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.

 

Monthly Recommendations: Audiobooks

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Audiobooks are tricky for me. I know there are some people that listen to multiple audiobooks a month at double speed, but I am way too picky for that. If I’m listening to an audiobook, it’s mostly for the experience so I need it to be engaging and interesting enough for me to continue listening on my own time. I am lucky to have a very short commute to work every day, so most of my audiobook and podcast listening occurs when I’m at home doing chores (and I’m a bit lazy). At the moment I’m obsessed with The Adventure Zone podcast, a D&D playthrough, so I am not currently listening to an audiobook.

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group created by Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters, and obviously this month’s topic is audiobooks. The following are the audiobooks I have listened to and adored, as well as a couple I plan to listen to in the future.

 

C U R R E N T   F A V E S

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (BBC Radio 4) | I absolutely love both of these authors and was obsessed with this book in high school. I listened to the BBC Radio show to see if it held up, and it didn’t matter anymore because the cast is fantastic. It’s been a minute since I’ve listened to this one, but the fact that it includes a cast of characters, sound effects, and music was fantastic.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris | This is a recommendation for anything by David Sedaris, really. He has a dry voice which works perfectly with his dry, humorous essays. Here’s an example of a story about his French class attempting to explain Easter to a Moroccan student in their limited French. My words can’t do him justice, so just listen to that clip to get the full effect. His narration brings his stories to life and I can’t read his physical books anymore without hearing his voice.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | Oooh this audiobook, man. It’s narrated by January LaVoy who gives every single character their own unique voice in a way that sometimes I would forget it was all the same narrator. The story takes place in 1920’s New York City with a diverse cast of characters, and I found myself using 20’s slang and accents while I was listening to this one

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | I’m not gonna lie, I picked this one up solely because I heard it was narrated by Christian Coulson, who I found out was the kid who played Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets. Such a cutie. And his voice worked perfectly for Monty.

 

P R E D I C T E D   L O V E S

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman | I tried listening to one of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections and got too busy to finish it. While I’ll probably go back to it eventually, I’ve been interested in mythology and Neil Gaimain also narrates this book. His book is so gravelly and nice and I love it.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher | I started this one last year and got too busy again, but here is another audiobook narrated by Carrie Fisher. The hour I listened to was extremely interesting, but pretty sad every time you remember it’s the last book she wrote before she and her mother died. I’m saving this one for a memoir day.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein (BBC Radio Drama) | Who would’ve thunk, it’s another BBC Radio Dramatization! I just love the in depth productions, particularly for these epic fantasy stories. I’ve been in a Lord of the Rings kick lately, and would love to re-read The Hobbit in a new way because I’ve been wanting to actually finish the trilogy. As a kid I read to about halfway through the Return of the King.

 

So there you have it! I hope you’ve discovered some audiobooks that piqued your interest and if you see any of your favorites please let me know! As always, any recommendations you may have are gladly accepted.

 

June TBR

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PSA: This TBR list is subject to change drastically. This is my first month setting a TBR for myself and who knows how it will go.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | (ebook, not pictured) This one I have already read and will review it in my wrap up later this month! I read it because of Chelsea from Chelseadollingreads on BookTube, check her out.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | I started this one a few days ago. I’m not a big fan of YA comtemporary novels, but thought I would make an exception for the new John Green. I was a huge vlogbrothers fan back in the day, and loved his books in high school. I bought it right when it came out, so I need to read it before it’s no longer relevant.

The Diviners by Libba Bray | I started this one last month on audiobook, I just happen to have a physical copy as well. It’s absolutely fantastic, it just takes me a while to finish audiobooks sometimes. Last I checked, I have 4 hours left and I need to just finish it and get to the next one.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | This one may be replaced with any fantasy book, I’ve been in a fantasy mood lately. This one in particular is part of the Tiffany Aching series, which is Pratchett’s YA Discworld books. This is the book I read in high school that started my interested in Pratchett.

Pansy by Andrea Gibson | I bought this book a few months ago when Andrea Gibson was going to be in my city, but I never got to make it to her book signing. I’m familiar with her spoken word on Youtube, but I’ve never picked up any of her collections before and I’ve been in a poetry mood lately.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | I just bought this book as a birthday gift to myself last month (haul blog post coming soon). I’m obsessed with McLemore and am so excited to read this one. I need more magical realism recommendations because I can’t get enough. I know it’s not for everyone, but flowery words are my jam. McLemore writes a lot about family and love and lgbtq+ characters and it’s always beautiful. I actually don’t know what this one is about, but that’s not a big deal to me.

Deadly Class (#1-4) by Rick Remender | Honestly, I don’t know much about this series. My best friend let me borrow all her Rick Remender graphic novels and I’ve only read Strange Girl so far. I know this one is about an assassin high school, so we’ll see how it goes.

I N   C O N C L U S I O N

Let’s see how this month goes! After all that, I’m already thinking I may DNF Turtles and skip to something I’m more excited about reading. After my Tamora Pierce month I just want to read more fantasy.