April 2019 Wrap Up!

I’m carrying on strong with another 10 books this month! I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to get this many in, as I also embarked on my grand Game of Thrones rewatch this month in order to catch up with the new season (SO WORTH IT!) However, I did make it another 10, bring me up to a total of 39 books this year. 9 of these books were read for the O.W.Ls readathon that was running this month, which I’ll be writing a separate wrap up post about very soon. So, without further ado, here are all the books I read in April!


 

1. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte – 3.75 Stars

four dead queens“Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.”

This was a tricky one for me to rate – I really enjoyed the plot and was really gripped. I’d have given it much higher based on the plot alone. Unfortunately, I felt like the world building was a bit lacking. The different elements didn’t work that well and I felt like it just needed a bit more development. The actual plot and the different perspectives were so, so clever and so it’s definitely still worth a read. You can check out my quick review on this one here.

2. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – 3 Stars

CRazy rich asians“When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. 
 
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.”

I didn’t love this one as much as I thought I would. I was expecting a rom com type book, but it was actually so long and encompassed so many different characters that I got a bit bored. I felt like this was about 200 pages long and I hated most of the characters. It was okay, but I honestly feel like it would probably make a better film (I still have to watch it!) and I have no real desire to carry on with the sequels.

3. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (reread) – 5 Stars

Nevernight“Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.

Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.”

I usually don’t rate rereads but in this case I am, because I need to officially retract my 2018 rating of 4.5 and award it that last half star. I loved this book SO MUCH. I forgot how fantastic Jay Kristoff is as a writer, and how much I adore his characters. I knocked that last half star off when I first read it because I found the footnote system and the dense history a bit confusing. On my reread I’ve realised that was just my inexperience with Adult fiction, and coming back to it after growing a lot as a reader, I didn’t feel the same. It was just pure perfection. The audiobook narrator was also the same guy who voices Jesper in the Six of Crows audiobook, so I really loved the audiobook too!

4. The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu – 5 Stars

red scrolls of magic“All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.”

This was Cassie Clare’s newest addition to the Shadowhunter world, and the start of a new trilogy, and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT! This was everything I wanted it to be – a proper Shadowhunter adventure peppered with adorable Malec moments. Very happy about this one, and cannot wait for the rest of the series. It’s also super short too (by Shadowhunter standards) so it was a nice breather in between QOAAD and Chain of Gold.

5. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – 4 Stars

Radio Silence“Frances is been a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. Then Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she’s unafraid to be herself.

So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared…

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.”

This was something quite unlike the books I usually read, and I ended up really enjoying it. It was really sweet and touching, and I really wish I’d have read it when I was still in sixth form – it’s a definite must-read for any 17/18 year olds. There were some things I didn’t love about the writing style, hence the 4 star rating, such as the dialogue which felt a little stilted and awkward at times, but overall it was a very beautiful thought-provoking read. I’ll definitely be recommending this to teens from now on!

6. Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire – 4 Stars

beneath the sugar sky]“When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…”

This was my least favourite so far out of the Wayward Children series, but if my least favourite is 4 stars and I still really liked it then that definitely says something about how good this series is! This book was heavily rooted in the nonsense world, Confection, which I found a little too far for my tastes (this is personal enjoyment though, and totally nothing on the story or writing, I just can only take so much nonsense). I really connected with the character of Cora in this one, Seanan McGuire just keeps introducing one increible, diverse character after another. Can’t wait to read the fourth book!

7. Heartless by Marissa Meyer – 3 Stars

Heartless“Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.”

This was a decent read, it was fun and the ending was pretty exciting. It was quite predictable though and I felt like it leant too much on the reader already knowing the finer details of Alice in Wonderland. It was one of those solid YA books that is reasonably entertaining but nothing ground breaking. Worth picking up if you’re a real fan of Alice, or villain retellings but probably not otherwise.

8. Emma by Jane Austen – 5 Stars

emma“Emma Woodhouse believes herself to be an excellent matchmaker, though she herself does not plan on marrying. But as she meddles in the relationships of others, she causes confusion and misunderstandings throughout the village, and she just may be overlooking a true love of her own.”

This is my third book in my endeavour to read all of Jane Austen’s works and honestly, it may be my favourite. I ADORED my time reading this. It was hilarious and witty, with wonderful characters. Emma was a multi-faceted heroine with strengths and flaws, and the plot really surprised me at times. I know it probably makes me some sort of heathen to suggest that I liked this more than Pride and Prejudice but that might just be the case. Now onto Sense and Sensibility!

9. Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 5 Stars

evidence of the affair“Dear stranger…

A desperate young woman in Southern California sits down to write a letter to a man she’s never met—a choice that will forever change both their lives.

My heart goes out to you, David. Even though I do not know you…

The correspondence between Carrie Allsop and David Mayer reveals, piece by piece, the painful details of a devastating affair between their spouses. With each commiserating scratch of the pen, they confess their fears and bare their souls. They share the bewilderment over how things went so wrong and come to wonder where to go from here.”

This was a 115 page novella from the author of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones. Therefore, I am rating it with this in consideration. I think it’s a hard job to develop sympathetic characters and have an interesting plot in such a short space of time and I really felt like TJR achieved this. It’s told in letters between two people whose spouses are having an affair, and I felt like this allowed us to really get the voice and emotions of the characters directly. This is a really quick poignant read, perfect for absorbing in one afternoon or between books.

10. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – 3.5 Stars

gilded wolves“It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.”

This is such a bittersweet rating to have to give. I loved these characters. The main core cast of characters had a very Six of Crows vibe to them, especially with a heist being the main plot line too, but they also had their own unique charms. It was a very diverse cast also, with my favourite precious bean being the autistic, anxious Zofia. Racial heriatge also plays a big part in this book, with many of the characters being biracial or non-white and dealing with the perceptions and prejudices that come with this in 1889 Paris. Unfortunately the actual writing and detail is what let this book down. It just felt a bit messy and cloudy and I couldn’t really follow what was happening at points, or picture the setting, and the magic system could have used some honing (I’m not really sure what was magic and what were sci-fi elements tbh). I’m really invested in these characters though and I’ll be really interested to see what happens next.

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