I am excited to be doing my first official installment in my The Booklist series since I introduced it last month. For the month of June, I read a total of seven books even with my busy schedule. It did fall short of my goal to read 8 – 10 books but hopefully, I’ll fulfill that in July.
The books I read last month fell into the young adult fantasy and historical fiction genre. For the most part, I did find them light and entertaining summer reading. I really love reading book series but I’ve started quite a few I need to finish. So in July, I will be finishing those and a few standalone books I’ve been dying to read. Also, I updated the shop section to make it easier for you to shop all The Book List in one place, here.
Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you are reading this summer. I’m always looking for book suggestions.
June Reading List
“Because with my last dying breath, I would make him regret the day he ever laid eyes on me.”
Rating: 5 Stars
Summary: Lia is a young princess who is taken prisoner by an enemy kingdom called Venda. She must use her wit and be cunning to escape with her life.
This book is the second in a trilogy called, The Remnant Chronicles. I really enjoyed the first book but this one was even better. It’s hard to summarize this book without spoiling the first but that’s the simplest explanation I can give. Just know there is so much more going on with this story.
My Thoughts: I loved this book and the entire trilogy. I was so enthralled in this story that I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in two days! Mary E Pearson’s writing is beautiful and intense and she’s skilled at creating tension. My emotions were on a rollercoaster because there were so many moments I was scared for these characters. The plot twists, I wasn’t ready for.
Mrs.Pearson creates really amazing characters but my favorites are Lia and Rafe. Lia is strong, passionate and cunning. She is ruthless in this book and I loved it. I really loved seeing how she grew into her potential as a young Queen.
The main villain is the ruler of Venda named the Komizar and he’s such a complex character. He’s treacherous, cunning but is still charming. Everything about him really draws you in and you forget how ruthless he is at moments.
The world building is so well done and very clever. Mrs. Pearson really does a beautiful job painting this dark, twisted and dangerous world.
You’ll enjoy this if you love political intrigue, complex villains, strong female characters and war between kingdoms.
“Darkness was a beautiful thing. The kiss of a shadow. A caress as soft as moonlight.”
Rating: 5 Stars
Summary: The kingdoms are preparing for war. That’s all I can give without spoiling the series. This is the final book in The Remnant Chronicles Series.
My Thoughts: It was good, so good. My emotions could not handle all the action packed, tense drama and angst this book was giving me. The first half of the book was exceptional but the second half had a few slow parts. All in all, it was a damn good book. Lia was as fierce as ever and loved how she exerted her independence. She took action and made tremendous personal sacrifices to ensure the future of her kingdom. As much as I loved Lia I loved Rafe more. His journey and growth in this book were great even though I was frustrated with him many times. However, it is war and emotions are high. Mary did a really great job depicting the strain and consequences of war. I did want more from the battle scenes, they were good but could’ve been a bit better.
The secondary characters were great. I love Rafe and his band of brothers. As I said before Mary writes great characters.My only issue is that I wished we got a little more out of the ending but for the most part I was satisfied with this final book. I’m still keeping the book at 5 stars because I enjoyed the series so much.
You’ll enjoy this book if you like war, romance, drama and heroes who have to make great personal sacrifices.
*Fair warning there are a few sex scenes but they are very tastefully done.
“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”
Rating: 3 Stars
Summary: The King of Khorasan takes a new bride each night just to brutally kill her at dawn the next day. When Shahrzad best friend is taking as the next bride and falls victim to the king. Shahrzad then sets out to get revenge against the King of Khorasan and justice for the death of her friend. However, when Shahrzad arrives at the Palace nothing is as it seems.
My Thoughts: I really wanted to like this book more than I did. This duology was high on my must read list and I was a little disappointed by it. The story is inspired by A Thousand and One Nights which is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian folklore. This is also the same collection that, Aladdin, originates from which is one of my favorite stories. I enjoyed Renée Ahdieh writing, it’s really breathtaking, engaging and easy to read. The setting is great and I really enjoyed all the Arabic and Islamic culture that is woven throughout. I even enjoyed the general plot and a lot of the secondary characters.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting to the main character, Shahrzad. She was very impulsive and I had a hard time grasping the logic behind the decisions she made. Also, I really didn’t enjoy the love triangle that was happening. Since the romance is such a prevalent part of the story and it just fell flat for me.
You’ll enjoy this book if you like folklore, magic, and romance.
“You’re strong enough to bear anything, Elli. That’s why the stars chose you.”
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Summary: The Valtia is the queen who wields both fire and ice magic. Elli is the heir to the throne and prophesized to be the most powerful Valtia in history. When the prophecy fails to pass and Elli must flee for her life and in search of the magic to retake her throne.
My Thoughts: This book started off slow for me. I won’t lie. The writing was fine but I was really bored at the beginning of this book. It was hard to get into but I’m happy I kept going because it gets so good. I didn’t appreciate how clever Sarah’s writing was at the beginning until the end when you see how she wove everything together.
At the beginning, Elli is very naive and coddled but she grows into such a strong woman. I really admired her perseverance and determination to not succumb to her misfortunes. By the end, you’ll want for her to succeed.
If the book was better paced out so that some of the action happened earlier I’d give it a higher rating.
You’ll enjoy this is if you like twisted priests, an underdog, magic and light romance.
“On our wedding night,” she said, “I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary: Lada and her brother, Radu, are sent as collateral by their father to the Ottoman Empire. In exchange for the Empire’s help to secure their father’s throne. Lada nurses this vengeance against her enemies biding her time until she can return to her home and to her birthright.
My Thoughts: This book surprised me. Lada is definitely an anti -hero and it was a very clever take on the historical figure, Vlad the Impaler on Kiersten White’s part. She did a really great job bringing this period in history to life on the page. I really loved that this story started at Lada’s birth and takes her to the very beginning of her young adulthood. It was great insight behind the motivations and goals of these historical figures and their impact in history. I haven’t read much fiction or nonfiction set during the Ottoman Empire Rule. It was interesting to see how faith and religion specifically Christianity and Islam played into the conflict between the different nations.
The characters were amazing. Mehmed who is based on the historical figure known as Mehmed the Conqueror was everything you want in a leader. He’s generous, charming, and determined with a hint of ruthlessness. Lada, on the other hand, is unapologetically brutal ( did you read the quote). She’s a warrior right out the womb storming through life to create her own path but there’s also this softness to her in connection to those she loves. That is what makes her a compelling character.
It’s for these reasons I enjoy reading historical fiction because we get to experience history with a fresh twist and perspective. Kiersten brought her A game with this book. This is the first book in a trilogy and I’m excited to see her take on Lada, Radu, and Mehmed in the future books.
You’ll enjoy this if you love political intrigue, faith, religion, strong complex female characters, rich Eastern European and middle east history and dynamic sibling relationships
“I think it is our nature to believe evil always has an ugly face,” he said, ignoring my question. “Beauty is supposed to be good and kind, and to discover it otherwise is like a betrayal of trust. A violation of the nature of things.”
Rating: 4 Stars
Summary: Cécile is kidnapped and taken to a secret magical city under a mountain where she is forced to break a very dark curse.
My Thoughts: This book was definitely entertaining and has a cool magic system. Cecilé is a firecracker of a character. She takes risks, is headstrong and at times extremely frustrating. It’s those characteristics that make her exciting to read and root for her in all her scheming. I can’t say much about this book without ruining the plot twists but I do want to highlight that the friendships in this story were really good.
Danielle Jensen created a really cool world full of secrets, trolls and different types of magic. She only scratched the surface and I’m excited to see what she does with the rest of the books in this series.
You’ll enjoy this if you love stories about friendships, magic, trolls, and witches.
“Pick your enemies more carefully than your friends, they will be with you longer.”
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Summary: Prince Yarvi has vowed to avenge his father and retake his throne. But he must first weather betrayal and an onslaught of treacherous obstacles.
My Thoughts: This is definitely more of a classic epic high fantasy but it’s not dense. Joe Abercrombie’s writing is concise, efficient and impactful. The story is weighed down my unnecessary descriptions which it typical of high fantasy. I do however wish we got a little more insight of the world Yarvi lives in and more about the Gods.The plot was entertaining and the twists were good. It was the last one that really got me because I did not see it coming.The characters took a little time for me to warm up to but by the end, I was fully invested in all their stories especially, Yarvi’s.
You’ll enjoy this is if you like Game of Thrones, war, an underdog hero, loyalty and strong friendships
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*Warning For Parents: The fantasy genre tends to have some violence, gore and sex scenes. All these books are labeled as appropriate for ages 15 and up but as always it's up to your individual discretion on what you allow your teens to read.