I read so many books this month. A ridiculous amount of books. I haven't read this many books in a month since I was an awkward tween child. Now, as an awkward middle aged adult, I'm back to reclaim my title.
My grand total of books read was *drummmmmmroooolllll*
Yup. I made April my "clean up my TBR that has been growing over the past three years & needs dealt with" month and I found much success. My TBR is down to SIX books. SIX. What kind of uncanny magic is that?
Disclaimer: I am social distancing/self-isolating alone. I don't have any family in the immediate area, no kids or partner to be committed to. It's just me and the furbabies, and as long as Bellamy is allowed to sprawl across my lap, he's down with me spending hours reading.
Here are all the books I read. Not pictured are How to Lose the Time War & The Prey of Gods, which I listened to as audio books (both very well read, especially The Prey of Gods!). Also, I did my 3rd re-read of Scavenge the Stars via audio. I love that book so much.
This month's TBR was easy to read because I had so many phenomenal books to work with. Sometimes getting through the TBR is a chore. But I was drowning in great texts for April so it was easy as pie (ugh, now I want pie *sad face* )
I've whittled it down to the top five must reads by my very particular and exacting standards and tastes.
(Trust me, I am super hard to please when it comes to books, but that's a story for another time)
The Midnight Lie: *heart eyes* This. Book. I need the sequel injected into my brain this instant. It was delicious and lush and super queer. Nirrim and Sid are a ship I will die for. DIE FOR. Sid is everything I want in a rakish character and please, please, can I meet my own real life Sid at some point. I am here for all the sassy banter and smoldering looks. Aside from all of this fantastic f/f content, you get a STUNNING plot twist. You think you know what's happening. You think you have it all figured out and then bamm, you're wrong. And its a delicious kind of wrongness where you readily accept it and see the mistakes you made as you read. It also handles the way in which Nirrim is used and controlled by those she trusts in such a deft way. Rutoski delivers a masterful plot and amazing characters. Seriously, you will pine for Sid. (CW for emotional abuse/manipulation) 10/10 Would Recommend!
Ninth House: Not gonna lie. I was afraid to read this book. First & foremost because I'm a horror-wimp. I knew this dealt with the occult and was dark and so I was like what am I getting myself into? (Look, I was reading City of Ghosts, a MIDDLE GRADE 'horror' and I got nervous and slept with the light on, so that's where I'm at on the scare spectrum). Secondly, because Bardugo is known for the Grisha-verse and aside from Wonder Woman: Warbringer, that is her BRAND. And I was afraid with this dramatic shift to both adult and contemporary and thriller that it just wouldn't work, kind of like an actor who does one MAJOR role and they are forever that role, they never get to move away from it. But, rest assured, Ninth House did not disappoint. It was a damn good book. Damn good. It was lush with worldbuilding and these deeply damaged but beautiful characters that made my heart pound and my breath catch. The plot was complex and airtight. And this horror wimp did not get worried or scared at any point. It's definitely dark and grim, but it's the slivers of light and hope that pierce that darkness that make it all work. (CW: drug use/abuse, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, sex trafficking, rape, and probably some I'm forgetting. Seriously, check out the content warnings before you dive in, because it is INTENSE) 10/10 Would Recommend!
Bright We Burn: Okay, this one is kind of a cheat, because you have to read And I Darken and Now I Rise before you get to Bright We Burn. (that's what I call a sneaky teacher trick, I have tricked you into reading not one, but THREE books. muwahahahahhaaha). These books have been on my radar for a while and I finally tackled them. I love Lada. She is the female protagonist we need in stories. She knows what she wants and she goes for it, there is no holding back and no compromising for her. Her brother, Radu, offers a delicious balance and they both have almost equal real estate in my heart. Lada wins, but just by like 1/2 an acre. I wept through the last fifty pages as everything came together. Kiersten White provides a stunning historical backdrop to this story and the characters arcs are just *chef's kiss*. White has become an auto-buy author for me with this series and I cannot wait to dive into The Guinevere Deception. 10/10 Would Recommend.
So You Want to Talk About Race: This gem of a book from Ijeoma Oluo is fantastic. FANTASTIC. It was recommended to me as a book to read to better understand how to be a positive ally in our world and it did not disappoint. It's going to be a reread for me because there is so much in there to think about and because I was absolutely indoctrinated into my middle-class white privilege, I've got a lot of work to do. Aside from the FANTASTIC message in this book, it was so readable--sometimes non-fiction books get all caught up in sounding smart and lose their reader. This book is engaging, SMART, and readable. Oluo balanced it all and I've added several of her other titles to my future TBR list. Seriously, fellow white people, read this book, especially if you think you're already a good ally--trust me, you're still getting it wrong. 10/10 Would Recommend!
Some Kind of Happiness: So, this book is not quite my normal MO. It's written by Claire Legrand, who is one of my ultimate favorite all time authors. It's a middle grade contemporary with a splash of magic and imagination and it's beautiful. The prose was just stunning and the plot is this lovely weaving together of Finley's real life struggles with depression and the world she escapes to in order to find solitude, The Everwood. Not all books can pull this off, but Legrand does it superbly, all while also handling the reality of depression. Her turns of phrase are awe inspiring and will make your heart sing. In the end I was left feeling hopeful. This has dethroned Furyborn as my favorite Claire Legrand book and anyone who knows me and my love for Furyborn knows what a big thing this is. (Definite CW for depression) 10/10 Would Recommend!
So now that you're dying to read those five books, I encourage you to purchase them through my Bookshop Store Link. I'll be adding lists every time I feature book reviews & roundups on my blog. And even if you're looking for other books, consider ordering through Bookshop to support local indie stores!
I'm sure you're all very worried about what I'm going to read in May and I appreciate your concern. But, never fear, I have replenished my TBR shelf and am eager to dive in. I'm joining in on @Medievalthon's May reading challenge, where, if I'm successful I will read every book pictured except for three! I'm starting with Elysium Girls! Tell me what books you're looking forward to in the comments!
And here's what you're really here for (its okay, we both know its the truth, right now I'm just a stranger luring you in with book candy). Join the give away by clicking on [THIS LINK] which will take you to my twitter page. Like & retweet the tweet and respond (on twitter) with the book you'd like (from my top five). Winner will be chosen on May 20th! I will buy it and ship it to you so you too can scream about all the amazing words!