What I Read June 2024

by - July 08, 2024

How's your summer reading going? Mine has been kind of hyper-focused on fantasy recently. In addition to the three fantasy series you'll read about in this post, I also have been re-reading The Bonds That Tie series by J. Bree and The Redemption Saga by Kristen Banet.

I've only crossed one title off my Summer Reading List, my book club pick for June, but I have started reading The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman and plan to start The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller soon. Additionally, I'm almost finished with A Twist of Demon by S. E. Babin and have read the first few chapters of Shadow Beasts by Nellie H. Steele.

Now let's get to the good stuff - what I actually finished reading in June.

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

I'm pretty sure that I read this in May and just forgot to include it in the last reading roundup, which is weird because it was one of my favorite reads of that month. I was obviously aware of the popularity of this book, so when I decided to buy it, it was without even opening the cover. I knew what it was about and wanted to read it. Had I taken a moment to look inside, I probably would have changed my mind and missed out on a fantastic story told in a very unique way.

This book is the story of a fictitious band, The Six, and their brief collaboration with a solo artist, Daisy Jones. More specifically, it is the story of why this successful pairing didn't last. The band is loosely based on Fleetwood Mac, I believe, although in the small bit of research I did, I didn't find many similarities.

What makes this book unique is the fact that it is not written in prose. It is put together like a series of interviews with different band members and the other people involved all woven together to tell the story. In other words, it's basically all dialogue. Frankly, it was very reminiscent of my days logging interviews, which is why I probably would have passed on the book if I had glanced inside before I bought it, but the way the author lets the characters tell the story is truly what great storytelling is about.

Author: J. Gabriel Gates

I reviewed the first book of this series, Girl of Hearts, in my last reading roundup, and I wasted no time in devouring the final three books at the beginning of June. This series was so good. It even made an appearance in the 10 Things I'm Loving Right Now post from a couple of weeks ago. It is a magical series in which the magic system is based on a deck of cards. Each suit represents either good or bad luck with some specific gifts thrown in for each. Hearts and diamonds are good luck with hearts having the power of Cupid and diamonds being able to control wealth. Clubs and spades, meanwhile, are the bad luck suits, with clubs being able to cause people to go berserk and spades having the touch of death.

This series revolves around Aggie, a 16-year-old aspiring scientist who became a Good Luck God when the experiment she and her mother were working on opened a rift to another dimension. Aggie's mother was also turned into a Luck God, but instead of good luck power she received bad luck power and resurrected a suit that had been wiped out. Now the mother-daughter duo find themselves on opposite sides of a cause that's being controlled by a much higher power that has been working from the shadows for centuries.

Author: Linda Keir

This is my book club pick for June, and I have mixed feelings about it. I felt like this book moved so slowly and also that the female characters were dumb for lack of a better word. The last 10 percent of the book made up for the rest of it for the most part, but I was really frustrated with the characters through most of this story.

At the heart of the story is Jonathan Wright, a doctor who has invented some type of nanotech that can detect childhood cancer before it presents symptoms. He's been married to Holly for nearly twenty years and has three children with her. Holly is also a doctor, a pediatrician. She essentially gave up her dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon for her husband. Now, she sees patients three days week and spends the rest of her time running a horse rescue charity. Jonathan, whom she calls Jack, is rarely around, always flying here and there to set up new offices and find more investors for his cancer project.

While he is trying to advance his cancer tech, Jonathan is using those trips for other purposes, as well. If you couldn't guess from the title of the book, he's dating other people. One of those people is Jessica, also a doctor. He's gone so far as to hire her and move her to his main headquarters location where he shares an apartment with her. Jessica knows about Holly, but she believes all the lies Jonathan tells her about how Holly is mentally unstable and holding up divorce proceedings. When he lies about the divorce actually going through, he convinces Jessica to marry him.

The web gets even stickier with Lark, who honestly doesn't really fit Jonathan's usual MO. She is a board game designer. She meets Jonathan in a hotel bar. He introduces himself as Trip and they have what she believes will be a one-night stand but turns into a long-distance relationship in which he is also investing in her company. Their whirlwind relationship eventually leads to an engagement, despite the fact that Jonathan is already doubly married. Lark thinks he's been divorced for many years.

Eventually, all three women find out about each other and meet, and the secrets all come to the forefront. Turns out, Jonathan hasn't just been lying about his relationship status but also the true capabilities of his cancer tech. Working together, the women manage to save the company and all truly separate from Jonathan in a spectacular event at which literally every important person in his life is present. Like I said, the closing chapters of the book make up for the rest.

Psycho Shifters, Psycho Fae, and Psycho Beasts (Cruel Shifterverse series 1-3)
Author: Jasmine Mas

This series is like some weird omegaverse type deal but without the omega focus. Sadie and her sister grew up in an abusive adoptive home in the Shifter realm. Sadie, being the oldest, shielded her sister from the abuse by taking it all herself. One day a mysterious man in a cloak shows up and takes her to the lake where they test shifters to see if they are an alpha, beta, omega, or null. When she presents as an alpha, Sadie is taken to the closest outpost where she's expected to train to become a soldier protecting the realm from the fae. Being the first female alpha comes with a lot of problems, most of them coming from the other three alphas stationed with her - Jax, Cobra, and Ascher.

Eventually, the group ends up in the Fae realm, betrayed by one of their own. While there, they must fight their way to freedom while under the suspicious eyes of Xerxes, an omega who escaped from the Beast realm and found his place among the fae queen's guard. When Sadie's best friend, who just so happens to be the fae queen's daughter in hiding, kills the queen but doesn't want to take her place on the throne, Xerxes helps the group escape to the Beast realm where they discover that Cobra is the long-lost son and heir of the leader of the group that keeps things in line. His father demands that they join his gang, so they all go through initiation, and eventually the fae come calling having been led to believe that the new queen was kidnapped. And at the center of it all is Sadie, who is a shifter-fae hybrid that apparently is destined to fight in some great cosmic war.

This series does continue with Psycho Academy, but it swaps to a different character's storyline. From reading the blurbs of the three books in that arc, I can't tell if it will address the thing that was left unresolved from the first three books, namely the war of which Sadie is supposed to be the great hero. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep going.

Author: Tessa Hale

Let me begin by saying that this is not my favorite author. I have tried several books and series by her and never finished them for one reason or another. This series, while not the greatest thing I've ever read, held my attention long enough to finish.

Leighton has been living in hell ever since her dad died. Then a long-lost friend shows up to remove her from the situation and offer her a new life. They get her mom to sign emancipation documents, and Leighton leaves it all behind for a life of wealth and lots of secrets. Eventually, Leighton learns that she is an Anchor but never developed abilities and the group she's been living with are the supernaturals she was supposed to bond with - a wolf shifter, two dragon shifters, an incubus, and a witch. She's also caught the attention of a vampire who believes he's been cheated out of being among that group.  There's lots of politics happening, as well, and demon attacks. Oh, and a mean girl whose jealousy goes leagues too far. Leighton spends a lot of this series losing consciousness in some way, and she always came back to in the same way: the guys all talking about how it's been too long and she should already be awake, her being able to hear them and wanting to open her eyes but not being able to because they're just too heavy, the guys realizing she's trying to wake up and telling her they need to see her eyes, and her finally opening her eyes. That part got annoying pretty quick. Otherwise, the story line was pretty decent.

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