SLIDER

Quick Lit: June 2018


I read 22 books in June, and I'm chatting about 16 of them in today's post. So, as you can imagine, it's longer than normal. On the blog this past month, I shared reviews for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Beartown and Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. Two of those were June reads!

I should have reviews soon for the other books I read in June – Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas and A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. As always, check out the Quick Lit linkup that's hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy if you're looking for more reviews and recommendations.


99 DAYS AND 9 DAYS & 9 NIGHTS BY KATIE COTUGNO | Let's start with a confession: I had no intention of reading 99 Days. A heroine who ruins her relationship with a guy because of something she does with his brother? YIKES. But I recently found myself craving YA contemporary, and this book kept popping into my brain. Honestly, y'all, I'm shocked that I So Enjoyed It. There's a lot of drama in here, and I was judging ALL the characters. And yet... I was invested in the outcome, couldn't put the book down, and loved Cotugno's writing. The emotions this book evoked were messy and complicated, but I admired Cotugno for writing something so thought provoking. 

After finishing 99 Days, I had to pick up the recently released sequel. I was pretty happy with the way the first book ended, but I couldn't resist seeing what happened next with the characters. The premise of this one made me cringe, again, though I did love the change in setting. Who can resist a book involving a European vacation? This was another emotionally complex story that involved some things I definitely didn't like, and yet I was still so invested in everything. My favorite part was the way Molly has to reconcile her past with the new identity she's tried to create for herself and the life she wants in the future. I So Enjoyed It, even though the angst would typically bother me.

DEFENDING TAYLOR BY MIRANDA KENNEALLY | I'd heard from a few friends who'd read this series that this book was their least favorite, but I just couldn't bring myself to skip it. I've enjoyed these books overall, despite my varied reactions to each, and knew I wanted to complete the series. I liked that Taylor was such a driven character, that she begins to find more balance by the end of the book and that she's able to talk to her parents about their expectations vs her dreams. But I hated the entire plot since it revolved around her lying to protect someone who didn't deserve it, and the romance felt super rushed to me. I was So Over It by the end.

COMING UP FOR AIR BY MIRANDA KENNEALLY | Y'all, I've outgrown this series. I usually enjoy the "friends to lovers" trope, but it didn't work for me here. Maybe because the attempt at no strings attached seemed destined for inevitable heartbreak? I had so many issues with this entire storyline, and I was incredibly frustrated by the heroine. The motivation behind her actions felt so immature! I struggled with the fact that the heroine felt that being inexperienced was something to "fix" or be ashamed of and the book never addressed that idea. It pains me to say I was So Over It because that's not how I hoped to say goodbye to Hundred Oaks.


THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE BY STACEY LEE | After loving Lee's debut and second book, I was excited to see her tackle a new genre. The heroine in this book is an aromateur – someone with a heightened sense of smell who is able to use her talent to make elixirs that help others fall in love.  I loved the concept, and the tone of the book reminded me of a YA Sarah Addison Allen. It's a lite version of magical realism, but I could tell Lee put a lot of thought into the mythology behind this ability. It was a whimsical book with an endearing (though occasionally frustrating) heroine, but I just wasn't sold on the romance. I So Liked It overall.

THE KISS QUOTIENT BY HELEN HOANG | This book has been getting a ton of buzz in the blog world! This was a fun, unique romance – though I have some personal reservations about it. Stella Lane has Asperger's and decides to hire an escort to help her get more comfortable with dating and romance. The author described it as a gender-swapped Pretty Woman, which felt accurate. I was invested in the characters, thought the pacing was just right, and didn't mind the drama. But y'all, this was way too steamy for me. Like, woah. I'm giving it my So Enjoyed It rating because there were so many things that did work for me, but I definitely skimmed past A LOT.

SAVE THE DATE BY MORGAN MATSON | I was so excited to start reading this book, but I was side-eyeing it by the end. I loved the overall message and the focus on family. Both of those things were positives! But I struggled with the heroine's immaturity and naiveté, the disjointed pacing and plot, and the fact that it felt way longer than it needed to be. I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to accept that this many things would go wrong in one wedding weekend and that so many people in America were this invested in a newspaper comic strip. I got the sense this book went through a lot of revisions (but needed more), and I'm sad to say I was only So Okay With It


THE PERILOUS GARD BY ELIZABETH MARIE POPE | This book was published in 1974, but it popped up on my radar a few years ago. I finally got around to reading it, and it wasn't really what I expected. I think I fixated on the word "Tudor" in the summary and expected more of the historical fiction elements and less fantasy. A number of Goodreads reviews mention this as a childhood favorite, and I wonder if I would have liked it if I'd read it then. As it was, I just didn't click with it. I liked the main character, but I wasn't invested in the plot at all until the very end. For a pretty short book, it felt like such a slow read. I'd give it a So Okay With It, but I did consider a lower rating. 

THE READ-ALOUD FAMILY BY SARAH MACKENZIE | I've only listened to a few episodes of the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, but I'd been eagerly anticipating this book. Part One explores the benefits of reading aloud, Part Two offers practical tips for creating book culture at home and connecting with kids through books, and Part Three features read aloud book recommendations for four age groups. I loved it all, but the chapter on asking compelling questions was worth the price of the book alone. This a great resource, and I can see myself referring to it frequently in the future. I So Loved It and would highly recommend it to other parents!

THE COTTAGES ON SILVER BEACH BY RAEANNE THAYNE* | I've really enjoyed the Haven Point series up to this point, but this one was a struggle to finish. I didn't like it at all, and I'm bummed that was the case. The dialogue felt very cheesy to me, and the romance just limped along. And I know it's because I wasn't invested in the couple! They were so one-dimensional, boring, and kept pushing each other away for no reason. The formulaic nature of the series was way more apparent in this one. And honestly, I was more interested in the missing sister-in-law than anything else and that wasn't even resolved by the end. As you can probably guess, I was So Over It.


THE PENDERWICKS AT POINT MOUETTE BY JEANNE BIRDSALL | I loved the first and second books in this series, so I was excited to pick up the third. I always feel like I'm escaping into the past when I settle in with the Penderwick sisters. Birdsall's writing makes these books feel like classics! I love watching the sisters grow up, and it was interesting to see how the sibling dynamics were affected by Rosalind's absence (she was on vacation with a friend). It was wonderful to get to know Jeffrey better, and I was so moved by his story. I'm so curious what will happen next with him. Hijinks and hilarity abound in this book, and it was the perfect read to welcome summer. I So Loved It

BORN A CRIME BY TREVOR NOAH | I didn't know anything about Trevor Noah, aside from the fact that he hosts a late-night talk show, prior to picking up this book. A friend recommended it to me, and I trusted her enough to give it a try. I was expecting it to be just another celebrity memoir. Well, bless my heart. It blew me away! Noah focuses on his childhood in South Africa, not his career or rise to fame, and I was immediately invested. He's a gifted storyteller and makes you laugh one minute and cry the next. He discusses heavy subjects – apartheid, domestic violence, poverty and more – with insight, wit, and honesty. I've thought of it often since finishing and So Loved It

SUNBURN BY LAURA LIPPMAN | I don't pick up a ton of mysteries, but I wanted to read this one for two reasons. The first is shallow: I love the cover. The other is not: it was a Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide pick! As soon as I started this book, I knew I couldn't put it down until I was done. I loved so much about it – the unreliable narrator, the slow burn pacing, and the question of who is being played. Each new revelation gave me a different view of a character! I wasn't entirely satisfied by the ending, but I think it would be great for a book club discussion. If you want a mystery that's more about the characters and less about a crime, this one is for you. I So Enjoyed It


THE DISH BY STELLA NEWMAN | I'm drawn to books where one of the characters is a chef, which explains why I randomly bought this one day. Laura and Adam have a meet cute and hit it off right away... until Laura realizes that she can't tell him about her job. Adam is the head chef at a restaurant she just secretly visited and negatively reviewed. There's more to the story, but I was immediately invested. Unfortunately, I lost patience with it by the end. I can't handle the lying and secrets that cause so much hurt and misunderstanding! Add that to the fact that there were way too many unnecessary secondary storylines, I was just So Okay With It in the end.

A TANGLED WEB BY L.M. MONTGOMERY | L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors, but this book was so different from anything I've read from her before! This story features two families who are feuding over who will inherit a prized heirloom jug. LMM introduces you to all the various members of the Dark and Penhallow families. Some of their stories are sad, others are hilarious, but all were intriguing. I was confused by the number of characters early on but enjoyed it more once I could follow the various squabbles, romances, and scandals. Overall, I So Liked It – but the last line was so unexpected and racist that it soured an otherwise enjoyable book. 

BEGIN, END, BEGIN EDITED BY DANIELLE BINKS | In the past, I haven't had the best of luck with short story anthologies. They're usually so hit or miss, but I figured this collection was my best chance at a win because I'm obsessed with Aussie authors! I'd only read books from three of the ten authors featured but was excited regardless. And you know what? I So Enjoyed It overall! Two or three were just okay, but the rest were engaging and enjoyable. None of them truly wowed me, but I don't really expect that from this type of book. My favorite was from Ellie Marney (gimme all the Wattscroft), but Gabrielle Tozer's was a close second.

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?

2 comments

  1. 22 books! So impressive! I'm planning to read The Kiss Quotient soon, so it's helpful to know what I'm getting into haha.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read the entire Penderwicks series just before summer started and just loved it! The one you picked up really is perfect for summer :) And I’m so excited to see Read-Aloud Family on your list! It really was so good... and I’d say you pretty much covered the RAR tips and philosophy shared on the podcast by reading the book... so unless you see a really interesting guest on the past episode list, no big deal that you’ve only listened to a few!

    ReplyDelete

© So Obsessed With • Theme by Maira G.