Updated: May 31, 2021
I can’t believe it's already May. This year is flying by! This past month I tried something different and gave myself a set TBR, to be read, list and I did pretty well. I didn’t complete it, but I read seven out of the ten books. I can see why some people set TBRs each month, but I don’t think it’s the method for me. I much prefer to read whatever I want as I go. That being said I did really enjoy the books I read this month.
Let’s get to it!
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas – finished 4/2/21 5/5 stars
This book is a modern retelling of Peter Pan. Set in the Pacific Northwest, Wendy Darling went missing as a child for 6 months and can’t remember what happened to her. On top of that, she went missing with her brothers who never returned. Suddenly, children go missing in the woods just like Wendy and everyone in town is scrambling to figure out why they’re disappearing. I thought the story was so well done and realistically dealt with grief and trauma. I totally cried at the end. I specifically pre ordered this book because I thought the pre order giveaway was so cute. It was three double sided art prints with the characters for the story and a pin; I love pins. This book is totally worth the read.
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala – finished 4/8/21 3/5 stars
This was my April BOTM pick. Lila Macapagal returns to her small town in Illinois after living in Chicago. She returns to help her aunt, Tita Rosie, run her restaurant only for her ex-fiancé to die at their very restaurant. Already facing the risk of closure, Lila decides to take the investigation into her own hands and try to figure out who killed Derek and how to save her aunt’s restaurant. The book was just okay. I loved the representation and the recipes at the end of the story. I thought that added a special touch. Plot wise, I wasn’t blown away. The story read like a Hallmark movie with a little more violence. There is even a romance subplot that, in my opinion, was unnecessary. For a debut novel it was good, I might read the next book the author comes out with, but I’d most likely borrow it from the library.
As for Book of the Month, I initially received a three-month subscription voucher as a Christmas gift a couple years ago and took a super long break before I decided to get a membership in November. I totally think the service is worth it, for $15 a month you get a new hardcover book, often new releases, and can add on additional books for only an extra $10. Shipping is always free for members. Considering new publications in hardcover can be over $25 on their own I think this is a steal. Plus, if you’re not feeling it you can always opt out of picking a book that month and move your credit over. In case anyone is interested in Book of the Month, I’ll put my referral link below. Just as a heads up, every person who uses my link gives me a book credit.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – finished 4/12/21 4/5 stars
To be honest, I didn’t even know this was a book. I honestly had no idea that this was even a book because the movie is so popular. Sophie Hatter is the eldest daughter and because of this she is destined to be cursed. In town, the girls speak of Howl, the wizard who eats the hearts of young women. After being cursed by the Witch of the Waste, Sophie sets out to start her life and ends up in Howl’s Castle. Sophie looks for a way to break her curse while also adjusting to her new life. I really enjoyed this book, but I have to say I liked the movie just a little better. The stories were very similar with a couple changes in the movie, obviously. I felt that the motivations for Sophie and Howl were clearer in the movie. I do want to read the other books in the series and do think I will enjoy them. I’m currently working my way through the Studio Ghibli movies and once I finish, I plan to make a post ranking them so keep your eyes peeled for that.
An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn – finished 4/16/21 2/5 stars
Out of the four Bridgerton books I’ve read so far; I liked this one the least. This is the third installment in the series and is centered on the second eldest Bridgerton child, Benedict. On the show Benedict, was kinder and less of a prick than in the story. Benedict feels as if no one cares to get to know the real him, which ew, and that people only care about his status as a Bridgerton. At a masquerade ball, he meets a mysterious woman in a silver dress who slips away at midnight. “Cinderella” in this story is Sofie, the illegitimate daughter of an earl who has been treated as a servant by her stepmother and stepsister. In a chance meeting a few years later, Benedict meets Sofie the servant and their story continues. I really didn’t like either of the main characters in this story. Benedict is a real tool and Sofie runs whenever things get hard. I’m worried about what this season will look like because of the show’s changing of Benedict’s character. I hope it will be better than this.
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn – finished 4/18/21 4/5 stars
The fourth Bridgerton book focuses on the third Bridgerton, Colin. He has spent all of his 20’s traveling and not settling down. His love interest is Penelope Featherington, who we learn from the show and previous books, has been in love with Colin since she was 17. Now she is 27 and considered a spinster. This book focuses on Colin and Penelope’s change in friendship to romance. I really liked both characters in the show and really enjoyed this book. It heavily focused on the identity of Lady Whistledown, the author of a gossip column. The plot was straight forward and enjoyable so I’m excited for this season of the show.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – finished 4/19/21 4/5 stars
After I finished Romancing Mister Bridgerton I looked at the remaining books on my TBR and decided I didn’t really want to read any of them. Instead, I decided to see what was available on libby and stumbled across Nimona. Based on a webcomic by the same name, Nimona wanders into Lord Blackheart’s lair demanding to be his assistant. Together, as villians, they decide to take down the Institute of Law Enforcement. However, both Nimona and the Institute are not what they seem. This was the first graphic novel I read this month and I really enjoyed it. It was fast paced, and the story was well developed. My only gripe is it felt like it could be longer. I didn’t love the ending, I get why the author chose to write it the way they did but it felt incomplete to me.
The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang – finished 4/21/21 4/5 stars
After Nimona I decided I wanted to read more graphic novels and sent searching for what was available from the library. I saw that this book was available and decided to check it out because I bought Amy a copy for Christmas. Frances, a dressmaker in Paris, is plucked out of the store she works at by a secret benefactor to design dresses, only to find out that her boss is the Prince of Belgium, Sebastian. Together they design dresses and Frances helps the prince lead a secret life until it starts to hinder her dreams. I loved the illustrations, and the story was cute. I was a bit confused about the setting of the story; I saw some reviews stating it was meant to be 1830s France but the vibes I got made it seem like a more fictitious setting. The plot was a bit predictable which isn’t necessarily bad. I loved the message of the story and definitely recommend it.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen – finished 4/26/21 5/5 stars
This book was another library find. Set in 1998, Tiến is a middle schooler who is struggling to bridge the cultural gap between himself and his mother, Helen, to tell her that he’s gay. Helen primarily speaks in Vietnamese and they often share stories as a way to communicate with one another. The story integrates the 1990s, Vietnamese culture, fairy tales and the immigrant experience to create a heartwarming story about family. I absolutely loved it. It reflected both the son and mother’s point of view and how even though she didn’t know the words to express how much she loved him, she found a way to tell him. It was great and I think everyone should read it.
As for my 100 classics challenge, I read the two following books.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I have to say I wasn’t particularly motivated to read this month. The last couple books were short, so I flew through them but overall, I wasn’t super pumped to read. I really think it had to do with the final projects I had due in school. Luckily May shouldn’t be too jam packed.
Until next time!
BOTM referral link: https://www.mybotm.com/kzfdyansvqq?show_box=true