What I Read June 2022

by - July 06, 2022

Summers are such a great time for reading. Not that the rest of the year isn't as well, but summers just feel slower. More laid back. More like you can spend a couple hours with a book without consequences. I've been trying to mark stuff off my TBR list, and several series I've been reading are dropping their final books, so that's exciting.

What's not exciting is how not into The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu I am. I've been trying to read this book for over a month, y'all, and I'm just not going to finish it. The premise is interesting, but I just can't connect with the main character, and I'm not really digging this weird version of the world it's set in.

Anyway, onto the books that I did finish last month.

Safe Haven (Gilded Knights book 6)
Author: Emilia Finn

What an ending to a series. I wasn't really expecting to connect with this book since it focused on one character who's been mostly just a mention in the other books of this series and then introduced an entirely new character as the second lead. But this book had a lot going on in it. It brought a lot of things full circle and featured a lot of the characters from the Checkmate series, which I appreciated since that one is my favorite in this collection.

Anyway, this is the story of Tyler and Arlo. We met Arlo earlier in the Gilded Knights series. She's the caretaker of one of the Rosa brothers' kids. Tyler and his two young siblings have been squatting in Arlo's cousin's empty house. Everyone is aware of their situation and secretly does little things to try to take care of them, but Tyler is terrified of discovery. He's not his siblings' legal guardian and doesn't want them to wind up in the system and possibly separated from each other. Arlo makes it her mission to help the little family out...whether Tyler wants her to or not.

Author: Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

Non-stop action. Seriously, strap in because this book is going to take you on a ride starting with the very first chapter. There is a lot going on in this book, and it's seemingly all unconnected.

Dirk Pitt is the director of NUMA. He and his trusty sidekick, Al, are in El Salvador testing a new piece of equipment when the dam of the lake they're on bursts. They end up rescuing a UN scientist from the lake, then again when they drop her back with her team who is in the middle of a deadly attack. Then, NUMA gets called in to handle the cleanup of a boat collision in Detroit where Pitt teams up with a company that has a lot of dirty secrets. Meanwhile, Pitt's children are involved in a tomb raider incident in Egypt. All roads eventually lead to Ireland and a fight to save millions.

Despair (Deadly Seven book 8)
Author: Lana Pecherczyk

I'm actually kind of sad to see this series end. Daisy, a.k.a. Despair, is back with her siblings, but after a lifetime of being brainwashed by the psychotic leader of the Syndicate she doesn't quite fit in with her crime-fighting family. Daisy is determined to prove herself and earn redemption from her many sins, and her soulmate, Axel, is just as determined not to be left behind. As a former member of the Syndicate's Faithful, Axel has a lot to make up for himself, even though every act he committed was for a higher purpose: curing his little sister of a mysterious disease.

Author: Ellen Raskin

Full disclosure, I've been reading a lot of books intended for younger readers the past few weeks in a search for the perfect novel(s) to assign to my 7th graders. That said, I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it for any reader. It had an Agatha Christie vibe but on a muted level. It reminded me a bit of the recent movie Knives Out, as well.

Basically, 16 people are tapped as potential heirs to Sam Westing's fortune, but only one of them will win it by solving the mystery of who killed him. There are a few other little mysteries woven throughout, and the POV switches quite frequently, but it wasn't hard to follow.

Author: Lydia Kang

Let's start with a synopsis of this one before my thoughts. This book is set in NYC during WWII, specifically around the Manhattan Project. Will works as a scout for the project, while his sister, Maggie, has just gotten a job at the Navy Yard where she writes letters to her dead mother between shifts. Their lives are turned upside down when they find Ruby hiding underneath their porch one evening. The more they learn about who Ruby really is, the more they're left wondering what exactly has her on the run and considering the possibility that she could be a spy.

I have mixed feelings on this one. I read it because I wanted to know who the spy was, but at the same time I didn't think it was as good as A Beautiful Poison or Opium and Absinthe. There was a lot of over-the-top vagueness, which I 100% understand the reason for with this book, but at the same time it felt overdone. With this author, I always expect the unveiling of the bad guy to be a true revelation that will have me reflecting on all the breadcrumbs placed throughout the book, but that didn't happen with this one. I also felt like the 'villain' in this one would not have been capable of pulling off the level of subterfuge they did, but that could just be me.

Author: Gordon Korman

This is another book I was 'researching' for use in my classroom, and I've gotta say that I truly loved this one. I think it has a great message and a really good cast of characters. Chase falls off his roof and gets amnesia, giving him a chance at a different life. The thing is, though, Chase wasn't just a bully; he was the ringleader of the bullies. But without his memories, he's a completely different guy and working his way to redemption without even knowing it.

Author: Nicole Snow

I think this one might be my favorite of the Knights of Dallas series. Willow is the daughter of a famous zoologist trying to make her own mark at an animal sanctuary, but when things stop adding up she loads up Bruce the tiger and sets out on a journey to get him to safety. Except the truck she commandeered breaks down in the parking lot of Grady McKnight's bar. A single dad of twin girls, this is the last thing Grady needs, but he steps up to become Willow's much-needed hero. Soon, the couple finds themselves embroiled in a dangerous illegal animal smuggling operation that could threaten everything.

Author: Nicole Snow

This is the fourth and final book of the Knights of Dallas series. At least for now. Rachel is back in Dallas for a few months to run her grandmother's bed and breakfast while she recuperates from hip replacement surgery. Of course she can't avoid West, the man who broke her heart as a teenager. When he joined the military, he promised to write but never did, and Rachel kept her promise to get out of town and chase her dreams. Except neither one got over the other. There's more than just their relationship history happening in this book, though. An antiques collector who's made the bed and breakfast his temporary home is looking to score big before leaving town, at the expense of Rachel's grandmother.

Author: Jana Aston

Okay, so this book is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I was expecting a rom-com and got a bit more than I bargained for. Don't get me wrong, it's got plenty of funny moments, but the large age gap between the two main characters was a little off-putting for me. There was also very little character depth, which I guess is to be expected in this kind of read.

Anyway, Sophie has been crushing on Luke from afar for awhile. He's a doctor who stops in the coffee shop where she works once a week. She absolutely does not expect him to be the doctor when she goes to the college clinic for birth control. Nor does she expect him to swoop in and save her from her jerk of a boyfriend. Eventually they start dating and things escalate from there. There's not a ton of conflict in this book. Parts of it gave me 50 Shades of Grey vibes (don't judge me). Definitely don't read this if sex scenes bother you because there are a lot and they're definitely not PG.

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