Yes, this book was suspenseful and made me feel many emotions. Around the second half of the book, I couldn’t put this down. On the other hand, every King book I’ve ever read has pacing issues and I struggle to stay focused and actually read at certain points. Also weird sex stuff. I probably would have loved this a hell of a lot more when I was in high school and adored King, so I rate this 3 out of 5 severed appendages for nostalgia.

Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4) by Tamora Pierce | ★★★★★ | This was a lovely conclusion to the Song of the Lioness series, Pierce’s first series in the Tortall universe. As a kid, I was only able to read the Tortall books that my library had available, and I had never finished this particular set of books before. Even though some things are spoiled in later books, I loved reading about Alanna and felt really empowered throughout her journeys. The third and fourth books have some adult themes, so that may have been why I couldn’t find them back then. Regardless, even now I feel like I could learn to sword fight the patriarchy.

Wild Magic and Wolf-Speaker (Immortals #1 & 2) by Tamora Pierce | ★★★★★ & ★★★★☆ | Right after finishing Lioness Rampant, I went straight to the Immortals series. This was the series I re-read constantly when I was young. Daine was my goddamn hero. As a kid, I definitely wrote what I now know is fanfiction about Daine and her animal friends. However, I totally get why some people don’t like this particular series in the Tortall universe. I can see the pacing issues and the characters weren’t as relatable and real as I remember. At some points, Daine is treated much older or much younger than she really is and there is definitely one icky moment where (as a 12-year-old) she is sexualized by one of the teenage boys. It was taken care of in the story, but it’s definitely an unecessary moment that probably wouldn’t have been published if it came out in 2018. Despite that, I still love this series and Tamora Pierce for shaping my childhood and fueling my love for fantasy. Eventually, I will do a full review when I have finished re-reading (and reading some books for the first time) the entire series as it stands.

The Humans by Matt Haig | ★★★★★ | This is a new favorite for me and deserved its own blog post. See my full review here.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 by Bill Willingham | ★★★★☆ | Surprisingly, I only read one graphic novel all month. Fables is my comic crack, though. I’m slowly collecting all the volumes in the Deluxe Edition and volume 4 is waiting for me. I can’t review this without spoiling the entire series, but I read these when I was in high school and have been enjoying going back through. This is one that was obviously written by a man, though. As a childfree and pro-choice woman, this scene came off as condescending and forced as Dr. Swineheart is trying to talk to Snow about alternative options when she is clearly not okay mentally or physically with her pregnancy:

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I N   C O N C L U S I O N

It was a very productive month, even if it was flooded with Tamora Pierce books. I re-read a lot of books, but sometimes when you’re slumping or having a bad time you just need to re-read old favorites. Next month I may take a break from Tamora Pierce and continue my read/re-read of Terry Pratchett instead. Let me know your thoughts on the books I read this month!