April 2020 Reading Wrap Up

You know, I thought that April would slow to a crawl since all we could really do (at least here in New Jersey) was to sit home. But surprisingly it flew right on by! And I actually read quite a bit this month!

During April, I read eight books:
–5 digital books
–3 physical books

Genres read:
–4 Contemporary
–3 Fantasy
–1 book of poetry
–1 Historical Fiction

Physical Books

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Contemporary (5 Stars)
Purchased through Book of the Month

Silent Shadows (Harbored Secrets #3) by Natalie Waters
Contemporary/Romantic Suspense (4 Stars)
Received complimentary copy from Revell Reads

The Riot Grrrl Thing by Sara Larsen
Poetry (5 Stars)
Purchased at Labyrinth Books; Princeton, NJ

Digital Books

Lobizona by Romina Garber
YA Urban Fantasy/Contemporary (5 Stars)
Acquired through NetGalley

Story Magic by Laurel Gale
Middle Grade Fantasy (4 Stars)
Acquired through NetGalley and Jolly Fish Press

Magic by Mike Russell
Fantasy (4 Stars)
Acquired from the Publisher (Strange Books)

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
Historical Fiction (5 Stars)
Acquired through Libby App

Formula For a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes
Contemporary (4 Stars)
Acquired complimentary copy from Prism Book Tours

I also began reading Sorcery of Thorns this week, but I will share more about this story in another post. I love the story so far!

What books did you read during April? Feel free to comment below!



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Book Review: ‘Formula For a Perfect Life’ by Christy Hayes/A Review

Formula For a Perfect Life by Christy Hayes
Publisher: CAH LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Acquired through Prism Book Tours
Release Date: February 19, 2020

My Thoughts

**I received a copy of ‘Formula For a Perfect Life’ through Prism Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review**

‘Formula For a Perfect Life’ tells the story of young love, and the consequences of having a careless approach to life. This particular love story has both characters figuring out how to move forward now that a child now intertwines their lives. It’s a journey filled with realizations about life needs, and how one’s personal values can shape the future of others.

This story has heavy religious overtones, but this didn’t sway me from appreciating the message of Kayla and Ben’s life journeys: patience and the willingness to build trust can benefit everyone’s well-being in the end. I really appreciated a different approach to the traditional love story!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Two practical strangers. One fateful night. Two pink lines.

College senior and obsessive romantic Kayla Cummings’ dreams of a storybook life are spun off course by an unplanned pregnancy after a one-night stand with her secret crush. Devastated, Kayla turns to her roommates and best friends for advice. No matter what she decides, no matter how deeply embarrassed, she has to tell the father.

Ben Strickland’s future is written in stone—as long as he gets a decent score on the Law School Admission Test. Feeling pressure from all sides, Ben struggles to juggle his upcoming finals, another shot at the LSAT, and his needy girlfriend Darcy. When the girl he spent a memorable night with weeks ago shows up at his doorstep pregnant, his already chaotic life spins out of control.

With the clock ticking, decisions to make, and a boatload of people to disappoint, Ben and Kayla embark on a journey neither anticipated—a journey where falling in love might be the biggest surprise of all. But when old hurts and buried secrets pose a greater threat to their future than impending parenthood, will Ben and Kayla go their separate ways or forge a new path to happy ever after?

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Waiting on Wednesday: April 29

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally created by Jill @Breaking The Spine. This post spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.

This Week’s Post:

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab
I love reading V.E. Schwab’s work, and I’m so excited that she’s coming out with a story filled with dark relationships and a mysterious curse!

Synopsis

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.





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WWW Wednesday: April 29

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
I’m glad that I’m finally getting to this book! I’m a couple chapters in, and the plot is pretty good!



Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
This book was simply stunning! I enjoyed getting immersed in Victorian London!



Until I Find You by Rea Frey
I received this book from NetGalley a few days ago. I can’t wait to begin this story!





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Currently Reading Book Tag

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve completed a book tag, so today I’m going to do the Currently Reading Book Tag.

I came across this tag through Charvi@ Not Just Fiction‘s page.

1. How many books do you usually read at once?
The most I read at one time is two books. Sometimes it’s a Hardcover copy and a digital read. Other times I’m reading an audiobook alongside another story.

2. How do you decide to switch between multiple reads?
I listen to audiobooks either in the evening or when I’m walking in my yard on clear days. I read my other books in the middle of the day.

3. Do you ever switch bookmarks partway through a book?
Sometimes I switch bookmarks! Recently I’ve been pretty good at keeping it to one bookmark when reading through an entire book.

4. Where do you keep the book(s) you’re currently reading?
I keep the books I’m reading at my desk/work space. I listen to audiobooks through my phone.

5. What time of the day do you read the most?
I love reading during the middle of the day. Before social distancing began, I would read for an hour when I came home from work (I usually came home at around 4pm). Since my ‘work from home’ schedule lasts until 3pm, my reading schedule hasn’t changed.

6. How long do you typically read in one session?
I can read for about an hour a day, unless I’m really involved in the story. If I’m nearing the end of a book during that ‘hour a day’ setting, I try to push it until I’m done.

7. Do you read hardbacks with the dust jackets off?
All the time! I don’t want to ruin the beautiful images!

8. What position do you mainly use to read?
I read sitting at my desk, or sitting in the living room.

9. Do you take your current read with you everywhere you go?
When I was ‘out and about’, yes!

10. How often do you update your Goodreads reading progress?
I do my best to update it every evening, but sometimes I forget to do so!

If you would like to take part, consider yourself tagged!





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Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Series I Want to Start

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm.

This Week’s Topic

Top 5 Series I Want to Start:

Shatter Me Series
I picked up Shatter Me a few months ago, and I hope to begin reading this series very soon!



Chenel Cleeton’s ‘Next Year in Havana’ series
These stories focus on the influences before and after the Cuban Revolution.



Nicki Pau Preto’s ‘Crown of Feathers’ series
I received this book through OwlCrate a few months ago, and I can’t wait to begin reading it!



Mark Lawrence’s ‘Book of the Ancestor’ series
This is a three book series, featuring some powerful female characters!



Cassandra Clare’s ‘City of Bones’ series
Since ‘Chain of Gold’ sounds so good, it’s time to me to finally read these books!



Which book series would you love to start?





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Goodreads Monday: April 27

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This Week’s Post:

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Synopsis

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

Edward’s story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery–one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Why I Want To Read It:
Pure and simple, it sounds like an amazing story! I can’t wait to dive in and read the emotional accounts!



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Book Blogger Hop: Does a GoodReads/Retail rating effect your book choices?

The Book Blogger Hop is a book meme hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer where you answer a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. This way you have a chance to check out other people’s blogs and gain new followers yourself.

This Week’s Question:

Do the star ratings a book receives on Goodreads or retail sites affect whether you buy the book or not?

Usually ratings on sites don’t influence what books I purchase. If I’m interested in a book I’ll buy it (or borrow it from the library)!

Does a positive/negative review on retail sites or GoodReads effect your book buying decision?



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Sunday Sentence: April 26

I’m participating in David Abrams’s ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.



‘Bridie fights the wave of sickness that rises in her. He is like the boy she knew and unlike him.’

Source: Things in Jars by Jess Kidd. Atria Books.





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Book Review: Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd
Publisher: Atria Books
Length: 376 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Acquired through LibbyApp
Release Date: April 4, 2019

My Thoughts

When my library’s book club assigned Things In Jars for their April pick, I didn’t know what to expect. I enjoy Historical Fiction, and I was curious about the plot: a talented woman in 19th century London trying to solve the mystery of a missing child.

I didn’t expect to be taken for a wild, emotional ride, but that’s exactly what happened as I was reading this book!

From the start, you know that you’ll be taken on a journey filled with mystery and silence, as female detective Bridie Devine is called on the solve the mystery of Christabel Berwick’s kidnapping. As Bridie’s impeccable sleuthing skills sweep through London’s grittiness and secrets, the layers of Christabel’s disappearance (and Bridie’s roots) are peeled back. What is revealed are shocking truths and Victorian folklore woven together to create a crime rooted through greed.

Things in Jars is equal parts mystery tale and ghost story, as Bridie communicates with a specter named Ruby Doyle (whose ties to Bridie remain equally elusive throughout the novel). Ruby is able to offer guidance from afar, and through his observations we’re able to witness Bridie’s skill as both a collector’s apprentice and a student of medicine.

Things in Jars also describes the ruthless underbelly of 19th Century medicine, and its starkly uneven footing for women trying to break onto the field. The double standard in women trying to succeed in the ‘masculine’ dominated field of medicine is on full display, and Bridie goes to great lengths to hide her identity in order to belong. This fact is not lost on Ruby, who states his truth while accompanying Bridie in one of her missions: ‘Of this, Ruby is sure: nobody belongs here more than Bridie.’

Jess Kidd’s storytelling is riveting in the sense that your imagination takes the shape of the vivid imagery described in every page. The tales of love, sorrow and loss reveal so much, yet leaves out enough for you to color in what happens next, and it’s downright beautiful from beginning to end!

Reading Things In Jars was a wonderful experience, and I enjoyed this story of mystery and folklore. I also loved the fact that a strong female character with her eccentric team was at the forefront of this story!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Synopsis

Bridie Devine, female detective extraordinaire, is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.



Have you also read Things In Jars? I would love to know your thoughts!





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