Wrap-ups

June wrap-up // I read a lot and I discovered a new favourite k-pop band

Long time no see, huh? Sorry for disappearing from this blog, but I wasn’t really feeling like blogging, more on the reasons why later. But the main thing is that now I’m here to share my June wrap-up! I read a lot, the most in 2021, so I’m happy about that. I’m not so glad that a huge chunk of my reads was just okay, not really marvellous. But that’s just how it is sometimes.

Books

Rating: 5 out of 5.
collage of the four five star reads

Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman ➽ This is where everything begins! I loved it so much, it’s just so adorable how Charlie and Nick get to know each other. There were heartbreaking scenes, but mostly it’s fluffy and heartwarming.

Content warnings: homophobia, bullying, sexual assault, toxic relationship.


Heartstopper: Volume Two by Alice Oseman ➽ Nick and Charlie are so cute together, I can’t even express how much I adore them. I also loved seeing more of Charlie’s friends, as they are so cool!

Content warnings: homophobia, bullying, biphobia, Harry Potter reference.


Heartstopper: Volume Three by Alice Oseman ➽ I’m just repeating myself at this point by saying how much I adore them. This volume tackles more serious issues, like eating disorders and self-harm, but apart from these, this is still a light-hearted, feel-good read.

Content warnings: homophobia, biphobia, eating disorder, self-harm.


Heartstopper: Volume Four by Alice Oseman ➽ This one was the hardest to read, as it’s the saddest volume so far. It focused on Charlie’s mental illnesses, anorexia and OCD. I like how the author showed that while love can’t heal people, it is so important to have people whom you can fully trust. I adored Nick, he is just a wonderful and supportive person. I also enjoyed Tori’s parts, she’s iconic in this series, such a shame I hated her in Solitaire.

Content warnings: eating disorder, self-harm, homophobia, biphobia, bullying.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
collage of the one 4.5 stars read

Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel by George Orwell – Odyr ➽ I read Animal Farm in 2012, so I didn’t remember a lot of details about it. The graphic novel version is a great way of reading this, as it’s beautifully done, the illustrations look like paintings. I got goosebumps, it’s just so eerie. Animal Farm is classic for a reason.

Content warnings: blood, animal death.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
collage of the two four star books

Fence, Volume Four: Rivals by C. S. Pacat ➽ This was my favourite book of the series, I’m so sad that it’s over! I wish we learnt more about the characters though, there are so many unanswered questions. They grew on me, and I wanted to know more! In this volume, they finally started acting like a group, which I really enjoyed seeing.


Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho ➽ The artwork is so beautiful, I want to escape to it. It is hands down one of the most gorgeous illustrations I’ve ever seen. The story is also important, and could be really empowering to young children!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
collage of the four 3.5 star books

Juliet Takes a Breath: The Graphic Novel by Gabby Rivera ➽ The drawing style of this graphic novel is marvellous, I adored it so much! The story itself is empowering, I really liked how Juliet learnt to stand up for herself. It’s not the happiest queer book, as it tackles homophobia and biphobia too, so consider that before picking it up! However, there’s also queer joy, as Juliet meets several QPOC, who are super nice to her. She is introduced to a lot of new LGBTQ+ labels and terms, though there was a weird sentence about sex being parts and gender being hearts. I also didn’t like the explicit scenes.

Content warnings: racism, biphobia, homophobia, sexual content, infidelity, body shaming, sexual harassment, sexism.


In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado ➽ I had a hard time getting into this book, as the writing style is not really my style. It was weird at first, then I got used to it, and then I went back to disliking it. I really don’t like when authors switch between the point of view. This is written in first and second point of view, and I hate the latter. I understand why this solution was necessary, but still. I also wasn’t a huge fan of parts dedicated to TV shows, etc. There was an entire chapter about a Star Trek episode, and it felt out of place and unnecessary. Despite all of this, I think this is something everyone should read if they can handle it, as it tackles such an important topic that is often glossed over, abuse in same-sex relationships. It also had a really great discussion about the importance of queer villains in media. Yes, it’s not okay, if every queer representation is about villains, but we need morally grey, and even evil queers, as we are also just humans, and thus, diverse people. Even though it is about a dark subject, I was able to fly through it thanks to the short chapters.

Content warnings: domestic abuse, emotional abuse, toxic relationship, sexual content, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, homophobia, suicidal thoughts, body shaming, drug use, sexism, Harry Potter reference.


The Love & Lies of Rukshana Ali by Sabina Khan ➽ Even though I had a few problems with this book, I still want to recommend it! It speaks about so many important issues. First of all, I love how the author discussed that just because some people who practice a particular religion (Muslim in this case) are against queer people, it doesn’t mean that all of them feel this way. I think this is a misconception a lot of people fall into, they judge an entire culture/religion based on a fraction. I also liked how Rukshana talked about her culture, she knows its faults but doesn’t condemn it entirely, because there are parts she loves. However, I didn’t enjoy the writing style, it was disjointed at times. Rukhsana felt one way in a paragraph, and then in the next, she felt the opposite without any explanation. The characters were not that well-written either, I wasn’t able to connect to any of them. My favourite was probably Nani, she was a sweet and understanding grandmother. The ending also caused dissatisfaction. I hated the plot twist, even though I understand that the author based it on a true event. In my opinion, Rukhsana forgave her parents way too quickly, and while I love a good happy ending, this felt forced.

Content warnings: homophobia, child abuse, death, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, rape, pedophilia, confinement, incest, islamophobia, hate crime, religious bigotry, physical abuse, Harry Potter reference.


The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver ➽ I loved Mason’s debut book, I Wish You All the Best, but this one didn’t blow me away. Liam, the main character, is a nonbinary teen, who uses he/they pronouns, and I absolutely loved the representation. I appreciated when another character said to Liam that they could wear a moustache/beard if he wanted because nonbinary doesn’t have one look. I also liked Joel, a trans boy side character. However, I hate how they handled that friendship group between Liam, Joel and Vanessa. They were all stubborn, but mostly Liam and Vanessa. I also disliked Liam’s personality, to be honest. They used another person’s intimate poem without his permission, made a song with it, and uploaded it without asking the owner. And when he asked them to take it down, Liam didn’t do it at first. That’s just such a shitty move if you ask me. Music is a big part of this book, and I liked how Liam learnt to channel his emotions into a song, that was great to read as someone who loves music and sometimes creates it.

Content warnings: death, grief, car accident, panic attack, transphobia, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, vomit.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
collage of the one 3 star book

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee ➽ This was one of my anticipated releases for 2021, but unfortunately, it did let me down. The main character was insufferable in my eyes, he had such a bad personality, he was selfish and entitled. He kind of became a little better at the end, but not really. The only reason I finished this book is Devin, a nonbinary side character. I loved em so much, e became one of my new favourites, I wish e were the main character, as e had such an amazing personality. Calm, kind and caring. I also liked how the author talked about questioning your sexual/gender identity even after coming out. Devin also tried out more pronouns, and I appreciated how Noah always started using the correct one without questioning em.

Content warnings: emotional abuse, panic disorder, toxic relationship, transphobia, cursing, vomit, bullying (mentions of a pre-book occurrence), suicide attempt (mentions of a pre-book occurrence), alcohol, drug use, racism.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
collage of the one 2.5 star book

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi ➽ Not gonna lie, I literally don’t remember a quarter of the things that happened in this book, and I’ve finished it only three days ago. It is just such an unmemorable book for me. I can’t even remember what bothered me apart from the main character and the abundance of Harry Potter references.

Content warnings: islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, bullying, several Harry Potter reference.

Read-a-thons

There were four books left on my tbr from the two May read-a-thons, and I managed to read two of them. One I started but didn’t finish, as I wasn’t in the mood for nonfiction. The last one, Starfish is on my July tbr. Now moving on to June! Out of the nine books on my Reading It Queer tbr, I read seven books! I discontinued Elatsoe, as nowadays I rarely enjoy fantasy novels, and I will read If This Gets Out in July!

Movies and tv shows

I marathoned Record of Youth in five days, I really liked it! The main characters were immediately sympathetic, and I appreciated how it compared two entirely different families side by side: one wealthy and one poor. The main romance was adorable, it felt a little similar to Run On’s romance, as this was also slow-paced and wholesome. I wish Won Hae-hyo told Ahn Jeong-ha how he felt though. I really liked them as friends, but he should have been honest with her. There were two things that bothered me. First of all, how they handled homosexuality. I think they didn’t do a great job, considering the only gay person committed suicide. This could have brought about a conversation about how poorly society treats queer people in South Korea, but unfortunately, that was not the case. Instead, Sa Hye-jun and his friends and relatives constantly worried about the gossips of Hye-jun being gay. Like that would be the worst thing. I wish they did that topic justice. The second thing I wasn’t particularly fond of, was the ending. It was too open for my taste, a lot of questions were still left unanswered. Apart from these, I really enjoyed this k-drama and would recommend it if you’re looking for a slow-paced show that focuses on family and societal differences.

Music

For some reason, I only discovered that BTS had an album called BTS World in June. And I immediately grew fond of the only solo BTS song, Heartbeat. I also like the instrumental themes that each member has.


I found some nice songs in Record of Youth’s soundtrack. There are two I’d like to show you, What If by Kim Jae-hwan and What My Heart Says by SEJEONG.


Ed Sheeran came out with a new single called Bad Habits! He didn’t have any new songs in a while, so I was so glad when I noticed it. It’s nothing like his older music, but I immediately loved it. Such a bop!


Then in the last few days of June, thanks to one of my Instagram friends, I listened to TXT! They are under the same label as BTS. I haven’t listened to any other k-pop group ever since I discovered BTS (I’m loyal like that, lol), but I finally decided to branch out! Let me tell you, I love them so much! I’ve watched several interviews and edits of them, and they are just as goofy as the BTS members. After much thought, I decided that my bias is Yeonjun. He reminds me so much of Bright Vachirawit, who is a Thai actor. He played in my favourite BL drama, 2gether: The Series! It’s hard to choose from the many amazing songs they have, so I’ll show you five I love the most: 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) feat. Seori, Ghosting, Dear Sputnik, Anti-Romantic and Can’t You See Me?

Blog

I’ve been kind of absent from the blogging sphere, I only posted twice at the beginning of the month. It’s not like I don’t have ideas, but I didn’t feel like writing, so I didn’t force myself. I also haven’t really commented on you guys’ blogs, which I feel ashamed of. I just wasn’t in the mood for interacting that much, to be honest. I don’t know what went on, but I do hope I’ll be better in July. I also wrote shorter reviews for books, I was just much rather reading than writing out long, detailed reasons what I liked or disliked in a book.

Life

First of all, let’s start with two amazing pieces of news: Taylor Swift’s next rerecorded album is going to be Red, and it will be available in November! I can’t wait, and at least I have something to look forward to. Secondly, I was able to spend a week of vacation at my favourite place, near a lake. I met with two friends, both I haven’t seen in so long. The weather was really hot, so I mostly read, swam and played cards with friends. I always feel relaxed at that place, it’s surrounded by nature, and I have a garden there. I live in a city, so spending time in a smaller village feels amazing.

Now, on to the not so great things: Hungary’s government accepted a homophobic and transphobic bill that will prohibit people under eighteen years old to consume any LGBTQ+ content, or be taught about it in school. They will also control who will be able to teach them sex education, and you can bet that it will be misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ+. HERE is an article about the topic, if you want to read more details. I’m just so tired. Our queer community is so fed up with this government. They should make already marginalised communities’ lives easier, but instead, they further stigmatise them. I am seriously thinking about moving to a different country, as I don’t feel welcome here. Which sucks, and it made my general mood pretty bad, as you can imagine.

I also wanted to mention here that from now on I use e/em and ey/em neopronouns alongside they/them! If you don’t know how to use those two, check out my Instagram highlight called pronouns! When referring to me, you can use whichever you want to from these three!

How was your Pride Month? I hope you read a lot of queer books! Have you listened to TXT? If yes, what are your favourite songs by them, and who is your bias?

Morgan
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5 thoughts on “June wrap-up // I read a lot and I discovered a new favourite k-pop band

  1. Welcome back!! ❤ I’m happy to see that you found such comfort in the Heartstopper graphic novels, they are so wholesome and I finally read the fourth volume in June as well 🥰 It’s also great that you enjoyed the fourth Fence Volume! I wish there was another installment already as I also want to see the characters acting more like a Team! 🥺

    Liked by 1 person

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