The Best Books I Read in April

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Happy May, friends! April was such a great reading month! I managed to finish 10 books over the course of the month and I wanted to share my absolute faves with you! If you are new here and new to my loosey-goosey book rating system…well…just know that I throw around 5 star reviews like they are confetti. If a book gives me any type of feels or keeps me up thinking about it…it is immediately five stars. You know how people say “measure with your heart” when you are cooking…I review books the same way! So, without further ado…lets take a peek at the 6 books that I absolutely LOVED from April! I hope you will find something here that catches your interest! Let’s chat!

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Ok. First up is One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle. This book had some seriously mixed reviews. They ran the gamut from “this was the best book I have ever read” all the way to “wtf did I just read”. I didn’t let that cloud my judgement. Ok…maybe I did have a little voice in the back of my head saying “brace yourself…this could get ugly”. But, it didn’t…for me anyway. I definitely understood where some of the negative reviews came from…but the issues that they were having with the book didn’t effect my enjoyment of the story. If that makes any sense at all? I am trying to be vague and not give away too much information because there are some surprises that happen along the way in the story. This one had me laughing, drying my eyes, and dreaming of visiting Italy. Here is a little synopsis for you.

Goodreads Synopsis

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

The Enchanted Hacienda by J.C. Cervantes

Next up we have The Enchanted Hacienda by J.C. Cervantes. Oh I just loved this book. This had been on my TBR for so long and I am so glad I finally got around to reading it! I am a sucker for magical realism. If I could only read one genre for the rest of forever and ever it would be magical realism. This book was so beautifully done. It is a story about family, flowers, magic, and love. Author J.C.Cervantes is such a beautiful writer…and her descriptions made you feel like you were in the story. I got major Encanto vibes…and a little Practical Magic. Her writing reminded me a bit of one of my favorite authors, Sarah Addison Allen…and I loved it. 5 stars. Recommend this one so much!

Goodreads Synopsis

When Harlow Estrada is abruptly fired from her dream job and her boyfriend proves to be a jerk, her world turns upside down. She flees New York City to the one place she can always call home—the enchanted Hacienda Estrada.

The Estrada family farm in Mexico houses an abundance of charmed flowers cultivated by Harlow’s mother, sisters, aunt, and cousins. By harnessing the magic in these flowers, they can heal hearts, erase memories, interpret dreams—but not Harlow. So when her mother and aunt give her a special task involving the family’s magic, she panics. How can she rise to the occasion when she is magicless ? But maybe it’s not magic she’s missing, but belief in herself. When she finally embraces her unique gifts and opens her heart to a handsome stranger, she discovers she’s far more powerful than she imagined. 

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

I think the books I am reading are trying to tell me that I need to go to Italy. There is just something about a book set in Italy that makes me so happy. It has forever been on my travel bucket list and these books are holding me over until I can get there in person. The next book that I adored was The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman. I had seen so many amazing reviews about this book and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This book takes us to New York, and Venice, and Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast. Bestill my heart and stamp my passport. It is such a lovely story about family, curses, romance, and family secrets. I adored the character of Aunt Poppy and all of the family dynamics at play in the story. Give this one a read!

Goodreads Synopsis

A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.

Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez

Ah, at long last, Just for the Summer by Abby Jimenez. I waited and waited for this book to be published and it was absolutely worth the wait. While this wasn’t my TOP favorite Abby Jimenez book, I still absoluely loved it. I think Yours Truly will always be my favorite Jimenez novel. But, this was un-put-downable. This book had me absolutely laughing out loud in so many places…Jimenez writes with such a quick wit! She also writes the most insanely FANTASTIC male characters. Seriously…men of the world…read these books…take notes. You’re welcome. Justin was an absolute delight. I loved Justin and Emma’s love story. This would be the perfect book to pop in your beach bag and read at sunset on the beach.

Goodreads Synopsis

Justin has a curse, and thanks to a Reddit thread, it’s now all over the internet. Every woman he dates goes on to find their soul mate the second they break up. When a woman slides into his DMs with the same problem, they come up with a plan: They’ll date each other and break up. Their curses will cancel each other’s out, and they’ll both go on to find the love of their lives. It’s a bonkers idea… and it just might work.

Emma hadn’t planned that her next assignment as a traveling nurse would be in Minnesota, but she and her best friend agree that dating Justin is too good of an opportunity to pass up, especially when they get to rent an adorable cottage on a private island on Lake Minnetonka.

It’s supposed to be a quick fling, just for the summer. But when Emma’s toxic mother shows up and Justin has to assume guardianship of his three siblings, they’re suddenly navigating a lot more than they expected–including catching real feelings for each other. What if this time Fate has actually brought the perfect pair together?

Happy Place by Emily Henry

If Emily Henry writes it I am going to buy it, snuggle it, obsess over it, and stare at it on my shelf with googly eyes. She is the G.O.A.T of Contemporary Romance. The story lines, the banter, the romance, the humor…she brings it all to the table. I have loved every single one of her books that I have read and I am dying to get my hands on her newest novel! Happy Place has got to be my favorite so far. This was such an addictive book. I also grew up in Maine so I loved the setting. Another laugh out loud hysterical book that kept my eyes glued to its pages from beginning to end! Loved it!

Goodreads Synopsis

Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.

They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.

Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.

Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week… in front of those who know you best?

This Book Wont Burn by Samira Ahmed

Last, but certainly not least, is This Book Wont Burn by Samira Ahmed. I don’t even know how to make words about this book. This happens to me a lot when reading Samira Ahmed’s books. This book was so timely, so relevant, so passionate, so hard-hitting, and so IMPORTANT. This is a book about standing up for what you believe in. It is about teens taking action and letting their important voices be heard. It is about activism and the very real, very relevant topic of book banning. Ahmed writes with a fire and a passion…and she isn’t afraid to tackle these topics head on. I loved every page of this book. If you are someone who disagrees with book banning…please read this book. And, if you are someone who agrees with book banning…please read it twice. Also, if you haven’t read her book Hollow Fires yet…here is a review. It was amazing.

Goodreads Synopsis

From the New York Times bestselling author of Internment comes a timely and gripping social-suspense novel about book banning, activism, and standing up for what you believe. 

After her dad abruptly abandons her family and her mom moves them a million miles from their Chicago home, Noor Khan is forced to start the last quarter of her senior year at a new school, away from everything and everyone she knows and loves. Reeling from being uprooted and deserted, Noor is certain the key to survival is to keep her head down and make it to graduation.  But things aren’t so simple. At school, Noor discovers hundreds of books have been labeled “obscene” or “pornographic” and are being removed from the library in accordance with a new school board policy. Even worse, virtually all the banned books are by queer and BIPOC authors.  Noor can’t sit back and do nothing, because that goes against everything she believes in, but challenging the status quo just might put a target on her back. Can she effect change by speaking up? Or will small-town politics—and small-town love—be her downfall? 

Eyes on May

How was your April reading? Did you have a good month?

We are already a week into May…how is your May going?

I have already finished a couple of excellent books this month but have reached a bit of a slump. It happens to me every so often. It isn’t that the books I am reading aren’t good…I am just in a weird place and can’t seem to get sucked in to anything the way I want to.

My May Book of the Month box just arrived so I am thinking there will be something excellent in there! I also just received a pre-order for a book I have been waiting for since last year! This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune…I can’t tell you how excited I am to read this. Adore her writing!

I hope you have a great month!

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