April 2020 Reading Wrap Up

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It’s hard to say if March or April wins the award for the longest month ever, but I can assure you that I.am.over.it. Completely. 

When it comes to books, I find my reading to be all over the place. There isn’t really a theme that works or doesn’t work; for me, it’s completely dependent on the writing. I think I’m rating books lower than I normally would and I would blame that on my overall mental state as being locked cooped up is totally started to get to me.

Colorado seems to be slowly opening back up (thank you, Governor Polis!! 🙏🏼), so I’m hoping May involves a lot more outdoors, parks, BBQs, family, and friends! I also wouldn’t cry if there was a decrease in my reading because I’m just to busy being SOCIAL!

April By the Numbers:

  • Total Books Read: 14
  • Audiobooks: 1
  • Five Star Reads: 2
  • Unread Shelf:  4 (1 DNF)
  • Books Aquired: 38
  • By Women Authors: 12 (2 DNFs)
  • Nonfiction Reads: 5 (2 DNF)
  • Published in 2020: 9 (2 DNF)

Favorite Books of April: My Dark Vanessa and Writers & Lovers.

My favorite book of the month was My Dark Vanessa.

But here are some honorable mentions: The Knockout Queen and Oona Out of Order.

Here is a look at the TBR I set:

  • A Backlist Title – 📖 Hollow Kingdom by: Kira Jane Buxton
    • Didn’t get to it. 😔
  • A BOTM Title – 📖 *** Writers & Lovers by: Lily King
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – If you can stick with the story through the first one hundred pages, I think you’ll find yourself rewarded. Written with a stream of consciousness vibe, King muses on ordinary, simplistic life moments. I found myself slowing way down to savor her immersive and meditative writing.
  • A Nonfiction Title – 📱 *** Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women a Movement Forgot by: Mikki Kendall
  • A NetGalley/Edelweiss Title  – 📱 *** Sin Eater by: Megan Campisi
    •  I didn’t get to it. 😔
  • A Memoir – 📱 *** The Book of Rosy: A Mother’s Story of Separation at the Border by: Rosayra Pablo Cruz, Julie Schwietert Collazo
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 There’s no question this book is an important one. I actually really enjoyed Rosayra’s perspective and writing, so when it switched to Collazo’s point of view, the book lost its steam. The transition was clunkly.
  • At least 2 physical ARCs
    • 📖 *** Oona Out of Order by: Margarita Montimore
      • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I love the creativity of this book, but as with other time travel books, I find that I have a hard time focusing on the story. My mind wanders trying to figure out how the author accomplished such a feat – my mind is not capable of thinking up such stories. I enjoyed the plot and the characters and thought this was a good escape for the current times.
    • 📖 *** Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy by: Eileen B. Zimmerman
      • I didn’t get to it. 😔

I also read the following books:

  • 📖 *** Ingredients: The Strange Chemistry of What We Put in Us and On Us by: George Zaiden
    • Unfortunately, this was a DNF for me at 33%. It was way too sciencey for me, and though it was presented almost cartoonishly (assumingly to “dumb it down” for non-sciencey people), I still didn’t get it. It was over my head and I wasn’t understanding.
  • 📖 *** The Women’s War (Women’s War, #1) by: Jenna Glass
    • It pains me to DNF this one, but it really could have used a tighter edit. The story has so much promise but it’s been a total slog for me. Once I sit down to read it, I quickly become immersed, but I find that I’m not super motivated to pick it up in the first place.
  • 📖 The Affairs of the Falcóns by: Melissa Rivero
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 I don’t know how I know this, but I know that I would have enjoyed this book a whole lot more had I read it when the hype was surrouding it. I do see the value of this book – I think the way we treat undocumented citizens in this country is dispicable and needs to be rethought…but because I’ve read several books with the same topic and theme, I think this one gets compared a little unfairly. It’s kind of how you remember the first book you read on a subject better than the fifteenth…it’s kind of like that for me with this one. Overall, a great read though and one you should definitely consider if you’re looking for a book that deals with this topic!
  • 📱 *** Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women a Movement Forgot by: Mikki Kendall
    • DNF at 11% because it’s way too deep for my current state of mind.
  • 📱 *** The Knockout Queen by: Rufi Thorpe
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is my first experience reading Thorpe and I know it won’t be my last if The Knockout Queen is any indication of her talent. Throughout this book, there is an underlying angst that made it hard for me to put it down. I also truly loved Bunny and Michael, both as individuals and as a friendship duo. My only complaint – and one that knocked it out of the 5-star rating – was the way Thorpe treated Bunny’s physical size. She was made out to be grotesque and it was offensive to me as someone from the tall girl team. (This may be personal and dumb, but hey…that’s what reading is – a personal experience!)
  • 📖 *** Decoding Boys: New Science Behind the Subtle Art of Raising Boys by: Cara Natterson
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I appreciated the chapters on pornography, social media, and body acceptance the most. I think I would have appreciated the rest had I read this sooner, but my son is now fourteen years old and I’ve already figured out a lot of the information by now. I would highly recommend it though for parents of younger boys – you can never be too prepared!
  • 📖 A Prayer for Travelers by: Ruchika Tomar
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s been a few weeks since I read this one and I’ve already forgot the details. The writing was atmospheric and metaphorical, but it also completely bogged me down. I liked how the chapters were written out of order, and it totally lent to the idea that after a trauma, events come back to the victim in bits and pieces and out of order. Other than that, the rest of the details probably won’t stick with me for long.
  • 📖 *** Recipe For a Perfect Wife by: Karma Brown
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ We’ve come a long way from the stereotypical 1950s housewife, but we still have a long ways to go! I really liked the first half but slowly lost interest as the story progressed.
  • 📖 *** Dancing At the Pity Party by: Tyler Feder
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This graphic memoir is about mother loss and it spoke to my heart. Honestly, it made me want to take notes of the things I miss about my own mama and to write them down so I won’t forget them. And the illustrations are fantastic!
  • 📱 *** All Adults Here by: Emma Straub
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 I love a dysfunctional family story and this book is definitely that. However, I don’t feel like this will be a memorable read as there really is no true plot. It also seemed to mention every single current social issue under the sun and after awhile, that got a little (okay, a lot) annoying. 
  • 🎧 *** Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy To Protect Predators by: Ronan Farrow
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The crazy, crazy (at times completely unbelievable) story behind the story of Harvey Weinstein and his sexual predatory behavior. I think my jaw was on the ground for the majority of this audiobook…I could not believe the intricate web spun around Weinstein and the amount of people that fought to protect him. My only complaint was that Farrow would do these really weird voices in the audiobook…totally unnecessary and very distracting. 
  • 📱 *** The Book of Longings by: Sue Monk Kidd
    • ⭐️⭐️ This critique is probably more about me than the actual book, but it totally didn’t work for me. I know the book was supposed to be more about Ana, the fictional wife of Jesus. It’s supposed to be a look into the kind of women that could handle the type of person that Jesus was, but I just couldn’t buy into it. Something about it felt almost sacreligious and I felt icky about the whole premise. I will more than likely fall in the minority for this opinion, so definitely seek out other opinions!
  • 📖 My Dark Vanessa by: Kate Elizabeth Russell
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s hard to say that a book with this kind of content is a five star read, but here we are. The story of Vanessa and her teacher, Strane, raises important and complicated thoughts surrounding sexual abuse. This book showcases the trauma that endures for a lifetime for many victims. It also shows how a predator grooms and manipulates their victims, oftentimes blurring the boundaries for people who aren’t emotionally mature enough to decipher. This would make an excellent book club pick because there is a ton to dissect and discuss!
  • 📖 *** Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by: Tom O’Neill
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ As I’m starting to wonder what’s REALLY going on with this whole coronavirus situation, this book landed in my lap at the perfect time. It’s all about conspiratorial thinking and how our government isn’t out to protect any of us. The fact that they have secret agendas and some of us just happen to land in their crosshairs and become their unwilling pawns. While this book was heavily researched, I think the author had SO MUCH information that a lot of the details bogged down the overall story. It was a dense read and hard to focus on at times, but also so interesting that I couldn’t stop…so I just read a chapter or two a day until I got through it. This book won’t be for everyone as it is scary, very technical, and a little boring. But if you’re starting to question life as we know it, you may really enjoy this one!

I tried, but wasn’t feeling:

  • 📖 *** The Women’s War (Women’s War, #1) by: Jenna Glass
    • DNF @ 44%
  • 📱 *** Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women a Movement Forgot by: Mikki Kendall
    • DNF @ 11%
  • 📖 *** Ingredients: The Strange Chemistry of What We Put in Us and On Us by: George Zaiden
    • DNF @ 33%
(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

Unread Shelf Update:

I did break my book buying ban this month and bought eight books…but before you get mad at me, read below! 👇🏼

I acquired 38 books in April (8 of which I did purchase for myself – but hear me out!! I had gift cards from Christmas to Barnes and Noble which I planned on holding on to. But when I saw that Neiman Marcus was declaring bankruptcy and Nordstrom’s was struggling too, I decided I’d rather acquire some more books that lose the money! Fair?)

I donated/unloaded 21 books!

The new total of books on my bookshelves is 405! 😭😭😭

(I started with 417, so I’ve gotten rid of 12 books so far. This is clearly not going well for me. 😔)

However, this challenge is still proving to be so valuable to me as I have become so much more conscious of what I keep and what I let go of! Head over to Whitney’s blog for more information if you’d like to participate!

9 thoughts on “April 2020 Reading Wrap Up

  1. These past couple months have certainly been crazy. I feel like March lasted forever and April flew by.
    On the reading front, I’ve found myself to be a little more adventurous in reading various genres that I don’t usually read. I guess having more time to devote to reading has allowed me to explore a bit more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats to a fantastic reading month!! And just looking at your list I see quite a few books we have in common. 😀

    I’m in the middle of My Dark Vanessa, and need to go back and finish it ASAP!! And I thought Oona Out of Order had one of the most unique plot I read in a long time.

    I also started Catch and Kill. I’m only two hours in, so I still have ways to go, but the audiobook hasn’t grabbed me yet. But I really loved She Said, and I hope I’ll finish Catch and Kill next month.

    And last but not least I have The Knockout Queen is on my tbr, it just sounds like a fantastic book.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Omg, I feel you might be right. And if I look at GR, both books have fantastic reviews, but Catch and Kill is quite a bit more popular and has been read more. 17,205 vs 43,877 👀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Interesting!! I haven’t read She Said so I can’t personally compare…but I am curious which one I prefer! (But maybe not enough to read She Said…I’m kind of burned out on the topic right now!)

        Like

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