Wrap Up

Wrap Up | June 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my June wrap up, wow it feels so weird typing that. Already halfway through 2020. This month was quite an improvement reading wise for me, I actually did some reading. I am not quite sure what happened in May and what put me out of the mood to read, but thankfully it has passed and I ended up reading quite a bit. Here are the books I read, my backlist checkin and my monthly stats!


Read 2

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, I felt that this book was average for me. Not amazing and not bad at all, it was just in the middle. I enjoyed the world, but I was not invested in the plot or the characters. I was just someone following along. Now, this could be because as I stated earlier I don’t read a lot of YA anymore and I am annoying specific when it comes to fantasy. I really did enjoy the world building in this novel and I feel like Schwab has a lot of talent when it comes to this. I will say I am happy that I gave it a try and finally read it. I always had the feeling of “Fear of Missing Out” when it came to this series, now that question has been answered. Thank you for picking my book Melinda!

View all my reviews


UntamedUntamed by Glennon Doyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very interesting collection of stories to make up the author’s memoir. I found the stories shared to be heart warming and raw. The author really sharers herself with her readers, but also gives them something to reflect on.

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Twelfth NightTwelfth Night by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to come!

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Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #1)Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, I felt that this novel has a lot of potential, it was dark, twisted and let’s face it inspired by one of the most popular horror novels of all time. I really enjoyed a lot about this book, but what lost me was the characters actions. Sometimes I just felt like, wow, they are meant to be detectives? Their actions just were not believable. That aside, I did enjoy parts of it and I am curious enough to be thinking about continuing this series. That is a big deal for me, because I tend to hate series.

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Full Dark, No StarsFull Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1922-5/5 psychological and dark real world horror

Big Driver-2/5 the assault is r*ape.

Fair Extension-3/5 – interesting, but I wasn’t really feeling it.

A Good Marriage-5/5 Just when you thought you knew someone completely, another story were man is the true monster.

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Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a really interesting story sett in the same world as American Gods. It was a twisting tale and as always Gaiman has a way with words. As always the writing was done very well and the story was imaginative to say the least. The reason I took a few stars off it because there were a few parts I became bored with, but over all I really did enjoy it. If you liked American Gods, I think you will like this as well.

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Before the Coffee Gets ColdBefore the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this and I really want to read more from this author. I really liked how the author mixed the magical with the mundane to create such a heart warming story.

View all my reviews


Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 6


Reading Stats


What was your favorite book this month?

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Hauls

Unboxing | BOTM May 2020

Hauls & Unboxings

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of Book of the Month! This month was exciting because I have been a member long enough to get a free book for my birthday! I love this little bonus they have for its members after a certain period of time. It is a really nice was to give back I feel like, plus who can say no to a free book?! Anyway, on to my two picks for May!


The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd Description

“In her fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.” – goodreads.com 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle Description 

“This is how you find yourself.

There is a voice of longing inside every woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good mothers, daughters, partners, employees, citizens, and friends. We believe all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives, relationships, and world, and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful. We hide our simmering discontent—even from ourselves. Until we reach our boiling point.

Four years ago, Glennon Doyle—bestselling Oprah-endorsed author, renowned activist and humanitarian, wife and mother of three—was speaking at a conference when a woman entered the room. Glennon looked at her and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. Soon she realized that they came to her from within.”- goodreads.com


Why These Books

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd, as you can see from the above description, is very different. I really think this take on such a propionate figure is very intriguing and that is the main reason I picked it up, I really just needed too see what it was all about. I have read one other book by Kidd and I did enjoy it, so I think I will like the writing style, but we will see about the content. I really just have no idea what to think! As for Untamed by Glennon Doyle, it sounds like a very uplifting memoir about finding your true self and your inner voice. I know for me I have been doing a lot of self searching as of late so this was appealing to me in this regard. On top of that I have not read a memoir in such a long time and I am kind of craving one, plus I have been hearing such wonderful things about it. Between those reasons I could not say no to it.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Do either of these books interest you?

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Reviews

Book Review | We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib

Book Review

*Book given by the publisher via netgalley  in exchange for an honest review*

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir
Description: 

How do you find yourself when the world tells you that you don’t exist?

Samra Habib has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, she faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From her parents, she internalized the lesson that revealing her identity could put her in grave danger.

When her family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, her need for a safe space–in which to grow and nurture her creative, feminist spirit–became dire. The men in her life wanted to police her, the women in her life had only shown her the example of pious obedience, and her body was a problem to be solved.

So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one’s truest self.–goodreads.com 


What I Liked

This memoir is a journey to read. Samar Habib’s story is heart breaking and at times difficult to read, but I am so happy she told her story. She truly went through a lot starting in Pakistan where she face severe threats and even in Canada, where it was meant to be a safe haven, she faced even more challenges of bullying and more.

Her voice is strong in this book. Telling her life, but also the lives of those who are unseen in society, as hinted at in the title. It really was an engrossing read and look into her life and her experiences felt real and tangible. With some memoirs the writers feel distant and untouchable also unapproachable. This was not the case with We Have Always Been Here. What really made this stand out was the author truly shared, even the fact that the author has made mistakes.

Going back to the writing and layout of this memoir, the author talks in a very raw and approachable manner. I felt that it was organized very well and the author truly has a talent when it comes to writing. I was pulled into this book quite quickly and nearly nothing could get me to put it down. The authors voice is truly specular.

While reading this memoir there were quite a few things that she faced her life that have been hinted at, but there is one thing that truly stood out to me. Her determination to  find her identity. This is a struggle for her throughout this book for a wide range of reasons. I don’t want to give away too much because I feel like this is best read without knowing too much.


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. This book was wonderful.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, this is one of the best non-fiction books I have read recently. When it comes to reading memoirs I like them to be real, this is real and raw and you can feel it on every page. The author truly puts herself out there with pride as she shares her experience in finding and exploring her own identity as well as the experiences she has had in her life. I know I will be buying a finished copy of this because I know I will want to reread it in the future, which is not something I do a lot when it comes to memoirs. If you want to read about a strong LGBT+ and Muslim figure I would say this might be a very good option for you.

5stars


Author Links

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Book Information

Publication Date: June 4th 2019

Publisher: Viking

List Price: $18.95

ISBN: 978-0735235007

Pages: 240 pages


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Reviews

Book Review | Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale

Book Review.jpg

*Book given by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman
Description: 

“So while the assumption when I was born was that I was or would grow up to be a neurotypical heterosexual boy, that whole idea didn’t really pan out long term.”

In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.

Charting the ups and downs of being autistic and on the LGBT spectrum with searing honesty and humour, this is an empowering, life-affirming read for anyone who’s felt they don’t fit in. –goodreads.com

 

 


What I Liked

I have to say, I feel honored by being let into the authors life. This book is very raw, real, and powerful. Her writing pulled me in nearly right away and when I read this, I needed to keep on reading it. This book was really insightful and really gave me an understanding of the trials and tribulations of their live with being transgender as well as having been diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

On top of sharing their story, the writing was wonderfully and refreshingly honest. This book faces all of their experiences both positive and negative. The author faces these in writing this story and I give the author a lot of credit for being so open. There were times where I was angry on her behalf at how she was treated. I also cheered with her for every victory she shared. I was very much pulled into the story.

I really don’t want to say much more about this book, I really feel like it is best read without knowing too much about it. I will say, there are very difficult topics discussed in the book, transphobia, suicide, depression, bullying, addiction, assault. So, if these topics or similar topics bother you unfortunately this book might be difficult to read. Please read other reviews and make your own decision, you are the only one who can make this choice for you.


What I Didn’t Like

At times the writing itself was a bit all over the place, but this is more a personal feeling than anything. I can see a lot of people not being bothered by it.


Overall Thoughts

Honestly, I think this is a very powerful book. It is brutally honest, insightful, and I think it is a great book to read to not only learn about the trans community or the autism community, but the life experiences of a very strong person. I recommend picking this book up either from the library, online or your local bookstore.

4stars


Author Links


Twitter: LaurakBuzz

Book Information

Publication Date: July 18th 2019

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

List Price: $18.95

ISBN: 9781785925870

Pages: 192 pages

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TBR

TBR | September 2019

 

ToBeRead12:17

After all the reading and planning of the NEWTs Readathon last month, I honestly wanted nothing to do with picking my TBR so I decided I was going to let a few twitter polls and you lovely individuals pick my TBR this month. I did add the books I am most excited to get to, so I was excited with whatever the outcome may be. Without more rambiling, here are the books you decided I should read this month!



-The Books-

The Tin Man has been on and off my radar for some time. I actually unhauled it a while back because I didn’t feel like I was ever going to read it. Now months and months later I came across it in a independent bookstore and I reread the description and I felt like I needed to read it. That was last month, so I am so happy I am reading it this month and not putting it off again.

The Salt Path is brand new to me, I have heard nothing about it before picking it up while on vacation this year. I found a really adorable independent bookstore and was browsing the shelves and came across this one. It looks like it is going to be a heart felt story that will make me cry. This nonfiction novel follows a Husband and Wife who drop everything and go hiking across the US when her husband is told he is terminally ill. I feel like I am going to cry, but also feel warm because I feel like these two are very much in love and it will be touching.

Miracle Creek was my BOTM pick from April, I am really interested in this magical realism/ thriller. I have a feeling it is going to be one I am going to fall in love with because the idea of it is so out there and unique to me.

I will also make it a goal of mine this month to finally finish my serialized editions of The Green Mile. I have parts 3-6 to still get to and I am reading them with a lovely group of individuals over on instagram. I am really excited about it!


What are you reading this month?

Are they on your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | June 2019

WrapUp12:17

June was a very crazy month for me, I am so I am very surprised at how much I ended up reading this month. I was expecting to read maybe only 4 books, but I ended up reading much more than that.

I will say this month I was very bad about sticking to my TBR, June TBR | 2019, I ended up only reading 1 book on that list until the 24th of the month. Then, I kinda tried to binge the rest of the list. The main reason I did not do to well with sticking my my TBR was my mood reading and the books that became available from my library. Library books always take precedence with me because I can’t keep them and I might not be able to extend my time with it if someone else is in line.

Anyway, I overall liked a lot of the books I read this month, but below is some more details about the books themselves and my thoughts.

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Read 2

The Secret Life of BeesThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked the time period this was set in and how it was true to that time period. It showed the hardships that African Americans faced and the horrible treatments that were thrust upon them. I enjoyed the writing style and the theme of bees throughout the story.

I think I have come to realize though, that I do not like stories about young girls who lose their mothers at a young age. I think it is because I have read it so many times or what, but I am just not in the mood or enjoy stories with that plot line.

View all my reviews


Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with MeLaura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not read a lot of books or comics or anything in a while that dealt with HS aged people. But, I am very happy that I read this. I started reading this as a preview from the publisher on their website, when the preview ended I needed more and got it from my library that thankfully had it. I finished it in one sitting.

The story line was heart wrenching, but heart warming at others. I loved that the characters were raw at times, but the issues that were hinted at and full on explored are real issues that are dealt with every day. I really enjoyed reading this.

On top of the storyline/plot being amazing, the art work was beautiful. I enjoy the style that is used and the color pallet and use of color to highlight certain aspects of the story. You can clearly see a lot of time and hard work went into this graphic novel.

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Daisy Jones & The SixDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first started to read this I started to feel like I was mislead by the title of this book, but that quickly turned around for me when I was about 70 odd pages in. This story had me really engaged for a few reasons. The first being the time period, how can you not want to hear a story about a rock and roll group in the 1970? The second being the format of this novel.

I didn’t know that this was set up as an interview the entire book and I think it really lent itself to the story. I feel like the story would not have been as powerful and I would not have felt as much as I did if it was written another way. Also, if you are into audiobooks, I think this is one of the best I have ever listened to. They have an entire cast and it makes the voices so much more distinct, even through they would be without the audio.

This story talks about a lot of different struggles and it really is a roller coaster, but not the one you would expect from a rock group.

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The Woman in the DarkThe Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am kind of struggling to pin point why this book didn’t blow me out of the water. I think the main reason is because I was able to predict a lot of what happened from very early in the book. I think once I made an assumption and it started to be proven correct I was just kinda meh about it.

I think if you have not read a lot of thrillers this is a great place to start. It is shocking and has quite layers to it. The writing style itself is good and it flowed for sure. One thing I really liked is the fact that I was debating throughout that maybe this is actually happening or it isn’t happening at all. What is reality?

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Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I still don’t like Shakespeare, I am not sure why I keep trying at this point.

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The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1)The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great reread and adventure! Not really much to say other than I love this book and this story. It is filled with quirky wonderful characters and takes place in a very imaginative world.

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Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 45

Backlist TBR: 6

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What was your favorite book you read this month?

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Lists & Recommendations

Recommendations | Books I Loved with Love

Recs

Happy Valentines day to those who celebrate and happy Thursday to those who do not. Since today is my posting day and I do love a good romance in a book from time to time I thought I would share some of them with you. Now, I know that not everyone is going to agree with my choices, but the great thing about books is that there are so many that everyone can find the ones they enjoy. Now, on to the books I love with love!

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The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman-

The Rules of Magic
This books revolves around a family curse where only bad things happen when you find the person you fall in love with. It is the prequel to Practical Magic and I absolutely loved the various relationships in this book. While I was heart broken quite a few times it was wonderful seeing some of the characters find love.


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon-

When Dimple Met Rishi

This book was so adorable and so cute. I read it in a single day, that is how much I liked this book. I also loved how the relationship started in this book because I can relate to it on some level with my boyfriend. In addition, I felt like I learned a lot while reading it too.


 

The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry-

The Air He Breathes (Elements, #1)

This book really had me smiling at multiple points. The relationship in this starts in such a funny way, but seems to genuine. While they have their share of drama and things working against them I enjoyed it a ton.


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion-

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)

I fell in love with this book. I found it funny, cute, and I not only enjoyed the romance in this book, but I really liked the friendship and honesty inside of it as well.


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli-

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood, #1)

I feel like at this point this entire book is me just gushing how much I enjoy all of these books, but this book was adorable, but a mystery as well. I highly suggest this book. It is cute, has great characters, and it is just adorable and wonderful.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott-

Little WomenThis book is a classic I am just in love with. I love the relationship and love felt within their family, Jo and her man, and Meg and her husband. I just really enjoy all of the relationships that blossom in this book and in this series.

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What book romance do you just love? What did you think of my choices? Are there any books you would ad?

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Wrap Up

Wrap UP | 7 in 7

Wrap Up

Wow, what a readathon! I have to say I am very impressed that I did so well with this readathon, especially since I failed the last one I attempted. Anyway, I figured I would share the books I read over this past week. If you want to know more about these books please go and visit my TBR post, TBR | 7 in 7.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki

18302455

Overall, I liked this graphic novel. The art was beautiful and the theme itself was a great fit. But, one downside I would have to say of this is that at times it can be slow and draggy. For me, I find it difficult to find a graphic novel slow because you have constant dialect and images to look at. So when I started to feel that way towards this it bummed me out a bit. Rating:3/5 Stars

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

18302455

Awesome graphic novel, I have been hearing about it on and off for a while and it was always good so I picked it up from the library. It did not disappoint me at all. I loved the story and the art style. Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris

18302455

I had such high hopes for this graphic novel. I have been hearing such good things, maybe the hype overpowered it for me? Not to sure. I found the art work to be cluttered and the writing to be difficult to read. I love the concept of this, so if I were you I would look into it and see if it is for you. Rating: 3/5 Stars

Poems Selected by Himself by Robert Graves

18302455

During this readathon I headed to an independent bookstore. Lately, I have been reading more and more poetry and decided to pick up a collection. I am not sure where I heard of Robert Graves, but I had his name written down in my notes so I searched for his works. I was shocked when I was only able to find this collection from the 1960s. I hope to find more of his works in the future, because I think his writing is wonderful. If I were you I would look up his name and read a few of his poems. Rating: 5/5 Stars

And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone

18302455

The one full novel I was able to read, I was given this title via netgalley and I have written a full review which you can find here:REVIEW | And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone. Rating: 4/5 Stars.


Well, there you have it my 7 in 7 wrap up. Overall, I think I did a good job. I read a total of 5 books and read 1,400 pages.

What have you read in the pas week?

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Reviews

REVIEW | And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone

Book Review

*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

18302455This is a story following a young Mormon man named Adam who has taken time off of university to take part in a 2 year mission. The goal of this two year mission is to spread their religion to others around the world. Now traditionally during a mission an individual is  paired with someone else, they are always to be next to each and adhere to many other regulations dealing with dress, free time and communication. Adam is paired up with Brandon who he quickly learns has a very different upbringing than him even though they have been brought up in the same religion. This begins to open his eyes to the world outside of his family and his local church.

As Adam and Brandon spend more time with one another they learn about each others backgrounds and families. One of the things I enjoyed about this look is the insight to the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-day Saints. At the start of each chapter there is a few quotes. Not only this, Adam and Brandon discuss their religion from time to time. Now I am going to say I believe these discussion to be accurate.  I did a little research and have found that the author herself has first hand experience with the church. Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was the pacing. It was not to slow or to quick. I found myself not being able to put it down.

Adam Young is a devout, young Mormon following the pious path set forth for him by his church and family. But when his mission trajectory sends him to Barcelona, Spain, with a handsome mission companion named Brandon Christensen, Adam discovers there may be more to life and love than he ever expected.

Via goodreads.com

Now you may have guessed from the book description “handsome mission companion” Adam and Brandon relationship moves from friendly to having more feelings. I felt that this book created a realistic struggle. Both young men are obviously very committed to their faith. They have taken two years of their life and devoted it to spreading the ideas. But, this religion is not accepting of individuals who are LGBTQ. Witnessing their struggles with their feelings and their faith was heart breaking. I just wanted to sit next to them and tell them everything would be all right.

Overall, this was a very well written book. The story and the characters Laura Stone was able to create within 218 pages is just amazing. I give this a very strong 4 stars. It evoked emotion within me, it flowed, it was insightful, and it was beautiful.


Book Information

Publisher: Interlude Press

Publication Date: May 18th 2017

List Price: $15.99

ISBN: 9781945053153

Pages: 218 pages


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Wrap Up

JUNE 2017 | WRAP UP

Wrap Up

5 Stars:

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I finally got around to finishing A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and I enjoyed it quite a lot. I have to say the ending blew me away completely. It has me very excited for the next book in the series. I am currently am in line to get it from my library so I can read it at the beach without ruining my copy.

4 Stars:

10644930

Another book I got to during the month of June is The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. I read this short book in a single day and I was very invested in the main character. This is a LGBTQ+ retelling/twist between Ursula from the little mermaids childhood and Norse mythology. This book would have easily been a 5 stars, but there was a scene that happened between our main character and her love interest that made me a little uncomfortable. Even with that small scene I adored this book.

10644930

The first book I finished in June was It by Stephen King. This huge tome that is over 1000 pages was totally worth it. It was creepy and intriguing, it has me very excited for the remake that is coming out later this year.

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Some of this book I loved, the other parts I did not enjoy at all. I enjoyed all the nods to other words such as Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and more. But, this book just rubbed me the wrong way sometimes. I just got angry at it, not at the characters. I found myself thinking, “Why? There was no reason for this!” Beginning is great, then ending is amazing, but the middle falls a little flat. If you can push yourself through the middle of the book you are golden!

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