April Reading Wrap-Up

Updated: May 29

Although I was in quarantine the whole month of April, like half the world, I didn't get a lot more reading done than other months. April was still a good reading month, though. I read five books. I gave a rating of four or five stars to four of these books:


1. Thought Alight Poetry by Kawtar Elmrabti

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

3. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

4. On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


BOOKS I READ


1. THOUGHT ALIGHT POETRY - Kawtar Elmrabti ✩✩✩✩


She became his white dove

When heavens disappeared into a roar

Her glowing wings kept him ashore

Soaring above the depth of darkness


Even though I rarely read poetry, I really enjoyed this book. It's divided into four sections:

1. Love Thoughts

2. Hope Thoughts

3. Self Thoughts

4. Meditation Thoughts.


The quote above is from a Love poem and one of my favorite lines, but my favorite poems in general were the Hope Thoughts.

If you want to read light and encouraging poems, this book is the one!


Many thanks to the author for sending me this book in exchange of an honest review.



2. FRANKENSTEIN - Mary Shelley ✩✩✩✩


At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science,Frankensteintells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

- Goodreads


When I started reading I was afraid this story would be dragging. I had decided to read this book in English, which is not my native language. It isn't a modern story and it doesn't read as smoothly as we are used to from books today. It's one of the reason I don't pick up a classic very often.

However, a few days later I discovered the audiobook, narrated by the Beauty & The Beast actor Dan Stevens, for free on Audible. Amazon offered children's books and classics for free for 30 days because of the quarantine (one perk of the worldwide lockdown). I started listening to the audiobook while following on page. That made it so much easier to focus and I started to really enjoy this book.


It was completely different than I had expected. I always thought 'the monster' was named Frankenstein. Turned out his creator goes by this name! So I can truly say I learned something about this book haha. And yes, I could have known this by reading the synopsis...

But their is more to learn from this book. It carries a few moral values. For example: don't get carried away by glory and fame. Don't let pride lead the way. Victor Frankenstein thought himself a god, who could create his own creatures, his own human. And look what misfortune it has brought to him and his loved ones.


Frankenstein's monster is also a more complicated figure than just a monster created by human hands. He is sensitive and intelligent. All by himself he learns to survive, he learns the human language and human values and norms. Although he does some monstrous acts, we learn that this is not because of his monstrous nature, but because the human world confuses him. He is repelled by people time and time again and that makes him lonely and angry at his creator, who has given him this terrible life.


Frankenstein is a new favorite classic. I am sure I will reread it one day and discover a new layer in the story, because it contains so much more than the superficial story.



3. NINTH HOUSE (Alex Stern, #1) - Leigh Bardugo ✩✩✩✩


Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?


Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

- Goodreads


I had read many mixed reviews about this book because it is completely different from Leigh Bardugo's other work, apparently. So I was quite sceptical when I dived into this book. However, it turned out I really liked it! It was my first Leigh Bardugo book and this may have benefited my reading experience.


Be aware, this book has some tough topics: assault, rape, murder, trauma and PTSD.


First of all, I thought Alex (Galaxy) Stern, was a really interesting character as the protagonist. She has had a really tough past, and that has made her into a not so lovable person... And I loved that. The superficial layer of her character was already interesting, but you noticed she was constantly hiding an even more interesting part of herself.


The second protagonist, Daniel Arlington a.k.a. Darlington, is also a very interesting character. His rough past didn't keep him from becoming a gentleman. I wish he would have been more present, but the last chapter gave me hope we will read more about him in the sequel.


I also really liked the academy setting at Yale. I have never attended a university like Yale (I did go to college but it's nothing like the stories I hear about the old and renowned British universities) , but sometimes I wished I could have had that experience, so I am often attracted to stories set in the academy world.

I did feel like the story only really started moving during the last 20%, but before that point, there was always something there that kept my interest awake.


I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Lauren Fortgang and Michael David Axtell, which I can really recommend. Now I also want a physical copy on my shelves!



4. ON THE EDGE OF THE DARK SEA OF DARKNESS (The Wingfeather Saga, #1) - Andrew Peterson ✩✩.5


(E-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)


Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera. - Goodreads


There are a lot of great things in this book, that make me understand why so many people like this story. However, I was often too distracted from the things I disliked to enjoy the good...


Peterson developed fun and lovable characters. They each play their part well accordingly to their personal history and believes, and they each had their own personality. They were well developed characters, and still they felt plain sometimes, especially the adults. I think this has to do with the dialogues and actions that sometimes

seemed childish. This works for children up to a certain age, of course, but not for a mother and grandfather.


The author also did a great job in creating a new world, with its own fantastic beasts, mythologies and mysterious places. The execution of the world building is a different story. I felt like the first 30% of the book mostly focused on world building facts that are not relevant to the story. It might have been the author’s goal to draw the readers into this world he has created, but I was just waiting for the real adventure to happen. And then there were also extra footnotes.

I wasn't a big fan of all the footnotes, honestly. They felt a lot like utter nonsense. Because I read the e-book and the footnotes were written at the end of each chapter, it was annoying to scroll to the end of the chapters, and then go back to were I interrupted my reading. And when I read the footnotes, they felt unnecessary. If I waited until I reached the end of the chapter, I didn't remember what the footnote was about. So I didn't get a lot of extra information through the footnotes, and I don't feel like I missed much. I just found them distracting from the story.


*spoiler alert*


After the first 30% things finally sped up. But I still struggled until the final 20%. Until then, the story seemed to have a repetitive pattern: they were captured, they fought, they lost, someone unexpectedly came to their rescue. They were captured again, they fought, they lost, someone unexpectedly came to their rescue. And again. And again.


*end of spoiler alert*


I do admit, there is more adventure than that, and I don't doubt children love that, and their parents will enjoy it with them. I did enjoy the end where the action became more interesting and a lot got explained. This actually made me curious about the next book, which I will read. I just hope it will grab my interest much sooner than the first book.


5. FANGIRL - Rainbow Rowell ✩✩✩✩✩


NEW FAVORITE ALERT


I don't think I can write a coherent review about this one. My feelings will most certainly take over.


First of all, I felt Cat, the main character, so much. We are so alike and yet we aren't. Until now she enjoyed a normal, quiet life at home with her father and sister, feeling save at high school and in her social situations because her twin sister Wren was always there with her. They shared their love for the fictional character Simon Snow and wrote fanfic together.

And then one day there was college. Her twin sister didn't want to stick around like always, wanted a life for herself, wanted to be an individual instead of a pair, which is so understandable. But this way Cath was suddenly lost and alone in an unknown environment with no friends.

I also have a sister and even though we aren't the same age I missed her when I went to college. And I missed the safe haven of my home and high school. I preferred staying in my dorm room reading than to to socialize with the other students in the common areas. I loved writing when I was in high school, but started to lose my passion for it when I was in college because I was too overwhelmed by my new life.

I guess you can understand why I identified with Cath, even though she could sometimes be a real pain in the ass. She is more stubborn and socially incapable than me, but I understood her. Wren could be a b*tch as well, but I also understood her. And that is an impressive writing skill of the author Rainbow Rowell, she can make readers empathize (not sympathize per se) with all characters, even when they aren't very likable.

Another writing talent of hers is dialogues. They were so hilarious and witty at times, and so heart breaking at other times. Sometimes the scene was carried almost exclusively by the dialogue and it worked so well. As an aspiring writer myself, I am so jealous of authors that nail every single dialogue.


Okay, I told you my feelings would take over. I honestly don't care if you learned nothing from this review haha. Just read it yourself and fall in love like I did! I can assure you there will be many rereads on my part. My tbr stack on my shelves will hate me.



BOOK I BOUGHT


In my March Reading Wrap-up (read my blog post HERE) I told you I am trying to reduce the to-be-read stack on my shelves. And I'll be showing this process with a template I got from @laurasloaninglibrary.


I read two books from my tbr stack on my shelves this month (Frankenstein and Fangirl), so they compensate the two books I bought... I added Starsight by Brandon Sanderson, the second book in the Skyward series, and House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. This last book is the first one in the Crescent City series and my first Sarah J. Maas book! I will read Starsight this month for a buddy read with @readers_and_dreamers_kingdom (already our third buddy read in three months)!


While rearranging my book shelves (watch my IGTV HERE) I found two books to unhaul, one I read and disliked, and one I got in a bookish box but doesn't fit my taste in reading at all. So I managed to reduce my tbr stack by two books this month.

Enjoy your reading time.


Love,


Janne


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