June 2020 Reading Wrap Up

June 2020 Reading Wrap Up

I know I am very behind everything when it comes to blogging. Or other things in my life for that matter. I posted my may reading wrap up at the end of June and I am now posting my June 2020 reading wrap up at the end of July. But here it is finally!

In June, I read 13 books in total. However, two of them are in French and unavailable in English. Therefore, I did not include them in this June 2020 reading wrap up.

It is okay if it is slightly late. Blogging constraints and feeling like it’s become a chore is one reason why I am a bit stepping away. Some for Instagram. I do not want to feel like blogging is something I have to do over something I enjoy doing.

Without further ado, let’s dive into my June 2020 reading wrap up!

The Unbound Empire, Melissa Caruso

Author: Melissa Caruso
Published: April 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 562
Series: Swords and Fire

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: While winter snows keep the Witch Lord Ruven’s invading armies at bay, Lady Amalia Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Raverran Empire forever, earning the enmity of those in power who will do anything to keep all magic under tight imperial control.

But in the season of the Serene City’s great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire – and at everything Amalia holds most dear.

To stand a chance of defeating Ruven, Amalia and Zaira must face their worst nightmares, expose their deepest secrets, and unleash Zaira’s most devastating fire.

My review: First book of my June 2020 reading wrap up, that I loved! I think this book was the perfect ending to the trilogy. Indeed, I loved it from start to finish. When I read book one, I remember feeling a bit “meh” about it as there were a lot of things that bothered me. However, book two and then book three dealt with everything in the most satisfying way.

I can’t tell much more as I do not want to spoil anyone. The political plot thickens and really culminates in this book. I loved the evolution of the characters and see how different they are from book one. The female characters are interesting, complex, risk taking, never damsels in distress and the ones holding power, which is very refreshing.

The end was very surprising. I did not see it coming and can understand why some people felt it was a bit rushed. However, to me, it was actually perfect. It felt like I was watching an action-packed TV show that wanted to keep the end as unpredictable as possible. In the end, it all made sense. I highly recommend this series.

A river of royal blood, Amanda Joy

Author: Amanda Joy
Published: October 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Series: A river of royal blood

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Ending: 3/5

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition.

Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive. When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead.

As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

My review: This book was mostly a cover buy. I saw it, found it gorgeous, decided to go for it. The premise of the book was also very intriguing.  However, I was a bit disappointed.

Indeed, I did not feel like a lot was happening in this book. The plot felt very flat and I have to admit, I thought of DNFing it a few times. The magic system is super creative and the political intrigue so well thought out. However, I feel like we did not get that much of it in the end.

The whole book is based on the premise that two sisters will have to fight to death to get the throne. Which is what ultimately made me so curious about this book. However, we barely get any of the sister relationship. Most of the plot is about setting up the love triangle.

In the end, I feel like the author wanted to do a lot with this book, include a lot of information, which resulted in not giving each of those things enough development and details.

Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: September 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 561
Series: Six of Crows

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope.

As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets—a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

My review: Book three of my June 2020 reading wrap up. I adored Six of Crows. It was such a great read! So unpredictable, action-packed, adrenaline rush-inducing. I did not see anything coming and feared for the characters so many times!

I was very excited to delve into Crooked Kingdom, the final book in this duology. However, I did not enjoy it as much as Six of Crows. First of all, I was not that invested in the story. It felt like a repetition of book one, with the same processes, same intrigues, same schemes.

Having understood the author’s processes for book one, I knew how to see things come in book two and that sort of ruined the surprise for me. Crooked kingdom felt a bit overdone to me and I did not care as much for the characters. Still despise Kaz and love Nina but that is it.

Pride, Ibi Zoboi

Author: Ibi Zoboi
Published: September 2018
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 302

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

My review: As a huge lover of Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice, I would never say no to a modern retelling taking place in Brooklyn. It is a very short novel that I read rather fast and enjoyed quite a lot.

I must admit, I had a hard time connecting with the main character at the beginning, which I found quite judgmental, obtuse and not that open-minded in the end despite all her grand discourses. It was probably on purpose I guess.

In the end, it is called “Pride & Prejudice” for a reason. I did really like how the original book was adapted to modern life with smartphones, laptops and social media. It worked very well. The book also touches to social issues and current affairs, which is another aspect of the book I really enjoyed. Therefore, I recommend it!

Sword in the Stars, Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

Author: A. R. Capetta, C. McCarthy
Published: April 2020
Genre: Science-Fiction
Pages: 368
Series: Once & Future

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Ari Helix may have won her battle against the tyrannical Mercer corporation, but the larger war has just begun. Ari and her cursed wizard Merlin must travel back in time to the unenlightened Middle Ages and steal the King Arthur’s Grail — the very definition of impossible.

It’s imperative that the time travelers not skew the timeline and alter the course of history. Coming face to face with the original Arthurian legend could produce a ripple effect that changes everything. Somehow Merlin forgot that the past can be even more dangerous than the future . . .

My review: This is the fourth book in my June 2020 reading wrap up and it made me so happy. It is very cheesy (which I do not usually like) but it felt so good and was so captivating that I loved it nonetheless.

Book one was one of my best books of 2019 and such a great find! I found book two even better as the plot darkens and thickens. It is more complex and incorporates a time continuum concept that I find absolutely fascinating. The books stays unpredictable until the end and I was not able to put it down!

The cast of characters is amazing. It is diverse, has representation, interesting personalities and makes a huge statement. Loved it. This book made me laugh (great sense of humor in there too), made my heart beat way too fast, scarred me, got me hooked. I recommend 100%!

Dark Matter, Blake Crouch

Author: Blake Crouch
Published: July 2016
Genre: Science-Fiction
Pages: 343

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4/5

Synopsis: Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 
 
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
 
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

My review: This is my first book by Blake Crouch and OMG! I had heard great things about his novels but still did not expect that! Dark Matter is a sci-fi thriller. It is angsty, dark, thrilling and captivating.

The writing style is very particular and based on very short sentences. This gives the plot a very specific rhythm but also makes the reading extremely angsty and harrowing. It felt like each sentence with a heart beat or a breathe.

I got into the story very early on and could not put the book down. The plot is so well-built and fascinating. I do love a bit of science in books I read! However, I have to admit that toward the middle the book, things got slower for a bit too long to my taste and that the end felt a bit too easy. However, overall, I had a blast!

The Storm Crow, Kalyn Josephson

Author: Kalyn Josephson
Published: July 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 402
Series: Storm Crow

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

My review: Another book in this June 2020 wrap up that I really enjoyed! This book does not wait around. The action is there from the very start. And it takes us super far. How easy was it to get into this book!

I love the main character. The book brushes over issues such as depression, mourning, the lost of a loved one, trying to move on and it made that book very powerful. I love the concept of giant crows.

The female characters were interesting, complex and endearing. Even the main villain yes. The romance was cute and naturally falling into place. The plot was easy to get into and the mystery here till the end. It was a very good read and I recommend it.

Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor

Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Published: July 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 350
Series: The Akata Series

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 3.5/5

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power.

Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

My review: Next in this June 2020 reading wrap up is Akata Witch which I was really excited to read but that proved a bit of a disappointment. First of all, my mind was contaminated with high expectations since everybody was comparing it to Harry Potter while those two books have nothing in common.

So here, it was my fault. Please people, stop comparing books between each other. Beyond that, I just did not feel very invested in the plot, which I found rather slow. Nothing really happened until the very end and the action was done in 20 pages. The end felt too easy.

However, the world-building is incredible and the magic system super creative. I loved that money falls from the sky when you learn something new. The characters were interesting although I could have done without the romance.

A Curse So Dark And Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: July 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 507
Series: The Cursebreaker Series

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My review: It took me a year before I finally decided to read this book. I had it on my shelves since last year. This book is a Beauty & the Beast retelling and I thought I would not enjoy it nor find it more creative than any of the other retelling.

Boy, was I wrong! This book was such a good surprise! I adored it! The world-building was great, the plot so captivating, the magic system so great and I loved how the problematic bits in the original tale were removed here. No more Stockholm syndrome.

The main character was brilliant, witty, bold, brave and strong. Her disability never defined her. The humor and banter made the book better and I can’t wait to read book two and three!

Aurora Burning, Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Author: A. Kaufman, J. Kristoff
Published: Mai 2020
Genre: Science-fiction
Pages: 507
Series: The Aurora Cycle

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: First, the bad news: an ancient evil–you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal–is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes–and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

My review: We are getting to the end of this June 2020 reading wrap up! I read Aurora Rising, the first book in the trilogy, last year and a few things bothered me, even though I loved it overall. The queer baiting, the token character of color (Zila), etc.

I got into Aurora Burning quite apprehensive because of what I had felt while reading book one. I loved book two even more! Everything that had really bothered me in book one was rectified in book two. Zila has a much more important and interesting role here. She basically saves everyone all the time and has a great development.

The book is action-packed from page one. Indeed, you do not get bored, you can’t put the book down and can only carry on with reading. I read it so fast and really, loved it. We get a lot of answers to a lot of questions and new questions arise of course. It was a great read.

The Well of Ascension, Brandon Sanderson

Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published: April 201
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 815
Series: The Mistborn trilogy

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4.5/5

Synopsis: The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won’t get easier with three armies now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.

As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

My review: Last book in this June 2020 reading wrap up. I bought the Well of Ascension back in March 2019 and read until page 400. However, when I moved to NYC, I put the book in a box and forgot about it. I decided to pick it up recently and to go on with my reading.

I did not feel like starting the book from scratch and was afraid I’d have forgotten a lot of things but no. The author is really good at adding little reminders of the plot, the action, the characters, the relationships here and there in the writing.

I enjoyed book two more than book one. The romance was cute, slow burn and healthy. No toxicity nor anything problematic here. Only open communication. How refreshing. The plot thickens, answers a lot of questions but also raises new ones. Overall, it was a good read even though I hoped that we would have more important female characters.

June 2020 Reading Wrap Up

That is all for my June 2020 reading wrap up! Did you read any of the books I mentioned here? Did you like them? What books did you read in June? Any new favorite?

Thanks a lot for stopping by! Hope you liked this post!

You can also follow me on Instagram!

See you soon,
Love,
Corinne.

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