Welcome to my June Wrap Up! I had another lovely month of reading. I read six books and three graphic novels. I did enjoy most of what I read in June, but a few also let me down.
1. Heartstopper (Volume one to three) by Alice Oseman
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…
I picked this up on a whim, because I’d heard so many good things! I enjoyed it so much, and read all three volumes in one sitting. It’s very cute and wholesome. This is the first graphic novel that I’ve ever read, and I’m definitely open to reading more now. I recommend you give this a go, if you haven’t already!
2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.
When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a very well known, hyped book in the bookish community. For some reason though, I wasn’t originally interested in it. Then, I found the audiobook on Scribd, and decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did, because it was an incredible, emotional read. I loved reading about Evelyn’s past. Instant five stars.
3. The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
Rating: 2/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.
Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection.
Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome.
The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?
Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die. What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
This book really didn’t do it for me. It felt very one-dimensional, and I found that I didn’t care for any of the characters. I realise that this book was trying to be a different, almost comical read, but I still couldn’t fully enjoy it. I just wasn’t invested in the plot, or the characters.
4. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.
This was a lovely book, with a beautiful writing style. Culture was included wonderfully, and gave this book a gorgeous feel to it. I have a full review of this book, if you’re interested.
5. By the Book by Amanda Sellet
Rating: 2/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: As a devotee of classic novels, Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by impressionable young women. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary starts compiling the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs.
Unfortunately, Mary is better at dishing out advice than taking it—and the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.
I felt so let down by, By the Book. I thought this would be a nice contemporary for me to enjoy, especially because it is a book about readers. I always seem to enjoy that. Unfortunately, this book’s plot didn’t make a whole lot of sense, the character’s hobbies became their personalities, and the love interest talked to our protagonist about four times throughout the book. I’m so sad that I didn’t enjoy this book, because I so wanted to, and it has the most lovely cover.
6. Heartstream by Tom Pollock
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie. Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.
I don’t read many thrillers, but I do like the odd one if they’re good. I bought this back in October last year, at Deptcon because the way the author described it really intrigued me. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to read, because it is amazing. Plot twist, after plot twist, after plot twist, with each one taking you by surprise. Heartstream is told in dual narrative, and at first it is difficult to see how the stories will link, but when they do… wow. I can’t recommend it enough.
7. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
My friend really enjoyed this book earlier in the year, so I instantly added it to my TBR as we seem to enjoy a lot of the same books. I listened to this by audiobook, and I absoultely adored it. I really struggled to stop listening, and when I wasn’t listening I couldn’t wait to get to get back to it. This book is captivating, seriously. It kept my full attention for the entire book, there is not even a page where the plot lags. Alessandra’s thirst for power is so interesting, and she is such an intriguing, strong female character. You will love her. I only wanted one more thing from this book. Alessandra’s father doesn’t believe in her so I would have loved to see his reaction when she proved him wrong. That slight criticism only arises out of how much I enjoyed this book, though. Do yourself a favour, and read it.
That concludes my June reading! I can’t believe how quickly this strange, bizarre year that is 2020 is flying by us! What are some good books you read in June? I’d love to hear about them!