June 2020 Roundup

Here we are again, another monthly roundup! I have literally just written the May 2020 Roundup, so it feels a little strange to be writing June’s directly after. However, I’m on a blog post writing roll and have a scheduled post for the first time in a couple of months so I’m just going for it. I didn’t have many choices for favourites in June, mainly because I haven’t read much. I’ve only read 9 books, although in my defence I did a lot of writing so I could get my current project finished before the July camp NaNoWriMo began.

Book 1: Islander by Patrick Barkham

Genre: nonfiction, travel writing

What I liked: the islands chosen, the unique mixture of personal experience on the islands and history/ culture of the islands, the nature and setting descriptions

What I didn’t like: I would have loved a sequel, or more islands included because I absolutely loved the style of writing

Who I would recommend it to: Anyone interested in learning more about the islands of Britain, or anyone who just likes hearing about cool, isolated places

Book 2: May Day by Josie Jaffrey

Genre: vampires, fantasy, contemporary

What I liked: the humour, all the characters especially the bisexual, badass main character, the setting of Oxford

What I didn’t like: that there’s no sequel yet. I devoured this book in one sitting and I was 100% primed for another one.

Who I would recommend it to: fans of urban fantasy, vampires and awesome, humorous writing

Book 3: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Genre: sci-fi

What I liked: Really cool, fresh concept and the world-building was good. I liked the main character and the plot twists. Also: amazing ending.

What I didn’t like: I would have enjoyed more emotional depth to the story. I felt like I was missing a connection.

Who I would recommend it to: science fiction fans, people looking to try something new

Book 4: The Peace of Wild Things and Other Poems by Wendell Berry

Genre: poetry

What I liked: there are not enough words to describe how much I adored this poetry collection. Its writing is so evocative and peaceful, I just want to move to the countryside and live in a cottage and tend to my orchard

What I didn’t like: Nothing.

Who I would recommend it to: poetry-lovers, people who don’t like poetry, anyone who asks me for a poetry recommendation, people who love nature and want to reconnect with it

Book 5: The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones

Genre: middle grade, fantasy

What I liked: the magic, the seemingly unconnected plot strands which pulled together, the richly developed characters

What I didn’t like: I don’t really have any complaints. This is not a book written for adults but I really enjoyed it.

Who I would recommend it to: People who want a good book which is a bit easier to read, kids, people who want a book to read with their family

I might not have read many books this month, but I am happy to say I have definitely read quality books. I loved every single book on this list, and I took the time to really engage with each book so maybe reading 9 books in a month isn’t so bad. There’s also the fact I keep starting books and not finishing them, which means despite reading my total books doesn’t actually go up because I don’t finish them before starting something new! Do you stick to one book at a time or have bookmarks here, there and everywhere? I’d love to hear, so comment down below or click on one of the links to check out my social media!

Dry Review

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

I first saw Dry in Waterstones months ago, and I was super excited when it finally came into the library! I don’t know if this is a good idea or a bad idea, reviewing a disaster scenario book given the current circumstances, but at least this one is climate-change related not pandemic related, right? Either way if you want a break from coronavirus related news and want to lose yourself in a completely different disaster, Dry is a great option.

Dry follows the actions of a girl, Alyssa, and her younger brother as they navigate life immediately after the taps run dry in South California, with no signs of water coming back soon. The story follows multiple viewpoints, each one added in as Alyssa meets them. She ends up forming a group with her next-door neighbour called Kelton, a badass girl named Jacqui, a rich boy named Henry and her younger brother. The story is told chronologically, day by day, with snapshots of random other people interspersed throughout to show what is happening elsewhere. The viewpoints of Alyssa and her companions are all first person, whereas the snapshots are third person, distinctly marking them out and making sure you stay focused on the important characters. The book is divided into parts and each part is a different stage of their journey, which breaks up the story nicely.

Within a few pages I was wishing I had read this book sooner! Neal and Jarrod Shusterman have written a brilliant book together, I’d love for them to write more. The book begins with a really interesting concept that is made more engaging by how possible it is, to the extent where I was slightly freaked out by it. With climate change getting worse by the day, running out of water might be real in the future and the way it plays out in the book seems very realistic. I genuinely flinched when someone disturbed me because I was so absorbed in the book, it was tense and dramatic and I never knew what was going to happen next.

The writing kept me on edge, with distinct viewpoints and the ability to evoke mood vividly, whether it be in a fight or a relaxed car drive. I could not stop reading and I didn’t want to, especially as the chapters grew shorter towards the end as they built to the climax. The ending was heart stopping, but followed with a little of the aftermath. I am a big fan of being shown the consequences of the story on the world and characters and I prefer it not to be in an epilogue because the epilogues are often removed whereas I want to stay with the characters I’ve got so attached to. Would I survive this book? Yeah, I’d be in the UK!