June was a great month for many reasons:
- I went on holiday
- It was my birthday
- I started my Scribd free trial (AUDIOBOOKS)
It was a busy, vibrant month and probably my favourite month of the year so far.
I read 6 books during June and all except Wicked Fox (which I’d started at the end of May) were LGBTQIA+ reads for Pride month. of those was my third five-star review of the year.
Brokeback Mountain // 2 stars // I read this on audio through my library, and I was sorely disappointed. The story itself was too short and didn’t give much time to get to know the characters at all.
Their personalities felt superficial and there were some homophobic, sexist, and xenophobic ideas that I didn’t enjoy, no matter how ‘accurate to the time’ they might have been. Sadly, this is a no from me.
Wicked Fox // 5 stars // TWs: death of a parent, gore, violence
GUYS. I’m WEAK for this book. WEAK. I literally can’t tell you how much I loved it. It’s the perfect blend of fantasy and adventure, enriched by Korean myths, legends, and culture. Miyoung’s no-nonsense attitude had me at page 1, and Jihoon’s soft kindness and huge heart made me want to protect him with my life. I think part of the reason I loved this book so much is because it has similar tropes and elements to K-dramas that I’ve really enjoyed. Basically, y’all need to go and read this ASAP.
The Weight of the Stars // 4 stars // TWs: trauma, assault, attempted rape, death of a parent, a car cash, bullying.
I loved this. It’s a contemporary novel with hints of sci-fi and a wonderful slow-build f/f romance. Ryann and Alexandria’s friendship is bold and brash, but their romance is tender and sweet. Aside from James, the other characters could have done with more page-time, but I loved the natural way diversity was written into the book. James has selective mutism as a result of a trauma, Ahmed is Sikh and has a polyamorous family, Tomas is queer, and the Bird family are all from a working class background. It felt like Kayla Ancrum picked a group of people from the real world, and wrote a moving and profound story about them. And don’t get me started on her writing style. It’s lyrical, poetic, and soulful.
The Music of What Happens // 4 stars // TWs: rape, gambling and addiction, violence, discussions of homelessness, homophobia, racism, colourism.
I read the audiobook of this it was great. The narration alternates between the two main characters and the writing manages to be funny, sensitive, and poetic all at once. I enjoyed the fact that Max and Jordan’s burgeoning relationship came from a place of friendship, and there was no insta-love. The discussions of rape were handled with incredibly sensitivity and care, and Konigsberg includes some really meaningful conversations about consent that I honestly think everyone should read.
We Contain Multitudes // 4 stars // TWs: Homophobia (internalised and external), bullying, PTSD, drug abuse, colourism, domestic abuse, violence, anger issues, death of a parent, self-medication, suggested attempted overdose.
Hollie @Hollieblog recommended this to me and I’m really glad I read it because it’s SO good. Written in epistolary style, the story follows Jonathan or ‘little Jo’ and Adam, ‘Kurl’, as they write letters to each other at school and gradually become friends, then romantic partners. Sarah Henstra is very good at getting inside a character’s mind and showing us what makes them tick. She brings their motivations and deepest emotions to the surface, describing how they think and how they make decisions. The writing had a tendency to become a little ‘tell don’t show’ at times, but this was mainly down to the epistolary style.
Let’s Talk About Love // 3.5 stars // TWs: acephobia, racism, and microaggressions.
I finished this at the very beginning of July, but I’m including it in my June wrap up because I read it for Pride month. It’s a sweet romance, with likeable characters and funny dialogue, but I wanted a little more from the plot. Aside from Alice exploring her asexuality, working at the library, and deciding on her college major, not much happens. If this was a character-driven novel I wouldn’t mind, but it feels like this is meant to be plot-driven.
The discussions around asexuality were thoughtful, nuanced, and included some really powerful descriptions of what it means to be ace. This is also pretty much the first book I’ve ever read where an asexual and an allosexual character are romantically interested in one another and I thought Claire Kann did a great job of exploring this relationship.
In June I asked LGBTQIA+ readers, bloggers, and vloggers what they wanted to see more of in queer books, and they gave me some brilliant and insightful answers.
I even recorded my reading for a week to see what habits and patterns I have, and to try and figure out how I can read more.
In June, I finally visited Prague! I’ve wanted to visit for four or five years and I’m so happy I finally got to go. It lived up to all of my expectations.
The castle was amazing, the church architecture was stunning, and the museums were so interesting. I got to walk across Charles Bridge and see the infamous book tower in the Municipal library. We were spoiled for vegan food too, because there were cafes and restaurants offering vegan options everywhere; I actually ended up having one of the best vegan ice creams I’ve ever tasted in Prague.
The weather was also perfect. It was sunny every day and on the hottest day it actually hit 37C. Having come from two weeks’ worth of rain in the UK, this was a blessing to me. I also found several Czech editions of Victoria Schwab’s books (I’d been desperately hoping I would) and after some deliberation, I decided to buy the hardback of Vicious.
June was my birthday month, so I went to Newcastle for the weekend to visit family and friends. I had a wonderful time; my friends took my out for dinner and then to a drag queen show (which was amazing), and I met up with my family the next day for presents and a meal. It was the perfect weekend and I got some wonderful books off my friends (you know who you are!).
I also ran a 10k with my Dad in June, which was great fun. It was actually more of a 12k, because the organisers had had to change the route (due to flooding) and we ended up running 11.8k. This was the first ‘real’ race I’ve done and I enjoyed the atmosphere. The course was very wet and there were lots of deep puddles, but once you’ve been through one, the rest don’t really matter.
What did you get up to in June? Did you read any books for pride?