I am working away at my goal of reading 100 books for 2021 & I am starting July with 57/100 read!

Did you have a favorite read from June? Let me know in the comment section.

I started June out by wrapping up my re-read of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I finished out the series with Stars Above a collection of short stories about the characters of the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles follows a cast of characters who are inspired by fairy tale characters set in a futuristic and dystopian world. Part steam punk, part fairy tale retelling, and all the fun and glory of a YA Fantasy series: If you like all of the above, this just may be the series for you.

If you are going to read the series, you should include this book. It features stories that give a backstory to each of the main characters of the books and includes a short story set after Winter ends.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Shop the whole series — Amazon, Bookshop.org

This series falls under the subgenre of a cozy mystery. However, I would say these books straddle the boarder of cozy and just mystery. A cozy mystery typically involves an amateur sleuth and cozy or pleasurable additions such as: an atmospheric setting, relationships for the sleuth (friends/family/a love interest), food, pets, and oftentimes an idealistic hobby or job. This series ticks off most of those notches. It is set in a tourist town in North Carolina that boasts of springs with healing properties. The main character, Nora Pennington, owns and operates a bookstore. She has a close friendship with three other women in town, and in the later books with an Asexual man who is both Jewish and Cuban. She has a love interest(s). And they love to describe food and make me hungry — is there anything that rivals a food craving from a book?

The series is well balanced between showing different races and backgrounds in a seamless manner. Now, what I say is slightly atypical for a cozy mystery is the all to realistic peril that characters find themselves in. In this last book there was a death scene that could be described as anything but cozy. So, if you are a cozy mystery fan and are willing to go into slightly darker territory or you are more of a traditional mystery/thriller fan who wants to dip your toes into a cozy text this could be a great in-between for you!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Shop the first book in the series — Amazon, Bookshop.org

Let me tell you about this book! This was another cute romance book from the Sweetwater Springs series. In the book, single-father Granger Fields must overcome the trauma of being abandoned by his ex-wife in order to let love in again. Meanwhile, Joy Benson must let go of her pain of having her career and passion as an artist invalidated to see that she is succeeding and that things will work out if we give them a chance. This was a very sweet story and it being set on a Christmas tree farm made it all kinds of ideal. The Sweetwater Springs books rotate around the seasons, but I don’t mind reading about Christmas in June and at its heart it’s about the love story anyway!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Shop the first book in the series — Amazon, Bookshop.org

This was a cute book to end the series Sweetwater Springs with — it dealt with the town clothing boutique owner, Sophie Daniels, reconnecting with her ex, Chase Lewis. Like all of the other books in the series, the romance also included a cute dog in the tale. As I have said before, these books feel like Hallmark movie in written form: they are fairly wholesome, cute, and a bit cheesy. However, I enjoyed the kitsch and found it a fast paced and welcome distraction.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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All or Nothing is the first book I have read by Rose Lerner, but it won’t be the last. I was hooked by the promise of a Jewish heroine in a regency romance book; a premise that is very rare.

I enjoyed the slim book very much and admired how it went from interesting architectural details to illicit sex scenes. The main idea behind the book is that a shy English gentleman wins the company of a Jewish gambling patroness for a fortnight. He takes her to act as his mistress so that he can deal with his ex who he is not fully over. This book has the fake dating trope, and as I mentioned before a few open door sex scenes. It also checked off my box for a queer Jewish story (for Pride), as the main character is bi. If you like steamy regency romances consider giving this one a try!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Red, White & Royal Blue gave me all the feels!!!!! It seems that as of late I know that I loved a book when I immediately buy it for someone in my life after I finish it. I did just that when I finished the book and had it sent to my brother-in-law with a note saying that if he only reads one book this year it should be that one (poor dear doesn’t read as much as he should, otherwise he’s perfect!).

Anyway, I know that this is a #Bookstagram darling, which made me want to pick it up less; to quote the French maid/duster from Beauty and the Beast, “I’ve been burned before!”. However, this one happily lives up to its hype. It is just a book that should be read. Between the more optimistic reality change of a Democrat & woman winning the 2016 American presidency to the message that all people deserve to be themselves and find love, what’s not to cherish?! It was funny, romantic, and fascinating with sprinklings of information about the White House and British Royal Family thrown in the mix. I had happy tears multiple times while reading it. If you haven’t read it yet, consider this a sign to go do so!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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This book was dark and gritty. Growing up in China, Ivy learns from her grandmother that life is hard and to get a leg up one must always be looking for ways to grab and take what they can. This concept only grows when the grandmother and granddaughter join Ivy’s parents and younger brother in America.

This all culminates as an adult Ivy finds herself in a love triangle with an agenda to do anything to find the status and wealth she has been taught to fight for. There was an air of inevitability for something tragic to happen from the beginning of the book, but there were a few well placed red herrings, enough that I didn’t foresee all of the twists that came along with this tale.

Although I found parts of the book to be terribly frustrating and/or tragic, I think that it was well written and also offers a great lens at the dangers of being taught to do anything to attain the American Dream.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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I finished Color Me In yesterday and my mind is still reeling! I chose this as my second #JEWnishBookChallenge read for the month & while I really enjoyed it, I did have to take a break mid-way. This book deals with some heavy stuff, so to make it easier to work though I am making lists.

Things I Struggled With, But Are Perfectly Valid For The Story/Reality:
~An extremely messy divorce (it punched me right in the heart with my own daddy issues coming up & yes, that’s a me thing, not a book thing)
~Sexual Assault
~Police/Security violence or threat of violence against a Black man/boy

Things I Disliked:

Things I Loved:
~Showing mixed backgrounds not only for the main character but for many of the people around her.
~Showing that we get to embrace and simultaneously craft our identity as we see fit
~The main character learning how to be an ally & how to use the fact that she passes as white to help other BIPOC women
~Rabbi Sarah — such an amazing character!!!!
~Other amazing characters, many of whom broke stereotypes. Alas, a few fell into them. Overall, a great mix of characters though!
~The lesson of finding one’s voice
~The reminder that not all Jewish people are white! We need to read and celebrate more diverse Jewish stories.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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The Threat Below was kindly sent to me by author J. S. Latshaw for an honest review. The book is set in a post apocalyptical world where the last one hundred humans live at the top of a mountaintop with fear of the threat below. When their water supply is compromised, a group leaves the mountain top for the first time since their ancestors fled three hundred years before. The group includes seventeen-year-old Icelyn Brathius the daughter of the mountaintop leader and descendent of the man who lead the survivors up the mountain to safety. Down Below, Icelyn and others see what has happened to the world and the dangers that still lurk.

I thought that this was a good YA Dystopian/ Fantasy book. I did feel like it was slightly longer than it needed to be. Also, I don’t generally enjoy shifting chapters between 1st and 3rd person. There are certain YA elements that I feel torn about, mainly the love triangle felt a little overdone. Yet, the worldbuilding of the story was really well done. This is the first book in the Brathius History series.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Goodreads // Shop — Amazon, Bookshop.org

Shop My Props

Candelles [candles in multiple pictures — 25% OFF July 4th weekend with code: 4THOFJULY]

Sweatshirt [from first picture]

Plantstand [from Red, White & Royal Blue picture]

Tea Runners [from Red, White & Royal Blue picture]

Coffee Mug [from Red, White & Royal Blue picture]

Wooden Platter [from White Ivy picture]


Audible, Libro.fm

2 thoughts on “June Reading Wrap Up

  1. I love how brutally honest your reviews are yet always kind! Red, White & Royal Blue rec’d a 4.5 star rating and was a book you loved. I suppose that leaves the author with a little room to improve. I’d like to read that book from your description and the happy romance fast paced series!


    1. In my opinion, reviews are for readers to help them decide on whether or not they want to invest their time and/or money into a book. With that reason, honesty is very important to me, but I also know how much love and work goes into writing so kindness is also important. For me a 5 star book is near perfection, so I don’t give them out easily. Yes, Red, White & Royal Blue is a very fun book. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it!


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