Reading Recap - June 2021
How on earth is it already July! Where has this year been going. I'm in full summer mode. Our pool is up and the sun is out and its so great to be able to hang out with friends finally. I have to admit my reading this month is definitely less than before but I really focused on being outside this month. I did really enjoy the books I read this month, I tried to read a few books with queer representation for Pride. Also just as a heads up, some of the books I read this month have some particularly graphic triggers this time, so feel free to skip over parts of this post.
Let's get into it!
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar – finished 6/2/21
Tw: biphobia, parental abandonment, islamophobia
This was the first book I finished this month. I saw people talking about it on Instagram and tiktok. Humaira “Hani” Khan is well liked a popular at her high school. When she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they don’t believe her. They press her for “proof” until she lies and says she is dating a girl, their classmate Ishita “Ishu” Dey. Ishu is not well liked at school, she is seen as up tight and too studious. Having lied to her friends, Hani begs Ishu to fake date her and in return she’ll help her with whatever she wants. Ishu agrees on the stipulation that Hani will help her become more liked, so she has a chance of being voted head girl. Of course, things start to get complicated when both girls end up catching feelings. I really liked this book, I think it was worth the buzz it was getting online. Not only was it a realistic reflection of high school aged girls but the issues they were facing outside of school were also realistic. Hani’s father is running for office and because of that she was dealing with a lot of racism and islamophobia that came with that. While Hani was dealing with that, Ishu faced a lot of pressure to be perfect from her parents to the point where her parents abandoned her older sister Nik for not following there plans for her. I think what made the book so great was that their problems were realistic. Kids worry about disappointing their parents, and children of immigrants have to deal with targeted racism and xenophobia.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He – finished 6/3/21
Tw: attempted murder, suicide, terminal illness
This book was my May Owl Crate book. I have a full unboxing of this month’s Owl Crate on my blog. Cee is trapped on an abandoned island planning her escape. She doesn’t remember anything before waking up on the island and needs to find her sister Kay. Elsewhere, Kasey Mizuhara, a 16-year-old genius, is trying to find out what happened to her sister, Celia, who has disappeared. Because of climate change and global damage to the environment, everyone lives in eco-cities that are suspended into the sky. The higher in the city you are the higher rank you are. Additionally, everyone is urged to use stasis pods and to use as little energy as possible. Kasey believes Celia is dead but is still looking for anything to figure out what happened. The Owl Crate edition of this book is gorgeous. But I didn’t like the book. I don’t like science fiction and I wanted to give it a fighting chance, but I spent so much of the book confused about what was happening. When books take place in different worlds the author spends the first 100 pages or so creating the world, it called world building. In doing this they set up the boundaries of the society the book takes place in. I found that the world building in this book wasn’t strong enough. I couldn’t figure out why the eco-cities were important, or why each person had a computer chip in their head that allowed them to connect over the universal wifi. At the halfway mark of the book there is a twist to the dual narration that leads to the end of the novel. I didn’t like the twist, I thought it was a bit predictable and the ending didn’t make sense. I enjoyed her writing style; I just didn’t enjoy the book. I just haven’t found a sci-fi book that I’ve enjoyed yet. Joan He’s other novel, Descendant of the Crane, is more historical fiction so I want to check it out.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – finished 6/5/21
Tw: child death, murder, suicide, terminal illness
This was actually my January BOTM pick. When I chose for that month, I wasn’t particularly interested in any of the titles for the month. If that happens you can either choose to skip the month or at the bottom of the page, they will offer some older books to choose from. I ended up picking this one and finally got around to reading it. As before, I will link my referral link for Book of the Month below if you are interested in checking it out. Maggie Holt is known for being the girl from House of Horrors, the nonfiction book her dad Ewan wrote about their family’s time in Baneberry Hall. In the book, Ewan writes that Maggie has seen ghosts and worse in the cursed house. Maggie, now an adult, finds out that she is to inherit the house after her father’s death. Desperate to learn the truth, Maggie returns to the house after fleeing it as a child. She is willing to do whatever she needs to uncover the truth. I am not a huge thriller kind of gal, but I am trying to branch out into other genres of books, and I really enjoyed this book. Way more than I thought I would. The book is told in alternating chapters of Maggie’s story and chapters from the book her father wrote. The farther you get into the book the more you learn about what Maggie experienced and the lines of reality start to blur. I appreciated that when the book ended it wasn’t a happy ending. There are things that happen in the book that are unforgivable, and I think it was realistic to have it end the way it did. I think I might check out some of Riley Sager’s other books.
Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – finished 6/8/21
Tw: alcoholism, drug abuse, self-harm, abortion, depression/anxiety
Everyone loves to talk about Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. All of the book accounts I follow have talked about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six. Both books have been on my tbr for months. I finally picked up a copy of Daisy Jones & The Six and decided to read it, and I wasn’t disappointed. Written as if you are watching a documentary, the book follows the rise and fall of Daisy Jones and the band The Six, started by Billy Dunne. Set in the 1970s, Daisy is the naturally talented daughter of two celebrities. She starts out as a groupie until she decides she wants to make her way in the world. The Six is a band started by Billy and Graham Dunne. Their worlds collide when their shared record company thinks a joint project will shoot them into super stardom. I really enjoyed this book. I understand why so many people love it. It’s a quick read and its interesting to hear each viewpoint of each person. Sometimes what each person says is contradictory and unreliable but its so entertaining. I really liked all of the characters and the mood of the book. I know it is being made into a tv series for Amazon and I can’t wait to see how its translated into a show.
The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson – finished 6/16/21
Tw: murder, stalking, gun violence
This was one of my most anticipated reviews of the year. On its publishing date I did a series recap of the Truly Devious books. A standalone set after the series, Stevie Bell is invited to help solve another cold case. At Camp Wonder Falls in the late 1970s, four camp counselors were murdered in the woods behind the camp. Known as The Box in the Woods Murders, they have remained unsolved. The new owner of the camp asks Stevie to come for the summer and help him solve the murders. Barlow Corners, the small town the camp is in, has lots of secrets and guards themselves from outsiders. Stevie, along with her friends Janelle and David, go to the camp in hopes of solving another cold case. I loved it. It had all the hallmarks of a classic murder mystery while capturing the charm of the characters from Truly Devious. I appreciated that you didn’t have to have read the other books to know what was happening and that there were no spoilers for that series. You could definitely have read this one first and go back and not be confused. Maureen Johnson said on her Instagram that she left enough clues for the reader to figure out who the murderer was, but I didn’t have any luck. I highly recommend this book and its series. I really hope she keeps writing books for Stevie and her friends.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – finished 6/23/21
Tw: homophobia/biphobia, domestic abuse, racism, sexism, sexual assault, death
After reading Daisy Jones I finally got around to reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I’ve had a copy of for a while because I borrowed it from Amy. I loved Daisy Jones so much that I was totally ready to dive into this one. Monique Grant is tasked with writing the memoir of Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo. Known for her multiple marriages and successful career, Evelyn now wants Monique to write her story. Monique, however, can’t figure out why her. Told in two perspectives, Evelyn narrates her life story to Monique starting in the 1950s spanning over the many decades she spent in Hollywood. As Evelyn begins to reveal the truth, Monique learns the true highs and lows of her life. For as much as I liked Daisy Jones, I didn’t like this book as much. I couldn’t stand Evelyn, Cecelia or Harry. I found them to all be selfish and harm other people for their own gain. I understand that Evelyn did tell Monique she wasn’t a good person, but some of the things she did to other people really were terrible. I also found the story to just be really sad. It felt like her life was just hit with tragedy after tragedy. It just wasn’t the book for me, but I am glad that I read it. This book is also set to have a tv series made. The rumor is that Hulu is picking it up after creative differences with Freeform. I’ll probably watch the tv series to compare what they change from the book. Taylor Jenkins Reid also recently released Malibu Raising which is set in the same Hollywood universe as Daisy Jones and Evelyn Hugo. I did pick up a copy of that and have high hopes for it.
Verity by Colleen Hoover – finished 6/24/21
Tw: child death, violence against children, violence
I would like to preface that this book was particularly graphic in its depiction of violence against children. So, if you plan to read this book please be warned, I wasn’t expecting it and it was incredibly disturbing. Colleen Hoover is a tiktok favorite author. A lot of creators recommend her books. This was the first book I read by her, and I really enjoyed it. Lowen Ashleigh is on the verge of loosing everything when she is given a life changing opportunity. Verity Crawford, a well know and incredibly popular author, was recently in an accident that has made it impossible for her to finish her ultra-successful series. Jeremy, Verity’s husband, hires Lowen to finish the books and offers Verity’s study and notes. Upon her arrival, Lowen learns that there is more to the story than she originally thought. Hidden in Verity’s office is a manuscript for her biography that Lowen can’t stop reading. As she learns more about Jeremy and Verity, she becomes more and more afraid of what is happening in their home. The book is split between Lowen’s narrations and chapters from Verity’s book. I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in one sitting and had to know more. I was really disappointed at the ending though. Its one of those endings that creates doubt within the last few pages of the book. I don’t like that style and I feel like it weakens the story. I do plan to check out more of her work because I did really enjoy this one.
I hope everyone’s summer is going as well as mine! I have quite a few summer reads I’d like to get through so I’m super excited to jump into those.
Until next time!
BOTM referral link: https://www.mybotm.com/kzfdyansvqq?show_box=true