Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve done a wrap-up post like this, but they’re fun and especially useful for a month like this where I’ve slacked off on reviews.
Books I read in April
Bit of a random assortment this month, but it was pretty great overall! 10 books total, of which 3 got 5 star ratings which is an excellent ratio. That or I’ve just gotten soft.
Click on the cover photos for the Goodreads page, and check out the links on the titles below for Starlight Shelves Reviews. If there’s no link there, and the few lines below just aren’t enough, you are always welcome to check out the babbling and rambling I usually post right as I finish a book on my Goodreads page!
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson-4 stars
I don’t read a whole lot of contemporary teen fiction, but then once in awhile I read one like this and wonder why I don’t read more. This was really beautiful and heart-breaking. A story about someone I can’t really relate to on the surface, and so find a lot to learn from as I go along. It’s the type of book that reminds you why reading is so crucial, and reassured me that Halse Anderson is a writer whose books deserve the acclaim they’ve received. I thought it lacked just a little in the character relationship development department, but Hayley’s voice was so strong, you almost forget to notice.
Emma by Jane Austen-4 stars
I am so proud I finished this. I picked up Emma back in the fall, when the YouTube series Emma Approved was just getting started, but put it down pretty early on. I couldn’t get into it enough, and Austen really knows how to make annoying characters actually be annoying. I picked up an audiobook version on the cheap early this month (because I already had a Kindle version, the Audible version was discounted, which is pretty cool). I’ve always sort of liked watching Austen-adaptations better than reading the books, even though they cut things out. I suppose I just like seeing the costumes and the settings, plus the emotion comes through much more on screen than it does buried in language and turns of phrase I don’t entirely understand. A good audiobook, then, was absolutely perfect for me. I got all of the inflections to help me out with the text, while not missing a single word of Ms. Austen’s. The version I read was performed by Juliet Stevenson (Audible link here!), if you’re interested. I thought it was wonderful.
The Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood #2) by Kendare Blake-3 Stars
I read Anna Dressed in Blood last month and really enjoyed it. It’s horror blended with romance and coming of age and I thought it was plotted and written extremely well. This one, the conclusion to the duo, I didn’t like as much, however. It dragged and felt superfluous to the story told in the first installment. It probably would have been better as a novella or a long epilogue as it didn’t stand on its own at all, though its conclusion was solid and meaningful. I liked it in the end, but at the same time I had that nagging feeling that it didn’t really ever need to exist at all.
I wrote a whole review trying to explain what I actually felt about this book. It’s hard to do for books that are good, but not that great. The short version is that I think Gone Girl is a bit overhyped and I had a hard time with it; it just wasn’t for me.
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins-4 stars
I finally caved and joined in on a Booksplosion book of the month after hearing some glowing initial reviews for this. It sounds contrite and insane when you try to describe it, but it really is a ton of fun. Rachel Hawkins is hilarious, turns out (I’d heard of her, but never read her, and funny was somehow not a word I’d heard to describe her books), and the book is so quirky. Plus it is so good at making fun of itself that you can’t help but enjoy yourself while reading it. It wasn’t profound and it wasn’t perfection, but I say give it a go.
The Giver by Lois Lowry-5 stars
I read The Giver, or had it read to me, I don’t remember for sure, in 4th or 5th grade. I remember liking it back then, but not completely understanding it and after reading it again, I totally see why. The Giver is deceptively brief. It’s much more than it seems on the surface and it does so much with so few words. It’s really incredible, and I’m so glad that I revisited it. It’s going to be really strange to see it as a movie later in the summer, since it’s always had this weird alien feeling to it, to me at least.
Legend and Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu-5 and 4 stars
I’m completely over the moon about the Legend trilogy thus far, though I should withhold judgement until I’m all the way done with Champion. Still, I think it’s a very smart, very intense dystopian trilogy that you should check out if you haven’t already (I was definitely starting to feel like I was the only one left, but I’m sure I’m not!)
A really cool series that has started to get some more fans due to some dedicated Booktubers, but underrated nonetheless. A super awesome blend of the fantasy adventure and contemporary drama that everyone should be able to enjoy.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor-5 Stars
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy wrapped up this month with Dreams of Gods and Monsters. It was completely not what I was expecting, but it was beautiful and hindsight has told me I wouldn’t have had it end any other way, though at first I was kind of completely startled by it all. Still haven’t reviewed this and probably won’t, just because my brain was so jumbled up about it. But it’s good. And the trilogy as a whole is amazing. Richly written fantasy, broad in scope and heavily detailed all at once, and an intensely complicated romance. What more could you want?
I’m currently reading Champion by Marie Lu, which I should be done with by early this weekend, and listening to The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein. Yes, I have never read LOTR all the way through and it is indeed quite shameful. I am a self proclaimed fantasy addict, but you can’t be a real fantasy fan without reading the universally acknowledged master. Though I get stuck every time at page 130 of volume 1. Tom Bombadil just drags…we’ll see if I can push through this time. I like my audiobook (performed by Rob Inglis) and I’m hoping that the format change will be enough to help me through it and hopefully enjoy it as much as everyone else does.
Then, I have no idea, really. I used to make plans, but they always change, so don’t get out the chisel on this list just yet. I really want to read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo for the Nerdfighter Bookclub, which has to be done by June 10, I think, so I’m sure start sometime in May. Then I still have not read Cress by Marissa Meyer, which is just ridiculous, since I’ve been meaning to since February when it came out. And I will most definitely be reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare, which comes out on the 27th. Definitely my most anticipated release of the entire year, though my physical copy of it probably won’t show until June, I’m sure I’ll cave and buy the ebook. Because…just because. I have to know what happens.