June was A Month. I mean, this time I didn’t end up in a hospital, which was a welcome improvement, I just had the first part* of the final (fifth year) exam in Italian high schools. (Stressful, would not recommend.)
I ended up reading 18 books:
- 1 ARC of a short story collection
- 2 graphic novels
- 4 novellas
- 12 novels, of which 2 were ARCs
This meant I completed 18 of the 21 challenges of Marvel-A-Thon, which was far more than I expected. Also, the read-a-thon allowed 6 skips, which means I completed it. I almost can’t believe it.
As usual, I just can’t with TBRs – I changed many of the books I meant to read (listed here), but it worked.
Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis – ★
The worst book I’ve read this year. It’s about an abusive situation (religious and emotional abuse + physical abuse of the autistic little sister) in which the abuse was never addressed, because the abusive dad changed! The message “your abusive dad will change if you give him enough chances” is a dangerous one to send. Disturbing.
Challenge: read a YA book involving secrets.
Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey – ★★½
This was ok – you wouldn’t think a diverse book about the aftermath of a heist in hippo-infested Louisiana would be mostly forgettable, but here we are.
Challenge: read a book involving a heist.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – ★★½
Even without the characterization, foreshadowing, and pacing problems, I have to say that I don’t get the point of this one. Fiction – especially SFF – is entertainment, and why would I want to read 200+ pages of despair and explicit portrayals of violence closely inspired by real-life events for fun?
I thought the way this book talked about revenge and anger was really interesting, but the that’s the only thing I liked about the second half. Anyway, many people like it (and I think it’s going to win lots of awards) so I’m hesitant to discourage people from getting into it.
Challenge: read an intimidating book.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – ★★½
I don’t think this is a bad book, it’s just that the constant homophobia (it drives most of the conflict in the romantic relationship) didn’t make it an enjoyable read, and I had been spoiled about every single plot point. Also, I think adult realistic fiction just isn’t that interesting to me at the moment.
Challenge: read a book with a green cover
Could Have Been Better
The Future Is Blue by Catherynne M. Valente – ★★★
An average short story collection, which is disappointing, since Catherynne M. Valente is one of my favorite authors. It’s just that her writing style is too heavy, and in short fiction the writing overshadowed the content sometimes. My favorite in the collection was The Lily and the Horn.
Challenge: read an unpopular book.
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – ★★★
Messy, overdone but fascinating afrofuturist novel set in Lagos. The message and the themes were really interesting, and so was the idea, but I really could have done without the buried queer and disabled characters, or the dead sex worker.
Challenge: read a book that fulfills multiple challenges (“an ownvoices book by a black author” and “a book told with multiple perspectives”)
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire – ★★★½
A little ghost story. I loved the beginning and the idea of a ghost who died by suicide working at a suicide hotline, but the ending could have been stronger. Not the best McGuire novella, but still a solid story.
Challenge: read a book you know nothing about.
Second Kiss by Chelsea M. Cameron – ★★★¾
Cute f/f coffee shop romance. This was fluffy and low-conflict and lovely but I really could have done without that anti-aro conversation.
Challenge: read a book with a female main character.
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon – ★★★¾
Space opera set on a generation spaceship organized like the antebellum South of the USA, with slavery, racism and queerphobia. The characters and setting were well-written and developed, the plot itself was underwhelming.
Challenge: read an ownvoices book by a black author.
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard – ★★★¾
A mystery set in gothic post-apocalyptic Paris, with gay fallen angels and Vietnamese dragons. The ending wasn’t as good as it could have been and some of the characters were a bit underdeveloped, but the atmosphere was beautiful and creepy.
Challenge: read a book told from the PoV of an antihero or villain.
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan – ★★★★
There’s nothing like happy queer books during Pride month, especially when said happy queer books are themselves set during Pride month. This is a very short contemporary book about a f/f romance and friendship between queer characters. There isn’t much plot and I didn’t even care.
Challenge: read a popular book.
Style by Chelsea M. Cameron – ★★★★¼
The fluffiest coming out novel I know, with a cheerleader/nerd f/f romance. It would feel cliché if it weren’t for the fact that we don’t get cute, low-conflict f/f content that often. Both Stella and Kyle are lesbians and Kyle has a limp.
Challenge: read a book told with multiple perspectives.
Monstress: Awakening by Marjorie Lu & Sana Takeda – ★★★★½
I don’t often reach for graphic novels but this was too pretty to ignore. During my first read I didn’t love it, but this time I knew the graphic gore and body horror were there, so it didn’t bother me as much. Anyway, steampunk Asian matriarchy with Kaiju.
Challenge: read the first book in a series.
Monstress: The Blood by Marjorie Lu & Sana Takeda – ★★★★¾
I love where this series is going and I want more. We have pirates, betrayal and creepy bone islands in this one, I can’t wait to know what happens next.
(I hope they won’t stop translating the series now…)
Challenge: read a book inspired by mythology.
Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova – ★★★★¾
The second book in the Brooklyn Brujas series, one of the best YA urban fantasy series I know. The first book was good but not great, but I loved everything about this one: the way it looks at the dark side of the intensity of teenage love, the themes of family and grief, the fact that it isn’t a romance, the creepy scenes with Lady de la Muerte. I can’t wait for the third book.
Challenge: read a book involving siblings.
Ancillary Sword & Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie – ★★★★¾
This is one of my new favorite series. Great worldbuilding, wonderful character arcs, themes of injustice, privilege, racism (Ancillary Sword) and sentience (Ancillary Mercy). Also, it’s fun and the main character is an AI.
Challenges: read a book involving an AI and read a book set in space.
Witchmark by C.L. Polk – ★★★★¾
In steampunk-like Edwardian England everyone travels on bicycles, there are fairies and hidden magical societies, and none of this should work together but it does because this book is awesome. Also it’s a happy m/m fantasy story with a murder mystery aspect and an interesting magic system. The main character was an army doctor and the story talks about PTSD.
Challenge: read a book involving medicine.
*The second part of the exam was yesterday, July 10th. Everything is fine but I don’t have the results yet.
How was June for you? Have you read any of these?