So, April’s been kinda long and not really spring-like. The first and last few days were amazing, as the weather was nice and I got to walk in nature, but the rest was… forgettable. But hey, at least Taylor Swift blessed us with the rerecording of Fearless! It was (mostly) all I listened to. (I still do, as I’m writing these lines.) I don’t know about you, but books, music and TV shows are the only things that keep me going during this pandemic. Also! I participated in my first read-a-thon of the year! And I’m doing two in May, so wish me good luck, as I definitely need that. And I’m happy to tell you that I read not one, but two five-star books!
Circe by Madeline Miller ➽ It’s been two years since I read the author’s other novel, The Song of Achilles, but I still remember how I felt while reading. I can’t recall a lot of the things that happened, but I still remember all the emotions I felt. It was a sunny April day when I finished it, and I remember crying while sitting in my bed. I was worried that Circe wouldn’t live up to that book, so I procrastinated reading it. True, it didn’t touch me as much as the aforementioned novel, but I loved it. It was such a great experience to read about Greek mythology again. I didn’t know a lot about Circe before, so it was good to get to know her story. Apart from Miller’s beautiful writing style, I appreciate that her main characters are always flawed and morally grey.
Content warnings: rape, violence, emotional abuse, blood, death, sexism, body horror.
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas ➽ I know I instantly rate a book five stars, if it makes me laugh and cry. I knew I’d probably like this book, as I loved Aiden’s debut, Cemetery Boys so much, but I didn’t think I would love it this much! Growing up, one of my favourite movies was Peter Pan (the 2003 version), I watched it numerous times. But then I read the original book, and it kinda ruined the experience for me, as J. M. Barrie’s classic is so bad in my opinion. (It’s sexist, creepy and I hated Peter in it.) However, this book gave back every old feeling I had towards the story! I loved how selfless Peter was here, and I adored his and Wendy’s banter. It is such a dark story, but Aiden’s humour shined through again! The atmosphere was superb, I usually have a hard time imagining settings, but I was immediately in Astoria when I started reading it. The twists were surprising, I literally gasped out loud once. It was addictive, I didn’t want to stop, but I also didn’t want to read it super fast, because I needed more time in that world. I think this is my favourite book so far this year, and Aiden just became a new favourite author.
Content warnings: grief, death, anxiety disorder, kidnapping, gun violence, medical content, alcoholism.
Once Upon an Eid edited by S. K. Ali & Aisha Saeed ➽ This is a middle grade anthology with stories about Eid, which is a celebration held by Muslim people twice a year. I learnt a lot about their religion and culture. I couldn’t choose a favourite story, I loved all except for three (but that’s just out of my personal preferences). Most of them were super cute and happy, but there were serious stories, which broke my heart. But even the sad ones showed that there is always something to celebrate.
Content warnings: islamophobia, grief, death of a parent.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas ➽ This has to be my favourite from Angie Thomas’ books! I really liked reading from Maverick’s point of view. Yes, he made some stupid mistakes, but he also tried to do better. I flew through this book, as it kept me at the edge of my seat. I am so fond of Angie’s writing style, it’s really captivating. And I love the fact that it has LGBTQ+ representation! I won’t spoil anything, but that storyline was so cute (well, it was bittersweet, but all in all cute).
Content warnings: gun violence, death, murder, violence, grief, racism, drug use, infidelity, mention of abortion, sexism, addiction, bullying.
Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly ➽ I really enjoyed this middle grade fantasy! I didn’t know what to expect, but I was invested in the story the whole time. It’s actually inspired by Filipino folklore! I loved to read about the main character, who knows that she’s no hero, but did what she felt was the right thing to do. Lalani is such a likeable girl. I found this to be quite unique, as it had POVs from not just humans, but creatures also! It had beautiful illustrations too.
Content warnings: death, abuse, bullying.
Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore ➽ This was my most anticipated release of 2021, but unfortunately, it did let me down. The synopsis is quite misleading, as I was anticipating a cute contemporary, in which my favourite musical, Wicked had a big part. Instead, I got a hugely depressing book full of trauma. This is of course, sadly, the reality for a lot of genderqueer people, so it’s important to have stories about it, but then the synopsis could have been a bit more clear on that. Apart from Wicked, I was waiting for this book eagerly, because it has genderqueer rep. We’re here for more nonbinary and genderqueer rep in books! I loved that Carey’s pronouns were at the beginning of each chapter, it was such a great idea. What I also liked was the relationship between Carey and their English teacher, and Carey and their mother. They were both super supportive of Carey, it was heartwarming to read. I also appreciated the notion to never give up on ourselves and to fight for our rights. Thankfully, it had a happy end, however, there was one part that felt like a fairy tale kind of unbelievable. Unfortunately, there were more things I didn’t like. Firstly, in spite of all the trauma, I just couldn’t really get close to Carey. Moreover, I didn’t get to like their friends, Monroe was actually quite annoying, and I found it so weird that Carey’s new friends were the ones who basically did all the work (plus, it felt so wrong as they were both BIPOC), but there wasn’t enough information about them. I especially didn’t like the romance. It felt forced and unauthentic. Imagine you know someone for several years, you had zero interaction, but one day you ask them out and fall in love with them. Finally, I wish Wicked had more part in it. Overall, I can recommend it, because it’s about such an important topic, but be sure to read content warnings, especially if you’re also nonbinary/genderqueer.
Content warnings: transphobia, homophobia, bullying, mention of suicidal ideations, death, terminal illness, dementia, hate crime, physical abuse, one Harry Potter reference.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman ➽ I think I’m going to stop experimenting with Backman’s books. I really liked A Man Called Ove, but then I read three of his novellas, and I disliked all of them. I still wanted to give another of his novels a shot, so I chose his newest one. Yes, there were ideas and thoughts I quite loved, and I was also fond of the interview style, but these were all I was satisfied with. I hated most of the characters, and I felt nothing towards the rest. Zara was insufferable from beginning to end. Just when I thought she changed a bit, she threw in a fatphobic comment, and laughed at it. I didn’t feel sorry for her problems at all, she annoyed me to no end with her obnoxiousness. Speaking of obnoxious, the narration was so annoying. I don’t know about you, but I just hate when the narrator addresses the reader, it’s so cringy. The ending was over the top, the usual Backman Hollywood style. One last critique: why did everyone hate people from Stockholm in this novel?
Content warnings: suicide, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, panic attacks/disorders, death, grief, fatphobia, addiction, gun violence.
Fence: Volume Two by C. S. Pacat ➽ I flew through this volume really quickly! I need to say that I prefer the first book, as this one was quite boring because there wasn’t really a plot, just the fencing tournament. Which is not that exciting, to be honest. I still liked it, but hopefully, the next one will be better.
The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson ➽ This one is a graphic novel memoir. I’d like to add that rating memoirs is quite hard, and this low rating is by no means for the author’s life, it’s simply for the memoir’s setup. I haven’t read anything by her so far, but I am always eager to read a queer person’s memoir. It felt less like a coherent memoir, and more like sharing fragmented sections of her life. Moreover, as I gathered, the majority of these are all from past Tumblr posts, so if you’re familiar with her work, you might have been more disappointed, as it doesn’t really contain new things. It was really surface-level, but I don’t really see a point in a memoir if you just mention certain stuff and quickly change the subject.
Content warnings: mental illness, self-harm, panic attack, homophobia.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson ➽ This is the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this book, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. I wish the e-book version was available to me, but I could only find the audiobook on Scribd. The narrators did a great job actually, it’s just that graphic novels are not that enjoyable in audio format. It’s forgettable, I probably won’t remember anything from this in a couple of days.
Content warnings: blood, violence, confinement, forced institutionalisation.
I participated in Mythothon Round 4, which was in the entirety of April. Out of the eleven books I had on my tbr, I managed to read five books. One book was supposed to be a reread, but I didn’t feel like reading an Agatha Christie. Four books got pushed to my May tbr, and I decided to not read The Princess Bride as the first page started with a fatphobic comment, and I wasn’t that interested in that anyway.
I finished Itaewon Class in April, and I really enjoyed it! I knew it wasn’t going to be a light-hearted k-drama, but I didn’t anticipate things to get dark that fast. All of the characters (well, at least the good guys) grew on me, I already miss them. Jo Yi-seo was quite antipathetic at first, but later on, I started liking her. I was so sad, as my favourite character at the beginning, Jang Geun-soo, changed his personality drastically. I get the reasoning behind it, but he was so cute and innocent, but then became just like his family. The main character, Park Sae-ro-yi, was amazing. I admired his kind heart towards the people who deserved it. I appreciated how this show talked about how some marginalised groups are perceived in South Korea, like trans and Black people. All in all, I’d recommend this to anyone, who’s looking for k-drama with a revenge plot.
I was searching for a The Way You Loved Me karaoke, and then I stumbled upon THIS fan video, which combined Taylor Swift’s song with The Notebook. Apparently, this song is inspired by the movie, which I didn’t know before, but they are definitely a perfect match! So of course I had to rewatch the film. Never mind it always wrecks me emotionally…
I marathoned Shadow and Bone in three days. At first, I had a hard time getting into the show, but it quickly grew on me. I loved Six of Crows when I read it, so I was excited to see the adaptation. I haven’t read the original trilogy, and I won’t because I tried and Alina annoyed me. So, I went into it not knowing a lot, and it was confusing at the beginning. Out of the two groups, I was more invested in what the Crows did, which is not surprising, as I love that group. I especially loved Kaz and Inej’s relationship! But the two true stars of the show were Jesper and Milo, the goat. Not kidding, when I saw that goat I was like “if someone hurts him, I’m done”. 😅 Goats are one of my favourite animals. (Also, a fun fact I know from watching the Afterparty on Netflix: there were actually two goats, one is called Ugri, and the other Bugri, which are both Hungarian words.) Speaking of Hungary, most of the scenes were filmed here, and it was just amazing to see my home country on the screen! After finishing, I became nostalgic, as I remembered November 2019, when I was lucky enough to interview Leigh Bardugo! How time flies, I still can’t believe it happened. The same day Ben Barnes and Kit Young showed up at the signing to visit Leigh, but unfortunately, by that time I was already on the train. After a few episodes, I was also really interested in Alina’s story! I didn’t particularly love Mal, but he was okay. And as I never finished Shadow and Bone, I haven’t met the Darkling before, so he was a brand new character for me. Well, he’s intriguing, for sure. Ben Barnes did an amazing job portraying him, but so did the other actors! They are all so talented! So, this Netflix TV show was mostly a positive experience, but there was something that felt uncomfortable. The fact that they made Alina biracial (half-Shu and half-Ravkan) is great, really. But how they handled it was really off. I read a blog post by Kate @ Your Tita Kate, which I highly recommend checking out, as she summed it up perfectly.
We got a new BTS song! It’s called Film Out and it’s for a Japanese film, Signal: The Movie. I think perfection sounds something like this, I’m obsessed!
April 9 meant Fearless (Taylor’s Version)! Most of these songs were like new releases to me, as I haven’t listened to them in ages. Out of the twenty-six songs (I don’t count the one remix), I love fifteen, which is amazing, considering I thought this album is not for me style-wise. My absolute favourites are You’re Not Sorry, The Way I Loved You, Jump Then Fall, Forever & Always (Piano Version) and Mr. Perfectly Fine.
K-dramas have such great music, so it’s no wonder that I liked Itaewon Class’s soundtrack! I already showed V’s song last month, so I’m not going to repeat myself now. Some of my other favourites are Start Over by Gaho, Someday, the Boy by Kim Feel and Say by Yoon Mi-rae.
How was your April? Tell me something that made you happy! Did you listen to Fearless (Taylor’s Version)? If yes, what are your favourite songs from it?
10 thoughts on “April wrap-up // Aka Taylor Swift saved April, and I read a lot”
Taylor’s release definitely made my birthday month a lot better!
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Oh, happy belated birthday!! 🎉
So cool that Shadow and Bone was filmed in your home country! I still haven’t finished it, because I also had a hard time getting into it. I did really love the Six of Crows bits though, Inej is EVERYTHING TO ME. For some reason I just don’t care a whole lot about the Shadow and Bone story. You read so many good books in April, glad you had a nice reading month!
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Ah, the Crows are the best! 💚 The show made me want to reread SoC and continue with the duology!
Hope you have a great reading month!
Oh, I’m so happy to hear that you loved Lost in the Never Woods as I’m so excited to read it! I adored Cemetery Boys and I used to love Peter Pan as a kid, so this sounds like the perfect book for me ❤ I got a copy of Concrete Rose as well and I cannot wait to finally read a new Angie Thomas book! 🥰
I liked reading your thoughts on the Shadow and Bome show, as I kept wondering how people who didn’t read the Grisha Trilogy would find it! Milo and Jesper were definitely my highlights as well 💕 I have to agree that Alina being biracial could have been handled better though
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I really hope you’ll enjoy both books! 💚
I’m glad you found my review interesting! Haha, glad you could relate to my love for Milo and Jesper. 😂
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Hiii this was such a great post, and I loved reading it. i feel bad that you didn’t like yiseo at first, she was my favourite~ Yesss film out is absolutely perfect, such a bop!!!
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Thank you!! I’m glad you liked it!
Ahh, Film Out is amazing. 😍
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ahh yes Taylor Swift and her music was everythinggg this past month. & it looks like you had a great reading month too :)) Circe was such a beautiful novel, and idk why i keep procrastinating on reading The Song of Achilles but hopefully i’ll get around to reading that one soon! 💙
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Yay to Taylor Swift! 😁 I hope you’ll be able to read The Song of Achilles soon! But be sure to have tissues ready. 😪😅
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