Books

What I Read in April

Not my best reading month in terms of numbers. If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s because I’ve really opted to just sit in bed and needlepoint and watch TV. (I brought an old TV upstairs a couple of weeks ago and hooked up the Apple TV to it… turns out it’s just as terrible as you’d imagine it to be… I’d much prefer to watch something than read now 😂 Giving it another weekend before I put the set up back in the basement!!)

So these were al

IN FIVE YEARS: 4.5/5 STARS

I thought this was an excellent, very modern love story. The main character is in a committed relationship but has a dream-type experience where she sees her future in five years– and she’s with a different guy. There were some parts that fell a little bit flat for me writing wise, but overall I really enjoyed it. My mom read it too and loved it.

One reason why I think this book has been so popular lately is that it’s written by a contemporary and it’s very clearly written for late 20s/30s women right now. Other than the the brief moment of time travel, the characters and plot feel very real and normal. Like people I would know in real life.

MY DARK VANESSA: 4/5 STARS

Ohhhhhkay. Where to start with this one? I started this without knowing what I was going to be reading. Turns out it’s about a teenage student who ends up in a forbidden relationship with her teacher at her boarding school. It’s EXCELLENTLY written and lives up to the “hype.” However, I was not in the right mindset to tackle this very heavy book. Maybe save this when we’re not in a pandemic? It’s very Lolita meets Three Women. Dark and disturbing.

I will say this could be a good pick for a book club. I think it brings to light a lot of issues and would lend itself to fantastic discussions. My friend Riley and I texted about it for hours. And just when we had nothing else to add, another topic would come to mind and we’d end up going down the rabbit hole yet again.

ASK AGAIN, YES: 4.5 STARS

My favorite book of the month! The ultimate portrayal of family drama. Neighbors, mental illness, forbidden love, lasting love, major life-altering events over the course of many decades. If you love Ann Patchett (my favorite author), you’ll love this book by Mary Beth Keane. I don’t think this one is for everyone as it’s slow-burning. However, I couldn’t stop. The writing is wonderful and I felt like I really knew every character. I hate and love when I get to the end of a book but want it to just keep going and going.

THE HEIR AFFAIR: 4/5 STARS

I received an advanced copy of this from the publisher and I could not WAIT to dive in. It’s the sequel to The Royal We which I absolutely loved when it first came out. I had a hard time getting into The Heir Affair and I think it’s because I didn’t re-read The Royal We. I wish I had– I definitely would have enjoyed the beginning more. That said, it’s a super fun read while still being whip-smart. Like, it’s a “beach read” but clever. It’s funny that The Royal We (a fan fiction re-imagining if Kate Middleton was an American) came out in 2015, before Harry and Meghan got together. So a lot of has happened in the real royal family and I was having a hard time separating fiction from reality. If you haven’t read The Royal We, read that and then get ready for more of a ride with The Heir Affair and if you have read TRW,  you’ll love revisiting your old friends and their misadventures.

PS I started using Bookshop.org which is an easy way to help support independent bookstores! I’m going to try to keep this shop updated and need to go through and make more lists too!

PPS Please please please recommend some can’t-put-down-but-can-still-follow-with-pandemic-brain books 🥰

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41 Comments

Delacy

I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell recently, and it was a super cute, fluffy YA read! I also gave a copy to a friend and she read the whole thing in a day!

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Amy

The Friend Zone and it’s sequel Happy Ever After Playlist are such great pandemic reads. Rom-com style books that have tons of tension so you just want to keep reading but they have enough depth to stay interesting. They got me out of my pandemic slump!

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Avery

Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner! It’s nonfiction, but I read it in two days. It might be my all time favorite book!

Also if you’re feeling adventurous, Ready Player One is a fun sci-fi read. Could be a fun time to read a different genre! 😉
Love you Carly <3

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nan

I absolutely loved Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur. I could not put it down. It’s a memoir that is stranger than fiction. Highly recommend!

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lucy

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is a great pandemic read. About a woman who reluctantly becomes caregiver for her best friend’s children who spontaneously combust when they get angry. She is to keep them out of the spotlight while their father is advancing his political career. Meaty topics but not a tough read!

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Kathryn W

I second this! I’m not sure if I would have read it normally, but it was such an interesting read. The audiobook was perfect for taking on post-work walks.

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Abbey

99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a dishy biography about Queen Elizabeth’s sister. She was an eccentric and at times hard to like woman. There are definitely a lot of entertaining stories that are nothing like everyday life so it makes a good escape.

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Shae-Lynn Perreault

Totally feel the same about My Dark Vanessa, I’m actually still in the middle of it as I had to stop and start another book right after reading a very particular and descriptive part lol. Can’t wait to continue it when the world feels a little lighter

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Cara

I agree, it is so hard to read right now. I am reading the historical fiction novel The Romanov Empress right now & it is the perfect blend of history & entertainment. Also just finished Giver of the Stars which was great. Love your blog.😊❤️

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Joan

I wish I had something but I don’t. We need more Bad Blood or Where the Crawdads Sing, type books!
I did start going back through my cookbooks and that’s been fun!

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Kristin

I just finished My (Not So) Perfect Life and it was super cute and clever. Ready Player One is also a great book to get lost in, and Meddling Kids is a fun take on a scooby doo type group with a bit more mystery.

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Katie

Can’t put down books!
* Writers & Lovers by Lily King
* The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves
* Beach Read by Emily Henry
* The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
* The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
* A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

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Natalie

I just finished ‘Next Year in Havana’ and loved it! Interesting mix of history/love story/family drama. So good! ‘American Royals’ was a good light read, and ‘The Things We Cannot Say’ is a really interesting historical fiction about a non-Jewish Polish citizen growing up just outside Auschwitz during WW2 who escapes the occupation – told from the perspective of her granddaughter as she goes on a quest to uncover long-buried secrets about her family. Very interesting! Love your recs – happy reading!

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Kim

Totally hear you on the difficulty reading right now! I’ve found it comforting to go back through Oprah’s book club list for suggestions. I’m currently loving Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – he balances these universal dark themes with light prose and funny descriptions and it feels perfect for how I’ve been feeling. Stay strong, girl!

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Allison

Can’t put down, forget about the pandemic book of choice is for sure If I Never Met You by Mhari McFarlane.

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Evelina

I’m listening to Kevin Hart’s latest book “I Can’t Make This Up. Life Lessons from Kevin Hart” I am laughing out loud and can’t believe some of it actually happened to him! Amen to his mother! Lots of swearing, but listening to him read his book and adding some ad lib has been a great mood lifter right now!

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Phoebe Wright

I read The Heir Affair too and loved revisiting Nick & Bex! I reread TRW at the beginning of the month too. Okay, stay with me, even if you don’t read Fantasy…the A Court of Thorns and Roses series is SO good. I’m NOT a fantasy reader by any means but it’s like Outlander and Game of Thrones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a baby. I also enjoyed Beach Read by Emily Henry, which is out May 19!

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Julie

Give “Things You Can Save in a Fire” by Katherine Center a read! A quick romantic novel that makes you think about deep topics just the right amount right now (a little bit) and makes you root for the very physically strong female protagonist.

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Kath

Like, do you not even proof read? Imagine having a job where you could still get paid and not have to proof read… wow!

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Blake

I think it might be nicer for you to give a gentle reminder privately, rather than a rude, accusatory comment. Hopefully your day lighten up a bit later!

Carly I loved Ask Again, Yes. My favorite!

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Nina

How rude and unnecessary! Like, how about you lighten up? Imagine reading a post and feeling the need to comment something like this!

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Katherine

I am loving the My Brilliant Friend series. It’s 4 books which is a bonus right now, plus it’s set in Italy. I loved TRW so will definitely check out the sequel, thanks for the heads up.

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N.

Silver Lining Playbook! The movie is really good but the book is even better! Such an enjoyable read!

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Gillian

I finished In Five Years last night and I totally agree! I was worried at one point that I wouldn’t like it, but the way the story went was truly unexpected.

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Annie

If you liked “Ask Again, Yes” (which I very much loved), I recommend J. Courtney Sullivan’s novels. Some are better than others, but all deal with the intricacies of relationships over time (Maine is quite good, and Saints for All Occasions feels kind of similar to Ask Again, Yes – although not quite as well done).

I also recommend Anna Quindlen’s “Object Lessons,” which feels similar. Her books have less plot and more character development, so if you need a plot-driven book, I’d avoid.

OH! AND Colleen McCullough’s “Thornbirds,” which is one of my all-time favorite books. My sister always says it’s a book to read if you need to fall back in love with reading.

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Shannon Sampson

Just finished two very good books: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah and Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. I started American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins this morning and was hooked in the first paragraph.

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Natalia

You mentioned Ann Patchett was your fav author so I’m sure you’ve read Bel Canto, but if you haven’t, I literally just finished it last night and it’s a perfect pandemic read. The hostage situation/no concept of time storyline was a fun way to feel solace in isolation while maintaining a fiction vibe!

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Fiona

I love that you’re using bookshop.org links! It’s such an easy way to support independent bookstores. I finally read Little Fires Everywhere in April and loved it!

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Laura

Your story about My Dark Vanessa, reminded me that just when the stay at home order started, I got a book that I had on hold from the library (digital version). I dove into Station Eleven without recalling that it was about the aftermath of a deadly flu pandemic! Yikes, talk about bad timing. I still read and enjoyed it, but won’t recommend it anytime soon and have stuck to lighter fare since. Added Ask Again, Yes to my list. The others were there or already read.
I can recommend Love Lettering and anything by Alisha Rai.

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