What I Read in June 2022

The last week of June, I was laid out with a sickness from which I am still recovering. So, that’s why this post is coming out a week late. But I was so excited about all the reading I did in June that I didn’t want to skip it.

So let’s get to it!! A reminder, any purchase made from the links in this post go to support our bookstore in McPherson KS: Twice Told Tales.

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

Love Marriage by Monica Ali
Download the audiobook version here.
Order the hardcover version here.

It’s not the most fast-paced book I’ve ever read by any means—which is just fine. The author put in so much work to make sure that we love these characters which gives us grace for them when they do things that seem destructive. 
It’s a beautiful story about all sorts of relationships and the way they can shift and change in our lives. I found the relationships between parents and children to be the most nuanced and powerful in this story. The way that parents often keep things from their children long after they had a right to know–just because it can be easier to not talk about certain things. Until it’s not.

If you like stories of familial relationships (my personal soft spot), grab this one right away.

Nora Goes off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
Download the audiobook here.
Order the hardcover copy here.

It’s very unusual when I am reading a romance and can’t figure out what’s going to happen next. This is about a woman who makes a living writing romance movies for a fictional version of The Hallmark Channel–until her husband leaves her and she finds herself writing that story. Which isn’t really a Hallmark style movie. It gets picked up by a big budget film studio and what do you know–suddenly there’s a film crew and terribly famous actors in her front lawn (a unique fixture of her home plays heavily into the film).
There’s a light enemies to lovers trope along with a more heavy friends to lovers trope and in general a lot of fun to be had by all.

Till the last page I had no idea how it would end. Which, if you read many romance novels, you know that’s pretty rare. Also, this was a fairly closed-door romance (not a ton of on-screen spicy stuff) which is also not something I find very often.
Two things of note:
A. Yes I did just choose this book because the author and I have the same last name.
B. I really wanted to carry this book at the shop but it’s only available in hardcover (most romances are released in paperback) and I know my shoppers well enough to know that no one wants to spend nearly $30 on a 200 page romance. So I’ll be waiting with baited breath for it to be released on paperback.

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
Download the audiobook here.
Order the paperback or hardcover copy here (or by picking it up in my store but I’m struggling to keep it on the shelf).

I’ll just copy and paste my review from our Facebook page:

One of the most frequently asked questions I get at the store is “What was the last book you loved?” And lately my answer has been a frantic , “THIS!!!” And then I jump up and shove this book into their hands.

I was looking for a fun mystery and casually thought I’d try this one out—completely unaware of how it would grab me.

It’s the story of a woman who is writing the story of a woman who is writing a mystery novel—while they are BOTH living through their own real life mysteries!

Now I know that sounds confusing when I say it but the author of this book did an astounding job of formatting it so that it’s supremely easy to follow along with! It’s very organized and full of twists and turns and you’ll keep wondering whodunnit till the very end.

Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton

Normal Family by Chrysta Bilton
Download the audiobook version here.
Order the hardcover copy here.

This story is wild. It was so different from what I had expected when I first picked it up. It dives deep into what it’s like to grow up in a family with varying levels of dysfunction but also with a lot of love. The story ends in a way that makes me feel very happy for everyone despite their struggles and I liked that. 

Chrysta’s mother desperately wanted a child. Being a lesbian in the 1980’s–this was a feat even more impossible than it is now. But through her unbound sense of optimism, she figured out a way to bring Chrysta and her sister into the world. And it was her unbound sense of optimism that got them into some… wild living situations. This is the story of mental health and family dysfunction and some unbelievable circumstances but also the tenacity of love and the importance of openness and discovery.

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
Download the audiobook version here.
Order the paperback copy here.

I loved everything about this book. I have no notes. My only complaint is that I’m tired of reading books about writers (three of the five books I read this month were about writers for goodness sakes) but I won’t hold that against it.
Florence Day has been secretly ghostwriting for one of the most popular romance authors in the world for the past few years. Just as her contract is about to be up–Florence doesn’t believe in love anymore. She’s struggling to complete the last book.

Also, oh yeah, very casually, Florence has always seen dead people. Yeah–they seek her out when they need help. In fact, when she was in high school she helped solve a murder because of this unique ability she has. The people in her town couldn’t handle how different she was and, therefore, kinda ran her out. Now, her father has passed away and she’s forced to go back and face everyone and everything she left behind.

And that’s all the books that I read to completion! I really liked what I read this month. I almost never devour so many books.

Books that I will be nominating for September’s Indie Next List:

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers
Dead Flip by Sara Farizan

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