June was, of course, pride month, and I managed to pick myself up a cute little rainbow flag badge from Gay’s The Word, which is now a permanent feature on my summer jacket.
I also decided to devote June to reading only LGBTQIAP+ books, since there are so many out there I’ve been wanting to pick up. And, my dudes, it was a good decision.
Keeping it consistent with May, I read six books in June (!) and they were either own voices queer fiction, or involved LGBTQIAP+ characters/romance. The books I’d originally planned to read were:
I Am Thunder
Out Of The Blue
Of Fire And Stars
Running With Lions
The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet
But I actually read:
I purposefully took I Am Thunder off my TBR for the month, so I could read something else with LGBTQIAP+ rep (I don’t think it includes any, but please let me know if I’m wrong). I’m also half way through The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, so I’d call June a success!
The Smoke Thieves // 2 stars // I had high hopes for this book, as YA fantasy is usually my thing, but ended up being so disappointed. The narrative was so clumsy and stilted, and the dialogue just seemed unrealistic. The way some of the younger characters interact made me question whether the author has ever seen teens talk to each other. I know it’s a fantasy setting, but dialogue should be believable in real life. Worse still, was the lack of interesting characters and demons. (Although the title suggests it’s all about demons, rarely actually feature.) But the thing that really put me off this book was when an 18-year-old character tried to flirt with an underage character. It came off as creepy and uncomfortable, so I’m not going to be continuing with this series.
Of Fire And Stars // 3 stars// I enjoyed this book overall, but it felt like the author had decided she wanted to write this specific f/f romance (which, in and of itself, was wonderful) and then tried to build the plot around it. For me, it didn’t work. The plot ended up being slightly non-existent and I was just waiting for the next cute romance scene to arrive. The writing style and world-building, too, were pretty average, but the characters were fairly likeable, if lacking in complexity.
Running With Lions // 2.5 stars // I loved the idea for this. A cute, own voices sports romance (like The Foxhole Court but not problematic) with a whole football team of characters who are open about their sexualities, but unfortunately I couldn’t get on with the writing style at all. The narrative was quite stilted and lacked smoothness, and the dialogue seemed jarring. In conversations between characters, the topics would jump from one thing to another without any precursor. It seemed almost like the author had written more dialogue, but then edited sections out, leaving the rest with a ‘missing’ feel.
Out Of The Blue // 3.5 stars // This UKYA story was soft and intense in equal measures, and I really enjoyed the blossoming f/f relationship between two of the characters. Angels aren’t anything new in YA and often I find books that use them cliche and a bit unrealistic, but this book managed to avoid that, and instead created a compelling tale. It was great to see varied rep in this book; two of the main characters were POC, and another had a chronic illness that I don’t think I’ve ever seen discussed in a book before.
Superior // 4 stars // I came across this by chance during June and the synopsis completely drew me in: a superhero’s assistant and a supervillain’s assistant meet and begin to fall in love. This is an m/m romance and it’s so soft and fun and the only thing that lets it down is it’s too short. It stands at just 50 pages and I could have easily read another 350 of the two main characters.
Autoboyography // 4.5 stars // I loved this book so much. Hollie @Hollieblog had been recommending it to me for months and then she went one better and bought it for me for my birthday (a true angel). The story follows main character Tanner, who is openly bisexual but is nudged back into the closet when his family move to a small, strongly Mormon town. The discussions of religion and sexuality in this book were incredibly sensitive and thoughtful. Religious sects are fairly criticised for being anti-LGBTQIAP+ and not inclusive enough, and the authors do a fantastic job of showing these issues through teenage eyes. This is honestly an excellent read and I’d recommend it to everyone.
After reading all these enjoyable (except The Smoke Thieves, that’s the tea) LGBTQIAP+ books, I don’t really want to go back to reading straight romances, so I’m going to pick up more queer fiction over the coming months. Thanks to the growing number of queer books being published, there are plenty more stories out there, but we still need to keep pushing publishers for books with more diverse and varied rep.
In June, I posted about why I don’t DNF books, and I was thrilled that so many people responded positively to it. DNFing books is a big deal for me so I thought it was about time I put my thoughts on my blog. I also decided to take part in the Tome Topple readathon and posted my readathon TBR last week (update: I’m still only on my first tome, help).
I discussed some of the books I want to try and read before YALC later this month, and series that I’m just not going to finish.
It was my birthday in June, so I got up to plenty of fun during the month!
- My boyfriend and one of my best friends came to visit for my birthday weekend, and they brought me flowers, presents, and A SURPRISE VEGAN CAKE. (I ate so much food that whole weekend, it was great.) We went to a carnival, went out for a meal, and visited Shrewsbury and it was such a fun weekend.
- I went to London with Hollie @hollieblog for BKMRK’s blogging event and GUYS. It was so good. We were given copies of the Shadow and Bone trilogy with the gorgeous new covers, as well as other new ARCs they have coming out and samplers of King of Scars! (I died a little, not going to lie.) We also got exclusive news about Leigh Bardugo’s plans for next year and a potential tour!
- At the event I met some absolute babes for the first time, including Layla @ReadableLife, Helen @WatchingSparksReviews, Jennie @Jenniely and Beth @TheReader’sCorner and Catherine @PreferablyBooks. They were all wonderfully friendly, and it was great to finally speak to people in person that I’ve been chatting about books with on Twitter for months.
- My family came over from Germany for a visit in June, and we went on a few day trip adventures. My aunt also sneakily gave me some book money, which I was v. grateful for and have no idea (read: 74 ideas) what I’m going to spend it on.
- I visited Chirk castle, Chirk viaduct, and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct all in one day. I’ve only been to Wales once before, so it was enjoyable to see the gorgeous countryside over there again. The castle and viaduct were amazing, but the aquaduct stole the show for me. It was incredible.
- We’ve been having a heatwave in the UK and I’m basking. Basking I tell you. Or at least I would be if I wasn’t working in an office 9-5 through the week. But I love the sun, so I’m enjoying this unusually good weather, and have been making the most of it on weekends.
What did you read in June? Did you do anything for Pride month? Have you been to any blogger events before?