Whoever said that January is the longest month of them all did not have to live through a month of April during a lockdown. Seriously. April dragged on and on. It never ended. Even when we got to the end. Nope. True that the situation is quite unusual. What crazy times we live in. Half the world is staying at home! And of course, that half needs to keep busy while doing so! If you need ideas, here are eight fun ways to fill your time during self-isolation. Reading is of course one of them and now that May started, it is time for my April reading wrap up!
Avril was a very good reading month. Since I no longer go to the gym, wander outside or go on photoshoots, I do have more time to read. Furthermore, I was in a really good reading mood this month and that’s why I read eleven books in total. Some of them are French books unavailable in English so I decided not to include them in this April reading wrap up. Should you need some more book recommendations, you can check out my March reading wrap up.
April reading wrap up
April was also a very good month because I took part in the magical readathon challenge O.W.Ls organized by BookRoast over on Youtube. I picked Auror as a career and needed to complete five O.W.Ls: defense against the dark arts, potion, charms, transfiguration and herbology. Thus, I needed to read five books, one for each course. Two of those are in French, thus the ones not in this April reading wrap up.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
1. Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas
|Author: Sarah J Maas
Published: August 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass
Synopsis: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
My review: To be honest, I do not have much to say about Throne of Glass or Crown of Midnight. Yes, I read book 1 and 2 in April. They are both re-reads. I completed the whole series last year. However, since there was a lot of time between reading Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash, I could not remember most of the story. So I decided to re-read it all to have a fresh memory of everything upon reading the last book again.
The story is enjoyable as always, thrilling and captivating. The writing is beautiful and easy to grasp. I admit that the characters are a tad cliché at times but they improve and change, especially in book 2. There is more action in book 1 than book 2, but we get through Crown of Midnight that something bigger is happening. It is information we need for book 3 and further anyway. I am really happy I re-read Throne of Glass and it gives my April reading wrap up a great beginning!
2. The Girl The Sea Gave Back, Adrienne Young
|Author: Adrienne Young
Published: September 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Sky and Sea
Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.
For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.
My review: This book had intrigued me so much when I got it. Unfortunately, I feel like there was a lot of hype but that it was not deserved. I did not know when I started reading but this book is the second in a series. However, each book is independent so no need to read book 1 to understand book 2. Even though some characters of book 1 make an appearance in book 2.
I found the plot a tad boring and very slow. There is a double perspective, meaning we see each single scene through the eyes of Tova and her love interest. Thus, very often, we get told twice the same thing. To me, that broke the pace and made the plot quite slow. I also did not really understand the romance. It happens so fast. The two main characters made it so obvious while it was super sudden and without anything to sustain that relationship.
Plus, the end is also super abrupt, which got me to ask “but where is the actual end”? Not a bad read because the story was still interesting, but not the best in this April reading wrap up.
3. The Memory of Babel, Christelle Dabos
|Author: Christelle Dabos
Published: September 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Mirror Visitor
Synopsis: After two years and seven months biding her time on Anima, her home ark, it is finally time to act, to put what she has discovered in the Book of Faruk to use. Under an assumed identity she travels to Babel, a cosmopolitan and thoroughly modern ark that is the jewel of the universe. Will her talent as a reader suffice to avoid being lured into a deadly trap by her ever more fearful adversaries? Will she ever see Thorn, her betrothed, again?
My review: This April reading wrap up is getting better and better. I had such a great time reading this book! Indeed, I was so happy to get back into this world, with the magic and all the creativity around it. We get more of the main character and less of the other secondary characters, which I really enjoyed. Ophélie deserves her time under the spotlight. We also got to see her grow and show what she is capable of.
This book provides a lot of answer to many questions we had in book 1 and 2. I loved finding out who God was, because the very thing God is, is not that common in literature. Plus, as I read, I realized that most of the characters were female. All with their importance, diversity, contribution to the story and personality. Sure, they are not all nice and helpful but it felt very good to have that many female characters.
As opposed to the female tropes we see too often, where women are either mean, rivals or a decoration. Or like the one strong woman surrounded only by men and thus accomplishing everything for, by and through men. I loved this book and I can’t wait to read book 4!
4. Anna K, Jenny Lee
|Author: Jenny Lee
Published: March 2020
Genre: YA Contemporary
Synopsis: At seventeen, Anna K is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.
As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either.
As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
My review: Anna K is a retelling of Anna Karenina with a Gossip Girl twist. Of course, I did not know that when I started reading it, although the title should have given it away. I have not read Anna Karenina but know how it ends. However, I can’t really tell whether it is a good retelling or not. So I will review it as if it was no retelling at all.
I did not like it. The writing felt too much for me. Like flowery, a bit pompous at time and superficial without really adding any substance to the book. You read it easy and quick but I did not enjoy myself. The characters are teenagers who all talk and act as if they were 40 years old. I could not relate nor care for any of them.
There was an attempt from the author to talk about feminism, equality and double standards. However, when it mattered most, when taking a stand was needed, she did not do it. She dealt with the problems in a few lines, describing quickly what had happened instead of addressing it all. And I disliked that. I don’t see the point in spending most of the novel placing feminist messages to get cold feet in the end. Such a shame, I loved the idea of a Gossip Girl style novel.
5. Fairest, Marissa Meyer
|Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: January 2015
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Synopsis: Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her “glamour” to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story—a story that has never been told . . . until now. New York Times –bestselling author Marissa Meyer reveals the story behind her fascinating villain in Fairest, an unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes a special full-color image of Levana’s castle and an excerpt from Winter, the exciting conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles.
My review: I feel that this April reading wrap up alternate between great and disappointing books. This is an amazing book! What makes the perfect villain? Charisma, an evil personality, despicable behavior and unforgivable actions. Plus, a heart-breaking story that will make you feel pity and sympathy for this villain even though your head wants you to hate them.
That is exactly what Fairest does to you! Poor Levana! She really was not lucky. Parents who ignored her, a sister who committed atrocities towards her, people who ridiculed her, her love that was never returned. That succession of sh*t that happened to her really explains how she ended up being the Evil Queen. Sure, I do not excuse anything she does (because she is crazy and does horrible things) but that novel gave a new light on her life, a new perspective that I find very interesting.
This book is the perfect transition between Cress and Winter, as we get a good glimpse into life on Luna. Plus, we get confirmation and clarification regarding revelations we had in Cress. If you can read it, read it! I was super pleasantly surprised.
6. The Priory of the orange tree, Samantha Shannon
|Author: Samantha Shannon
Published: February 2019
Synopsis: The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction–but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
My review: Right, best book of April and in my April reading wrap up! I loved it! From start to finish, I was hooked, could not put it down, wanted more and more, always more! How was I ever scared of reading this though?! I mean, yes, it is quite big! But it is also so good!
I loved the characters. They are interesting, strong and vulnerable, endearing. All of them. So surprising too. The world building and magic system is brilliant and so fascinating. I loved all the themes and questions raised in this book. Mostly regarding religion and there is not one religion more valid than the other. The book also addresses questions about equality, tolerance, feminism, etc.
The romance was super cute, endearing and deliciously slow burn. I could never see where the plot would go and was surprised most of the time. Sure, it is a very long book and not action-packed but it still works. I am so happy I finally got into it because I had an amazing time reading The Priory of the Orange Tree!
7. Harry Potter and the goblet of fire, J.K. Rowling
|Author: J.K. Rowling
Published: September 2002
Genre: Magical Realism
Series: Harry Potter
Synopsis: Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.
My review: This is the last book of this April reading wrap up and I will not spend too much time on it. Simply because I do not have that much to say about it. It is still a pleasure to get back into the Harry Potter world, following is adventure and catching details I missed during my previous reads.
I must say that I find Ron insufferable. He is so mean to Hermione! I get that they are all teenagers but still. Harry is not always nice to her either while she is the most helpful person ever! Snape is horrible, as always, even more so than in the movies! I would have loved to see the S.P.E.W. in the movie as well. Indeed, I think it is a great aspect of this book and something about Hermione that should be highlighted because it is great and she deserves it!
That’s it for my April reading wrap up. Again, I had read eleven books in total but decided to feature eight here only. Indeed, the other three are French books that are not available in English anyways.
What did you read in April? Is your April reading wrap up a good one? What was your favorite book you read this past month? Did you read any of the books I mentioned?
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you liked this post.
See you soon,