Which books are worth the read and which should you skip? Find out what books I’ve been reading lately and whether I recommend them.
Isn’t it interesting how the same number can mean different things to different people.
To most people, nine books in a month would be amazing. As a book blogger, I look at my tally of nine books and wonder what happened? I’m usually reading 12 books at least.
Admittedly my Reading Lately post is coming out early because of how the calendar falls. Plus, I read a massive history book that really should count as like three books.
Then I remember that no one cares how many books you read a month. It’s not a competition.
More important than a number is the quality of your reading month. Did you read as much as you wanted? Did you enjoy the books that you read?
So reading three books at the beginning of the month sounds great until you realize that they were all lousy. So reading just one five-star book over the last week was a much better use of my reading time.
Don’t let comparison (to others or to even to your past reading) steal your joy in what you’re reading now!
April Reading List
Sara Nović gives you an insightful look into deaf culture with a story about the personal and political crises that surround students and the headmistress at the River Valley School for the Deaf. Charlie is a rebellious transfer student who has never met another deaf person and Austin is the school’s golden boy who is shocked when his baby sister is born hearing. Meanwhile, February is desperately trying to keep the school open and her marriage intact.
What I loved most about True Biz was how much I learned about deaf culture and community. I was shocked by some of the historical and even current stances on sign language and had some astounding insights into the deaf perspective. The coming-of-age narrative between Charlie and Austin was quite good, though I will admit that the ending did not give the closure I would have liked.
Emily St. John Mandel
Emily St. John Mandel (author of Station Eleven) returns with her third novel, a story about parallel worlds and alternate possibilities. In 1912, a young man hears a violin playing in the Canadian woods, an event that a videographer captures in the present day. Two hundred years later, a famous writer includes a similar haunting scene in one of her books. Decades later, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts is hired to investigate this anomaly in time, one that has the potential to disrupt the universe’s timeline.
At under 300 pages with a large font and small size, Sea of Tranquility is an extremely short read. Mandel brilliantly writes literary science fiction, and Sea of Tranquility has a gorgeous lyrical presence to it. The story is simple and unrushed, laying out each scenario and then tying it all together as Gaspery-Jacques’ time-traveling contemplates the nature of destiny and fate.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Knopf Books. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
A man with amnesia wakes up in a post-apocalyptic world, injured and alone. He has vague memories of life before, but can’t seem to piece together how the world has come to its current state. As his memories return, he struggles to survive in the harsh environment until he meets a boy and realizes that life is much different than he thought.
City of Orange is not what you expect, which is a two-edged sword. The snippet conveys an exciting post-apocalyptic story, and City of Orange is anything but excited. The story is slow-paced and, quite honestly, drags for most of the book. However, the unexpected message of the book is clever and thought-provoking. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the slog of reading the book is worth the reward at the end.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Putnam through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Therese Anne Fowler
Marti Geller has always stated that, after she dies, the family summer cottage will be sold and divided between her three daughters. Beck, a freelance journalist in a loveless marriage, is counting on the inheritance to give her time to write a novel and change her marriage. Recently divorced cardiologist Clare is struggling to fix her complicated love life and Sophie is an Instagram influencer whose empire is sitting on a house of cards. With the death of their mother and the debate over the cottage, the three sisters must come to terms with their own lives.
I love a good family drama, but It All Comes Down to This just didn’t connect with me. I wasn’t interested in any of the sisters’ storylines and the drama felt stale. Even worse, the romantic relationships were a mess, yet then everything tied into too neat of a bow. The whole book felt pointless, and I would suggest passing on this one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In a future where the world has been ravaged by the unintended consequences of gene editing, Logan Ramsay works for the Genetic Protection Agency, tracking down unauthorized gene editors to atone for his family’s role in the disaster. When an explosion infects Logan with a virus, he undergoes a genetic transformation and now must use his new abilities to stop it from happening to anyone else.
I’ve enjoyed Crouch’s smart sci fi thrillers previously, but Upgrade might be too smart for its own good. I was bored to tears throughout the entire book, which failed to make DNA science interesting, and I actually don’t mind reading fat science books about genetics. Even the action scenes were putting me to sleep. I’m honestly ashamed to say I even finished the book because it was that dull.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Ballantine Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
From the Backlist
Pauline Green, the United States’s first female President, tries to avoid war when an act of aggression escalates and the world’s greatest powers are caught up in a tangled web of alliances. With the aid of a young intelligence officer in Chad, an undercover spy in Northern Africa, and a Chinese spymaster, Green must use all her political savvy to save the world in this epic political thriller.
Follett states that he wanted to write a modern WWI story, about a war that no one wanted but the political alliances forced upon the world. I had forgotten how much I love political thrillers, and Never served up the perfect combination of relatable characters and plausible global politics that kept me glued to the page as the world is on the brink of war.
Coveting the life of elite socialite Daphne and her husband Jackson, Amber Patterson sets out on a mission to insinuate herself into the Parrish family. Quickly she becomes Daphne’s most trustest confidante and companion, and Amber is determined to take the life she knows should be hers. Until she learns that the Parrishes have a secret of their own.
Being a Reese book club pick with lots of great reviews, I had high hopes for The Last Mrs. Parrish. Although the book was an easy read, the plot was too predictable, never diverging from its overused trope. I also couldn’t get over the fact that Amber was so one-dimensional; she was extremely focused and conniving, but her goals were so superficial and she didn’t seem to mind the glaring holes in her schemes. All in all, The Last Mrs. Parrish was an okay read for when you want to escape into a psychological thriller.
After his hit tv show ends and his boyfriend dies, once famous sitcom star Patrick lives a life of seclusion in Palm Springs. When his sister-in-law dies and his brother goes to rehab, Patrick agrees to watch his niece and nephew for the summer. All at once, Gay Uncle Patrick, lovingly referred to as GUP, learns the weight of parenting children, even if just temporarily, and finds the power to move past his own grief. A heartwarming family comedy, The Guncle conveys an incredibly sweet message with extremely irreverent humor, which will not be to everyone’s taste (and wasn’t always to mine, hence the 3.5 stars instead of 4).
Doris Kearns Goodwin
In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin takes a deeper look at Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, focusing on his political skills and maneuvering during his political career. Goodwin focuses on Lincoln’s cabinet, composed of his fiercest competitors whom he used his supreme skill to help them work together. A solid biography, Goodwin’s massive tome is well-worth a read. If you are into audiobooks, be sure to get the full unabridged audiobook version because the abridged version doesn’t convey the story nearly as well.
I always seem to have multiple books going at once. Here’s a peek at what I’m currently reading.
My To-Read List
What’s up next for me? Before I let you go, here are a few of the titles I’m hoping to get through this upcoming month.
Be sure to come back next month to see which ones I read.
Which Books Did You Read in April?
What books did you love this month? Which books can you not wait to read? As always, let me know in the comments!
More Book List to Enjoy: