Wednesday, 2 May 2018

 

What I Read in April 2018 – Round-Up & Mini Reviews


After a hit-and-miss March, April was an absolutely stellar reading month with several 5-star reads in a row I finished in a single day each until deep into the night as I just could not put them down! This included the follow-up to the imaginative Caraval by Stephanie Garber, the equally mesmerising Legendary; multi-layered YA high fantasy The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green; and the delightful contemporary companion novel to Dumplin' by Julie Murphy, Puddin'. I also reread one of my favourite books of all-time, the dystopian Shakespearean Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, as I picked it for my book club and it was as masterfully put together as I remembered.



Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber (Hodder & Stoughton)

This book is pure magic. It's fantastical, it's imaginative and it expands the world of the Caraval beyond anything I could've dreamed of. It's flippin' awesome! I love Tella. I love Dante. I love Scarlett and Julien (though there wasn't nearly enough of them in this book). And I love how dark, twisty and unexpected this story has become. And ahhhh I don't know where to even start with a proper review! Give me a little while to process it all – and meanwhile make sure you pre-order your copy now because you're going to want to dive straight back into this incredible world created so deftly by Stephanie Garber as soon as the book hits shelves! Out on 31 May. 5 stars. Pre-order here.


The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (Penguin)

What an incredibly gripping, multi-layered and exciting tale Sally Green has crafted! I already enjoyed this book as I came to know the various characters and their roles in the kingdoms that make up this world, but when Princess Catherine's storyline came more to the foreground, secret plots were unravelled and all the different viewpoints started to come together in the same timeline, that's when this became a edge-of-the-seat kind of page-turner that kept me up until too late into the night to finish it. Sally Green's characterisation and pacing is really on point and she's single-handedly convinced me to try more fantasy novels of this kind, because I'm most definitely hooked now! Out on 3 May. 5 stars. Pre-order here.


Your Turn to Die by Sue Wallman (Scholastic)

Sue Wallman is the master of YA suspense thrillers and with Your Turn to Die she has done it again. She's created an eerie location with a mystery rippling at the edges of the story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat until the very last page. There was a lot going on within this book; dead body, ill child, strange accidents, and a rickety old home hiding decades old secrets. And yet, despite some very strong hints throughout I didn't see any of the eventual revelations coming. Well played Sue, well played indeed. She had me utterly gripped once more with her masterful storytelling skills and twisted thriller elements (border on horror at times). Your Turn to Die is atmospheric, well put together and hugely unexpected. Out on 3 May. (Read my full review.) 4.5 stars. Pre-order here.


Puddin' (Dumplin #2) by Julie Murphy (Balzer + Bray)

Set in the same town and school as Dumplin' we're reunited with Willowdean, Bo and Ellen but they're side characters to the tale of Millie and Callie in this one. Not going to lie, I didn't remember much about these characters from Dumplin' but oh my gosh did I fall in love with them in Puddin'! I loved Millie's optimism, her positive attitude was a breath of fresh air as so many teen reads are so angsty. While Callie started out as the typical bitchy popular girl, there was far more depth to her character and by the end of it I really loved her too. Puddin' is inspiring, honest, and oodles of fun – and it makes me want to pick Dumplin' back up as I don't want to say goodbye to this awesome group of characters just yet. Out on 17 May. (Read my full review.) 5 stars. Pre-order here.



Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Picador)

This is one of my all-time favourite books and I reread it for the first time in years as I picked it for my book club, and oh my do I love having delved back into this harrowing post-apocalyptic world so cleverly pieced together by Emily St. John Mandel. Knowing how the story ends made me pick up more references and subtle nods through – and I may have enjoyed it even more than the first time around. Both highly imaginative and achingly realistic, this is a theatrical dystopian masterpiece weaving pre- and post-pandemic timelines together to slowly unravel the devastation left in its aftermath and its impact specifically on a small group of characters connected in the most surprising of ways. (Read my full review.) 5 stars. Get your copy here.


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)

Despite this being a contemporary story Eleanor sounds very naive and old-fashioned at times which I realise can be a bit strange, but her unique view of the world was also hugely endearing and surprisingly funny. Author Gail Honeyman's frank exploration of loneliness, mental health, alcoholism, abuse, and many more hard-hitting themes was both refreshing and eye-opening. I really do believe we need more books like this to help us understand people struggling with these things more and allow us to become more open to discussing and helping those in need. Not only is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine a very delightful read – entertaining and intriguing in equal measures – but it's an important one too. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars. Get your copy here.


Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Greene (Puffin Classics)

I went to Nottingham last month and thought this would be a very apt read to take on my journey – and it most definitely was! I realised I never actually read this book before as some of the adventures were entirely new to me (like the pirate one), though I was familiar with most of the tales and characters through the best adaptation of all time; the animated Disney classic! Roger Lancelyn Green's version is based on the original ballads and legends (referenced throughout at the start of each chapter) and puts the tales in chronological order; from Robin Hood becoming an outlaw to the return of King Richard and beyond. The Adventures of Robin Hood is a fun and quick read and I highly recommend picking it up as a companion to your favourite adaptation. The stories are quite short though and characterisation is minimal, but nonetheless the tales of the infamous outlaw and his merry men (and Maid Marian!) are a joy to read about. 4 stars. Get your copy here.




Have you read any of the above books? And what did you read in April?
Let me know in the comments below!


🎵 Listening to: Jason Mraz – I Won't Give Up


2 comments:

  1. I have Caraval in my Kindle but haven't read that yet. I'm looking forward to reading it though! I also have my eye on Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

    I was able to finish seven books on April, my favourite being The Hating Game and maaannn I love that book so much!

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    Replies
    1. Ohhhh, hope you get to Caraval soon, it's such an incredible story!!

      The Hating Game wasn't on my radar yet but I'll look into it now, thanks for the rec :)

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