Recent Reads/April Wrap-Up

I don’t know how on Earth it’s already May 12th, but nevertheless here we are kids. Ever since quarantine season began, back in mid-March, I’ve been able to kick my almost year long reading slump, and devour books like I used to before. I’ve read far too many so far to do a proper wrap-up of them all, so I thought I’d compile a list of the ones I haven’t had a chance to upload a review as of yet.

A Woman is No Man – ★★★★☆

When it comes to powerful stories, dealing with experiences out of my own, I tend to feel weird praising or denouncing them. Afraid that my opinion will seem wrong when there are, of course, own voices reviews that matter so much more and should be heard over mine. Bearing that in mind, Rum’s story is incredibly potent and powerful. Through her novel she is able to give a voice to a muslim community that has perhaps felt stifled or unrepresented, and for that alone this is an immense feat of work. 

Wilder Girls – ★★★★☆

 A sapphic take on Lord of The Flies, and although I have yet to read the classic, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The Tox and all of its inducing body-horror fascinated me. It’s a story that makes you more curious by the second, but fails to answer a lot of pressing questions. Somehow, that became part of its charm. I enjoyed this based more on the concept and ambiance than any actual connect-the-dots followthrough. 

Anna K – ★★☆☆☆

I desperately wish that I had loved this. However, I did not, and while I may not have liked this book, it is by no means a bad one. This just happens to be one of those it’s me, not you scenarios. Anna K is a very privileged, pop-culture reference heavy, retelling of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy with a Korean-American protagonist. I’m happy this book exists because of the representation in it, but it felt a bit too muddled and extensive as a novel. I think it could’ve made an excellent T.V. show, but as it is I’ve mostly just found it forgettable.  

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird – ★★★☆☆

I read Josie Silver’s One Day in December when it was a Book of The Month pick back in 2018. Despite liking her writing, I wasn’t able to enjoy her novel based on the premise, which revolved around the MC cheating with her best friend’s boyfriend. However, her sophomore novel I enjoyed significantly more. The book tackles the grief of a partner and the rebirth/new beginnings that arise from that. It was a premise that intrigued me, it certainly had a lot of potential, but although I liked this better than her debut; of the day I wasn’t fully satisfied with the pacing or ending that took place. I felt that thing could’ve been better delivered, so there was a bit of disappointment.

Beautiful Darkness x 2 – ★★★☆☆

I heard this was a horror-fairy tale(esque) graphic novel with dark and twisted turns yet a cute drawing style. I was immediately enticed by that juxtaposition and decided to give it a shot. It fell a bit flat for me the first time I read it, but then I decided I might’ve not read it as thoroughly as I should’ve. Thus began my pattern of rereading books this year. Basically, I read it again and understood/appreciated so much more. It became clear that everything placed in Beautiful Darkness was there for a reason. At times it felt like everything was a symbol for something else, that a lesson could be drawn from a number of scenes, and honestly that’s probably true considering the allegorical nature of the story.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – ★★★★☆

My experience with this book was bizarre. Starting with the fact I thought this was a fluffy contemporary/romance (I 100% blame the cover). Instead, what I found was a hard-hitting novel dealing with the aftermath of trauma, and the ways in which the socially inept protagonist proceeds with life as a result. Eleanor is a character that made me cringe so hard at times, but what’s special about her and this novel is that it refuses to be a sob story. Truly, a fresh and somewhat comedic take on trauma and the victims it leaves behind.

In Five Years – ★★★★★

Oh is this a polarizing new favorite of mine. I went into In Five Years with zero expectations and was continuously surprised by how engrossed and appreciative I became of the story. It was the first time in a while I got a reading high; that adrenaline rush you get when you complete a book within hours, reading it from cover to cover, and glorifying all of its content. Just the fact I was able to finish this within a day, without the nagging voice in my head forcing me to go be “productive”, is a prime testament to this book’s allure and captivity. Truly, an unforgettable reading experience. 

I’m Thinking of Ending Things x 2 – ★★★☆☆

It’s been a while since a book has so royally screwed with my head. This is the prime example of a polarizing read, seeing as half of the reviews on Goodreads love it and the other half absolutely abhors it. I found myself somewhere in the middle. The first time I read it, I enjoyed it for what it was until the very end. There’s a pretty significant shift in gears that occurs and changes the perspective of the entire story, but honestly I can’t say more than that without spoiling everything. When I couldn’t decide whether this was the most profound book I’d ever read, or a complete waste of time, I read it a second time. With the twist in mind, I realized I could admire the brilliancy of the author’s idea, but at the end of the day would’ve preferred the surface-level version I had in mind the first time I read it. 

A Little Princess – ★★★★☆

Oh what fun this was! I have such a skewed vision when it comes to classics. I love buying their pretty editions, but always put them off because I think they’ll be boring. Man, am I glad I was wrong. A Little Princess is a childhood movie favorite of mine. When I was younger I was fascinated by the movie and its emphasis on the magic of imagination. It took a long time for me to realize it was actually based on a book, and I finally got around to picking it up during quarantine. It’s lovelier than I expected, and a good wholesome palette cleanser for all these dark reads I’ve been gravitating toward.

My Dark Vanessa – ★★★☆☆

Dare I call this the book of the year? That’s how it feels anyway with the mighty large book advance, controversy, and everyone talking about this nonstop on every platform. This is a tricky book to wrap my mind around. I’m so glad it exits so that it may hopefully spread awareness on consent, grooming, rape culture, and so much more. That being said, I found this incredible up until the halfway point, afterward it seemed to lose a bit of its power and core. I still recommend it if you can handle the dark subject matter, I’m someone that usually can and I still found myself taking breaks for the sake of my sanity, I only wish that it had been shorter and more succinct.

No Exit – ★★☆☆☆

I DNFd this book at the 70% mark. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. I was in the mood for some classic thrills, and being stuck in a blizzard with a killer sounded like the perfect fit. Nevertheless, I wasn’t able to get scared and instead found the characters largely unbelievable. The villain is the sort of criminal who twirls his evil mustache all the while making some cliche sinister banter, and it rang more cartoonish to me than it did terrifying.

Be Not Far From Me – ★★☆☆☆

I’d been toying with the idea of buying this without having read it, simply because of how confident I felt I’d love it like all the other McGinnis’ stories. Fortunately, I listened to the audiobook from my library first, because boy oh boy was this a disappoint. Be Not Far From Me follows a girl who’s just discovered her cheating boyfriend in the woods, and decides to run away only to get stuck in full survival-mode when she gets lost and can’t find her way back. There’s not much I can say except that I found it dull, if not repetitive, and was too coincidental and monotonous for me to appreciate. 

Well that’s it for me folks! I’m going to make it a goal of mine to get better at making these guys a monthly thing, so that I’m not nit-picking what to include in my wrap-ups and can simply add them all. I know things are still a bit weird for us with this whole quarantine thing, so I hope that you’re all doing as well as can be expected, and that you’re taking care of yourselves and each other even as restrictions lessen.

Much love,

M ❤

2 thoughts on “Recent Reads/April Wrap-Up

  1. It’s great that you can reread a book. I can only do that for very small number of books. Most of the books I just can’t read the second time, no matter how wonderful it is. I know rereading is very important and any book worth reading is worth rereading. However I just can’t do it. I also lose interesting in a book once I’ve watched a movie based on it. That has happened to all the Dickens’ books and also to The Little Princess. I bought “The Big Shot” after watching the movie, but still I am leaving it in a corner somewhere unread.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m definitely not one for rereading book either! It takes a lot for me to do so, because without meaning to I feel like it’s a “waste” of my time since I’ve already consumed the story, and I could be reading something else. However, I was just SO confused after I’m Thinking of Ending Things similarly to Beautiful Darkness that I just had to reread for peace of mind haha


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