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Hi, friends! Thanks for joining me today; I’m so glad you’re here 💙. Today I’m sharing my June 2021 Wrap-Up and my July TBR. June was a pretty great reading month for me, with a five-star read, a bit of Middle Earth, and one of the most entertaining (though not necessarily good) fantasy books I’ve ever read. Keep reading to see what I’ve been up to!
What I Read in June 2021
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
The first book I finished in June 2021 was Nalo Hopkinson’s debut novel, Brown Girl in the Ring. Hopkinson’s book is set in a dystopian Toronto. It follows Ti-Jeanne as her grandmother attempts to teach her how to use magic to save their run-down city from an iron-fisted drug boss. The book exhibited some of the typical hallmarks that drag down a debut novel, such as character development and pacing issues. However, the elements of West Indian culture combined with the dystopian Toronto landscape created an incredibly unique world, making Brown Girl in the Ring a fascinating and enjoyable read overall.
If you’re looking for a short, standalone fantasy novel/novella with a unique cultural influence, Brown Girl in the Ring might be for you!
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Because I like to live dangerously, I decided it would be a totally smart and excellent idea to add another reading challenge to my plate int he middle of the year. For this challenge, i will be reading a handful of the 2020 Goodreads Choice Award winners. First up was Sarah J. Maas’s first adult fantasy novel: House of Earth and Blood. I started with this book for two reasons. Firstly, it was already in my Kindle library from a sale many moons ago; second, I really just wanted to rip the band-aid off and get this one over with. If my 1.5-star rating doesn’t speak for itself, let me be clear: I hated this. But it did make me laugh quite a bit, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice.
If you already like Sarah Janet’s work, you’ll probably like House of Earth and Blood. If you know you probably won’t ever like Sarah Janet’s work, you may enjoy reading my rant review of this book on Goodreads!
Blindness by José Saramago
Next, I read Nobel Prize Laureate José Saramago’s dystopian novel, Blindness. This book instantly became one of myf avorites that I’ve read this year. Saramago has a unique, stream-of-consciousness writing style punctuated by a dark, ironic sense of humor. Both of these things combine to make the perfect storytelling vehicle for us to follow our sightless, nameless protagonists through what quickly devolves into a series of incerasingly unfortunate events. Blindness had everything I love in literary fiction: a fascinating and well-paced plot, lovable characters, and incredibly masterful use of langauge.
If it’s not hashtag-too-soon for you to read a book about a sudden and unexpected plague, then I cannot recommend Blindness enough!
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The next book I read in June 2021 was Madeline Miller’s Women’s Prize for Fiction award-winning debut novel, The Song of Achilles. First, let me just say, TikTok did not make me buy it. I don’t trust myself (namely, my attention span) with an app like TikTok. Furthermore, I selected this book back in december before I even know what BookTok was. Anyway, disclaimers aside, I enjoyed The Song of Achilles for the most part. Achilles and Patroclus both annoyed me at times, and the ending didn’t make me terribly emotional. However, I still appreciated Miller’s writing style, and I do think the story, as a whole, was very well told.
If you enjoy Greek history/mythology, are interested in a character-focused story in that vein, and you don’t mind romance, The Song of Achilles might be for you!
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Well, now I know who Tom Bombadil is. And, you ask, was it worth it? To that, I say… maybe? Listen, Fellowship is definitely my favorite of the Middle Earth movies and probably one of my favorite fantasy stories of all time. But the book is a bit long. However, that is really my only complaint. And “complaint” may be too strong of a word for it. Even though the book drags a bit in parts, the slow pacing just means we get to spend more time withTolkien’s world and characters. And it’s hard to be upset about that.
If you like classic, high fantasy adventure stories and/or love the Lord of the Rings movies, then The Fellowship of the Ring might be for you!
Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson
The final book I read in June 2021 was Monster She Wrote: The Women who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson. This book was not just a comprehensive history of many important women in the Horror and Speculative Fiction genres throughout literary history. It was also a love letter to the genres the featured women helped create. Monster, She Wrote also has a clear an concise format. Each chapter starts with a background on the author’s life and finishes with a list of their must-read works and similar stories by other authors. It is also solely responsible for my adding several new books to my neverending TBR pile.
If you want to read more horror and speculative fiction – especially stories by women who lived and breathed the genre – then Monster, She Wrote is definitely for you!
What I’m Currently Reading
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Reading for Prompt #13 of the 2021 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.
Full disclosure, this is actually the second book I’m picking up in July, but it’s fine, don’t worry about it. It is, however, my first ever Agatha Christie novel! I’m very excited about my first date with the so-called Queen of Mystery. I am a massive armchair detective; I’m always trying to solve mysteries before the detectives in my shows and movies. So, even though I’m only about 30 pages in at the time of writing, I am having so much fun theorizng about the eclectic cast of characters in this book.
Support a local (and this blog!) bookstore by purchasing And Then There Were None on Bookshop.org.
My July 2021 TBR
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (continuing)
- Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
- Confessions by Kanae Minato
- Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
- Exit West Mohsin Hamid
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
Wrapping up the June 2021 Wrap-Up
And there you have it! This is everything I have read recently, am currently reading, or will be reading soon. My favorite book I read in June 2021 was Blindness, and my most disappointing read was definitely House of Earth and Blood. Although, can a book be disappointing if you expected it to be crap? It remains to be seen. If I had to say what book I’m most excited about reading in March, it would probably be The Secret History. Another book for which I have zero expectations.
What about you? Let me know what your favorite book from this month was, and what you’re most excited to read in July.
I’ll be back soon with a new blog post, so keep your eyes peeled for that! In the meantime, you can keep up with my reading on Goodreads, or follow my other social media. I’m @simplespines on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
As always: thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon. 💙