Hi guys! How are you doing? I hope you’ve had an amazing reading month in April! I managed to read 10 books this month, which isn’t the most I’ve ever read, but still pretty good I think. More importantly, I read a lot of books I loved and only one I didn’t like. So I’d call that a win! Now, let’s look at the books :
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This book was an unexpected delight. I tried the first chapter a few months ago for the Try a Chapter Tag and while I found the setting stunning and thought the writing flowed very well, the plot gave me pretty generic YA-fantasy vibes. There’s a princess who has feelings for childhood friend, but he’s below her in station and she’s about to enter an unwanted, arranged marriage. Sound familiar? I thought I knew where this story was going, but it took a completely different turn and I can honestly say this wasn’t like any other YA fantasy book I’ve read. In fact it reads more like a retelling of some ancient parable or fable, in which we follow the characters on a spiritual and physical journey. I’m so grateful I gave it a chance, cause it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve read.
The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The Heart Forger is the sequel to one of my favorites book of 2017, The Bone Witch, in which we follow our main character Tea as she discovered her necromancer-abilities and leaves her home to be trained in the arts of the Asha. The first book was a pretty slow burn, which focused on world-building and characters over plot. In the second book we get the payoff from all that setup, the plot moves at a much faster pace and there are a lot more twists and turns and political intrigue. My favorite part was seeing Tea rebel against the rules and push at the boundaries of her powers. So many YA heroines are afraid of their powers and what they can do, so it’s refreshing to see one who embraces her power and strives to grow even more powerful, even when it comes with a risk. I also loved seeing more of the monster army, cause they’re all precious cinnamon rolls and I want to hug them.
Circe by Madeline Miller 🌟🌟🌟🌟
I’m one of the very few people in the bookish community who hasn’t read The Song of Achilles, but since I’m so fascinated by Circe as a character this book was still one my most anticipated 2018 releases and I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t think anyone who picks it up for the same reason will be, cause this is one of the most in depth characters studies I’ve seen in literature, so much so that calling it a character-driven novel almost feels like an understatement. I love Madeline Miller’s version of Circe and her character arc is amazing, it feels like such a luxury as a reader to get so spend so much time with a character and watch her change and grow over the centuries. I also love the way Miller wove different Greek myths through Circe’s tale so eloquently, it really added some much needed excitement to the novel. That being said, this is a slow burn and it does drag a little here and there. I didn’t mind though, cause Miller’s writing is so beautiful I enjoyed reading it, even when nothing much was happening.
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This memoir by a First Nation woman might be small in page numbers, but it’s emotional impact is huge. Mailhot writes honestly and unflinchingly about her dysfunctional childhood, a chaotic romantic relationship and her experience of getting diagnosed with and living with Bipolar II disorder. Her prose is deceptively simple, yet soul piercing and beautiful in the way of desolate landscapes. “What I notice with you is that I look outside whenever I’m close to a window, and I wonder how many women feel that way. I feel things I would rather feel alone.”
The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor 🌟🌟🌟🌟
This is the third and final installment in the novella-trilogy about Binti, a girl who becomes the first of her people to leave her home planet and attend the prestigious intergalactic university. I won’t go into the plot, cause I don’t want to spoil the first two books, so I’ll just say that this one picks up right where the last one left off and things quickly escalate from there. We see Binti deal with new challenges and undergo even greater transformations. I think this was a nearly perfect conclusion to the trilogy, my only complaint is that some things felt a little rushed and anti-climatic.
Almost Love by Louise O’Neill 🌟🌟🌟 & 1/5
It’s been weeks since I finished this book and I’m still not entirely sure what to think about it, hence the uncharacteristic half-star rating. What Louise O’Neill does well, she does so well that I almost forget about everything else. The main-character, Sarah, is a selfish, petty, vain and generally unpleasant person. I know I should dislike her, nearly every other reviewer does, but O’Neill writes her so well – I just can’t. Sarah hides such overwhelming feelings of inferiority, anxiety and shame beneath her narcissistic exterior, which shine through not only in the way she treats other, but in the way she allows herself to be treated. While I’m in awe of O’Neill’s unique ability to create complex, flawed and realistic characters, I wasn’t as impressed by the plot in this one. It’s split into two different timelines, then – when Sarah fell in love with Matthew, a much older and richer man who treats her terribly and now – when Sarah’s in a relationship with a kind, caring boyfriend whom she treats terribly and it all felt a little too slice of life for my tastes.
Splintered by A.G. Howard 🌟🌟
This is the second Alice in Wonderland retelling I’ve read and just like Heartless last year – this was only a two star read for me. The only positive thing I have to say about it is that it perfectly captures the original novel’s sense of nonsense, which actually might be part of it’s problem. The plot is tedious and confusing at the same time, things do happen – but since they usually come out of nowhere, for no apparent reason and the character are simply reacting to what’s thrown their way, you get no tension, no excitement and no sense of direction. The characters themselves aren’t very interesting either. Our main character Alyssa is basically You Belong with Me-era Taylor Swift, just with emo-hair and more eyeliner. Her love interest/ best friend Jeb is your garden variety controlling, condescending YA-hero, who’s very concerned about Alyssa losing her virginity for some bizarre, probably misogynist reason. And his girlfriend, who’s name I already forgot, only has to personality traits: rich and mean. She’s still too good for Jeb though and I hope she’s somewhere in London living her best life without him.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas 🌟🌟🌟🌟
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I don’t know how to talk about the second and third book in this trilogy without spoilers everywhere, so we’re just gonna throw all three together. The first book in the trilogy’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in a world where humans and fae live separated my a magical wall. When Feyre shoots and kills a wolf, who turns out to be a High Fae, she’s forced to chose between death and spending the rest of her life on the other side of the wall. I liked the first book, but I wasn’t blown away by it. It was a little slow at the start and I wasn’t feeling the romance, but the plot picked up a lot towards the end. Going into the second book I wasn’t sure what to expect, we all know the hype ain’t always right. But it totally was in this case. It’s funny cause I’d heard nothing but amazing things about it and everyone says the second book is so much better than the first – but still I was surprised, cause I didn’t think it would be that much better. I was literally giddy with excitement reading in, my entire internal monologue was basically “woooooow”. I loved everything about it, the setting, the characters, the romances, the plot-twists, the action. It’s all so good. Like a lot of people I have some issues with Sarah J. Maas’s writing style, but when the story is this good? I couldn’t care less. The third book was nearly as good, I loved seeing more of the world and getting to know the side characters (my favorites) even better. In a way I wish it’d been a little braver and more merciless, cause it’s about war and war is merciless. But emotionally I’m thankful it wasn’t, cause I’d still be crying.
I also want to highlight some of my favorite blog posts of the month:
Lucinda Alynn @ Lucinda Alynn Blog wrote a super interesting post about the pros and cons of audiobooks
Avery @ Red Rocket Panda started a really important discussion about Non #OwnVoice Reviews
Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky wrote a very insightful and fascinating post about the Heroine’s Journey in Fantasy Books
Marianna @ Marianna’s Corner recommended her favorite spring reads
Sav @ booked on a feeling shared 5 SFF Authors on their TBR and all my faves are on it.
Cindy @ readctbooks shared all kind of fun bookish news in her weekly update
Eve Messenger posted a really fun list about YA Books for Music Lovers
Let’s chat! Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? And how was your reading month? Did you read a lot a good books?