June 2020 Wrap-Up || the best reading month I’ve had so far!

Hi all, and happy Tuesday! 

I know I mention it in just about every single monthly wrap-up, but I truly cannot believe we’re halfway done with 2020 (I’ve since decided that time isn’t real). The only thing I suppose we can wish for now is that 2020 is halfway done with us.

I hope that you all have been doing well and treating yourself with some extra kindness and love. I hope you’ve been standing up for what’s right. I hope you’ve been educating yourself and signing petitions. I hope you’ve been advocating for change, whatever that may look like for you. I hope you’re staying aware and staying sane. I hope your mental health is improving day by day or remaining stable. And, I sincerely hope that you’ve been wearing a mask and staying 6ft away from people when you go to any public place. 

But, without further ado, let’s wrap up June! 

June was nothing short of a fantastic reading month. I finished a long-awaited series, and I met up with a whole host of newest favorite characters. I even read one of the best thrillers/mysteries I’ve read to date. I thoroughly enjoyed every single book I read this month, and I wish it could be like for every month here on out. 

The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan – ★★★★★. Like I mentioned in my May Wrap-Up, I’ve officially started (and since ended) my PJO journey as a “full-grown” adult! I think one of the main reasons why I enjoyed The Titan’s Curse so much was because the plot almost entirely focused on Grover. Now, I don’t think it’s much of a secret anymore, but I adored Grover the moment I met him in the first PJO book, so the whole gang on a quest to find him is probably the best plot I could’ve imagined for this book? I also really love how flawlessly tied in each of these books are. The plot continues to build on top of the plots from the previous books, and it’s kind of fantastic.

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan – ★★★★☆. If I was ever expected to save the entirety of life as I know it by my ability to get through a harrowing maze in which things are trying to kill me around every corner, I’m sorry to say but I don’t think I’d be all too successful. I also have to admit that, aside from The Lightning Thief, I think The Battle of the Labyrinth has one of the most iconic beginnings out of the whole series! I mean, we meet Nico and Bianca; there are killer cheerleaders; and Percy is just trying to impress and not ruin his mom’s boyfriend’s reputation, failing in the process as he blows up the school he’s employed by. Like I said, it’s iconic. I believe this is also the first book that we meet the Hunters of Artemis? And they’re so, so wonderful.

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan – ★★★★★. It was definitely bittersweet to officially reach the end of the PJO series. But The Last Olympian was such a beautiful conclusion to the story. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m always going to be heartbroken over the characters that we lost, but it was executed so well. As a reader, you finally get to see Percy really come into his own. From being terrified at the sight of three women cutting a string to leading a battle on Mount Olympus? We love character development in this house. I also loved seeing Percy and Annabeth grow into one another along the way, with this last book almost fireworking their respect and adoration for one another. And I’m fairly certain that The Last Olympian made me fully fall in love with Thalia Grace with no hesitation. 

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – ★★★★★. Okay. Without any form of exaggeration or dramatization, this has got to be one of the best (if not the best) thriller I have ever read. It was the right amount of creepy at the exact right time, and I was second guessing everything. Not to mention, so many fingers were being pointed that I’m fairly certain I had whiplash by the time I reach the end of the book. And because Home Before Dark focuses on a character that’s one of the main characters in her father’s nonfiction book about a haunted house, every other chapter is a chapter from his book. Super fantastic. Super quick read. I can’t recommend it enough.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – ★★★★☆. I read A Darker Shade of Magic early on during this whole global pandemic business, and I’m so happy to have returned to this wonderfully terrifying magical world. There were definitely some parts of the book that felt a little slow, but you could almost feel the momentum to the Big Thing it was undoubtedly leading up to. The second book of the Shades of Magic series also includes this competitive tournament in which magicians from all over the empire fight each other with the different elements they can control (water, earth, air, and fire). The writing and actual content is nothing short of stunning. I’ve also really come to love Lila, Kell, Rhy, and Alucard – all for different reasons. These characters are each complexly unique, with traumatizing backgrounds, and it was wonderful to see how that background shaped who they are as people. I feel like I don’t quite have the words for this series right now, and I’m definitely failing as a book blogger because of it.

Currently reading: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. It was only a matter of time before I jumped back into the Riordanverse, right? I’m definitely enjoying meeting these new characters, but I’m still a bit iffy on now focusing on Roman mythology vs. Greek. I’ve also heard a few readers argue back and forth about which is better, Camp Half Blood or Camp Jupiter, and that’s not even a competition. Are you joking?!

me after finishing The Last Olympian.

The Politician, season 2. I have been looking forward to the second season of this show since the first season came out, and I may or may not have finished the second season in one day. The second season was just as addicting as the first, and I couldn’t pull myself away from the screen; I just had to watch one more episode. Unfortunately though, there were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way. But, even with those few things that I didn’t care for, it was still intriguing enough for me to watch the new season within a 24 hour window. Without spoiling anything, I didn’t particularly like the plotline nor some of the characters’ development arcs. You can probably tell, but I’m very wishy washy on the new season. If there’s a season 3 though, you can bet I’ll watch it in an instant.

How to Train Your Dragon. I have been living under a rock because I hadn’t watched this movie up until this past month, and that’s pretty disgraceful. How could I have lived that much of my life without meeting Toothless?? Going into this movie, I knew I was going to walk away from loving it. From the trailer to the high reviews of trusted friends, I knew I was in for something special. What I wasn’t expecting though was how much How to Train Your Dragon would touch my heart and affect my emotional well-being. Watching Hiccup and Toothless slowly get comfortable to each other before moving into full-on “I will protect you with my life” mode was heart wrenching. Hiccup was a misunderstood underdog being directed by a society and culture he didn’t exactly fit into, and so was Toothless. They were mirrors for each other, and together they found exactly where they fit into the world; I could probably cry thinking about it.

Queer Eye, season 5. Queer Eye is content that will fuel your soul and your ability to believe in the good of the world, I swear. Seeing the heroes and the care that the Fab 5 devote to each is an instant boost of serotonin. Much like all of the other season, the heroes chosen are absolutely incredible people and truly inspire me to go out and do better. Queer Eye is this perfect balance of heartfelt, inspiring moments and snarky humor. If you’ve somehow missed out on this show, you need to drop everything right now and give it a watch.

Love, Victor. Are you kidding me?! As a fan of Simon Vs. and Love, Simon, I was more than ready for this series. It was a bit of a rollercoaster to get here (between Disney dropping the show and Hulu picking it up), but I’m so happy to have finally watched it. I can admit with complete confidence that while I was watching Love, Victor, I was only thinking about Love, Victor. The characters were lovely and realistic – as “realistic” as they can be when we’re talking about YA characters based off of a fictional universe. There were moments filled with self-discovery, moments filled with self-doubt, and I loved every single one of them. As far as teenage contemporary stories are concerned, this is exactly what you want and need in your life. Also, Felix is a wonderful character, and I really just want to be his best friend.

Be More Chill. Based on a friends’ recommendation, I finally sat down and listened to the Be More Chill soundtrack straight through! From just the music alone, it’s easy to tell that this story is so remnant within our culture. Sure, on the forefront, it’s about a high school “nerd” that wants to fit in and takes this super powerful pill that’s essentially a new voice in his head and tells him exactly what to do to be more chill. But the themes of mental health and fitting in are super potent, and I think it’s an incredible story for absolutely anyone. As of right now, my favorite songs are “Be More Chill (Pt. 1),” “Michael in the Bathroom,” and “Voices in My Head.” “Michael in the Bathroom” is a superior song, and that’s all I have to say on that.

Malka from Paper Procrastinators discussed her reasons of why it took her so long to listen to an audiobook, and I found myself relating to so many points she made. I recently just got into audiobooks (thanks PJO) and enjoyed them for more reasons than just because it’s read by some of my favorite Broadway actors.

Kay over at Hammock of Books shared an incredible post about how you can reclaim Harry Potter and still love the series without supporting J.K. Rowling. I absolutely loved this post and loved the helpful tips that Kay offered. Countless people site Harry Potter as being a huge part of their childhood, and it’s earth shattering when that part of your life no longer feels safe or welcome. Please take a look at her post to find out how you can still be a fan, an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and how you can avoid supporting an author with harmful and flat-out wrong opinions!

Nish and Ngoc from Nish & Ngoc’s Book Nook put together an incredible post outlining every way you can help the Black Lives Matter movement if you don’t have the funds to donate in a more traditional way. I really wanted to share this post because I know that it can be easy to feel helpless if you don’t have the tools to do everything that you want to do. By watching a few videos, signing some petitions, and educating ourselves, we can make the strides necessary to live in a world that actually promises freedom and equality for every single living human being.

Sofii from A Book. A Thought. not only shared more resources on how to help the Black Lives Matter movement, but she also shared 2020 releases by Black authors so we can offer as much support as possible. Again, the links and resources Sofii provided are crucial. And, if you’re in the market for a new release, definitely check out some of her suggested titles.

Caitlin over at Caitlin Athea posted all of her thoughts on blog hopping and her blog hopping process. I’ve admitted to it somewhat recently, but my blog hopping game hasn’t been very strong so I found myself loving this post!

Margaret from Weird Zeal curated a list of 40+ queer books by Black authors to support during Pride Month. And sure, it’s no longer June, but who’s to say we can’t celebrate Pride year round? Again, this is a fantastic list of books and I’m so excited to add a bunch to my TBR!


So, what do you think? How was your June? Did you start a new series? Have you watched a movie that you’ve been meaning to watch for years? Let’s chat!

19 thoughts on “June 2020 Wrap-Up || the best reading month I’ve had so far!

  1. GIRL I’M SO HAPPY YOU HAD A GREAT JUNE!! also yess to PJO 🤩🤩 and the SoN trio are some lf my favs in HoO although I love them all lol. Also, have you read Lost Hero? I recommend reading it before SoN!
    WAIT, THE POLITICIAN’S SEASON TWO CAME OUT??? i remember binging it back in february and thinking that it was going to take sooo long until season 2 came out… woah, time has flown by 😅
    Have a lovely July!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I honestly wish EVERY month was exactly how June was – SO MANY GOOD BOOKS! I have read Lost Hero! I’ve also since finished SoN and can agree that that trio is the best kind of chaos. I’ve since taken a small break from the Percy Jackson world, but I’m happy to go back for the Mark of Athena and see the original PJO crew reunited! I can already tell my heart is going to burst. AND YES! It came out a few weeks ago now!! Time has definitely blown by. I mean, we’re halfway through July now?? I hope the rest of the month treats you well! 💜

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  2. because we get to talk about PJO now, let me fangirl for a moment. titan’s curse is my favorite probably, because i Love the characters we are introduced to here: nico, bianca, rachel, zoe, the huntress of artemis… even though that book is always a bit bittersweet because we don’t have practically any annabeth, i still love it to pieces. i don’t *love* battle of the labyrinth, just because i find it to be a bit too slow, but i completely agree that it the beginning is ICONIC. like blowing up an entire school? yes, go off son, hahah. but the last olympians is just *the best*. i really like their development as you said, but i think my favorite thing about the book is luke’s arc as well as nico’s. i think this book really convinced me on the villains’ motivations, because it’s when you realize how abandoned those kids felt when they decided to join chronos. there are a lot of sad scenes in this book imo, especially when we get to learn more about luke’s backstory! ok i’ll shut up now but i have a lot of feelings, hahah.

    i will be looking forward to your thoughts on heroes of olympus!

    i completely agree that season 2 of the politician didn’t feel as strong as the first one. but i really liked the ending and it made me super invested for a season three, as i feel like the stakes will be even higher this time. i think what pulled me off of the story was just that some storylines – such as mcaffe’s, skye’s and james’ – were truly tossed aside even though they’re very interesting characters!

    ahhh, i am sosso excited to watch love victor! i’ve seen so many things on social media already and i know i’m going to love it! i also need to finish season 5 of queer eye. i’ve been putting it off for some reason, and i think it’s because none of the episode’s synopsis really caught my attention but i also know i’ll love it once i start watching it, because the fab5 never disappoint, hahah.

    sorry that this comment is SO FREAKING LONG. hope you have an amazing july, lauren!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES PLEASE! I totally welcome all PJO fingerling now, and I’m happy to report that I can finally partake and understand references now having read the series. I really couldn’t agree more about The Titan’s Curse! I also think it was my favorite of the series, and for many of the reasons you listed. Overall, I thought it was such a good meshing of characters we already knew and introducing new characters, and more parts of the mythological world, if that makes any sense at all. I actually agree with Battle of Labyrinth as well; I think it may have even been the book that took me the longest to read. It’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but there was so many comings and goings into the maze, that it started to feel repetitive. And I fully understand that’s the point of a maze, but it felt a little Too Much? THE LAST OLYMPIAN TOOK MY HEART, OKAY? So much sadness and destruction and character growth and ugh, it really was so lovely. And you never ever have to shut up about PJO! As far as Hereos of Olympus is concerned, I’ve officially read the first two books! I’m sad to report that Son of Neptune wasn’t my favorite, and I think a huge element of that was I was starting to slip into a book slump. But, I really love the new characters we’ve met, and I loved Jason’s story at Camp Half Blood in The Lost Hero. I’m so excited to start Mark of Athena and see the original PJO crew reunite!

      I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the second season of The Politician as the first, but I am happy to report that we have the same feelings about why it wasn’t so strong. The tossed aside story lines are also what threw me off this season. I thought that in the first season, Mcafee, Skye, and James had such strong LGBTQ+ storylines built and I loved seeing that representation, but it felt like those were just deserted to focus on Payton running for senate. Oh well, I suppose we can just hope for a better season 3 if there is one!

      Oh my gosh Lais, Love Victor will steal your heart. And, you’re not alone in that, I also haven’t finished Queer Eye for some reason? I love it with my whole heart, but I just haven’t watched it recently. I’m definitely so excited to finish it though!

      Never EVER apologize for a long comment – your comments never fail to make my day! I appreciate you so much! Thank you, and happy July!! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hooray for your best reading month!! I also had my best reading month in forever in June, so I guess there was just something in the air??

    (Also, you’re absolutely right, time isn’t real.)

    I loved reading your thoughts on the Percy Jackson series, and yes, Thalia Grace deserves all of our love and respect. And I agree that there is NO question about which is better between Camp Half Blood and Camp Jupiter. (No, that definitely isn’t my nostalgia talking.)

    Ahh I’m so ashamed that I haven’t gotten around to finishing The Politician season 2! 🙈 I just know that once I get going, I won’t be able to stop, and I’m not sure that I’m emotionally ready for that lol. And YESSS HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON!!! One of my favorite movies – Hiccup and Toothless are one of the most iconic duos in history, basically?? I love them!! I completely agree with your thoughts on Love, Victor, and I’m DYING for the next season.

    Thanks so much for sharing my post, and happy reading in July!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it’s something in the air making us all of a great reading month, can it be in the air forever??

      It DEFINITELY isn’t your nostalgia talking! I mean, Camp Half Blood is very much like a summer camp with a dash of combative training. It’s very much, “we’re going to eat smores and sing around the campfire tonight, and tomorrow we start learning how to use Ancient Greek weapons,” while I think Camp Jupiter is almost always combative training? It’s probably just my weakness talking because, even though I probably couldn’t survive at either place or in any battle, I would have more of a chance of living at Camp Half Blood, LOL.

      I’m so excited to hear all of your thoughts on season 2!! I feel like we will definitely gave a lot to talk about. And I really just need to watch the second How To Train Your Dragon but it’s not available anywhere – can you hear my heart breaking??? And I need season two of Love, Victor. It comes out tomorrow, right??

      Happy July, Margaret! 💜

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  4. I’m so glad you had a great June!
    I really need to read Percy Jackson and I think that’s definitely one for my summer tbr because it’s been so hyped! I did really enjoy The Lightning Thief when I read it ages ago so hopefully I’ll love the rest.
    And I also really need to watch The Politician because it looks so good & I adore Ben Platt). And yes!! to Michael in the Bathroom!! One of my all-time fave musical theatre songs (even though I didn’t love the rest of Be More Chill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Emme! I definitely think you should read Percy Jackson, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you think should you pick it up! And, along the same vein, I’m excited to hear your thoughts on all things The Politician. (I also adore Ben Platt; that man can do no wrong). I was also hesitant about Be More Chill when I first heard it a little while back, but I definitely enjoyed it more this time around when I just sat down and gave it my full attention! Happy July, Emme!

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  5. thank you so much for sharing my post, Lauren!! don’t worry about not blog hopping at all! everyone gets busy sometimes, & I’ve actually been slacking on blog hopping lately haha. Also, I’m so glad that you enjoyed most of what you read and watched this month!! I really, really want to reread PJO since I don’t remember anything about it! I definitely will before the adaptation airs, and I can’t wait to see what I think about it now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, Caitlin; your posts are always so wonderful! And thank you for your reassurance! As much as I love blog hopping, it’s definitely a time commitment that I haven’t had much time for recently! And as someone who just read PJO for the first time, I think rereading it is always a good idea. I’m so looking forward to the adaptation!

      Happy July! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Can you hear me crying, Margaret? Because I’m crying. Honestly, this ind of praise from you means the world to me, because your blog and all of your content is nothing short of fantastic. You’re a wonderful human being, and you definitely, undoubtedly, just made my year. Thank you so much again for the nomination and for your kind words!

      I couldn’t agree more with some of the bloggers you included in these categories, and I’m super pumped to discover the bloggers you mentioned that I haven’t followed yet!

      Thank you so much again ❤

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    1. Thank you, Tasya! And YES! I fully agree. I’m currently on Mark of Athena from HOO, and even though I just read PJO, I’ve missed these characters! And oh my gosh, the whole Shades of Magic series was absolutely incredible. I’m so glad to hear that you felt the same!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment! ❤

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  6. I adore Riley Sager’s books, and I can’t wait for Home Before Dark – he keeps improving with every book, so I’m sure it’s going to be great and I love everything you said about it here. Ah, I’m so excited!! I need to start The Politician! It looks really good, though I’m sad the second season had some parts you disliked. :/ I watched How To Train Your Dragon pretty late, as well, and oh my god, Toothless is the cutest!! I love that movie and the second one, as well – though if you haven’t watched the second one be prepared.. it gets SAD. 😦 Hope your July has been going well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Home Before Dark has definitely made me want to pick up more of his books, so I’m so thrilled to hear that you like them! I’m really looking forward to picking those up. I’m excited to hear all of your thoughts on Home Before Dark – it blew my mind! I’m also excited to see what you think of The Politician when you watch it!

      A truer statement has never been said! Toothless is pretty gosh darn adorable; it’s hard not to love that movie. And oh no. I’ve been so excited for the second one, but I definitely am not looking forward to sadness!

      I hope you July has been going well too; thank you so much, Veronika! ❤

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