And then April was over as well! Time is flying by it seems. April was a relatively eventful month for me. I properly started my new job and got my first payslip in 4 months. Jeey. I also got my second vaccination, which I am delighted with! Over here we only now started vaccinating people who turn 66 this year (as well as some health care workers, people with Down Syndrome and morbid obese people), so to have mine months early feels really nice. The Husband still has to wait till July ish to get his first shot though, so we will have to see if we can go on holiday anytime soon yet (we have book a small trip to Belgium in June though, manifesting that to go through). I also went for quite a few walks, including two half marathons and a 30km walk on the beach. We got to visit my parents over Easter (not having seen anyone since Christmas). And I got plenty of reading done as well!!
I also DNF’ed The Rage of Dragons… please don’t hate me. Somewhere this month I did a 30km walk and needed a long audiobook. The Rage of Dragons it was. And I struggled So Much to focus on it! It probably didn’t help that it started with battles, training sequences and fights, and stayed with that for most of what I got through. I never had time to connect with the main character and root for his fight. Also, the battle seems to be against the natives… yeah, I may have been on the side of the ‘savages’. I was also disappointed in the dragons, and the lack of culture. Apart from some names and ‘slang’ (used differently than my African husband uses it btw), there wasn’t any really. And the women were supposed to be important and powerful, yet I saw barely any proof of that. If we had a some chapters from the point of view of Zuri I may have been somewhat intrigued in the story. I may give a physical copy another shot sometimes, but I’m really not in a hurry to do so atm.
I was very excited to start A Glasshouse of Stars, but it really didn’t work for me personally. We follow a Chinese family who have recently migrated to Australia. As this is based on the author’s own experiences I was very intrigued by it… but I found the parents in this family incredibly infuriating. I did write a full review on it, which you can read over here.
I read Beyond the Deepwoods believing I read it as a kid… but now I believe that was the sequel. I loved the writing in this, and was fascinated with the Deepwoods when I was reading it. When I put it down though, I felt no inclination to pick it back up again. And that is probably because there is pretty much no plot in this book. It is just Twig’s adventures in the Deepwoods, in which every chapter he gets into trouble with some creature, and gets out of trouble again. All the chapters (apart from the first and the last) could be randomly mixed up, and it wouldn’t have mattered. Twig himself isn’t the most likeable character (he can be quite rude and demanding at times) and goes through the whole book without any plan or thought that stretched beyond the immediate situation whatsoever. Also, when random creatures throughout the book know his name (without him introducing himself), he completely ignores the weirdness of it. I do think I will continue at least the Twig saga, I am in no hurry to do so.
I finally picked up The One and Only Ivan, and it was such a ‘lovely’ read. We are in the head of Ivan, a gorilla, and therefore it reads very simple. Yet at the same time it is beautiful and sometimes almost poetic.
A jungle scene is painted on one of my domain walls. It has a waterfall without water and flowers without scent and trees without roots.
Ivan lives in a mall, and has become very accustomed to humans. He eats junkfood, watches tv and loves to make art. But when he meets Ruby the baby elephant he realizes that this isn’t a good home, and he makes it his mission to save Ruby. It is such a beautiful story, and although simply written it doesn’t shy away from showing how cruel humans can be (but also shares stories of kindness). I even convinced The Husband to watch the movie with me (though he said he would just watch from the corner of his eye whilst gaming, he never even started the game up) – and I didn’t cry!
In my resolutions update post I stated I would like to read something by a Dutch author. Going through the free audible books I came across Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal. In this book Frans looks at animal inteligence, and the ways we have developed to understand them better. Has the animal failed our inteligence test, or has the test failed to its inteligence? This was an incredibly intersting book, but I did find it got a bit repetitive at places. I would still highly recommend it though. I was genuingly amazed by some of these stories (did you know for example that elephants can discern between different human languages?)
Infernal is a book I requested purely because I thought Mark de Jager may be Dutch (spoiler alert, he isn’t). And I ended up really liking it. The main character Stratus is a fantastic main character, who is very matter of fact, doesn’t take shit and doesn’t hesitate to (brutally) kill whoever gets in his way, no matter whose side they are on. His awesomeness kinda distracted from whatever else was going on, things I found myself not caring about. So that is all which is keeping me from giving this a full star rating. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel though!
Masking the Truth is a historical crime thriller following the opium trade in Victorian London. Our main characters Green and Scarlett come from very different backgrounds, but now have to work together to find the Matchstick Mangler, a serial killer who slashed up their vicitims faces and puts matches in their eyes. This isn’t as much a mystery, as we also get chapters from the killers point of view. And they are completely deranged, leading to some deliciously dark reading. I wrote a full review for this so feel free to check that out.
Next up a dystopian novella, The Annual Migration of Clouds. Even though it has a very dramatic setting, it is still a very small and intimate story of a young woman having to make a choice between staying with her family or going away and build a future for herself. The writing in this is absolutely amazing, and I feel this will make for an excellent audiobook. My full review for this will be going up tomorrow.
The Dead of Winter made it to the longlist of the CWA Dagger Awards (Historical), and so I read it. Even though it is the ninth book in the series, it can be easily read on its own. A group of strangers gathers in the castle on St. Michael’s Mount for Christmas to raise money for Jewish refugees (this book is set in 1938). And of course someone is murdered. This does have some great Agatha Christie vibes (in fact, the lady is referenced in the book as well), and I feel it would make a great festive read. I really liked the complexity of the individual characters and their backstories (CW: domestic abuse). My only issue is with the resolution of the case. Although cleverly done, it did make for some awkward pacing – the body is only found 2/3 through the book so the whole connecting the pieces felt rushed. I will definitey be picking up more books in this series though.
Fallen had all the epicness of the final book of a long series (even though there are still 2 more books to go), and I loved it. So many threads of the previous 9 books are pulled on, characters make reappearances and all of it is slotted together in a very satisfying manner. And Verus goes through some serious character development. I have always loved that he isn’t necessarily a ‘good’ guy, and that really comes to a high here. He isn’t good, nor bad, he is his own guy and fights for who and what he cares for… and isn’t afraid to get dirty and kill people doing so. Loved it!
All the Murmuring Bones was a hesitant Netgalley request from my part, one I am very glad I made after all. It wasn’t a tropy, romance heavy mermaid book. It was the gothic fantasy tale filled with lore a book about mer and selkie should be. I did write a full review for it, which you can read here.
And lastly, my Discworld reread lead me to pick up The Fifth Elephant this month. This was a reread for me, and I knew I was going to love it. It is definitely in my top 3 of the series, and even though on the bigger side, I read it in a single sitting. I loved everything about it… learning more about Angua’s past, the slighly smarter Detritus, the case, that fight!! Just great.
And that is everything I read in April… quite enough I would think! I have no idea yet as to what I will be reading in May. I decided to join in with Desertathon, which revolves around a board game. I will be playing it as I go, and so won’t know my prompts in advance. The goal is to read books with desert vibes, but I don’t think I own any of those. So I will have to see what Scribd has to offer me…