TBRs and Wrap ups

April 2020 Wrap Up // Readathons, lockdown, and Booktube

I’ve been managing to consistently read 10 books per month since the start of 2020, so in April by aim was also to read 10.

And yet somehow, I managed to read 13???

I’m still in shock to be honest. I think it was a combination of hosting a readathon and just being in the zone to read for a lot of the month.

Books cover

51014471. sx318 The House in the Cerulean Sea // 4 stars // Audiobook

I picked this up randomly on audio because the synopsis appealed to me and I’m so glad I did. It was really uplifting and heartwarming and I loved the found family.

I loved the budding romance between Arthur and Linus so much. Their friendship is built on warmth, trust, and seeing the depth of good in each other. The chapters where they slowly grow to realise that their feelings for each othe gave me LIFE.

The messages in this book are all about accepting ourselves, loving ourselves, fighting against prejudice, and doing what’s right.

52667937. sx318 sy475 The Guinevere Deception // 3 stars // Paperback

I buddy read this with my good friend Lucy and it was really fun to compare notes as we were reading. I enjoyed the world-building and the whole Arthurian legend vibes that the novel was giving off.

But, it just felt like something was missing. I think I was expecting more of an epic, a tale of grand magic and fantastical battles. And this wasn’t that.

I loved the descriptions of Camelot and its surroundings, but there were times when the characters’ personalities felt a little luke warm to me?

This wasn’t the epic tale I was looking for, but it was certainly enjoyable, so I’ll be picking up the sequel later in the year.

33778654. sx318 Want // 3 stars // Audiobook

I finally read this on audio at CW’s recommendation and I really enjoyed it. The story is set in a futuristic Taipei, where pollution is destroying the planet, and only the richest can afford suits to breathe clean air.

The narrative did a really good job of painting the picture of the world and building tension at just the right moments, but there were times when I wanted a little more from the descriptions.

I liked the sci-fi/futuristic feel of the novel, but often things felt a little too convenient for me. Like when the gang break into Jin Corp and no-one happens to catch them, or when nobody manages to find Jason after the kidnapping and connect him to it.

The audio narration was pretty good and despite there only being one POV, things didn’t feel tired or repetitive. I’ll probably pick up the sequel to this later in the year.

19351043. sx318 sy475 Nimona // 5 stars // Paperback

I read this for Easter readathon and wow did it steal my heart.

In some ways, I think it’s easier for graphic novels to be unique than it is for novels. Their art style combined with their story telling makes them stand out. But even among the fantasy graphic novels, Nimona is really unique.

The illustrations were brilliantly drawn and Nimona as a character made me laugh so many times. I loved the plot and the way Noelle Stephenson played with the the fairy tale archetypes.

I also totally called the romance from the first chapter, but I’m so glad I was right. I have an extreme soft sport for Ballister too and I enjoyed the way his gruff exterior gave way to a genuinely caring about Nimona.

29775583. sy475  Ms Marvel volume 6 // 4 stars // Paperback

This was another graphic novel I picked up for Easter readathon and another great volume in the series.

A lot of loyalties were tested in this story arc and I loved seeing both Captain Marvel and Iron Man show up. I also enjoyed Kamala’s trip to visit her family in Pakistan and I feel like she made some of the biggest self-discoveries while there.

What happened between her and Bruno was pretty sad though, so I hope their friendship will be OK!

30025791. sy475 Princess Princess Ever After // 3 stars // Hardback

Yep. This is the third graphic novel I read for Easter Readathon. I was on a roll.

This is a really cute, f/f fairy tale story and I’m so pleased I finally read it. The art style is gorgeous and the plot is simple but enjoyable.

There are some really positive, uplifting messages about gender roles, dream jobs, and self-belief. My only issue is that it’s so short. I wish it had been longer so we could have had more plot and character development.

23347067 Good Omens Radio 4 dramatization // 3 stars // Audio

I haven’t read the Good Omens novel, but after watching and loving the TV show, I found this audiobook on my library app and decided to give it a go. And it was pretty great.

This is a full cast dramatisation, so there are about 10-15 voice actors in every episode and everyone really got their characters spot on.

The one thing I would say about this is that because it’s a dramatisation, there’s very little narration. So if you haven’t either seen the show or read the book, I’m not sure I’d recommend it, because I think it could be confusing.

41150474 Tell Me How You Really Feel // 3.5 stars // Hardback

This was another Easter Readathon pick and I loved the slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance in this story. If you want some good angsty scenes mixed in with soft romance and film drama, then this is definitely your jam.

I’ll admit, I didn’t like Rachel very much at the start. She had a lot of prejudices and seemed unnecessarily unkind to even those we were trying to be her friends.

The overall plot is pretty simplistic and hinges on a lot of melodrama, but it’s very readable and I flew through it. In the first few chapters, there were a few moments when the narrative felt a little clunky, but this was ironed out further into the story.

The one thing I didn’t like about the novel as much was that a lot of it revolved around miscommunication. Would Rachel really spent years despising Sana without checking that Sana’s request for a date was (or wasn’t) actually a joke?

On the whole, I wanted a little more plot and more of a wow factor from this book, but I enjoyed the story and I love a good happy ending.

46249012 Bone Crier’s Moon // 3.5 stars // ARC

I buddy read this with my friend Lydia and I enjoyed it but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

The first and last third of the book were great but the middle really floundered a bit. The pacing slowed down completely and the plot became repetitive (and lost cohesion).

Ailesse and Bastien’s character progression also came to a bit of a standstill in the middle, and I wanted to know more about each of their pasts. Sabine was definitely my favourite character because she discovered her inner strength and had the most growth throughout the novel.

Some of the plot decisions towards the end of the novel didn’t make sense to me, because they completely went against the characters’ motivations and wishes. But there were some 10/10 twists, so I’ll probably read the sequel.

42201523 The Avant-Guards // 3.5 stars // e-book

I’m so happy I FINALLY read this, it was such a fun start to a new series.

The Avant-Guards is about Charlie, who has just started a new college and gets pulled into joining an all-women basketball team. I love how diverse this story is and there are so many interesting, confident women. There’s also a budding romance and I can’t wait to see how it develops.

The art style has a charisma that brings the story to life and I’m looking forward to the next volume.

Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1) Noughts and Crosses // 2.5/3 stars // Audiobook

I watched the Noughts + Crosses TV show as it aired (over the last few months) and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to finally pick up the book.

And I’m really sad because I’m pretty disappointed. The book is quite different from the show, and I actually think a lot of what was cut from the book makes the show more streamlined and the plot more cohesive.

The dialogue in the show is well-written and conveys each character’s emotion really well. In the book, it often comes across as over-the-top and melodramatic. Perhaps this done on purpose in the novel because it’s written from the perspective of two teenagers, but it often feels like the result of poorly written and planned scenes.

Callum and Sephi are also aged up in the show (university age) and I think this works better for the story. Their speech style matches their age more and the darkness of the plot feels more gritty because they’re pretty much adults.

I also found the characters a lot more cruel and unforgiving in the book, which worked well in some scenes but less so in others. I really like the premise and the sociopolitical discussions in this book, but I feel like the execution could have been better.

53169562. sx318 The Subtweet // 4 stars // Audiobook

This book is so good. The narrative is stylised and full of emotion, meaning it’s easy to track exactly how Neela and Rukmini are feeling in every chapter. I really liked both characters and I thought the way their friendship was examined and disserted was clever and insightful.

Race, colourism, intellectual property, individuality, social media use, and musical popularity are all discussed in this book. Each topic intersects with the others, and Vivek Shraya does an excellent job of balancing these different issues, giving attention to each without one overpowering the others.

The subtweet itself doesn’t come until quite late on in this novel, and this creates some enjoyable suspense because both characters tweet quite a lot, and every time they do we’re left wondering ‘is this the one?’

This is a short novel, but it packs a lot of power. It’s own voices for trans rep and the discussions about racism and colourism in the music industry feel incredibly important.

42202801. sx318 The Unhoneymooners // 3 stars // Audiobook

I unintentionally read this in less than 24 hours because the audiobook narration is so addictive.

I enjoyed the story on the whole, but I had a few issues with it. Ethan is pretty unkind and fatphobic at the beginning of the novel, making a few uncomfortably sexualised comments about Olive’s body that just weren’t necessary. The narrative just ‘explains it away’ later on by saying he didn’t realise that he was being mean.

And sure, he does apologise to Olive for making her feel bad about herself, but I feel like moer should have been made of it. There should have been a bigger apology and fatphobia should have been challenged more overtly. So, yeah, I didn’t love that. In this house, we are not Ethan apologists.

Despite all this, I did enjoy the enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope in this book. I loved Olive’s exuberant extended family, and I really liked Amy and Olive’s close, sisterly relationship.

This month's posts.jpg

During April, I hosted Easter Readathon, so I posted my TBR and wrap up with all the books I read during the long weekend.

I also spotlighted a new YA journal, Paper Lanters, and shared five reasons to read The Silence of Bones.

I also talked about the fact that I started a Booktube channel and the reasons behind why I decided to go for it.

Life Updates

Easter

I hosted Easter Readathon for the third year running in April and I had so much fun. I love hosting this readathon because I’m a big fan of people coming together to read lots of books and knowing that you’re the person who motivated/instigated them to do so is amazing.

Even more people seemed to join in this year, due to a lot of countries being in lockdown, and we had some great reading sprints on Twitter. I ended up reading five books and starting a sixth, so I’d call that a pretty good weekend.

Booktube

That’s right folks. I created a booktube channel.

You can find me over at Reading Through Infinity on YouTube. This is probably one of the most exciting things I did in April and I’m still feeling really enthusiastic about creating content. (Although I currently have about five videos filmed that I need to edit hahhaha SOS.)

I wrote a blog psot about why I decided to start a channel, so if you’re want to know more that, you can read it here.

I also took part in my first ever liveshows and they were both amazing. One was an Alice in Wonderland-themed murder mystery party, hosted by Jess, and the other was a booktube newbie liveshow, hosted by Cerys.

(CW: this next part of the blog post contains brief mentions of the current global pandemic.)

Lockdown

In the UK, we’re still in lockdown and things are strange and unusual, but we’re all managing in our own ways. I’m still working from home and my folks and I are taking turns to go out food shopping.

I’m trying not to buy too many things online, because I don’t want to put pressure on the already overtaxed postal system and on workers who still have to go to work in warehouses. But I have been trying to get a few books for friends’ birthdays, so they have some nice presents to look forward to.

But Booktube, blogging, and reading have been great indoor hobbies, and I think lockdown is part of the reason why I read so many books in April.

But sadly, some plans have had to be put on hold. This month Hollie and I were meant to be going to Edinburgh, but we’ve had to postpone our trip until later in the year. I was also meant to be meeting up with my family (who live in the north east) for a daytrip and going to London for work training but both those things had to be cancelled. It’s a shame, but we’ve all got to make sacrifices to keep each other safe.

Rather than end on a disenchanted note, I’ll get you a few things that I’ve discovered as a result of being in lockdown.

1. I’ve started practicising doing eyeshadow and found out that I don’t 1000% suck at it???

2. I’ve learned how to edit YouTube videos (in an attempt to make myself seem funnier than I am)

3. I’ve rediscovered my enjoyment of baking and have been trying out a few new recipes, including vegan banana muffins and chocolate crispie traybakes. Oh and I made pizza.


What did you read during April? What have you been doing while staying home?

Until next time,KateNEW

 

 

7 thoughts on “April 2020 Wrap Up // Readathons, lockdown, and Booktube

  1. i’m reading Want for the asian readathon in may but mostly to get it off my shelf. now i’m wondering if i should unhaul it instead… hmm.

  2. You had a good reading month! Sorry to hear your trip got delayed, along with not being able to see your family. I haven’t read as much in April as I hoped since much of my focus through the month has been finishing final assignments for classes. But the lockdown hasn’t been too bad (other than having virtually no income besides whatever sick pay I do have) and I’ve been trying to get some blogging tasks done instead.

    Hope you have a good May!

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