June Wrap: It Means Summer Lovin’ and Readin’

This month was not nearly as productive as I was hoping, in any sense of the word, but nonetheless I did decent, and have some exciting accomplishments to share with you all.  I think what I’m most proud of is that I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL and so that’s like 12 years of my life* that have finally come to a close.  Also, it’s the first summer in my memory where I literally have no summer homework to do, which is awesome, and as you read this I am on my first of 2 major vacations that I’m super excited about.  So this month is good, I just haven’t read quite enough yet.

*I’m counting Kindergarten-High School… it did not, in fact, take me 12 years to get through high school

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If you don’t remember, I put 7 books on my TBR for this month, which is more than I have ever ever read in one month before.  I’m proud to say that I’ve finished 4/7 books on this list, as well as 5 total books.  Once again I’ve had trouble sticking to the TBR because BOOKS are all so good and I’m an easily distracted individual.

Kindle/Ebooks

The Darkest LiesThe Handmaid's Tale

The Darkest Lies (3/5)– I’ve written a review of this one, although it won’t be published for a couple of months, and yet I still don’t have all of my thoughts in order.  First off, the beginning was terrible, but the end was good.  Second, I hated the MC but liked some of the others?? I don’t know how to explain it, the whole thing was just confusing.

The Handmaid’s Tale (5/5)– DAMNNNNN this book was so good.  It was one of the first dystopian books ever, and the scary part is that everything it talks about feels so so so real like it could happen next week which is a horrible thing but reality could still go this way.  It’s super women-oppressive but the MC is super smart, and I love the way everything plays out.  You would never know that this was written in the 80’s, and I HIGHLY recommend to everyone.

Physical Books

The Glass Castle: A MemoirHarry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)

The Glass Castle (5/5)– This was a memoir so I was super nervous about it going in, but honestly it was so so so amazing, read like fiction, and was thoroughly enjoyable.  I have such a hard time believing any of this is real just because of how extraordinarily difficult the author’s life was.  She is remarkable and I have so much respect for her, her story, and her writing.

The Cursed Child (??)– I’VE FINALLY READ IT!!! It was super good, and I really enjoyed it, but I’m not sure how to rate it because I have the HP thing that makes me want to give everything remotely related 5 quick stars, but on the other hand the story wasn’t that good.  And plus it’s super hard to judge a play when all you’ve seen is the script.

Audiobooks

Orange Is the New Black

Orange is the New Black (5/5)– This is another absolutely incredible book.  I started watching the TV show and fell in love, and so I had to read the book, because although I heard they were so completely different, I liked the general concept, and the fact that OITNB book is a true story drew me in.  It did not let down.  Piper told the story in a way that drew me in and made it felt like fiction while giving true details and enlightening me as to how the prison system works.

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Goodreads Challenge (22/30)– I’m going to have to update my reading challenge again because I’ve gotten through SO MANY BOOKS.  This is making my entire year, I haven’t felt this good about how much I’ve read for so long.

What’s In a Name (2/5)

Read Harder Challenge (11/24)

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  • June Book Releases— I wrote about all of the most exciting-sounding books that came out this month! There’s so many good ones especially in the thriller genre, so if you like that you should check it out!
  • I’ll Give you the Sun Review— For the first time in practically ever, I had a review get a ton of views!! IGYTS was sooooooooooo good and I recommend it to literally everyone, and so if you haven’t read the review or the book you should get on that.
  • Midyear Update— Since this is the halfway month of the year, I wrote a post on all of the books I’ve read, and all of my best posts for the entire year!  It was really cool to reflect on everything that I’ve read and how awesome this year has been so far.
  • Using the Word “Said”— I wrote a discussion post on whether or not you should use the word “said” while you write, and I loved all of the feedback and comments that people gave to add to my own thoughts.
  • Interview with Nia— Nia is an AHMAZING blogger and I got to interview her which was super awesome because she’s really funny and great and you should read this interview (can you tell I’m EXTREMELY overtired as I write this post? It’s all rambling and messy and gross so I’m sorry)

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  • Blogging and Reading Confessions by Lauren— I just followed Lauren recently, and I loved reading about her true reading and blogging style!! I related to so many of the reading confessions and although the blogging ones didn’t really apply much to ME, I still enjoyed reading them.
  • Mid Year Book Tag by Nia— I really enjoyed hearing about all of Nia’s favorite books, and I had a lot added to my TBR!!!! If you’re looking for recs or just to catch up on Nia, this is a great post to read.
  • Elm took Blogging to the Real World— Taking your blog from purely internet to “real” life is a huge step and one that every blogger dreams of, and I’m super proud of Elm (but not really surprised) about the fact that she was able to make a difference in people’s lives and take her wonderful perspective out into the non-internet world.
  • Developing Characters by May—  May wrote a super fun, relatable af post about how to develop characters for your novel, and I found myself nodding along for literally the entire thing.

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Blogging

I had wanted to get really ahead on blogging for the next month, but instead I was a serious slacker who did absolutely nothing to do with blogging besides write this single post and one review.  Which is certainly not going to get me through the rest of the summer.

As far as followers go, I had wanted to get to 400 this month.  It was a really close call, but I managed to do it with WP and email combined, although not with just WP (as I originally wanted to).

Book Buying

I decided that I was going to get a book at every vacation I went on this year, and so far I’ve been to Block Island, where I bought 2 books from the library sale rack.  And it only cost $1!!! Bargain shopping!!!

In Pennsylvania I didn’t get a book because all I could find was Amish romance (oops) and I wasn’t really feeling it.

Right now I’m in Colorado, and although I haven’t bought a book yet, I’m planning on it.  I’m praying that I can find a cheap little second hand store around Denver to buy one.

Writing

I’ve written about 15 pages thus far in the book I’m working on, and started working on my outline much further.  I need to outline the entire thing before I start writing, and I know that, but sometimes outlining gets boring so I just start writing anyways.

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Overall, it’s been a decent month, but nothing to brag about.  I mean, reading half my TBR is decent, but my blogging has been weak and in general I don’t really like the fact that I haven’t been moving very quickly through what I need to get done.

Maybe if I watched less TV I would be blogging more often.  I mean, right now I’m writing this post and watching OITNB (SEASON 3!!!!) at the same time so excuse any stupid errors or repetitiveness… But like it’s okay because the show is amazing and I’ll eventually figure out how to do both because blogging is beautiful.

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How did your June go? Do you have any plans for this summer? What are your favorite books that you’ve read?

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June Releases I’m Excited For

This month, there are a LOT of good books coming out, because it’s summer, and everyone knows that’s the best time to publish (I don’t actually know that, it’s just a guess).  Since I’m doing a whole separate post for releases rather than mixing it in with my intro post like I normally do, I’ll hopefully be way more organized and make this section more useful to you!  So now, the top 10 books of June…

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Mystery / Thriller

He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said (June 6th)– omg I cannot even tell you how good this looks.  It seems really interesting because there’s a lot of backplot going on, and plus I’ve never heard of anything that sounds quite like this.  I’m 150% putting this on my TBR.

On the eve of a solar eclipse, a couple forced into hiding discovers that they can no longer run from their past in this taut psychological suspense novel.
In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share.
But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his.
The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person?
15 years later, Kit and Laura are living under assumed names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.
From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.

The Silent CornerThe Silent Corner (June 20th)– I’ve never heard of this author, but apparently he’s popular, and this book looks amazing.  Not only is it a thriller, but it looks like it’s going to feature a totally badass woman and I’m always down for that.

I very much need to be dead.
These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for but took his own life. In the aftermath, his widow, Jane Hawk, does what all her grief, fear, and fury demands: find the truth, no matter what.
People of talent and accomplishment, people admired and happy and sound of mind, have been committing suicide in surprising numbers. When Jane seeks to learn why, she becomes the most-wanted fugitive in America. Her powerful enemies are protecting a secret so important so terrifying that they will exterminate anyone in their way.
But all their power and viciousness may not be enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love.The Fourth Monkey

The Fourth Monkey (June 27th)– I read and reviewed this book a couple months back, and it was a pretty good read!! If you already own the book or enjoy police crime thrillers, I would recommend.  You can read my review here, but I think my perspective was colored by the fact that I’m not a huge fan of police narratives.

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.
With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.Final Girls

Final Girls (June 29th)– If you buy one thriller this year it has got to be this one.  It was so dark, mysterious, and yet fun to read.  I adored the characters and pretty much everything about it, and despite the fact I read it in January when I think about it I get excited all over again!! Read my review!

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Adventure / Dystopian

The Sandcastle Empire

The Sandcastle Empire (June 6th)– I had heard a lot about this book on Twitter, I think because I follow the author, and it looks exciting.  Even though it’s dystopian, a genre I feel like is sort of overdone, this seems like a fresh take.

When all hope is gone, how do you survive?
Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.
Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.
Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.
This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.

Adult Contemporary

The People We Hate at the Wedding

The People we Hate at the Wedding (June 6th)– This book looks really fun, with a lot of family drama and a fancy wedding!!  I’m really hoping for a cute book with lots of character development from this one.

Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins.
They couldn’t hate it more.
The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent.
As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise’s walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year.

The CircusThe Circus (June 13th)– holy shit this book looks amazing and I hadn’t even heard of it before finding it on a June releases list while making this post.  It seems super emotional and yet exciting and nerve wracking and I cannot wait to read it.

Why would a girl who has everything want to run away and never be found?
Willow has staged runaways ever since she was a little girl. She has everything a young person should want: a rich daddy, clothes, money, a pony and a place at a prestigious boarding school. In reality, she has everything except the thing she really wants: a father who cares enough to find her.
Aged sixteen, on the eve of her father’s wedding, she ruins the bride’s dress and escapes through a window, determined never to return. Her missing mother was a circus performer, and Willow wants to follow in her footsteps. But the performers she meets don’t want her. When her last bit of money is stolen by Suze, another runaway girl she thought she could trust, Willow becomes really homeless. Then Suze comes tumbling back into her life and a desperate Willow has to decide whether to trust her all over again . . .
So begins their frightening, exhilarating odyssey though hunger, performance, desperation and dreams. Will they both survive and will Willow make it to the circus of her imagining?
Olivia Levez takes you into the very heart of a girl who wants so hard to be lost, but saves herself through a powerful friendship and the awakening of a need for home.

The Sisters ChaseThe Sisters Chase (June 27th)– This looks really emotional, and it’s a story of 2 sisters who love each other and yet still have secrets, which I think is an underrepresented side of literature.

The hardscrabble Chase women—Mary, Hannah, and their mother Diane—have been eking out a living running a tiny seaside motel that has been in the family for generations, inviting trouble into their lives for just as long. Eighteen-year-old Mary Chase is a force of nature: passionate, beautiful, and free-spirited. Her much younger sister, Hannah, whom Mary affectionately calls “Bunny,” is imaginative, her head full of the stories of princesses and adventures that Mary tells to give her a safe emotional place in the middle of their troubled world.
But when Diane dies in a car accident, Mary discovers the motel is worth less than the back taxes they owe. With few options, Mary’s finely tuned instincts for survival kick in. As the sisters begin a cross-country journey in search of a better life, she will stop at nothing to protect Hannah. But Mary wants to protect herself, too, for the secrets she promised she would never tell—but now may be forced to reveal—hold the weight of unbearable loss. Vivid and suspenseful, The Sisters Chase is a whirlwind page-turner about the extreme lengths one family will go to find—and hold onto—love.

YA / Teen

The Unlikelies

The Unlikelies (June 6th)– I really like the sound of this book, because it’s about 5 kids who just become friends, rather than having been friends their whole lives, and they actually try to do good rather than just messing around and having fun.

Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.
Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.
Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?
This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

Nonfiction

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud (June 20th)– This is a really unique take on celebrities and how their success relates to feminism, and I feel like it’s something that everyone should read (although I haven’t read it yet so how should I know) and it’s written by a Buzzfeed author so it’ll probably have some lighter comedic elements in it.

From celebrity gossip expert and BuzzFeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen comes an accessible, analytical look at how female celebrities are pushing boundaries of what it means to be an acceptable woman.
You know the type: the woman who won’t shut up, who’s too brazen, too opinionated, too much. She’s the unruly woman, and she embodies one of the most provocative and powerful forms of womanhood today. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen uses the lens of unruliness to explore the ascension of pop culture powerhouses like Lena Dunham, Nicki Minaj, and Kim Kardashian, exploring why the public loves to love (and hate) these controversial figures. With its brisk, incisive analysis, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today.


That’s all for June!!  *heads out door to go buy all of these books on the list*

Let's Talk

What other popular books are coming out in June?  Have you read any books on this list? Are any on your TBR? What book are you most excited to read this month?

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June Intro: The Start of Freedom Means More (Hopefully) Reading

As I sit down and write (the first draft of) this post in mid-March, it’s hard to believe that exactly 1 month from now I’ll be graduating high school and entering the free world.  Well, not really.  I still have college, but that’s completely different and way more independent and I’m very excited.  (actually, on that vein of thought– I’m going to school in Boston next year so I’d love to do a blogger meetup!)

Because I have school in half of the month and then summer for the other half, I think that I’ll be able to read somewhat more books than I normally do, while still managing to keep up on blog posts and the like.  Also, because of the fact that I have less time to write during the summer, I’m breaking up what normally comes in this post into two separate days.  Today will consist of a TBR and blogging goals, and on Monday I’ll send you all a list of hot books being released this month.  I see a lot of book bloggers do similar things, and so I figured that it would be better this way for my own personal schedule.

halfway (38)Before you roll your eyes, yes I realize that I have a shit ton of books on this list, but I really truly think that I’ll be able to do it this time. (yes, even I’m rolling my eyes now)

Ebook / eARCs 

The Darkest LiesNot the Only SkyThe Handmaid's TaleSelect (Untitled #1)

  1. The Darkest Lies— I’ve been reading this book for almost 2 months, and it’s wayyyyyy overdue for a review, but I just can’t seem to get into it enough to stay interested.  My mind is drifting all over the place, and I would rather be on Twitter than reading it, which is a problem since the book is on my phone.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale— I had been SO FREAKIN EXCITED for this book, and now that I have it, the writing style is weird, and I just haven’t been reading it for enough time all at once.  I need an hour or so to read constantly to get into it I think.
  3. Not the Only Sky— I’ve had this book on my Netgalley shelf for forever and since it came out 2 months ago, now is as good a time as any to start reading it.  It looks really good, and I’m looking forward to the chance to download it and start.
  4. Select— I don’t think this book comes out until October, which is good because it means I’m not even behind!! I’m putting it on the list now because I can read it on my phone after I finish Not the Only Sky, and then I’ll type up a review and have it on file for the fall.  I honestly don’t even know what this is about, I’m just going for it.

Physical Books

Big Little Lies

  1. The Glass Castle— I never had much of an interest in reading this book, although it was recommended to me a couple of times, but I just found out that it’s going to be a movie sometime in the fall, and that’s enough for me to read nearly any book.  Plus, it was on a bunch of “Must Read” lists, so I clearly need to give it a chance.
  2. Big Little Lies— I’ve had this book on my shelf for the past couple of months, and have wanted to read it for at least a year.  Since I own it AND can watch a TV show right after, it seems dumb not to go ahead and put it on my TBR. (also side note but I got the TV show edition since it was on sale for $.50 but look how pretty the real one is)

Audiobooks

Orange Is the New Black

  1. Orange is the New Black— Unlike Big Little Lies, I want to read this book because I’ve started watching the TV show and it’s INCREDIBLE.  I genuinely never thought that I would enjoy it this much, because I heard that it was just over sexualized nonsense, but I’m loving it and so I might as well hear the accurate story, and what better mode of doing that than listening.

halfway (39)Blogging

This month, I really just want to get ahead on my blogging and schedule my posts for the entire summer.  I’m road tripping to Colorado, and I plan to document that on Our Voices Matter (my other blog), so that’ll take up a lot of time and use of the internet and I can’t be worried about uploading blog posts for the end of June –> July.  Don’t worry though, I’m sure I’ll be VERY active on Twitter.

Besides just posting early, I plan on reaching 400 followers, which I’m aware is a giant number but I think it would be awesome.  (For added incentive, I’m doing a giveaway when I hit 500)

Writing

I decided a couple of weeks ago to set aside the story I worked on for all of Camp NaNo because there’s wayyyyyy too many plot holes, and now I’m going to work on the story I wrote a blurb for in Mahriya’s challenge.  I’m drafting characters and plot FIRST this time, which should greatly improve it, since before I felt like I didn’t know the characters 40 pages in.  Read my blurb and excerpt and let me know what you think!

Buying Books

Since I’m going to be in summer this month, which means day trips and vacations, I want to buy a book at every place I go to, and write in the covers where I purchased them.  I think this could be a really good use of my money because I’ll have mementos and books to read.  Win win!!!

Let's Talk

What books do you plan on reading this month? Do you think my TBR is too big?  What are your blogging goals for the month?