There is just something so awesome about curling up with the book in the summer, isn’t there? I got a little treat for myself this week and got a better outdoor chair to park in while tackling my stack. I won’t lie, I have managed to spend the last two days in it for almost the entire day. They happened to have these outdoor chairs on sale and since I have wanted one since middle school, it fulfilled a lot of life goals.
We have a family vacation this month so I am already dreaming of what I can read for July. Is there anything more exciting than picking what you plan to read while you are away from home? Lucky for me, I’ve got several advanced readers that I can’t wait to screen for you. I am also looking forward to this month’s book club pick. Have you read it?
Today I’m excited to share the eight books I read in June and, once again, have a little something for everyone. Since I’m sharing book reviews for this newsletter, I am trying to read more YA so I have a few that might even make your kid’s stack this month.
My Usual Reminders
If you want to see more of what I am reading, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!
In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.
Looking to add some variety to your stack? Feel free to join our book club! I can’t believe we have over 1,600 bookworms in this group. Our discussion this month was AMAZING and it is so much fun to have so many participating (and enjoying) the books that I selected to share. I announced our selections (here is what we will be reading in June) and you can find them pinned at the top of the group page.
Need another challenge to push you out of your reading comfort zone? Be sure to download this year’s Reading Challenge Worksheet.
The Book of Month Club Selections Are Out!!
This month’s selections:
This month’s special:
New members will get a free book with code FIREWORKS. How it works: Members will pay $14.99 when they sign up for a subscription that will renew monthly. They’ll also receive a credit for a free book at the time of this transaction (redeemable at any time). Then they’ll be renewed at the end of their second month (unless they cancel).
Here are 8 must-read books I tackled in June:
A Million Junes by Emily Henry
If you love magical realism, I just know that you will adore, A Million Junes. This YA read, is a sweetly satisfying retelling of the old Romeo & Juliet story with a fresh magical spin.
When June runs into Saul Angert (quite literally) she is immediately attracted to him, despite her family’s only rule that she never ever spend any time with an Angert. Each family has its own reasons for their anger, but June and Saul find that they just can’t stay away from each other, no matter how hard they try. As Saul becomes more and more connected with June’s world, they discover that there is a way to actually see and reflect back on the past of each of their families. They are surprised to discover just how layered so many of these stories are.
This is such a moving book that showcases how grief has the ability to change and shape our memories, redefining key moments in our lives. The beauty of June’s relationship with her father, in particular, brought a tear to my eye as you see a little of the behind-the-scenes for many of his actions.
If you don’t like to stretch your imagination, this book is probably not for you. For those of us that still love a little magic in our lives, this book is an achingly beautiful treat!
4 out of 5 Stars
Hey Ladies! by Michelle Markowitz & Caroline Moss
Sometimes a book just hits me at the right time and that was the case with, Hey Ladies! This is one of those books that you will either love or hate because the eight women are completely self-absorbed. I was able to put that aside though and just enjoy the hilarity of the all-too-real challenges of female friendships.
The entire book is in email format with a few text threads and hilarious illustrations woven in and the correspondence mostly centers around the planning of one of the gal’s weddings (and all the ridiculous requests that entails). You follow these friends through their correspondence throughout the year as they write back and forth to one another through dates, breakups, vacations, and the hellish wedding planning.
I feel like the writers purposely exaggerate their annoying behavior, yet, you will still find these annoyances relatable on smaller scales with the difficulties of having a large group of friends.
The email sign-offs and correspondences were so funny that I started sending screenshots to my husband.
Is this book life-changing?
Is it a hilarious escape?
I loved it from start to finish really hope there is a sequel when these women have kids and have to start thinking about someone besides themselves.
Just as a side note, if you are Kindle reader, it is best served up through the app on a Fire or on your iPad because of the illustrations! I found the pictures were really small, but can be clicked to expand and opened into a new window through my Kindle app.
4 out of 5 Stars
The Cactus by Sarah Haywood
If you were a fan of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, I think that you will really enjoy, The Cactus! I really do prefer quirky characters so I was excited to dig into this story about a late bloomer that doesn’t necessarily fit in (or want to) with her peers.
Susan Green, our main character, is struggling with the loss of her mother and her own news that she will be becoming a mother after her own unplanned pregnancy.
When she discovers that her mother’s will favors her brother over her, her world is sent into even more of a tailspin because Susan is unable to exercise any control on this situation. Since her brother gets the house in the will and refuses to move out anytime soon, she decides to take legal action against him, believing that her mother would have never changed her will if she had been coherent.
All is not as it seems though and Susan discovers that her mother has been keeping a few secrets that will change Susan’s life forever.
Susan is not a particularly likeable character so some readers may find that they struggle with a connection with her. That said, Haywood’s debut is strong, witty, original, and well-written.
3 out of 5 Stars
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
Described by one reviewer as Charlotte’s Web for grown-ups, my favorite book this month was definitely, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. I can’t recommend this one enough for a gorgeously written escape, with equal parts myth and relatability.
Weylyn is an orphan and has been raised by a pack of wolves which is just one of many reasons why he can’t seem to fit in with others. When he finds that he can single-handedly stop a tornado, with his own powers, he realizes just how different he really is.
Weylyn finds a sweet friendship with a girl named Mary and her devotion has never ended, even as they have gotten older. This beautiful relationship is followed as Weylyn brings magic into everything he does, even as an adult trying to hold down a regular job. The gift he has though is a blessing and a curse and we get to hear his story through the eyes of many in this book.
I could not put this one down and would recommend it for anyone who enjoyed, The Snow Child, because it has that fairytale quality to it that makes you never want to stop flipping the pages until you reach the very end of the story.
Although not labeled as a YA, I would confidently pass this one on to my children because it is a clean, sweet, and magical story. In fact, that’s just what I did. It’s the type of book that you just want to share with others, with unforgettable characters and unbelievable storytelling.
5 out of 5 Stars
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
I was on the hunt for an audiobook and asked my book club if they had a favorite and several ladies said that I would enjoy, The Perfect Mother. As always, they were right and this was a wonderful thriller to listen to this summer.
The May Mothers are a local mom’s group that meet twice a week at the park to share their challenges with new motherhood. The ladies have yet to socialize outside of this though so they decide to meet at a hip bar in town for drinks to get to know each other better and get a break from their babies.
Winnie, a single mother, is reluctant to leave her child for the outing, but is convinced that this will be a good move to get away for a bit and relax. Her child is kidnapped though and Winnie, an extremely private person, finds that her whole life has been opened up for the whole world to see.
Though none of the moms are close, they all go to risky lengths to try to help find her son. Told from alternating perspectives, each mother is carrying a few secrets of her own and as the police begin to uncover them, they began to wonder if one of these ladies just might be involved.
I am picky about my thrillers and this one delivered for a light summer thriller that had me guessing the whodunit through a good portion of this story. This is a great one to add to your beach bag this summer. The narrator also was fantastic on the audiobook, if you prefer to listen to your books!
4 out of 5 Stars
Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
This is the story of two sisters and the mental illness struggles that one of them is facing and how it impacts the other.
When their mother dies, Lucia starts hearing voices and it is Miranda who must find a way to reach her sister. Lucia plows ahead and marries an incredible man, only to leave him and have a baby with a young Latino immigrant.
Once she has her child though, she finds that the voices are beginning again, impacting her ability to care for her child. She moves her new family to Ecuador and back again, but no matter where she is, her mental illness follows her.
If you are on the hunt for a great book to discuss with your own book club, this is such a good one. It really explores what our roles are when someone we love has a mental illness and the blurred lines of caring for them while still allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions about their health.
If you are a fan of Celeste Ng’s work, I have a feeling that this book will resonate with you. Although the story could have been tightened up a bit and trimmed, this is a really incredible debut and you can see that Lee has a true understanding about the complexities of mental illness.
4 out of 5 Stars
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
I was such a big fan of, This is Your Life, Harriet Chance (you can see my interview on this one here), so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Evison’s latest novel, Lawn Boy. This YA coming-of-age story is a great one to hand to a teen to help illustrate the struggles of our different social classes and also illustrate some of the hot button topics that are happening right now in politics.
In this story, Mike struggles to keep steady employment after a short stint working as a lawn boy for a landscaping company. His family struggles financially and they rely upon Mike to help provide for their family. Despite living hand to mouth, Mike is determined to pull himself out of the hole no matter what. Unfortunately, he faces hurdle after hurdle after hurdle to just get a good job.
This is such an honest portrait of what it is like to be poor and how every time you get ahead, you find yourself behind again. Evison does an incredible job illustrating these difficulties that helps the reader find a new empathy for what it is like to financially struggle, but he writes this story with heart and humor.
4 out of 5 Stars
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
Something in the Water has been on my summer reading list radar for awhile now and I couldn’t wait to dig into it. This is a REALLY hard one to review because it was such a mixed bag.
This psychological thriller starts strong with a couple on their honeymoon who go scuba diving and end up encountering a plane crash and a bag floating on the water that is filled with money. They are a bit down-on-their-luck financially, and the money in this bag has the ability to completely change their lives. The reader is left to grapple with what they would do, if given the same scenario.
What unfolds is a wild ride and, since the book opens from the first page with the woman burying her husband, you know that everything and everyone are not as it seems.
The plot moves along as choppily as the waters in this book (pun intended) and Steadman tries to pull together a lot of plot lines with the main character making a lot of really dumb decisions that have you shaking your head throughout the story.
If you hate an ending where you are like…wait, that’s it?!?…you might want to skip this one. Steadman’s final paragraph was a bit of a let down and the ending left a lot to be desired (for me!).
I say this is hard to review though because I really couldn’t put it down and finished it in a single day. The plot premise was such a good one, it just could have used some smoothing out of the plot in places. Steadman shows a lot of promise and I’d still love to read her next book, with hopes that the plot will flow a little smoother next time.
3 out of 5 Stars
Here are 8 must-read books I tackled in June:
Read With Me This Year:
What did you read this month? Looking for book ideas? Check out our entire Book section of the site! Don’t forget to friend me on GoodReads! xo
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