June 2024 Wrap-Up

June 2024 Wrap-Up

Hi friends! I just posted my July new releases blog a couple minutes ago and am also hoping to zip through these June reviews for you all! June was a good reading month but I fear some of these reviews may be a little on the short side because I'm behind on my reviews and sometimes I'm not the best at remembering details.

Nevertheless, I read seven books in June: three physical books and four audiobooks. Let's go!

The Collectors - edited by A.S. King

⬤⬤⬤◐〇 | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: I struggle to review collections at times because the stories within can be so wildly different from each other. There were a few stories in here I greatly enjoyed and others that I rated very lowly. I end up taking the average of all these individual ratings I give these stories as the overall rating for the collection. Unfortunately, I've deleted the Notes page in my phone where I kept all these ratings, but here are a couple I remember being the best of the batch.

- A Recording for Carole Before It All Goes
- Sweet Everlasting
- Take It From Me

Some of these stories were provocative and interesting and others felt literal and a tad on the first-draft side. I'm sure there's something for everyone in here, but it didn't come together to hit overall for me.

content warnings: fire/fire injury, death of parent, mental illness, homophobia, dementia

The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands - Sarah Brooks

⬤⬤⬤◕〇 | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own. 

I really enjoyed most of this book. I loved the mix of historical fiction and fantasy alongside the mystery/thriller vibe; it was such a wonderful blend of genres.  I enjoyed the senses of adventure and tension and thought Brooks did a great job of weaving elements of the story and foreshadowing throughout the novel.

I think this book struggles a little from some classic problems that are almost bound to arise with certain framing choices. The split perspective chapters were interesting, but I found some to be compelling and others to drag, which unbalanced the pacing of the story for me. I thought the first quarter of the book was very fast-paced and exciting, but that feeling dropped off around the halfway point and became a much slower story, in my eyes. I wish we had gotten more of a chance to connect and grow with some of the more interesting characters like Marya in lieu of Elena, who I didn't care about as much.

At the end of the day, though, I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to see what Brooks comes out with next.

content warnings: confinement, death, sexism, death of parent, medical content

The Love Hypothesis - Ali Hazelwood

⬤⬤〇 | paperback | purchase here

My Review: Friends who came with me on the camping trip where I read this in 24 hours know how I despise this book. I'll keep my review short mainly because I don't want to waste my digital breath, but this book continues to solidify that Booktok books and romance novels are not for me.

The positives here are that Hazelwood wrote a very easily digestible novel that was fun to yell and complain about, although that doesn't mean it was good. Also, this book is based off of Reylo fanfiction and I think Adam Driver is hot so that was fine by me.

My biggest issue here is that miscommunication does not constitute a plot, much less the foundation for a cute and healthy relationship. I sort of actively hated Olive for the whole book because I thought she was stupid. If the two love interests communicating in a healthy manner means you wouldn't have a story, I don't want to read what you came up with. Sorry!

While that was my #1 issue, I also didn't enjoy the big big guy/little bitty girl trope being shoved so forcefully down my throat. I'm also not a prude by any means (I mean if this is Adam Driver fanfic I better be rewarded for my suffering), but having one 30 page long sex scene seemed unbalanced compared to the relative chasteness of the rest of the book.

content warnings: sexism, sexual harassment, sexual content, death of parent, cancer

The Details - Ia Genberg

⬤⬤⬤〇〇 | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: I feel a little bad reviewing here because I honestly can hardly remember anything about this book. If I remember correctly, this is a reflective slice-of-life novella where a woman is recounting some formative moments and people in her life, and it seemed to me that the novel "not being about anything" was kind of the point. It talks about themes of identity and personality...but that's pretty much all I can say. I think it was absolutely, perfectly fine.

I suppose the problem with writing a book about the minutiae of life is that while it may be beautiful, perhaps it isn't the most memorable topic.

content warnings: panic attacks, mental illness, alcohol, toxic friendship

The Roanoke Girls - Amy Engel

⬤◔〇〇 | audiobook | purchase here

My Review: I thought THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS was going to be my low-rated book on the month, but look at me exceed expectations. Maybe part of the reason here is on me, but I thought this book was a YA mystery when it was in fact a very adult thriller that centers heavily around the first listed trigger warning here. The book's synopsis in no way alludes to this being the crux of the story, reader be warned. So....not the most fun surprise.

I can understand and appreciate some dark, disturbing literature when done right. I read a lot of horror and I like a lot of horror. But in this context I cannot stand for the girl-on-girl hate and women blaming this book is full of. Every woman is alluded to being or just flat-out described as a slut, a mean girl, trailer trash, or some other nasty moniker that is not equally ascribed to the male characters. And given what this book is about at it's core, that's really fucking disgusting.

Unfortunately, I think this means I'm done with Amy Engel as an author, but maybe that's for the best. Please don't read this book. If you need something dark and depraved, read PRETTY GIRLS or something. And if you're a contrarian and this means you really have to read it now, please read the content warnings so you know what you're getting into. I'm not messing around.

content warnings: INCEST, adult/minor relationship, child abuse, death of parent, suicide, murder, miscarriage, child death, abandonment

Horror Movie - Paul Tremblay

〇 | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to William Morrow and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own.

I really enjoyed Tremblay's THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD and am happy to report that this book is even better. I read this book as an ARC but think it would absolutely KILL (no pun intended) as an audiobook, especially if they got a full cast for the screenplay parts. I thought the plot here was a slow burn but not slowly paced - the tension and mystery had me so hooked I was excited to keep reading even if it didn't feel like much was happening. And I LOVE the inclusion of the screenplay here. So much.

Some parts made me nauseous (the finger!!), some left me a little confused, and others? I'm not entirely sure, but I felt a full range of emotions while reading that made the experience very immersive and entertaining. I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending, but you can't win 'em all.

I think this is a pretty disturbing book that is unique in that I didn't feel gross after reading it like I did some others of this sort of genre (THE DUMB HOUSE, THE WASP FACTORY, THE ROANOKE GIRLS, etc.), which I really found to be refreshing. If you've wanted to step up your game in horror intensity but don't want to feel super yucky about it, this is a good starting place!

content warnings: blood, torture, suicide, body horror, cancer, cannibalism

The Things We Do to Our Friends - Heather Darwent

〇 | audiobook | purchase here

My Review: I was excited to read this book because it felt like it might dip into dark academia vibes. And it did not. But this story was fine, absolutely fine. It feels pretty forgettable to me, so I won't get too into the weeds on a book I deem to be perfectly adequate.

The character dynamics were interesting but most of them felt pretty two-dimensional. I didn't feel immersed in any scenes or environments, but I did find the toxic friendship/relationship developments to be interesting because I'm nosy.

All in all, it's not that this book was bad, it's just that there are a lot of books that do everything it does better.

content warnings: toxic friendship, murder, violence, sexual assault, pedophilia


What was your favorite book you read this month? Let me know!

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