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Happy almost June, my friends! I realize that this post has reached an almost laughable level of lateness…but that is OK…we are just going to roll with it…as usual! Let’s just say that while April was an amazing month for books…May was nuts and this post just didn’t happen. Not a lot of reading happened either, but that is a post for another day…probably August at the rate I am pumping out blog posts! Ha! Anyway, we are here to talk about April. Oh what a great month for books it was! So, without further ado…let’s take a peek at my April Reading Wrap-Up!
Three Cheers for April Reads!
April was kinda crazy in terms of books. For starters, I managed to finish 8 books. That is A LOT for me. I know a lot of other bookstagrammers and book bloggers read waaaay more than that…but for me, 8 was probably a record! Now, not only did I finish 8 books…but they were all really good. We are talking ALL 4 and 5 star books. Not a dud in the bunch. So, I am going to break them down by my star rating and give you just a little background about why I loved them so much! You ready?
5 Star Reads
Throne of Glass
Let’s start with Throne of Glass. I had seen this book recommended all over the bookstaverse. People love them some Sarah J. Maas. This one had been on my radar for a while, but I have to be honest, I am intimidated by her books. They are HUGE. Thankfully this book wasnt as gigantic as some of the others (looking at you Crescent City). Anyway, I loved this book. I realize this is one of her earlier books so the writing was not exactly stellar…BUT…I loved the story and am eager to see where the rest of the series goes!
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
A Forgery of Roses
Next up we have A Forgery of Roses by Jessica S. Olson. This was included in my OwlCrate box and was absolutely amazing. I loved everything about this book! This is a fantasy novel unlike any that I had read. It had such an incredible art-based magic system! This had all of the best vibes to it…mystery, suspense, magic, a creepy Victorian feel…just so good. You can read a full review over on my IG page here.
Myra has a gift many would kidnap, blackmail, and worse to control: she’s a portrait artist whose paintings alter people’s bodies. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone. But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son.
Once she arrives at the legendary stone mansion, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. A killer stalks these halls–one disturbingly obsessed with portrait magic. Desperate to get out of the manor as quickly as possible, Myra turns to the governor’s older son for help completing the painting before the secret she spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.
The Last Mapmaker
Next up we have The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat. This book was sent to me for review by Candlewick Press and it was everything that I had hoped it would be. I am a huge fan of this author…her writing is absolutely fantastic and she takes her readers on the most epic adventures. The Last Mapmaker was no exception. It was absolutely wonderful. You can read a full review here. The Last Mapmaker is the perfect example of why I adore middle-grade books. This would be a phenomenal read-aloud to share with your kids as well!
In a fantasy adventure every bit as compelling and confident in its world building as her Newbery Honor Book A Wish in the Dark, Christina Soontornvat explores a young woman’s struggle to unburden herself of the past and chart her own destiny in a world of secrets. As assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman—and in a kingdom where the status of one’s ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one aboard with secrets. When Sai learns that the ship might be heading for the fabled Sunderlands—a land of dragons, dangers, and riches beyond imagining—she must weigh the cost of her dreams. Vivid, suspenseful, and thought-provoking, this tale of identity and integrity is as beautiful and intricate as the maps of old.
The Edge of In Between
Next up we have The Edge of In Between by Lorelei Savaryn. Kelly judged a book on its cover again…an it paid off. I immediately added this book to my cart for two reasons. Reason one is obvious…look at this gorgeous cover. Had to have it. Add to cart. Reason two, it was described as a “twisty retelling” of The Secret Garden. Add. To. Cart. The Secret Garden is one of my all-time favorite books…so I knew I had to check this out. It blew my mind. This was the perfect combination of gut-wrenching and heartwarming. Middle-grade perfection and I recommend it so much. 5 big ole stars!
Lottie lives in Vivelle—the heart of a vibrant city where life exists in brilliant technicolor and nearly everyone has magic. And Lottie is no exception; she can paint pictures to life in every shade and hue imaginable. But at the sudden loss of her parents, all the color is stripped from Lottie’s heart and the world around her. Taken in by her reclusive, eccentric uncle, Lottie moves into Forsaken, his vast manor located in the gray wasteland between the Land of the Living and Ever After, the land of the dead.
The discovery of a locked-up garden, a wise cardinal, a hidden boy, and a family whose world is full of color despite the bleakness around them begins to pull at the threads of what it means to live in such a near-dead place, slowly returning some of the color to Lottie’s private world and giving her hope that life is worth experiencing fully, even while one carries sorrow.
But as time runs out, Lottie must find a way to thaw both the world and the hearts of her uncle, cousin, and those she has come to know and love in her new home, or all of Forsaken—including Lottie herself—will be absorbed by Ever After long before their time.
An exquisitely written, richly imagined, stunning portrait of love and loss, magic and hope; a true celebration of the strength we all possess to transcend tragedy—and the gifts that make life worth living.
Four Star Reads
The Bone Houses
Next up is The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones. This is a book that is way outside of my preferred genre. It was sort of an accident. I picked this one up based on the cover. I assumed it would be a spooky but but didnt realize it was listed as a horror book. Well, lucky for me it was fantastic. It was the perfect combination of spooky, gore, and mystery. It felt like a fairytale met The Walking Dead with a bit of a historical twist. If that doesn’t make you want to pick it up and read it then I don’t know what will. All I know is that I loved it!
Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.
The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the deeply-buried truths about themselves. Equal parts classic horror novel and original fairy tale, The Bone Houses will have you spellbound from the very first page.
The Nature of Witches
Next up we have The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin. This was our April book club read over at The Booknerd Cafe. (Come join us…we are a good time!) I really enjoyed this book. It was a definite page-turner and had a weather based magic system which I loved. It did seem to go kind of fast in parts and I wish that there had been more, but I really did love the book.
For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, but now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic; the storms, more destructive. All hope lies with Clara, a once-in-a-generation Everwitch whose magic is tied to every season.
In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.
In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.
In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.
In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves…before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.
The Hazel Wood
Next up is The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. This was one that had been on my list and on my shelves for quite some time. This was all things Twisted Fairytale. It was a delightful blend of darkness, weirdness, and creepiness. Got major Alice in Wonderland vibes and I loved it! Definitely want to read more in this series!
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
The Red Palace
Last, but absolutely not least, we have The Red Palace by June Hur. This was incredible! I am a sucker for historical fiction and I have never read anything set in 1700’s Korea! This was an absolute page turner that was the perfect combination of mystery and history. I loved June Hur’s writing style and cant wait to read more from her! I was immediately sucked in by this gorgeous cover as well! Isn’t it stunning?!?
To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood…
Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.
But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.
In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.
Looking to May
Ok, so that was April in a nutshell. Such a fantastic reading month. May however, a little bit slower than April. I read quite a few books early on in May but once we went on vacation I hit a bit of a dry spell. I didn’t read a single page on vacation! Oh well, it is what it is! The books I DID read in May have been fabulous! I will be back soon with my May Reading Wrap-Up!
If you missed my March Wrap-Up, you can check it out here.
So, what have you been reading? How was April? Any five star reads? Drop me a comment!