Is it June, already?! There’s a heat wave coming this week, and I’m ready to hole up indoors and enjoy writing about some books. What do you like to read in the summertime?
This year has been atypical so far. I feared that my vision was worsening, but a trip to the Optometrist proved only that my eyes were chronically dry. Thanks to audiobooks, podcasts, and new music, I have survived the weeks of mandatory rest for my eyes. A series of treatments later, and I’m ready to get back to my ever-lengthening TBR list! 🐉📚
#1 Best Book You’ve Read So Far In 2021
A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
A Tale Of Two Cities was just so poignant, and I need more! Charles Dickens’ voice is saturated with irony. The best part was experiencing this tale for the first time with my brilliant book club friends, Lucy, Mon and Maria! We are finishing up Oliver Twist soon, and I’m sensing another fast favourite. ❤️
Free audiobook available on YouTube via Librivox.org
#2 Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far In 2021
Ice and Sky (Ena Of Ilbrea #3) by Megan O’Russell
This is a story of survival. Survival for Ena, the enduring main character, and survival of a people who have been crushed to the brink of existence.
Ilbrea is a desolate place, but special folks carve out their own havens and make their stand against evil, and that makes this story worthwhile.
#3 New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To
Tower of Nero (The Trials Of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan
Apollo is changing. I didn’t know gods could do that. I guess it’s the immortality-thing. Thankfully, in this final instalment of this series, Apollo is still mortal!
He is awkward, sullen, and he is still playing servant to a snarky girl called Meg. Why not try to confront his mortal enemy? This can only end well.
#4 Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
All Ways by Kelly Coons
“With humor and warmth, author Kelly Coons introduces neurotypical readers to the rich interpersonal lives of [two autistic] people, challenging biases about autism. At the same time, Autistic readers will feel at home with Andreas and York as they come to terms with their “differences” and move boldly toward their future.” —About ‘All Ways’ by Kelly Coons
#5 Biggest disappointment
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
Ugh, I don’t want to talk about it. (See my review at Robearsbooks)
#6 Biggest surprise
The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year by Matt McCarthy
This memoir was described to me as a funny, candid account of a doctor’s intern year. I’d been listening to a Scrubs podcast and hoped that this memoir would fit in with the humor/medical mood!
It was entertaining, sure. But it was also surprisingly compelling and full of human connection. Twists and turns. Dr. McCarthy recollects his excruciating progress through thirty hour shifts, stale food and trauma. Struggling to connect with patients without losing touch with reality, Matt is gradually forged into a Real Doctor.
I listened to this Podcast on Spotify, but here’s the main link. So funny, and interesting with behind-the-scenes details! Fake Doctors Real Friends with Zach and Donald Definitely check out the episodes guest starring Judy and John C! ❤️❤️❤️ #fangirling
#7 Favorite new author (debut or new to you)
My favorite part of reading her books is that I never want to stop. It’s actually painful not to have the next book in the series! At least, I can explore her other series while I wait! (See my blog post about her latest, here.)
I knew to expect excellence from The Hunger Games author, but her substantial, poetic prose surprised and impressed me! (See my blog post reviewing The Hunger Games and more…here.)
#8 Newest fictional crush
The Code For Love And Heartbreak By Jillian Cantor
This extra-sweet teen romance is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma! This Emma is a talented but socially awkward student, rather than a social queen. Why does she care about matchmaking? Well, she has to invent an app for her coding club, and—well, you’ll see!
#9 Newest favorite character
Javier (from vN: The Machine Dynasty #1 by Madeline Ashby)
Javier is an adult android, created specifically to save the earth from global warming. That may be the reason he was born, and what he is good at, but can he do more? And how long can he keep outrunning (and out-jumping) the violence and injustice?
Javier is supporting character to Amy in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence. The plot takes place in a dystopian system in which one religion monopolizes artificial intelligence. The extreme religious teachings affect all people, both organic and synthetic.
#10 Book that made you cry
Let Me Hear A Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson
You know that I love books about music! The poetic lyrics interspersed throughout intensified my empathy for the teenage characters as they grieved for their friend.
“Korey Jackson, Nile Bullock, Adenrele Ojo, and Adam Lazarre-White take turns narrating this young adult title set in the ’90s in New York City. Each narrator brings a unique and heartbreaking voice to life. The story follows two best friends who try to honor the life and rapping talent of a friend who has died. With the help of his sister, they hatch a scheme to make him famous from beyond the grave by getting him a record deal. The quartet of narrators has such distinct voices that the story plays out like an audio drama. These captivating performances will keep listeners glued to their earbuds. This is an audiobook that begs to be binged.” —audiofilemagazine.com
#11 Book that made you happy
Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers
This is a special book. The author wanted to create a main character living with a realistic disability. Compared to the often romanticized dysfunction common to YA, these characters strike me as realistically sincere, and flawed, survivors.
Here, we have a book with a musical theme, but primarily we follow Ali as she fights for her life. After reading the final paragraph, I then jumped back to page one on my Kindle, starting it over again! It was just too emotional to feel everything in that first read.
#12 Most beautiful book you’ve bought (or received) this year
I had lent my friend a book a while back, and recently she gave me a heads up that she was mailing it back to me. Great! As it turned out, she was using this as an excuse to send me a gift:
A handmade book. Wow. Made from up-cycled material, this journal could be used as a scrapbook, travel journal, or maybe even a poetry book. I imagine that Jane Austen herself possessed a book such as this to record her thoughts.
#13 What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
- I will definitely continue to read Charles Dickens.
- I’ve just started another O’Russell series, it’s kind of Riordan meets Rowling! The Tale Of Bryant Adams
- I’m excited to slip back into the world of androids via the sequel to vN …when I’m ready.
- Did you know about Jane Austen July? Apparently it’s time for more Austen obsession, and I’m here for it!!
There’s no pressure here, though. Slowing down this year has heightened my appetite for both fiction and non, and I feel blessed with abundance! Please comment to recommend any great audiobooks or podcasts (whether or not they’re about books). I love to learn, and I need some laughs.
Thank you for reading. Stay safe! 💙