Reading Round-Up: June 2020

It's been another month, so you know what that means! It's time for another Reading Round-Up. The holiday last weekend pushed me back a bit on posting this, but it is here now!

Here is what I read in June 2020: 

The Burning Maze The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Carnival at Candlelight A Dandelion Wish Tales from the Haunted Mansion Volume 1 Honus and Me
Dune The Tyrant's TombThe Tale of the Shining PrincessFrom the Mist12 Years a SlaveWedding Wings

The List:
  • The Trials of Apollo #3: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
  • Magic Tree House #33: Carnival at Candlelight by Mary Pope Osborne
  • The Never Girls #3: A Dandelion Wish by Kiki Thorpe
  • Tales from the Haunted Mansion Vol. 1: The Fearsome Foursome by Amicus Arcane
  • Baseball Card Adventures #1: Honus & Me by Dan Gutman
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • The Trials of Apollo #4: The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan
  • The Tale of the Shining Princess by Sally Fisher & Donald Keene
  • The Never Girls #4: From the Mist by Kiki Thorpe
  • 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
  • The Never Girls #5: Wedding Wings by Kiki Thorpe

The Trials of Apollo #3: The Burning Maze is the third book in the Rick Riordan series that focuses on Apollo. I'll do separate reviews for this book later, so I don't want to talk about it too much here, due to potential spoilers of the previous installments I haven't yet discussed.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the newly released prequel to The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. This one takes place 64 years before the first book in the original series and focuses on President Snow when he was a teenager. We learn more about him, the history of the Hunger Games, and what the Capitol is like. I wrote a review for this book already, check it out here: READ REVIEW

Carnival at Candlelight is the 33rd book in the Magic Tree House series. In this book, Jack and Annie go to Italy, during the celebration known as Carnival, in order to find an artist and save the city from disaster. It is fun and magical, and also part of the Merlin Missions that Jack and Annie have been involved in. 

A Dandelion Wish is the third book in the Never Girls series that features our favorite fairies from Pixie Hollow. In this book, Mia and her little sister Gabby get into a fight, Gabby goes off to Pixie Hollow, and the access point to Pixie Hollow is closed. Sister disputes are something I know a lot about, and I love the magic of the Disney fairies, so I really enjoyed this one. 

Tales from the Haunted Mansion Volume One: The Fearsome Foursome is a book that is inspired by The Haunted Mansion ride at the Disney theme parks. Amicus Arcane, librarian of the Haunted Mansion, tells the story of a group of four middle school kids that call themselves the Fearsome Foursome. They meet him and he shares a few spooky stories with them. The stories are not directly tied to the ride or aspects of it, as each is an original short story, but there are a lot of Easter Eggs to be found for those familiar with the ride. We'll talk more about this in a later review. 

Honus and Me by Dan Gutman is the first book in a juvenile chapter book series that centers around baseball. Joe "Stosh" Stoshack is a kid that loves baseball cards. He comes across a one of a kind, will make you ridiculously rich, Honus Wagner baseball card. It turns out, that Stosh isn't just a kid that likes baseball cards, but a kid with an ability he discovers by accident: there is magic to the cards that allows him to meet Honus Wagner, for real. After the baseball failure short novel I read last month, this was a wonderful relief and we will talk about it in a review. 

Dune by Frank Herbert is a classic work of science fiction that has won numerous awards within the genre including the first Nebula Award and the Hugo Award. It is said to be an inspiration for numerous other popular works of science fiction, such as Star Wars. 

The Trials of Apollo #4: The Tyrant's Tomb is the fourth book in the Rick Riordan series mentioned above. This will also have a separate review in the next couple months, so keep an eye out for that!

The Tale of the Shining Princess is a classic Japanese folktale about Princess Kaguya-hime. She is a beautiful maiden from the moon, sent to Earth as a punishment and raised by a poor bamboo cutter and his wife. Suitors seek her hand so she sends them to obtain impossible items to be able to marry her. The original story is from the 10th century, with the oldest surviving complete manuscript dating back to 1592. It is also known as "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" ("Taketori") or "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya". This edition was put together by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and features reproduced items of an 18th century illustrated edition of the story that is within the museum's collection. I really liked this book. It is short, but it is a very interesting tale and the illustrations are fun to look at because it is in a traditional Japanese style. Japanese artists, as shown in this work, sometimes focus on different aspects of the story and use different techniques than American and other Western artists, so I found this to be very interesting in those regards. It is also thought of as being a pre-cursor to science fiction in some ways, because it features a princess from the moon, whose people come down to Earth to retrieve her. 

From the Mist is the fourth book in The Never Girls series. A mysterious fog comes to Neverland and the main four girls, along with their Pixie Hollow friends, must investigate. When one girl, Kate, gets separated because she rides a mist horse away to help it find its herd, the other girls and Silvermist need to go after her, before a bad part of an old legend comes true. This one is fun and cute, and it has mystical horses, so that is always a plus. This is another cute Disney Fairies story. 

12 Years a Slave is a non-fiction memoir written by Solomon Northup. He was a free man in New York, but was kidnapped and forced into slavery. He spent twelve years as a slave, moving from one plantation to another. This memoir inspired the movie, which I have not yet seen and is the first slave narrative I have read. I have read several captivity narratives and exploration narratives, but not a slavery narrative, so I found it very interesting. I highly recommend this as a book to study history as a primary source. 

Wedding Wings is the fifth book in the Never Girls series. Gabby is going to be a flower girl for the babysitter that she, her sister, and their friends have had. Bess, an artist fairy, decides she wants to see what a "Clumsy" wedding is like, to try to paint it. Trouble ensues and this is just another cute story with the Disney fairies and the Never Girls. 

This concludes the Round-Up for June 2020. When the end of July rolls around, there will be a new Round-Up. Happy reading! I'll see you real soon!