June was a busy month for me, primarily because I moved into a new apartment. I’m still getting settled in (I hate unpacking!), but I created a super cozy reading nook that’s made me want to do nothing but curl up with a book. Surprisingly, I got a fair amount of reading done for such a busy month. Here are the books I read this month and what I thought of them.

  1. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (Hachette 2009).

I have a large extended family–something like 25 first cousins on my mom’s side–and those of us who like to read formed a family Zoom book club to pass the time during COVID-19 isolation. The 100-Year-Old-Man was the May pick for our book club. In the end, I liked this book. I admit that I probably wouldn’t have picked it up at all, nor would I have stuck with it, if it wasn’t for the book club simply because it isn’t the kind of book I normally go for. I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction to begin with, and I also feel like my knowledge of the historical events discussed in this book wasn’t enough to truly appreciate the references and the jokes. But I did grow to really enjoy Alan, the main character. It also maybe wasn’t the right month for me to read this book, as my 96 year old grandfather fell very ill and passed away in May, and there were parts of Alan’s character that reminded me of him. If you pick this book up, I recommend the audio version; I was initially reading a digital copy, but after a few chapters I switched to the Whisper-Sync audio version. Because this was a translation from Swedish, there were some stylistic quirks that bothered me when I looked at the printed page but worked far better when hearing the text read aloud. My rating: 3.5/5 stars

  1. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban (HarperTeen 2020).

I had a lot of trouble sleeping the night before I moved due to the stress of it all, so I read this book pretty much in that one night. This book is like a mix of The Breakfast Club and the classic philosophical trolley problem rolled into one engrossing YA read. I was so curious to see what was going to happen next, especially since all of the “present” scenes ended in a cliffhanger that led into the flashback scenes. Half of the book was a mystery–who hated the six characters enough to try to kill them?–and a philosophical exercise–is it better to passively let six people die, or is it better to save the lives of five people by actively killing one person? My rating: 4.5/5 stars

  1. Beach Read by Emily Henry
Beach Read by Emily Henry (Berkley 2020).

I had a lot of fun reading this book! While parts of it were definitely a light, summer-y, romantic read, the conversations about love and family felt raw and honest. I really related to January’s outlook on love and life, so it was enjoyable for me to watch her grow and change throughout her summer on Lake Michigan. Emily Henry’s writing is very witty and I had lots of actual laugh-out-loud moments while reading BEACH READ. I also liked that, through January and Gus, the author refuted the stereotypes surrounding women’s fiction/chick lit/rom coms. All of us who read them know how important they can be, of course, but I felt like Emily Henry finally put into words what I feel about the genre: it makes us feel seen and understood. My rating: 4.5/5 stars

  1. The Getaway by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
The Getaway by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (Audible Originals 2020).

This book was an Audible Original, meaning it’s only available via the Audible platform. I also believe it was one of the monthly free selections offered to Audible subscribers. I love these authors; I’ve read both The Wife Between Us and You Are Not Alone, and I plan to read An Anonymous Girl so I can use it to complete a prompt in the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge. I had fun listening to this book. It took place in DC and Baltimore, two cities with which I’m very familiar. While it wasn’t quite as twisty as their other books, this one still kept me guessing until the end. It was also pretty short, clocking in at just under two and a half hours. I think that’s part of why I enjoyed this audiobook; it was short enough for me to listen to all in one sitting without getting distracted. My rating: 3.5/5 stars

  1. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List by Lucy Foley (William Morrow 2020).

This is a book where the setting played a huge role in driving the plot and creating the creepy ambience needed to make it feel truly suspenseful. I wrote in my review, posted here, that it reminded me of a big game of Clue that I was trying to piece together as I read. I liked that it started by hinting at the crime and then starting from the beginning to lead up it. While some of the twists were a bit predictable for me, others truly caught me by surprise! My rating: 3.5/5 stars

  1. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (Penguin Random House 2020).

I’m a huge Riley Sager fan, so I was eagerly awaiting his next book. I didn’t even think twice when I saw it was a pick for June’s Book of the Month! This book was the perfect mix of eerie supernatural horror and classic murder mystery. I wrote a full review of the book here, but I truly can’t rave about this book enough. It might be my new favorite book by him! My rating: 5/5 stars.

  1. Love in the Capitol by B. Ivy Woods
Love in the Capitol by B. Ivy Woods (Bretagey Press 2020).

This book was recommended in a Facebook group I’m in that’s devoted to discussing books. Since there has been a movement to promote Black authors and their books recently, we were discussing how there seems to be a lack of Black representation in the romance genre in particular. Someone recommended this series, written by their friend, and I decided to give it a shot. This was a cute, easy read. I live in DC, so it was fun to see the characters explore my city. As it was a novella, I feel like there were some details that could have been fleshed out more. At the same time, I know this novella was kind of an intro to the rest of the series, and I imagine we’ll learn more about those details in the next installments. My rating: 3/5 stars

  1. Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand (Back Bay Books 2020).

This was the June pick for my aforementioned family book club. This was an excellent summer book! The setting–1969 Nantucket–made me wish I was at the beach rather than stuck inside in a city during the COVID-19 crisis, and the fact that I followed it up with another beachy read didn’t make that any better! I do think this book had more substance than your “typical” beach read (although I absolutely love fluffy reads too). You can check out my full review of Summer of ’69 here. My rating: 5/5 stars

  1. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty (W. W. Norton Company 2019).

I’m a huge Caitlin Doughty fan! I sped through her first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, a few years ago. I also love watching her YouTube channel, Ask a Mortician. This book was framed as questions about death posed by kids. At times, I had trouble discerning who the intended audience of this book was: was she responding to these questions for the kids? Was it intended for adults to ponder the insightful and curious questions posed by children? I honestly thought this book would be great for a wide variety of readers, and it could also help to spark death-positive discussions with children. I also listened to the audio version of this book (for someone who struggles with audiobooks, I sure listened to a lot of them this month!)–I highly recommend it, as Caitlin has a great voice for narration. My rating: 4/5 stars

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