BOOKENDS: What I Read in June 2023

June was a romance-heavy month for me! It wasn’t until I got everything entered into Goodreads that I noticed three (and a half) of the books I read featured a romance plotline, but June was also a weird month and I didn’t feel like I could focus on too many heavy reads in a row. Not the Kind of Earl You Marry and The Heiress Gets a Duke were my favorites of the romances I read, and The Perks of Loving a Wallflower was good but felt a little flat at times. The romance hints in Of Manners and Murder definitely had a hint of what is to come with the series, and I may borrow the second book from the library once it comes out even though I found the first to be a bit slow in the first half. Thornhedge is another winner from T. Kingfisher, and it has proven that I will read anything her and love it, so I need to get my hands on her backlist. The Future of Another Timeline is a riot of a read, and it makes me miss the riotgrrl days a bit. I loved the time travel concept in this, how history and the future can be and is changed even without time travel, and the writing in this has a buzz running through it. Linden’s The First Sister was a surprise read for me in how much I loved it! I recently purchased the sequel, and the conclusion to the trilogy comes out later this year – feels familiar but subverts a lot of science fiction tropes in a way I enjoyed. Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed feels just like listening to him speak on social media, and it makes me want to listen to the audiobook in the future.


💖 purchased/owned | 🌠 library/borrowed | 🔮 review copy | 💞 reread | 👻 dnf

💖 Not the Kind of Earl You Marry, by Kate Pembrooke
🔮 Thornhedge, by T. Kingfisher
💖 The Future of Another Timeline, by Annalee Newitz
💖 The Perks of Loving a Wallflower, by Erica Ridley
🌠 Of Manners and Murder, by Anastasia Hastings
💖 The Heiress Gets a Duke, by Harper St. George
💖 The Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green
💖 The First Sister, by Linden A. Lewis

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books on My Summer 2023 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). This week, I’m featuring my Summer 2023 TBR! (I missed the original date, but there’s no time like the present!)

Fourth Wing, by Rebecca Yarros — This is the book of the summer, and the hype machine behind it is HUGE. I love dragons in fantasy, and I’m glad I picked up a copy of this when it first came out because those sprayed edges are to die for!! 

The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H.G. Wells — I want to read more classics in general, and I want to read this before I read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. It’s short, so it shouldn’t take too long, and I enjoy what I’ve already read of Wells!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank Green — I’ve had this on my shelf for far too long, and in an effort to read and complete series, I added the duology to my TBR shelf! 

You’re Not Supposed to Die Tonight, by Kalynn Bayron — I’ve heard this called a callback to pulpy YA horror and that it has an amazing twist, and it sounds like it’ll be fun to read on a hot summer night! 

Dead Eleven, by Jimmy Juliano — I didn’t realize until receiving this book from Dutton Books (thank you!!) that this author wrote a lot of creepypasta stories on reddit!! This sounds so interesting because why are people on this island stuck in 1994?? 

The Dead Romantics, by Ashley Poston — this has been on too many TBRs at this point, and I need to get it read!! Especially now that her second romance just came out!

The Shining, by Stephen King — another one on several TBRs and one on my 23 in 2023 list, but summer feels like the perfect time to read Stephen King for the first time.

Cemetery Boys, by Aiden Thomas — this is one is another one on my 23 in 2023 list, and I wanted to get to it in June, but I’m prioritizing it for this summer!

Nettle & Bone, by T. Kingfisher — this author has become one of my favorite writers that I’ve read recently, and I want to read everything on her backlist. I meant to grab this in hardcover but I never ended up doing it, but I just bought it the other day in paperback and can’t wait to dive in!

Yellowface, by R.F. Kuang — another one of the hyped books of the spring/summer, but I also love me some literary industry fiction/drama, and after reading Babel, I can’t wait to see how Kuang handles modern day fiction!

What’s on your summer TBR?

BOOK REVIEW: One Dark Window, by Rachel Gillig

BOOK REVIEW: One Dark Window, by Rachel GilligTitle: One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig
Series: The Shepherd King #1
Published by Orbit
Published: September 27, 2022
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 396
Format: Trade Paper
Source: Purchased
Buy: Bookshop(afflilate link)

Elspeth needs a monster. The monster might be her.

Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.

But nothing comes for free, especially magic.

When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.

Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.

Rachel Gillig’s One Dark Window is a fantasy series opener of a kingdom in which a dark magic is spreading like an infection. Magic in this realm is facilitated by Providence Cards, in the vein of tarot cards, and the magic has a price. These Providence Cards were created by an ancient king with magic bestowed upon him by a primeval forest spirit, and this magic caused a rift with the spirit, who in turn cursed the realm with a foreboding mist that’s eating away at the realm’s lands and causing fevers in its people. 

In order to stop this mist, twelve of the cards are needed to break the curse and one of them is missing. Elspeth, the main character, had the fever as a child and was possessed by the Nightmare, and, as a result, she has powers she does not know how to control. 

I enjoyed the characters so much, especially the slow burn of a relationship between Elspeth and Ravyn and the banter between Elspeth and the Nightmare. The possession of the Nightmare in Elspeth reminded me a bit of Artemisa and the Revenant in Margaret Rogerson’s Vespertine (which was a surprising read for me, and has fully marked Rogerson as one of my favorite YA fantasy writers). The use of the Providence Cards in a dark fantasy setting threw me back to the Gamecube game Lost Kingdoms in which a dark fog begins to consume a kingdom and the character uses magic cards to summon spirits and monsters. It’s not a game many I know seem to remember, but it was one of my favorites that I rented several times over (I could never find a copy that was affordable to me at the time)!

This is a lush, dark fantasy debut that hints at what’s to come while offering an engaging and romantic story that left me ready for the sequel!!

BOOKENDS: What I Read in May 2023

May was a solid reading month for me, and I read eight books! The Once and Future Sex was a great introduction to women’s medieval history and provided a jumping off point if you wanted to get started with reading beyond a men’s-focused frame of reference. Some Dukes Have All the Luck was an addictive read that I couldn’t put down once I started it and made me want to read this author’s backlist immediately!! Deanna Raybourn’s Silent in the Grave is her debut, and I can see a lot of the threads that would become evident in her Veronica Speedwell series (which I also love and need to catch up on). The Crane Husband is a solid novella and once I’d recommend to those really interested in fairy tale explorations, while The Witch’s Heart was a bit of a disappointment because Loki as a character in that felt… juvenile. One can be a trickster without seeming like a one-trick pony. Ash Princess is a solid series opener, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy as I’m trying to read more of what I have on my kindle. The only two that were less than great, but not bad, were The Death of Vivek Oji (I was not expecting some of the elements as I’d not really seen them spoken about in some of the reviews I read, and I felt the incest took away from the impact of the story) and Our Share of Night (seemed a bit too long in the middle and dragged, and the best part of it was in the last quarter of the book or so).


💖 purchased/owned | 🌠 library/borrowed | 🔮 review copy | 💞 reread | 👻 dnf

🌠 The Once and Future Sex, by Eleanor Janega
💖 Some Dukes Have All the Luck, by Christina Britton
🌠 The Death of Vivek Oji, by Akwaeke Emezi
💖 Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn
💖 The Witch’s Heart, by Genevieve Gornichec
🌠 The Crane Husband, by Kelly Barnhill
💖 Ash Princess, by Laura Sebastian
🌠 Our Share of Night, by Maria Enriquez