Monthly Wrap Up June

Monthly Wrap Up: June 2020

Hoo boy, June was A MONTH. And we are only halfway through 2020. It started with me working my ass off to get the blog ready for the moving. That is, we moved RockStarlit BookAsylum from to a self-hosted WordPress site and if I can say so, it looks fucking great. Which is only fair, as I worked more on this than I care to admit. On the day before the final move I basically sat before my screen for 12 hours straight to make sure everything is as it should be. And that was only the last day. But thankfully everything went well and to celebrate we announced our newest staff member, Arina! I’m excited she joined us and I hope the blog will be only better for it 🙂

But I couldn’t be happy for long as book Twitter set itself on fire first with regarding blog tours, then we moved on to outing assholes who repeatedly abused and harassed people, specifically women. Oh and transphobic people too. And finally the circle ended with a blog tour organizer shutting business down due to accusations of racism, harrassment and breaching privacy policy rights. Fun times. Here is to hoping July will treat all of us better.

That being said, let’s see what we were up to in June!

Book Reviews

In case you missed any of our reviews in June you can read them by clicking on the title! 🙂 We had a lot of reviews this month, so it was easy to miss one or two.

The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston – 4.5/5

the traitor god 1

I was in the mood to read one of my paperbacks and my pick fell on Cameron Johnston’s book, to which I owed a review for a long time anyway. Now I need to find time to squeeze in God of Broken Things. I’ll probably do the audiobook as I enjoyed The Traitor God that way (I’ve read AND listened to finish in a timely manner…)

Cameron Johnston doesn’t shy away from making his characters suffer, or get them into impossibly looking situations and splashing a good dose of blood on everything, but he still manages to make his characters painfully real. The Traitor God is a grimdark journey into a city’s (and humans’) deeply buried secrets. Just make sure you don’t run into the Smilers while you walk the streets of Setharis.”

The Great Restoration by William Ray – 4.5/5

The Great Restoration 2

Jen read and reviewed the follow up to Gedlund, The Great Restoration. It was one of our review requests we failed to get to until now.

“Usually I prefer detective stories where I don’t know who the culprit is, or the reason they did it – the fun is uncovering the clues while investigating. But, in this, we know who the kidnapper is and we even know why they were kidnapped but things aren’t adding up and those things are what keep you turning the pages to see how it all fits.”

The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson – 4.5/5


Jen’s review of The Lost War. We’ve heard many praises of this one and I’m about 75% into the audiobook myself so watch out for my review in July.

“I have been reading for a long time, I do tend to get excited and occasionally think some big fabulous plot is happening, only to have it not be as grand as my imagination. So, when I do read something that pushes those boundaries and let’s my imagination run with possibilities, and after a few surprises, I feel that it just might be clever enough to be actually going in that way – then, I am impressed. I have a lot of praise for a story that can do that. So, here is me praising this story, for letting me, let my imagination, run wild.”

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough – 3.5/5

13 Minutes

I listened to the audiobook back in May, but I only got around to review it in June. This was on of the books Peter McLean recommended to me. It was not exactly what I expected.

13 Minutes is what would happen if someone remade the Mean Girls as a psyhological mystery thriller, so if that’s your niche, then I definitely recommend checking it out.”

Dirty Fred, the Captain – 5/5

Dirty Fred the Captain 1

I was craving a bit of Hungarian literature and some fun and so my pick fell on a classic, Dirty Fred, the Captain – which is available in English.

“All being said, if you are looking for a few hours of lighthearted fun without needing to think too much, I definitely recommend checking Dirty Fred, the Captain out! A Hungarian classic which I hope will steal your heart as well. Hopefully not literally. You can just never know with these guys.”

We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson – 4.5/5

We Ride the Storm new

I was very lucky to get an ARC copy of the traditionally published version of We Ride the Storm and that I got to take part in the blog tour as well! It was exciting to read and discover how much changed compared to the self-published version 🙂

We Ride the Storm is a strong, incredible even, first book, which builds up the conflict and leaves plenty of questions to be answered in later books. It’s a bloody, character driven, headless… err, endless fun. Devin Madson‘s voice is one worth listening to in the cacophony of the Fantasy genre, and I personally can’t wait to see how far she will get with the Reborn Empire series. Hopefully not too many heads will fall in her wake.”

Lords of Asylum by Kevin Wright – 5/5

lords of asylum 1

Arina not only wrote her first post for the Asylum, but her first review as well! I’ve received a review request for this one back in 2018 and she was kind enough to take it from me. We only realised later that it got republished this year so her review reflects the old version. Which wasn’t bad already.

“This is a book best savored like a good wine, letting it slowly dance across your palate to drop a fiery, welcomed warmth down your throat. A warmth that settles in your core and awakens your thirst for the next glass. Like Krait, you’ll be eager to take that next sip and quickly run to open the next installment of The Serpent Knight Saga. 

In the end, Lords of Asylum was cataclysmic, nitty-gritty perfection with a good, unhealthy dose of backstabbing. I can’t wait to see where the next book will take me.”

Other Bookish Posts

Written in Narrative — Does A Protagonist’s Queer Identity Matter?

Arina’s first post for the Asylum was written in honour of June being Pride Month. It’s a thought provoking one, in which she tries to find the answer whether the a protagonist’s queer identity matters when one picks up a book or not. She also gives us great recommendations of books with queer protagonists!

“So if you asked me, “does a protagonist’s queer identity matter when choosing a book?”, I would tell you at least buy me a glass of wine before we delve into deep, philosophic, soul-searching discussions, as most of my answers go: yes, for a great part, but no for another.

But mostly I’d say that if you have any recommendations about SFF books that give us compelling queer protagonists, I’d love to hear them all!”

Cover Reveal

I had the pleasure to bring you the cover reveal of Between Savage Tides by Anela Deen!

To Be Continued…

10 weeks, 5 authors, 1 story. In To Be Continued… I asked 5 authors (self-published and traditionally published alike) to write a story together based on my prompts, without knowing about each other. They each had 2 weeks to write their part before I forwarded it to the next person to continue. Each part is somewhere between 500 – 1500 words long.

After The New Sound, it was time to have another story written by awesome authors! In June we posted the last 3 out of 5 parts of The Butcher Queen:

Part 3 by Craig Schaefer (author of the Daniel Faust, Harmony Black, The Ghosts of Gotham Saga, The Wisdom’s Grave Trilogy, Ravenche Cycle and the Charlie McCabe series.)

Part 4 by Justin Call (author of The Silent Gods series, published by Gollancz)

Part 5 by Anela Deen (author of the Bitter Sea Trilogy, the Locksmith Duology and the Insurrection series.

Storytellers On Tour

The Faith Machine by Tone Milazzo

the faith machine milazzo

We gave you a Psychic Thriller, The Faith Machine by Tone Milazzo. As usual, our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show.

A King’s Bargain by J.D.L. Rosell

a kings bargain

We also gave you an epic fantasy, A King’s Bargain by J.D.L. Rosell. As usual, our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show.

Spit and Song by Travis M. Riddle

spit and song riddle

We gave you a fantasy adventure, Spit and Song by Travis M. Riddle. As usual, our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show.

Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach

guild of tokens auerbach

 We celebrated the 1 year anniversary of the book’s publication and the release of the audiobook of an (Unconventional) Urban Fantasy, Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach. As usual, our Roadies brought a wide selection of content to this show

Music Musings

Music Monday

If you missed any of them, give them a listen and read my personal notes/thoughts/ramblings regarding them 🙂

I think that’s it for June. I hope to see you all in July!