I read 14 books this month, which is the most I’ve read in a month this year I think. It’s also the month where I’ve had the most free time, so that’s not really surprising! In particular it’s been a great month for audiobooks, as I had a 30-day free trial for Scribd, and bought myself a Nintendo Switch with Animal Crossing. I have spent a lot of April shaking trees, bashing rocks and planting flowers whilst listening to an audiobook. So, I physically read 8 books, and listened to 6 audiobooks (if that doesn’t seem to match the photo, which has 9 books, it’s because I own a physical copy of Ink but actually listened to the audiobook for it). Below is a short(ish) summary of each of the books I read this month.
Favourite Book of the Month: Red, White and Royal Blue (reread) and Nevermoor
Least Favourite Book of the Month: The Strange Library
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J. Maas
This is a fantasy that has a lot of hype on bookstagram. Although I did really enjoy it, I didn’t love it quite as much as a lot of other people seem to. I enjoyed the world and the fae creatures, and I thought Feyre was an interesting character. I particularly enjoyed the last 150 pages as those were the most fast-paced, and we got to see more of Rhysand, who I already love. My main issue with it was the pacing, as I found there were many pages of description about the colours and shapes and lighting of different scenes and people that Feyre would never be able to paint and I found that element very repetitive and I just wasn’t interested in the huge and lengthy descriptions. I’m not in a hurry to pick up the next book in the series, but I do want to get round to it at some point.
Beneath the Sugar Sky
After reading the first two books in the series last month, I carried on listening to the Wayward Children series on Scribd this month. I really enjoyed the third book in this series. There was a lot more exploration of the different worlds that some of the children visited, and we got to see some of the characters from the first book that weren’t in the second, like Nancy and Kade. I loved how illogical and weird this series is, but how openly McGuire makes this fact, which in turn somehow makes it all the more believable.
In an Absent Dream
I started this one as soon as I finished the third book, and I enjoyed this one equally. I loved the character of Lundy, and getting to watch her character development as she grow from a child to a teenager. I also loved the exploration of the Goblin Market and the complexities and intricacies of its rules and way of life.
The Strange Library
This short story was incredibly weird. The premise is that a boy (I have no idea how old) goes to the library and is imprisoned by a man who wishes to eat his brains, and about how the boy attempts to escape. It was just weird, and combined it with random elements of fantasy and magic. I didn’t really enjoy listening to it, but I will be giving Haruki Murakami’s writing another go.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies
I really enjoyed elements of this novel, but overall I found the storyline a little lacking. I loved the pansexual, genderfluid presentation of Loki, and the feminist undertones throughout. I also liked the clear presentation of Odin’s favouritism and Loki’s villainous behaviour resulting out of the choices of others, rather than a destiny he wanted for himself. I thought the plot was quite simple and obvious, and I would’ve preferred more time spent on magic and the relationship between Loki and Amora. I don’t think I’ll be picking up anymore of Lee’s books though.
I really didn’t enjoy this one. I had a lot of issues with the portrayal of the main character and her step-father, who not adequately condemned or labelled for his abusive behaviour. There is also a strange and abusive relationship between the main character and her step-brother, and I just didn’t like it. It missed the mark for me, and I was disappointed by it. You can read my full review here: https://t.co/t0ziznlqUn?amp=1
Red, White and Royal Blue
I LOVED rereading this so much. It was just as cute and funny and romantic as it was the first time I read it, and it was so difficult to put it down after each chapter. I was buddy reading it with some other bookstagrammers and we read a chapter a day, and it was so much fun to discuss it with people who loved it as equally as me. I loved the process of tabbing it as well and I can look back on my favourite moments and quotes from it a lot easier now.
This was an amazing Middle Grade book set in an alternate world filled with magic and wonder. The worlds that Townsend created were detailed and intricate, and the characters were equally well-crafted. It was funny and light-hearted, yet also had some much darker and more sinister moments than I have seen in previous MG reads, and the combination was a fast-paced, action-packed and entertaining read.
Another one I was slightly disappointed with. I asked for this for my birthday (last July, oops) and only just got round to picking it up. I thought it was more of a practical guide to learning how to be an adult, full of hints and tips, and lightly speckled with the author’s own experiences. I wanted someone to tell me how to ace an interview, figure out my taxes and remember my washing, and properly also some good hangover cures and how to stay in touch with friends when you move to university. Sadly, it was mostly just a recount of the author’s life, and was much less a generic guide to adult living than a how-to for long-distance relationships and body confidence. Which I didn’t really want.
Definitely one of the weirdest concepts for a book that I’ve ever read. It was pretty difficult to overlook the central theme of ‘skin books’ – yes, books made out of your skin when you die – and I kinda found that too weird to find this book anything more than okay. It was an interesting story and I enjoyed listening to it, but it lacked world-building and I often found the main character quite annoying.
I really wanted to love this one, but I just didn’t. I found it difficult to get into, and didn’t gel with the writing style. I thought I enjoyed character-driven novels, but this one contained far too much character introspection for my liking. I’d say the majority of the book was made up of the main character having conversations with herself in her head and overanalysing everything. I do enough overthinking as it is without having to read about someone else overthinking! And then I just found the plot predictable. So sadly this one wasn’t for me. I can’t decide between 2.5 and 3 stars as there were elements that I liked and I started to like it a bit more towards the end, but then I also didn’t.
Come Tumbling Down
It’s been a Seanan McGuire kinda month for me, and I have been loving it. This is the fifth instalment in the Wayward Children series, and I think it is one of my favourite ones. We go back to the Moors and see Jack once again, and as Down Among the Sticks and Bones is probably my favourite book of this series, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this one. I love the writing style, the vivid imagery and descriptions of both settings and characters. McGuire has a way of writing characters that makes them so real and complex, and in such a short books, which are also filled with world-building and action. It’s amazing, and I’m looking forward to trying to find some of her other works.
No Time for Goodbye
This was the April buddy read with the #fourteenperfectstrangers, which is a group of my favourite bookstagrammers that I love being a part of. I enjoyed this book, which was my first experience of Linwood Barclay, but I didn’t love it. Again, I didn’t really love the writing style. It might have been me listening to the audiobook at 2.5x speed, but it felt very tell rather than show, and lots of things were just stated throughout the book. I didn’t guess the plot or the twist, but at the same time I wasn’t really ‘wowed’ by them either. I would give Barclay’s books another go, but I’m not in a rush.
Letters to a Young Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke
I really enjoyed reading these 10 letters from Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Kappus. The writing was amazing, and made me realise how much I love the long and rambling sentences of 19th century authors and poets that go on and on, full of commas (and random bits in parenthesis) and don’t know when to just stop. I like that sort of writing style. However, I definitely think a certain amount of this went straight over my head, and I wasn’t intrigued enough to really try and decode every sentence I didn’t quite get.
How was your reading in the month of April? What was your favourite book? Have you read any of the books I read this month?