Saturday 7 May 2022

April 2022 Reading Wrap Up

Isn't it the most frustrating thing when you start off the month pretty well and are fairly consistent as the weeks go on and then the last week just completely throws you off and you get really slumpy. THE. WORST. Genuinely thought April was going to be a turning point but I think I'm just going to have to accept that my new monthly average is around 6 books now. Remember October 2020 when I read 15 books in a month? How I miss that 😩     


Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Lots of things to love about this wonderfully charming rom-com. A Jewish MC with depression who shines at her job as a meteorologist. A single father love interest who is self-conscious about their weight and is just the loveliest human. A 'Parent Trap' style set up of reuniting their warring bosses. A strained mother-daughter relationship that felt so real and had so much growth. Each chapter starting with a different weather forecast that reflects events. 

I don't reach for adult romance very often but I knew this author has a bunch of books that I'm interested in reading so I had to borrow this newest release when I spotted it on Libby. It's safe to say, I'll be checking out more of her novels as soon as possible. Solomon has a really mature writing style that I love especially for a contemporary. It never felt cheesy or too much. The chemistry wasn't overwhelming between Ari and Russell but they actually communicated with each other which I really appreciated. Fun, sweet and and the perfect balance between romance and other contemporary elements. 

How to be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman       

A really interesting non-fiction book that my dad leant to me that goes into great depths of a typical day in the life of a Victorian, exploring people from all walks of life. I really liked how Goodman chose to set out each section, going through the day beginning from getting up and washing all the way through to the last thing they would do before sleeping. We get insights into their meals, the laundry, sports, clothing, employment and education. Goodman clearly has a wealth of knowledge on this era and has herself lived like a Victorian using methods and wearing clothing like they would have back then so can truly speak from experience. I've always been interested in the Victorian period so this was really insightful for me and I'd be interested to read her books on other periods such as the Tudors and Elizabethan England. 

Gallant by V.E. Schwab 

My second Schwab (still haven't taken the plunge of starting any of her series 🙈) and it was a really nice addition to the haunted house genre. I really liked the concept of there being a twin house that embodies all of this darkness and the fact that Olivia was mute was an interesting characteristic that you don't see often outside of contemporary. I thought the atmosphere had the right amount of eeriness, the inclusion of the journal pages interspersed between the text was a great idea and the suspense and mystery built up nicely. 

I will say that it doesn't do anything major to separate itself from other similar books, although Schwab's writing is definitely high in terms of quality. I also found myself comparing it often to how I was feeling whilst reading Addie LaRue which was one of my favourite reads of 2021 so it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

This book really surprised me in the best way. I started this a while ago and was only reading snippets here and there and not really making much progress even though I found the plot and writing compelling. I finally found some time to smash out the last 70% and I just raced through it. Following the aftermath of a car crash in the middle of a snowstorm we watch through the eyes of Finn, the teenage daughter killed in the crash as the others wait for rescue and the painful consequences of their actions. 

This story was heartbreaking and yet also filled with moments of strength. The way the author examined how these characters handled grief and how they handled living after going through so much trauma was really special. It was also a poignant look at human nature and how you never truly know someone and how they'll react until you are thrust into the middle of an ordeal like that.  

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay        

This was a collection of essays exploring feminism mainly focusing on pop culture but also delving into abortion, social media and female friendship among others; all with a strong look at how these topics affect Roxane Gay as a black woman. Gay is absolutely a talented writer with so much passion and emotional connection to what she's writing about and that really comes across, I could feel her frustration, anger and tiredness as I was listening. 

I definitely found some essays more interesting then others e.g. her thoughts on The Help, The Hunger Games and any mentions of not feeling like the perfect feminist all the time. Some parts felt outdated (see: Lena Dunham) and a fair few essays didn't capture my attention as much as I wanted them to as they turned into more like ramblings then concise thoughts. I did enjoy it as an audiobook though and the narrator, Laurel Lefkow, did a great job of capturing the author's voice. 

The Outlaws Scarlet & Browne by Jonathan Stroud            

I cannot express how much I enjoyed this book. It's one of those that's made me realise that I need to pick up more books that are out of my comfort zone as a fantasy/dystopia/wild west mix of genres doesn't sound all that appealing to me. But I just loved it; it was fun, action-packed and sharp. 

Scarlett McCain is a gun wielding bank robber travelling around a dystopian England stealing loot from unsuspecting towns. Albert Browne is a seemingly harmless boy fleeing from an institute that has kept him locked up his entire life. These two are thrown together and find themselves on the run from multiple people who want them dead, facing monsters and shootouts at every corner.   

Scarlett & Albert had so much chemistry as a partnership, albeit a reluctant one and Scarlett's frustrations with her new dopey sidekick were hilarious. The world building was well thought out, the villains were menacing and it had me on the edge of my seat more then once. I can't wait for the sequel to be released in July! 

What did you read in April? Have you read any of these books? What were your opinions? Leave a comment below and happy reading!       

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