Welcome to another monthly round up of book reviews. The month of April was jam-packed with travel trips to Marrakech, Magaluf and Norway, but I did manage to squeeze a few books in-between.
I managed to get through seven books in the month of April, including some five-star reads.
Here are the reviews and ratings of the seven books I read in April 2023:
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Elsie Porter is an average twenty-something and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped. Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.
My rating: ★★★
I finally made it through the final two Taylor Jenkins Reid books on my list this month and am glad I did. However, you can really tell how TJR’s writing has improved over the years with her newer releases (which are much better in my opinion) and that she’s also found her style writing about celebrities/famous people. Her early works are ok, but definitely nothing compared to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo or Malibu Rising.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are. So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret—one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us.
My rating: ★★★
This is my second Elizabeth Strout book as I read My Name is Lucy Barton during my year in New York. I picked it up as Jack Edwards recommended it, and I was a little apprehensive as I had found MNiLB quite mediocre and didn’t love Elizabeth Strout’s writing. Unfortunately I also found this to be quite down the middle and average. Even though the characters were written well, I don’t think I could connect to the story due to the characters being in their 70s/80s.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively.
My rating: ★★★★★
My only review of this book is that it should be mandatory reading for everyone. As a white person, it’s imperative to know how much privilege you have and every situation that takes place in. I learnt so much from this book but know that I have a long way to go in educating myself about race and race issues across the world and will make sure to expand my reading and learning to other resources available and continue to recommend them to you too.
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes. Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
My rating: ★★★★
I have finally read everything that Taylor Jenkins Reid has ever published. This book along with Forever, Interrupted are two of her earliest books which is very telling as they’re so different from recent releases like Daisy Jones & The Six and Malibu Rising for example. Of the two I read this month, I definitely favoured this over Forever, Interrupted. The storyline had me gripped a lot more, but I dropped it down a star as some things came across as quite unrealistic and strange behaviour-wise.
My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen
So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more. When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better. This is my story.
My rating: ★★★★★
I went into this book not really knowing a lot about Lily Allen as I wasn’t the biggest fan of her music growing up and didn’t follow what she was up to in the tabloids. However, I have huge respect for Lily Allen as a person, artist, mum and everything that she is after reading about her career, what she went through with a stalker and her battle with drinks and drugs. Yes she’s open about how she was able to have a career in music, but sometimes fame and success just aren’t worth the baggage that comes with it.
At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop
Alfa Ndiaye is a Senegalese man who, never before having left his village, finds himself fighting as a so-called “Chocolat” soldier with the French army during World War I. When his friend Mademba Diop, in the same regiment, is seriously injured in battle, Diop begs Alfa to kill him and spare him the pain of a long and agonizing death in No Man’s Land. Unable to commit this mercy killing, madness creeps into Alfa’s mind as he comes to see this refusal as a cruel moment of cowardice. Anxious to avenge the death of his friend and find forgiveness for himself, he begins a macabre ritual: every night he sneaks across enemy lines to find and murder a blue-eyed German soldier, and every night he returns to base, unharmed, with the German’s severed hand.
My rating: ★★★★
I picked this up on the recommendation of Jack Edwards from one of his recent YouTube videos. As you can tell with most of my book reviews, most of my library picks are because I’ve seen the book mentioned on Jack’s channel. Although this was a very short book, it definitely packed a punch. With quite a gruesome storyline, it transported you to life in World War I as a soldier and how this impacts emotions/mental health. An excellent book.
The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
Siobhan is a quick-tempered life coach with way too much on her plate. Miranda is a tree surgeon used to being treated as just one of the guys on the job. Jane is a soft-spoken volunteer for the local charity shop with zero sense of self-worth. These three women are strangers who have only one thing in common: They’ve all been stood up on the same day, the very worst day to be stood up–Valentine’s Day. And, unbeknownst to them, they’ve all been stood up by the same man.
My rating: ★★★★★
Now that I’ve read all of Beth O’Leary’s books, I can safely say that The No-Show is my favourite. I was a little apprehensive going into The No-Show as I read Beth O’Leary’s most recent book release (before The No-Show) called The Road Trip in March and didn’t overly enjoy it.
However, with three separate love stories happening in this book, all tied to the one man, I was hooked and still can’t get over some of the twists and turns towards the end of the book. Definitely my favourite book from Beth O’Leary so far and this has me excited for her upcoming release in September this year.