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I love the month of April. Traditionally, it has always been my favourite month. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s my birthday month. My birthday is April 30th. This year I’m turning 31! It’s also Aric’s birthday ON THE SAME DAY!
- The weather becomes warmer. So you can start to wear just a sweater when you go outside, which makes me happy!
- The grass starts to turn green and flowers begin to slowly bloom. It’s a beautiful month that shows signs of new beginnings.
This April has been exceptional. Even though we are in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I chose to see the bright side of things and I enjoyed the month at home. read eight books, which is basically a book every 3 days! Can you believe it? That is the most books in one month that I have read in 2020 so far, and maybe even ever. Here are the mini book reviews of the eight books that I read in this month’s reading wrap up.
Book #1 – Moments of Glad Grace
by Alison Wearing
Rating: (4 / 5)
This is an eloquent and enjoyable Canadian memoir about family, aging, and love. Joe, an eighty-year-old living with Parkinson’s disease, invites his daughter Alison on a week-long trip to Ireland in search of roots and genealogical discoveries.
The narrative of this book was delightful and comical to read. I truly appreciated how the author told her story. Plus I enjoyed being able to travel to Dublin for a few days while reading and be captivated by the setting of this memoir.
I wrote a full review of Moments of Glad Grace earlier this month. Thank you to ECW Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book was published on April 7, 2020.
Book #2 – Wild at Heart
by: K.A. Tucker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: (4 / 5)
Wild at Heart is the sequel to K.A. Tucker’s book The Simple Wild, published in 2018. This book is probably one of the most hyped books that I have read in 2020. The hype was justified because Wild at Heart was wonderful! The Alaskan setting sounded so picturesque, especially the descriptions of the wildlife! Bear sightings, sign me up! Just kidding (but I do love bears ). So I have officially put Alaska on my bucket list of travel destinations. Is it on yours?
Even though Calla and Jonah both make me want to give their heads a shake at times, I can’t help but root for them and their relationship to succeed. They are probably one of my favourite fictional couples. I really enjoyed the side stories in this book with their various neighbours too, especially crotchety Roy. The writing was engaging and descriptive, without being unwieldy. There is something so captivating about this series, but I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what causes it to be so. All I know is that I hope there is a third book in this series because I am desperate for more Calla and Jonah!
Book #3 – Fragments of the Lost
by: Megan Miranda
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Rating: (5 / 5)
What’s the last book that you surprisingly loved?
Mine is this one. Miranda can be a hit or miss author for me. Some books of hers I love, and some books of hers are just okay. With this book being Young Adult (YA), I figured it would be the latter. But I was so wrong!
I was so engaged by the mystery of this story. This book is about a teenage girl named Jessa who is asked to clean out her ex-boyfriend’s room after he tragically dies. In doing so she finds fragments of his life and wonders how well she really knew him.
The writing will have you hooked, even though it has a unique style to it. I could hardly put this book down. I loved Jessa as a character and Max too, who is another main character (and maybe the third point in a discreet love triangle). This book gave me so many feelings and it was way more than I expected.
I definitely recommend it to Megan Miranda fans and to those who enjoy slow-burning mysteries. It is Young Adult, so it is written for a teen audience. But this one transcends for adults to enjoy as well. But in YA, typically teens have more power than they really would in real life. That’s my only disclaimer. Just keep that in mind when you are reading.
Book #4 – The Enneagram for Relationships: Transform Your Connections with Friends, Family, Colleagues, and in Love
by: Ashton Whitmoyer-Ober
Genre: Nonfiction Self Help (Enneagram)
Rating: (4 / 5)
I love the Enneagram. Why? Because it teaches and explains the why behind what we do, act, think, and feel. It falls back on our core motivations. It’s the first personality type test where I have really felt seen and understood.
In this book, I really loved how Ashton broke apart and explained the Enneagram. The information about each type explains it from multiple angles. It was in this book that I saw a description of each type during childhood for the first time. This information actually helped me to determine that I had been mistyping myself as an Enneagram One – The Reformer, when I’m actually a Six – The Loyalist. Do you know your Enneagram type?
I really loved the colorful pages and format of this book. I have so many sticky note flags in my copy and I plan to use it as a reference for the Enneagram for years to come! You can find more of this author on her Instagram @EnneagramAshton. She provides daily insight into the Enneagram and each type to help everyone understand themselves a little bit better.
Book #5 – The Tenth Circle
by Jodi Picoult
Genre: Domestic Suspense
Rating: (2 / 5)
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in The Tenth Circle. It didn’t bring me enjoyment like other Jodi Picoult books I have read so far. This one is about a family who is going through an extremely tough time. (Trigger warnings for rape, sexual abuse, assault, and self-harm before I go on…)
Trixie is a 14 years old girl and has been raped by her ex-boyfriend. Daniel, her father, works for Marvel writing comic books and has a violent and emotional past that he has run away from. Laura, her mother, is having an affair. This family is a mess. The story reflects how the family comes to terms with what is happening to them and how they handle the continual tragic events that ensue.
It is a very heavy read. I couldn’t read a lot of this book at one time, which is why I felt like it dragged out too much. The format of writing isn’t ideal either. There are only 7 or 8 chapters, so each chapter is so long with only a one-line break between sections. And after this break is where the author switches perspectives, so you have to be paying attention. There are graphic comic inserts that I didn’t care for at each chapter break, so I just skipped over them. Lastly, the ending was unsatisfactory to me. It didn’t tie up the story and show progress in the character’s lives the way I wanted it to.
Overall, I just didn’t have that enjoyable of a reading experience with this book. That’s why my rating is the lowest ever for a Jodi Picoult book that I’ve read.
Book #6 – The Imperfects
by: Amy Meyerson
Genre: Contemporary Family Saga
Rating: (4 / 5)
The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson is all about the Miller family. Helen is the family’s matriarch and grandmother to estranged adult siblings, Beck, Ashley, and Jake. Their mother, Deborah, hasn’t always been a parent worthy of recognition and accolades. When Helen suddenly passes away, the family is brought back together. Of course, the last time the family was together didn’t go so well. At the reading of the will, an invaluable inheritance is brought to light. This sets off a journey of discovery for the Millers to uncover truths about their family’s heritage. At the center of this journey is the Florentine diamond, a 37-carat yellow gemstone. And this diamond went missing from the Austrian Empire a century ago.
This story is all about relationships. Meyerson demonstrates the complexity of sibling relationships extremely well. As well, there are many different romantic relationships interwoven into the story. The notion that sometimes we don’t know what questions to ask of others until it is too late is a recurring theme in the novel for all characters. I love how Meyerson started with a nugget of truth and creatively wrote an entire fictional novel around that information. And personally, some of my favourite fiction novels are written that way.
I wrote a detailed review of The Imperfects earlier this month. Thank you to Netgalley and Park Row Books (an imprint of Harlequin) for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It will be published on May 5, 2020.
Book #7 – Love Anthony
By: Lisa Genova
Rating: (4 / 5)
Lisa Genova is one of my favourite authors. Her writing style is beautiful and she has an eloquent way of telling stories. I’m slowly catching up on reading her backlist of titles (as I am with many authors who I consider to be ‘favourites’.
Love Anthony was not the book I expected. I generally don’t refresh my memory about a book by reading the dust jacket or back cover blurb right before I read. So, of course, I didn’t do that with this book, even though it’s been on my reading list for years. This book is about two women, both living in Nantucket. Beth, a mother of three teenage daughters, is reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. Olivia has escaped to the island to grieve the death of her autistic son Anthony and the fallout of her marriage. Both women are on personal journeys that end up intersecting in the most surprising and miraculous ways. It’s my own fault that I was not prepared or expecting this story.
The character Beth is a writer and I generally don’t like books where there is fiction within fiction. In this case, Beth is writing a story and there are excerpts of her writing as chapters in Love Anthony. That’s a trope that is not for me. (Wondering what a trope is? Last week I wrote about Book Tropes so you can learn more here).
However, the ending of this book was beautiful. I had tears in my eyes while reading the last few pages. There is a heartfelt message behind this story and it does an excellent job of bringing awareness and understanding about childhood autism to the reader. I loved the beach setting and I could picture the scenes so perfectly. Genova’s writing and her descriptive characters are what boosted my rating of this book so high when it was a storyline that I wasn’t so particularly fond of.
Book #8 – The Mother In Law
by: Sally Hepworth
Genre: Contemporary Suspense
Rating: (5 / 5)
The Mother In Law by Sally Hepworth was a surprise 5-star. I was shocked that I enjoyed it as much as I did because I had heard mixed reviews about it. Again, I went into this book blind with no expectations because I didn’t re-read the synopsis beforehand. This enables me to enjoy the book for exactly what it is, and I loved this book!
This book is a suspenseful family drama about the Goodwin family. Lucy Goodwin obsesses over her relationship with her husband Ollie’s mother Diana. Having lost her own mother at a young age to cancer, she has dreamed of having a picture-perfect relationship with her husband’s mother. But that is not the case with Lucy and Diana. When Diana dies suddenly of a suspicious suicide, the complex relationships between family members come to light. These relationships are made all the more complex by a surprise disinheritance of the family fortune. And then Diana’s autopsy reveals traces of poison and evidence of suffocation. Could someone have wanted Diana dead? Well, all fingers are pointing towards Lucy.
Hepworth’s writing is fast-paced and well-plotted. I appreciated the short chapters. This made it easier to navigate the multiple character perspectives and moving timelines of the story. The entire family of characters were enticing and interesting. I was drawn the most to Lucy as I could relate to her character the most. She’s a supportive wife, a caring mother, and she seeks affection and approval from her husband’s family without sacrificing her own morals and character. The story was twisty and suspenseful. I was kept guessing until the very last page.
This is the second book of Sally Hepworth’s I’ve read, as I picked up The Mother’s Promise last year (and gave it (4 / 5)). I will certainly be reading more of her books in the future!
There you have it! My wrap up of mini book reviews for all of the books I read in April. Have you read any of these books? Did you add any to your TBR list?
Let me know in the comments below, or reach out to me on Instagram @katietotallybooked.
I have eight books on my reading list for May, so let’s hope it’s another productive reading month.
P.S This month I ordered a few new books from Indigo Books and I was able to get a great new bag for the Spring/Summer season. It’s big enough to hold my book and my new iPad! You can still get one too, for a limited time.