March + April Reads and Reviews

Happy Friday everyone! Today I'll be sharing the books that I read in March and April. I definitely had a bunch of duds in March, including a DNF, but wanted to get my reading groove back in April (which is why I made it a goal to read 5 books!). My picks were a little all over the place this month- some mystery/drama, lots of romcom, and a semi-post-apocoplyptic novel. Let's get to the books!


The Push by Ashley Audrain

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter–she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well. Then their son Sam is born–and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

I feel so conflicted about this book- It seemed to have so much potential and was building up so much, but it just fell flat to me. There seemed to be a lot of questions that were never answered, and the plot stayed pretty much the same the entire time. I kept waiting for SOMETHING different or big to happen. Besides one big event in the middle and towards the end I felt like nothing really HAPPENED- just kept trying to give more examples of what the kid was doing or why the mom felt the way she did. Still was an enjoyable read but I was expecting something more! *SLIGHT SPOILER* I also thought the problems with her mom and grandmother would be tied in somehow and it was actually her causing the issues with her daughter, so that part just seemed kind of random and a different story line to me.

My Rating - 3/5


You Have a Match by Emma Lord

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie … although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front. But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby's growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.


Decent enough book but a little too cheesy for my taste and I found the characters to be pretty obnoxious most of the time (minus Mickey who was my favorite character!!). Loved how the author wove in different types of relationships and people without it seeming like a statement- hope that becomes more of a trend to normalize diversity in young adult novels. This makes me want to go back to my childhood and go to a summer camp!

My Rating - 2/5


The Roommate by Rosie Danan

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet...

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too. 


Such an interesting premise (not about having a crush on your roommate but the rest of the subject matter - can't say more without spoiling). I went in without knowing anything which I think is the best way to read it. Loved the dynamic between the characters but a lot of the dialogue was awkward to me and didn't feel natural- particularly from Clara. Quick read and just enough raunch.

My Rating - 4/5


Girl A by Abigail Dean

Lex Gracie doesn't want to think about her family. She doesn't want to think about growing up in her parents' House of Horrors. And she doesn't want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped, the eldest sister who freed her older brother and four younger siblings. It's been easy enough to avoid her parents--her father never made it out of the House of Horrors he created, and her mother spent the rest of her life behind bars. But when her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can't run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the home into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her siblings--and with the childhood they shared.

What begins as a propulsive tale of escape and survival becomes a gripping psychological family story about the shifting alliances and betrayals of sibling relationships--about the secrets our siblings keep, from themselves and each other. Who have each of these siblings become? How do their memories defy or galvanize Lex's own? As Lex pins each sibling down to agree to her family's final act, she discovers how potent the spell of their shared family mythology is, and who among them remains in its thrall and who has truly broken free.


This was a weird book for me to read- it was kind of hard to follow because the timeline kept switching up (sometimes in the middle of a sentence or paragraph) and vague references were being made to events. Nothing was really spelled out- which might be a good thing because with some vagueness this was a pretty graphic and uncomfortable book. It wasn't really a thriller or mystery- almost more like a memoir (but not a true story).

My Rating - 3/5


The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she's taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother's recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.

Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it's beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous - as does her brother, Isaac. And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancĂ©e Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin's unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic. But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she's the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they're all in . . .


This was a tale of two books for me- the first half was very exciting, page-turning, atmospheric and setting up for a big reveal. The second half (more like the last 20% of the book) things get really weird and frustrating. Even though the end ties things up (a little too well...why does the villain go into depth about why they did exactly what they did for each person? didn't seem realistic), it still felt like a strange ending that didn't fit the rest of the book. I also did not like the main character at all and was screaming at her every time she did something stupid or dangerous!! I still think it's worth a read, just skim when you start to figure out what happened.

My Rating - 3/5


The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can't seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a "take me home" look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker's owner reaches out. He's a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan's not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can't deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There's no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?


Absolutely loved this book and read it SO quickly- this is a companion to The Friend Zone, which I also loved and featured some of the same characters. The story line, characters, conversations, everything was so realistic and likable. I loved the drama and conflict that came up and it felt natural..the only thing I didn't like was how quickly the conflicts got solved. There would be a big issue and then a page later the upset person would just get over it because of love (this happened MULTIPLE times during the book, which just doesn't seem realistic!). That did at least made this a fun book instead of super depressing, or just drawing out drama like most books in this genre. The best thing about this book was that it makes me want to visit Minnesota and paint!

My Rating - 4.5/5


Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his... um, thighs. Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?


This book made me so, so happy. I loved how sassy and confident Dani was- she is probably my favorite main character in a book that I've read for a long, long time. I want to be her friend and wish I was more like her! The relationship was so sweet and pure...it just made me smile and swoon the entire time. I also loved how the book included different topics that aren't normally covered in this genre- different body types and religions and backgrounds and sexual preferences- it was refreshing and felt more realistic than what's normally out there. Read this in one night on my camping trip and it was the perfect read. Now I want to read all the books by Talia!

My Rating - 5/5


Did not Finish- Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam. I started this book a few times and made it through about 60% of it before giving up. This was another book where nothing really happens but seemed like such an interesting concept. The writing was also harder to read and I kept having to re-read the same sentences multiple times for it to make sense to me.


What did you read lately and love?
Have you read any of these books?


linking up with Steph & Jana to show my books!

Comments

  1. I loved Chloe Brown's book and can't wait to read Dani's story! The Happily Ever After Playlist sounds good too. I would also fight tooth and nail for a dog.

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    1. I want to read everything in that series now!

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  2. i liked you have a match, but literally don't remember who mickey was so clearly it wasn't that memorable haha. i'm so glad you loved dani brown! i adore talia hibbert.

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    1. That's so funny- the other characters were so blah to me but she seemed closest in personality to me which is probably why I connected most to her and remembered her the most.

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  3. A few friends liked The Push a lot. I'm not sure if I will.

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  4. The Happy Ever After Playlist sounds like a fun read.

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  5. I devoured The Happy Ever After Playlist myself - my first read from that author, so I was excited to pick up her new one (Life's Too Short) and thought it was a great read too. Loved the mix of deep issues the characters are dealing with along with the budding friendship (and then of course romance) in which they just plain have fun together. It's cute. Now I've got to go back and pick up her first one!

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    Replies
    1. She's such a great writer! I'm waiting for Life's Too Short and can't wait to read that soon :)

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  6. I still need to read Chloe Brown. Glad you really loved the second book.

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete

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