Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2023

I feel like I say this every month, but June felt both ridiculously long and short at the same time. I’m struggling to remember any details of anything I read, so this should be interesting. 

A Spark in the Cinders by Jenny Elder Moke

Read: 31/5/23 – 5/6/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I had very high hopes for this book, but unfortunately, I didn’t click with it. June started with me being in a huge slump and honestly, it still hasn’t fully gone away. The quest element was really fun and did like the premise, but it just wasn’t for me. 

ARC Review: A Spark in the Cinders by Jenny Elder Moke

Synopsis: The story has reached its happily ever after, the peasant girl has married her prince and become queen, all is well in the kingdom. . . But for Aralyn, the princesses stepsister, the story is only just beginning.

The kingdom of Novador has had a streak of misfortunes, with drought, famine, and disease plaguing the lands. According to a prophecy, restoring an ancient magical artifact– the Protector’s Blade– is the only thing that can pull the kingdom back from the brink of destruction. With inside information from her fairy godmother, Aralyn teams up with lady knight Vee to go questing for the shattered pieces of the blade that have been scattered to the furthest reached of Novador. To win each element of the dagger, the girls must prove themselves by using their strengths to conquer their greatest fear. Aralyn uses wisdom, Vee physical prowess, and Queen Ellarose who is ruling the kingdom, uses benevolence. 

Together, these three powerful women fight to take their place as the rightful heirs to the kingdom.

Northranger by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo

Read: 2/6/23 – 3/6/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was nothing like I thought it would be and honestly it was fine. I liked the spooky elements but it wasn’t super fun or exciting. 

Graphic Novel ARC Review: Northranger by Rey Terciero & Bre Indigo

Synopsis: Cade has always loved to escape into the world of a good horror movie. After all, horror movies are scary–but to Cade, a closeted queer Latino teen growing up in rural Texas–real life can be way scarier.

When Cade is sent to spend the summer working as a ranch hand to help earn extra money for his family, he is horrified. Cade hates everything about the ranch, from the early mornings to the mountains of horse poop he has to clean up. The only silver lining is the company of the two teens who live there–in particular, the ruggedly handsome and enigmatic Henry.

But as unexpected sparks begin to fly between Cade and Henry, things get… complicated. Henry is reluctant to share the details of his mother’s death, and Cade begins to wonder what else he might be hiding.

To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

Read: 6/6/23 – 7/6/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It took me a long time to get around to this book again, but it was very enjoyable. I adore the film franchise and I’ve wanted to read the books since I was a teen. I’ve owned this book for about eight years but never got around to it, but I had fun reading it and I’m thinking of reading the rest of the series.

Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Synopsis: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron

Read: 6/6/23 – 8/6/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I’m always up for a new Kalynn Bayron book and this one was super fun. It’s her first horror book and it was good. Which is probably making you wonder why I only gave it 3 stars but I personally felt like something was missing. I’m interested to see if she’s going to write more horror in the future. 

ARC Review: You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight by Kalynn Bayron

Synopsis: Charity Curtis has the summer job of her dreams, playing the “final girl” at Camp Mirror Lake. Guests pay to be scared in this full-contact terror game, as Charity and her summer crew recreate scenes from a classic slasher film, Curse of Camp Mirror Lake. The more realistic the fear, the better for business.

But the last weekend of the season, Charity’s co-workers begin disappearing. And when one ends up dead, Charity’s role as the final girl suddenly becomes all too real. If Charity and her girlfriend Bezi hope to survive the night, they’ll need figure out what this killer is after. Is there is more to the story of Mirror Lake and its dangerous past than Charity ever suspected?

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Read: 7/6/23 – 9/6/23

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book. That’s pretty much all I have to say about it. I have posted a full review so check that out below if you want. 

Book Review: She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott & Alyson Derrick

Synopsis: Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke

Read: 11/6/23 – 15/6/23

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Long story short: I hyped this up too much and was severely disappointed. 

Book Review: Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke

Synopsis: Sometimes even destiny needs a little bit of help. When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favourite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for.

As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars.

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Read: 8/6/23 – 18/6/23

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This was my least favourite Taylor Jenkins Reid book so far and I’m sad to say that. It was a bit of a struggle to finish and it lacked that usual magic her books have. 

Audiobook Review: Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Synopsis: Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular.

By the time Carrie retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Slam titles. And if you ask her, she is entitled to everyone. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father as her coach.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning, British player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked the ‘Battle-Axe’ anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all: Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells a story about the cost of greatness and a legendary athlete attempting a comeback.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Read: 16/6/23 – 18/6/23

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another book that I absolutely loved last month and I don’t really know how to explain why.

Book Review: Loveless by Alice Oseman

Synopsis: It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Read: 19/6/23 – 20/6/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Finding Audrey was my first Sophie Kinsella book and I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what I got. I think I did actually enjoy this, but that might have been because of how short it was. 

Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Synopsis: Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start.

And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

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