What I Read: April 2024

What I Read: April 2024

This was an odd month of reading for me!

My picks were a bit all over the place: Thriller, fantasy, historical fantasy, magical realism, literary fiction and non-fiction:

  • Red Island House by Andrea Lee
  • The Mountain Is You by Brianna Wiest
  • The Husbands by Holly Gramazio
  • Nightmare Fuel by Nina Nesseth
  • The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo
  • Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
  • To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods by Molly X. Chang

I enjoy shaking things up from time to time, but I am definitely getting the urge to return to ‘romantasy’ (romantic fantasy) or picking up a beach read from Elin Hilderbrand now that temperatures are really heating up.

But first, let’s get into the reviews!

Red Island House by Andrea Lee

I saw someone say they needed a dictionary to read this book… honestly, they’re not wrong. The writing in this book was complex and had a very literary feel to it.

The story is focused on a villa in Madagascar, where Shay and her husband, Senna, come to visit often. Rather than a flowing story, this felt more like a series of short stories centered around this house. The stories often dealt with race and class, as Shay often feels like an outsider in most areas of her life.

This was different than most of my reads, so I appreciated the shake-up. But don’t go in expecting a big plot. This is more of a slow read.

Rating: 7/10

The Mountain Is You by Brianna Wiest

I know this is an extremely popular and well-liked book, but it took a while to grow on me. That said, once it did, I loved it!

While self-help style books tend to cover the same topics, I felt like this one brought some new ideas to the table I hadn’t heard before. What’s the big emotion you struggle with? Is it guilt? Is it anger? Brianna Wiest dives into where that could be coming from and how to deal with it.

I listened to this as an audiobook, but I think I would have preferred an actual book instead.

Rating: 8/10

The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

This was such an original plot idea!

Lauren returns home from a party to discover her husband, Michael, standing in her flat. Only, she’s not married and never has been. But her whole life has transformed: She has a new job, new friends, her flat is decorated differently, etc. She soon realizes that the attic is responsible. When her husband goes up the stairs, a new one (and a new life) comes down the ladder. All sorts of chaos ensues.

I’m a fan of books where the main character gets to try on different lives (similar to The Midnight Library by Matt Haig), so I thought this was a fun read. I found the middle did drag a bit, but the ending was satisfying!

Rating: 7/10

Nightmare Fuel by Nina Nesseth

Did you know closing or covering your eyes during a horror film can actually make the movie even scarier? That’s one of the facts that stuck out to me from this book.

I still don’t really know why I enjoy scary movies, but this was an interesting read on the science of the films! From music to fake blood to the perfect jump scare, this book covered a lot of ground. If you like horror films, you’ll probably like this. I would recommend reading the book version rather than audio as I think it would be easier to follow the themes of the chapters.

I wish I had taken notes as there were a few titles I wanted to watch after listening!

Rating: 7/10

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

As a historical fantasy book, this was outside of my usual genres, but I’ll read whatever Leigh Bardugo writes.

Luzia Cotado is a scullion with a secret: She can perform small magic. When the lady of the home discovers Luzia’s ability, she has Luzia perform for her guests. Soon, an invitation to the home is all anyone can talk about. But all of this attention is not a good thing. Luzia has a few more secrets she hopes stay buried, but for once in her life she’s starting to get a taste of power. And she likes it.

This was a bit slow at times, but I also needed to know what would happen next.

Rating: 7/10

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

This book is disturbing and full of trigger warnings, so do your research and proceed with caution!

The story flows between present day where Georgina is a successful businesswoman, happily engaged, and planning her wedding and the past, where she is in high school and dating an older guy. You quickly learn that Geo’s best friend, Angela, went missing after a high school party, and that Geo was one of the last people to see her. What really happened that night? And why is the past bubbling up in a new horrifying way?

I won’t say too much, but there was a surprising twist in this one.

Rating: 8/10

To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods by Molly X. Chang

Ruying has the power of Death. She can literally kill someone without ever touching them. While she sees this power as a curse, it makes her the perfect weapon for the Romans, who have invaded her home and hope to continue spreading their influence through whatever means necessary. Ruying is soon forced to work for one of the Roman princes as she battles between protecting her family, protecting her people, and her complicated feelings for the prince.

So… I didn’t love this one. I thought it was more going to be more of an enemies-to-lovers situation and while there was a weird romantic tension, it felt off. It could also feel a bit repetitive at times.

Rating: 6/10

Want more reviews? Check out what I read in March 2024!

As always, I want to know what you’re reading. Leave a comment below with some of your recent favorites.

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