April saw the return of my love of reading which had been gone for far too long to think about! I'm still nowhere near caught up with my schedule but I am making a teeny tiny dent into my TBR - who's growth has finally been stunted (for the most part!)
Whilst I'm still not reading as many books as I'd like considering my free time at the moment, I am really glad with what I'm reading and the fact I am enjoying it! This month I read 6 books and all of them were ones I really enjoyed! YAY!
First up in April I finished Caraval by Stephanie Garber! This was my only 5 star read of the month and it was truly deserved. I'm sure you all know by now what this book is about but for those of you still - somehow - unaware of this fantastic book, it follows two sisters at Caraval, a magical festival of sorts. However one sister is taken as part of the game so we follow the other, Scarlett, as she tries to find her. It is such a magical book with just the right amount of magic, mystery, adventure and romance. If you want to know more of my thoughts my review can be found here.
Next I devoured Street Song by Sheena Wilkinson. This was a 3.75, closer to 4 star read for me and it was the book that pulled me out of my reading slump. Street Song follows failed reality TV pop star RyLee as he tries to get his life back on track under the name 'Cal'. We follow him through the streets of Dublin and Belfast, his time in a dingy hostel and mostly, his music. I also reviewed this book which can be found here.
I finally picked up Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff in April! This was my lowest rated book with a solid 3.75 stars rating. I highly enjoyed it but I'm really not big on sci-fi so found myself skim reading the more techy parts of it. The other reason it lost out on a higher rating is due to the writing format - don't get me wrong I loved the unique style of this book, but I'm not sure if every copy is the same or if I got one bound wrong, however I found some pages hard to read. There were some that had tiny writing curving over the pages and I couldn't read about 4 or 5 words as they were tucked way down into the binding, and some pages I had to read about 3 times to figure out what order to read them in. There was one double page in particular that I read like normal - left page left to right, right page left to right - and I reread it a further two times to try and understand what the hell was being said when I realised that I was to read from left to right over both pages at once. So yeah, it lost a star for the writing format and layout confusing my silly brain and thus the enjoyment from the book was slightly diminished. However, I am super excited to pick up Gemina!
The last week of April was a great reading time for me - I finished 3 books. The first of which took me a while longer than anticipated. I decided to give Patrick Ness another shot with More Than This. I have previously read A Monster Calls and (unpopular opinion) I hated it. I'm not sure if that experience is what hindered my enjoyment of More Than This at the start but god was that first part slow. The book is split into three or four parts, the first of which is about 100 pages and I just could not get into it. As I said, I'm not sure if this is because I didn't enjoy the other Patrick Ness book I'd read and thus it was in my head I wouldn't like this or it may have been because the book was not at all what I had anticipated, but once I powered through those first 100 pages it definitely picked up and in the end it received 4 stars. It's one that is perhaps best going into blind so I won't say anything further.
The final two books I picked up were back in my comfort zone of contemporary - although I am now feeling a huge pull towards victorian london crime/mysteries and steampunk! Even fantasy has started taking my fancy!
I've gravitated towards Hate List by Jennifer Brown for as long as I can remember. I love paperbacks that are bigger than the normal, mass-market size and whilst this isn't quite a trade paperback size, it's bigger and thus I've always browsed it at the bookstore. I finally bought it and read it and loved it. This was another 4 star read. We follow Valerie, a girl who made a "hate list" with her boyfriend Nick that featured anything and everything and anyone they hated. It was an innocent list, a way to vent their frustrations until Nick walked into the school cafeteria and killed a number of students and injured more before killing himself. Although Valerie was also shot, she is shunned by everyone in school and believed to have orchestrated the attack. The story features some flashbacks but mostly follows Valerie as she goes back to school for her Senior Year and deals with the aftermath of what happened. This was a wonderful book. I really felt for Valerie, finding myself upset and frustrated by the way her peers treated her when she really didn't do anything wrong. It is such a powerful book for teaching us to be understanding of others, to not judge people when we don't really know them. This will stay with me for a long time.
And finally, I continued on with Holly Bourne's Spinster Club series and read How Hard Can Love Be? This book was so fun! I just love Holly's writing style, I love that the books have such a focus on feminism without it being overpowering and the fact that the girls aren't portrayed as perfect feminists - they still want to judge other girls sometimes or ogle over how hot a boy looks etc. They are real girls, they want to change the world but they're still imperfect. I love love love the way Holly deals with serious topics, from OCD in the first book to alcoholism in this one. I gave this book 4 stars, the only thing I fault it with is that Amber at the start of the novel, Amber gets drunk about three days in a row - which you can excuse as she had reasons each time - but you realise is probably the beginnings of alcoholism herself but then it isn't really touched upon. I wish more focus had been placed on that and resolving that. It sort of felt as though it was put there and then forgotten about. In saying that, it wasn't really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, just something I'd like to have seen more of. Ugh, I love Holly Bourne so much!
And that's that! Sorry I was a little AWOL last week - I was home alone as the rest of the household went on holiday so I ended up having a bit of a holiday myself by binge watching Ripper Street! Whoops!