June Standouts: Book Review Time

June was a kick ass month for books. I only read 10, but of them warranted 5 star ratings. :O And only 2 got less than 4. Seriously, color me floored. Really, though, it only makes sense, since June is the best month ever. It gave the earth me, right? 😉 Are you guys ready for this much booky goodness? It might blow your mind. Consider yourselves warned!



by Caitlin Moran

What can I say, I am a Caitlin Moran fan. She is like a delightful combination of Jenny Lawson and Tina Fey (sacrilege, comparing her to the great Tina Fey? maybe, but I’m sticking to it!). This book of previously published columns is the follow up to her smash hit How to Be a Woman, and I loved it just as much. She approaches all topics, from growing up on benefits to the Royal Wedding to miscarriages and meeting Keith Richards, with humor, heart, and a razor sharp mind. Her observations about things are so spot on, I always find myself smiling and nodding at my book, like, “Yes, book, you and I totally get each other.” And she makes me snort laugh, which is always a bonus.

If you haven’t read either of her books, you need to do that. Like, now. I’ll wait here.


Code Name Verity

by Elizabeth Wein

The blurb from The New York Times on the front reads “a fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel” and I can’t think of any better way to describe this book. Because the Holocaust is an extremely important event that reverberates down through history and continues to affect us today, sometimes, there are a LOT of books and movies and other forms of entertainment that deal with it. I’ve read a few. Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller is sitting on my bookshelf right now, patiently waiting to be read. Amidst all of the treatments, it can be hard to find ones that really stand out.

Code Name Verity is one of those standouts. It is a spy novel, a war novel, a puzzle to be figured out, and it all centers on a beautiful, sad, strong female friendship. It is a slow simmer of a novel, which finishes with a kind of delicious ecstasy. This is one of those books that we can all point to when people start in on young adult fiction, and the ever-ridiculous “boys don’t want to read about girls” arguments. Everyone can, and should, enjoy this tense and amazing novel.

I’ll wait while you go get that one too.


Born to Run

by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run is one of those rare novels that blends a compelling narrative using scientific fact, autobiographical/anthropological true accounts, and insanely good storytelling. It is the story of ultrarunning and the Tarahumara, the best ultrarunners the world has never heard of/seen, because they live in a part of Mexico that is stupidly hard to get to. Unless you are really, really determined. And have the right connections.

McDougall expertly weaves his story, jumping from his own experiences to the stories of the main players to scientific facts and discoveries, all ultimately showing us how to be better runners. Even if you don’t care for running at all, this is a book worth reading, just for the story of the footrace McDougall participates in with the Tarahumara themselves: a once in a lifetime experience for sure! (This is also the book that convinced me to buy my Vibrams)


Looking for Alaska

by John Green

I borrowed this book from a friend and when I was done, I posted to her Facebook with a comment along the lines of “Just finished the book. OMG. D:” This is the third book of Green’s that I have read and it is the one that solidified him as one of my favorite writers. I love his style, his effortless prose, his ability to get into the heads of teenage boys and girls alike. Looking for Alaska is one of those books that feels like it happened to me. And the fact that Alaska is another one of Green’s brazen, chaotic, fascinating female characters certainly doesn’t hurt.


The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

by John Truby

This book takes you through the entire process of plotting out any story you might be working on. The book specifically focuses on movies (99% of the examples are movies), but I used it to plot out a novel and it worked nicely. The principles are the same. I love all the accessible examples that he uses, and the number of examples he uses. I was rarely left thinking, “Okay, but what do you mean?!” On top of that, every chapter ends with a helpful little list of writing exercises that neatly summarize what was discussed in great detail in the chapter. A definite must for anyone who wants to be a great – sorry, master- storyteller!

What did you guys read this month? Any standouts that you’d like to share (good or bad)?

Psst, find my other review posts here

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Jessica can most often be found with her nose in a book, or writing her newest short story/screenplay/novel, but she also has a passion for travel, child-care & development, psychology, feminism (and other forms of equality), and making the world a better place in general. Email Me