April By the Numbers:
- Total Books Read: 6
- Audiobooks: 0
- Five Star Reads: 1
- Debuts: 3 (50%)
- Published in 2022: 6 (100%)
- Nonfiction Reads: 0 (0%)
- By Women Authors: 5 (83%)
- By Nonbinary Author: 1 (17%)
- Books by BIPOC Authors: 3 (50%)
- Diverse Books: 1 (17%)
- Goodreads Challenge: 41/125 (33%)
- 12 Friends + 12 Books + 12 Months: 4/12 (33%)
- Nonfiction Challenge: 2/12 (17%)
- Unread Shelf: 8/24 (33%)
- EIWTB Challenge: 11/12 (92%)
- A to Z Challenge: 18/26 (69%)
Favorite Book of the Month:
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
I’m one book shy of being an Emezi completist, but every time I finish a book by them, I am absolutely blown away! Their way with words leaves me breathless and I have to continually go back to reread paragraphs. They cut straight to my heart and I absolutely love this author’s work! I feel in love with these characters and the mess they created. I felt their deep emotions – particularly those that dealt with grief – and I felt so many of my confusing feelings surrounding grief vindicated. I don’t know how Emezi can switch between genres so seamlessly, but they do and I am totally here for it! (This book will be out on May 24, 2022!)
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus – This is a book you’re going to be seeing around a lot! It’s understandably popular with a great theme and message, characters that are larger than life, and engaging dialogue that kept me turning the pages as quick as I could! I caught myself feeling lucky so many times that I am not a child of the 1950s, when men were thought to be supior to women in the math and science categories and women were seen as little more than good wives, mothers, and housekeepers. Elizabeth Zott fought these stereotypes hard and became her own little pioneer in women’s rights and independence. While I loved Elizabeth’s character, I also found it a little off-putting that she didn’t truly feel like a woman of the 1950s era. She felt more like a modern day woman set in the 1950s and that didn’t always come across as authentic to me. I also hated the continuous atheistic message…I get that science and religion can be conflicting, and I get that not everyone is a Christian, but it felt like an important message the author really wanted to drive home and it became quite irksome to me after a few times. Overall, I really did enjoy this book and I see it being one of the books of the summer!
Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton – I really look forward to visiting the Perez family every time Cleeton releases a new book. She somehow manages to keep each story fresh, new, and exciting. This time, Isabel travels to Barcelona to see her estranged sister, Beatriz. While there, she finds out a shocking family secret and the story unfolds from there. I enjoyed this one just as I have Cleeton’s previous novels. Though each story builds on the next, they’re also their own installments in the Perez legacy so it’s not necessary to read them in succession or to remember all the details. As with the books that came before, they are packed with a Cuban vibe and I continue to learn more about Cuban history. This one also includes a lot of Spanish/Cuban history and I was totally interested. I don’t know if Cleeton plans any more books about the Perez family, but if she does, I’m here for it!
Books That Were Just Okay:
Violeta by Isabel Allende – Violeta was born during the Spanish Flu pandemic in the 1920’s and the book ends with the coronovirus pandemic in 2020. The book is written to someone (we find out who later), and during the course of the story, Allende tackles the scope of history that occured (mostly in South America) during that time. It was ambitious and an interesting way to be able to dive into some of those big events that shaped not only Violeta’s life, but also the people who actually experienced it in real life. While I have great appreciation for the historical education, it must also be acknowledged that this is a slooooow build. From various reviews I read before picking it up, I felt that the payoff would be worth it, but for me, it didn’t. There was too much context without enough dialogue, story, or conneciton to make this a story that stood out to me.
* Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman – I was looking for something lighter and the description of this one fit the bill. A 26-year-old journalist gets the chance to write an expose on a huge movie star. Despite the celebrity gossip surrounding the article once it goes viral, both Gabe and Chani deny anything happened between them that weekend. Fast forward ten years, and Chani is once again going to write a follow-up article about Gage’s success over the years. Through flashbacks, other articles, and blog posts, I was sure the buildup was going to be a big reveal. Unfortunately, I was definitely left wanting more – not just from the plot but also from the characters.
* Our Little World by Karen Winn – I loved the mid-1980s setting and the cultural references were so fun. However, this story is slloooooww. While I think the writing was impressive for a debut author, it felt a little too dense for the story and the reading mood I found myself in this month. Many people have loved this one, so it just might not have been for me.
A Book That Let Me Down…But I’m Not Ready To Give Up On Just Yet
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn – I have read the last three books by Kate Quinn and really enjoyed them all, so I had the same expectations for The Diamond Eye. After struggling to get through the first 100 pages, I’m finally ready to admit that this one may be a miss for me. However, I have such great love for Kate Quinn that I’m not ready to give up on this one entirely…maybe just set it aside for now and give it another try in the future. In general, my reading has been somewhat disappointing me, so I’m hoping this one will be better when I’m in a different mindset.