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March-April Reading Wrap-up

1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (Adult Fantasy) (400 pages) (4⭐️)

Kell is a magician able to transport between parallel Londons who smuggles items. Delilah is a cut-purse who steals a dangerous magical object from him. Their fates are now intertwined. This was my third Schwab book and sadly my first to not receive a full 5 stars. I took issue with Kell for his lack of motivations and how overpowered he was. Delilah, on the other hand, was a perfect mixture of badass and adorable. I don't feel qualified to speak on world building in adult fantasy but it did seem like a lot of care was put into the magic system and the various Londons.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4573773601


2. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (Adult Thriller) (371 pages) (4⭐️)

A husband and wife keep their marriage alive and fresh via their very dangerous hobby; stalking and murdering women. This was my second Downing book and it was much more predictable than the other (For Your Own Good). Even still, I love how she writes her characters and their psychology. If you like morally grey characters then this author is for you!

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4580156447


3. When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (Middle Grade Fantasy) (287 pages) (4.75⭐️)

Based on Korean mythology, this is the story of Lily and her family. They move in with her Halmoni (grandma) who is sick. Lily learns her grandma is being hunted by a magical tiger because she stole its stories. She becomes determined to save her grandma. I am someone who lost her beloved grandma over a several month span and I resonated deeply with Lily's pain and helplessness. I don't often cry reading books but I teared up towards the end of this one.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/when-you-trap-a-tiger


4. Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (YA Contemporary) (312 pages) (5⭐️)

Darius Kellner is a mixed race teen who travels to Iran for the first time where he meets his maternal grandparents and learns more about his Persian heritage. There he meets Sohrab, a same aged boy who becomes his best friend. ALl I have to say is Sohrab supremacy. He's the kind of friend we all need. This book was recommended to me by my bibliologist and she really took into account how I said I like to learn about other cultures via books. This book is just brimming with Persian culture and I learned a lot I never knew!

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/darius-the-great-is-not-okay-the-nature-of-witches-the-dark-tide-tailored-book-recommendations


5. The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (YA Fantasy) (363 pages) (4.25⭐️)

Clara is an ever witch which means she can control magic of all seasons (as opposed to just one). The climate crisis is quickly worsening and Clara must learn to control her magic if she hopes to save everyone she loves. The characters in this novel are well developed and complex and the writing highlights both the beauty of the seasons/nature and the high stakes of our world. The pacing tended to be a bit choppy, though.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/darius-the-great-is-not-okay-the-nature-of-witches-the-dark-tide-tailored-book-recommendations


6. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley (Adult Mystery/Thriller) (356 page) (4.5⭐️)

Jess arrives in Paris to the fancy apartment her brother Ben has been staying at only to discover him missing. As she investigates she uncovers dark secrets about the apartment's residents. If you read Riley Sager's Lock Every Door then you should pick this book up. The setting is creepy, the characters are all suspicious but layered, and the reveals are parceled out in a way that keeps you reading. See my full review for trigger warnings.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4600562829


7. Only a Monster by Vanessa Len (YA Fantasy) (403 pages) (5⭐️)

Joan learns she comes from a family of time traveling monsters. The legendary monster slaying hero (her crush Nick) kills her family. She allies with the son of a rival monster family (Aaron) to reverse what Nick's done and save her family. This is one of the best YA fantasies I've EVER read. It's a book I wish I'd written. It's fasted paced and thrilling with ill fated romances and a time heist. Stop what you're doing right now and pick this book up!

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/only-a-monster-by-vanessa-len-is-the-only-ya-fantasy-you-need-in-your-life-book-review


8. The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska (YA Fantasy) (317 pages) (2.5⭐️)

Every year to save her island from sinking the witch queen (Eva) must sacrifice a village boy to appease the dark tide. When the boy she loves is chosen Lina offers herself up in his place. This novel enchanted me with its world of sunken ruins and festivals of magic and music. It lost me with its characters as the romance was lacking and the antagonist wasn't well written.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/darius-the-great-is-not-okay-the-nature-of-witches-the-dark-tide-tailored-book-recommendations


APRIL READS


1. They Never Learn by Layne Fargo (Adult Thriller) (340 pages) (2.5⭐️)

Dr. Scarlett Clark kills a man she deems deserving on her college campus every year. Student Carly Schiller becomes revenge driven after her roommate is sexually assaulted. This had promise because I normally love morally grey characters and Scarlett reminded me of the main character from Samantha Downing's For Your Own Good. The narrative style was unique but the twists were questionable. Pretty much every male character is exaggerated horrendous.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/they-never-learn-by-layne-fargo-is-the-book-i-wish-i-d-never-read-book-review


2. Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Adult Mystery) (355 pages) (3.5⭐️)

The titular Finlay is a struggling author and single mom. Her discussion about her latest romantic suspense novel with her agent is overheard and misconstrued. Due to this, a woman hires her to kill her husband. While the plot veered often into the absurd territory I can't deny I had a blast reading this book. Its constant twists and turns and girl power dynamic between Finlay and babysitter Vero kept me coming back for more.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4647796553


3. Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots (Adult Sci-fi) (399 pages) (2⭐️)

Anna is a Hench; someone who is employed by villains. After being injured by a beloved hero (Supercollider) she is hired by notorious villain Leviathan. This is a book I seriously considered DNFing multiple times. I kept reading because the concept was so promising and unique. Anna was simply too bland to be a good main character and the story reads as unfinished at its conclusion.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4649992821


4. The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter by Theodora Goss (YA Sci-fi) (400 pages) (4⭐️)

The children of classic sci-fi characters come together in nineteenth century London to solve murders and uncover the crimes of the Société des Alchimistes. The novel does a good job of blending genres and introducing a new generation to the stories from which it takes inspiration. I liked the characters but wasn't sold on their chemistry. The narrative style is unique but does cause some issues with stakes.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/the-strange-case-of-the-alchemist-s-daughter-by-theodora-goss-book-review


5. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (Adult Romance) (352 pages) (4⭐️)

Grad student Olive and professor Adam find themselves in a fake relationship in which feelings become all too real. This novel is just as trope filled as any romance book you've read before. That being said, the main couple had insane chemistry (no pun intended given it's a STEM romance). Their inside jokes and banter and how soft Adam was for her made me swoon. It's one of the cutest romances I've read in recent memory.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4666935333


6. All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (Adult Thriller) (384 pages) (2.5⭐️)

This legal/workplace thriller is about Ellice who is promoted after the murder of her boss (and lover). She soon uncovers a lot of illegal activity within the business. This would have worked better, in my opinion, as a contemporary about racism and misogyny in the workplace. As a thriller it is simply too boring. If not for the buzzwordathon and Booksandlala's book club this would have been a DNF. See my full review for trigger warnings.

Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4676614891


7. The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (YA Mystery) (372 pages) (4.25⭐)

Avery Grambs is smart but poor. Her fortune changes when she inherits billions from a stranger. The only catch? She must spend a year living in his mansion alongside his four disgruntled grandsons. This novel is fun for its riddles, games, and setting. Avery is an independent, think on her feet, planner who I really liked. There is a love triangle that fell a little flat. This was a reread for me in anticipation of reading the sequel.

Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/the-inheritance-games-a-perfect-novel-for-truly-devious-fans-comparison-and-review


DNFs


1. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (Adult Romance) (DNFed at 34% or read 131 pages)

This novel features the fake dating and opposites attract tropes. Elle is bubbly and into astrology while Darcy is much more practical and cynical. I am always on the hunt for a new LGBT+ romance to love but this one wasn't one of them. The main characters simply weren't compatible and their feelings for each other weren't believable. If I'm not liking the relationship in a romance novel then really I see no point in continuing.


SOME STATS

TOTAL PAGES READ (MAR-APR): 5,542 (avg. book length: 369.47 pages)

AVG. STAR RATING (MAR-APR): 56.75/75⭐️ (avg. rating: 3.78⭐️)

TOTAL PAGES READ (JAN-APR): 10,865 (avg. book length: 374.66 pages)

AVERAGE STAR RATING (JAN-APR): 113.5/145⭐️ (avg. rating: 3.91⭐️)


GENRE BREAKDOWN (JAN-APR)

ADULT: 14/29 (48.3%)

AGE NA: 1/29 (3.4%)

CONTEMPORARY/ROMANCE: 3/29 (10.3%)

FANTASY/MAGICAL REALISM: 11/29 (37.9%)

HISTORICAL FICTION: 2/29 (6.9%)

MYSTERY/THRILLER: 10/29 (34.5%)

MIDDLE GRADE: 1/29 (3.4%)

NONFICTION/POETRY: 1/29 (3.4%)

SCI-FI: 2/29 (6.9%)

YA: 13/29 (44.8%)


GOAL CHECK-IN


1. Post a blog every weekend unless ill.

I posted a blog every weekend in both March and April.

2. Read at least 60 books.

I read 15 books total in the last two months. This means my goal is 48.3% complete.

3. Participate in Booksandlala's Buzzwordathon

The March buzzword(s) were locations (A.K.A. the name(s) of cities, states, countries, etc.). For this I read The PARIS Apartment. The April buzzword(s) were size words (A.K.A. small, large, tiny, etc.). For this I read All Her LITTLE Secrets.

4. Read at least 5 nonfiction or poetry books.

I didn't read any nonfiction or poetry in March or April so my goal is still 20% complete.

5. Read at least 1-2 adult books every month.

I read 3 adult books in March and 5 in April.

6. Reread at least 8 books in 2022

I didn't reread any books in March but reread one in April. My goal is now 37.5% complete.



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