April Wrap-up

In April, I’ve continued my streak of reading more than I’ve ever read before. I read 47 books in total, and no, I don’t know how I keep doing this either. My top 5 of the month (in no particular order) is: More to the Story by Hena Khan, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle, If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich, and You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao.

I made an April TBR, and while I did read quite a few books off that list, I didn’t stick as close to my TBR as in previous months. I read around half of the list, but it was a very ambitious TBR anyway. It’s fine, I don’t want to pressure myself too much to stick to a TBR.

In this post, I’ll share my Goodreads reviews of my 4 and 5 star reads of the month. Want to keep track of my reading in more detail? Feel free to add me on Goodreads!

Sophie Gonzales – Perfect on Paper

Between the many conversations about healthy communication and good advice, the amazingly loveable love interest, and the bestest sarcastic sister, I loved this book a lot!

M.N. Jolley – The KC Warlock Weekly. Book One: Accused

I reviewed this book as part of the blog tour, so you can check out my review here!

Kyle Lukoff – Too Bright to See

This was such a beautiful reading experience. I was expecting more of a creepy type of ghost story but instead it was more about grief after the main character’s uncle passes away. This was masterfully combined with the main character working out he’s transgender – both storylines are woven together perfectly.

It was so refreshing and comforting to read a trans coming out story that just completely lacked transphobia and was so incredibly supportive.

Chrystal Frasier and Val Wise – Cheer Up!: Love and Pompons

Sapphic cheerleaders? And one of them is trans? I couldn’t download this fast enough.

And I really enjoyed this! It’s fast-paced and funny, and I loved the art work. It really pulled me in and I laughed and cried reading this. It has the grumpy x sunshine dynamic, and it works SO well! These girls used to be friends before, but they grew apart, and now that they’re both on the cheerleading team, they’re reconnecting and falling in love. I absolutely adored the romance, and I loved the discussions on being trans and how hypervisible Bebe feels as a trans girl when she just wants to be herself, not be the center of attention.

Elsie Chapman – All the Ways Home

This is such a beautiful story!

Jessica Verdi – Follow Your Arrow

One thing I hate most about reading is when you have high hopes for a book and then it doesn’t live up to them. But that means there’s also an opposite to that: when you pick up a book that interests you but that you don’t have high expectations for, and it ends up being really good.

That was my experience with this book, and I loved it so much. It has so many amazing conversations, about being bi and biphobia, about social media and dealing with it in a healthy way, and so on.

One criticism is that while this book talked quite a lot about politics, it didn’t really address CeCe’s privilege as a white, cis, abled person. While she has good reasons to want to keep politics out of her social media initially, it’s still a privilege to be able to do so, and I would have liked to see that addressed.

I did however really like CeCe, and I think she went through a lot of character development. Plus, I really loved the love interest in this book.

CW: biphobia

Dustin Thao – You’ve Reached Sam

I needed a good cry, so I figured I’d pick up You’ve Reached Sam. And I guess it worked really well, because I’m DEVASTATED. I read the whole book in one sitting and I lost count of how many times I cried. This is such a beautifully sad book.

I can’t believe I have to wait until November to own a physical copy!

Heather Walter – Malice

I love a good morally grey character, and I love a descent into villainy. Make it sapphic, and I’m just about bound to love it, and this is a fairytale reimagining as well, what more could you want?

I loved the world building and magic system in this book, and the descent into villainy was very believable. I have to say the book moved a little too slowly for me to stay intrigued, but overall, I did really enjoy this.

Hena Khan – More to the Story

This Muslim Little Women retelling was absolutely stunning!

Sarah Ann Juckes – The World Between Us

Many thanks to the publisher for the reading copy!

Alice is chronically ill and bed-bound. To help her cope, she watches Stream Cast, a program where people can stream their lives and other can check in and see what they’re seeing for a while. This works well for Alice, until she watches her mother’s coworker get hit by a car through Stream Cast.

Soon after, a new person starts streaming: one of her mother’s coworker’s students, Rowan. He takes her on adventures and they start to become friends, which develops into a slow burn romance. I loved Alice as a main character: she was passionate and I admired how she could see the beauty in small things, as I think that’s one of the most important skills in life. I also found the story to be very engaging; I really couldn’t put it down.

What I loved most about this story is how they both helped each other. Between Alice’s disability and Rowan’s secrets, they both have things making their lives harder than it is for most people. This book is mainly about making something good out of your life in the way that works for you. That’s something I’m personally trying to do, so it really resonated with me.

I’m not an own voices reviewer for this book in a specific sense – I’m not chronically ill or bedbound – but I am autistic, and I could really relate to Alice’s energy levels varying and her having days where she can do a little more than usual and days where she can hardly do anything at all. The way everything extra, even if it’s fun and/or you desperately want to do it, can really take a toll on you. I can’t speak on the accuracy of the rep, but I think it was done respectfully and I did get the impression that it was handled well. I would love to see some own voices reviews about this!

Sarah Kapit – The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family

I was just going to read a few chapters before bed, but I ended up reading the entire book. This is such a cute middlegrade novel!

The Finkel family is a big, Jewish, neurodivergent family: the dad has ADHD and the two sister are both autistic. This book had representation I’ve never seen before: the two autistic sisters both have a POV and one of them is non-speaking and uses a speech device. I also enjoyed reading about the family’s Jewish traditions, as the dad was Ashkenazi Jewish and the mum, and her sister and niece who lived with them, were Sephardic Jewish, and the book delved into the differences between those.

I think a lot of people reading this will pick up on Caroline, the non-speaking sister, being autistic, but maybe not so much on Lara, the other sister being autistic as well. As an autistic person, I thought the rep was really well written and I loved seeing two characters who are both autistic in their own different ways. They were both well-rounded, flawed characters who go through a lot of character development. What I appreciated most about the autistic rep in Lara was that the way she dealt with conflict, and resolving it, was just… profoundly autistic and I found it very relatable.

Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond, ed. – Hungry Hearts

This is honestly one of my favourite anthologies I’ve ever read! I especially loved how all the stories were interconnected.

Becky Albertalli – Kate in Waiting

I can’t imagine reading a Becky Albertalli book and not enjoying it. And Kate in Waiting wasn’t any different. It’s again such a charming, funny, wholesome book, exactly what I’ve come to expect from Becky’s writing.

I especially loved the emphasis on friendship, and friendship being shown as just as important as romance. Even though there is romance, the main relationship is that between Kate and her best friend, Anderson, and I loved reading about them.

I also loved that there’s no unnecessary drama. There are valid emotions involved and the characters work through those. They have realistic flaws. But nothing is spun out so much as to make things unnecessarily dramatic, and I really appreciated that.

My thing with Becky Albertalli’s book is that I tend to enjoy them even more when I reread them, so I’m already looking forward to rereading Kate in Waiting eventually!

Candice Carty-Williams – Queenie

This is so sharp, funny and clever, I absolutely loved it!

Sarah Hogle – You Deserve Each Other

This had me crying laughing, it was SO funny. And I’m amazed at, considering how ridiculous most of this book was, how much it pulled me in and got me emotionally invested and rooting for this couple.

Ashaye Brown – Dream Country

I posted my review as part of the blog tour, so you can find it here!

Nathan Burgoine – Village Fool

I now want a friend group full of gay nerds to adopt me so we can play boardgames together.

I’d already read Faux Ho Ho and Handmade Holidays before, and I really liked how this novella tied them together. I’d like to reread them closer together sometime to appreciate them fully.

Owen was a great main character, funny and relatable, and while I really liked the romance, the friend group stole the show for me.

Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich – If This Gets Out

I’m so happy I got to read this book already, because I feel like I’ve already been anticipating it forever. And I loved it even more than I was expecting.

It’s clear in this book that it’s written by two authors, but in a good way: the perspectives feel distinctly different and I never confused Ruben and Zach with each other – they had very clear voices. But at the same time the book and especially the writing and characterization felt so cohesive – the writing styles matched each other really well.

I’m just living for Ruben and Zach’s dynamic. I’m learning that two characters being soft together in a harsh environment is my kryptonite, and that’s exactly what we got here. Plus, they grew so much together, and genuinely supported each other, and I loved to see that. That goes for the rest of the band as well – they have their issues with each other, but they genuinely love and support each other.

TJ Klune – Fairytales From Verania

I didn’t review this but it’s ridiculous as ever.

Daria Defore – The Trouble

I’m so sad this is out of print, because it’s pretty great and I want to recommend it to people! It’s new adult and has a gay aro MC and I think this will be a comfort read for me

What was your favourite read this month?

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