June 2020 Reading Recap


June was my birthday! I wound up reading a whole bunch of ARCs, a few new favorites, and even interviewed K.A. Doore to celebrate the release of the Chronicles of Ghadid finale, The Unconquered City.

In addition the blog, you will now be able to find my reviews on The StoryGraph, in addition to Goodreads. My handle is JoReadsBooks

Read Cover-to-Cover in June


A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

  • Young adult fantasy featuring West African folklore
  • Enemies to lovers and a competition and complicated parents (all my favorite things)
  • Takeaway: Pacing and making the most of common tropes


Redpoint Crux by Morgan Shamy

  • Young adult/adult crossover horror inspired by Black Swan with all the plot beats of Phantom of the Opera
  • Takeaway: Doing a retelling while adding new elements


The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

  • Malaysian adult fantasy novella about a bandit coming into a bar and the nun who joins him and his companions on a journey
  • Funny with deep world-building
  • Takeaway: Complex world-building can happen in a small span of pages


The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

  • Adult fantasy retelling of Sherlock Holmes in which Holmes is an angel, Watson is a shifter war veteran, and Moriarty (no names change) is a vampire
  • Disappointing on a variety of fronts
  • Takeaway: Queer rep in classic stories isn’t difficult; this over-complicated it


Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

  • Young adult horror about a feral queer girl who just wants to know her family
  • No one can be trusted
  • Interview forthcoming on 7/7 (release day)
  • Takeaway: Atmosphere and unease galore


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

  • Adult Gothic horror about a socialiate going to check in on her ill cousin in an aging house
  • Takes place in 1950s Mexico
  • Out today! (6/30)
  • Takeaway: Take familiar plot beats and put them in a new location and they are instantly more interesting


Burn the Dark (Malus Domestica #1) by S.A. Hunt

  • Adult horror about a YouTuber who hunts witches for views to get revenge for her mother’s death
  • Found family and a diverse cast
  • Takeaway: Perfect pacing



Uprooted by Naomi Novik

  • Adult fantasy about a young girl taken away to be a servant/apprentice of a wizard known as the Dragon
  • Very Polish, much magic, enemies-to-lovers
  • Takeaway: Characters who go on a journey but stay true to themselves up until the very end


White Tears by Hari Kunru

  • Adult horror novel about wannabe records collectors who learn the hardway what cultural appropriation means
  • A very New York novel
  • Takeaway: Writing shit-headed protagonists without stealing their agency or smarts


Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

    • Adult horror about a girl who can talk to ghosts and another girl who has been kidnapped
    • Many layers of fears
    • Takeaway: How to atmosphere and play on several fears at once


The Good House by Tananarive Due

  • Adult horror about a woman whose house has been the site for many terrible things and the way the people around her deal with it
  • My favorite horror read of the month (maybe even the year?)
  • Takeaway: Start with the worst possible thing and contextualize the horrors that led to it


Vampire the Masquerade: WALK AMONG US by Genevieve Gornichec, Cassandra Khaw & Caitlin Starling

  • Adult horror novellas taking place in the world of Vampire the Masquerade
  • College vampires, contract vampires, and animal husbandry vampires
  • Takeaway: Weaving together cleverness and a familiar mythos without messing with the reader


You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce

  • Adult horror told in memoir by an author who made friends with fae to escape an abusive childhoods
  • Murder ensues, the fae are very scary in this one
  • Takeaway: Keeping the audience guessing about what’s real, what’s fake, and what is left to interpretation


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

  • Young adult dystopian science fiction going back 64 years to the 10th Hunger Games
  • Told from Snow’s POV and way more philosophical and introspective than I expected
  • Takeaway: Twists and turns and gray morality from beginning to end

July is all revisions prep and related reading, so the TBR might be kind of dry on that front.

Until next time,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s