June for me was once again a slow (very slow) reading month, and I read only five books, and didn’t end up finishing all the ones I’d planned (I didn’t manage to read two from my list–June plans here). Overall I finished three from the original list plus the review book I had planned plus one children’s book.
From the list I’d picked out for the month, I read Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, the first in a young-adult mystery trilogy. This is set in Ellingham Academy, a school where gifted students are allowed to study tailor made curricula, focusing on their interests. Stevie Bell has just come to attend the school and her interest is true crime, particularly the mystery that surrounds Ellingham itself, which is that in the 1930s, the founder’s wife and daughter were kidnapped never to be seen again. This was preceded by a mysterious threatening message signed ‘Truly Devious’. The killer apprehended was likely not the real one, and Stevie is determined to solve the mystery. But when things start going wrong in the present, she has more than one murder to solve. This was a really exciting read which keeps one hooked even though the mystery is not solved in this instalment (in fact won’t be till the third). (my full review is here).
Next was a book about books, or rather first editions and book-collecting, The Book Hunters of Katpadi, by Pradeep Sebastian. This is set in what is supposed to be the first antiquarian bookshop in the country in Chennai, which focuses on Modern Indian first editions. The two bibliophiles who run the store, Neela and Kayal find themselves with more than one book mystery, recovering valuable editions for a college library which a retiring librarian has been helping himself to, and a mysterious manuscript attributed to Richard Francis Burton which if real promises to shake the world of Burton collectors. While the storyline focuses on these two aspects plus the daily running of the store, it also goes into the history of collecting and first eds, some literary history associated with India, and also handprinting and paper and such, which makes it an interesting read for any bibliophile (full review here).
The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is yet again the first of a trilogy, this time a fantasy-adventure but with themes that are very much relevant for our current world. In the kingdom of Orisha, magic has been destroyed and the magi it’s practitioners labelled ‘maggots’ and treated likewise. Here one young magi, Zelie finds herself helping Orisha’s princess Amari escape with the one artefact that can restore magic and with it the magis’ power to fight against those who have tortured, suppressed, and destroyed them. Told from the perspective of three characters, Zelie, Amari, and Amari’s brother, the prince Inan, who is on their pursuit and has secrets of his own this was an exciting read with interesting characters, each of whom is facing dilemmas of their own, torn at times between love and duty. (This one I still haven’t written my full review of, but I will link it here when I do–soonish).
My children’s book of the month was Superstar Tapir by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, fourth in the Mango and Bambang series, which features teh adventures of a little girl, Mango Allsorts and her friend, a tapir, Bambang. This was a charming collection of stories about friendship but also with some adventure, and I also especially loved the artwork in the book. (full review here)
Finally I read The Legend of Griff by Richard Sparrow, again a first in series, which is also a fantasy adventure but one with a definite twist. Her we start by following a few different groups, a motley group including a mage carrying a magic sword to a destination we don’t know, a group of troll bounty-hunters on their pursuit, and alongside, in the same Great Untame, a group of Kingswatch constables in pursuit of poachers. Unrelated are a young goblin heading to the city to try and become a successful minstrel and a young boy, a pig farmer, who finds destiny has much more in store for him, when an attempt to rescue his cousin who is in trouble, throws him into unexpected adventure. When their paths cross, one incident throws the expected course of events completely on its head, leaving us with an unlikely hero to lead the adventure. This one reminded me quite a bit of Terry Pratchett and was a great deal of fun as well (full review here).
Only when writing this wrap-up did I realise that I ended up reading mostly (3 of 5) first in series books last month, and this month’s theme (not deliberately picked) is sequels or next in series books that I have waiting on my TBR pile. I am keeping the list short though I hope to do better than I did in June, but so far I plan to read Winter in Thrush Green and News from Thrush Green by Miss Read (books 2 and 3 in the series), The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice (sequel of sorts) to The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets which I loved; Revelation by C.J. Sansom, the fourth Mathhew Shardlake book, and Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin, the fifth in the Gervase Fen series. Also, from NetGalley, one which I hope to start soon is The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal (This of course is not from my reading ‘theme’).
How was your reading month this June? What were some of your favourite reads last month? Any you’d recommend? What plans for July? Any books on my list/s that you’ve read or are planning to? Looking forward to your thoughts!