April 2018 Reads

I thought that February and March were slow reading months, but April was ridiculous.

I don't consider myself an extremely fast reader (not at all!), but I feel like three books in thirty days is an insanely small amount.  I know that's either a lot or a normal/average amount for some people ... But, for me, it's pretty abnormal.

Today I'm linking up with Steph and Jana to talk about my measly three books and to (hopefully!) get some reading inspiration from some of the other bookworm bloggers sharing their April reads.  

Amazing Books I Highly Recommend

April was the third month in a row that I didn't read any five star worthy books.  I'm starting to wonder when I'll finally pick another book that I absolutely love.

Very Good Books That Are Worth A Read

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
Completed: 04/10/18
My Rating: ****
Challenge Category: N/A

Sometimes I Lie was listed as one of my top picks for future reads in the thriller genre, and it didn't disappoint! 

I really love when something within a story shifts and makes me question everything I thought I knew ... And that was definitely the case here.  I read a lot of thrillers, so I can often guess the twists (and am often disappointed as a result), but I didn't see any of the twists coming in this book. 

This is a difficult book to review because I think it's important to go in knowing as little as possible.  When an author manages to blow my mind with interesting twists that keep me furiously turning the pages, I want others who read the book to experience the same thing.  Obviously that won't happen if I give too much away in my review.

I will say that it took me a little while to really get into this book, which is the main reason for the four star rating.  I thought the writing was good (especially considering it was the author's debut novel!), but it didn't immediately suck me in the way I thought it would.  Once it picked up, though, it grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

Decent Books That May Work For You

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Completed: 04/28/18
My Rating: ***
Challenge Category: N/A

This was very much a "right book at the right time" kind of situation.  I read the majority of it on the plane ride to visit my family in West Virginia, and I specifically chose it because I thought it would be a pretty easy, good for vacation kind of read.  (And it definitely was.)

If I'd read The Leaving at a different time, I doubt I would have liked it as much as I did.  It was very much a "young" YA book, and that's generally something I don't enjoy.  Because I really wanted something I didn't have to think about much while I was traveling, though, it worked.

The mystery part of the story kept me intrigued, but, as I said, the writing wasn't the best.  I think the author had a really interesting idea, but her execution was just a little ... Off.  Characters who should have played a major role in the story barely made an appearance, some of the subplots were kind of out there (and slightly annoying), and the ending felt rushed.  The author had 400+ pages to build suspense and share pieces of the puzzle -- and it still felt like a ton of information was frantically shoved into the final few pages.

While this definitely wasn't an amazing book, it served its purpose and entertained me while I was traveling.  I'm not sorry I read it, but I also know I probably would have written a very different review if I'd read it at a different time.  I think some people would enjoy it regardless, but if you're not a fan of "young" YA and/or you're not looking for an easy read that doesn't require much thought, it probably won't be the right book for you.

Mostly Awful Books I Wouldn't Recommend

Entanglement by Zygmunt Miloszewski
Completed: 04/24/18
My Rating: **
Challenge Category: A book that was originally published in a different language than your own for Book Challenge by Erin 8.0

I originally had the two other books in this series on my "To Read" list, but decided to start with Entanglement since it's the first book.  I'm giving this background information because I think it's only fair to admit that it was never a book that I was dying to read.  To be perfectly honest, I thought the other books in the series sounded more interesting.  But I read it anyway.

This book has a lot of really high ratings on Goodreads, but it clearly didn't work for me.  It wasn't that it was awful ... It actually was one of the "better" two star books I've read this year.  (If I can call anything about any of them "good.")  The story itself was interesting, and the big reveal in the end was something I didn't see coming at all.  (Which is always a good thing!)

My biggest issue was the writing.  It was dry as fuck.  I understand that the author wanted to set the scene (and, for all I know, this is how writers do that in Poland), but I felt like he was practically laying out a map of the city of Warsaw.  I didn't need to know which streets a character took to get to a park or cafe. 

The author was just as dry when it came to his characters.  Nothing about the main character really stood out or made me interested in his personal or professional life.  And, for the most part, the other characters just felt like props to help move the story forward.  I like characters who seem like real people, and that was certainly not the case here.

One reason I didn't read as much in April was because I was busy with other things and couldn't find as much time to read.  The other reason was this book.  It took me two fucking weeks to slog through it.  I'd go for a day or two without reading it at all because it was just so dull.  I'm glad I finished it because, as I mentioned before, the ending was a surprise ... But I hope that I can avoid such dry, boring books in the future.  (And, if you couldn't tell from this review, I'm no longer planning to read the other two books in the series.)

Books That Should Never Have Been Published

While I haven't been picking five star books lately, I (thankfully!) haven't been picking one star books either.

My challenge tallies for the month of April:

Book Challenge by Erin 8.0:
1 book completed
30/200 total points
Total books completed (January-April): 10 books
Total points (January-April): 200/200 points
Challenge Completed!

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge:
0 books completed
Total books completed (January-April): 3 books

Just a Quick Update

I think I'm going to start referring to April 2018 as "the lost month."  I didn't really mean to just abruptly stop blogging, responding to comments, commenting on other blogs, etc.  But that clearly happened.  (And I swear I will eventually get caught up on responding to comments -- so don't be too surprised if you get a reply to a comment you left a long time ago in the near future!)

In addition to checking out of all things blog-related, I sort of checked out of a lot of things at home as well.  Again, it wasn't intentional ... It just happened.

I didn't make and post meal plans for the majority of the month.  It sounds like a small thing, but it drove Eric crazy!  He's not even a big planner -- he just really likes having a meal plan posted so we're not tempted to just say, "Fuck it, let's just get takeout."  (And trust me ... We did that a lot last month!)

I also didn't use my planner much during the month of April.  Again, this sounds like a small thing, but I think anyone who uses a planner to keep track of all the things they need to do will understand that "hot mess" feeling that washes over you when you haven't been writing down obligations and generally keeping up with things.

We also went out of town to visit my family in West Virginia at the end of the month.  Obviously this was a good thing (and Eric and I had a lot of fun!), but it was just one more thing that added to my lack of structure in the month of April.  I generally don't stay on any type of schedule when I'm on vacation, and this was no exception.

I'd like to try to get back into my usual groove this month, but we'll see how things go.  For now, I just wanted to give a quick update.  I doubt anyone really noticed that I kind of checked out for a while, but you never know.  I didn't want anyone to think something was wrong.  I'm fine (really good, actually!).  I've just had other things on my mind, and, to be honest, I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with everything I wanted (and needed!) to do ... So I backed off from some of the things I felt were less important (like blogging and social media).

I'll be back tomorrow with some book talk.  (Though don't expect much ... I only read a whopping three books during the month of April!)