Saturday, July 1, 2023

Monthly Reads - June 2023 & The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I hope you all are enjoying all the book reviews, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

I received Indigiqueerness, Visions of the Crow and the Bushman's Lair as review copies - this post contains affiliate links

So, in June I read 9 books - a mix of genres from YA Fantasy to Adult Romance. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books, so I'm working on that! I read 3 physical books this month and 6 audiobooks. 

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

The Girl The Sea Gave Back from Adrienne Young ~ ☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is a young adult fantasy novel and it is the follow up to The Sky in the Deep - I really enjoyed the first book, so I was looking forward to this. This sequel takes place 11 years later, but all the viking clans have different names and new ones were introduced, so I found it a little confusing at first. Then once I sorted it out, I did enjoy the storyline, but for a second book I found it a little predictable and wasn't different enough from the first one to really captivate me. 

Happy Place by Emily Henry☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is an adult romance and I look forward to Emily's releases every year now! I don't always love second chance romance books, so I wasn't sure how this was going, but I found myself really rooting for the characters and thinking they belong together. But, this was also about more than just romance, adult friendships and relationships with family all played a factor and I enjoyed the dynamics and the friend group. They were cute and I was rooting for everyone. I found this relied a little too much on miscommunication than I normally like, but it was cute and I flew through this!

Truth Telling: Seven Conversations About Indigenous Life in Canada by Michelle Good ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a non-fiction adult novel that is a series of essays focusing on Indigenous life in Canada. This was a very informative series of essays - Michelle Good is a fantastic writer and this should make people think and invoke some change and action. There was a variety of topics and I enjoyed the history and when things got personal. Some parts were a little dry or repetitive (again, not bad, just that is what reading essays is sometimes!)

The Bushman’s Lair: On the Trail of the Fugitive of the Shuswap by Paul McKendrick☆☆ - 2 stars. This is an adult non-fiction novel - it is somewhat of a true crime/autobiography of the Bushman's life. I'm disappointed to say that I didn't really enjoy this - I was hoping for a true-crime, more in depth look at the Bushman, past, more detail ect. What we got was a book that went off on tangents that felt unrelated (I know there was a brief tie-in to Bre-X, but I feel like no-one was critical about what he said he was doing and what he was doing). It glorified him or downplayed some of the crimes, while having a lot of fillers to stretch out the story. 

Visions of the Crow by Wanda John-Kehewin☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult graphic novel - this was all about a teen who is disconnected from his indigenous heritage, with a mom who is struggling with alcohol and her past. They come together and see the history in dreams, but find a way to start to heal together. It was beautiful, the story is approachable and a great, quick read. I enjoyed the characters and how the information came to him. Can't wait to see the follow-ups! 

Indigiqueerness: A Conversation about Storytelling by Joshua Whitehead☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is another adult non-fiction - this is a quick, easy ready about Joshua's past with writing and life and it was great - loved the honest discussion style that evolves with quotes/pictures/multimedia.

In The Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is an adult fantasy (I do think this is somewhat New Age with our main character at 21, but sometimes read younger so could be appropriate for teens as well). This is a pinnochio retelling about a "real boy" and his androids - they are an adorable quirky family and I loved the found family aspect. They go on an adventure after Vic's Dad, Gio, gets taken back to the city - they have to contend with a lot. I liked the adventure, and while the outcome was a little predictable, I loved it!

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is a young adult contemporary novel. I've been working my way through Julie Murphy's backlist - this was her debut novel. It's about a young girl who identifies as a lesbian, but finds herself attracted to a boy, so she starts to question her sexuality. All while navigating family issues and a sister having a baby. I thought it was good, but there was a little too much extra going on. A good read, not great.

Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is a classic fairytale - i'm slowly trying to work my way through some of these older books (this one was written in 1756). I enjoyed this, it was quick and easy read! 

June was a pretty good reading month - a range from 2 stars to a couple of 4.5 stars! 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

And since it's half-way through the year, I thought I'd jump in with the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag! There are 13 questions:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2023. 

The best book I've read so far is Under The Whisper Door by T.J. Klune - amazing read, check out my full review here

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2022. 

I've only read two sequels this year (actually one was a prequel), but it was a follow-up and that was Saint by Adrienne Young - this follows her father, so takes place before Fable, but in that universe and it was really good. 

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to. 

I think because it's getting so much hype right now, that it would have to be Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros - I love dragons and don't know how I slept on this one, but really want to read it! 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year. 

5. Biggest disappointment. 

Oh man, that's always a hard one to share - if I'm being honest, there was a few books I wanted to love but couldn't get in to: The Circus Train, At Midnight and Love Your Life were all DNF's for me. 

6. Biggest surprise. 

I think The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna - this was just a book that wasn't really on my radar, but picked it up because everyone was talking about how cozy it was, and it was such a lovely read! 

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

I'm going to say Shelby Van Pelt who wrote Remarkably Bright Creatures - was this ever such a well written, fantastic story! Love the characters and story. 

8. Newest fictional crush. 

Honestly, sometimes I have one to come up with, but I just haven't been reading the right books so far this year to have a "crush".

9. Newest favorite character. 

I think I really enjoyed Elizabeth Zott from Lessons in Chemistry - she was all about breaking gender roles and sharing with other women! 

10. Book that made you cry. 

I've had a couple of criers this year, but I'm going to focus on one I haven't mentioned yet - it is a non-fiction, so a true story of a young girl who commits suicide following being bullied online after some graphic images are shown. This is their perspective through everything, and it's raw and honest and heartbreaking - My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons by Glen Canning

11. Book that made you happy. 

Let's go with Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano - not the best sounding title, but a cozy mystery about a struggling mom getting embroiled in a murder for hire plot - it was cute and funny and I flew through it! 

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received) 

I love the cover of Venco by Cherie Dimaline, so that but also the last two Owlcrate books I've received, Divine Rivals and Threads that Bind are stunning and exclusive to the box! 

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

So many - really want to finish the Beartown series, and get through some backlisted books by favourite authors! 

What's your favourite book of the year so far?! 


  1. Great reading month! I really want to read the Michelle Good book. I read Fourth Wing and I really enjoyed it.

    1. I'm reading Fourth Wing right now because of all the hype!