Welcome one, welcome all, to my April Wrap Up! April saw the dawning of the first bit of the Magical Readathon for 2019: the OWLs Readathon. Because of the readathon I got a lot of books read and I’m actually really proud of everything I managed to read this past month because I enjoyed pretty much all of it. Taking part in this readathon is always fun because G, the host, is SO extra and puts so much extra little bits and pieces into the readathon to make it feel truly magical and bring all the participants together as a community. Speaking of readathons, I also found out late in the game about the Avengers Readathon so obviously I’m taking part in that too, in a more low-key way.
Speaking of the Avengers, April was also important for one very good reason – Avengers Endgame, the culmination of over 10 years of the MCU. To be honest, I’m still processing what happened in the film and I’ll probably need to rewatch it a good few times before I can decide what I thought about everything. I wish I could write a blog post about it but, to be honest, it’s hard to sum up that many years of films and emotions even slightly concisely. It sounds like an exaggeration but when I thought about it, the MCU films have been basically the main/only films I’ve seen in the cinema for the past 8 or so years so, you know, it’s been an important part of my consumption of culture and entertainment and that’s a lot to take in.
May brings the very first readalong I’ve ever hosted: we’re reading Les Misérables in a month (hopefully anyway) so be sure to check out #MiserablesMay and join in if you’re interested! But before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s take a look at my reading in April:
In April, I read a total of 13 books – 13 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and 3 were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 4320 pages in total.
In terms of format: 4 were hardback, 4 was a paperback, 4 were ebooks, and 1 was an eARC.
As for genre, 1 was fantasy, 4 were YA fantasy, 3 were contemporary/romance, 3 were graphic novels, 1 was drama, and 1 was historical fiction.
Onto the books themselves…
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab *
Read: 29th March – 2nd April
Challenge: Around the Year in 52 Books (Week 21: A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes: A book in which a character uses a disguise or a false/fake identity)
Review: Re-reading this trilogy just makes me love it even more. As Alucard is my one of my faves from the series, I absolutely love this second book, but I really appreciated the development of Rhy and Kell’s relationship a lot more this time round too. (Full review to come)
The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith
Genre: children’s; graphic novel
Read: 2nd April
Challenge: Around the Year in 52 Books (Week 40: A book you stumbled upon)
Review: Although the plot of this children’s picture book is very simple, the illustrations are just stunning and the heart behind the story is very touching, even for a cynical “grown up” like me.
Betrayal by Harold Pinter
Read: 3rd – 4th April
Review: This was… fine. I’ve always been a bit fussy when it comes to plays but… I just think I don’t “get” Pinter. At least, on the page, I don’t get Pinter; I’m hoping, in performance, that I will enjoy it!
Shades of Magic, Vol. 1: The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab, Andrea Olimpieri, Enrica Angiolini
Genre: fantasy; graphic novel
Read: 5th April
Review:Seeing V’s idea of magic and Maxim’s past so vividly realised is amazing for any ADSOM fan. The action sequences somewhat confuse me but the COLOURS, guys, the colours!
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: historical fiction
Read: 3rd – 7th April
Review: This book proved to be captivating in a way I didn’t realise I cared about; I’m no music buff but this had me wanting to see Daisy Jones and The Six perform. I kept forgetting their albums and magazine covers didn’t exist and stopped myself mid-Googling. It just felt so real and that’s a testament to TJR’s masterful storytelling. (Full review to come)
Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren
Genre: contemporary; romance
Read: 9th – 12th April
Review: Christina Lauren have written better books but I actually found this one really enjoyable! I haven’t read the other books in series but I liked that this book’s couple seemed more relatable than the more outlandishly inclined ones.
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch
Genre: young-adult fantasy
Read: 7th – 14th April
Challenge: Around the Year in 52 Books (Week 46: A book with a mostly black cover)
Review: “Whatever the reason, for a narrative which involves such serious, complex, and dark themes (including torture, colonialism, immigration, religious persecution, and, essentially, child soldiers), I would have expected it to be aimed at a slightly older audience and I think it would have flourished there too. I found something lacking in the way the book kept trying to make sure it hit certain ‘beats’ typical of a YA fantasy story [… but] These Rebel Waves is an enjoyable example of a YA fantasy which deals with some heavier topics that elevate it beyond your typical adventure story, just don’t expect ‘yo ho ho’ swashbuckling action or you will likely be disappointed. (Full review)
Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
Genre: contemporary; romance
Read: 14th – 16th April
Review:I love Mhairi McFarlane- her books have a (fortunate) tendency to make me cackle with laughter and this one was no exception. But it also tackles serious stuff in an unflinching way too, if that’s your jam. (Full review to come)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo *
Genre: young-adult fantasy
Read: 12th – 19th April
Review: I’ve always loved the second book in the trilogy but this reread cemented just HOW much I love it. Sturmhond, creepy Darkling lurking, not hating Mal anymore, Zoya, the amplifiers, Nikolai… it’s all here. I think this is a wonderful book that does much more than just bridge between the foundational first book and concluding third book. (Full review to come)
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Genre: contemporary; romance; LGBTQ
Read: 19th – 20th April
Challenge: Around the Year in 52 Books (Week 44: A book related in some way to a tv show/series or movie you enjoyed (same topic, same era, book appeared in the show/movie, etc.)
Review: “This book unflinchingly addresses questions of institutionalised homophobia, racism, imperialism, class, sexual harassment, blackmailing, and the list goes on… all under the guise of a cute romance about the First Son and an English prince. […] Red, White & Royal Blue is a book worth far more than the run-of-the-mill “big-hearted romantic comedy” tagline of its synopsis; the emphasis should be on the big heart of the book itself because, truly, this book is one of the good ones.” (Full review)
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo *
Genre: young adult fantasy
Read: 21st – 28th April
Review: This book is still my least favourite of the trilogy (the Apparat and the section of the book they spend in the caves freaks me the fuck out) but the trilogy as a whole is golden and the start of the Grishaverse I’ve come to know and love so it makes me somewhat biased when it comes to reviewing/rating these books. (Full review to come)
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
Genre: fantasy; mythology; children’s
Read: 28th April
Challenge: Around the Year in 52 Books (Week 28: A book related to something cold, i.e. theme, title, author, cover, etc.)
Review: I love me some Norse mythology, especially when it’s told in Neil Gaiman’s enchanting narrative voice and accompanied by Chris Riddell’s gorgeous illustrations. I couldn’t do anything BUT love this book and the uplifting story it tells.
To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Genre: young adult fantasy; retelling
Read: 28th – 30th April
Challenge: Around the Year in 52 Books (Week 41: A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards)
Review: I’m so glad this retelling was so brutal, as was Lira, and I’m always a sucker for a prince who prefers to be a pirate. (Full review to come)
How did your April reading go?
What was your favourite book you read this month?
Please do share in the comments below and let’s chat books!