Which books are worth the read and which should you skip? Find out what books I’ve been reading lately and whether I recommend them.
I’m officially one month into social isolation, and all this craziness has done a number on my reading.
I almost feel bad for some of the books I’ve reviewed this month. A few poor books are getting the raw end of the deal. In a normal month, I think I would have enjoyed them more. However, my overtaxed emotions cannot handle anything too heavy or deep right now.
Currently, my mind is craving love stories and thrillers; not literary fiction. I tried to be fair, but my mood definitely flavored my reviews this month.
Meanwhile, my unread book collection at home is growing thin. I’ve already broken into one of the 1,000+ page books I’ve been putting off. Next month’s reviews will be interesting, to say the least.
For now, enjoy the quick lit reviews of the titles I’ve read in April.
April Reading List
On a remote island off the coast of Ireland, the perfect wedding turns deadly in this thrilling mystery. The high profile wedding between a television star and a magazine publisher is supposed to be the perfect event. Yet once the guests arrive, past conflicts come into play and someone turns up dead. Was it the bride? The best man? The wedding planner? Foley keeps you guessing until the end, giving each suspect a firm motive to want to commit murder. If you are looking for something gripping to distract you, The Guest List was the perfect page-turner to read during my social isolation.
Book by an Author of Color – Teen mom Emoni Santiago is struggling to balance work, school, and life during her senior year. When a culinary arts elective is offered, Emoni is excited to hone her already extraordinary talents. However, she’s unsure how she can afford the class trip to Spain. Acevedo does a brilliant job displaying the complicated life of Emoni. With insightful looks at teen pregnancy, cultural and racial expectations, and multi-generational families, Acevedo gives you plenty to think about in her young adult novel.
After the death of her fiance, Lydia is struggling to cope. Thanks to an experimental sleeping pill, she gets a chance to live the life she would have had with her fiance in her dreams. However, living in her dream life is messing with her waking life. Which life should she choose? Silver does an excellent job showing how much grief has changed Lydia and how dangerous it is to interfere with the grief process. This heartrending tale was the perfect read during my stressful month.
Book Translated From Another Language – Although he swore to his mother he would never visit Amsterdam, the city of his birth, Israeli writer Yoel Blum visits the city and discovers a family secret. In the Jewish museum, he sees an image of his happy family – an image that includes a little boy that isn’t him. Although I found the historical mystery compelling, the narrative often confuses you between past and present, slowing the pace of the story to a crawl. House on Endless Waters is a very literary work, reveling in the lyrical nature of words and best suited to those who delight in artistic writing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In her first book, well-known book blogger Anne Bogel introduces you to the various popular personality frameworks. With a look at the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, Love Languages and more, Bogel teaches you the basics of each personality type to help you better understand yourself. I loved how well she covers the entire range of frameworks giving you a grasp of each one. A great starting point if you are at all interested in personality types, Reading People is a fun book to read with a partner. I do suggest researching each of the systems more in-depth when you have time. (In case you are wondering, I’m a 5 on the Enneagram, an ISFJ on the MBTI and my love language is Words of Affirmation.)
Middle Grade Fiction – An intense middle grade read about three children all trying to escape. Josef is a Jewish boy fleeing Nazi Germany on board a boat bound for Cuba. Isabel is a Cuban girl trying to reach Florida on a raft in the 1990s. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy fleeing the violence of Aleppo who hopes to reach safety in Germany. All three stories convey the horror of refugee life. Normally I would have loved this bestseller, but I found it too difficult a topic for my already pandemic-besieged mental state. I would recommend you consider maturity and sensitivity levels before recommending it to a child.
Book by a Local Author – Maggie Sullivan is living out the third act of her life, enjoying lively friendships in her downtown Salt Lake City apartment complex. Just before Christmas, a handsome gentleman takes an interest in Maggie while at the same time Maggie discovers her great-niece, ill and homeless. Thus begins a story of forgiveness and second chances.Frankly, I only picked up this book to fulfill my 2020 Reading Challenge category, and because it is set in my old neighborhood in downtown Salt Lake City. The book caters to a distinctly Utah audience. While the story itself is not religious, the story mentions terminology from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that wouldn’t be familiar to many readers. The writing overall was about what I expected – with clumsy character development but an okay plotline.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I’m always looking for ways to improve my blog, and Donald Miller’s marketing book was the perfect read this month. Miller teaches you how to share your story to best connect with your customers. With insight into universal story points, Miller breaks down how exactly to tailor your message to wipe out the noise and catch your audience’s attention. A five-star read for any business.
Simone St. James
In 1982, Viv Delaney takes a job as a clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York, only to mysteriously disappear. Thirty-five years later, Viv’s niece Carly Kirk returns to the Sun Down Motel to investigate her aunt’s disappearance. I loved flipping between Carly and Viv as they try to figure out what is going on at the Sun Down Motel. I initially passed over this ghost story because I was afraid it would be too scary. While spooky, I found the story gripping. However, if Hollywood ever turns it into a movie (and they should), I promise you I will not see it because it would scare the crap at of me.
One of the best perks of being a book blogger is receiving advance review copies (ARCs) of upcoming book releases from publishers.
At the beginning of each month, I cover all the new book releases coming out, and the May 2020 book releases are right around the corner. Here’s a peek at the May releases I’ve already read.
My To-Read List
What’s up next for me? Before I let you go, here are a few of the titles I’m hoping to get through this upcoming month.
Be sure to come back in May to see which ones I read.
What books did you read in April?