First, before I get into my book report for April, you may notice things look a wee bit different around here! That’s right – I finally launched my new blog theme and I am so, so happy with it. I wanted something that was simple with lots of white space, and that’s exactly what I got! Installing it was a breeze, thanks to the super detailed guide I received from the blog designer. I highly recommend 17th Avenue Designs if you’re looking to redo your blog theme. Cute themes for an affordable price!
And now, let’s dive into my April book report. April was a weird reading month for me, mainly because I spent over a week sloughing through a book that I eventually abandoned. Oh, well! It happens. I still managed to read 7 books this month, my favorite being Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. I’ve read 31 books so far this year, so I will blow my goal of 52 books completely out of the water. Maybe I should shoot for 75? Hmm…
Here are the books I read in April and my reviews of them!
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (a book by someone over the age of 65): Home by Toni Morrison (3 stars)
At 147 pages, this is a super quick read. (I read it in less than 24 hours.) It’s my first Toni Morrison read, and it was a good novel, but nothing stood out to me as particularly amazing. I’d like to read some of her earlier stuff before giving an opinion on Morrison (she seems very beloved and a bit, shall I say, godlike in the Book Riot circles). This was an okay novel, but I’m interested in reading her more popular works to understand the hype.
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (a book that I would consider a guilty pleasure): To the Edge by Cindy Gerard (4 stars)
Romantic suspense novels are my guilty pleasure by far, so this was a no-brainer for this category. Cindy Gerard is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, and I enjoyed this novel immensely. It had intrigue, humor, character development, family, friendship, love, sexytimes, and a perfect twist at the end. An easy 4-star rating for this one!
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (a self-improvement book): Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin (3 stars)
This book was just okay for me. My favorite part of the book was learning about the Four Tendencies (I’m an Obliger, through and through), as well as other aspects of my personality. For example, I’m an underbuyer rather than an overbuyer. I love simplicity over abundance, familiarity over novelty. I’m an abstainer, not a moderator; a marathoner, not a sprinter.
And while understanding these aspects of my personality will help me as I try to set new habits, I just wanted more. More studies, more research, more practical application. There was very little practical application, and a lot of the information seemed to repeat things I learned from The Willpower Instinct (though that book goes in much better depth). I think Rubin is at a bit of a disadvantage not having a psychology background.
Also, and it pains me to say this, but Rubin just didn’t seem very likable from this book. It’s funny because she seems fairly likable (if a little overbearing) from her podcast, but she came across as condescending and judgmental in her book. She’s like the person who discovers this new thing that has changed her life and now everyone in the world needs to do/see/have this thing. And not everyone wants to do/see/have this thing. And that’s OKAY.
Honestly, if you want to learn more about self-control, setting habits, and being mindful, I’d recommend The Willpower Instinct over this one. It goes in greater detail about how our brains react to our environment and thoughts, and was a much more powerful and life-changing read for me than this one.
Netgalley review: I Don’t Have a Happy Place by Kim Korson (2 stars)
I reviewed this book earlier this month and you can find the review here.
TLC Book Tours read: About a Girl by Lindsey Kelk (5 stars)
I reviewed this novel earlier this month and you can find the review here.
Postal book club: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos (5 stars)
I tried to read this novel a few years ago, but eventually abandoned it because I found the writing to be a little too much, the main character to be annoying, and the plot to be slow. So, I wasn’t too excited to realize it was the book that was sent to me for Kathleen’s Postal Book Club. But I wanted to give this novel a fair shot, so I settled in and read.
And I loved it. Absolutely adored it. It does take a while for the book to really get its legs. I struggled through the first half of the book, but I’ve been told the latter half is much better, so I kept on. And I am so glad I did because the book was phenomenal. Halfway in, I found I didn’t want to put the book down, that I had totally fallen in love with Cornelia and Clare, and I wanted everyone to have their happy ending. It’s such a wonderful read. It made my heart so happy. It’s now a book I would totally recommend to anyone.
Others (read for fun!)
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin (4 stars)
I listened to this on audiobook and Cynthia Nixon was the reader, and she was suuuuch a great reader! I said this in a Five for Friday post, but I loved that she didn’t make up voices for the characters. One of the things that really bugs me about fiction audiobooks is when the reader makes up voices for the characters because it is so distracting.
Anyway, about the book. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this novel, since it does involve cheating, but I think the way Giffin wrote about it was really eye-opening. Life is one big gray area and while we could all say what we think we would do if we were cheated on, the truth is you don’t actually know what you will do when it happens. How you will react. I think Giffin did a fantastic job with showing us both sides of the stories, and I really appreciated how she made both women – the wife and the lover – likable women, and I found myself rooting for both. (Albeit, I started to grow a little weary of “the other woman” later on in the novel.) It was a really great read, and one that made me think.
Wild Irish Ride by Jennifer Saints (2 stars)
I bought this book for free on Kindle a while back, and I am very glad I did not pay full-price for it because it wasn’t very good. The plot felt under-developed, the characters lackluster. The only good part of the book was the sex scenes, but at a certain point, it all seemed too much. It started to read more like erotica than a cute, contemporary romance novel.
book stats // april
# of books read: 7
# of pages read: 2,112
quickest read: Home (1 day)
longest read: Heart of the Matter (11 days)
formats: ebooks (3), physical books (3), audiobooks (1)
What was the best book you read in April?