The books I read in April 2017

One of these days I will get round to writing a post that isn’t part of a link up. Today is not that day… I am linking up with Jana and Steph to tell you what I read in April.

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I read ten books in April, which is actually one more than I read in March. That surprises me considering I didn’t finish a single book after 20th April! So somehow I managed to read ten books in twenty days. Some were pretty short though.
The books are listed here in the order I read them, not according to any kind of scheme.

Carbonel: The King of Cats by Barbara Sleigh –  This is a cute little book from the 1950s about a girl called Rosemary who wants to help out with the family finances by cleaning houses, so she buys a broom… and with it comes a cat. To her surprise, she finds out that she can understand the cat when holding the broom. The cat turns out to be a prince and Rosemary spends the rest of the book trying to help him get his throne back. It’s a very cute, quirky little book. There isn’t a huge amount of action, and it’s kind of old-fashioned, but it’s the kind of book I would have loved at age 9 or 10. Four stars.

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan. This book sounded really good and I expected great things from it, but it turned out to be just okay. A lot of it was totally unrealistic – particularly the friendship at the centre of the plot. Having an instant friendship connection with someone? Okay! Immediately abandoning everything else and only being there for you new friend from then on? Yeah, right! At least it was a quick read. Two stars.

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery – The further I get into this series, the more preachy the books seem to become. This one seemed to be full of “God is watching you! ALL THE TIME!! He already knows you’ve been naughty, probably before you even knew you were going to be naughty, so you’d just better say your prayers and ask for forgiveness RIGHT NOW young man!!” As an atheist, the idea of a God who is just sitting there waiting for you to make a mistake doesn’t sit well with me – and I’m sure that isn’t the God most Christians believe in! I preferred Anne when she was still a schoolgirl and did silly things occasionally. Now she’s far too good. All the proposals got a bit much as well… I lost count in the end. Obviously Anne is perfect and every man who sets eyes on her wants to marry her! I did enjoy it though – I wish I had had friends like Anne’s when I was studying! And I loved the part where she went back to the house where she was born – it was nice to see a bit of a connection with her pre-orphan past. Four stars.

A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler – This had been on my shelf for so long that I had almost forgotten I had it! It’s an interesting take on a “time travel” book – what would you do if you were taken forward in time by a year only to find that tragedy had struck and you relationship with your best friend was ruined? From an adult perspective, it’s all maybe a little simplistic, but it’s perfect for the 10-13 age range. I also felt that Jenni was portrayed realistically. She matured over the course of the book (as you would with so much going on!) but throughout I could believe that she actually was a 12-year-old girl and not a much older teen. I often find that 12 year olds in books read more like 15 or 16 year olds! 4 stars.

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R. J. Palacio – After loving Wonder, I couldn’t wait to revisit that universe with this short story collection. However, while Wonder was amazing, this book was just okay. The first story, from Julian’s perspective, was good. It was nice to see events from his point of view and see him portrayed as something more than just “the nasty kid”. The Charlotte and Christopher chapters seemed unnecessary though and didn’t really add anything to the story. Three stars. (The Julian chapter alone would have been a four, the others probably a 2 or 3).

Die Stille Braut by Barbara Wendelken – Need to up my German reading game 😉 This is a typical crime novel. A body turns up at a lake, which turns out to be that of a deaf girl who disappeared from near her boarding school four years earlier. She turns out to have died of untreated appendicitis (so no “murder” as such), but the police need to find out who took her and kept her hidden for so long. Overall, it was a decent enough detective story and I didn’t guess the whole story of whodunnit. The main character annoyed me though – I wanted her to stop thinking about men/when she had last had sex and get on with her job! Three stars.

Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard – Book three of the Lying Game series. They are getting better as they go along. There is less suspense in this one, but a few interesting things come to light. At the end of this one I still had no idea who the murderer is! Four stars.

Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard – Book four of the Lying Game series. I actually enjoyed this one, but how long can the author keep dragging this out… picking a “suspect” for Emma in each book only for her to end up being wrong, again! Immediately after reading this, my GoodReads review said “I’m starting to wonder whether Sutton was even murdered at all. If the solution to this whole thing turns out to be a tragic accident I will be so mad!” I’ve now changed my mind… it’s clearly not one of her close friends or family, and I feel like Ethan would be too obvious a choice. So I’m saying right now: Ethan’s mother is the murderer! Same motive as him, with the added bonus of revenge for her little boy. (But maybe I just don’t want it to have been the one person who Emma can interact with as herself and not Sutton?). Five stars.

Märchenwald by Martin Krist – More German, the title means “Fairytake forest”. It’s hard to say what this book is about, since there are various stories that eventually become interlinked. It’s a crime thriller with plenty of action – no time to get bored! Even though it was book 5 in a series, it could easily be read as a standalone and I didn’t feel like I had any trouble understanding what was going on with the detective and his family. I did guess who the culprit was, but that was okay because I was enjoying just reading everyone’s stories. Five stars – best book of the month!

Take My Word for It by John Marsden – I have been waiting to read this book for years, but could never manage to find a copy. Finally it appeared on Amazon for cheap. Yay! It’s a companion novel to So Much to Tell You, which is one of my all-time favourites. This one tells Lisa’s side of the story, and gives another perspective of some of the events in “So Much…”.  This is nowhere near as good as So Much to Tell You, but I didn’t expect it to be. Lisa’s problems seemed petty and silly in comparison, and honestly I just didn’t like her as much as a person – she was kind of boring. I did like the different perspective though, and it was nice to have some blanks filled in. I also liked that this one went on for slightly longer, so we got to see a little of what happened next. Not as fantastic as SO Much to Tell You, but I’m glad I read it. Four stars.

And that was it for April. I started reading Sophie’s World but still haven’t finished it, and I’m still trying to make my through A Sense of Style. It’s interesting, but slow going.

April pretty good reading month overall, lots of high ratings and only a couple of duds.
We’re already 8 days into May and I haven’t started a new book yet, but I have a couple waiting that I’m really excited to read so hopefully I’ll get through Sophie quickly so I can make a start on those.

So, if anyone is actually still here after all that…

Read anything good lately?

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33 thoughts on “The books I read in April 2017

  1. As a Christian, I understand what you’re saying about Anne on the Island.

    Christians believe God is all-knowing, and all-seeing, so yes, in practical terms, he could foresee & see your ‘naughtiness’. However, it’s more like when a parent subtly watches a child, and they can predict what the child is going to do (e.g. sneak an extra biscuit or pinch their sibling). Once the parent has seen their child do this, they don’t run and loom over them, yelling and demanding for an apology. Yes, an owning up to the wrongdoing would be appreciated but it cannot be forced out of the child.

    However, ‘back in the day’, they were more fond of seeing God as looming, oppressive force that, as you say, hunches over the child and demands for prayers. I imagine this was probably a harsh tactic as an attempt to discipline their child.

    I hope this explains some things!

    On a completely different note, what is Wonder about and why did you like it? It’s been sat on my TBR for ages! 🙂
    https://readandreview2016.wordpress.com/

    1. Yes, I get what you mean. This child is seen as “the naughty one” and they’re always trying to get him to be good and sweet and innocent like his twin sister. I’m sure as a child I would have hated being told God was watching all the time, just waiting for me to make a mistake so I could be “punished” (it kind of reminds of the Catholic confession with the priest doling out “punishments” for misdemeanours). As you said though, it was a different time.

      Wonder is just such a lovely, heart-warming book. I’m not sure anybody could be as nice as the main character in real life, but it made me feel like the world isn’t such a bad place.

      1. Oh, I forgot, in this particular part of the book, the child doesn’t want to say his prayers because he will have to tell God he’s been naughty. Anne says (paraphrasing) “But God already knows when you’ve been naughty, and now he’s really sad because you were a bad boy!”, so not yelling/demanding an apology, but kind of guilting him into it – like a parent standing watching their child mournfully after seeing him pinch his sister – the child sees the parent standing there looking sad and knows the only way to make them happy again is to apologise for their badness.

  2. I’ve never heard of The Lying Game books but will definitely have to check them out – I love that kind of suspense. Wonder was such an amazing book…I want every young adult on the planet to read it.

  3. The only book on the list I’ve heard of is the companion to Wonder (which is AMAZING and I’m trying to force my 10 year old to read).

    I don’t mind books with religions under or overtones but when they get too preachy, it bothers me.

  4. Carbonel sounds adorable!
    I have never read any of the Anne books, they were on my list but your description of that one makes me not want to read it. i really get turned off by books if they are too preachy or religious. i can handle a mention or two, but any more than that (or when they use religion/god as a scapegoat instead of explaining something) drives me batty.
    I didn’t know there was a companion book to So Much to Tell You! I read that book back in high school and I seriously still think about it. I bought it recently (as in, in the last 2 years lol) and i’ve been meaning to reread it.

    1. Carbonel is seriously adorable. And there are 2 more books about him!

      I would definitely recommend the companion book if you’re interested in reading an outsider’s perspective of Marina. It is the weaker of the two books, but I don’t know how he could have followed “So Much to Tell You” with something just as good anyway. I feel like everyone at that school would have felt uninteresting after Marina 😉

  5. A Year Without Autumn sounds like a really good book, and I love YA books so the genre is right up my alley too! I have to say that The Lying Game, while it was probably a book or two too long, at least Sara Shepard didn’t do what she did with Pretty Little Liars, which was end the series and then start it all back up again! I hope that you end up liking the ending!

  6. And here I am, all proud I have kept up my NYR to read a book a month! IMPRESSED! My April was “The All-Girl Filling Station´s Last Reunion” by Fannie Flagg. Based in the South (USA South), as most books I read are- LOVED it. Oh, and that was my May book. If I am lucky, I may get to two.

  7. Excellent selection! I’m another who is so intrigued by the Lying Games. Yes, I’m not keen on preachy books. I like the Little town series because I don’t find it as like that.

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