Wrap up

June 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

“Well, someone has to marry the man,” the Emperor said.

First line in Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

It’s time for my monthly wrap-up for June, a very unusual month for me to say the least. It has been one big emotional roller coaster because a large part of my month was dedicated to watching the European Football Championship. I support Denmark obviously, and if you don’t know, one of our players almost died during the first game. That was absolutely horrifying! He’s fine now, but I felt awful for days and still have images in my head that I wish I didn’t. It was also so surreal to see our news media the next day filled with general advice on how to deal with shock and trauma because I don’t think anyone who watched that was totally okay afterwards. But remember that roller coaster I was talking about? Because as traumatizing as that event was for everyone involved, the way everyone here came together to support the players has been so beautiful to witness. And the players themselves have proven to be literal superhumans because they’ve just gone out and played better than ever. I’m in awe. And I’m emotional.

However, with all of that going on and a ton of other football games to watch, I didn’t read all that much this month. Here are my stats:

I’m very satisfied with my four books and the rating it pretty good as well. And second month in a row with zero books from male authors… I’m reading one right now, so sort of rectifying it but also so not. Still, I have four mini-reviews for you and there’s actually one that isn’t fantasy this time.

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Published: March 30th, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Check out the synopsis for the first book in the series, King of Scars, on Goodreads.

My thoughts

This book and this duology is an example of what I feel often happens when authors get their books adapted into movies/tv shows. For some reason, they start writing their books in a way that makes them easier to adapt. The books are written like movies to avoid future problems, and the author starts bringing back characters because it would bring back beloved actors in a possible future adaptation. I have discovered that that is a big pet peeve of mine. In this case, I think it meant that the book was very busy doing a lot of different things but doing them only halfway. Too many aspects were just there to satisfy fans, making the plot feel very disjointed.

I will also continue to be upset about the fact that Nikolai was the least important character in here, and I felt there were so many issues surrounding his character that was never explored properly. Oh, and I hated the ending because it made it so blatantly clear how this entire duology is just set-up for future Grisha books. I still gave it 2.5 stars and not 1 because there were one or two plot twists that I liked (also a bunch that I didn’t), and the world is still very cool and seems to be expanding.

The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2)

Author: S. A. Chakraborty

Published: January 22nd, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Check out the synopsis for the first book in the series, The City of Brass, on Goodreads.

My thoughts

A strong candidate for my favorite book of the year. This did what I so often love about second books in trilogies and that is focus on character relationships. Where the first book was all about world-building, that part of the book took a step back here in the second one. The groundwork was done so I could properly appreciate the characters and their development. It was beautiful and painful as a book should be. It also had so many twists I didn’t see coming and I only had wrong theories along the way. I loved it!
If you’ve already read this book, I wrote quite a long spoiler-filled review for you to check out.

The Kingdoms

Author: Natasha Pulley

Published: May 25th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buzzwords: England as a French colony, time travel, naval warfare, alternative history

Synopsis: Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia. His first memory is of stepping off a train in the nineteenth-century French colony of England. The only clue Joe has about his identity is a century-old postcard of a Scottish lighthouse that arrives in London the same month he does. Written in illegal English-instead of French-the postcard is signed only with the letter “M,” but Joe is certain whoever wrote it knows him far better than he currently knows himself, and he’s determined to find the writer. The search for M, though, will drive Joe from French-ruled London to rebel-owned Scotland and finally onto the battle ships of a lost empire’s Royal Navy. In the process, Joe will remake history, and himself.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I had very high hopes for this book because I have fallen deeply in love with the rest of this author’s books. However, The Kingdoms didn’t quite reach the same level of greatness for me, mainly because it felt rushed. I would have appreciated some more time dedicated to building the characters so that their actions felt real instead of plot convenient. I still really liked the characters because there’s just something about Pulley’s way of writing them that I can’t resist, although I didn’t like them as much as characters from her other books. Maybe that is also why I was less inclined to excuse some of the minor technical aspects of the book that I didn’t think worked properly. Again the rushed-ness played a role in the world-building where we start the story in a French-ruled England. The book doesn’t really dwell on that much, which is sad because that’s such a unique premise to have. It might have worked better as a series because I also didn’t feel the book had the time to explore such a topic.

At this point you might be wondering why I still gave the book 4 stars. Well, it’s Natasha Pulley and I love her writing! I also love that it is a book that takes risks. No, not everything pays off and a lot of readers aren’t going to like the book because of that, but I love when I can see an author pushing boundaries. There’s also an amnesia plot line in the book that was really well done and kept me hooked. So no, this isn’t my favorite book by this author but I’m still very much in love.

Winter’s Orbit

Author: Everina Maxwell

Published: February 2nd, 2021

Genre: Science Fiction

My rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Arranged marriage, cultural differences, complicated political alliances, opposites attract romance

Synopsis: While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.

Goodreads

My thoughts

A very sweet story, but also a bit bland. It doesn’t exactly do anything unexpected and is more of a feel-good, turn-your-brain-off kind of book. Those are rarely my thing but I still found this quite enjoyable. We got some interesting character interactions because of the arranged marriage plot line, so I was mainly into the book when we were dealing with that. I’m sad I wasn’t more interested in the political parts of the book because they took up a lot of it. I didn’t feel everything was explained in very great detail so whenever something happened, it felt random and convenient.

I liked the relationship between the two main characters but there were a few instances were I thought their problems with each other could easily have been solved if they just had a conversation. And they were often so close to having said conversation but were always interrupted. I always feel that’s a bit of a cheap way to create tension and it prevented me from being fully invested because I could clearly see how it would all be solved eventually. Still, the book is easy and sweet if that’s what you’re into.

That was it for this month. As always, feel free to share your thoughts about these books if you’ve read them. If you’re also obsessed with football at the moment, I’d love to talk about that as well. It has been a crazy tournament so far. But anyway, hope you all had a great month and happy reading in July!

12 thoughts on “June 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

  1. The “England as a French colony” part sounds so intriguing that I’m a bit disappointed to hear you don’t love The Kingdoms as much as Natasha Pulley’s other books. But then again, from what I know of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, they are very hard to beat 🥰 I still think I might have to try this one, though, just to see how England fares being colonized 😁
    And I didn’t even think about how having a movie deal might have affected Leigh Bardugo’s writing, but now that you’ve said it, I support this theory! Because yes, I wouldn’t mind seeing more of a certain actor at all – but that character should have stayed dead!!
    And of course, you already know I’m watching lots of soccer too. Yesterday got very emotional because my dad was born in Switzerland and it wasn’t very hard for him to convince the rest of us to root against Spain. But what were all those missed penalties?? 😳 Anyway, I’m already excited for the game tonight – my parents are rooting for the Czech Republic and my youngest brother and I for Denmark, so there should be lots of yelling 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Watchmaker is still my favorite book by Pulley and The Kingdoms is my least favorite now. I’d still be interested in your thoughts on it, although maybe don’t have too high expectations 😅
      I’m glad you support my Bardugo-theory. I noticed the same thing with Cassandra Clare and to some extent Brandon Sanderson. His works haven’t been adapted but there’s so much talk about it and he’s even writing some himself I believe. I definitely feel I like his earlier books more.

      It was crazy how many penalties they missed! 😱 So unexpected after they scored every single one against France. I must admit that I did root for Spain because I love Morata so much, so I didn’t feel too bad about it 😄 Today though? I feel like I’m slowly dying while waiting for it to be six o’clock. I’m so scared!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG, Denmark made it!!! 🇩🇰 My nerves barely survived how suspenseful that second half was! (Or the blood dripping from those Czech turban bandages, for that matter 😅). But you got a semi-final!! 🎉🎉🎉

        As for Cassandra Clare, I always had the feeling she was very attached to her characters (I mean, she’s managed to kill off about one important character over the span of what seems like hundreds of books…), so I just assumed that was a thing she did anyway. And I really have to read some newer Sanderson so I can form an opinion on his works 😉 I would love to see them adapted, though!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. OMG!!!!!! 😭😭😭 That was such a mess! But that goal from Delaney was a perfect start. And he was Man of the Match! He’s my all-time favorite player, so I’m beyond happy about that! But yes, I need a few hours to recover from that 😅 A semi-final!!!

        You saying Cassandra Clare is very attached to her characters and I’m just thinking about how that manifested in Queen of Air and Darkness 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t feel as though I know your players well enough yet to have a favorite – this match I was actually most impressed by Paulsen, but I’m glad Delaney got that goal in, too! 🤗

        And gosh, don’t get me started on Queen of Air and Darkness… Those parallel universes are some of the dumbest plot additions that ever existed, if you ask me 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh yes, Poulsen was a great substitution!

        I wasn’t a big fan of those parallel universes either. So much time spent on it and I was just wondering why.

        (I don’t want to watch any more of the England-Ukraine game 😒)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting thoughts on the Bardugo book. I read and enjoyed King of Scars but have been waiting for the second one to come out in paperback to read it, and now I’m a bit apprehensive 👀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well to be fair, I felt very indifferent about King of Scars and hoped Rule of Wolves could save the duology for me as I know it did for some. Maybe you’ll have better luck with it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay! I think I was just excited to see the characters again, but parts of the plot were definitely a little flimsy, now that I think about it so we shall see how I do going forward!

        Liked by 1 person

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