2018 · Long post · Wrap ups

April Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2020

April was a good month!

I did a 4 day readathon, spend time on the allotment but also managed to catch up on my reading. All in all a good sunny month 😁

I managed in total 11 books. I feel really great about this reading month! Yes several books were romance books and audiobook which in general read quicker than fantasy, but there was also a good mix of book this month.

I did deviate from my TBR though. Three books were non-TBR material. One was a short audibook while the two other were 400p romance book. One of them is currently my faster read of 2020 with 140 pages a day… thats kind of sad but also quite funny.

Anyone who remembers my 2019 reading statistic post, rest assure I’m logging everything this year too πŸ™‚ #nerd The last graph on the stats post is my favourite and I ‘m still geeking over it. Its a map of where I travel in book throughout the entire year!!!

As a reminder: To me, 5 ivy leaves is an amazing book that stuck with me, surprised me, one I could stop thinking about, I got lost in, etc. 4 ivy leaves is an enjoyable read something I really liked, but that’s it. 3 ivy leaves are either a disappointing read, or the book is just OK.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Audiobook – Library

The Story:

Dual perspective between Tiffy and Leon.

Tiffy need s a new flat and living situation asap. Her boyfriend dumped her but said it was find to live int he flat they shared until now. He arrives with his fiance in toe saying she should move out and pay the last 6 month rent on top of that. Tiffy need something cheap but she also want something close to work and doesn’t want to commute for hours a day. In comes Leon.

Leon need extra cash asap. He works nights and has a girlfriend he lives with during the weekend so why not let out his one bed flat in central London. Makes sense right? yeah he know its doesn’t, but his brother’s legal fees a sky high and Leon is desperate.

The transaction for the lease goes through Leon’s girlfriend so Leon doesn’t have to meet however is sleeping in his bed during the day. But Tiffy just want to know if she can move a chair, or to tell Leon she made too much dinner and there are leftovers if he wants them. She starts communication through post-it notes and Leon replies.

My Opinion:

This was so cute! I love the fact that yes its not 100% realistic but the characters acknowledge that fact. They have friends who questions the illogical side of things which made it feel more acceptable to me. These are not perfect characters, they have issues, mentally. Tiffy struggles with her past relationship and the memories that emerge now that she is no longer with him. Leon is stressing over his brother and the upcoming court case, trying to stay hopeful.

I love it! I would read it again.

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova

ARC – NetGalley

The Story:

Ren was kidnapped as a child to live and work for the King’s Justice. Being one of the few robaries (someone to take others peoples memories) in the world she was valued by the King in his dirty work which resulted in the deaths of her own people, Morias. Now a few years later she has teamed up with the Whisperers a rebel organisation against the empire. No matter what she does the rebels still doesn’t trust her nor her abilities. Apart from Dez, her unit leader. He trusts her completely.

On a mission Daz, gets kidnapped with the intent of escape halfway through. Ren launches a rescue missing when she realise the escape wont work. The rescue missing fails miserable and Ren is stuck back in the castle with all her stolen and locked down memories. As she grows more embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

My Opinion:

I did a full review here, but in short I loved this book!

Gideon the Ninth (Hidden Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir

Audiobook – Owned

The Story:

All Gideon wants is to get of this sad shallow planet that has been her home for her entire life. The 9th House, as they are called, is the home she never wanted. As an orphaned, all she can think of is to become the best swordwoman there is and hit the front line. Too bad the leader of the 9th House has other plan and drags Gideon with her, against her own better judgement Gideon follows.

My Opinion:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Its was funny and interesting and fresh. It was not as funny as I expected but still entertaining. The world is a bit complex but that was purely because its not stereotypical. We are talking about necromancers in space here, which is not normal. But the layout of the world and its houses was cool. The story line itself was interesting. It was more of a mystery and competition that fighting etc which was very entertaining. Not only is the magic dark with all the necromancy but the reveals are quite dark too but made lighter by the easy tone of the book. I also loved the character in this book and I felt for them at the end. I really want to read the next book πŸ™‚

I buddy read this with a friend who made two comments; the wold building was confusing in the beginning and the book was not as queer as she had hoped. I think she was referring to the lack of lesbian smut…

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Audiobook – Library

The Story:

Moby Dick told through the whale’s point of view.

Whales that hunt humans because humans hunt whales… I mean there is only one way this ends

My Opinion:

A very original tale! I do love Patrick Ness’ stories and how they see things for such different point of views. Unless that is what I keep picking up from his ensemble of work.

I loved the twist at the end. It made me think and the thoughts went quite deep.

Anything For You (Blue Heron#5) by Kristan Higgins

E-Book – Owned

The Story:

As the 5th book is a series, this book follows characters we already know. This one follows Jessica Dunn and her journey to find happiness with a well known male character πŸ˜‰

Revisit Blue Heron winery and everyone else around who in the last four books have settled down.

My Opinion:

I love this setting! The winery set in the middle of wine country makes it more dreamy. Also this series are a super easy and fast read.

This is one of those series where no-one gets fatally hurt, no blood, hardy any violence or any other hard-core content. By the end, everyone is happy and settled and everything is resolved. It’s the perfect dreamy get-away.

I enjoyed this book a lot. Though it was a while since I read the first 4 (back in 2016 I think), so I had to get re-acquainted with them all.

Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to use a disabled brother as a negative hinder for happiness, but I liked how he became more independent in the end so he had his own happy ending πŸ™‚

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Book/Audiobook – Owned/Library

The Story:

The story of how a 13 year old boy deals with grief.

At seven minutes past midnight Conor wakes to the sound of his name on the wind. At seven minutes past midnight a monster calls and he wants something from Conor. Something dark. something Conor doesn’t want to give. During the day Conor take care of himself as his mother is recovering from her third round of chemo. His dad lives in the states and only visits when he has to. His grandmother is a business women devote of emotion and someone Conor doesn’t like. Then Conor gets in trouble at school and his mother tells him his grandmother is coming to stay and that his dad is coming to visit.

This story is based on a final idea by the late Siobhan Dowd who died before this book was finish.

My Opinion:

I listened to the audiobook for this which is narrated by Jason Isaacs and I loved it. It was a re-read for me but the first time around I read it on e-book and I was travelling so I had to have breaks and had to control my emotions. This time around I had the audiobok which gives more freedom, and I ended up cleaning the entire kitchen while listening to it! haha! I had so many emotions I had to do something!

This was my book clubs pick for May and we will get together a discuss the book sometime in May (probably virtually).

The Man In The High Castle by Philip K Dick

Book – Owned

The Story:

In a world where Germany and Japan won WW2, the enthnic clensing continues. However the US is divided in three east, west and the Rockies. The East is controlled by the Germans and they all work in work groups and get meal cards etc, while the west is controlled by Japan and have evolved a bit further and doing better economically. The Rockies are more or less independant and and area of freedom for anyone who does not fit in.

The sotry follow a Japanese business man in San Fransisco, a german spy who use him as a set up for meeting a Japanese spy to exchange information. In this story line we mainly follow the Japanese man who struggles with his purpose and identity.

A second story line follows a woman living in the Rockies who joins up with a man and goes on a road trip to find an author of an underground book (and banned). The author is refereed as The Man In The High Castle.

The two story lines are joined by a art seller who we follow a lot too. He sells art to the business man and buys jewellery from the woman in the Rockies’ husband. Its gets a bit tangled.

My Opinion:

It was a muddy book. It’s not a world I would like to live in. the ethnic cleansing references made me super uncomfortable and disgusted. the story in it self has a lot of extra stuff going on that I struggled to see the point with.

I do respect the level of research and world building involved with this and I appreciated the small details like who the west was so focuses on referring with the oracle books on big and small decisions.

I glad I managed to finish it, but it’s not a book I would read again. The story line was just meh. The goal with the spy story was to have the meeting but it kept being delayed due to other events, so it dragged on a bit. The woman’s story line didn’t had a goal before halfway through the story.

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

E-book – Owned

The Story:

A poem collection about dog, being a dog owner and all things dog.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this, but I didn’t expect the short stories towards the end. I wanted poems not short stories. Unless they were prose and I’m just too stupid to see it… It’s likely. Poetry is a relatively new thing to me.

Also I don’t have a dog. I’ve never had a dog. But I expect this would appeal to any dog owner past present or future πŸ™‚

The Best Man (Blue Heron #1) by Kristan Higgins

E-book – Owned

The Story:

Book one in the Blue Heron series follows Faith Holland, the youngest of the Holland clan of Blue Heron Winery at Manningsport, NY.

After being left at the alter due to the groom coming out as gay, Faith left Blue Heron and New York for San Francisco. She took the honeymoon and didn’t return. After several year of becoming a successful landscape architect, she still can’t seem to date the right guy. After first moving to San Fran she dated anther two gay guys, before jumping over to married guys. She has had enough. Then her family calls her back in time for her grandparents anniversary she decides to stay for a bit. Turns out her dad has a new girlfriend no-one likes and Faith is asigned the task of finding a more decent replacement. Also, turns out seeing her ex-fiance is more difficult and so easy at the same time. However, seeing the best man isn’t.

Levi Cooper, and said best man, has returned to Manningsport to become a local police after years in the army. His wife left him almost two years ago, he lost his mother and tries to support his younger sister at college and gets frustrated when she keeps coming home unannounced. Its been a difficult two years. and the only positive is that he became the chief police. On top of all that his best friend’s ex-fiance Faith, Princess Cute, is back in town all curves and lushness and annoyance.

My Opinion:

I love this story! It’s by all mean perfect but it’s a guilty pleasure read for me. It is funny and sweet and feisty.

I love the relationship between Faith and her guilt, and Levi and his 3am baking as coping mechanism. I just love it! *swoon*

I might have to re-read the next ones too. I’m such a romance mood. But I’ve notice other book-world people also saying they have been into romance lately too. I blame corona for this! This quarantine are making us all softies lol!

Me by Elton John

Audiobook – Library

The Story:

Autobiography of Elton John by Elton John. Looks at his life from starting playing the piano through to the farewell tour after making Rocketman the movie. This book was not a duplicate or Rocketman, but and add-on. This book contain other pieces of information as well as the information provided int he film.

My Opinion:

I loved this book! Elton John has a way of looking at his own life with humour and frank honesty. He doesn’t gloss over things, and he doesn’t hide things. He speaks of those uncomfortable things as well as the sweet and funny moments. I laughed and I almost shed tears too, which is saying something. I loved it!

I listen to this on audiobook and the prologue and epilogue was narrated by Elton himself while the body of the text was narrated by Taron Egerton who played Elton John in Rocketman.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Book – Borrowed

The Story:

A circus the just appears in a field. It travels around the world silently. It is only black and white. It is mesmerising. It is magical. It is not your traditional circus. There are more than one tent and each tent contains an act or an installation.

Behind the scenes there is a competition going on. Who can created the best tent? A duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood solely for this purpose. In the end only one is left standing and the circus is the perfect battle ground. But then Celia and Marco meets and the battle takes a turn as they fall head over heels into a magical love.

My Opinion:

I struggled reading this book, I have to be honest about that. I wanted to love it. I wanted to get fully absorbed by it. But none of that happened. Maybe my expectations where to high? Maybe I was to desperate to love it?

Controversial opinion but this book could have been shorter. There is no need for 500 pages. The first 250 ages of the book is almost purely descriptions and there isn’t much story line or plot int he first half. The story itself starts with the romance part at about 250 pages in. The book picks up in the last half and finished in a decent story line, but I can’t get over the first dry half.

Having said that the descriptions were really good! And the world was very magical and it is totally a place I would love to visit!

Reading Challenge check:

Let’s hold me accountable.

I have two goals this year which involve acquiring books;

  1. only buy two books a month,
  2. only request two ARCs a month.

Rules: For buying books it only for books I, personally, spend money on including subscription boxes (one per box), but it excludes my audible membership and all free books and gifts. For the ARC’s I’ve focused on my request-button-pressing and not getting the requests approved because you don’t know if it will be approved, nor do you know when it will be approved. Therefore, only two request-clicks per month. I can move the points between the months and if I don’t use them in one month transfer them to the next month.

I will have this on my wrap-ups every month.

Let’s check if I stuck to my goals:

  • Only buy two books a month: 
    • Anything For You

Available credit from last month; 1

Credit transferring over to next month: 2

  • Only request two ARC’s: 
    • none (well done me!)

Available credits from last month; 0

Credit transferring over to next month: 2

TBR Shelf Reads

I also had a goal of reading one book form my physical shelf and one books from my e-book shelf per month. None of these can involve 2020 acquired books. Based on all the books I read this month these are the once from my shelves:

  • Physical shelf
    • Th Man In The High Castle (so relieved its read now!)
  • E-Book shelf
    • Dog Songs

That’s it!

Have you read any of these?

Of all of them I think either the Elton John book or the Best Man were my favourite. What was your favourite read this month?

Until next time; happy reading!

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