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Looking Back at the Books I Read in June 2023


I finally feel like I’m out of my reading slump. I’ve been reading a ton of books over on Kindle; two of which were ARC. I don’t know if it’s because a bunch of books that were on my TBR or in series I had already started came out this month or if the mood finally shifted. I know I have several more coming out in July, so we’ll see if that continues. But I’m also in the middle of moving, so we’ll see how much reading I actually get done.

So, what did I read this month?

These are all the new books I read, not any that I decided to re-read along the way. If I did a review, I’ll share the link to those. Otherwise, I will do a quick review of the book or series (with the series getting the mini-review at the end of all the books in the list). Mostly, those will just be a quick blurb about what the book/series was about.

For the two books that I received as ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), I did mark these with a * as I did receive those from authors for free prior to their release in exchange of a review.

  1. A Dose of Pretty Poison (Pretty Poison Trilogy, Book 1) by Kelsey Clayton – 3.5 stars
  2. A Drop of Pretty Poison (Pretty Poison Trilogy, Book 2) by Kelsey Clayton – 3.25 stars
  3. A Shot of Pretty Poison (Pretty Poison Trilogy, Book 3) by Kelsey Clayton – 3.25 stars
    • This trilogy honestly should’ve been a standalone. The first book was good, then the second book was a strength, and the third was just why? Don’t get me wrong, those two were still interesting but I think it would’ve been better to stick with the original plot. Girl (Laiken) has been in love with her brother’s best friend (Hayes) for years, eventually he returns those feelings but keeps it a secret from her brother (Cam). Then it should’ve ended with them telling Cam the truth and the two best friends getting past that with a teaser of their life in the future. Then perhaps of a follow up book of Cam getting with Laiken’s best friend, Mali. Instead, it turned into miscommunication followed by I Know What You Did Last Summer mixed with Pretty Little Liars in a murder mystery and revenge plot against the four main characters. Aka it was dragged out and what was once a sweet couple, turned into a massive clusterfuck. I mean Laiken was in love with him for years and she just disappeared without a trace one night without a word. And then didn’t think twice about the fact someone rich moved her in and helped her land her dream job, after someone literally blackmailed her into leaving. Come on!
  4. Rules Of The Game (Rule Breaker, Book 2) by J Wilder – 3.5 stars
    • This book focuses on Lucas and Piper. They were Jax’s friends from childhood that were in the background of the first book. This book goes before college started for them when Lucas and Piper first got together then broke up after Piper’s brother died in a car accident. It was interesting to see these events play out. Of course, I knew they were going to end up together and engaged (as that happened in the first book), so seeing the two go back and forth on their feelings through grief was a rollercoaster. I’m glad Lucas finally told Piper how she blamed himself for Marcus’s death and why he pushed her away. Of course, she never blamed him for any of that and eventually forgave him as even though he kept her at arms length, he still was there for her through a grief app. I’m curious how the next book is going to play out as we’re finally going to get River, Alex, and Mia. We at least got a sneak peak in the future that the three are still together versus being all broken up as they were at the end of the first book. So, that’s going to be a fun rollercoaster.
  5. Savage Hearts (Filthy Wicked Psychos, Book 4) by Eva Ashwood – 3.5 stars
    • The final book of the series. Willow, Malice, Ransom, and Vic face off against Troy and Olivia. The beginning quarter of the book was hard to get through since Willow was being abused and held captive, but it got better once she was rescued and they finally after three books were able to turn the tables against Olivia and end things once and for all. The dream that Willow had in the previous book also comes true, even if it’s not exactly how she pictured it. It was a good conclusion to this series. And introduced Quinn, who I’m guessing the next series is going to follow in this world, though I could be wrong.
  6. Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, Book 1) by Rebecca Yarros4.5 stars
    • See my review for my thoughts on this book.
  7. A Dream So Wicked (Entangled With Fae, Book 5) by Tessonja Odette3.75 stars*
    • See my review for my thoughts on this book.
  8. A Ship of Bones & Teeth by Karina Halle – 3.5 stars
    • A dark fantasy re-imaging of the Little Mermaid. We follow Princess Maren (our Ariel stand-in) ten years after she made the deal with a sea witch to become human. Only the last decade aren’t what Maren thought they were be. Love of the prince was conditional on her not being able to talk, though she eventually regained that ability. After their ship is taken hostage by a group of pirates known as the Brethren, Maren finally gets freedom though it comes with the price of a possessive captain who refuses to let her go. One who also just happens to want vengeance on the sea witch that turned Maren into a human. This is a dark fantasy, so both main characters are morally grey and are monsters in their own right. But they balance each other out. I enjoyed this book, though at times the modern inner dialogue compared against the time-specific language that was spoken out loud was jarring. And the pacing felt off in a few places. Also a good portion where plot was underdeveloped was explained away as magic without establishing that system. Overall, it was a good read.
  9. The Stars Are Dying (Nytefall, Book 1) by Chloe C. Peñaranda3.75 stars*
    • See my review for my thoughts on this book.
  10. Servant to the Spidae (Aspect and Anchor, Book 4) by Ruby Dixon3.25 stars
    • See my thoughts on this series for my general thoughts.
  11. Liars and Liaisons (Monsters & Muses, Book 6) by Sav R. Miller3.5 stars
    • See my thoughts on this series for my general thoughts.
  12. This Gilded Abyss (This Gilded Abyss, Book 1) by Rebecca Throne4 stars
    • This book was inspired by the video Bioshock and I could see it’s inspiration throughout the book without following it’s exact plot. Also, I think it’s uncanny that it came out shortly before the Titan submersible and involves individuals trapped in a submersible in a life or death situation. However, the situations are extremely different. In this case, there’s a disease outbreak that’s turning those infected into rabid killing machines usually resulting in their own death. It is LGBTQ+ mixed with Fantasy and Horror, plus there’s a political drama on top of what’s going on. I seriously enjoyed this book. Check out my review for all my thoughts on this book.

My Rating System

Check out this post to see how my rating scale works, but the quick version is:

  • 5 stars = Masterpiece. Nothing can literally be better than this. Not to mention, a major book slump happens afterward where I am unable to pick up another book for quite some time.
  • 4 stars = One of the best books I’ve ever read, I couldn’t put it down and found little fault in it.
  • 3 stars = A good book but there were some flaws, from editing to plot to you name it.
  • 2 stars = Liked the book, but wouldn’t say it was something that was memorable.
  • 1 star = Book wasn’t for me.

I almost never give a 5-star rating. Some books have come close, but something always held me back from giving it to those books. I also use .25 increments with the ratings, so there’s a range in each of those levels.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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