I love writing mini reviews! It gives me a way to review all of the books I read in a month but doesn’t add the pressure of having to write a full-blown review if I don’t want to. Short and sweet! Or salty, depending on how I liked the book.
Amazingly, I managed to finish seven books in April. I think I mostly have the Magical Readathon to thank for that (you can read more about that here). I do want to try to stay in this flow, though, so I’ve already picked out some books I want to read in May. Hopefully, I’ll get to them all!
But first, let’s talk about all of the books I read in April!
Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ★★★★☆
This series just keeps getting better! After reading the first volume, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue the series, but I’m glad I did because I already liked volume 2 a lot better, and volume 3 was even more fun. I’m finally truly invested in the characters and their fates and some of the events in this volume had me on the edge of my seat. Shit gets crazy in Saga, that’s for sure. I like how we’re getting to know more about the crazy world and society the story takes place in and I’m also enjoying the new characters. I definitely want to keep reading this series, but these volumes are rather expensive, so I’m not sure when I will pick up the next one.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness ★★★★⭑ (4.5)
I loved this! This book had been sitting on my shelves for almost two years already and I kept thinking “ooh, I want to read that soon – it seems like so much fun”, but I kept prioritising other books. However, then I had to read a book that started with an ‘R’ for the Magical Readathon, and this was the perfect book. My love for it actually came as a bit of a surprise. I had expected I would like this book, but I hadn’t thought I would connect with it as much as I did. I think that has to do with the mental health representation, which I really appreciated. Plus, I just loved how this book dealt with the Chosen One trope and how there was this huge apocalyptic crisis going on in the background that our cast of characters didn’t know much about. They were just living their lives and dealing with their own problems. The thing I loved most about this book, however, is the relationships. It’s all about friendship and family and I loved how all of those were portrayed.
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino ★★⭑☆☆ (2.5)
Another one that came as a bit of a surprise, but in this case a bad one… I’ve been wanting to read this ever since one of my professors talked about it in a university course I took in 2012. Then my boyfriend turned out to love it, too, and he recently bought a copy, so I picked it up for the Magical Readathon, expecting to love it. Instead, I was pretty disappointed. The concept of the book is really interesting to me, but at some point it became more of a gimmick than anything else and I had the feeling it derailed a little – the story became too big, in my opinion. The main thing that bugged me, however, was the book’s treatment of women. I am so done with the male gaze and the entitlement some men feel when it comes to women. In this book, the women existed for the men to enjoy, gawk at, or fall in love with without them getting a say or a voice in anything. They remained mostly passive and were seemingly okay with what the men did to them – or not, but that was quickly glossed over. Definitely not here for that.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman ★★★★☆
I listened to this one on audiobook after seeing so many people around the blogosphere and BookTube raving about it. It’s my first Alice Oseman book and I definitely want to read more of her work now! She has such a fresh, unique voice. I loved the diversity, the struggle of being an introvert in an extroverted world and the theme of having to determine what you want to do with your life while you’re still just a teenager (I have a lot of opinions on that issue too). And then the fan culture and all of the geeky, internet stuff: amazing. It’s so much fun to read about those things because you don’t see them in books all that often. I do have to say that I wasn’t a fan of Aled, who plays a large role in the story. I thought he acted like a pretty awful friend at times and that this didn’t get resolved in a very satisfactory way. Mostly, though, I loved this book and I would definitely recommend reading it.
A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle ★★★★☆
My second Sherlock Holmes story! I read The Hound of the Baskervilles a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, so when I needed a book with a red cover for the Magical Readathon, I got out my huge Complete Sherlock Holmes and decided to read the first book in the series (a much better place to start). I thoroughly enjoyed it! I was surprised by how much of an easy read this is, even though it was written in the 19th century. It still holds up! I was immersed in the story (and had luckily forgotten about the plot of the BBC’s Sherlock episode) and had an altogether fun time with this.
The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews ★★★★★
This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year as well as my favourite read of the month! I read Cait’s debut novel (A Thousand Perfect Notes) last year and liked it a lot, but this is on another level, as far as I’m concerned. I’m pretty sure this is going to be one of my favourite books of the year because I really connected with it. The relationship between Sam and his autistic brother Avery is so complex and well-written and Sam’s conflicting feelings and his constant struggle with himself, his problems and his responsibilities are heartbreaking to witness, as were Avery’s difficulties in navigating life. And then there’s the De Laineys. What an amazing family and cast of characters! Jeremy is my favourite and I really liked Mr De Lainey as well. The writing is absolutely wonderful and I thought the (#ownvoices) representation of autism and anxiety was very well done. This book both healed and tore my heart out at the same time. Go read it! It’s fun!
Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau ★★★★⭑ (4.5)
I wasn’t planning on reading this book in April, since I didn’t think I’d have the time to read a seventh (!) book, but I ended up having a few days left at the end of the month, and I picked this up for the Herbology O.W.L. for the Magical Readathon. This is such a wonderfully sweet and soft graphic novel! It includes entire spreads of baking montages which I obviously completely adored. I loved the two main characters, Hector and Ari, and their soft love story. They’re adorable together and apart and the artwork really expressed all the subtleties in their interactions with each other as well as with their friends and family. I hope Panetta and Ganucheau are going to do more graphic novels together because I’d love to read them!
What books did you read in April? Any ones that stood out in particular? Or did you read any of the books I mentioned here? Let me know in the comments so we can chat about it!