JUN WRAP UP | The Books & the Stats

Okay, I know I’m just making excuses now but the end of June / start of July was horrendously busy. I had friends staying, then I got a new job (YAY!) and then I had my birthday weekend, which if you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I was all over the country celebrating! And that is why I haven’t posted my June wrap up until today.

On the plus side, I think I’ve kicked my reading slump in the arse and I got loads of books for my birthday so now if I just get some free time, ya girl is gonna read.

The Gilded King (Sovereign #1)
by Josie Jaffrey
★★★★

NA Urban Fantasy [GR | BUY]

I read Josie’s first series, Solis Invicti, in 2017 and really enjoyed it – a fun urban fantasy with heavy romance themes – but slept on the spin-off series a bit too long because I totally should have read this when it came out last year.

Both series are set in the same dystopian Europe after a zombie apocalypse and the only thing keeping humans alive are the vampires. Solis Invicti is set around the time of the outbreak, while this series is set in the future. You can read either series first and it won’t matter, but this was a solid read that kicked my slump’s arse!

Red, White & Royal Blue by
Casey McQuiston
★★★★★

NA Romance [GR | BUY]

If you read my Mid-Year Check In post, you already know how much I love this book – you’ll also have noticed that it’s my read of the month for June! I am, however, going to gush again because you need to understand how great this book is.

I, Imogen Gray, knee deep in the Great Reading Slump of 2019, read this entire book in one sitting. If you’ve been keeping tabs on my year, you’ll know that this has been a rarity this year.

This book is Laugh Out Loud, Rolling on the Floor Laughing, Laughing My Arse Off hilarious. I screamed, squealed, giggled, cackled and kicked my legs in the air with the biggest grin on my face. I think if I was a youtuber and reading vlogged this experience, y’all would have found it so funny to watch. I’m very emotive.

Ivy Aberdeen’s
Letter to the World
by Ashley Herring Blake
★★★★½

MG Contemporary [GR | BUY]

I pretty much listened to the entirety of this audiobook while walking around my local park and playing Pokémon Go (I was off work for a month and I needed to get out the house, okay). I’ve heard a lot about AHB’s books, especially for queer rep, and actually it was Julie @ Pages and Pens crying over it during Contemporaryathon that made me get this from the library.

It’s a really beautiful MG about a girl who’s world is torn apart when a tornado destroys her home. Getting to know her during this time, you realise that she feels displaced from her family because of her baby brothers taking a lot of her parents’ attention, plus her dealing with her feelings of liking girls. There is so much in this about this book that is beautiful, and that fact that books like these are being made for younger readers is incredible.

The Boss (The Boss #1) by Abigail Barnette
★★★★½

Adult Romance [GRCLAIM FREE]

This is another one that I talked about in my Mid-Year Check In – what you should take from this is that June was a great reading month.

I don’t want to repeat myself too much, but basically if you like erotica and sexy romances, you absolutely should pick this up. It’s a healthy D/s, age gap relationship and it’s just really good content.

Also, my friend Max informed me that Jenny Trout (Abigail Barnette’s real name) has a blog where she tears apart 50 Shades (and other awfully written books) chapter by chapter so 👌

Proud edited by Juno Dawson
★★★★

Anthology average: 3.79 stars

YA Anthology [GR | BUY]

I want to support this book with every fibre of my being for two reasons: 1. queer, own voices lit needs all the support it can get and 2. Charlie from Stripes is honestly the loveliest human in the world. However, this collection was a bit hit and miss. I seem to find that with anthologies, hence why I don’t read them a lot.

However, the stories / pieces that were hits, were real big hits. My favourite was Love Poems to the City by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, which I gave fave queer-ass stars. I’ve never read anything by Moïra before, but you can bet this made me want to start. Special mention to The Courage of Dragons by Fox Benwell for being my second fave. I guess my recommendation is 100% to read and support this anthology, but also to remember that you won’t like everything. I do feel like this collection does have something for everyone though.

The Upside of Unrequited by
Becky Albertalli
★★★★

YA Contemporary [GR | BUY]

Much like Ashley Herring Blake, Becky Albertalli gets recommended to me a lot and this one specifically was recommended to me by Sarah @ The Little Contemporary Corner. This was also another time when my library’s audiobook collection came through.

This book was ace for normalising queer parental relationships, and teenagers being teenagers while having that effortless sexual and racial diversity across the board. There’s also Jewish rep, discussion of sperm donation, plus sized protagonist and incredible family dynamics. Also the approach to twins and the idea of not feeling as close as you once were due to growing up and having different lived experiences for the first time was really interesting.

It’s just a really well-written, diverse contemporary. Definitely worth picking up.

Heartstopper Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman
★★★★

YA Contemporary [GR | BUY]

I read another graphic novel, yay! This, despite looking like a chonky boi, is actually a really quick read. I really liked Alice’s art and I became very attached to the characters quickly. On the whole though, this is just a bit of fun.

There’s exploration of sexuality in terms of a boy not realising he was bisexual until he fell in love with another boy, there’s also shades of an abusive relationship so proceed with caution if necessary. On the whole, I’m excited to keep going with this series – I may just read it online though as it is available for free here (complete with content warnings).

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L. C. Rosen
★★★★★

YA Contemporary [GR | BUY]

I now realise that June was the month I read all the contemporaries I had been recommended in like the last year. This one was from Madalyn @ Novel Ink and Chelsea @ Chelsea Dolling Reads – they read it for Contemporaryathon and so when it showed up (again) in my library audiobooks, I had to request it. Since then, I have acquired a copy courtesy of Penguin Platform as part of their #PrideMonthReads.

This was so great. Another book that I just didn’t stop laughing at, which during the month of June, I really needed. This book is unapologetic, queer, sexual and wonderful. I can’t even begin to describe how brilliant is was, but basically I’d love to see Lev Rosen and Laura Steven on a sex and teenagers in YA panel because these two would be great.

If you want to know more about this book, I’d really recommend checking out Madalyn and Chelsea’s videos linked above because they gush better than me.

I should definitely mention a content warning for the main part of the plot, which is an abusive and anonymous “relationship”, where a character is being bullied for their sexuality and sexual activity.

The Major’s Welcome Home by Tessa Bailey
★★½

NA Romance [GR | BUY]

This was a free novella on Amazon and after Mel @ Meltotheany kept posting about Tessa Bailey’s Fix Her Up, I thought why not.

This was nothing to write home about. It was a fine romance, a bit too insta-love and also military romances run the risk of making me think of my dad – not what you want when reading steamy scenes…

2019 Reading ChallengeGoalActual
January712
February1421
March2130
April2837
May3543
June4352

The below charts are taken from my reading spreadsheet, created annually by Brock Roberts.

2019 Reading AimsGoalSo Far
Backlist Must-Reads121
Friend Recommendations100
Graphic Novels63
Pre-1995 Books61
Male protagonist / author2512

We don’t talk about how bad I am at reading the books I told myself to read for the year… I don’t work well with TBRs.

How did your June go? If you posted a wrap-up, link me in the comments!


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