June Wrap Up

June is over which means the year is halfway over already which is crazy.
As per usual, the end of the month caught me by surprise so let’s wrap it up before July runs away too! I’m actually having to write this up while sitting on the floor in my laundry room because it’s the only place quiet enough to think and honestly, that just sort of fits the mood for last month.

This was my original intro for this post. And then I lost power (and quite a bit of this post that hadn’t auto-saved with it). And I thought, “Wow! This post really doesn’t want to get written! But at least it can’t get worse than this!”
Fast forward some more and I’m finally able to finish writing up this post after being in and out of the hospital and various doctor’s offices for the last two weeks. It is the end of the third week of July and this post isn’t done. LET’S GET IT DONE BEFORE SOMETHING ELSE HAPPENS.

The Books

What I Read

Coming in at a 10 (finished) book month, June was better than May, however, after the majority of 2019 being filled with amazing reads, things went to bomb ass to kind of bombing it. I’m actually planning on a vent post about this later but I haven’t DNFed or had such strong reservations about in a long while. That being said, it did make the gems I found this month really shine!

I really do believe a lot of my issues this month had to do with the fact that I tried to push myself to read almost exclusively with LGBTQ+ books, be it books with queer characters or written by authors in the LGBTQ+ community (exceptions were made for library holds that came in during June). There were a ton of great Kindle deals throughout the month for Pride and I went a little overboard buying up books. I quickly came to realize a few things:
•There are a ton of contemporary LGBTQ+ books out there but SF/F? Not so much
•Finding books by/about QPOC is a lot harder than I thought
•Fantasy by/about QPOC? Few and far between
Factor in that I had to rely on my local library to get things done because June and July’s paychecks were spent before the second week of June was up, and I think I was just struggling to find something that fit what I want in a book.

Wished by Jen Calonita
This is the lastest installment in the Fairy Tale Reform School – a middle grade fantasy series I adore. While this book was fun, it’s probably my least favorite in the series and I feel like it didn’t really move the story forward. Like, at all. I’d equate this book to an enjoyable filler episode of a show but it in fact, managed to add more unanswered questions to the main storyline, so I’ll upgrade it to Filler+.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin
This book came highly recommended and had been reserved for a while. This modern King Henry VIII retelling ended up being one of my favorite reads for the month. It was just really fun?

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
So, I’ve had people raving to me about LaCour’s work for a while. This book didn’t really do it for me. It was decidedly ‘okay.’ I struggle with book’s that deal with mental health issues within one’s family so that might have been part of it? I also don’t like books where some big event is vaguely referenced to time and time again until a big reveal is done later in the book.

Eat Vegan Before 6:00 by Mark Bittman
So I’ve recently made a diet change wherein I eat as vegetarian/vegan as I can with a few exceptions. The ‘proper’ term for it is flexitarian but I’ve been told that makes me sound like a tool so like, WHO KNOWS. I was told to check out this book for the recipes in it. Out of curiosity I read the beginning of the book. I saw some things that made me mad, so I kept reading. Basically, I hate-read a diet book. His voice and message were highly inconsistent. The recipes weren’t even that great. I give this a wet fart out of ten.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
THIS BOOK WAS A GEM. I can’t believe I put off reading it for so long. Everything was amazing. It was a fun story, great characters, I can’t wait to read book two. Just … *mwah*! Beautiful! I’m wanting to write a full review later so I’ll not write too much but just know this book completely won over my heart.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
I really wanted to like this book. It’s the first book I’ve read that tackles queerness and faith (I know a lot of others are out there, I just haven’t gotten to them) so while I appreciated that, there were just too many issues with the book for me to enjoy. There was a lot of ableism , the only black character fell victim to being reduced to a sassy black woman, a lot of bad choices were made (typically not something I hold against younger characters but even the adults were A MESS), and the rival love interest was so cookie cutter/flat it was a snore.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Beautiful food descriptions and an overall feel-good vibe to this book made it entirely enjoyable. As someone with family in the food-service industry (my little sis went to culinary school and I couldn’t be prouder of her), I was really happy to see that the cooking class was portrayed relatively realistically and things weren’t overly romanticized. This was a fun read and certainly up at the top of my list for this month. ALSO, LOOK AT THE COVER! Absolutely gorgeous!

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson
I’d been eyeing this book on Overdrive solely for the cover (look at that cute lil skull!) but when it was on someone’s sci-fi pride reading list, I gave it a go! It was actually a pretty fun contemporary zombie book. I’ve already said this on a previous library loot post, but if the concept for this sounds fun or you want something similar, I highly recommend Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang.

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
This was on so many Pride lists that I felt it was gonna be a quick, fun read. NOPE. I hated this? So much? There were just so many unrealistic things in it that I had a hard time getting into the story. Everyone included that it was during pride in their descriptions – that played into the plot so little it was hardly worth mentioning? The book felt like it was intentionally written to be quotable and as such, parts of it were just sort of ‘deep’ by characters that lacked that maturity entirely. I had a TON of issues with this but I think my BIGGEST problem was without the male protagonist, Mark. He had feelings for someone who didn’t feel the same way about him and instead of accepting this, he went FULLY against it and wouldn’t let him go. I always hate this trope so I was already out but he took it to whole new levels of disgusting. There was a scene where his inner monologue was about how he should RUIN HIS FRIEND’S LIFE BY OUTING HIM to get revenge for not returning feelings. That’d teach him! At this point in time I was seeing red. I only finished the book to see how things were resolved but I was furious.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
I have a coworker who is madly in love with Gaiman so I’ve been slowly poking at his books. This was actually a fun, short Sleeping Beauty retelling. I can’t tell you about the illustrations because I listened to the (full cast!) audiobook, but the cover is gorgeous!

What I Bought

As I said earlier, I didn’t do a whole lot of book buying last month. I’ll admit to going on a bit of a buying spree with all the amazing LGBTQ+ kindle deals there were at the beginning of the month (too numerous to list here) but other than that, I didn’t really buy a whole lot. I had two pre-orders come in – Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim and Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Love and Food edited by Caroline Tung Richmond and Elsie Chapman. Given that it’s now near the end of July I can tell you I’ve read both and they were both solid pre-order choices. That was it for purchases! Hooray for (mostly) responsible spending!

Favorite read of the month?

Aru Shah was an absolute delight. I’m only vaguely familiar with the Mahabharata from small stories here and there, typically in the form of children’s stories or a brief overview from my History of Asian Art course in college. I can add this book to that list! Honestly, there were so many things about this that made me happy. I was honestly smiling while I read this book. It was funny, the mythology was interesting, and Aru is nothing if not lovable and, at least for me, relatable. I literally cannot wait to get my hands on book two.

The Blog

I got the blog back up and going again but I didn’t do A SINGLE THING I WANTED TO. I didn’t even post a review. If there’s anything I’m proud about I did in June though, it would be this guest post I wrote over on Ben’s blog as part of his amazing 30 Days of Pride series. I wrote about Once & Future and the impact it had on me. It’d mean a lot to me if you could go check it out! (While you’re there, maybe check out some of the other posts from the series – there were some fantastic author interviews and great posts from other bloggers as well)

My plan for this part of the post was to go on about my goals for July but given that I’m writing this at the end of July, let me tell you – all my plans got obliterated by my health. I’ll just keep trying. Eventually I’ll get all the content on this blog I want to. I’ve been working on some fun food content for a while now as well as some artsy things. We’ll see, though!

And Real Life

Apart from attending a bachelorette party and a bridal shower, I didn’t really do a whole lot in June. I got back into actually playing video games instead of just talking about them so there’s that, I guess? E3 was a thing and you know I was there screaming when we finally got news about Animal Crossing! I did have plans to go to my first ever Pride celebration but a combination of nerves and bad weather got the best of me and I ended up staying home. Maybe next year?

Typically I’d ask how your month went here but I feel that ship has sailed. In fact, that ship has probably already circumnavigated the globe and returned to the harbor safely by now. So instead, I hope everyone is having a wonderful July and I’ll see you again for another wrap-up shortly! Thanks for dealing with my super-late self.

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