June By the Numbers:
- Total Books Read: 10
- Audiobooks: 0
- Five Star Reads: 2
- Debuts: 5 (50%)
- Published in 2022: 6 (60%)
- Nonfiction Reads: 1 (10%)
- By Women Authors: 8 (80%)
- Books by BIPOC Authors: 6 (60%)
- Diverse Books: 4 (40%)
- Goodreads Challenge: 67/125 (54%)
- 12 Friends + 12 Books + 12 Months: 5/12 (42%)
- Nonfiction Challenge: 6/12 (50%)
- Unread Shelf: 9/24 (38%)
- EIWTB Challenge: 11/12 (92%)
- A to Z Challenge: 20/26 (77%)
Favorite Book of the Month:
* The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers – Lydia broke my heart, and Ailey warmed my heart. Uncle Root and Dear Pearl were comforts and reminded me that family is everything. Life is a journey with many ups and downs, but the lucky ones are always able to find their way back home to get love and advice for navigating all the things that inevitably get thrown at you. It was an epic journey, but in the end, one I would have spent another 800 pages taking. It sounds like a lot, but it didn’t feel like a lot. It was mesmorizing and engrossing and I already miss these characters. I literally feel like I can get in my car and drive on down the road a ways to pull into the drive of Uncle Root’s home to catch up on this family’s lives. Honorée Fanonne Jeffers created a masterpiece and I’m thankful I finally threw caution to the wind and read it. Please, please, please make this THE ONE book you prioritize this summer!
A Very Close Contender for Favorite Book of the Month:
* Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour – This complex coming-of-age story was a true delight! I didn’t head into this one with a whole lot of expectations, because while I’ve seen it around, I didn’t know much about it. I went in blind and it was the greatest journey. It really reminded me of Sugar Run by Mesha Maren – that dark and gritty story that slowly reveals its intricate layers. As the characters backgrounds are revealed, I couldn’t help but feel for them. I wanted a happy ending for all of them; I wanted to see them dig themselves out of the crappy hand they’d been dealt in their lives. I do believe this is one of those under-the-radar gems that deserves more attention!
Books I Went in Blind On and Was Pleasantly Surprised:
* Peach Blossom Spring by Michelle Fu – I just don’t know a lot about China’s history, so I found myself completely lost in this story. With subtle hints that reminded me of Pachinko, my patience was rewarded by the time I got to the end of this story. This is another example of the sacrificial love a mother has for her child and the tenacity that so many people before us have had to demonstrate just to survive in a world torn apart by power, corruption, and war. Once again, I’m amazed at humanity’s resiliency and also filled with hope for a better future. It doesn’t matter what part of the world a person immigrates to, the tragedies and triumphs that carry them step by step is remarkable and constantly reminds me to be grateful for the simple life I’ve lived so far.
* Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro – Honestly? I fell in love with the cover of this book and immediately requested it on NetGalley. I didn’t know what I was really getting into, but this debut took me by total surprise. Set in Lagos, three friends from college are reunited when one of their daughters gets married. Each lady led a very different lifestyle and it was interesting to see how each of their individual choices worked out for them. Ultimately, I enjoyed this book that celebrates female friendships and demonstrated the ups and downs of life so well. I especially liked Part Two and that’s where the book took off for me. I have seen some say the publisher’s blurb gives away too much, so maybe steer clear about reading that until you’ve finished the book.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin – I’m seeing so many people call this their favorite book of the year so far, so I had to move it to the top of my TBR fast. And while I really liked this one, it took just a little too long to get to the point. I almost DNFd it because I was kind of bored. At some point, (I can’t tell you where), I definitely became interested in the story and the characters and I am glad I stuck with it. The whole story comes together quite beautifully by the end, but it was a chore to get there.
Some Backlist Books:
The Current by Tim Johnston – I liked this book…all the way up to the ending. It felt unresolved to me and left me sort of hanging. I won’t say a book always has to have a tidy ending, but I also hate when I get to last word and wonder if I missed something. This book did that to me and then I had to spend even more time going back to see what (if) I missed something…and let’s just say that kind of ending puts a damper on the whole reading experience. Other than that, this book definitely held my attention. I wanted to know what happened, I liked how an older case was brought to the surface, and I enjoyed the characters and their relationships. It could have been a strong book for me had it ended a little differently.
Anna K Away (Anna K, #2) by Jenny Lee – Returning to the world of Anna K’s original spoiled rich kids drama was a treat! After some heavier, more intense reads, Anna K Away gave me the perfect summer reading vibes. Though I didn’t like it as much as I liked the first book in this series, it was the perfect book for the perfect time. This time around, the kids are spending the summer apart from each other after having been through the loss of one of their close friends. They are each dealing with grief and trauma in different ways and I liked this aspect of the book very much.
The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont by Shawn Levy – I’m a sucker for Hollywood gossip (though I have, admittedly, grown less enamoured by celebrities in recent years), so combine that with the iconic hotel that celebrities are in and out of all the time, and I had the perfect set up for a quick escape into glitz, glamour, and scandal. Unfortunatley, this was low on the gossip and high on the historical background of Chateau Marmont – still good, just not what I was looking for. I kind of skimmed a lot of this – especially the stars mentioned that I didn’t know much about or care about – and slowed down when someone was mentioned that interested me. Anyone interested in Hollywood history will find this book fascinating – it’s just not a niche I’m totally captured by!
Can’t Figure Out What the Hype Is All About:
* Hide by Kiersten White – Out of nowhere, this book seemed to blow up on Instagram. I gave into the hype, and while I wasn’t completely disappointed, I wasn’t satisfied either. What oddly felt like a Hunger Games remix quickly turned into a weird supernatural Hide and Seek game that just didn’t satisfy me in the end. Thankfully it was a quick read so I could see it through to the end, but even that felt just a little too easy for my liking. I think this is a great book for those that need something that doesn’t require a lot of investment and is outside their usual comfort zone.