Monthly Reading Wrap Up: What I Read in June

We are back with my monthly reading wrap up, which has become my favorite blog posts to write. And this month, I read quite a few amazing reads ( 8 to be exact), one that was almost a DNF & even a few self help ones along the way. This summer, I plan to challenge myself to read more than 5 books a month. I get a lot of questions asking how I read so much. And it’s a mix of being a very fast reader & the lack of control I have in putting a book down once I’m in the middle of it. This month, I spent lots of nights staying up until early morning just flipping through pages. I’ve also made the habit of replacing my screen time with reading. I’ve spent less time scrolling through social media & watching tv – which is a win win in my book.

Ugly Love – Colleen Hoover

I’m slowly reading more & more books from Colleen Hoover & this was one that has been on my TBR for quite some time. Not to mention, this one of her “hyped books” that’s all over social media. It’s a FWB story about Tate & Miles. Tate moves in with her brother while she saves money for her own place as she’s studying to become a CRNA. Neither Tate or Miles want a relationship for different reasons – Miles’ reasons being a bit more complicated than Tate’s. I give Ugly Love 4 / 5 stars & loved the way Hoover articulates Mile’s past relationship to his present situation. The reason this book doesn’t get 5 stars is because I found Tate to be a bit of a doormat at times. And Miles came off as a bit possessive IMO. The writing style of his POV was cringe. But the last few chapters saved my opinion because of that final scene of his past which explains the cover of the book. UGHH – Colleen Hoover never fails at ripping my heart out. I always leave feeling a love/ hate relationship with all her books – but I think the reason people love them is how captivating they make us feel.

A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas

As you know, last month I started the ever so popular fantasy series, A Court of Thorns & Roses. And I now have a new found love for the fantasy genre. I knew people loved the second book & consider it to be their favorite of the series – but I was still shocked at how much I loved this book. I wish I could give this more than 5 stars! The mix of romance, “enemies to lover” trope [ which, do we even consider Rhysand to be a villian?] & action is brilliant. When I read this series, I’m 1,000% in this world, the characters & everything in between. I’ve heard through the grape vine, this book series is becoming a tv series – & when that happens, my husband will finally understand why I’m obsessed with this series already. I just want to transport myself to the world of Velaris.

Wise as F*ck by Gary John Bishop

I decided to dive into more self help reads this month because I’ve had so many on my bookshelves untouched. This one, I honestly skimmed [ which I do most self help reads because they are so dry at times & repetitive ]. But the reason I picked this book up was for his section on grief. The way he describes grief & loss [ he talks about his own loss of his father ] are some of the best descriptions I’ve ever read about the healing process & how to feel. As you know, I lost my father in September & with Father’s Day weekend around the corner & this being the first father’s day without him, I knew I was in need of some extra healing. Not to mention, I’ve been distracted by planning my wedding these last few months, so the grief keeps trickling in. This summer, my motto is focusing on myself & taking care of me inside & out. I felt like the last few months, I’ve had to push those feelings to the side & I’m finally at the phase of putting myself first above anyone else & it feels rejuvenating.

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

You know when I said I’m convinced Colleen Hoover loves the idea of ripping our hearts out? Yea, she definitely had this goal with All Your Perfects. This book was so close to becoming a DNF for it’s triggering topics & depressing story line. I recommend you check the trigger warnings before you decide to read this book. It covers topics of infertility, divorce, miscarriages & the ups & downs of any relationship. I give it 4 stars because the story is captivating & well written, but I don’t think I will ever read this book again & need a full break from her novels after reading this one. I never cry while reading & during the last few chapters, I was bawling my eyes out. And I NEED to know what Quinn’s letter said!

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

I can’t get over how much I love this series. The 3rd installment was another amazing read. It was filled with so much action, character building & caused my emotions to do summersaults. Especially those last few chapters – jeez. I personally love how this one gave us a glimpse of so many characters – Nesta being a favorite. The banter all these books have is so entertaining & causes me to laugh out loud. I give this one a solid 4.5 stars only because there were some points where I felt the story dragged on. But it quickly redeemed itself during the final half. I think I personally tend to find descriptions of war to be rather dry – especially the anticipation of it coming. Overall, I can’t wait to read the rest of this series next month.

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Boy was this book – spicy! Especially since I listened to the audiobook instead. I’ve been hesitant to read any of Tessa Bailey’s books because I thought they seemed rather overhyped. I’m a hard critique of book covers. I really enjoyed the storyline of this book. I picture Piper as the Alexis Rose type of character who goes through quite the journey from internet socialite to someone learning the truth of her family – while also falling for the local fisherman – Brendan. SHEESH. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel & can’t wait for the movie.

A Court of Frost & Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

Ugh, I hate to say this because I clearly adore this series. But what is the point of this one? There was just so much fluff & shopping for gifts. I totally understand why people on Goodreads call it the Christmas special. I give it 3 stars because if you enjoy the characters and series overall, I think it’s still one to read. I think SJM wanted a lighter novella after the war in the 3rd book.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I know I said I would save this read for my July TBR, but I decided to pick it up at the end of this month. This was a disappointing read in my opinion. Although I did enjoy the relatable lines about loss & grief ( of a father to be exact) , the love story / plot fell completely flat for me. I found this book to have too much pointless detail & some of the dialogue was confusing with the mix of the stories they were writing & the plot itself. One part I did enjoy was the chapter on the letters. Like, I said, the thing that saved me & stopped me from DNFing this book was the relatable & self help like lines & chapters about how she went through the grieving process of her father. For that, I’m happy to have read this book. I give this book 2.5 stars unfortunately, & hope I enjoy other books by Emily Henry.

What did you read this month?

-B

10 Things I Do Now That I’m A Minimalist

Ever since I decided to practice minimalism & live a more intentional & simple life, I’ve noticed so any wonderful changes. My perspective on life is quite different now that I don’t revolve it around consumerism & “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Although it may seem abnormal to go against the grain & live happier with less, I strongly believe EVERYONE would benefit by just simply adding one of these changes into their lives. Here are 10 Things I Do Now That I’m a Minimalist

1. I Look For New Experiences

When I stopped wanting for the next trendy piece or expensive item, I realized adding these things into my life left me feeling empty. Or, they would bring me joy for a short period of time but I would quickly want the next best thing. Instead, I look for new experiences to enrich my life & help me grow. And when I talk about experiences, I don’t just mean extravagant vacations overseas. I also mean local adventures like hidden hiking trails, new restaurants & activities. Simply trying a new drink on the Starbucks menu counts as a new experience. I’m more inclined to spend money on these forms of happiness than material items that just sit in my home because it’s another story to tell. It’s an added memory that makes us who we are or want to be.

2. I Actually Use Up Products I Buy

I try to adopt the rule of using what I have before I purchase a new one. It’s not to say, I don’t have a few backup products in the hall closet; but most duplicates are essential to daily living. I no longer experiment too often & I stick with what works. You know the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” That’s the mindset I try to keep when advertisements try to entice me with something new & trendy.

3. I No Longer Try To Keep Up With The Joneses

Comparison & competing with people is honestly so exhausting. You can never really keep up. And why are we so wired to prove things to people? We need to feel more content with the lives we create for ourselves. In a world where social media snatches joy from right under your feet, we can’t allow ourselves to see highlight reels as the only depiction of success. Wouldn’t it be more refreshing if people showed all sides to the story? And if you still find yourself comparing yourself to other’s feeds, maybe you need to consider getting rid of the platforms that aren’t serving you well. For instance, I deleted my Instagram & haven’t looked back since.

You Might Also Like: Social Media Detoxes Are Good For the Soul

4. I Enjoy The Little Things

I used to feel like my life had to be so extravagant. I had to spend tons of money, visit the most fancy locations for what? To show people I can? To make myself feel more whole? This year has taught me happiness can be found in such simple ways. I embrace that type of life now. I’ve become a real homebody. I don’t go searching for things to fill a void any longer. I’ve become a stronger person this way. And like I said about experiences, sometimes the more simple moments are the most precious.

5. I Have Better Relationships With People

I was someone who focused on my own happiness harder than others. Not in a spiteful way either. More like an oblivious way where I would stay in my own safe bubble. Now that I’m more aware, I ask people how they are doing more often. I listen to their stories instead of quickly telling them mine. I listen harder instead of being a burden. And sometimes keeping things to yourself is ok. There’s a difference between vulnerability & word vomit. Those who practice a minimalist lifestyle, tend to focus on decluttering material items. But the decluttering process can be useful for all aspects in your life. When you choose your friends wisely, the ones that remain can be the best ones for you.

6. I Know Who My Real Friends Are

I love the friendships that are there for your highs & your lows. The type of friends who love coming over your house, sit on the floor with a glass of wine & talk about life. Each stage holds different phases of friendships. They change & you evolve as well. Rarely does anything ever stay the same. Find the tribe of individuals that encourage you & show off your best self. Let go of everything else.

7. I Show More Confidence

When I was a teenager, I would get myself so upset if my outfit wasn’t perfect. I was too much of a try hard & honestly the outfits weren’t that great. I worried about not being pretty enough, not having the latest trends or whether people would notice of my boots were knockoffs. Now that I’m older my fashion sense has improved so much. The only reason for this is my sense of confidence has improved. I don’t own the most unique clothing pieces. But I know what works for me & I rock it.

You Might Also Like: How I Boosted My Confidence During a Pandemic Year

8. I Save Money

The amount of pointless purchases I’ve made in my life is astronomical. I try to be more intentional with my purchases. And no, the joggers from Target were probably not on my NEED list, but during quarantine, they were an essential. When I do decide to treat myself, I appreciate it more. Before, I would spend so often that I stopped being grateful. “Oh that $50 Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlight Palette? Trash! And like that palette, it just sat in my drawer untouched. I try to maintain the mindset of purchasing items that are purposeful, fit in my capsule wardrobe or would truly benefit me evolve as a person.

You Might Also Like: How To Save Money The Intentional Way

9. I Have Gratitude

That house you live in. The nice bedding you sleep on. The pets you own. Never take those things for granted. I used to have the mindset of always wanting the next best thing. Although I do own less, I’ve learned to really appreciate what I have. I still love owning nice things. I just don’t let them define who I am or my happiness. I try to keep things into perspective & prioritize the people, animals & experiences I have in my life above all else.

You Might Also Like: I Wrote in A Gratitude Journal For An Entire Year

10. I Live A Happier Life

Minimalism wasn’t the end all be all cure to my life but it has made me happier. I thought I knew what happiness was before, but I’m more enlightened. I didn’t realize I used material items to hide from my problems, my emotions & people. In no means am I a perfect person. I am still a work in progress. But I will say practicing this lifestyle has helped open my eyes to the important parts of life.

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-B

Books I Hope To Read: My July TBR

Summer is my favorite time to get lost in books. We usually have a little bit more time on our hands & there’s something about reading outdoors that just hits different – especially when the background noice is crashing waves or a flock of seagulls. As you know, my blog has added this little book corner where I share my love of reading & books. And although I have a monthly wrap up series already where I share the books I read each month, I wanted to expand this category & share even more book related content with you all. If you are the readers solely after my decluttering & simple living content – have no fear – I have intentional living posts coming soon. I think a lot of us readers can relate to the idea of creating these super long TBR lists in hopes we read over 15 books, but end up only having time for a quarter of them. But at the rare chance I do end up successfully reading all of these books in July, I will update you on my next wrap up post.

Layla by Colleen Hoover

I’m challenging myself to read most of CH’s books this year. I’ll be honest, some of hers have been close DNF’s for their triggering topics – but I decided to explore another one of her thriller romances as I absolutely LOVED her novel, Verity. I’ve heard great things about this haunting love story. And I can’t wait to see if it holds up to the hype. I personally, love a good ghost story & haven’t read a thriller in a few months. I’m happy to return to a genre I love.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

A very hyped book & author on booktok & bookstagram – I figured Beach Read would be the perfect one for summer time. I’ve yet to read any books from this author – so I’m excited to see my thoughts on her. I’ve heard although this book is titled “Beach Read” it actually takes place on a lake. LOL

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

July will be the month of Emily Henry because I will also be hopefully reading People We Meet on Vacation. I’ve heard this is a least favorite among Emily Henry stans but I still feel like this will be a perfect lighthearted summer read.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I’ve been holding off reading this hyped book because how sad it supposedly is. And after reading All your Perfects by CH last month, I need a break from sad reads. But I’m interested to read about greek mythology within this romance novel. And I’m excited to see why everyone seems to love this book & cries at the end.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

See, I told you this month was all about Emily Henry books. This one is her newest release about two writers who work together & can’t strand each other but ultimately find commonality. It’s an enemies to lovers I believe & honestly – the title of the book & the beautiful cover enticed me to buy it. Also, everyone on bookstagram was raving about it a few months ago. I’m a bit of a follower at fault.

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Talk about a very hyped book for the summer. This has been all over social media lately & I feel like I should just get it because it seems like the perfect summer romance read. A lot of people compare this story to Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren – so if you love that book, I would recommend checking out this one too.

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

If you are a fan of the ACOTAR series, this is very similar with a little less spice from what I’ve been told. I know I’ll be wanting to get into more fantasy reads & the fact this is similar to my found favorite series makes me really want to see what it’s about.

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

The first line to the synopsis caused me to add to cart: ” Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again…” I mean this seems like such a gripping read. I’m a sucker for second chance romance stories & feel like this will be read with twists & turns.

Heartbones by Colleen Hoover

Another CH book I’m excited to read. This is about a girl who lives with her addict mother & has the chance to live with her father at his lake house. Not only is this a story about addiction and how it affects a family, but it also has a summer loved tied in the mix. Plus the cover is eerily beautiful.

So there you have it. These are just a few anticipated reads I hope to get to this coming month. We will see if I get to any of these. I’m a sucker for buying more books even when I have tons on my shelves. LOL But I’m really hoping to get through some of these by the end of July. Stay tuned for my wrap up series post & be sure to catch up on my others here & here.

What do you plan to read next month?

-B