Posted in Books, Fantasy

April Book Wrap-up and Review!

Damsel by Elana K Arnold 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Overall, this book was decent. I was expecting a fairy tale retelling story but I got the opposite of that. The author used this book to write about male domination of women and the ugliness that can happen when a woman fights that domination. This book is a dark allegory and I think it achieved its goal of making the reader angry and disgusted by the male characters within the story. Be advised if you pick up this book, there is some explicit sexual content and abusive relationships. 

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Autobiography 
  • Anna Kendrick is one of my favorite actresses and when I found out that she had a memoir out, I knew I had to read it. This memoir was clever and hilarious. I loved learning about her life before she became famous. 

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • This was a surprising favorite in the month of April. This book is considered grimdark fantasy and even though I am a fantasy fan, there are some grimdark books that just were not for me. The Blade Itself was definitely a book for me! I loved all the characters and I loved seeing how flawed they are and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the First Law trilogy goes! 

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Fiction, Thriller
  • I don’t know even what to say about My Dark Vanessa. Really quickly, a brief summary: This book follows two timelines; first: where Vanessa, 15-year old girl, goes to a board school and ends up in a relationship with her English teacher, the second: Years later, Vanessa is an adult and allegations about this teacher are coming out about how he has been abusing several girls over the years. Vanessa as an adult has a hard time accepting that these allegations are true because she remembers her relationship with him being mutual, consensual, and about love, not abuse. This book is so powerful with an important subject matter that needs to be talked about. Warning: There are several difficult scenes to read in this book. A lot of sexual abuse and gaslighting. Take your time reading this novel, it is worth the read. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary
  • This month was apparently the Rainbow Rowell month because I ended up reading 3 of her books. Her stories have always been enjoyable and this one was just as great as I was hoping. After reading My Dark Vanessa, I needed a light, sweet love story and this book was perfect for that. 

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • This was an easy and simple read that I enjoyed quite a bit. Definitely wasn’t my favorite of the month but for a basic YA story, it was good. The reader follows this girl, who comes from a line of witches connected to the woods next to her house. When walking through the woods one day, she finds a boy that had been missing for a couple of weeks and he should have been dead by now. It was a decent fantasy mystery with a cute love story. 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Retellings of Beauty and Beast are very popular in TV, movies, and books so I was nervous about reading another one but wow! This book is PHENOMENAL! I absolutely loved the world, the characters, the pacing. Probably the best Beauty and the Beast retelling I have ever read. I plan on reading the sequel in May and I am so excited! 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • I had been considering reading this book for so long and I am so glad I finally did! This story is set in Auschwitz and we follow a man who “volunteered” to go with the Nazis so that his family didn’t have to. Once he arrived at the concentration camp, he got sick and since he survived that sickness, the tattooist took him under his wing to help protect him. Eventually the main character becomes the main tattooist and the story follows him for years as he meets the love of his life, tries to survive, and save as many people as he can. Highly recommend if you enjoy reading historical fiction and stories about survival, specifically from the Holocaust.  

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Romance, Contemporary
  • I am usually not a fan of contemporary books but this one was really fun and an adorable read. These characters felt real to me and the world was believable. Sometimes the main characters were a bit judgy and prickly but overall, I understood why they were acting like that. Not to mention, I did like how anxiety was described within this book. Quick and fun read.

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapakowski 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • This is the first book in the Witcher series after the two short story books. I watched the Witcher series on netflix before reading this book and played a bit of the Witcher games. I really enjoyed this world where we follow a witcher called Geralt of Rivia and a special girl named Ciri. There are sorcerers, magic, elves, dwarfs, and monsters everywhere in this series and I think it’s amazing. I’m excited to continue on with the Witcher books. 

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Psychology
  • I connected with most of the ideas in this book about introverts and I found myself nodding awhile with several points. If someone asked me if this is worth a read, I would say yes but I would need to add that there weren’t many eye-opening revelations so don’t go in expecting that. 

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
  • Permanent Record was probably the most disappointing reading from this month. I was expecting to like this book because I enjoyed Emergency Contact  by the same author but wow, was I wrong. I just could not connect with the main character at all or his love interest. I didn’t like the slang and dialogue within this story either. If you want to read Mary H.K. Choi’s book, read Emergency Contact,  not this one. 

Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
  • I read the original Thrawn trilogy years ago and it became my favorite Star Wars trilogy of all time. When I heard that it was no longer canon and the author was rewriting the Thrawn storyline, I was upset at first. But this book exceeded my expectations! Thrawn’s political rise within the Empire was insane because of how brilliant he is. I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series! 

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Romance
  • This was another good book by Rainbow Rowell but I will say, it was probably my least favorite book by her. This story follows a married couple from meeting in college, to starting a relationship, marriage, having children, to where they are in the present day. They are having some problems because the wife, at first, is very focused on her career. We follow her journey during a week without her family, where she discovers her mistakes and realizes what she needs to be happy. It was a sweet story overall. 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Where do I begin with this book?! I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Not only is it my favorite Rainbow Rowell book ever, but it was a fan fiction type story besides on the world from the Harry Potter books. I haven’t really talked about my love and obsession with Harry Potter on my blog yet but when I heard what this book was about, I knew it was for. I read it almost all in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. Best way to finish the month of April.