Wrap-Up: June 2018

I had a pretty good reading month, though anything compared to May (Pt. 1 & Pt.2) looks small. I still don’t quite know what happened there. Still, on to the books I read in June!

 

A Torch Against the Night (Ember #2) by Sabaa Tahir🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

25716704This was a re-read leading up to the release of the next instalment in the series, A Reaper at the Gates, in early June. The series is YA fantasy, following two (and later more) POVs, full of magic, political intrigue, betrayal, and romance. A Torch Against the Night is miles better than the first book, and I say that as someone who was super impressed with An Ember in the Ashes. The stakes are amped up, and the plot begins to really get going, and you can envision where we should end up. In contrast to the slow burn of the first book, this one throws you right in the deep end with no chance to take a breath.

 

Strange the Dreamer (#1) by Laini Taylor 🌟🌟🌟

36187690I started this on a whim last month, thinking that I could fly through it and tick it off my TBR. Clearly I was very long, because it took me a while, and I think that was the biggest pit fall of this book for me. There were parts that I really liked, and made me want to read on but it was so long, too long, that I would just stop reading for a week. The story itself was okay, not my particular brand of fantasy, and hard to describe, only the it involves the saying of gods, god spawn, and a dreamer. The sequel is out this autumn, but I’m not going to be rushing out to get my hands on it.

 

Four Russian Short Stories by Gadazinov and Others 🌟🌟🌟

38728084Four Russian Short Stories, includes stories from four exiled Russian authors, and is the twenty-first book in Penguin’s Little Modern series. It’s a short little thing at only 50 odd pages, and makes for a quick read. This was a bit of a disappointing read for me, and I think I went into this with too high expectations. Out of the four stories, two I didn’t like at all, one was alright, and one I really liked. I just haven’t decided if four disappointing stories are worth one really good one. I’d like to read more from that author, but in all hasty I don’t think I’m a sort story sort of person.

 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson 🌟🌟🌟

29415084It’s common knowledge, that if you’re looking for a light, fluffy, YA contemporary, then look no further than Morgan Matson books.The Unexpected Everything follows Andie, a Type-A sort of girl, whose structured summer plans get thrown out of the window, due to a not-scandal involving her politician dad. I have to admit that it’s not my favourite Matson book, but it was fine for what I expect from the genre. I think it was just too long, and dragged a little, wheres I prefer my contemporaries to be a little shorter, and more to the point. It did get me excited for summer, which works in its favour every time!

 

Casino Roayle by Ian Felming, narrated by Dan Stephens 🌟🌟🌟

16109577I first read this book a couple of years back, during my first year of university, and decided to try out the audiobook. The narration was great, I’ve liked Dan STephns for a while now, and he does a good job with the characters in this book. However, and I found this problematic when I listened to Trigger Mortis a couple of months ago, this book is so sexist. Almost nauseatingly so. There is no bigger purpose that this serves, which just makes it so frustrating, and really puts me off reading more Bond books which is such a shame.

 

War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard 🌟🌟🌟🌟

31206075This month I was lucky enough to meet Victoria on one of her UK tour stops, and get an amazing, but enormous, hardcover with vibrant blue sprayed edges, signed. This is the final book in a series that I have been reading (and re-reading) for the last four years, and it has meant so much to me. Despite the mixed reviews I really enjoyed War Storm, a and think it’s probably the best written of the four books. The pacing seemed quicker, despite the size, and I never knew where it was going next. I’m a little unsure weather we needed the epilogue, as the ending might have been served better by the final lines of the last chapter but other than that I am so excited for what Victoria does next!

 

Vicious by V.E. Schwab 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

38087912When I bought the new UK hardcover, a signed edition (of course) Iknew I would end up re-reading one of my favourite books. In case you were wondering, it is even more beautiful in person than in the picture. Β If you love superheroes, and action film, then this book is for you. if you love complex morality, and even more complex characters, then this book is for you. If you love the craft of writing, and want to see how a master wives together timelines to create a stunning plot, then this book is for you. If I haven’t recommended this book to you already, then you need to pick it up immediately!

 

Suicide Club by Rachel Heng 🌟🌟🌟🌟

35530073*I was kindly sent an eARC by the publishers, via NetGalley, but all options, as always, are my own.*
**Trigger Warning: Suicide, and Self Harm**

Suicide Club is a sci-fi novel, set in a future in which people born with a certain genetic makeup are eligible for life extending medical procedures, meaning they could potentially be immortal. For me it was a cross between Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, and the Netflix series Altered Carbon, and a really interesting read. I would say that the POV ration was a bit off, and I’m going to talk about that more in my review, but for the most part I really enjoyed this thought provoking read, and would like to read more from Heng.

 

Flame in the Mist (FITM #1) by Renee Ahdieh 🌟🌟🌟🌟

23308087On a whim I decided I really wanted to read the sequel, but figured that a re-read was is order first. Flame in the Mist is a Mulan retelling set in rural Japan, following Mariko who is attacked and left for dead on her way to meet her fiancee. She subsequently disguises herself as a boy to infiltrate the black clan, a fearsome group who she believes to be responsible. The plot is a lot of fun, and there’s a super cute romance that is not a main focal point. I think I forgot how good this book is, because I am head over heels in love with it, and I’m super excited to see what happens next.

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

15783514I picked this up simple because it was short, and I wanted something new, but I am so glad that I did. The premise is simple, our protagonist returns to the ruins of his childhood home while visiting for a funeral, and begins to mull over events of his childhood. Gaiman manages to capture childhood perfectly, balancing the prose between the magical realm and realism. It may be less than 300 pages, but he uses every single line, making the book seem streamlined to a perfect length. This was a lovely, whimsical story about childhood and magic, that I just know I’ll want to read again and again.

 

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl 🌟🌟🌟

39977497I was super excited to read this because of how much I love, love, love Night Film. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations. Essentially this is a Groundhog Day sort of situation, where only one of the five friends will leave the cycle, and they have to vote on who. The biggest difference between this and her previous book is that it’s a YA novel, and it read very stereotypically YA, whereas Night Film felt so unique. If you like Sara Shepard, especially her Perfectionists duology, then you’ll probably like this, but it’s not going to leave as much as a lasting impression as Night Film did.

 

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera 🌟🌟

30626556Apparently this is the heartbreaking story of Griffin, morning the death of his ex-boyfreind, Theo, and finding solace in Theo’s current boyfriend, while also struggling with him mental health, specifically his OCD. Maybe I have a heart of stone, but there was never a moment where I cared about Griffin, or any of the other characters, and without that there really is nothing here. The plot is very minimal because the weight should be emotional, the key phrase being “should”, this was my first Silvera book, and quite possibly my last. In it’s defence there were some nice quotable lines, but not enough to make a lasting impression.

 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid 🌟🌟🌟

31848394This is the final book that I will be reading form the ManBooker Shortlist 2017 (Sorry 4321, you were just too intimidating!) and I didn’t end my reads on a particularly high note, which is a shame. Exit West follows Nadia and Saeed, a young couple who fall in love, in an unnamed, but volatile country as it falls into war. They escape through the use of magic doors which lead them to other countries. For only 230 pages, this felt like such a long book, and not in a good way, because it really just dragged. I liked seeing the refugee experience, but just didn’t see the point of the door, and maybe I’m missing something, but the story would have been better served without the magical realism aspect.

 

And those are the books that I read in June. My favourite new books were probably wither War Storm or The Ocean at the End of the Lane, with History is All You Left Me leaving me more than a little disappointed.

Have you read any of these books, and if so what did you think? If not, what was you’re biggest disappointment this month, or have you got any new favourites? Let me know down below!

 

Thanks for reading!
Victoria

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