I don’t really like starting a blog post with an apology, but in this case, I just want to say sorry for being so absent for the majority of April. I have always struggled to maintain my blog for any extended period of time, and although I’m doing much better in 2015, April has not been a good month for me. I’ve been working longer hours and struggling to find the motivation to post at the end of the day. I’m going to try to manage this by scheduling blog posts for the week on my days off and then I don’t have to worry about preparing new posts every day and can focus on exploring other blogs and commenting/replying to comments etc.
So, with that said, I’ll get back to the point of this post which is my April reading wrap-up. Despite not blogging much in April, I have still been reading a fair amount and managed to get through 10 books this month. Strangely, that seems to be my average, which I’m happy with – it’s a nice comfortable pace to be reading at.
1. 7 Days by Eve Ainsworth
I picked up a proof of this at work after seeing a lot of YA bloggers talking about it over the past few months. I loved the characters and they felt genuine with real personalities and personal struggles. Ainsworth tackles the topic of bullying really well; offering both sides of the story without legitimising the act of bullying itself. At time, I felt uncomfortable with the way Kez was treating Jess, despite understanding what triggered it. The novel is set over seven days which is a really intense time scale and it works well for this story. This was a great start to the month.
2. A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R. R. Martin
I’m slowly making my way through the Song of Fire and Ice series, but I’m in no real hurry to get to the end because I don’t want to be left hanging, waiting for the as-yet-unwritten next book. This is the third book in the series, and I found it to be a much easier read than the second book. I’m also a fan of the HBO TV show, so I already know where the story is headed, but of course there’s so much more detail in the books which is great.
3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
I was so excited to get hold of a proof copy of this. And so early too! Big hugs to Walker Books for this one. I have loved Patrick Ness since I first read More Than This last year (?) and was really intrigued by the synopsis for this latest book: what if you’re not the hero? what if you’re just trying to get on with your normal life while all this is happening around you? I’ll be talking a lot more about this one nearer to publication date (Aug. 2015)!
4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
This was one I acquired fairly recently and I was really in the mood for a book about dragons. However, I have to say, I was a little disappointed with it. I found it difficult to read and struggled to immerse myself in the characters or their world. This was largely down to the first person narration, I think, which was lacking in personality. I really wanted to love this, but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I’ve heard there’s going to be a sequel and I’ll probably still give it a go, but it won’t be high on my priority list.
5. No Other Darkness by Sarah Hilary
An intriguing psychological crime novel. I’ve already posted a review, so check it out for more of my thoughts on this one.
6. We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen
I was kindly sent this by Andersen Press and read it pretty much straight away. It’s a story told from the alternating perspectives of two teens, the geeky and positive-minded Stewart, and the popular but cynical Ashley. Stewart’s dad and Ashley’s mum are moving in together and so Stewart and Ashley must learn to get along. This is a funny and touching novel about a blended family and I really loved it (even though the ended is just a little bit cheesy – it works!).
7. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
There are a number of fairytale inspired novels emerging onto the YA scene this year, and it’s not normally a genre I find appealing. This is loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast without drawing too heavily on the fairytale and instead uses it as a base for a complex and gripping fantasy. I really enjoyed this and am already eagerly awaiting the second book!
8. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
My second Christie novel of the year. This is a collection of shorter cases and a fun light-hearted read. Somehow she always manages to withhold the solution to each case right ’til the end.
9. Dead Ends by Erin Lange
This was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize this year and I was looking forward to reading it. It’s a story about an unlikely friendship between a boy with Down’s syndrome and the school bully. This is an unflinching novel about bullying and well worth a read.
10. Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty
I read this primarily because it’s the Waterstones children’s book of the month for May and I like to be able to recommend it with full knowledge of the content. It’s action-packed and funny and aimed at a similar market to Rick Riordan’s books. I read this pretty much in one sitting and would absolutely recommend it for ages 8-13 (or older, like me!).
So, that’s it for April. I’m already doing fairly well with May even though it seems to be slipping past so quickly!