Skip to content

For the Love of Reading: June 2024

It’s a new month and Tuesdays are for books and that means it’s the perfect time to look back at what I read in June.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xóchitl González
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book tells two stories, one about Cuban artist Anita de Monte who was on the rise until her untimely (and suspicious), the other about Raquel Toro, a first generation college student trying to navigate the unfamiliar and patriarchal Ivy League world. Their stories become intertwined when Raquel’s research on deMonte’s husband reveals his attempt at erasing all that his wife was due to his own fragile ego. Their plotlines are eerily mirrored as Raquel finds herself in a relationship with a privileged and well-connected senior. With a supernatural twist that is brilliantly written, a vivid cast of characters, and a fascinating art world setting, Gonzalez delivers a compelling and unforgettable novel. Highly recommended.

Long Island by Colm Tóibín
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A sequel to Brooklyn, this book continues the story of Eillis Lacey, 20 years after she left Ireland for good and settled on Long Island with her husband, Tony, and his family. Just as she did previously, when faced with a crisis Eillis flees to Ireland, looking to understand her situation and find answers on how to move forward with her life. The story is compelling but also quiet, with much left unsaid but nevertheless completely understood. I found myself unsure of who to root for, frustrated by circumstances beyond the control of the characters, and fascinated by an utterly brilliant plot twist that results in a very ambiguous ending

Torn Asunder by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Torn Asunder is another solid entry in the Maine Clambake series which features sleuth Julia Snowden and her family’s coastal island clambake business. There are many returning characters and a new mystery which wasn’t a complete surprise but still kept me guessing for a while. I think there’s a lot to be said for a cozy mystery series that is 12 books along and still feels fresh and entertaining. I’m sad to see that Ross is finished with the series but I’m very satisfied with how she wrapped it all up.

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is an entertaining and light book reminiscent of a Hallmark movie . . . but with a little spice. It’s the classic rich girl/poor boy trope but with a twist or two. My main criticism is that the main female character is a doctor with a very privileged background and yet she is portrayed as totally clueless and a pushover which felt pretty forced to me. The good news is that the main male character is adorable and the perfect boyfriend. Jiminez manages to build some tension even as you can see the ending coming from a mile away. And that’s perfectly acceptable for the genre. Recommended for fans of the genre, I really only read this to get the back story on this series before I read the newest one.

Women We Buried, Women We Burned: A Memoir by Rachel Louise Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m not sure how this book came to be on my radar and I won’t say I’m sorry I read it but I will say that I feel the description is misleading. Snyder’s mother dies when she is a young girl and, instead of processing it as a family, her father turns to extreme religion to cope. She suffers from physical and verbal abuse, ends up leaving home as a high school drop out, and eventually turns her life around through education and a meaningful career. However, while her religious experience might be extreme, it’s not a cult. And after all of her struggles, the resolution of her problems feels rushed and too simple. I would have liked more about how she reconciled with her father and stepmother, given the volatility of their relationship for many years. And I may have missed the point entirely but I really don’t get how the title is reflected in the story itself.

The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club by Helen Simonson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It took me a while to get into this book, which may have been my own frame of mind, but also may have just been a slow start and getting to know the characters. Once I hit the 1/3 point, though, I flew (see what I did there?) through the rest and I’m so glad I stuck with it. Simonson handles beautifully the limited options available to women after WWI and how that must have particularly chafed after experiencing an expansion of freedom while the men were fighting. While some of the romance is predictable and some of the characters feel typecast, the overall story is highly satisfying and the ending had me tearing up. Definitely recommended for fans of historical fiction, the English countryside, and women’s stories.

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Writing this review is a challenge because, while I ultimately enjoyed the book and gave it 4 stars it feels more like 3.5 rounded up. First, the issues I had: it was a very slow start for me and I had a hard time keeping track of the various characters. Also, the chapters are long which made the pacing feel off. And finally, it felt a little too all-over-the-place. Is it Sci-Fi? Historical? Romance? Thriller? Espionage? By attempting to make it all of those things it also failed a little bit in most of those things. Where it really came together for me was the sci-fi and espionage elements, there were some twists I definitely didn’t see coming. It’s also very clever and the writing is quite good. I recommend it but with caveats about the things I mentioned.

And that’s a wrap on June’s books. I hope you found something to add to your list!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I had “Anita” from the library, but – alas – didn’t get a chance to read it before it was due back! Someday . . . And I though Long Island was the perfect “middle book” in a trilogy. I’m hoping things are a big less ambiguous with book 3!

  2. I’m in the queue for Ministry of Time and have now added “Anita” to my TBR list. Thanks, as always, for your book reviews. Always enjoyable.

  3. I am moving UP in the Ministry of Time queue… wooo! And I also added Anita to my list! Thank you for these great reviews! I really appreciate them so much, Carole!

  4. I’m number 38 on the library hold list for Long Island, so I hope to read it in the next few months. I also look forward to reading Anita de Monte!

  5. My mother has Long Island and has already offered it to me, so I assume I will read it at some point (might need to reread Brooklyn first, though!). Anita de Monte sounds right up my alley, so thanks for that great review!

    I don’t plan to read Ministry of Time until next month, so I’ll still remember it for RWU, but I’m sure that we’ll all get a lot out of the discussion, as we always do.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top