June Reading Wrap-Up

Lots of books this month! June’s been my most diverse reading month of the year by far, and I definitely found some gems…

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks – A fantastic book to kick of my summer reading. Of Poseidon has a lot going for it: I’ve been on a major mermaid kick lately, it’s set partially Destin, which is close to where I live, it’s written by a local author, and it’s surprisingly funny. MC Emma is full of snark, and her love interest, Galen, is still learning his way on land. Hilarity ensues. This is one twisty book, friends, and it ended with a big ol’ cliffhanger. Luckily I have the second and third installments, Of Triton and Of Neptune, waiting for me.

Just One Night by Gayle Forman – {This is spoiler-ish, so turn away if you haven’t read Just One Day and Just One Year!} Just One Night is an eNovella, yes, but it was also one of my most anticipated 2014 reads. I loved Just One Day and Just One Year, and I was all kinds of anxious to find out what happened to Allyson and Willem after that door opened. Luckily, Just One Night was the perfect finale to their globe-spanning story. It was sweet and joyful and laced with fantastic sexual tension. Basically, Gayle Forman is brilliant.

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay – I feel sort of terrible recommending this adult novel because it is absolutely brutal. But, it is also superbly written and utterly haunting (I had nightmares) and, I think, a must-read. It’s the story of a woman who is kidnapped for ransom in Haiti, and it chronicles her ordeal with the gang of kidnappers (whatever terrible things you’re imagining, multiply them by ten) and her (equally harrowing) journey to recovery. I recently read an analysis of this novel in which the reviewer said she “loved the book, but hated the story” and that’s exactly how I feel. So terrible. So incredible.

One Two Three by Elodie Nowodazkij – An incredibly entertaining fusion of the book Perfect Chemistry and the movie Save the Last Dance. In other words, One, Two, Three is angsty and sexy and fast-paced, full of diverse, layered characters who effortlessly won me over. I’m still thinking about them, and I’m still swooning. Fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry will be all over this one! Read more about Elodie’s fantastic debut HERE.

I‘ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (September, 2014) – Oh, this book. I can’t even… It’s just so beautiful and magical and wonderful, and I love it more than I can adequately describe. It’ll be among my top 2014 reads, if not my very favorite of the year. (Mark it To-Read now if you haven’t already.) I’ll Give You the Sun is the story of twins, Noah and Jude, organized into chapters that tell of the past (his narration) and the present (her narration), with some of the loveliest, most whimsical and evocative prose I’ve read. I don’t want to give too much away, but this novel is equal parts sad and exuberant, and it is spectacular.

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate – If I have a literary weakness, it’s animals in peril. Charlotte’s Web, Stone Fox, Shiloh, Because of Winn-Dixie all tugged at my heartstrings, and Ivan was no different. It’s a book with some truly sorrowful moments, but it’s a hopeful, heartening story as well, about love and loyalty and the true meaning of freedom. And the writing… It’s as if Katherine Applegate was transcribing for an actual gorilla — and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I laughed and I very nearly cried. My six-year-old daughter loved The One and Only Ivan just as much as I did.

by Tammara Webber – I’ve made no secret of my love for Tammara Webber’s Easy. It’s, uh, easily one of my favorite NAs. When I heard about Breakable, I wondered if it might just be a gratuitous retelling of the original book from Lucas’s POV, and bits of it are. But, there’s also a lot of new material, as well as some fascinating insight into why Lucas/Landon is the way he is. Plus, there are some fun new characters — including Boyce, who literally made me laugh out loud. If you liked Easy, I bet you’ll like Breakable too. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan of sensational and steamy NA.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – Epic for sure. I am such a fan of Laini Taylor’s prose, and Daughter of Smoke & Bone remains one of my very favorite fantasies. There’s something so intense about Karou and Akiva’s connection, and I’ve been rooting for them ever since I read that beautiful an angel and a devil fell in love opening. That said, I found Dreams of Gods & Monsters a bit dense. It wasn’t until page 200 that I felt drawn in, and even then, there were some chapters that seemed to drag (Zuzana spends five pages checking into a hotel, for instance). Still, the chemistry between Karou and Akiva is electric, and hello… Ziri and Liraz are pretty much the best. They made the last quarter of this novel unputdownable. Overall, I found Gods & Monsters a satisfying conclusion to a series I’ve loved since it debuted.

More Than Music  by Elizabeth Briggs – This was such a fun beach read. It’s NA without damaged characters, which was refreshing. That’s not to say MCs Maddie and Jared don’t have backstories and drama, but theirs felt less manufactured than most of the books I’ve read in this genre. Maddie is cool, not the typical NA virginal angel, and the supporting characters are equally engaging. Also, More Than Music is tightly plotted. The pacing was spot-on and the way everything came together at the conclusion felt like kismet. There was just enough surprise, just enough sentimentality, and just enough sexiness. I can’t wait to see what Elizabeth Briggs comes up with next!

So… What was the best book you read in June?


18 thoughts on “June Reading Wrap-Up

  1. Jennifer Pickrell says:

    Every time I see one of your reading wrap-ups, I think “ooh…better bump that book up in my list!” 🙂 Which reminds me, I need to download JUST ONE NIGHT to my eReader, I keep forgetting.

  2. Erin Bowman (@erin_bowman) says:

    You read more books in June than I have in the past four months. I’m ashamed of myself.

    I’ve got GODS & MONSTERS on my TBR list and cannot WAIT to get my hands on Jandy Nelson’s newest. If it comes with a Katy stamp of approval (especially a faves-of-2014 nod), I know I’ll love it.

  3. Jaime Morrow says:

    I still need to read BREAKABLE. Thanks for the reminder! I have MORE THAN MUSIC coming in the mail and I can’t wait to dive in. Looks like you had a great reading month. 🙂

    • Jaime Morrow says:

      Oh, one other thing: I totally agree with everything you said about DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS. Dense is a great way of describing it. I loved Ziri and Liraz so, so much! And Karou and Akiva will *always* make me swoon!

      • katyupperman says:

        Me too! That shower scene in the hotel (sounds far dirty than it is)… So swoony! And I adored Ziri and Liraz in this last book. Neither was my favorite before, but together, they were so compelling. I’m curious about what Laini Taylor will come up with next.

  4. sara says:

    I. loved. Just One Night. It gave me the closure I wanted — though I could’ve easily read an entire novel and still been ridiculously happy 🙂 I loved DOGAM and didn’t think it dense — but I tend to be a diehard for my favorite series and often refuse to see flaws, ha!

    • katyupperman says:

      I am the same way with flaws, Sara! Perhaps I got a little impatient with a few DoGaM scenes that didn’t deal with Akiva/Karou/Ziri/Liraz because I was so anxious to find out what would happen with my favorite characters. And yes, yes, yes… I’d read a chronicle of Willem and Allyson’s daily comings and goings. I LOVE them!

  5. Tanya Burney Atkinson says:

    Breakable just about did me in. I was so taken by Easy last year and reading the follow-up/companion reminded me of all the reasons I loved those characters.

    My favorite read in June, by far, was Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover. I got sooo much more than I was expecting with that one. Such an emotional impact. I hand out 5 star ratings *very* rarely. Like, maybe one a year. Those are reserved for books that have a true and lasting impact on me and will become all-time favorites. Maybe Someday was one of those books. I FELT for those characters and was so moved by the impossible situation they found themselves in. It’s made me want to gobble up everything written by Colleen Hoover!

    • katyupperman says:

      I’ve never read Colleen Hoover, Tanya, but perhaps I should! MAYBE SOMEDAY sounds spectacular… Love when characters make me feel huge range of emotion. Thanks for the rec, lady!

  6. Kitty says:

    Oh, you’re killin’ me, Katy! Now I have more books to add to the lengthy TBR list! Oh, who am I kidding… it’s my favorite kind of problem to have. 🙂 I had a similar feeling about DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS – a little too much but it was still a great ending to the series. That first one on your list – OF POSEIDON – what a gorgeous cover! Added that to my list as well as I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN. Great reviews. Gotta run – I have some reading to do!

    • katyupperman says:

      I can’t wait for you to read I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN especially, Kitty. It is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I adored it. And OF POSEIDON is lots of fun too. Happy reading!

  7. katharineowens says:

    There are too many books here to comment on. What a wonderful problem to have.
    I had NO IDEA Jandy Nelson had a new book out. OMG! I have to work today, or else I would drop EVERYTHING and get that book. :0)
    I read The One and Only Ivan with the kids, too, and we all loved it. A heartbreaker, but in the good way.

  8. Kaitlin Bartlett says:

    Cannot WAIT for I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN to be released! You’ve talked so much about it lately and I love hearing that Jandy Nelson doesn’t disappoint. 🙂

    My favorite book of the month was CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas (slowly starting to get into fantasy), closely followed by ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (I finally read my first Stephanie Perkins and don’t know why I waited so long!!!)

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, Stephanie Perkins is awesome! So glad you loved ANNA. Now you must read LOLA before ISLA is released! I’ve heard wonderful things about Sarah J. Maas’s books. I have the first — perhaps I’ll pick it up the next time I’m in the mood for fantasy. Hope you’re having a great weekend, Kaitlin!

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