2020 June Wrap Up

I know I’m not the only one, but the way things are in the world right now I’m finding it difficult to enjoy sitting down and reading as much as I used to. Of course I still enjoy immersing myself in stories, but it used to be such a relief to take a break from the world and dive into a world of mystery and intrigue. Now that I’m stuck at home most of the time it’s just not the same.

Plus the fact that my adorable little pup (who turned 1 this month!!!! Shameless plug for her adorable PupStagram account @YzmaTheHound) is with me almost all the time makes it harder to sit with a book. Sure she loves cuddling, but she also likes licking books… a habit I’m not quite to encourage. I’d much rather cuddle or play with my darling “little” girl than jump into a world I may or may not enjoy as much.

As always, here’s how adorable she was this month:

Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for this month:

For reference: Physical books, eBooks, and AudioBooks. Library books.

Total books completed: 7

Total pages: 2,291 pages (avg. 327 pages per book)

Completed Books:

  1. Beautifully Cruel by J.T. Geissinger (Goodreads)[4.5 stars]
  2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Goodreads)[3 stars]
  3. The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston (Once Upon a Con, Book 2)[3.5 stars]
  4. Return Addresses by Michael A McLellan (Goodreads)[4 stars]
  5. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 1)[4.5 stars]
  6. Dangerous Beauty by J.T. Geissinger (Dangerous Beauty, Book 1)[2.5 stars]
  7. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 2)[4.5 stars]

Dedicated Blog Posts:

  1. Shadow Frost by Coco Ma
  2. Beautifully Cruel by J.T. Geissinger
  3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  4. The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston
  5. Return Addresses by Michael A McLellan
  6. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  7. Dangerous Beauty by J.T. Geissinger

Wrap Up:

Beautifully Cruel:

Truvy Sullivan thought she was living a pretty normal life – going to law school, working as a waitress to make ends meet, and living with her good friend who didn’t have the best taste in guys. That is, until one rainy night a stranger saves her from a vicious attack. Not even knowing his name, Tru realized that the only place she felt safe was in his arms. But safety is an illusion and sooner than she’d realize Tru was going to learn that this mysterious alpha wanted something in return.

This is the first book I’ve read by Geissinger, but not the last – not even in the month of June. Tru and Liam make hard decisions in this book in order to do what they must. While I would never want to be with the type of bad boy Liam is, I do enjoy reading about them.

Little Fires Everywhere:

Elena Richardson embodies the rule following nature of Shaker Heights, a progressive suburb of Cleveland. When Mia Warren – enigmatic artist and single mother to a teenage girl – rents a house from the Richardsons, all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo. When an old family friend attempts to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that drastically devised the town and leaves Elena and Mia on opposite sides of the divide.

I can see why some people would really enjoy this story, but it just wasn’t for me. I’d been interested in reading this book for a while, and finally got around to reading it because of the 2020 Asian Readathon (TBR and Wrap Up). This story was exactly what it promised to be, but I didn’t feel that it had any twists or oomph. I’m glad I read it, though, even if it wasn’t a perfect fit.

The Princess and the Fangirl:

Imogen Lovelace is your typical fangirl on a mission to save her favourite character from being killed off. The problem is the actress playing her doesn’t want to reprise her role. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, Jessica Stone will consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. Yet when the script for the Starfield sequel gets leaked, all signs point to Jess and she must turn to Imogen to find the person responsible. As these “princesses” race to find the script leaker, they need to learn how to rescue themselves from their own expectations and learn what it means to live happily ever after.

While part of me still feels that Geekerella was a strong standalone novel, I found myself enjoying this novel. Once again my nerdy side loved all of the fandom nods – especially the nods to The Adventure Zone. While not my favourite retelling of The Prince and the Pauper of all time, it certainly was an enjoyable one.

Return Addresses:

Fourteen-year-old Sean Pennington never thought he’d find himself riding on an open train car in the middle of the night. He never thought he’d find himself alone. He never thought he’d be running for his life.

In the spring of 2015 Sean Pennington’s world of comfort and privilege is shattered and he becomes a ward of the state. Thrust into a broken foster care system, he discovers the harsh realities of orphanhood. Lonely, confused, and tormented by his peers, he runs away, intending to locate his only living relative; a grandfather he’s never met, who his only connection with is a return address on a crumpled envelope. Enter Andrea, a modern day hobo Sean meets at a California homeless encampment. Andrea travels the country by rail, stowing away on shipping container cars with other transients calling themselves traveling kids. Though battling her own demons, road-savvy Andrea promises to help Sean on his quest, but can she protect him from the unpredictable and often violent world she lives in?

This tale is a lot more hard hitting than most of what I read and it was a nice change of pace. Sean goes through a lot after his father’s death in this tale, making it east to see his growth as a young man. I can’t imagine having to go through everything he does in this story.

Stalking Jack the Ripper:

Audrey Rose, seventeen years old, was born the daughter of a lord into the life of luxury. Yet between the tea servings and silk dress fittings she hides a dark secret: she often slips away to her Uncle’s lab to practice the gruesome forensic sciences.

When her work on savagely murdered corpses sets her on the path of a serial killer, Audrey find herself searching for clues close to her own sheltered world.

I first read this book shortly after it came out and adored it. This read through didn’t change anything and I couldn’t wait to continue on with the series. Having already purchased books 2 and 3 in the series, I was more than happy to jump back into the world to see what Audrey’s going to get herself messed up in.

Dangerous Beauty:

Former Special Ops military man and bodyguard Nasir starts his new job thinking that it’s going to be a piece of cake. All he needs to do is trail a Russian mobster’s runaway wife in Mexico, enjoying the sun while observing and reporting back. The job comes with only one simple rule: don’t get too close. Yet it’s all Naz can do to not watch her every move. 

Evalina, on the other hand, believes she’s escaped her tormentor to live an untraceable life. Yet Eva knows there’s something that can’t be ignored about the dark, muscled stud who rescues her from a drug gang. Especially when they run into each other time and time again. Eva might have been spurned in the past but the mystery man might just show her that it’s okay to trust someone. 

The second book this month I read by Geissinger, I didn’t find myself falling into this story nearly as much. While it was written before Beautifully Cruel, the premise is similar. I do see myself continuing on with the series eventually, though.

Hunting Prince Dracula:

Following the revelation of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the charmingly arrogant Thomas Cresswell, Audrey journeys to Romania to join one of Europe’s best schools on forensic medicine.

When blood soaked discoveries start being made in the school’s foreboding castle, Audrey’s once again compelled to investigate. The investigation isn’t all fun and games, though, as Audrey learns she must also face her past and her fears in order to solve the case.

I’m greatly enjoying my time in this world with Audrey and Thomas. I love the way they get under each others’ skin and the way they push each other to be the best they can. Sure they might make the wrong calls from time to time or misread a situation, but they’ve always got the best intentions.

While I didn’t stay true to my Monthly TBR – though when do I? – I read a decent amount of books this month. Some of them were hits while others were misses, but overall I enjoyed my time reading them.

Of course, the most daunting book I planned to read this month was The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (Goodreads). I started this book this month but found I wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as I’d been hoping. As a serious fan (some might say fanatic) of dragons, both what I’d heard from others and the cover of this story lead me to believe they’d play a much larger role in this story than they actually do. I still plan on finishing this story, but I’m taking my time making my way through the tale. Thankfully I’m capable of reading more than one book at a time and keeping the plots straight in my head.

As always, I’d love to know how your reading went this month. Did you have a good time reading, or did you struggle with some of what you picked up like I did?

Finally, the question of the month: If you could live in a world with one mythical creature, what would it be and why?

2 thoughts on “2020 June Wrap Up

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