June was a good reading month, considering that I took delivery of everything that I own all in one day and had to crab walk around most of my house to get from room to room. There's nothing like having towers of boxes looming over you to kill a book mood! After two weeks of being overwhelmed by boxes, I finally have all of them emptied, my things sorted, and everything (with the exception of my books) put away. They may not be put away in the neatest and most efficient way possible yet, but they have a home.
During this move seven of the eight bookcases that I own were damaged beyond use. That's just the luck I had with this move! So, I did what a good mom would do, and gave my daughter the one good bookcase. I now have stacks and stacks of books with no permanent home for them. They are no longer in any semblance of order, and I barely know where anything is. Take a look at this craziness.
This loveliness is the cabinet in my laundry room. It's four stacks deep for the trade paperbacks and five stack deep for the mass market. I'm pretty sure this is not the intended use for this space!
Anyway, back to what I actually read in June! I managed to read four physical books, three eARCs, one ebook that I bought, and I listened to two audio books. A total of ten books isn't too shabby!
I read the first in the Joe Leaphorn mysteries by Tony Hillerman, The Blessing Way, and enjoyed it. I went in knowing from reading reviews that this was not the best, but that the series gets better, so there were no disappointments with this one.
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames was an excellent fantasy read. It follows a once glorious band of 'heroes' who have grown older and complacent, but are brought back together to save one of the member's daughter. She is trapped in a city that is about to fall to an army of mystical creatures because of her own pursuit of glory. Eames created a unique world with familiar creatures that immediately drew me in. Every character had depth and were interesting in their own right. Kings of the Wyld has humor, danger, and self discovery for each character in this one. The ending sets the story up to continue, but did not leave me feeling as if I was deprived of a complete story. This was added to my favorites list.
Secret Pleasure by Lora Leigh left a lot of loose ends flapping at the end. There are several things that aren't followed up on, which is frustrating. I had more empathy for Alyssa than Shane and Sebastian simply because she was so much younger than the two cousins. The soul bond connection was a bit odd since I didn't know that this was supposed to have a hint of paranormal or magical realism, and the connection only served to make them all feel each other's misery and pain.
The time that they were forced apart is vague at best, and Alyssa's marriage and attack came out of left field and made no sense to me. Perhaps if I had gotten glimpses of her marriage before the big event that happens, I would have been more accepting of the story taking the track that it did. I also didn't understand why it took two very powerful families, along with Shane and Sebastian who work for the CIA for heaven's sake, to figure out who was behind all of the shenanigans.
The story overall was disjointed, as if there were ideas started, but for some reason they just never got fleshed out and seen through. It's strange that the book felt unfinished since the paperback edition that I have is 357 pages. There are lots of things that didn't work for me in Secret Pleasure, but I was able to finish it.
(FYI this is a menage story.)
Reckless Eyeballin' (Starletta Duvall Mystery #4) by Judith Smith-Levin was everything that I wanted. I am so sad that this was the last book written before Smith-Levin passed away. This series is so entertaining. Reckless Eyeballin' does not end in a cliff hanger, but the ending is clearly meant to be a bridge to the next book, which of course we won't get. I'm almost tempted to say that I wish someone would pick up this series and allow a new author to continue it; but I'm sure that it just wouldn't be the same. I looked around and found another detective series that is written by an AA woman and features an AA female lead, so fingers crossed that I will enjoy it just as much. Reckless Eyeballin' went on my favorites list too.
I read three eARCs over the month of June. I really enjoyed one, found one just okay, and didn't enjoy the third.
Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones was a great spine tingling read. This was the first story written by Jones that I have read, but I will be looking up some of his backlist titles soon. I really enjoyed it and you can read my review of it here.
A House Divided by Donna Hill was a pretty good read. It combines family drama with a bit of contemporary romance, and was a quick read. It would be a good book to take on vacation or read during a busy time. It would be easy to start and stop this story at almost any point. You can read my full review here.
Unfortunately, Swimming with Fishes by Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm wasn't a hit for me. It wasn't awful, it just wasn't one that I enjoyed. I believe that this is a debut novel, so I would pick up another of her books to see if it would be a better fit. You can read my full review here.
I bought the latest Theodora Taylor release, Nago: His Mississippi Queen, and read it in a day. It's a short fast read, but it also emphasized the fact that I like my stories to have more information than shorter stories can usually provide. If you enjoy Taylor's quick sexy reads, this one will be a good one to pick up. You can read my full review here.
The two audio books that I listened to were both entertaining.
Sommersgate House (Ghosts and Reincarnation #2) by Kristen Ashley falls right within the type of stories that she traditionally tells. It is a solid, evenly paced, straight forward contemporary romance with a touch of the paranormal. There aren't any big twists and this isn't by any means a complicated story line. I have been listening to this in very choppy bits because of being in the process of moving and unpacking, and my life has been a bit in chaos. This worked out really well for me being able to start and stop in fits, and not having trouble remembering what has happened before even if I went several days between listening. Of course, Abby Craden did an excellent job with the narration. she made me enjoy this one better than I probably would have if I had read it for myself.
The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld #2) by Gena Showalter was just an okay story for me, but I really enjoyed the narrator. I'm invested in the world and want to keep going in the series. The story arc is interesting and I want to stay on the journey of the group, I just didn't love the main couple in this one. This is one of those series that you need to read each book to know what is going on, so I am glad that I listened to it, but it won't be a story that I return to now that I know what happens.
That's my June wrap up! I hope that you all had a good reading month and are looking forward to more book goodness over the summer.