June Wrap-Up 2019

I didn’t do a May Wrap-Up because I didn’t finish a book in May. Whoopsie. It was finals season so I very much prioritized my schooling before fun reading. Sad times, but now I’m in the swing of things and tried real hard to keep up with my Goodreads challenge.

Circe by Madeline Miller

2 out of 5 stars

This book was not a favorite, unfortunately. I had super high expectations for it but the story just didn’t grab me and that was where I had the most issues. The concept was interesting. An entire book on Circe, a Greek character that has been continually hurt by those that should love her-fantastic idea.

I had a super hard time relating to the characters, albeit they were all gods or heroes. The entire world felt like it was too structured. It was too detailed that I spaced out while reading the world-building. I felt like Miller didn’t allow the readers enough freedom to envision the world.

The plot wasn’t captivating. It may be because it was suppose to be an epic, Circe’s life saga, but it definitely didn’t feel like that. Circe didn’t deserve the title of being a full life epic. Many could summarize Circe’s life in a short paragraph. The rest of the novel would be filler or beautiful prose, but the prose often felt empty.

The melodrama in this book was overbearing. The dramatic scenes of Circe caring for land would be described the same as her murdering dozens of men. In dramatizing every scene, Miller managed to make every scene feel dull.

I can understand all the separate aspects that make people love this book. Don’t get me wrong, I love mythology. I was the target audience, but it just didn’t resonate with me.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

4.5 stars out of 5

I loved this book. After paperbackdreams on YouTube recommended it constantly, I finally took it up and thank goodness.

Frances Javier is on the track to Cambridge. She spends all her free time from school, which is far and few between, making fanart for her favorite podcast, Universe City. She finds out through unexpected coincidence or fate that the mysterious creator of the podcast lives in her village. She forms meaningful friendships with people from all walks of life that make her question if her aspirations really are her own.

Thank goodness I read this now. I feel like reading it between your junior and senior year of high school is the perfect time to read this book. Radio Silence is just that book that really helps people. That’s just that-it’s like a hug.

The best thing about the book was the characters. Each character felt real. They were imperfect but likable. Even the rude characters felt real because they all had good motives. Many characters had good motives with cruel actions that followed.

The best thing by far was the diversity. Like damn. Frances Javier is a mixed teenage girl who is also bisexual. There was a couple gay characters. There was even some genuine and fantastic asexual representation. I loved it. It just added to the realness of the world and characters.

One tiny thing I felt like could’ve been improved was the world-building. It takes place in modern day, Britain. I had no idea what a typical British village looks like so I had a hard time really immersing myself into the environment. Super tiny problem but overall, great book.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

5 out of 5 stars

This graphic novel is also a short story collection that are all spooky themed. I don’t want to give a synopsis because I think it’s better to go into it blind.

The art was fantastic. The atmosphere was so spooky. I was legitimately spooked. I found the cliffhangers tasteful. All of these stories were intriguing. I loved it. I’d definitely recommend reading it at night.

I’d love to maybe write a spooky short story. When I do, I am definitely using this book as an example on how to create a successful atmosphere.

If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar

3 out of 5 stars

This is a debut poetry collection about Fatimah’s life as a brown woman growing up. The collection tackles racism, sexism, identity, and many other hard hitting topics.

My favorite thing about this collection was the way Fatimah played with form. It was so interesting to see the words on the page. I loved the form.

The reason I give it 3 out of 5 stars is because a lot of them were unfortunately not memorable. I genuinely liked her poetry but it just didn’t stick with me. I couldn’t put myself into Fatimah’s shoes. I felt like there was like a pane of glass separating her and me. I so desperately wanted to experience what she was feeling but I never could get there.

I’d recommend this book if one is just starting out with poetry. Super hard hitting poems that I think a lot of people would like.

The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

4.5 out of 5 stars

This short story collection all focus on the lives of Nigerian women all of them trying to take control of their lives.

Oooh, I loved this book so much. I felt like if I really just went on a rant, every sentence would just be me loving Adichie. Nearly every story was a perfect short story. The term perfect is loaded, but I genuinely think that so many stories were perfect. The imagery, characterization, plot, and dialogue were spot on. I loved this collection.

I took off 0.5 stars because there was just one story that I really didn’t care for. It was about a conversation between two men about the past. I was so confused because I thought the fictive present should take place in the past.

Overall, I loved this book. I’m definitely going to read more of Adichie’s work.

Little Birds by Hannah Kidder

3 out of 5 stars

Little Birds is a collection of prose, short stories, and micro-fiction. The work often explores the nature of humanity and morality.

I feel so bad writing this review because I love Hannah and she’s give me personal advice when unprompted. I genuinely thought I was going to love this book because it is all just literary short fiction.

All of the stories were technically skilled. I found that the topic I struggled most with was characterization, which is understandable. It is difficult to capture a character’s soul in such a small amount of words. Some of the work felt more like an exercise rather than a story with a core. Many of the. stories lacked something vague like heart of the jena se qua.

I definitely will ready Hannah’s next collection, Spoopy Birds. Hopefully that work will speak out to me. If anything, I do think that her work is well done and this is a great introduction to. those wanting to get into short fiction.

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

5 out of 5 stars

This short graphic novel tells the story of the family’s life in Homs, Syria before the refugee crisis. The father and son wait on the shores for a boat to bring them to a new home.

I loved this art style. The watercolor look was so breathtaking. It really transformed me to Homs, Syria. I could smell the dense market. I could see the mosque and church across from one another. I could smell the dense smoke after the bombings. The writing felt genuine.

Hosseini was inspired to write this book by the death of Alan Kurdi, a thirteen-year-old Syrian boy. All of the proceeds of this book go to UN Refugee Agency and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to provide lifesaving supplies to refugees around the world.

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