Friday, May 31, 2019

Backlist Fiction/Nonfiction Mini-Reviews: The Tudor Edition

The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Bordo (2013)

In The Creation of Anne Boleyn, Susan Bordo takes a look at both primary sources and more contemporary fictional accounts to reconstruct the life of Anne Boleyn and investigate why we think about her the way we do.

It was interesting to learn how few sources remain from Anne's time, as apparently Henry tried to completely erase all traces of her after the execution.  A lot of what we "know" about Anne comes from letters written by the Spanish ambassador at the time, and as he hated Anne, the source isn't terrible reliable.  I also never realized how many books and movies have been written and made about Anne over the years - I only really know about more recent ones, so that was enlightening.  She has had quite the appeal for a long time!

I felt like the author wasn't the most objective in her writing sometimes - she pretty much bashes both Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir (both favorite Tudor-era historical fiction authors of mine, and also nonfiction for Weir).  And she seemed pretty obsessed with Natalie Dormer's portrayal of Anne in the TV show The Tudors - now, I love that show, but it's not perfect by any means!  Overall, the book was a sometimes intriguing look at the truth and myths surrounding Anne Boleyn.  3 stars

Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by Various Authors (2018)

Seven YA authors tell the story of Henry VIII and his six wives.  I'm a huge Tudor fan, so I'll read pretty much anything related to this era.  When I came across this collection of short stories, I was intrigued! I liked that a different author tackled each wife; it gave them all a unique voice.  I also enjoyed that there was a chapter for Henry after each short story, with his thoughts on each woman or his justification for doing what he did to them.

As someone who has read extensively, both fiction and nonfiction, on these historical figures, this book didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.  Since each story was only about 50 pages, they really just hit the highlights of each wife's time with Henry.  It was definitely geared more towards a YA audience, and while I appreciate that the authors did some research, sometimes it felt like the characters were regurgitating facts directly from the sources.

Anne Boleyn, for me, is the most intriguing of Henry's wives, yet I didn't particularly care for her story in this collection.  She seemed very watered down; kind of a mean girl but also kind of innocent at the same time.  I actually enjoyed the stories about Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Katheryn Parr the best, as I probably know less about them than the first three wives.  Anne of Cleves' story was particularly interesting, told in flashbacks as she is near the end of her life, visited by the ghosts of her past.  3.5 stars

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: One Night at the Lake

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

One Night at the Lake
Bethany Chase
Expected publication date: June 18, 2019
A tragedy on a hot summer night at a lake house forever alters the lives of two best friends—and the man they both love. But the truth isn’t as simple as it appears in this intricate novel of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness in the tradition of Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s Bittersweet.

Leah Tessaro has been waiting for this moment for a long time: Her boyfriend, Ollie, is taking her to his family’s home on Seneca Lake for a week of lazy summer bliss, boating, and barbeque. The couple has been together for four years, and Leah is convinced that Ollie is finally going to pop the question. And Leah can’t wait to share the joyous news with her best friend, June Kang, who is joining them on their getaway, and whose presence will make everything feel more real.

Seven years later, the moment June has been dreading has finally arrived: Her fiancĂ©, Ollie, is taking her to his family’s lake house. But this is not an ordinary visit to an ordinary place; it is a house haunted by June’s long-buried memories of her lost friend, Leah—and the connection that appears to remain between Leah and the man for whom June’s love is as deep as her sense of foreboding.

Alternating between the two women’s vibrant voices, One Night at the Lake is a gripping novel that explores a complex tangle of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, all driving toward one question: What exactly happened to Leah on that hot summer night? - from Goodreads
I read Bethany Chase's previous books last year and really enjoyed them, so I was glad to see she finally had another one coming out!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: A Decade of Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is our favorite books of the last 10 years.  It was so hard to narrow it down to one book for each year, but here goes!











Friday, May 24, 2019

Try It, You Might Like It #9: Cookbooks

"Try it, you might like it" - it's what someone says when they present you with some food you've never had before or your mom wants you to try on some clothes she picked out for you.  I'm using it here on the blog as inspiration to choose books in genres I don't normally read; to branch out from my reading comfort zones; and to maybe find some new favorites!  I haven't done this feature in over a year (!), but one of my goals this year was to bring it back, so here we go!

Much to my mother's dismay, I am a pretty terrible cook.  She is a wonderful cook and baker, but no matter how many times she's tried to teach me, I've just never gotten the hang of cooking.  I have a few tried-and-true recipes, but luckily, I snagged a husband that is not only an awesome cook, but who actually enjoys the process.  However, there's still a part of me that longs to be a boss in the kitchen, so I picked up Chrissy Teigen's Cravings: Hungry for More to check out some recipes.

I picked Chrissy's cookbook because, well, it's Chrissy.  She's fun and funny, and I find it so refreshing that she's a model who doesn't hide the fact that she loves to eat.  This is her second cookbook and it promised quick recipes with fewer ingredients (ostensibly for busy parents, but also good for people who have little confidence in the kitchen!).

There are about 100 recipes in this book, and they run the gamut - breakfast dishes, salads, soups, dinners, Thai-inspired recipes, some desserts, even a section called "Potatoes & Their Friends"! I liked the large variety, but there were some I skipped over automatically (anything with fish, really, as my husband is allergic to shellfish and doesn't particularly like the types of fish he can eat).  Although the recipes occasionally called for cookware we don't own, I thought most of the methods were pretty do-able.  The ingredients weren't too outrageous, as well - a pet peeve of mine is recipes that call for expensive or hard-to-find ingredients, especially where you have to buy a ton just for a small amount in the recipe.  The blurb promised quick dishes, but I found that A LOT of them took more than 40 minutes, and there were some that would take a couple hours!  That's not practical for me.

I enjoyed reading Chrissy's little blurbs at the beginning of each recipe, either with her feelings towards the dish or some memory associated with it or the inspiration behind it, and I've definitely copied a couple recipes that I would love to try in the future.  I don't think I'll be reading more cookbooks any time soon, though, especially considering I have an entire Pinterest board of recipes I've saved and have yet to try!

Do you like to cook?  Do you have any go-to cookbooks?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Time After Time

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Time After Time
Lisa Grunwald
Expected publication date: June 11, 2019
A magical love story, inspired by the legend of a woman who vanished from Grand Central Terminal, sweeps readers from the 1920s to World War II and beyond, in the spirit of The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

On a clear December morning in 1937, at the famous gold clock in Grand Central Terminal, Joe Reynolds, a hardworking railroad man from Queens, meets a vibrant young woman who seems mysteriously out of place. Nora Lansing is a Manhattan socialite whose flapper clothing, pearl earrings, and talk of the Roaring Twenties don’t seem to match the bleak mood of Depression-era New York. Captivated by Nora from her first electric touch, Joe despairs when he tries to walk her home and she disappears. Finding her again—and again—will become the focus of his love and his life.

Nora, an aspiring artist and fiercely independent, is shocked to find she’s somehow been trapped, her presence in the terminal governed by rules she cannot fathom. It isn’t until she meets Joe that she begins to understand the effect that time is having on her, and the possible connections to the workings of Grand Central and the solar phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun rises or sets between the city’s skyscrapers, aligned perfectly with the streets below.

As thousands of visitors pass under the famous celestial blue ceiling each day, Joe and Nora create a life unlike any they could have imagined. With infinite love in a finite space, they take full advantage of the “Terminal City” within a city, dining at the Oyster Bar, visiting the Whispering Gallery, and making a home at the Biltmore Hotel. But when the construction of another landmark threatens their future, Nora and Joe are forced to test the limits of freedom and love.

Delving into Grand Central Terminal’s rich past, Lisa Grunwald crafts a masterful historical novel about a love affair that defies age, class, place, and even time. - from Goodreads
I love time travel stories, especially ones that involve romance, and the iconic location of Grand Central Terminal sounds perfect!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Down The TBR Hole #2

Time for another round of Down the TBR Hole!  This is a feature created by Lost in a Story.  So how does it work?
  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

The Gilded Wolves by Roshni Chokshi

When I first heard about this book, I was super-excited for it.  Since then, I've seen a lot of great reviews, but I'm just not really into fantasy right now at all and the whole synopsis is confusing me.  Pass!

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkin Reid

I don't even need to think twice about this one, definitely keeping it!  It's TJR!

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

This is the third book in a historical fiction series I've been enjoying about a cathedral in England.  I read the first book in college, so this is a long time coming!  Even though this book is close to 1000 pages and I'm not sure when I'll get to it, I'm keeping this one!

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

This book tells the love story between C.S. Lewis (author of the Narnia series) and his wife, Joy.  The love story interests me, although part of me is worried that there will be a lot of religious talk in the book.  Keeping - for now.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

A husband and wife look to add some spice to their somewhat-boring lives by planning murders - this just sounds too fun to get rid of!  Keeping this one!

Have you read any of these?

Friday, May 17, 2019

Review: When You Read This

When You Read This
Mary Adkins
Published February 5, 2019
For fans of Maria Semple and Rainbow Rowell, a comedy-drama for the digital age: an epistolary debut novel about the ties that bind and break our hearts.

Iris Massey is gone. But she’s left something behind.

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss. - from Goodreads
This book wasn't what I expected, and it bummed me out! I've read and enjoyed books before that feature characters suffering from terminal illnesses (and they can be quite uplifting, ironically), but unfortunately, When You Read This was full of unlikable characters and a depressing tone.  The blurb states it's a romantic comedy, but I got neither of those things.

Smith, Iris' colleague, and Jade, Iris' sister, are the two major players in the story.  After Smith's intern, Carl, finds a print-out of Iris' blog in her old desk with a note asking Smith to get it published after her death, Smith begins reaching out to different publishing avenues while also trying to get Jade on board.  Smith seems like a nice guy, I guess, but he's also got some major personal issues and can be quite unethical in his professional life.  Jade came across cold, rude, and hypocritical - she randomly decides to honor Iris' dream of opening a bakery, something she never even knew Iris wanted until after she died, yet she is so against publishing the blog entries, which Iris expressly stated her desire for.  I thought the "romance" (and I put this in quotes because it hardly came through) between Smith and Jade felt forced, and there were more sparks between Iris and the man she was dating just before she passed away.

At the risk of sounding callous, I also didn't really understand Iris' motivation in wanting to get the blog published.  I appreciate that she wanted to express herself, but to me the posts were kind of confusing/didn't have a clear message/didn't say anything profound.  I don't know, maybe I just didn't get it, but I don't feel like I got to know Iris that well.

There were a couple things I liked.  I enjoyed the epistolary nature of the story - the blog posts, emails, texts.  It's a very modern and creative way of telling a story.  It lets different avenues inform us about the characters, but at the same time, it can feel too surface-y.  Even though I hated Carl the intern, he was also the only character that made me almost laugh, simply because he was so obnoxious and unprofessional. The book was also a super-quick read; I flew through it in just a few hours on a rainy Sunday.  Overall, though, I just didn't feel good reading this book.

2.5 stars

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Recursion

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Blake Crouch
Expected publication date: June 11, 2019
What if someone could rewrite your entire life?

"My son has been erased." Those are the last words the woman tells Barry Sutton, before she leaps from the Manhattan rooftop.

Deeply unnerved, Barry begins to investigate her death, only to learn that this wasn't an isolated case. All across the country, people are waking up to lives different from the ones they fell asleep to. Are they suffering from False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious new disease that afflicts people with vivid memories of a life they never lived? Or is something far more sinister behind the fracturing of reality all around him?

Miles away, neuroscientist Helena Smith is developing a technology that allows us to preserve our most intense memories and relive them. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to reexperience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

Barry's search for the truth leads him on an impossible, astonishing journey as he discovers that Helena's work has yielded a terrifying gift--the ability not just to preserve memories but to remake them . . . at the risk of destroying what it means to be human.

At once a relentless thriller and an intricate science fiction puzzle box, Recursion is a deeply felt exploration of the flashbulb moments that define us--and who we are without them. - from Goodreads
I loved Crouch's Dark Matter, so I'm very excited for another sci-fi story with a human touch!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Quotables #13

I think sometimes books really do find us when we need them the most, without us even realizing it.  It's such a comforting thought!

I like this quote because it's something I've never really thought about, but when I read it, I thought it was so true.  Sometimes a boyfriend doesn't truly feel like a member of the family until you get engaged or married, but with best friends, it's so different.

The ability to travel practically anywhere without leaving my couch is one of my favorite things about reading.  I get to learn so much!

Which of these is your favorite?

Friday, May 10, 2019

Review: The Girl He Used to Know

The Girl He Used to Know
Tracey Garvis Graves
Published April 2, 2019
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people's behavior confusing, she'd rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game--and his heart--to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She's living the life she wanted as a librarian. He's a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins. - from Goodreads
When I really love a book, it's often hard for me to articulate why, so I've decided to forego a traditional review for this book and instead write a letter to the author!

Dear Tracey,

Thank you, thank you for writing The Girl He Used to Know.  Within the first few pages, I was completely enveloped in Annika and Jonathan's story, and I spent every spare minute I could reading this book, wanting to know if their second chance at romance would work out.

I don't know that I've ever read a book where a main character was on the autism spectrum.  I feel like I learned so much about this disorder through Annika.  From the way she decided what clothes to wear to the coping mechanisms she found for herself to get through social interactions, the portrayal felt so honest and vulnerable.  Even though there were people that didn't understand or tried to take advantage of her, I loved that she was able to find friends that accepted her.  Janice was amazing!

As much as I loved seeing the world through Annika's eyes, I'm glad that we also got to experience Jonathan's POV.  The way he looked at Annika, his thoughts about her - we should all be so lucky to find someone who loves us that unconditionally.  Seeing their relationship blossom was one of my favorite parts of the book.  I loved how Annika felt comfort and safety in Jonathan like she never had with anyone else; I loved how Jonathan was so supportive and understanding of Annika.  

As the chapters moved between past and present, I was on tenterhooks waiting for the inevitable break-up.  I couldn't imagine what could tear Annika and Jonathan apart, but when it finally happened, it was sad but understandable. Even though it takes 10 years for them to run into each other again, it's almost like it didn't matter - their feelings were still so strong.

After all that Annika and Jonathan go through, in the past and the present, I want to know what happens next!  The book ended much too soon for me, and even though I like when books don't wrap everything up neatly, here I wanted just a bit more!

Thank you again for a wonderful story and beautiful characters.

A New Fan

4.5 stars

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Passion on Park Avenue

Can't-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!

Passion on Park Avenue
Lauren Layne
Expected publication date: May 28, 2019
From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page. - from Goodreads
I love chick lit and anything set in NYC!  Plus, that cover is adorable!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Remind Me of Myself

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is characters that remind us of ourselves.

I've been listening to The Accidental Beauty Queen on audio, and I immediately connected with Charlotte, the main character.  She takes her twin sister's place in a beauty pageant after her sister suffers from a major allergic reaction.  Charlotte is a total bookworm who brings a TBR stack on vacation with her to spend a week at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I totally identify with that!  I'm a twin, too, and the way Charlotte always compared herself to her sister, mostly negatively, really resonated with me.

TJR's books have such relatable characters, and many of them are of a similar age and stage in life as me.  In After I Do, the main character met her husband in college when she was 19, which was the same age and place I met my husband.
In Forever, Interrupted, before she meets her husband, Elsie's idea of a perfect Friday night is eating pizza, watching tv, and reading a book - honestly, this is me more nights than I'd care to admit to!

I love Emma Mills' books because she writes high school characters that actually feel real.  in First & Then, Devon really reminded me a lot of myself when I was in high school: I identified with her fear of being average, of not knowing what she wanted to do with her life, of being kind of on the fringe in school, and having an unrequited crush on her friend.  Plus, she loves books!

This one is a little cliche, but I'm going to say Hermione - I can only dream of being as smart as Hermione, but her love of books and school and her rule-following ways are definitely things I can relate to!

Can you relate to any of these characters?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Bookworm Problems: The Library Edition

I love my local library - it has a fabulous collection, is close to my house, and the employees are great.  But every once in awhile, some bookworm problems arise - here's a countdown of my five biggest bookworm problems associated with the library.

5.  They don't have a book I want.  Now, this rarely happens.  My library is part of a county system, so usually one of the libraries will have what I'm looking for.  But sometimes, they don't.  Thankfully, I can make purchase or inter-library loan requests.  However, even this isn't guaranteed.  I requested a book recently without realizing it hadn't come out in the United States yet.  The library was unable to get a copy of it, and they weren't sure when it would be released here (my sister was able to get a Kindle version of the book, though!).

4.  A book is missing from the shelf.  Most of the time when I go to the library, I'm picking up holds that have come in, but sometimes I'll go in to peruse the shelves or grab something particular.  I try to make sure before I go that it's actually available, but when I get there, it's gone!  Either it's been shelved incorrectly or someone else got to it before I did.

3.  The teen room is only for teens.  At my library, the YA section is housed in its own special room, with a big sign that says, "TEENS ONLY."  While I love the idea of young adults having their own space, can I really not go in there?  I just want to get one thing off the shelves!

2.  I waited too long to put myself on a wait list.  Sometimes there are just too many books for me to remember, and I don't always get myself on the wait list for a popular book early enough.  When I finally get around to it, sure enough, I'm 109th on the list.  See you in six months?

And my #1 bookworm problem at the library is...

1.  All my holds come in at the same time.  It's not unusual for me to have five or ten books on hold at a time, at various stages of the wait list.  Usually I do a pretty good job of managing them so I get a couple at a time, but every once in awhile, the stars will align (or misalign) and suddenly eight books are waiting to be picked up!

So, fellow bookworms, what are some issues you've run into at the library?

Friday, May 3, 2019

Retellings Mini-Reviews

Ten Little Astronauts by Damon L. Wakes (2018)

A novella retelling of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, set aboard a spaceship headed for a distant planet.

Blair, an engineer, is one of 4000 people cryogenically frozen on a ship hurtling through space.  He along with nine other people are awoken when the ship detects something that needs their attention.  When they find a person who has clearly been murdered, they all soon realize that one of them must have done it.

It's bad enough that the ship is partially crippled, but now these crew members have to figure out who the murderer is among them.  The story is quite short and moves at a fast pace, so there wasn't a ton of time for any character development or even build-up of the mystery.  It was really more process of elimination as more people are killed, so that was a little disappointing.  I wish the story had been more fleshed out, but I did enjoy the straightforward writing and the space setting, and the reasoning behind the murders was pretty unexpected.  4 stars

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (2019)

A retelling of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan.  Alys is one of five sisters that her mother can't wait to see married off.  When she meets Valentine Darsee at a wedding, sparks fly - but not in a good way.  However, as she gets to know him, Alys realizes there might be more to Darsee than she originally thought.

I love P&P retellings, and this was a good one.  The idea of a mother wanting to find wealthy husbands for her daughters translated well to the modern setting.  I loved Alys' headstrong and independent nature; as a teacher, she is constantly impressing upon her students that they can have dreams besides only becoming a wife and mother.  She herself doesn't think she will ever get married.  At times, she could be a little too sanctimonious, particularly when disciplining her sisters.  Her mother was wonderfully overbearing and her father had the heart and dry sense of humor of the original Mr. Bennet (my favorite character from the classic story).  Kamal did a beautiful job of bringing the setting of Pakistan to life - the culture, religion, clothing, FOOD.  It was totally immersive.  My only quibble with the book was that it sometimes felt too close to the original, like just the names were changed.  I wish Kamal had been a little more creative with the retelling.  4 stars

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Month in Review: April 2019

April is the birthday month in my family - aunts, cousins, nephews, brother-in-law, my sister, and me!  It seems like I was sending out cards and gifts and going to parties every weekend!  And we'll have another birthday to celebrate next year because our niece was just born - Tom and I became uncle and aunt for the 9th time!  My blog also celebrated its third birthday this month - I'm hosting a giveaway to celebrate.  It's going on for a couple more days if you haven't entered yet!

I finally took the plunge and read my first e-book this month.  My sister had a book on her Kindle that I couldn't get anywhere else, so I gave in and borrowed it for a week.  I definitely won't be giving up my paper books any time soon, but it wasn't bad!

We celebrated Easter a day early at my sister's house.  She had a pretty big crowd, and the weather cleared up just enough so my niece could do her egg hunt outside. 

We went to the movies twice this month.  I wasn't really excited about seeing Shazam because I had never even heard of it, but I ended up enjoying it a lot!  And of course, we saw Avengers: Endgame.  We bought our tickets a couple weeks, we were so excited!  We went on the Sunday of opening weekend, and I was actually able to avoid all spoilers.  I was so annoyed that headlines talking about the movie's ending were already up on Friday, so I basically just avoided the internet after that.  I LOVED the movie!  Such a perfect culmination of the last decade of Marvel movies.  I knew I would probably cry, but I was not prepared for the amount of tears streaming down my face. 

The Books

The Lake House (reread) // Before I Fall (reread) // Good Morning, Midnight (reread) // Scarlet (reread)

Me Before You (reread) // Something Borrowed (reread) // Evidence of the Affair // Ten Little Astronauts (review to come)

The Perfect Girlfriend // Starry Eyes // Yes Please (audio) // Unmarriageable (review to come)

Thanks to Lindsi at Do You Dog-Ear? for the copy of Starry Eyes!

The Song of Achilles // The Girl He Used to Know (review to come) // The Girl You Left Behind // Royals

The Posts and Reviews

The Posts I Loved

Amy at A Magical World of Words talks six blogging mistakes to avoid

Jess at Jessticulates unleashes some unpopular SFF opinions 

Laura at Boats Against the Current offers tips on how to find ideas for discussion posts 

Michelle at Pink Polka Dot Books writes a break-up letter to ghost books

How was your April?