June ’20 Wrap Up

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the blog! Today, I’m here to talk about the books I read in the month of June – a total of 13! Unlucky for some, but not for me! I don’t think I have much more to say at the moment, so without further ado, let’s begin, and fair warning, there may be spoilers.

The first book I read was Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, which is an adult thriller. This follows a group of people from different walks of life who sign up for a week long wellness event at a spa retreat. Things are strange though – there are so many rules and frequent checks… I expected more from this novel. I went into this expecting secrets, lies and murder, and while there are secrets and lies, it isn’t too dramatic. There is no murder, but there is self discovery and many personal realisations. The characters are all different, offering new perspectives, however, none for me were likeable. The retreat itself at time feels very cult like, however, there wasn’t enough for me. Moriarty has a great writing style – it’s companionable and engaging, leading you to read on. I felt there could be more to this – big secretive reveals are slowly pulled back, and this becomes more of a story of change. It barely feels like a thriller, but more like contemporary fiction. This being said, I did keep reading on. It was still good, but in the end, I rated it 3 stars.

nine perfect strangers

The next two books I read were Batman Zero Year: Part 1 and Batman Zero Year: Part 2 by Scott Synder, which are graphic novels. These are the first two books chronologically in the DC Comics – The Legend of Batman series, which are clearly Batman stories. This follows Bruce Wayne’s absence from Gotham City, his attempts at vigilantism, and an enemy in the form of Edward Nygma aka The Riddler… These were great stories. They were very action packed, with a redefined origin. The colours, along with the plot, were dark and gritty, with certain elements of realism. These were fun reads, and I rated them both 4 stars.

zero year

The next book I read was on Kindle, and that was Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, which is a YA fantasy. This is the first book in the Girls of Paper and Fire series, which follows Lei, a member of the lowest caste in an Asian inspired world. Lei is a Paper Girl, and each year, eight of these girls are chosen to serve the King as consorts. This year though, Lei breaks all the rules and ends up becoming the ninth girl. Soon she must navigate a kingdom that is terrifying, while finding the truth in her heart… This is one of my favourite books of the year! This has so many dark themes of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, but I was still utterly enchanted by the fantasy elements and the LGBT romance – perfect for Pride Month. I loved the characters, even the villains, and I felt a huge kinship to Lei that was startling. I highly recommend this, and I’d love to get a physical copy! I rated this 5 stars.

Girls of Paper and Fire

The next book I read was Batman: Year One by Frank Miller, which is a graphic novel. This is the third book chronologically in the DC Comics – The Legend of Batman series. This is another take on Bruce Wayne’s origin as Batman, whilst highlighting the recent arrival of police detective, James Gordon… This was a really good graphic novel. It flowed really well, and I just devoured it. It doesn’t shy away from the realism and grittiness that Miller is known for. The plot split between the two characters was thoroughly enjoyable, highlighting their flaws and room for growth. I highly recommend this, and I rated this 5 stars.

year one

I then read Fleabag: The Scriptures by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which is a collection of drama comedy scripts from the TV show, Fleabag. The show follows titular character Fleabag, who navigates life, loss and love in London. I watched the show in April, and when I felt a connection to the story, I had to have this. I loved Waller-Bridge’s writing style – it was humorous and felt so realistic to me. I fell in love with the personality that shone through, and rated this 5 stars.

fleabag

The next book I read was an eBook, and that was Broadchurch by Erin Kelly, which is an adult thriller. This is the novelisation of the TV show, Broadchurch, which follows the murder of a young boy, and the aftershocks that ripple through the coastal town, as everyone becomes a suspect. This was a reread for me, and I did enjoy this. Kelly’s writing style was fluid, although there were moments where the dialogue felt directly taken from the TV script. The anguish in the characters and the reveals were equal parts heartbreaking and shocking. I did enjoy my time with this, and if you liked the TV show, I think you’d appreciate this. I rated this 4 stars.

broadchurch

The next book I read was Prey by Doug Moench, which is a graphic novel. This is the fourth book chronologically in the DC Comics – The Legend of Batman series. Prey is set during the early days of Bruce Wayne’s career as Batman, as he tries to form a working relationship with detective James Gordon. The public are still unsure of him, and psychiatrist Hugo Strange isn’t helping with a smear campaign and personal vendetta… I enjoyed my time with this. I loved the antagonist Hugo Strange, as he was complex with many layers to his personality. I did find there were a lot of gratuitous panels – semi-nude women or a focus on sexuality, which did make me a little uncomfortable! This being said, I did like this, and rated it 4 stars.

prey

The next two books I read were on Kindle, and they were The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man by Peter May, which are adult thrillers. These are the first two books in the Lewis Trilogy, which follows police detective Finn Macleod as he returns to a Scottish island he once called home… Both books involve Finn as he investigates two different crimes that get a little bit close to home. These are very dark reads – there is physical, mental and sexual abuse, and sometimess make for uncomfortable reading. Finn starts out likeable, but during the second book, I didn’t really care what he was doing. These books definitely highlight family, trauma, tradition, and life in small town communities, which are often full of secrets. I rated The Blackhouse as 4 stars, and The Lewis Man as 3 stars.

BlackhouseCover

the lewis man

The next eBook I read was Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, which is a YA fantasy. This is the first book in the Strange the Dreamer series, which follows orphan librarian Lazlo Strange as he dreams of finding the fantastical lost city of Weep… This is a very beloved novel in the book community, and I can definitely see why. Taylor’s writing style just pulls you in with its whimsicality, however, I did find it a little too flowery at times, which was off putting. Lazlo is a unique character, constantly dreaming, and I found the mysterious Weep to be so enchanting, especially his perceptions. There is also romance in the form of God child, Sarai, who has a unique ability to spawn moths and use them to enter dreams of others. There is a push and pull between Weep and its secrets, and it makes you want to read on. This being said, this was perhaps the fourth time I had attempted to read this, and was finally successful in finishing it. I found the novel starts slowly, although the writing is beautiful. The pacing feels off to me, and some of the “secrets” are perhaps a little too obvious, as I had figured some things out. In the end, I rated this 4 stars.

strange the dreamer

The next book I read was Haunted Knight by Jeph Loeb, which is a graphic novel. This is the fifth book chronologically in the DC Comics – The Legend of Batman series. This is a set of holiday themed stories, set in Gotham. In Fears, which is Halloween themed, Batman is hunting villain Scarecrow. The next story, Madness, follows young Barbara Gordon when she is kidnapped and forced to participate in a tea party by the villainous Mad Hatter. The final story Ghosts is a retelling of A Christmas Carol, as Bruce is visited by villains as ghosts to warn him of the dangers of being Batman all the time… This was unique, and I adored the first two stories, which really highlighted Halloween. They were very well written. Ghosts was a real let down for me though, as it’s Christmas themed – it was so out of place. The art was well done throughout, and in the end, I rated this 4 stars.

haunted knight

The final book I read in June was Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson, which is a children’s fantasy. This is the fifth book in The Moomins series, following the creative adventures of adorable hippo-like creatures. In this novel, the Moomins are trying to find a new home after theirs is flooded! This was so cute and I loved it so much. There is so much heart in these characters, and even the side characters, that I just relate to so much. They’re wise and soft spoken, even when things are out of control. They’re fun and quirky, and there’s not much more I can say! It felt so right compared to the last novel in this series, and I rated it 5 stars.

moominsummer

So that completes my monthly wrap up. Let me know what book/books you have read in the month of June – whether it’s paper/hardback, audio, eBook, graphic novels or manga. They all count! If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

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