Hello Readers! I’ve seen other bloggers say it feels like the weeks are flying and dragging by at the same time. I have to say I agree. Which seems impossible, but here we are. I seemed to have climbed out of the reading slump I landed in in March thanks to some stellar books and a read-a-thon. I managed to read 10 books (2,331 pages!) this month–which is great for me–even if some of those were short stories and novellas. I also managed to add a whopping 19 books to my physical and virtual shelves–despite never stepping foot in a store. 😉
Looking back at My Stress-Free April TBR (made when I was engulfed in a reading slump) I’d hoped to at least make it through three books. I did read those three books and more, so I’m very happy!
Be sure to check out The Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction!
(Link to synopsis on Goodreads through the book title.)
I started the month off finishing up The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren, an ARC I’d been invited to read through Netgalley. I was pretty nervous about this one because I’d seen some early mixed reviews, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Rating (4 / 5)
I wanted to stay out of my reading slump, so I picked up another contemporary romance I’d heard only good things about, The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker. Let me assure you, the hype is real!
Rating (4.5 / 5)
My Stay Home Reading Rush Wrap-Up
Next, I joined the Stay Home Reading Rush Challenge, a four day read-a-thon. I believe it was my first read-a-thon, and it will definitely not be my last. I managed to read four books, one for each prompt, which helped me to keep my reading momentum going AND cross off some backlist titles.
First, I read an ARC I was thrilled to be invited to read, Katherine Center’s What You Wish For. This joy-filled novel is just what the world needs right now! It fulfilled the book that makes you smile prompt.
Rating (4 / 5)
For the book read all in the same room prompt, I read a shorter backlist choice, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. While I thought it was sweet but sad, I probably would have enjoyed it more as a child.
Rating (3 / 5)
For the book located in a place I’d like to visit prompt, I read another backlist choice, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I was also able to use this one for a prompt in my Popsugar Reading Challenge, book located in a country that starts with a C. I highly recommend this sweet novel!
Rating (4 / 5)
For my last Stay Home Reading Rush prompt, a book with a house on the cover, I chose a shorter book off my backlist, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisernos. This was a beautifully written collection of short stories that I wish I’d read when I was younger.
Rating (4 / 5)
I utilized my reading momentum and picked up my next unsolicited ARC Good Boy by Jennifer Finney Boylan, a non-fiction book that showed up on my door-step at just the right time to fulfill a harder prompt from my Popsugar Reading Challenge.
Rating (3.5 / 5)
I stumbled across the Outlander short story Virgins by Diana Gabaldon late one night, and enjoyed revisiting the Outlander world–and a much younger Jamie. This one had me smiling, and deciding to pick up my next Outlander read, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which I’m currently reading.
Rating (4 / 5)
I finished up the month listening to a quick audio book. I’m not a big audiobook fan, but after seeing a 30-day free trial promotion of Scribd that Alex @ Whimsy Pages shared last month, I had signed up for it–and promptly forgotten about it. When I realized I only had a few days left, I forced myself to at least make time for something quick: The Girl in the Plane, a short story that combines two of my favorite characters from Katherine Center’s books, How to Walk Away (Currently $2.99 on Amazon) and Things You Save in a Fire. The author even does the reading–exceptionally well, I might add–which made this the perfect audiobook choice!
Rating (4 / 5)
April Book Haul
I can’t believe how many books I’ve added to my shelves this month without stepping foot into a store! Several books off my wishlist on Paperbackswap became available, I was invited to read a few eARCs, I ordered a few books from Powell’s, and added four new books to my e-reader thanks to the kindness of a publisher.
My Paperbackswap books
- Champion (Legend, #3) by Marie Lu
- Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1) by Veronica Rossi
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
- Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Boomerang by Noelle August
- On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
- Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf
- A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
I’m not sure if publishers are sharing more ARCs because we’re all under a stay-at-home order or if I’m finally doing something “right,” but I’ve had quite a few invitations from Netgalley recently. I’m trying to force myself to be very selective, especially since it was my goal to read as many books off my own shelves this year as I could. I still have several eARCs I’m considering… Does this happen to you? How do you decide what to read?
I couldn’t resist Bronte’s Mistress by Finola Austin when I popped over to Goodreads and saw all the glowing early reviews.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
This dazzling debut novel for fans of Mrs. Poe and Longbourn explores the scandalous historical love affair between Branwell Brontë and Lydia Robinson, giving voice to the woman who allegedly corrupted her son’s innocent tutor and brought down the entire Brontë family.
Yorkshire, 1843: Lydia Robinson—mistress of Thorp Green Hall—has lost her precious young daughter and her mother within the same year. She returns to her bleak home, grief-stricken and unmoored. With her teenage daughters rebelling, her testy mother-in-law scrutinizing her every move, and her marriage grown cold, Lydia is restless and yearning for something more.
All of that changes with the arrival of her son’s tutor, Branwell Brontë, brother of her daughters’ governess, Miss Anne Brontë and those other writerly sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Branwell has his own demons to contend with—including living up to the ideals of his intelligent family—but his presence is a breath of fresh air for Lydia. Handsome, passionate, and uninhibited by social conventions, he’s also twenty-five to her forty-three. A love of poetry, music, and theatre bring mistress and tutor together, and Branwell’s colorful tales of his sisters’ elaborate play-acting and made-up worlds form the backdrop for seduction.
But Lydia’s new taste of passion comes with consequences. As Branwell’s inner turmoil rises to the surface, his behavior grows erratic and dangerous, and whispers of their passionate relationship spout from her servants’ lips, reaching all three protective Brontë sisters. Soon, it falls on Lydia to save not just her reputation, but her way of life, before those clever girls reveal all her secrets in their novels. Unfortunately, she might be too late.
Meticulously researched and deliciously told, Brontë’s Mistress is a captivating reimagining of the scandalous affair that has divided Brontë enthusiasts for generations and an illuminating portrait of a courageous, sharp-witted woman who fights to emerge with her dignity intact.
When I was invited to read Lisa Jewell’s latest book, Invisible Girl, I was happy to add it to my TBR. I’ve enjoyed several of her previous books.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The author of the “rich, dark, and intricately twisted” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) The Family Upstairs returns with another taut and white-knuckled thriller following a group of people whose lives shockingly intersect when a young woman disappears.
Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.
In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.
Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.
Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.
My Powell’s books
Hoping to help an indie book store during this difficult time (and, you know, add to my bookshelves), I ordered a few selections from Powell’s. I visited Powell’s when I was on vacation a few years ago in Portland, Oregon. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it! It felt fitting to pick up a book about Oregon, as well. And I also no longer have any excuses left to keep me from diving into the Grisaverse. 😉
- Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival by Peter Stark
- Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3) by Leigh Bardugo
- Crooked Kingdom (The Six of Crows Duology, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
My Simon & Schuster free e-books
As a “loyal subscriber to Simon & Schuster’s Newsletter,” I’ve been receiving an email each week with about 10 ebooks to choose from (while supplies last) to read on the Glose app. This has been the nicest surprise, and I’ve been so happy with the choices. I’m assuming this is just a courtesy they’ve been providing readers while we’re all stuck at home. Here are the books I chose:
- The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
- The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America by Tommy Tomlinson
- Crown of Feathers (Crown of Feathers, #1) by Nicki Pau Preto
- Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
And lastly, I added Stories We Never Told by Sonja Voerg, my Amazon First Reads selection. It’s an obsession thriller that sounds very intriguing!
I also participated in Bookending Spring this past month! I always enjoy these blogging events. They push me out of my comfort zones and encourage me to try new things. Here are the three prompts I chose:
How was your reading month? Have you read any of these books? Did you add any of them to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!