2020 · Wrap ups

April Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2021

A mixed month but I enjoyed it.

April was a good and not so good month. The first half went really well, reading wise (mid-month wrap-up). The other half has not been that great. The main reason is work deadlines, and I got my windows replaced in my house. Lots of stress!

And then Shadow and Bone came out on Netflix and I got completely swept up into the Grishaverse. So no reading done then either. Loved the show though. Anyone else loving the new Crow material? Oh and Nina’s backstory?

It was so good and I was so stressed that I watched it twice…

My April TBR had a great selection of 10 books of which I’ve read 8 and currently reading another. I think that’s pretty good!

Now for the negative side. Camp NaNo didn’t go well… here is my vlog for the whole month but I will make a post about it too.

Anyway.

Let’s just dive in 🙂

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.

Oculta (A Forgery of Magic #2) by Maya Motayne

ARC – NetGalley

Synopsis of Book 1 Nocturna.

Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts. 

I enjoyed this more than book 1 Nocturna but I still love the magic in here as well.

Full review

Also here is my review for Nocturna which is the first book in the series.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Audiobook – Library

In this contemporary romance with a bit of magic, chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, during a night out with her friends, she slips on a spilled drink and hits her head, only to wake up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire — Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Over the course of a summer, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed… love and hate. 

I enjoyed this read. The main character wasn’t entirely likeable but I grew to understand her and it was written in a way to make her understandable instead of repulsive. She was annoying though. Didn’t prevent me from liking the book.

I read this during Raedathon and you can hear all my thoughts about it in my vlog.

Blue Lily Lily Blue (Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

e-book – Own

Book 1 synopsis:

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

A good continuation to the series. I felt it had the same good amount of action and tension as the first two books even though it’s been years since I read them. I still love Blue and her family and I still love the boys just as they are 🙂

I look forward to the last one in the series and I hope it won’t take long for me to get to it.

The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He

e-ARC – NetGalley

Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, she has a sister named Kay. Determined to find her, Cee devotes her days to building a boat from junk parts scavenged inland, doing everything in her power to survive until the day she gets off the island and reunites with her sister.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara is also living a life of isolation. The eco-city she calls home is one of eight levitating around the world, built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. With natural disasters on the rise due to climate change, eco-cities provide clean air, water, and shelter. Their residents, in exchange, must spend at least a third of their time in stasis pods, conducting business virtually whenever possible to reduce their environmental footprint. While Kasey, an introvert and loner, doesn’t mind the lifestyle, her sister Celia hated it. Popular and lovable, Celia much preferred the outside world. But no one could have predicted that Celia would take a boat out to sea, never to return.

Now it’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But as the public decries her stance, she starts to second guess herself and decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own. 

Full review here. But I loved this book so much!

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

e-Audiobook – Library

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers. 

Hmm

I didn’t like this.

I felt is was almost pointless. The main character is unlikable and just a plain bad person. There is no satisfying ending or conclusion but a magical resolution. And the author uses 9/11 as a plot twist.

Yes I understand this book is a good representation of depression, greif and toxic relationships. And that might make to book a good one. Also the writing was good.

But none of that made me like the book.

The Silence by Don DeLillo

e-Audiobook – Library

It is Super Bowl Sunday in the year 2022. Five people, dinner, an apartment on the east side of Manhattan. The retired physics professor and her husband and her former student waiting for the couple who will join them from what becomes a dramatic flight from Paris. The conversation ranges from a survey telescope in North-central Chile to a favorite brand of bourbon to Einstein’s 1912 Manuscript on the Special Theory of Relativity.

Then something happens and the digital connections that have transformed our lives are severed.

What follows is a dazzling and profoundly moving conversation about what makes us human. Never has the art of fiction been such an immediate guide to our navigation of a bewildering world. Never have DeLillo’s prescience, imagination, and language been more illuminating and essential. 

Another urgh!

This was just meh.

It starts off boring but ok. Then something happens and all technology shuts down and the more weird things happens and that is meant to make you think. No thank you! I felt this was pointless. It doesn’t have an ending, no conclusion or resolution, it just ends…

Yes it was interesting to see the effects of media consumption on people and how that’s portrayed, and the books is without spelling mistakes but not for me.

On Writers and Writing by Margaret Atwood

e-Audiobook – Library

What is the role of the writer? Prophet? High priest of art? Court jester? Or witness to the real world?

Looking back on her own childhood and writing career, Margaret Atwood examines the metaphors which writers of fiction and poetry have used to explain – or excuse! – their activities, looking at what costumes they have assumed, what roles they have chosen to play. In her final chapter she takes up the challenge of the title: if a writer is to be seen as “gifted”, who is doing the giving and what are the terms of the gift? Atwood’s wide reference to other writers, living and dead, is balanced by anecdotes from her own experiences, both in Canada and elsewhere. The lightness of her touch is offset by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing, and by a deep familiarity with the myths and traditions of western literature.

Not the most inspiring work of non fiction for writers but I did end up feeling like I had the right to write if that even makes sense.

It was a very diverse book even though she mostly talked about herself. But it reminded me a lot of Virginia Wolf’s A Room of Her Own. A lot of thoughts and a lot of wanderings while the author tried to figure out what to say during her lecture/speech.

I liked it but it was just a bit too philosophical for me at this time. I might like it more in a few years.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

ARC – NetGalley

Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

I enjoyed this a lot. I wasn’t sure about it before things started to make sense about halfway through. I mean its a lot of weird things in here and surprisingly smutty. At least 5 f/f sex scenes but one has two male solidified ghosts in it – makes perfect sense in the book 😂 I swear!

It was challenging for the mind to read and had several cultural references to black history in America. Some I got but some flew over my head not being American and not knowing much detail about American history. But I still understood that there was an important reference there and sometimes I googled things to see if it made more sense. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, so I stopped doing that and just enjoyed the book.

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:
    • None

Available credit from last month; 1

Credit transferring over to next month: 3

  • Only request two ARC’s:
    • None

Available credits from last month; -7

Credit transferring over to next month: -5

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 or 2021 acquired books. Based on all the books I read this month these are the once from my shelves:

Physical shelf
  • I started The Fifth Season but I never finished so I didn’t complete this part of my goal…😔
E-book shelf
  • Blue Lily Lily Blue (Raven Boys #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

That’s it!

Have you read any of these?

Until next time; happy reading!

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