Bookstr Book Club: Riveting June Reads We Think You’ll Love

Bookstr Book Club is here to share what we read that impacted us the most last month! Check out these recommendations to add to your own TBR!

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Welcome, Bookstr readers! We’ve started a new series: Bookstr Book Club! Every month, we’re going to share our favorite reads of the month prior. We want to share as many as possible rather than read the same book and discuss it, like a regular book club. Given our staff’s diverse reading habits, what better way to get to know us and get some awesome recommendations? Without further ado, check out the below books we read last month that had the greatest impact on us!

The Bone Witch Trilogy by Ren Chupeco

This series was unputdownable; I binged all three novels in a weekend. The writing was beautiful, the characters became close friends, and the world-building of this dark fantasy was everything I could have asked for. I became so invested in Tea’s story; the fact that Chupeco wrote this like recanting past events to a memoirist made it just that much better. The dual timeline, the emotional uncertainty of the Bard as he comes to know her for who she truly is and then embarks on the final journey with her, just captured my spirit, and I had to know how it finished. 


The Bone Witch is a dark fantasy trilogy that follows a bard and the Dark Asha Tea as she recounts the events of her life, from raising her favorite sibling from the dead to training as an Asha to becoming what no other was capable of. This tale is filled with Chinese lore, inspiration from Geisha traditions, and a magic/mythos system I’ve not encountered before. 

—Kristi Eskew, Editorial

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Backman’s novels and his uplifting messages have a habit of finding me in times when I most need to hear them. When I read Anxious People, I was in the midst of an existential crisis about becoming a “real adult” and finding my place in the world, so imagine my relief when I encountered characters who faced the same struggle. Touching on themes of love, parenthood, mental health, addiction, dystopian economic and bureaucratic systems, and the many meanings of “Stockholm,” Backman’s piece speaks to the painful complexity of being human in the most humorous yet insightful way possible. His words inspired me to live purposefully and have more compassion for others.


Anxious People is a standalone fiction novel about a group of strangers at an apartment viewing whose lives are forced together when a failed bank robber waving a gun takes them hostage. The members of this motley crew prove to be the worst hostages ever, leading to humorous hijinks and some very confused police officers. As the plot thickens and relationships develop between the hostages and their captor, they find that their lives are more connected than they knew. Told in a non-linear manner with plenty of shocking twists, the characters in this story demonstrate how the best of humanity can shine through the most troublesome of times.

—Cara Hadden, Editorial

Stone Maidens by Lloyd Devereux Richards

Richard’s serial killer thriller is absolutely gripping. It’s written from both the perspective of the lead detective and the killer’s victims and places a heavy focus on the forensics behind investigating murders. For a science and crime nerd like me, this book is the perfect summer read. Being from Indiana, the story hits close to home, literally and metaphorically. The prose is learned and eloquent, and Richard’s writing style is lyrical. The characters are vibrant and I instantly connected with them and tried to understand the killer’s mind.


Stone Maidens is the story of a serial killer who strangles women and leaves their lifeless bodies in the steep ravines of southern Indiana. With every murder, he leaves a stone figurine lodged deep in the victim’s throat. It’s something FBI Forensic Anthropologist Christine Prusik has seen before. While doing fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, she was attacked by tribesmen. She barely escaped with her life, and a scar on her throat from her own death charm. Now that she’s investigating the murders, she must uncover whether it’s a gruesome coincidence or someone is trying to send her a message.

—Madison Weir, Editorial

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

After some super lengthy reads, I desperately needed something short and swift to get me out of an encroaching reading slump. This was just what I wanted (and more)! At first, it was hard to grasp the abstract and whimsical worldbuilding provided through ornate prose, but once I got the gist, I was hooked. As an epistolary novel, you are introduced to this journey across time and space via this correspondence between two rival agents (Red and Blue). Basically, they begin to fall in love with each other through their letters, creating this beautiful artistic dialogue across threads of time. 


I would definitely recommend this read to someone who usually shies away from epic sci-fi series because of their density and daunting world-building. It clocks in at just under 200 pages (so it’s technically more of a novella), but it isn’t pure fluff. On the whole, I was pleasantly surprised by the sci-fi turned-poetry vibe. Once I got into the rhythm of these two authors and their characters, I couldn’t put it down. 

—Erin Shea, Editorial 

There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos

I have largely neglected the young adult fiction genre in recent years, but after I recently took a young adult literature course, I felt more inclined to pick them up. I saw this novel hanging off of a shelf at my favorite used book store, and the cover compelled me to grab it. I didn’t expect to be as emotionally attached to the novel as I was. Following the main character as he processes the loss of his twin sister contains insight into grief and on growing up and dealing with the breaking of a dam that has held back all of your larger-than-life emotions since childhood. Mark, the main character, cannot fight his feeling of loneliness despite being surrounded by so many people who love him.


This coming-of-age novel follows Mark, a seventeen-year-old senior at a performing arts high school, in the months following a car accident involving him and his twin sister Grace. Mark and their childhood friend, Hanna, discover a bucket list of sorts in one of Grace’s journals and resolve to complete everything on the list. Mark’s inability to process his grief and anger, as well as his feelings towards Hanna, sometimes threaten to get in the way.

—Jenna Marcotte, Editorial

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

This book had been on my TBR for the longest time, so I was so happy to finally get around to reading it. It’s just as mesmerizing and heart wrenching as I thought it would be after hearing other people online talk about it. I went into the book fairly blind to the plot and the characters, but it was easy to navigate despite various jumps in time. Addie is such a great protagonist, full of as much life and yearning as any teenager entering young adulthood, and the way Schwab puts her feelings into words makes you understand her in such an intimate way. Themes of life, memory, love, and wanting to be something great made this book stand out to me more than most other books I’ve read. It’s a beautiful story, one that’s going to stay with me for the rest of my life.


Adeline LaRue wants to be free from other people’s expectations and from her hometown, trapping her into a life she doesn’t want. At a breaking point, she makes a deal with the devil to live a life unbound to anyone or anything, but at a terrible price. Addie spends the next 300 years weaving through the world and being forgotten by everyone as soon as she’s out of sight. That is until a boy in a bookshop remembers. How does he remember?

—Lauren Tabella, Editorial

First Sight by Danielle Steel

I wanted to read this book because it involved fashion, Paris, and romance, which are among the many things that I love. Paris and other countries enchant me in general because the way people interact with each other is so unique to their cultures. I quickly became captivated by the main character and her life story. I love that she learns how to love and trust people even when unexpected issues keep coming up over a significant length of time.


Timmie O’Neill is a successful female fashion designer. Her business has been rapidly growing globally. She is one of the few American designers who shows her collections in Europe. On what is supposed to be a routine trip to Paris, she meets a man through unusual circumstances. Timmie instantly connects with this man, but his life situation makes even the possibility of them being together much more difficult. Along the way, Timmie discovers unknown truths about her childhood.

—Christina Hardesty, Graphics 

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I read this book at the beginning of June, and it still lives in my head. This book pulled me out of a severe reading slump with its world-building and characters. I finished it in two days! But that is also due to how it is the first book I have read that is from a villain’s perspective. I got immediately immersed, and the two stories in this book were beautifully intertwined. Following Victor and Eli’s story and how they became enemies was masterfully executed and compelling. The found family trope in this book was also a bonus. I also really enjoyed how Victor was a sort of father figure for Sydney and how they became close.


Victor and Eli were not always enemies; they used to be college roommates and friends. One day Eli comes up with an extraordinary question: if a person was in the right conditions, could they develop supernatural abilities? But when this question is put into practice, things go wrong. Then ten years after an accident, Victor breaks out of prison, wanting revenge against his former friend.

—Emalee Pennington, Editorial

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

After recently revisiting this short story collection from the 80s, I can say that it still resonates with me on a deeper level.  As someone who enjoys fairytales and all they have to offer regarding cultural and social impact, it is always nice seeing how authors interpret them in their own retellings. Carter takes some inspiration from fairytale lore to explore womanhood from a radical-libertarian feminist lens. She wanted women to seize their natural freedoms, and her fairytale heroines reflect this daring attitude of straying from the norm and even embracing their “monstrous” nature. Carter writes her stories with a lyrical, passionate voice that leaves me with a heightened sense of anticipation.


The book contains ten stories in total. The title story, which is close to a novella in length, features Carter’s Bluebeard retelling in which a young pianist marries a wealthy Marquis and moves to his seaside castle. When he decides to go away on a business trip, he entrusts his keys with the young protagonist, whose curiosity could lead to her end. The rest of the stories feature surreal depictions of fairy tales that most readers have come to know, such as Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood.

—Tynea Swinton, Editorial

Now that’s an eclectic mix of novels! Did you see any that you want to go pick up? Let us know!

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