I can’t believe it is July already! I feel like the first bit of the year dragged but now it just won’t slow down. This also reminds me that I should probably write my Mid-Year Freak Out post to see where I am at thus far with my reading goals (I truly have no idea haha).
June was a fairly solid reading month for me and, upon looking at my stack of books, I actually read more than I thought. Admittedly my life is a bit busy these days with full-time work, taking night school and all of my little side projects but I still managed to read 6 books and DNF 1.
This month was also the #JuneFantasyEscape readathon host by @acouplereads & @readwithangie over on Instagram which gave me the perfect excuse to pick up some fantasy books that I just have not been reading lately. Seriously, I have been reading a TON of historical (not surprising) and delving more into very specific contemporaries (very surprising). I was also able to finish a trilogy which works for my Catch Up goal!
But enough of me blathering on. Let’s get into the books!
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
I started out reading this one as a quick kick off to #JuneFantasyEscape. This book was lent to me and I ended up reading more of it via audiobook which is a new thing I’ve started to try.
My quick thoughts: Not my favourite. I ended up giving it a 2.5 star because I only moderately enjoyed the last half. The story tried to be deep but it was far too surface-level and kind of aggressive about it. It felt like the writer was writing fan-fiction about the Greek gods... and while there's nothing wrong with fanfic (I've written some myself lol) this just didn't do it for me. Neil and Alice were surprisingly the part I kind of enjoyed but only because we got a bit of a heroes journey from it... minus the training, and life lessons and action, etc. The humour was ok, the ending was kind of nice.
The Archer at Dawn (Tiger at Midnight #2) by Swati Teerdhala
Next up was a book I was SO excited for and was also a perfect choice for #JuneFantasyEscape. I had read the arc of book 1 and remember it being exactly what I wanted it to be but considering this is a YA trilogy, I wanted to wait to read this one until it was closer to the book 3 release. Book 2 of most YA trilogies tend to not be my favourite.
My quick thoughts: I gave this one a 3 star because it was a solid, entertaining read. It fell into a number of trappings of young adult trilogies though that aren't my favourite. Namely keeping secrets to protect someone you love even though they can take care of themselves and would likely be able to help; making somewhat out of character decisions in order to push the plot along; time jumps over action and events that are fairly important to the plot; drawing conclusions and finding answers WAY too easily; a series of trials to be completed in front of an audience; and the inevitable parting of ways that is 'beyond their control'. Regardless, I'm still invested in these characters and their story and need to read book 3 when it comes out soon!
To Have and to Hoax (The Regency Vows #1) by Martha Waters
After 2 fantasy reads, I decided to take a break and move over to some historical romance that leaned a bit comedic. I can blast through these types of books pretty quick so I diverted from the readathon just a bit!
My quick thoughts: Now I do have a proper review coming out for this in the next week or two, but here’s some of the main points. I gave this one a 3 star because while it was entertaining, I really wasn’t a fan of our main characters. I’m not big on unlikeable leads or childish ones and this was a bit of both. The hi-jinx that ensued were so over the top, the male lead was so stubborn (not in a good way) and our female lead was one foot stomp away from being a petulant child. Yet still I kept flipping the page wanting to see how it ended. Their friends were the saving grace for me because these two needed all the doses of reality they were given.
Robin Hood: Sovereign’s War (Demon’s Bade #3) by Debbie Viguie & James R. Tuck
Back to #JuneFantasyEscape and the last book in a series for my Catch Up goal! These books have been great. Dark. But great. I tend to avoid retellings like the plague but something about this one drew me in and kept its hold. Since this is the final book in this trilogy, I can’t say much without spoilers but here’s a little taste of the vibes of these books.
My quick thoughts: This trilogy is smart, dark, and very true to the heart of the outlaw we all love. And just know, when I say dark, I mean dark. There's no plot armor in these books. There's demons and blood magic and so much death & destruction™️. Also, there are so many POVs that move this plot along at breakneck speed while not being confusing or overwhelming * chefs kiss *. I will say though, I think Robin is one of the least common POVs but this is still very much a Robin Hood story.
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-to Guide by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
Another readathon detour and another borrowed book that I read with a mix of physical book and audiobook. It’s hard for me to review these types of reads because they are more of a series of personal essays by relatively well-known individuals. I will say, I have not listened to their podcast My Favorite Murder but learning about these two ladies made me want to start (not that I really have time haha). They were both very open and very honest about their lives and individual situations and managed to make me tear up while listening but also brought some humour into the fold. Some of the jokes seemed pretty forced and missed the mark for me but I enjoyed the book as a whole.
The Two Swords (volume 1) by K.J. Parker
This is the book I DNF’d. I made it about 200 pages in and could not force myself to slog through the rest. I love an epic fantasy with action and politics and learning about all the various players, but this was not that kind of fantasy. I get that this will work for some, just not me. Within the pages I had read, nothing of importance happened. 50 of those pages were just two characters walking in unknown territory thinking they were going straight but it turned out they just went in a big circle. And nothing happened! You get introduced to a bunch of characters who don’t matter because they die real quick and the POVs don’t make a difference. I could rant about this one for a while and had only read just under 200 pages. It’s disappointing because the blurb on the back got me and it sat on my shelf unread for years. But, let’s move on to my last read of the month...
Dauntless (Gentlemen of the Order #1) by Adele Clee
After the disappointment of my last fantasy read, I decided to end #JuneFantasyEscape early and move on to the #HRReadathon hosted by @remarkablylisa, @peacelovebooksxo & @laceybooklovers over on Instagram and Youtube. This is a book that I picked up because I saw my cousin had read it and really enjoyed it, plus I’ve been on a historical romance reading kick for the last year and need to expand my repertoire.
My quick thoughts: This was entertaining and really had me guessing as to who was threatening our female lead. I think part of that was because the first couple of chapters introduces so many character names that it was hard for me to keep track but also there were some good tricks that the author had up her sleeve. I also had to suspend some disbelief due to the historical inaccuracies, the pacing of the romance, and just the overall absurdity of the situation. I know that these types of books are meant to just be a good time but I’ve been spoiled by my love of historical fiction and the fact that I’ve read a lot of well-researched historicals so that skew my opinion a bit. This one also gave our female lead almost every damsel in distress trope imaginable: unwanted suitors? Orphaned? A gambling addict brother? Knowingly runs off to put herself in danger? Oh this has it all, and more!
So there we have it, all my reads for June! July will keep going with the #HRReadathon since it ends on the 4th but since I am a mood reader, we shall see how many I actually get through haha. I’ve already semi-diverted with my current read that I guess could be included, but that might be a stretch.
This is my first monthly wrap-up on here but I hope to continue doing these because I don’t formally review EVERY book I read (for example only one of the above books will get a full review). It’s a nice way to keep track of my thoughts on all the ‘other’ books though haha.
Be sure to share your reads from June in the comments!
Until next time, keep reading ;)