Recent Reads, April 2023

I joined a few virtual book clubs and groups recently, and it’s definitely diversified what I read this month! A few of these I probably would never have found otherwise, but I ended up loving them. It’s been fun to branch out and read different, new-to-me things! Here’s everything I read in April.

Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

This was a new format for me – it’s a novel-in-verse, which basically means it has the narrative of a novel, but is written as poetry. This was a wild ride – it begins with the author bringing Selena, the Tejano pop star, back to life. But it’s also about identity, and about love and loss. The poetry takes the form of phone calls, text messages, and even Twitter threads sometimes. I don’t think that novel-in-verse is my favorite format, but I’m still glad I read this!

Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

You have probably either seen or heard of the Netflix series based on this trilogy! The story follows Alina, who finds out she is a grisha (someone with magic). Alina is not only a grisha, but she is a sun summoner – one of the most powerful grisha, and someone who has the potential to save her country and return it to what it was before The Fold existed. She is taken from her childhood best friend, Mal, and whisked away to train with The Darkling himself – the most powerful grisha to ever exist. But as Alina learns to use her power, she also has to decide who she’s really fighting to protect, and how far she’s willing to go. I enjoyed these, but didn’t love – I’m reading Six of Crows now, which is set in the same universe but with different characters, and am liking that a lot more.

She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

This book was completely engrossing – if you are a fan of magical realism or gothic horror, I think you’ll love this like I did. Jade agrees to spend five weeks of her summer in Vietnam with her estranged father in exchange for him paying for her first year of college that she’ll be starting in the fall. While she’s there, she and her sister are supposed to be helping their father renovate an old French colonial house he’s living in, to turn it into a b-and-b. But as soon as Jade arrives, she’s woken up at night in a state of paralysis, and visited by ghosts of the house who leave her with strange and cryptic warnings. Things continue to unravel, and it get increasingly difficult to tell what’s real and what’s not. This was so wonderfully strange.

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

I loved this peek into the life of a wealthy New York City family. The story follows three women in the Stockton family. Darley, the oldest, refused to sign the pre-nup her family required, and gave up her inheritance in the name of love, but is starting to regret it a few years down the line. Sasha is the daughter-in-law who did agree to sign the pre-nup, but who has never felt like she has been accepted by the family, and feels stuck in the Stockton family home gifted to her and her husband. Georgina, the youngest, is working for a non-profit and trying to find her way through life and love. I loved how the book tied together everyone’s narratives, and how it took a closer look at what doing the right thing really means in different situations.

You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard

(I got this as an ARC through NetGalley, it will be released on June 13, 2023.) This is a thriller that follows Summer and Leo, two friends who live together in a van, never staying in one place too long. They get by by conning wealthy men out a little bit of their fortunes, or smaller things like stealing credit card numbers. But when Leo’s target whisks her away on a fancy date night and then doesn’t come home the next morning, Summer starts to get nervous. She does some digging which leads her to a private island and a lot of secrets that Leo seems to be stuck right in the middle of. This wasn’t my favorite – the characters’ choices didn’t always feel believable to me – but if you’re more of a thriller person you might be into it!

Weyward by Emilia Hart

(Content warning: rape, abuse) This is another book I probably never would have found on my own, but I’m so glad I read it because I really loved it. It follows three generations of women – Kate, Violet, and Altha. Altha, in 1619, is on trial for murder, Violet, in 1942, is longing for an education like her brother, and Kate, in 2019, is fleeing an abusive relationship. All three women are facing something traumatic in their lives, and all three have to harness power – both internal and external – to get through it.

Same Time Next Summer by Annabel Monaghan

(I got this as an ARC through NetGalley – it will be released June 6, 2023.) This book was everything I want in a summer read! Sam goes back to the summer beach house of her childhood, and brings her fiancé Jack with her to experience the place where she grew up. But once she gets there, things just start to seem… wrong. Jack is a man of order and routines and doesn’t fit in with the “anything goes” vibe at the beach house. And her childhood crush Wyatt, who broke her heart when she was 17, is also unexpectedly there. I am a sucker for a long lost love story and this one did it so well!

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