The Best Books I Read in June 2021

How are we already halfway through 2021? 

This month came in with high expectations for a kickboxing challenge and a new round of running training. Then, I fell down and badly scraped/bruised my bad knee, which needs a nice, tight, painful-on-a-scab brace when I do any kind of higher-impact cardio. Ah, the best laid plans.

The bonus of being couch-bound is… more reading time! 

Here are the best books I read in the month of June, with mini-reviews and links to full reviews where relevant! 

(Full disclosure: Book links are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase. Thanks in advance for your support!) 

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: E-Book (Library Copy)

Why I Read It: Bookstagram made me do it 

It took me a while to pick up The Flatshare because the premise is a little bit dubious — two roommates share a flat at opposite hours, so that they live in the same space but never cross paths. 

Instead, they exchange increasingly numerous post-it notes throughout the days, until at last, they meet and sparks fly. 

This is such a sweet, hilarious romantic comedy with well-developed characters and the best use of dual narration I’ve seen in the genre! Strongly recommend this if you love a good rom com. 

My full review appeared in Your Book Friend, here

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Photo by the author, featuring Azula and Ozzy

Format: Hardcover (Book of the Month early release copy)

Why I Read It: I was obsessed with Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” as a kid. Like, memorized the whole thing for a poetry assignment even though the requirement was only 30 lines levels of obsessed. 

When I saw that Half Sick of Shadows existed, I was incredibly excited. My little Lady of Shalott obsessed heart grew two sizes, and I immediately picked it for my Book of the Month. 

Like a lot of anticipated reads, I dove in immediately and then slowed down to make the experience last longer. I really like Sebastian’s spin on the King Arthur legend, which gives women more agency in their stories. Elaine is an oracle, and the author of her own story (and, to a certain extent, of Arthur’s as well).

This book is steeped in magic and legend, and full of the weight that being able to see possible future paths brings upon Elaine. Sebastian writes in three tenses — the past as Elaine remembers how she became who she is, the present as events unfold, and the future in the form of her visions. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, for all that it kind of stressed me out watching Elaine try to produce the best possible future out of the options on the table. Definitely recommend it to any fans of Arthurian legend and feminist retellings of myths. 

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: Audiobook (LibroFM)

Why I Read It: So many positive reviews out there, particularly of the audio as read by Green. 

In my full review of this one, I mentioned how I kind of wanted to be underwhelmed by this book. Every now and again when something (or someone) is cropping up everywhere, I want to resist jumping on the bandwagon. It’s why I don’t listen to Beyoncé (sorry), and why I never watched Game of Thrones

But I couldn’t resist checking out Green’s first collection of essays, and… it’s excellent. Like, as a fellow writer of creative nonfiction I’m furious that this phenomenal book is out in the world levels of excellent. 

Green’s meditative, thoughtful essays-in-reviews of various aspects of a human-centered planet gripped me and made me think about what it is to be a person in the world. 

I highly recommend The Anthropocene Reviewed (particularly on audio, as read by Green) to anyone who wants to think about their humanness with a quiet, insistent hope in spite of it all. 

Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: Ebook (purchased)

Why I Read It: Great British Bake Off inspired romantic comedy? May as well be casting a summoning circle for yours truly. 

This was a bit of a disappointing reading experience for me, but as I explored for Coffee Time Reviews, it wasn’t the book’s fault. 

I had built up my expectations to be a certain kind of story when I first heard this GBBO-inspired rom com was being written. It’s a great story, and a fun one, but it isn’t the one I imagined, and so… I struggled with it a bit. 

Nevertheless, it’s well-written with a fun cast of characters and a peak behind the reality TV curtain. I highly recommend this one to fans of baking shows and to those who love a good LGBTQ+ romance. 

Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey

Photo by the author

Format: Paperback 

Why I Read It: Kerry Winfrey. Ohio. That’s all I needed to know. 

A new Kerry Winfrey release is basically my own personal kind of holiday. Even if the premise and pitch for this one gave me a bit of pause (it’s billed as “You’ve Got Mail meets sexy Mr. Rodgers”), I knew I was going to love it. 

Very Sincerely Yours is a lighthearted, fun romp of a love story with a little bit of millennial quarter-life crisis thrown in. Teddy doesn’t know who she wants to be when she grows up, and isn’t that a whole mood. I really enjoyed our couple and the open earnestness with which they approach their budding relationship. 

This is a dual perspective romance because apparently that’s just what the genre is doing right now, but I didn’t hate it. Given the catfish potential of the premise, it’s even a smart move so we don’t suspect that either party isn’t truly behind their emails. 

My full review appeared in Your Book Friend, and I’ll reiterate that this is a great pick for fans of You’ve Got Mail and anyone who’s struggled to determine what they want to do with their life. 

That’s All, Folks

There you have it, my best reads for the month of June! I also read One Last Stop but I’m not including it here because I wouldn’t consider it one of my best reads of the month. It was kind of slow through the middle in a way that just left me dragging myself through as opposed to enjoying it.

Next up, I’m finishing The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels and then hurrying my way through some library e-book holds before my next print read. 

What are the best books you read in June? Any anticipated reads for July? 

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, why not follow Your Book Friend to stay up to date on the latest? This post originally appeared on our Medium publication.

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