Wrap Up

June Wrap Up, ft. Solid Novels and a Few Disappointments

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.

LIFE UPDATES

Sabrina:

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!

Vera:

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

Sabrina:

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!  ★★★★

Vera:

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

Sabrina:

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

Vera:

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

Lists, Recommendations

Reviews:

Discussions, Other:

LET’S CHAT!

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?

43 thoughts on “June Wrap Up, ft. Solid Novels and a Few Disappointments

  1. I feel you about the COVID/lockdown thing, everyone seems so back and forth on how they are going. But I’m glad the library is a bit easier for you!

    Some great books on this list, but Friday Black peaked my interest. I need some more darker anthologies and I haven’t come across this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad that you were able to meet your friends in person, Sabrina. The lockdown was really hard in that respect!

    Vera, I am glad your online semester’s over! YAYYY!! 😍🤪😇 But that’s really stupid of everyone slacking in the safety measures, especially now! Really, what’s wrong with wearing a fucking mask when you go out? It REALLY isn’t THAT complicated!

    Plus it looks like both of you have had a pretty awesome book month as well! Can’t say the same though!
    . I have read 0 books this month! 🤣🤣🤣 And surprisingly, I don’t regret it either. Not this time.

    I really loved your wrap up, guys! HERE’S TO AN AWESOME AND MORE ENJOYABLE JULYYYY!! 😍😍😍🦋

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad, as well. 😍 It’s great to have more free time and not worry about exams and assignments constantly. 😀 I know.. people are so annoying and ignorant, it’s really not that complicated.

      Haha, I’m glad you’re not mad at yourself – I think it’s perfectly fine to not read a lot or at all sometimes. 😀 Thank you!! Hope your July’s been going well.

      PS: I’m glad to have you back!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad your library has reopened, Sabrina! I can’t wait until my library opens again. Things are moving pretty slowly here so it will definitely take time, but I also live really close to my library and I really miss being able to go and just enjoy the quiet.

    That being said, I definitely relate to what Veronika said about somehow being scared to go out and do things. I see all of these people not wearing masks and I just get spooked!

    Veronika, The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews is INCREDIBLE. You will love it. It’s pretty long, but super heartwarming. It’s actually my sister’s all-time favourite movie, and she’s pretty picky so that’s saying something!

    Thanks for sharing my post, ladies! Hope you both have a great July 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same!! If everyone was wearing a mask, I’d be so much more comfortable. Here we’re REQUIRED to wear them in shops and public transport, and yet, people just ignore that completely. I’m so annoyed. I’ve never been this massive fan of people in general, but since this whole COVID-19 situation I’ve grown a proper distaste for them. 😅

      I’m really looking forward to watching The Sound of Music! Apparently, my mom loved it when she was younger, so we’ll probably watch it together. 😀

      Thanks, hope your July’s been going well!

      Like

  4. Oh, I loved Would Like To Meet! It was very predictable and cliché and awkward at times, but I thought it was also very charming 🙂 Sorry you didn’t like it that much!
    It looks like you both had a great reading month! I hope July is just as good, or even better!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thank you so much for mentioning my posts!! & i totally get what you mean about chloe ting lmao. they’re hard, but they make you feel productive. and this is such a cliche thing to say, but if they weren’t hard you wouldn’t get results 😅 that being said, i don’t think i got any results from slim thighs? which was a bummer, but whatever. however, i just finished 2 week shred a few days ago and i highly recommend it!! i got actual results from it (w/out changing my diet)! some of the exercises will kill you, but i promise it’s worth it + 2 weeks is easier to commit to ❤ ❤

    wait, you two actually went out? going out is such a foreign concept to me now, haha 😭😭 but im very happy that you two were able to. & sameee. the fact that some people refuse to wear a mask :(( i cannot imagine being so cruel and stupid at the same time 😭

    i'm very happy to report that i'm enjoying tma more and more! sadly i'm not progressing very quickly because the only time i listen to it is after i take a shower, but i do love the spookiness of all of the stories. it's just too bad that sometimes i get distracted while listening, so i don't end up understanding what happened in some of the episodes 😭

    hope you two have a wonderful July 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your posts are incredible and deserve all the shout outs. ❤ Okay, so I’m on day 15, and I don’t think I’m getting any results at all either. 😅 I was so hopeful because I downloaded a calorie app and have been tracking what I eat (haven’t changed my diet, because – thankfully – I never go over daily goal) and that app thinks I should be losing wait.. but I’m not. 😭 I started the shred challenge too, but stopped because I can’t do two at the same time, lol. I’ll possibly do that after this, or the lean arm one.

      Right? And for some people it’s a point of pride that they don’t wear masks. They think they’re the smart ones, I cannot. 😭

      Omg, yes!!! Feel free to message me about TMA – also, if you have any questions!! I might not know the answer, BUT I can safely look it up. (I spoiled some things for myself when I looked up some things so now I want to protect people from that, haha.)

      Thanks, hope your July has been going well! ❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. oh, my state’s covid cases have also gone up, sabrina!! texas’ govt is handling everything absolutely terribly and the people living here are being idiots too (there were “bar lives matter” protests today 😭😭). i am truly praying that these people will somehow gain brain cells so they don’t keep endangering people 😦

    but i’m so glad you loved the henna wars, radio silence, and the deep, vera!! i really enjoyed all of those books a lot ❤ and i am really happy that you adored felix ever after, i'm planning to read it soon and i cannot wait!! i'm wishing you all the luck on chloe ting — i tried one of her programs a month ago and it definitely was a struggle to get through 😭

    have a great july, and thank you so much for linking to my post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sabrina, sorry to hear cases are up near you but it was always inevitable as restrictions ease. Hopefully, it gets under control fast and isn’t a crazy spike. At least you’ve managed to do some fun things and you can go to the library again, yay! And you watched Spirited Away? That’s one of my favourite films and every time I watch I’m instantly transported to studying for my GCSEs when I first watched it (because why study when you can watch films instead?).

    And Vera why did you not say you read Sun Down? Which lines in Sun Down didn’t you like? Actually, I’m gonna message you, I may only remember half the book now but I enjoyed it so now I need to know more. But anyway, I hear you on not wanting to go out even though you can, I just know people will be being idiots. We don’t have to wear masks in shops but there are meant to limits to how many people are in there but I feel like a lot of shops have given up making people queue so masks sort of feels necessary now. I still need to watch Birds of Prey, I know I’ll enjoy it but I kind of don’t want to pay to rent it. I am being so cheap lately, maybe I’ll treat myself to a film for the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it was inevitable after restrictions easing, I think. Unfortunately it has turned into a crazy spike and we’re back on restrictions again 😦
      I’m so happy to hear that Spirited Away is one of your favourites!! Haha, I definitely got a lot more movies and tv watched when I was …studying… for my final high school exams.

      Like

  8. Aww, you’re spoiling me! always linking to one of my posts (and a review this time!). Thank you! 💜

    The Covid situation is crazy. Everybody acts as if it’s gone away, which of course didn’t happen – so it’s coming back with a vengeance somewhere (*cough* U.S. *cough* – but not only, as Sabrina, for one, pointed out). Yay for nature walks and libraries reopening though, and for cursed uni semesters ending! Good luck with your physical challenges Vera – I’m the most unfit person you can imagine (though I don’t look so)…I’ve always HATED physical exercise, and anyway, now I’m tired and busy enough without adding it to my already full plate LOL. I hope it goes better for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My library reopened as well for contactless pickup, but I rely on inter-library loans for the most part, which hasn’t yet been reinstated, so I’m continuing to just buy myself books instead of using my library for now!

    Online classes are the absolute worst! My college pretended that it had prepared, but in reality they had to cancel classes two separate weeks (we had like 5 days of classes in between these 2 breaks) in order to get things mildly up and running and in return they took away most of spring break. Even though I know that next semester will most probably be online at least to some extent, I really hope it won’t be, or that at the very least the college is using this time wisely to patch all the many areas that they struggled in providing a good learning environment for their students!

    Seeing your review, I’m glad I put down Renegades after it just wasn’t clicking for me. I tried picking it up a few times in various formats, but I never made it past the prologue! Eventually I just gave up and decided that the book must just not be for me!

    My copy of Felix Ever After is on its way and I’m so excited! I’ve only been hearing amazing things about this book, so I’ll probably pick it up the second it arrives! I really hope I love it!

    And I definitely get what you’re saying about I Was Born for This. I really enjoyed it because it was a very immersive reading experience, and super character driven, which are both aspects I adore in books. Radio Silence was very similar for me in that way too! I think that’s why I’m more quietly excited for Loveless rather than getting majorly hyped for it. I know that if it’s anything like the two other Alice Oseman books I read, it will be a more quiet, yet riveting experience, and that I’ll have to read it when I’m ready for that, which may be well after it comes out!

    Thank you so much for mentioning my post! 💕 Vera, your post was so, so helpful! I just finished The AI Who Loved Me and I really enjoyed it (4 stars!), and I’ve been craving an audiobook, so if you have some more short recommendations for more contemporary or romance-esque books, that are also really short (6-7 hours at MOST), please let me know!

    I hope you both have a wonderful July!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I really hope my uni is trying to develop their methods of online classes, but I’m afraid they’re just sitting back, hoping we can start a “normal” semester in September. They took away our spring break too! They pushed it ahead to the week after uni closed so they could prepare (which is reasonable, I have to admit, but still..)

      Soo, I’ve just finished Loveless and oh my god, it was so excellent!! I loved it a lot, and I feel like it has managed to avoid or improve the issues I had with Radio Silence and I Was Born For This. I hope you’ll love it, can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

      Uh, I wish I had some ideas, but I don’t. *cries* I just finished listening to Loveless, which was a wonderful experience, but it’s a longer audiobook. Still, if you’re ever ready for a longer one, I’d recommend it. Oh wait!! You Should See Me in a Crown is actually around 7 hours long, and the narrator was pretty solid!

      I hope your July has been going well!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey Vera, this “My brain is literally rotting away from all the stupidity around me. 🙃” IS ME this is too relatable hahaha. The situation has been… I don’t really want to think about it too much or my brain will go into anxiety mode. I hope that you two are taking care of yourselves, I’m sending you lots of love ❤
    I'm so, SO excited to read the henna wars, I only recently found out about the important sister relationship in this and I'm even more pumped to read it ❤
    I hope you both will have a lovely month ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sad you can relate to my comment about stupidity.. people really are too much to handle sometimes… Thank you, I hope you’ve been taking care of yourself too. 💕
      Ahh, I think you’ll enjoy the sister relationship in The Henna Wars, it was the best part of the novel. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  11. June was definitely a strange month! Sorry to hear that cases are going up again and that some people won’t even wear masks 😔

    Happy to hear that your library has reopened, Sabrina! Sorry to hear that you didn’t like Renegades though, I hope you find some other superhero book to enjoy in the future ❤

    Congrats on finishing your online semester Vera!! ❤ Also really excited to see that you loved Felix Ever After, I’m looking forward to reading it as well! The waitlist on the library is long 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my gosh!! Thank you for sharing my post!! 💕 My pingbacks haven’t been working since I went self-hosted (I have no idea how to fix this), so I had no idea!!
    I also really liked Radio Silence by Oseman, but haven’t read I Was Born for This… I’m a little scared now!! 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am glad that your semester ended Vera, and that you’re happier for it! Stay safe Sabrina and I am glad you’re enjoying the nature walks. I also really enjoyed Felix ever after last month too. I want to read the henna wars, the deep, the guest list and friday black, so I am happy you enjoyed those. I have an american marriage and need to get to it at some point but it just sounds okay. Sad to see you so disappointed with renegades! I love Spirited away and I am so happy you enjoyed it ❤ Thanks for mentioning my review here x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.