June was another great reading month for me as I checked off some more TBR items and started in on a Contemporary YA Binge to celebrate summer (expect plenty more of that for July). I managed to read 14 books (5929 pages total) and listen to 3 on audio! Let take a look at my reads, shall we?
Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake – 4.5/5 Stars
I had originally tried to reach this when it arrived in the April 2018 FairyLoot, but just couldn’t get into it. Well over a year later, I gave it another shot and enjoyed it a good deal. I loved the ample references to Norse and Celtic gods, the spattering of beasts, and the whole mythological hero story vibe it had going on. Ciara was so awesome and totally epic. Lief was perfection. I did deduct a half star because I found it a little slow at times, but this is definitely one for the reread pile.
Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – 4/5 Stars
I was provided with an eARC of this, from NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review. This was a fabulous story, one that reminded me so much of Spin the Dawn, despite the total lack of plot similarities. Perhaps just the general vibe? Either way, I enjoyed the characters – especially Kammani – and the story as a whole. It left us off with a pretty good cliffhanger, and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book! Also, super props to the GORGEOUS cover.
Through the White Wood by Jessica Leake – 4/5 Stars
I found the PLOT of this book to be super intriguing, although Katya, the MC, took me some time to warm up to. She was fairly naive, just couldn’t see the things that were right in front of her, and was a little bit whiny. Thankfully she grew as the story progressed, so I did come around eventually. Sasha, on the other hand, was awesome and I loved him AND his fire powers. I also loved seeing Lief and Ciara again, and they were as BA and adorbs as always. Overall, this makes me look forward to more from this author.
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West – 5/5 Stars
Three fantasy novels in a row and then I was hit with a sudden need for some contemporary. This was a reread for me, but it features my favorite trope (pretend dating) so I knew it would hit the mark. Gia is a super relateable character, and Hayden is just awesome. I also love the friendship that builds between Gia and Becks, such a contrast to Gia’s other “friends” who are the literal worst. Kasie West never fails to give me what I want out of a YA contemporary and I know this won’t be the last time I reread this.
Playing Her Secret Crush by Casey Griffin – 5/5 Stars
Another contemporary reread, this one features my second favorite trope (BFFLs to BFs). This book is super short (250pgs) and normally wouldn’t even make my radar because of it, but the author manages to fully tell her story in the short space she has, and the book never suffers for it. There is a whole online gaming aspect to this plot that I am alllll about, plus the fact that Alex and Katie are perfect. Just a total win for me.
Screen Queens by Lori Goldstein – 4/5 Stars
Another NetGalley eARC, this one was really enjoyable! It was super topical and addressed girls/women in the tech/dotcom industry. I loved the three leading ladies – Lucy, Maddie, and Delia – and it was great to follow their building relationship. I feel like this is one of those books that all teen girls should read, especially those who have an interest in STEM fields. Super empowering and well done.
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – 5/5 Stars
I. Loved. This. Book. It was all the awesome of Six of Crows Duology mixed with the minimal parts of the Shadow & Bone Trilogy that I actually liked. I LOVED that we got so much Nina (including plenty of references to the Crows), along with ample Nikolai. I also loved Zoya and her POV. And Isaak (*sob*). The book ended on a HUGE cliffhanger (omgomgomg) and now I need the sequel IMMEDIATELY.
Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst – 4/5 Stars
I had actually attempted this book in the past and DNFd. I’m glad I gave it a second try because I found it to be a fun read. It was pretty short, but managed to fit a lot of story in the space allotted. It didn’t seem to leave an opening for a sequel, but it was good enough to make me consider further works by this author.
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa – 4/5 Stars
I had a hard time getting settled into this book, likely because I did not do a reread of it’s predecessor. I enjoyed much of it (Yumeko is GREAT) but I think I have determined that Kagawa’s writing style is not my favorite. It’s almost too…casual? More of what I would expect from a contemporary, and less so a mythic fantasy. That being said, I really did like it as a whole, and will certainly finish out the trilogy at some point in time.
Collateral Damage by Taylor Simonds – 5/5 Stars
I recently did a full review on this book, so I won’t go into it again here. Suffice to say it was AWESOME and I loved it and everyone should read it!
Nocturna by Maya Motayne – 4/5 Stars
I think my expectations for this book were high, and it left me a wee bit disappointed as a result. It reminded me VERY strongly of A Darker Shade of Magic, particularly book 2 in that series. Alfie is a total mix of Kell and Rhy, and Finn is pretty much straight-up Lila Bard. That being said, I still really enjoyed it, and will certainly continue with the series as it releases.
Amelia Westlake was Never Here by Erin Gough – 4.5/5 Stars
This was a super fun book that has been on my shelf for ages (thank you NOVL for sending me an ARC…sorry it took me so long to read it). Will and Harriet are fabulous as the polar-opposite main characters, and I loved them both. I loved the shenanigans they get up to, even as they are doing them all for a good cause. I also love a good hate-to-love trope, and having it be between two different strong female MCs was a total win. Good stuff all around.
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – 5/5 Stars
I super loved this one. Macy was a great main character and I loved seeing her grow as she came out of her shell. Wes is totally swoonworthy and the Truth game they played is like total relationship goals. This is definitely a slow-burn romance, but Sarah Dessen really knows how to spin a story, let me tell you. This is 100% going on the reread list.
The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – 5/5 Stars
I really wish I had read this book sooner. It was such an awesome story and I loved that it was a sort of alt-universe Russia. Any story that can reinforce my belief that magic is real is a total win for me. It reminded me of The Night Circus, which the competition between two magicians, their mentors being close, and a bit of romance dashed in for good measure. I will be snagging the second book as soon as possible!
Illuminae, Gemina, and Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, narrated by a full cast – 5/5 stars.
I blasted (pun intended?) my way through these audiobooks and LOVED EVERY MINUTE. This was my second time listening to the full trilogy on audio and it just reinforced my opinion that they are the BEST audiobooks EVER. Seriously. I laughed, cried, got legit goosebumps, had some weird dreams, and felt all the feels a person can feel. This duo needs to always be writing new books, because I am obsessed.
There we have it!! What books from this list have you read? Any recommendations for my July TBR? Comment below!!