Where has April gone, eh? Hello everyone and welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks! The month of April was a fantastic reading month for me! I can’t wait to share to you all the books I read this month! Here they are…
Books Read in April
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson (review)
One Good Turn is a mystery detective novel and the second book by Kate Atkinson I’ve read. I read this on the beginning of the month and I was so disappointed with it. I really enjoyed Kate Atkinson’s writing and in this book it also shows, but the plot planning and the characters were a huge letdown, especially compared to the first book in the series, which was amazing. In here some of the characters came back but they weren’t very interesting to read – in fact, in my opinion, none of the characters in this novel really stuck to me. The crime itself wasn’t very engaging or even remotely interesting, so overall it wasn’t a very good book. I don’t think I will be continuing the series for now.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (review)
This is the second book I read this month and it was oddly also a mystery novel! I have heard and read so many great reviews of this novel, and I decided to see why it was called so. Not to mention the movie is coming soon and I want to be able to read the book before watching the movie, as we all booklovers do. This book was really, really good. I enjoyed it every step of the way, and the best part is just I just can’t stop reading it! By the time I reached the midway point I just could not put it down. The mystery itself was compelling, but what really gripped me was the characters and the three different women who were the main perspectives in the book. But, anyways, I loved it and to read more of my thoughts on the book and if you want to see my comparation of the book with two other mystery novels, check out my triple book review which was published recently!
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
This book was a book I didn’t plan to read and even before reading the book, I had no inclination to read it. It was my friend’s book and I wanted something light and simple and I expected it to be good (since it was Jodi Picoult and I loved My Sister’s Keeper), so I borrowed it from her. Unfortunately, I hated it. I wouldn’t admit this to the book’s owner, my friend (who hasn’t read the book), but I did not like this book at all. First of all let’s start with the beginning, the premise itself. When I started reading it, coming into the book knowing nothing but what it said on the back of the book, I didn’t expect the book to be so simple. I eventually found out that this book was written by Jodi Picoult and her daughter, and it was aimed at young adults, but for me it was more of a middle grade novel. Not that I didn’t like reading middle grade novels, I do, but this is a lot like a badly written middle grade novel. The premise of the book was alright. It could’ve been something amazing, if handled by good hands. It’s about a character in a book who comes to life inside the book and has his own thoughts and feelings when the book is closed, when no one is reading it. And it’s about how he strikes up a conversation with a reader, a teenage girl, and tries to escape his story world to be in the real world. It felt quite whimsical and fun at first, and sort of reminded me of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke which I loved when I was young, although it’s quite different. Anyways, premise was alright.
But for me the execution was not done well. It goes back to the writing itself. I don’t know if it was because Picoult was writing this alongside her daughter, or maybe because she’s just not cut out for writing children’s books, but this was a huge downfall compared to My Sister’s Keeper, the only other book I’ve read by her. The writing was so bland and childish, and it was quick to read of course, but just painful after a while. On top of that, all through the book there will be these random phrases that were meant to be lyrical and touching and smart but ended up being cliched and makes me sick. Sentences like “that’s when you know you love someone, when you get hurt” or some disgusting shit like that.
Now let me continue with the characters. The main character, the girl, is so one dimensional with no interesting features whatsoever. Same goes with the other main character, the fictional character from the book. They were both so forgettable and boring and I feel so frustrated. Not to mention their whole relationship, with all the insta-love that disgusts me. The girl was only, like, 14 or something, and after two days of talking with this character from this book, she’s suddenly claiming that she’s “in love” and etc? It’s just mind boggling. Even one episode from Teen Titans, a similar one where Raven befriends a man inside a book, has a more real relationship and a more touching story than this whole book.
The last point I would like to point out is about the whole world building and the correlation. In this book world, several fantastical elements are introduced, with some rules, like how when a person opens a book the characters in the book are immediately pulled to their scenes to act out the story, and things like that. They’re creative and all, but I just feel like some rules did not make sense at all. I know that’s basically the purpose of fantasy, to not make sense, but it felt like the whole world and what can happen or what cannot happen was not developed properly here.
Now I don’t want to spoil the mood of this wrap up post by blabbering about how horrible this book is. You guys already know that it’s a terrible book from my rant above. I can go into more detail, but I honestly don’t see the point in doing so. So I just wanna conclude by saying this was a huge disappointment, and I will still be checking out Picoult’s other books, but I will definitely not be reading her other YA novels (because apparently this is only the first book in a series). I feel like maybe you’d say: oh, maybe this is aimed at younger readers, so that’s why you didn’t enjoy it! But I feel very strongly that I know what a good middle grade book is, and even if I had read this when I was a middle grader or younger, I would probably hate it just the same. It’s a terrible book, no matter who is reading it.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (review)
This is the third book I read for my triple book review which you can definitely check out. I read this book during my TBR Takedown Readathon, it was also chosen as The Book Basilisks Book Club‘s group read of the month, and I had a great fun reading it. It was my first Christie, and I read it super duper quickly because of how fun it was. My one problem with it is just how short it is and how the characters weren’t very developed. For more of my thoughts go ahead and read my review!
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
This was another book I read during the TBR Takedown, and it was already in my TBR ever since I heard the news that it was being published. I really liked Felicia Day through her conventions and her work in Supernatural. But after reading this memoir, I realized that I only know very little of her. Her most valuable and loved work is her role in the gaming community and as an innovator and business woman, and I really enjoyed that side of her life that she told in here.
The first parts of the book was even more interesting for me. I loved how she told us about her early life, her childhood of being alone and homeschooled, and being an awkward teenager. I love her whole writing style in this book, it’s so quirky and fresh and hilarious. She makes fun of herself A LOT, but I can see her confidence and how fun she really is. I also love how she’d insert inspirational things and really teach us a lesson through her life.
From this book, I did not only get entertainment from her hilarious narration, I also got a lot of new motivation and inspiration. I learned so many new things about her struggles and how she overcame it, how she finally got to where she is. And although on some parts I’d sort of lost interest or feel like I’m getting kind of bored, her refreshing voice makes me more interested again through her writing. Overall, it was a wonderful memoir, a huge fun to read but also inspiring to all.
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
As I mentioned not too long ago, I decided to read more classics and famous books from this list and I have continued my streak of reading at least one from the least each month. This month I chose this novel, because it’s been mentioned everywhere from regular conversations to movies to other books. I just wanna know what it’s all about and why so many people love it. The Catcher in the Rye starts with the main character, Holden, and it’s about his perspective during a time of his life. He was just kicked out of school (again) and ran away to New York.
As I said in some updates on my Goodreads, I do understand why so many people love it. It’s very full of hidden meanings and metaphors – and I probably only know half of it. But I was super disappointed to find that I didn’t like this book. First of all what really got to me was Holden and his writing style and personality. I despised every time he would say “it killed me”. And I am a person whose biggest pet peeves is people complaining about things. And Holden complains about everything. And I mean, everything. I hated him because of that. Sure, I understand that he’s a teenage boy, a rebel, etc., and sure there were things that he complained about that I did relate to. But it was just way too much complaining, man. Not to mention this character’s actions himself. Talking weird things to taxi drivers, drinking in bars, talking to nuns randomly, like who does that? And I hate how he hates everyone and everything. It just makes everything feel so negative.
The plot itself was mind boggling for me. The whole book just basically follows Holden around for several days and it has no twist or turn or real conflict whatsoever. Again, I know this is mostly just metaphorical, but it’s just not my thing. The only thing that I really liked about this book was Holden’s relationship with his sister. And the ending where he really showed how much he loves her and how cute they was what made me not rate this book 1 star. Because otherwise I would’ve done so. Instead it showed a real, normal relationship between Holden and his sister and I quite liked that.
But yeah, overall The Catcher in the Rye was annoying for me. Sure it had a fast and easy writing, which was great for the readathon and great for me because I was able to finish it more quickly. But I just feel like this book just wasn’t for me. I know why a lot of people liked it, but I personally didn’t.
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun (review coming soon)
I read and finished this first book in a series called Cat Who during my second readathon of the month, the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. I had loads of great fun reading this. The Cat Who series revolves around a journalist Qwilleran, who works in the local newspaper and writes articles about art, and set in a fictional small town where weird murders happen. This first book was more of an introduction, of how Q just came to the city, and how new and clueless he is (and we are) about the people there and the art community. And also of course, the cats. As a person who loves cats and enjoys these quirky light mysteries I really enjoyed it. I love the whole vibe of the book, and it sort of reminds me of Welcome to Night Vale, which I really like as well. And my plan is to continue reading the series (there are like 20 books in this series!) as a light reading between heavier books, and have fun!
How to be Both by Ali Smith
This was my first book by Ali Smith and I had heard so many things all over the internet about how genius and amazing she is. I went and bought this book without knowing much about the story other than the fact that it was divided into two parts, and that it was partly set in Italy. I already own There But for The, but I didn’t read that one first because this one was set in Italy and I plan to read more books that are about or set in Italy before my trip to Italy this summer.
I got the edition where the first part is with George’s perspective. I really enjoyed reading her story, and the plot was quite slow but the great writing and the nice characters were very enjoyable. Then I reached the second part and I was suddenly surprised to find the totally different writing style. I didn’t like the second part as much as the first part in the beginning – the writing was too much for me and there were times when I’d have to reread a page again because I didn’t know what I just read. But after a while I finally got to know the characters and began to get used to the writing. Some parts were so beautiful to read. Others weren’t very memorable. But I like how Ali Smith was so smart in planning the book, dividing it in two and both being able to tell a different story while complementing each other. I’m very curious to find out what I would think if I had gotten the edition with the opposite position.
Even so, after finishing this book I sort of felt like I didn’t feel very moved by the whole book. I feel like it’s a great book, and I had no objections reading it, but after I finished I was just like, “oh” and then I can just move on to another book. Which sort of means that the book didn’t evoke any strong emotions from me. But, overall I really enjoyed reading this book. The writing style is really unique, with the absence of quotation marks and the lyrical prose of the second part. The characters and the relationship with each other was great, and I love all the great quotable moments that just take my breath away.
- The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Jackson Braun
Continuing my fun with the Cat Who series, I’m currently in the first chapter of this second book! Can’t wait to have a general good time reading this!
- A Room With a View by E. M. Forster
As I said before, I’m going to Italy this summer and my homework for that trip is to read more books that are set in Italy! One of the most famous one is this. I really hope I’ll like it and I’ll be able to see what Florence will feel like through Forster’s words.
- The Cat Who Turned On and Off and The Cat Who Saw Red by Lilian Jackson Braun
These are the third and fourth books of the Cat Who cozy mysteries, and I can’t wait to read more fun mysteries with the cats! I know I’ll just fly through these books and I’m gonna have loads of fun.
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
My friend read this recently and absolutely loved it, and it has been on my TBR for so long. I feel like I need to read this soon so I can watch the movie and talk to people about how awesome it is, because I know it’s awesome and I’ll love it!
- The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
All I can say is that I am both scared and excited to read this book. I have loved the series so much and I was a little hesitant on whether I should read the book now or later so as not to see the series ending. But we’ll see as the month goes.
2016 Resolutions Updates
I read a total of eight books this month, which was more than the average! It’s great, I had two readathons in April and both were super fun. Although the books I read had a mix of great books and horribly bad books, I still feel like April was a productive reading month!
- Read 55 books (18/55: I’m on track!)
- Borrow more books from the library (2 book borrowed from the library, and 1 book borrowed from a friend)
- Read 2 hours a week (4 hours 40 minutes reading in avg per week)
Anyways, I can’t wait to start reading more in May! I don’t think I have any readathons planned for May, but I still hope to read much more and not only a high amount of books, but better books that are all 5 stars! What about your reading month in April? Did you read a lot of great books, or were most of them misses rather than hits? Share to me your thoughts and if you have your own wrap up post, don’t hesitate to link it in the comments so I can read it! Until the next post everyone!