June Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be reviewing most of the books I read in June- there are a few not in here this time due to me not having enough to say about some for a full review, a DNF and doing blog tour reviews for a couple. Onto the post!

Midnight at Moonstone by Lara Flecker and illustrated by Trisha Krauss

This is the story of a girl named Kit, who goes to stay at the rundown costume museum run by her estranged grandfather and attempts to save it from closure. I really liked Kit and how determined she was- she didn`t let what anyone else thought drag her down and I admired this aspect of her a lot. I also enjoyed some of the mannequin characters very much, and I grew to like Kit`s family as the book progressed further. The nostalgic feel to the book was another enjoyable element- it nailed the mix of contemporary and classic in a very similar way to Helen Peters` Secret Hen House Theatre. The saving the museum plot was really fun too- I tend to really enjoy that plotline and it was just as enjoyable watching it unfold over the course of this. However, I did feel that some parts of this could be a bit repetitive- it was sometimes as if I was reading the same scene again- which brings my rating down a bit from what it would otherwise have been. 4/5

Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone

In the first full-length instalment of her new Unmapped Kingdoms anthology series, AbiElphinstone introduces us to Casper Tock- a boy who thrives on rules and routine- as he is transported to the troubled kingdom of Rumblestar and forced to overcome his demons so he can save the people of Rumblestar alongside Utterly Thankless, who is his total opposite, and her pet dragon Arlo. I loved both Casper and Utterly an awful lot from the moment I met them both- my heart broke as I learned about how their lives were before meeting and I enjoyed watching them become friends so much as they made an excellent, if unlikely, duo. Arlo was just adorable, and there was a fantastic cast of secondary characters populating Rumblestar- I especially enjoyed the snow trolls! The worldbuilding was also absolutely amazing- Rumblestar was so magical and spending time there was a joy, even if an evil harpy was trying to conquer it. I can`t WAIT to visit the rest of the Unmapped Kingdoms already, as the concept of them controlling weather is so clever and each one sounds equally brilliant in a different way to the others. Also, for anyone who`s read prequel novella Everdark, I loved the way that Smudge and Bartholomew are featured in this- I both gasped and cried when I go to that part of the book! 4.5/5

And Then I Turned into a Mermaid by Laura Kirkpatrick
When I heard about this book, I was incredibly excited, and when I realised it was written by YA writer Laura Steven under a pseudonym my excitement levels only went up even further. Thankfully, I really enjoyed it (it`d be really embarrassing if I hadn`t after all the screeching I did about it on Twitter, both to Laura and to any of my friends who`d listen…). It`s about a girl named Molly, who discovers on her 13th birthday that she and her family are all mermaids, and has to navigate this alongside friend dramas, boys and working in the family fish and chip shop. Molly is so likable and her reactions to this huge news are hilarious, as are her interactions with her mum and sisters- who are all such great characters. The whole book is just hilarious in fact, because Laura Steven/Kirkpatrick`s sense of humour is brilliant and it translated really well to middle grade. That said, I thought the more sentimental side of the family dynamic was super lovely as well, and I loved learning about the merworld, so I hope to learn even more about it in subsequent books in the series. 4.5/5

Eagle Warrior by Gill Lewis (received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

This is the story of a girl named Bobbie, whose life changes after her gran`s dog is poisoned by mistake due to someone trying to kill an eagle in her Scottish highland home. Bobbie, in true Gill Lewis tradition, is a very easy character to sympathise with and root for, and I really liked her. I also love the way that Gill Lewis writes about nature and wildlife, because she creates such vivid and beautiful settings and really makes me think about the way some humans treat animals as though they are lesser. Something else I really enjoyed about this that I`ve not seen other reviews so far mention is the interesting relationship between Bobbie`s gran and great uncle Fraser, which touches on themes of gender inequality and was a pretty different dynamic that I enjoyed watching develop as a subplot. Overall, this was another wonderful book from Gill Lewis 4.5/5

The Garden of Lost Secrets by A.M Howell
In her utterly delectable debut, which reminded me in the absolute best way of early Emma Carroll, AM Howell tells the story of a girl named Clara as she goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in the midst of the first world war, and the mystery she becomes embroiled in there about who is stealing fruit from the gardens of the estate her relatives work on. The historical period this is set in is one of my favourites to read about, so I thought I`d love this and I`m so happy it lived up to my insanely high expectations of it. I just loved Clara- she is a wonderful heroine who I adored from the very beginning, because even though she is flawed her intentions are almost pure and she really cares about others, even though they may not always see it for whatever reason. The supporting cast were also tremendous- her aunt and uncle were so mysterious and thus fascinating to get to know, her friend Will was fantastic and I wanted things to go well for him so badly and there are many other smaller roles that were really well written too. I was obsessed with the writing style of this more than anything else, though, because it was so easy to sink into and lose yourself in the pages as a result- it was one of those books where I was almost watching everything unfold in my head because the setting and characters felt incredibly real to me. I especially enjoyed the reading session where I was feeling particularly ill and curled up with this, so if you`re in a similar situation I highly recommend choosing this to read during it, as well as just recommending this in general because I thought it was phenomenal. I already can`t wait to see what AM Howell writes next, because I have a feeling she`ll just get better and better from here. 5/5

Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan

While I`d expected to enjoy this, I had no idea I`d love it just as much as I did and I enjoyed being taken by surprise by it so very much. It is the story of a girl named Mup, and what happens when her dad is kidnapped by witches acting on the behalf of her grandmother, who rules over the kingdom Mup`s mum escaped many years ago, and they need to return there in order to save him. I found the world so interesting and unique, and I loved just about every part of the worldbuilding- it was so well described that I felt kind of as if I was there and the atmospheric feel the writing managed to achieve was amazing. I also loved the little injections of humour that came every now and then- this was pretty dark in places and it was very welcome. I was also a big fan of the characters- Mup endeared herself to me with her compassion for others and her general personality, Tipper was so sweet and my heart completely broke for Crow- I loved him so much and the way he was treated made me absolutely furious and so very sad. I cried a great deal for him while I was reading! The raggedy witches and the queen also deserve a mention, because while I definitely didn`t like them (quite the contrary in fact), they were incredible villains who I totally despised, and pretty terrifying too to be honest. I`m really looking forward to reading more of Mup`s story at some point soon 5/5

The Bad Luck Lighthouse by Nicki Thornton (received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

After thoroughly enjoying last year`s the Last Chance Hotel, I was delighted to learn there was going to be a sequel and I`m even more delighted that it`s just as good now that I`ve read it. It follows immensely likable hero Seth as he travels to a lighthouse, and is swept up in another magical murder mystery when a young heiress comes to an untimely end. Seth is such a lovely character and I was rooting for him all the way in this, and his feline companion Nightshade is still a complete and utter joy- I don`t think I could love her much more if I tried. Angelique is also brilliant, and the cast of suspects and other detectives rounded out a fantastic cast. The mystery was also great, with plenty of twists and turns that I liked a lot and I really enjoyed how atmospheric the lighthouse setting was- it got pretty creepy at some points and it is certainly not somewhere I`d ever want to visit! I think the developments in the series plot were wonderful too, as I`m now desperate to hear whether or not I`ll get to see Seth and his world again after certain revelations and events towards the end. 4.5/5

Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green

I absolutely adore the Noah series by this author, and I`m happy to report that Alex in Wonderland was as hilarious and heart-warming a read as I`ve come to expect from Simon. It`s about a boy called Alex as he gets a summer job in the failing Wonderland arcade, and promptly falls head over heels for his co-worker Ben, even though the latter has a girlfriend. On top of this, he has to work out who is sabotaging the arcade and why, and attempt to stop them before Wonderland closes forever. Alex is a disaster in a very different way to Noah, but he`s just as lovable and reading from his point of view was so much fun, I can`t even tell you how much I enjoyed it. His interactions with Ben and Efia were also particularly hilarious, but I was laughing pretty much constantly as I read this so really all of it was a win on the humour front for me. The romance was also a huge highlight, because it was so precious in so many places and Alex and Ben were so great as a pair. Also, I can`t say much without spoiling it all, but the solution to the mystery definitely made me audibly gasp; I loved it. Can I just have more of Simon`s books immediately please? 4.5/5

Find the Girl by Lucy and Lydia Connell, in collaboration with Katy Birchall (received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

In their debut novel, Youtubers Lucy and Lydia tell the story of estranged twins Nancy and Nina, as they rekindle their bond amidst the chaos of a famous popstar falling in love with the twin who isn`t his obsessive fan. A lot of this really reminded me of Zoella`s Girl Online, which I actually quite enjoyed, so I found that fun, and it was different enough to not feel like I was reading the exact same book. I also really liked Nina as a character, even though I wasn`t so keen on Nancy for most of the book (though she did grow on me!), and I thought the romance with Chase was super cute. Unfortunately, as someone with a health condition that really affects their balance, there were some parts of this book that really upset me. At the beginning especially, there were a lot of references to Nina`s slight clumsiness being `embarrassing` and there was also a section which implied balance issues were a choice, and I found both of these troubling. Between my utter confusion as to how these sorts of things made it into the book and trying not to let the idea that I am somehow lesser because I have issues with balance upset me as it so often does, it really impacted my enjoyment of this. 3/5

What did you read in June? Do you have any thoughts on the ones I`ve read? I`d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: goldenbooksgirl@gmail.com | she/her

16 thoughts on “June Reviews 2019”

  1. I adored Rumblestar – fabulous world-building and such wonderful characters. Begone the Raggedy Witches was one of my favourite books this year. I read Little Grey Girl straight after it – even better! I’ve just recently read The Garden of Lost Secrets and thought it was incredible! I want to read Eagle Warrior, but I have so many books on my TBR that I’m not sure when I’ll get to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh that would be brilliant! There are so many I’m hoping she’ll pick next I can’t even choose just one 😂- In Darkling Wood, Raggedy Witches and The Unicorn Quest are probably the ones I’m hoping for next, or the Laura Steven!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m on the Unicorn Quest currently BUT I left it at home on the side as I had been reading it before leaving (currently staying over at my in-laws!!) so I started lost tide warriors from scratch and loved it!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot wait to get a copy of Alex in Wonderland – it sounds fantastic and I’ve heard so many good reviews too! Another fab reading month in June for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m reading Garden of Lost Secrets now and definitely, definitely getting the Emma Carroll vibe (in a good way, not in a copycat type way or anything!) That was one of my first thoughts on it too. I’m loving the mystery element and the way the war is a ort of threaded through so its present and affecting everyone but not the main focus. Very cleverly done.
    Glad to read your review of Alex… as I won’t read that but super helpful to know what you thought for work!
    P. S. Very tactful and well-written 😉👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy you’re enjoying Garden of Lost Secrets so far! And I’m glad my review of Alex is helpful- if you ever want to ask about any YA, I’d love to help (especially since you’re going to help me pick picture books next time I need to!). And thank you, it took me a while to work out how to phrase everything 😉 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s an absolute deal! I totally rely on blogs and reviews for so much of my YA recommends. I feel a bit bad, but realistically I can’t read everything and at least then I know a bit about them!x

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so excited yo hear what you think of Rumblestar. You’d love Raggedy Witches I think. It’s very, VERY you. And Alex in Wonderland is the loveliest (much like it’s author!)x


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