Hello friends! It feels like June flew by super fast, I can’t believe we’re 1/3 through the summer! As always, we have some cool stuff to share in this post- life updates, books, movies, as well as some of your blog posts we adored.
Before we get into the post, however, let us direct you to blacklivesmatters.carrd.co where you can you find all kinds of resources, such as links to donations and petitions to sign. Black lives matter, please, don’t forget that. At the bottom of the carrd page you’ll find links that lead you to other important causes, such as the crisis in Yemen, which is incredibly under-reported in most places.
Just as restrictions were easing, my state had a surge in COVID-19 cases (and let’s be honest – that’s probably not a coincidence), so we’re going backwards at the moment. But before that happened, I managed to go out to brunch with one of my friends, which was nice. We’ve video chatted this year, but neither of us are super comfortable with those, so it was great to see her in person again. I’ve also been able to go on some nature walks with my family – a welcome change from simply walking around our block.
My library has reopened which is great – now I can pick up books instead of waiting for them to be shipped to me (it’s also better for the environment considering we live less than five minutes away, and I’m glad about that). Aside from those small things, nothing different has really happened this month! I hope you’re all doing well!
June was such a weird month for me. A good – or, more like, fantastic thing that happened was that this cursed online semester had finally come to an end. 🥳 I don’t know about other university students out there, but my uni was not at all prepared for online classes, which caused a lot of headache for us students (and, I suppose, the professors, too.) As of right now, my uni is planning to have a normal fall semester, but they’re “prepared” (lmfao) if the second wave comes. I guess we’ll see what happens.
I might have said this last month, too – but I feel like we’re in this weird time when technically we can go out and do most “normal” things, but I’m also kind of scared of doing them? 😅 I think it comes down to the fact that people are being bloody assholes, and they pretend as though wearing a mask is stripping them off their freedom. It’s somewhat better in the capital, Budapest, but where I live – in a small town – no one wears masks anymore, even though they’re still required in shops. “Fun” fact: not even the shopkeepers wear them! My brain is literally rotting away from all the stupidity around me. 🙃
After hearing about Chloe Ting in Caitlin’s May wrap up, I decided to try her Slim Thigh Challenge with two of my friends. It’s… hard as fuck, I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s making me feel weirdly productive, which is great. We started it a little more than a week ago, so you’ll have to wait until next month to hear about my results. I know, tragedy. I’m also walking 10.000 steps a day and doing some exercises for my arms, so I have to come out of this period extremely sporty, I just have to. 😂
As for the podcasts, I’ve been keeping up with The Magnus Archives, so this is your monthly reminder from yours truly to give it a try (or continue) because it’s worth every minute of your time! I’m still catching up with The Penumbra Podcast, currently in season two, and I’m SO SAD Peter is not in this. I love Juno, I do, but Peter was my favorite character, so I can’t wait for him to be back in S3. Also, ‘The Second Citadel’ stories of the Penumbra are really not for me, so I’ve given up on them. 😅
WHAT WE READ
I’m extremely happy with my reading this month. Not only have I read more this month than any other month this year, but I discovered several new favourites – something that is always a relief. I’ve already discussed my four favourite books of the month, but fortunately I had a few other great reads that I can tell you about now! And a couple not so great ones too – sorry 😛
The Guest List: I’m so glad I read this book, even if I accidentally guessed a few of the twists. I loved how many characters and perspectives there were and the setting of a wedding on a relatively deserted island with secrets of its own. I also liked how everything wrapped up. ★★★★
Would Like To Meet had a lot of potential, but it didn’t reach it for me. It was so cringeworthy, and though I can usually deal with that (particularly in a romance), this took things too far on multiple occasions. I also predicted the ending (and a few specific plot points along the way) awfully early, which made the experience even less enjoyable. Having said that, it did make me laugh a few times, so it wasn’t all bad. ★★
Friday Black: This book of short stories did not pull its punches. It was super intense (and super violent, I might add – one of the stories even included cannibalism which tbh kept me up all night) which made for an immersive and impactful read. I still find myself thinking about some of the stories. As with pretty much any short story collection, there were ones I loved and ones I didn’t enjoy but I overall recommend this one. ★★★★
Renegades: I am sad to report that I wish I had DNFed this book within the first 100 pages. It was much too long a book for the story it had to tell – there was so much time spent on nothing. Some of the characters were okay, but a lot came across as caricatures of typical superhero/supervillain archetypes, and this had a flow on effect on the dialogue which was often cheesy and predictable. There were some moments I enjoyed – like the parade scene – but that didn’t mak up for the rest of it for me. ★★
The Burning Shadow: I enjoyed The Darkest Star when I read it earlier this year, but The Burning Shadow hit it out of the park. Admittedly, the first half of the book was really slow and I wish it had been condensed, but the second half was so action-packed and twisty that I’d forgotten all about that by the time I finished it. I cannot wait for the next book to be released! ★★★★
June was a terrible reading month for me – okay, that’s only half true. I’m 99% sure I read around as many pages as I usually do, but because of all the fanfiction I consumed, the number of books I read is extremely low compared to my usual numbers. I’ve never really been into fanfiction, but the thing is, bad shit’s happening to my favorites in The Magnus Archives, I need all the alternate universe and fix-it-fic I can dig up. Because I barely read anything, I can talk about everything I read in June, isn’t that a joy?
Felix Ever After is easily the best book I read in June, and it’s one you all need to read asap! It’s so sweet and soft while being emotional and painful at the same time. I think its secret lies in the fact that, yes, Felix goes through awful shit – and I wanted to hug him so badly 😭 – but he has his best friend, Ezra, to support him through all that, which helps Felix a lot. ASKWKSFS I love these two, and I highly rec you to check out CW’s beautiful art for it that she posted here. ★★★★★
The Henna Wars was one of my most awaited 2020 releases, and I have to say, it was worth the wait. I went in excited for the romance, and while it was cute, the brightest part of The Henna Wars was Nishat’s relationship with her sister, Priti. They were so supportive of each other and so present in every aspect of each other’s life… brb, I’m crying. 😭 ★★★★
I’ve been wanting to read The Sun Down Motel for ages, as I love each and every novel Simone St. James has written. While this wasn’t quite as good as I expected, I still enjoyed the mystery and the atmosphere. The characters, though… no one became a favorite which was a problem, because I’m a very character orientated reader. Also, there were two scenes/lines that, I don’t know, rubbed me the wrong way? Eh, let me know if you’ve read it, and we can discuss it. ★★★★
I Was Born For This was a buddy-read with Abi, and I have to say, I expected more from it, we both did. It’s not a bad book, per se, but the heroine was so hard to like – which, yes, might be my own fault! I was never part of any fandoms like she was, so I understandably had a hard time relating to her. I thought she was so creepy and a lot of the things she did, said, or thought made me uncomfortable. The hero was great, though, I enjoyed his parts considerably more. ★★★
You can tell that I was excited for and hopeful about An American Marriage, because I bought the hardcover version of the book. Alas, it wasn’t my cup of tea. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the book – in fact, I thought it was super well-written! – but I didn’t like the characters at all, which was a huge problem. (That said, I don’t think they’re supposed to be particularly likable – part of the plot is how messy and complicated relationships can be, so take what I said with a grain of salt.) ★★★
Alpha Night is probably the novel I’m the most conflicted about. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I wasn’t as invested as I usually am in this series, which was disappointing. The characters were great, I just wish we could have spent a longer time with them (and they with each other.) The whole novel takes place in a couple of days, so everything happened and developed at a rapid speed while I just wanted to take a breather. ★★★★
I have to admit, I was a tad bit scared of Radio Silence after being disappointed by I Was Born For This. I mean, yes, nearly everyone loves this novel, but still, there was a chance I wouldn’t. Thankfully, I did, even though I did have some minor issues with it. I loved that the plot revolved around the podcast, and I enjoyed the main characters point of view a lot. ★★★★
The Deep wasn’t really on my radar, but then, in fast succession, it kept appearing on my goodreads and twitter feed, as well as on blogs I follow. So, I became intrigued and I’m glad that happened! It’s a very poetic, powerful novella. Still, it took me a bit of time to get into it, and I blame the audiobook for that. Even though we have a female protagonist, Yetu, the narrator was a man which really took me out of the story. (Yes, it’s third person POV, but still!) ★★★★
WHAT WE WATCHED
I watched four movies this month! Three of them were pretty average, but I did find a new favourite, which is so rare for me. Unfortunately I think my movie taste is just different to my family’s, lol, and that’s who I’m generally watching movies with. I just can’t make myself sit down by myself and do nothing but watch a movie.
- From Time to Time was not as good as I was hoping it would be. I don’t think I liked it, but I kind of did? I struggled to untangle my thoughts around it, so I left it unrated. I wouldn’t watch it again.
- The Accountant I just have no feelings about this movie. If you like guns and violence with minimal plot, go for this one. The “twists” were predictable and I didn’t like any of the characters. 2/5
- Love Wedding Repeat should have been so much funnier than it was, and honestly, the plot was pretty weak. My biggest gripe was the dialogue. 2/5
- Spirited Away was amazing and beautiful, and I loved it despite it being low-key terrifying. I enjoyed all the bizarre things happening with little explanation of how or why. 4/5
I’m watching one movie per week (when we have the time) with a friend online, and it’s been so fun to do this! Generally, I go to the cinema quite frequently, mostly because I love watching movies with my friends, so I’ve been missing that experience. For me, watching something alone is kind of boring? (Is that just me?) Either way, due to this arrangement, I watched a couple of good films in June.
- The Half of It is the perfect combination of sweet and emotional, and ah, I have so much love for Ellie and Paul, aka the most iconic duo ever. 8/10
- Birds of Prey is a film I seriously regret not seeing in the cinema! It’s just so enjoyable and kind of cool visually speaking, with all the well-executed fight scenes. 8/10
- Plus One is a fun rom-com with an Asian lead, but I never actually laughed out loud on it? Plus, I do think it showed that two men wrote and directed it. 6/10
- I watched The Sound of Music Live with a different friend and we both enjoyed the heck out of this despite the low average it has on IMDb. I’m looking forward to watching the movie with Julie Andrews, I’ve heard incredible things about that. 7/10
AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE
- Krisha @ Bookathon recommended diverse retellings that spark joy.
- Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Reads recommended LGBTQIA+ novels.
- May @ Forever and Everly shared 9 things/tropes she loves + recs for them.
- Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads shared novels with transgender characters.
- Ruby @ Ruby Rae Reads listed LGBTQIA+ releases she’s excited for.
- Anna @ Reads Rainbow reviewed The Falling in Love Montage by Clara Smyth.
- Olivia @ Olivia’s Catastrophe reviewed The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed.
- Roberta @ Offbeat YA reviewed Middlegame by Seanon McGuire.
- Tasya @ The Literary Huntress reviewed several graphic novels and illustrated books.
- Amber @ Du Livre talked about the book community’s bias.
- Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea shared her thoughts on blog hopping.
- Chana @ Paper Procastinators shared bookish ways to categorize yourself (other than Hogwarts houses.
- Emily @ Paperback Princess discussed why she hates classics.
- Malka @ Paper Procrastinators shared why it took her so long to listen to an audiobook (and she said my post on audiobooks helped her 🥺).
- Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Reads asked if book bloggers’ work is really valued.
How was your June? How’s the COVID-19 situation in your country? Have you read/watched anything great last month? Or something terrible you want to rant about?