It’s book time! June was kind of a weird reading month for me. I felt so distracted and had the hardest time really settling into anything. But looking at my list and ratings, it was actually a pretty good book month. I think at the beginning I started and stopped at least five or six books, though. I might go back to them, but if they didn’t catch my attention in the first few pages I just wasn’t interested in sticking it out. I’m not usually so fickle and like to give almost all books the benefit of the doubt. It was just so hard to focus at the start of summer. Anyway, here goes!
Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
Rating: 4 stars
Kasie West is one of my favorite authors and I like to read them immediately upon release. Like all of her books, this was a sweet and perfectly tame YA romance. Kate is a snarky teen who is roped into co-hosting her class’s podcast. She’s in the class with her best friend Alana and her arch nemesis, Frank. Alana has a crush on Diego and Kate is then roped into helping set Alana and Diego up, quickly realizing she has feelings for Diego as well. There are many cases of mistaken identity, mistaken feelings, and general confusion. I loved how everything worked out in the end, even though it was a fairly muddled way of getting there. Overall, a solid and quick read if you want something light and fun.
Life from Scratch by Sasha Martin
Rating: 5 stars
I savored this beautiful food related memoir. Each chapter was steeped with an aching sadness of a poor little girl who grew up with so little control and so much confusion, despite how much love was given her. I usually only read this a chapter or two at a time, but it stuck with me throughout the night and I couldn’t wait to pick it up again the next afternoon. I loved reading Sasha’s story and was infuriated with the way so many people treated her. I definitely enjoyed the childhood half of the book more, but it was fascinating reading about her adventures in cooking across the globe and making a meal from every single country once she became a mom and started a blog. Quite the challenge that brought her a lot of fame, though that wasn’t what she was seeking out. Overall, the best food memoir I’ve read to date.
Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Rating: 3 stars
I had the hardest time getting into this book. Which is disappointing because I loved Caraval and rated it 5 stars. I expected this one to be even better. I was also under the assumption this was the sequel, not the second in a series. I was not happy to get to the epilogue and realize it definitely needs to continue on. I wanted a happy ending! I also wanted the book to be a whole lot less confusing. Fantasy is not my favorite genre and it just took me so many days to get into. I loved Dante, but wish we had seen more of him. I didn’t feel particularly connected to Tella. I guess I struggle in general with switching narrators in each book of a series. So much investment in the original person only to be switched to someone else. Anyway, I didn’t really find this book “magical” in any way. Caraval feels like a week of horrors and I don’t understand the appeal. But that being said, I’m definitely going to be reading the third book in hopes of having some happy closure!
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Rating: 3.5 stars
This is the story of a high functioning autistic woman who decides to hire an escort to help her become better at sex. She’s thirty years old and her mom is pressuring her to get on with her life and make some grandchildren, so Stella takes what she feels is the next logical step to figuring out how to find that happiness. It was an interesting premise that I really had a hard time wrapping my head around during the entire length of the book. It just seems kind of gross. And unlikely. At any rate, I really liked both Stella’s and Michael’s characters and their unlikely, yet inevitable romance.
The Dry by Jane Harper
Rating: 2.5 stars
Set in the Australian countryside where drought has ravaged the land for years, a small town is rocked to its core by the cold blooded murder-suicide of one of their own. Childhood friend and police officer, Aaron Falk, comes back to town for the funeral and is convinced to stay by his friend’s parents to try and prove his innocence. Being in the town brings up a different suspicious death of his teenage friend/girlfriend. While trying to solve both murders at once, Falk has run-ins with many of the same people in town who chased him away so many years earlier. While this book is well written, I found it to be incredibly boring. After so much hype surrounding this one, I was sorely disappointed. I don’t know if I just expect too much from my mysteries or I’m just having a really hard time getting into ANY books this month, but this one was not a favorite.
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Rating: 5* stars
This is one of the most uplifting and inspirational nonfiction books I have ready in a really long time. Rachel’s writing style is funny, poignant, and so relevant to the lives of every woman in every circumstance. Each chapter is an essay on lies she once believed and steps she took to overcome them. I love books where you can sit and read a chapter and have something truly worthwhile to mull around in your head until the next time you squeeze in the next chapter. Everything she had to say rang so true in my own life and I absolutely loved it. I highly recommend this book to ALL women. And if you can find one, I think it’d be worth it going to Barnes and Noble to get the special edition with the bonus chapter the way that I did. Great book!
Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Rating: 4 stars
This is a forbidden love romance novel between a 19 year old and her lousy boyfriend’s 38 year old father – whom they both live with. The premise is definitely a little icky. But the author makes sure you feel zero loyalty to Cole, the boyfriend/son who Jordan has almost no actual interaction with in the entire book. She meets Pike, the dad, randomly at a midnight show of a movie on her birthday and they feel a connection that cannot be denied, despite all the complications that arise when they realize who each other is. Overall, if you can get past the age difference, it’s a pretty great slow burn love story. Jordan is very mature for her age and is a good match for Pike. Occasionally they play too much into the daddy thing, which is kind of disturbing. The book did feel incredibly long. But if you like slow burn and forbidden romance, this would be a great one to pick up.
Elites of Eden by Joey Graceffa
Rating: 4 stars
This is the second book in the Children of Eden series. I loved the first one – it was a fantastic and unique venture into a dystopian world. The release of the second book snuck by me, so I was very excited when I realized it existed. The problem – I had no idea what was going on. *Spoiler alert* Yarrow, the main character for the first THIRD of the book, is actually Rowan, who has been brainwashed. It was very confusing as she was a super unlikeable character and I really didn’t know what this book had to do with the first one at all. But once she had a breakthrough and realized who she really was, the story got a lot better. I love how Graceffa portrays Eden SO well. You can visualize everything about it in a way that isn’t always there in dystopian novels. This ended on a cliffhanger and I’m really excited to read the final book when it comes out in October!
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Rating: 3.5 stars
I really struggled with what to rate this book. Honestly, I was pretty bored the first half of this 450 page book. A family of three that chooses to spend their life in a shack of a cabin without any electricity or running water in rural Alaska is not a very exciting premise to me. If it hadn’t been for so many raving reviews all over my social media, I would have put it down. But I powered on and about halfway through it got so interesting that I stayed up for five hours reading so that I could finish it in time for my June post! This book really does have a lot of heart and makes you question how much you should endure under the name of love. While I struggled to find the motivation to pick this up – it’s really so depressing! – I was definitely crying and quite happy with how it ended. The writing is beautiful, as always by Hannah. But it just didn’t hold my attention the way her books usually do.