TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : June 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : June 2022

Hello everyone!   I did wonder if I should keep up with my monthly wrap-up for June or do a half-year recap of best books read so far.   I decided with stick with the wrap-up in the end as I thought my Books of the Month will end up being on the half-year list anyway.

I can’t believe half of 2022 had passed by already.  Hope that all of you have been reading great books so far this year.    Before I start, can I just say that Stranger Things Season 4 was absolutely phenomenal!  I still can’t stop thinking about it, and that ending.

NB. Books are rated within its genre.  For avoidance of doubt, rereads are not considered for Book of the Month.

Book of the Month

The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron

As I’ve participated in the blog tour for Rachel Aaron’s new book, you can read my full review here.  Needless to say, this was another effortless winner from Rachel Aaron, brimming with imagination, wonderful characters and captivating magic.

Rachel Aaron is one of my favourite authors, and for the simple reason that everything that she has written so far had been instantly engaging and always entertaining.  In fact, her books are my go-to comfort read, right up there with Brandon Sanderson and Michael J. Sullivan.   It’s been a while since I’ve read a new book from Aaron (the last one was a favourite from the DFZ trilogy), who’s well-known to publish at least one, if not two books a year.  The pandemic has affected everyone in all possible ways, so I’m glad to see that she’s back with a new series that’s really different from her previous work but yet maintained that approachable and welcoming style of hers which I love so much.

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Middle Grade / Young Adult Novels

Mattimeo (Redwall, #3) by Brian Jacques

Another lovely, heartwarming and hunger-inducing read.  Three books in and I can see that there’s a pretty standard formula to these Redwall books, but that did not make it any less enjoyable to read.  I loved the riddle-solving and quest-type adventures that seemed to take place in each book so far, and I think so long as I space out my reading of this series, it will work perfectly as delightful palate cleansers.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain, #3) by Lloyd Alexander

This is where I’ll end my journey through Prydain. No disrespect whatsoever to Lloyd Alexander as there was nothing wrong with these books or the writing. In fact, I think it was well-written – for the right target audience.  There are children’s books which work well for adults, but somehow a classic fantasy written for children with themes of good vs evil just felt too straightforward. The plot took almost no time to develop, and the characters felt too black and white.

I might have loved this if I read it as a kid. Now I’ve got to the point where I’ve delved enough into why there are those who loved Prydain so much and I respect where they’re coming from.  The Chronicles of Prydain are good books to introduce young ones into the fantasy genre in my opinion, and it also deals with the issues of coming-of-age pretty well.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fantasy

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

Well, this was really enjoyable and quite unlike anything that I’ve read from Stephen King. But yet it still very much sounded like him, in the tone of its storytelling delivery as well as the humour. The personality of King was undoubtedly present throughout the omniscient narration of this fantasy tale.

The Eyes of the Dragon may seemed to be an archetypal fantasy of princes, dragons and evil wizards, but there’s nothing typical about it in the hands of King. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this which said a lot about a stand-alone fantasy book written in 1987. Compared to the ocean of offerings in the genre right now, this one actually felt pretty darn original. Even though the narration was omniscient, you would still get to know and empathise with the characters who were developed really well. I was definitely invested in the outcome. And while, there’s barely any real action, I was riveted to how the events and story unfolded.

I picked this up because it was part of the recommended reading order for The Dark Tower series. Being a classic fantasy, I wondered where it fit in compared to the likes of The Stand and The Talisman. While The Dark Tower is still fantasy, it’s definitely not in the classical vein of this genre. Then, I got to the name of the wizard. If you’ve read King, you’ll know the name Flagg immediately. And yes, he was just as evil as you’d imagine him to be.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mystery/Historical Fiction

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

I’ve only started reading Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novels a couple of years back, and I’ve been hooked since then.  Little did I know that Christie herself was a subject of mystery herself, when she disappeared for a period of 11 days back in 1926.  Seemed that much had been speculated about her disappearance and supposed memory loss when she reappeared, and the result of which was this riveting narrative which worked as a semi-fictionalised account of this mysterious event.  The story was told over two alternating timelines, one of Agatha’s first person account of the first time she met her future husband and the other of Archie Christie’s third person account of the day she went missing.  There was something very compelling in the manner in which both stories unfolded, and the best part of all was how the final reveal played into the very plot device that Agatha Christie employed herself in one of her most critically-acclaimed works.   Thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Romance

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

The last romance I’ve read was Beach Read by Emily Henry. While I enjoyed that enough, I wasn’t particularly fond of the female lead.  The Love Hypothesis was a totally different story as I found Olive to be a much more endearing and sympathetic character.  Romances are generally predictable and its heroines tend to be really dense when it comes to recognising how much the male lead was into her, and this one was no different.  Nonetheless, I found myself loving this read as the chemistry and interactions between Olive and Adam were absolutely delightful and adorable.   And man, Dr Adam Carlsen was hot with capital H-O-T.   I was told that this story was originally a Reylo fan fiction, and looking at the cover, I could totally see it.  This was just what I needed when I was unwell and couldn’t focus on anything that required much thinking.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Contemporary Fiction

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I couldn’t really sort out my feelings about this book, except that I don’t love it.  This was definitely a polarizing read.  I can see why some people connect with the story and loved it, and I could see why some people don’t as I fall under the latter category.  Perhaps it was too realistic that it felt almost depressing.  Moreover, the one thing that I’ve never enjoyed in all my reads is the theme of poor communication.   So much heartache and pain pretty much emanated from the main characters’ inability to really say what they think or how they feel.  The style of writing also took a really long while for me to get used to.  I can get the hype, I think, but it’s not the kind of hype that I particularly enjoyed.

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Re-read

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3) by Brandon Sanderson

An absolute masterpiece of a conclusion.

Not only did Sanderson masterfully foreshadowed everything to come in this series, he did the same for the Cosmere as we know it now.  Also the Graphic Audio heightened my emotions at the ending of this book, compared to the first time I’ve read this. The performances were so good that I was even more invested in the characters than before.  As such, even though this was my 3rd time reading The Hero of Ages, this was the first time I really teared up at the end of it.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Secret History (Mistborn, #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson

The first time I read Secret History was when it was a surprise release hot on the heels of The Bands of Mourning.  To summarise, in short order I declared myself a loyal and willing subject to Sanderson’s mad genius.  This book was revelatory on a whole other level, and finally canonized the Cosmere.   It made me think so much more while I was rereading Mistborn, especially during Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages, trying to pick up what’s happening in the background.  That’s why I couldn’t resist starting my reread almost immediately instead of the one book per month reread schedule.  And needless to say, it was glorious!

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alcatraz & The Scrivener’s Bones (Alcatraz, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Humour is a very subjective thing, and not all types of humour work for everyone.  Personally, I’m thrilled that Sanderson’s special brand of humour works for me.  These Alcatraz books just takes it to different level with its irreverent, fourth-wall-breaking meta writing.  The result is, in my opinion, awesomeness as plainly stated in this book as follow:

In fact, there are even natural laws relating to this book, my favorite of which is known as the Law of Pure Awesomeness. This law simply states that any book I write is awesome. I’m sorry, but it’s a fact.  Who am I to argue with science? 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s Next in July 

I’m going to start The Founder’s Trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett, now that the final book has been released in June.   And as with all of Will Wight’s new releases for the Cradle series, I’ll be reading the 11th book, Dreadgod, very shortly after it comes out in early July.

As for my rereads, I’m just as stoked (if not more) to now progress to the Mistborn era 2 books, which are also known as the Wax & Wayne books.   I also finally have the time to pick up The Wheel of Time again, moving on to Lord of Chaos.

Signing off for now…

2 thoughts on “TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : June 2022

    1. Thank you! I’ve almost finished the first book and am really, really enjoying it so far. Let’s hope I’ll love the last one as well. 😁

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