April was not the greatest reading month for me. I started working again with all my effort and had a lot less downtime for books. I also had a really hard time finding anything to keep my interest. I’m currently in the middle of at least five or six nonfiction books that I’m not sure I’ll ever finish because they just don’t draw me in the way I always expect them to. Fiction has been disappointing me too. I think I’ve started and stopped four books in April. That’s a ton for me! Nothing really felt right for what I needed emotionally. The frustration will never stop me from reading all together, but it was definitely a lighter month.
Good Luck Charm by Kellie McAllen
Rating: 3 stars
This is the second book in the Holiday High series. I read the first one, My Fake Valentine, last month and gave it 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book for what it was – a very light, cliche, somewhat quirky YA romance novel. The story revolves around Kerri O’Connor who believes she has the worst luck in the world and needs a good luck charm with her at all times to make things go her way. She meets a boy named Connor who she claims is her perfect good luck charm. Connor’s character is fairly pathetic about the first third of the book, which was a turn off. But they develop a friendship that’s sweet to witness. Nothing earth shattering or wonderful about this book, but the characters were cute.
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
Rating: 2 stars
For supposedly being one of the year’s most anticipated books, I just could not get into this one. It’s somewhat of a romance between Polly, who is hiding from her abusive past, and Adam, who is a private investigator secretly trying to figure her out. They both keep secrets from each other until the end. I didn’t find either characters to be particularly likeable and thought Adam could have used a lot more depth. The plot was slightly intriguing and it was a very fast read, I just didn’t like it.
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser
Rating: 3 stars
This book is described as being very similar to Big Little Lies, which is why I picked it up. The general storyline is certainly similar, but it lacks a lot of the intensity and intrigue that Big Little Lies brought to the table, making it feel like a poor copycat. While I enjoyed and was even envious of the friendships that formed between all the neighborhood women, I found myself pretty bored by the book as a whole. The ending felt fairly cliche without any big surprises. I just couldn’t get into it.
Educated by Tara Westover
Rating: 4 stars
This memoir has been getting so much buzz all over the place that I had to move it to the top of my reading list. It did not disappoint! I find that I really love memoirs from people whose biggest accomplishment is surviving their childhood and thriving as an adult. This book is the story of Tara, the youngest of seven siblings who grew up with survivalists parents in Idaho. It was a captivating look at her family relationships and both the love and challenges that living in that kind of situation brought to her. I liked that Tara kept journals throughout her childhood which could verify many of her memories, especially as her father tried to brainwash his kids with his viewpoints. One thing that did bother me is that certain siblings – including the one closest in age to her that she mentioned in the beginning as spending the most time with – were almost never talked about, as if they didn’t even exist. Same with her only sister. It just seemed odd to me when other siblings got so much content, but maybe that’s just a little pet peeve! The book lost me a bit as Tara became an adult and got educated at higher institutions of learning. She pulled it all together, I just wasn’t as interested in the later years. Overall, a very interesting memoir.
This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter
Rating: 4.5 stars
This is an emotional look at a teenage girl who is a heart transplant recipient. The donor happens to be the twin brother of her long time crush. After the transplant, Leah starts to have dreams about being chased through the woods. With his twin sense still in tact, Matt also has dreams about his brother Eric’s last hours alive. Together they set out to prove he did not commit suicide – he was murdered. This book definitely has an overlying layer of sadness that never goes away. Matt not only loses his brother, but it happened only a year after losing his dad. Leah struggles with her right to live at the expense of another. The characters are very well written, however, and I enjoyed the tender love story that developed between them.
Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
Rating: 4 stars
I needed something light after my last few books, and this one fit the bill. I was slightly turned off because the book appeared like it was going to start the way most typical romances do – jumping right into the physical stuff with basically no lead up. But it surprised me and I actually found most of the book to be delightful. This is the first in a long series of six bearded brothers who each have their own women to find. It’s the first book I’ve ready by Reid and I really liked it! It was a well written and fun romantic comedy. I’m going to spread them up, but I’m really excited and interested to learn more about the five remaining Winston brothers.
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Rating: 3.5 stars
Last year Bennett’s Alex, Approximately was one of my favorite books of the year, so I had high expectations for this one. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite deliver. This book begins with Zorie and Lennon, two former best friends with an experimental short lived romantic past, who currently hate each other. After a very long and fairly uninteresting lead up, they end up stranded by their friends in the woods together. They spend a few days camping and hiking and surviving a few life or death situations. What bothered me about this book is that they already had most of their firsts together – before the time of the book, and it was just vaguely brought up again and again. I would have loved this book so much more if their falling out had been about something else and just now realized and acted on their deepest feelings for each other. At any rate, I liked how it played out in the end. I just wish there hadn’t been so many boring parts at the beginning.
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Rating: 5 stars
One of the most frustrating things to me when reading is when the character’s past is constantly referenced in vague and confusing terms, and I have no idea what happened. I’m impatient when backstory takes an entire book to unfold. If you have similar issues when reading – this book might not be for you. But, I’d say it was worth following through on because this was my one five star rating of the month. It’s the story of Nastya, a teenage girl who is mute by choice after a devastating thing that happened to her. She meets Josh, an emancipated teenager who has lived through the untimely deaths of everyone in his family and refuses to get close to anyone again in case he loses them too. Between them there’s also Drew, Josh’s best friend and the incessant flirt turned best friend to Nastya as well. I loved how beautifully all the friendships in this book played out. The characters are never quite what you expect them to be. They fight their attraction with all their might and continue to push each other away to battle their own fears. It ultimately ends with an amazing display of how family is who you choose and that love trumps over all. This one is definitely worth your time!