Hello, lovelies! I cannot believe the month of June is already over! But I hope you all had an amazing month and an amazing Pride! I read 16 things this month, and only four of those weren’t LGBTQIAP+! I had a few misses, but also so many all-time favorite hits! And I can’t wait to talk about them all with you! ❤️ 🏳️🌈
A lot happened in the month of June:
➽ I read so many queer books! 🌈
➽ I read the word pansexual in a romance book for the first time!
➽ And I found my favorite contemporary of all time!
➽ I got to buddy read for the first time with some of my favorite humans: May, & Lily! ❤
➽ I went to the Grand Prix Vegas 2018 and had such an amazing time!
➽ I got to write up my second favorite post of the year!
➽ The Steam Summer Sale started! (Recommendations here!)
➽ I received an ARC that also happened to be the very first book that I was in the acknowledgements for, and I’m not sure if anything has ever made me as happy in my book reviewing life. Such a damn blessing.
➽ I hit 20,000 followers on Goodreads, and I’m still in disbelief. But thank you all so much. I have no word combination to even begin to describe how much it means to me. But with everything I am, thank you. 💖
But on to what I read in June…
Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.
“Now, cold and exhausted, a girl disguised as a boy, tottering after the losing end of a battle, I have to second-guess that assessment. It seems to me that I’ve made some choices—some very bad choices—that have led me to this moment.”
The Bird and the Blade is a completely enthralling and heart-breaking YA fantasy debut. I enjoyed this so much, and I was completely teleported and captivated every time I opened this book up. Plus, this is a story about the descendants of Genghis Khan’s sons, mixed with the Italian opera Turandot, and that’s one of the most unique concepts of any story I’ve read in 2018. And this might not be the most historically accurate novel out there, but I loved reading about the Song dynasty and the Mongol Empire.
➽ Folsom (End of Men #1) by Tarryn Fisher & Willow Aster – DNF @ 50%
“I have impregnated two hundred and three women over the course of sixteen years. Five of those pregnancies have resulted in male children.”
Tarryn Fisher wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Mud Vein, which completely changed who I am as a person. And I’ve never read anything by Willow Aster before, but my friends have told me really good things! But I’m not about to read a book (especially during Pride) where there are only 12 adult men left to populate this dystopian USA, and the only main character that’s a lesbian is a villain that is forcing a probably straight woman to be with her. Miss me with all that fucking shit. Thanks.
“We may not get to choose how we die, but we can choose how we live. The universe may forget us, but it doesn’t matter. Because we are the ants, and we’ll keep marching on.”
This is a really beautiful story about being a teenager, being gay, and not being accepted. This is a story about heartbreak, loss, grief, and trying to figure out who you are in the midst of it all. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love the start of this book, but I completely fell in love with the middle and end. And I totally understand why so many of my friends hail this as their favorite book of all time.
“Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy.”
Friends, this just was not the book for me. And you know I hate writing “negative” reviews, so I’m going to try to keep this on the shorter side. But this book and the writing was just equal parts boring and daunting for me. Plus, the magic system was not explained, the characters were hard to like or believe, and I never cared enough to root for any of them. But I think what ultimately made me not love this book was because I went in thinking that we were going to see a crew of queer pirates, on the open sea, fighting battles, slaying monsters, and doing pirate things. This is not the type of book These Rebel Waves is. But on a positive note, this is a book filled with colonization, oppression, magical medical experimentation, religious hierarchies, political intrigue, betrayals, and what people are willing to do in the name of their God(s). And, it sort of has pirates.
“It’s all fun and games until someone falls in love! But the fun and games carry on!”
This is such a gem of a graphic novel series. And even though I didn’t love this one as much as Volume One, I still really enjoyed this installment and completely recommend it to adults who are interested in the BDSM lifestyle. Seriously, this is filled with very mature themes and explicit sexual content, so use caution if that’s not something you’re looking for.
“I want to live in a world where everyone, no matter who they are, dies from growing old, and not because someone else killed them for their own good.”
The Armored Saint was my second favorite ARC that I read in 2017. It will still, without a doubt, make my best of 2018 list come December. But for some reason this second book just didn’t captivate me and wow me the way that book one did. I still really enjoyed this, and Myke Cole’s writing is so damn good that I could highlight half of this large novella, but I just didn’t love The Queen of Crows the same way I did The Armored Saint.
➽ Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – ★★★★
“Girls hunger. And we’re taught, from the moment our brains can take it, that there isn’t enough food for us all.”
Sawkill Girls is going to be such an amazing, atmospheric, spooky Halloween read for so many. The start of this book was phenomenal, and the first half was five star worthy in my opinion. I just, didn’t love the ending of this, but I think many of you will. And overall, I completely recommend this, and I had such an amazing time reading this creepy tale.
“I don’t just raise monsters. I am one.”
One of the best book recommendations I’ve received to date is Elise recommending me The Abyss Surrounds Us. Friends, I fell totally in love with this story and it surpassed every high expectation I had for it. The writing is addicting, the story is so unique, and this book holds my now favorite enemies to lovers, angst-filled relationship of all time. Oh, and it’s between two girl pirates. Sold yet? You should be. This book was a gift.
“Once upon a time, in a castle carved of stone, a girl plotted murder.”
I honestly feel like this is a solid 2.5 star read, but some aspects make me want to raise that rating and others make me want to lower it. I will say the end of this book is phenomenal. Like, easily the best part. And it was so good that I want to continue on. But the rest, especially the earlier sections, were some of the most predictable reading I’ve ever read.
➽ Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – ★★★★★
“…someone had climbed down and looked through our window: someone wearing strange boots with a long pointed toe.”
Spinning Silver is one of the best books I’ve read all year. I loved this story with every fiber of my being. And Naomi Novik is a master at storytelling and interweaving stories together. You all know that this is a very loose reimaging of Rumpelstiltskin but I’d stay it’s more of an empowering tale of three girls, all on three different paths, all promised to three different men, while all being looked over by three different mothers. Three is such a constant theme in this book, too, and it really helps reinforce that this story feels like a tangible piece of magic in your hands while reading. This book is nothing short of a masterpiece.
❄ And make sure you enter my GIVEAWAY for a finished copy of this on my bookstagram, which ends on July 1st at 11:59PM PST July 1st, 2018!
➽ Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – ★★★★★
“This hardly qualifies as a distress call anymore—by gods, if anyone was listening, I would have heard from you by now.”
Radio Silence is the best contemporary book I’ve ever read. And holy shit did it blow all my expectations out of the water. I don’t feel like I’m the same person after reading this book. And I know I will cherish it forever. This is easily the best book I’ve read for Pride this year, and easily one of the best books I’ve read in all of 2018. This book literally took a piece of my heart and I will never ask for it back. I can’t wait to read everything else that Alice Oseman creates.
➽ Autoboyography by Christina Lauren – ★★★★★
“A God worthy of your eternal love wouldn’t judge you for who you love while you’re here.”
Friends, I only picked this book up because it was on sale this month on Audible, even though I can never focus on audiobooks. I only started listening, because I decided to spend last night playing video games with my best friend. I only clicked play because he was telling me about his latest audiobook. I honestly believe with whole heart that the stars aligned to make me read this book, and I will be forever thankful because this is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my entire life.
“…when people doubt her sexuality. Or the times when she needs to explain why she just feels more comfortable using pansexual than bisexual”
Real talk, this is honestly a story about a pansexual music-loving girl, falling in love with a Filipina lesbian ballerina, while they both work at a bookstore together. This book even shouts out Melissa de La Cruz, Mina V. Esguerra, and Rin Chupeco! Like, does that not already sound like a masterpiece?
“You may be born into a family, but you walk into friendships. Some you’ll discover you should put behind you. Others are worth every risk.”
I’m so sorry! I really wanted to love this, but this just wasn’t a book for me. I think some of the lines were so beautiful, and I love the overall message of living your life, every day, to the fullest, but I just could never connect with this story the way that I know so many of my friends have.
“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead.”
This is maybe the worst graphic novel I have ever read. I’m sorry, I truly am so sorry. Trust me, I don’t like hurting anyone’s feelings AND I absolutely hate wasting my time. But I honestly only liked the diversity in this. That’s it. But not even a pansexual lucifer was enough for me to like this. The full-page art openers of each issue were beautiful, but I didn’t even love the art of the regular panels. I just, I just really didn’t like this. It was not only confusing, but it was so damn boring too.
➽ Cocktales by edited Penny Reid – ★★★
“And who does he think he is, having his lawyers send cease and desist demands to existing users of the title when we haven’t even made a cartoon yet?”
This anthology was inspired by a gross human being making poor choices, and I can’t wait to read and support this! Also, you only have until August 26th (a day before my birthday) to buy this collection of stories from so many amazing and beloved authors! Don’t miss out, loves! All net profits will be donated to the authors already impacted by creative-obstruction (10%), and Romance Writers of America (RWA) (90%) as a general donation intended for their Advocacy Fund.
Okay, my loves! I hope you had a wonderful month, and that July treats you kindly! Remember that each and every single one of you deserve the entire universe and all the stars within it! I love you all, and happy reading! And please tell me what your favorite read of June was down below! ❤️