April 2019 Round-Up

It doesn’t feel like it’s been a month since I was last doing this, yet here we are in May. I finished twenty books in April, not as many as I hoped, and I didn’t manage to complete either readathon, but twice as many as March.

Books Read in April

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The Passengers – John Marrs

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

A Whole New World – Liz Braswell

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

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Murder Games – James Patterson & Howard Roughan

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

As Old As Time – Liz Braswell

Twisted – Steve Cavanagh

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The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley










The Humid – Russell Cordner

Circe – Madeline Miller

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley

Quality DNA by [Martin, Beth]
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Quality DNA – Beth Martin

The Lights – Nathan Kuzack

The Rumour – Lesley Kara

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare

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Demon Seed – Dean Koontz

Legend

The Bad Mother

I Am Not a Serial Killer


I still have reviews for some of these to be published over the next week or so. I’m also still trying to decide the best way to do my monthly round-up.

May Goals

I haven’t finished any of the books from the Avengers Readathon yet, and there are a couple of books that I’m really excited to read this month. Otherwise I’m planning on having a less structured month and reading whatever I’m in the mood for.

I’m only 20 books away from my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2019, so I’m hoping I might be able to complete that this month.


What did you read in April? What are your reading goals for May?

Review: The Lights ★★★★

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

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The Lights are all over the Earth. Is it the rapture, or an alien invasion? Steven and his father have a plan for when the Lights come, but when someone needs Steven’s help will he stick to the plan, or abandon it to save her?








I really liked this book, there were a couple of points in the first few chapters when I thought the writing was a bit jarring, but after that I was enjoying the book so much that I didn’t notice any more.

This book was really interesting in the way it considered both science and religion as an explanation for the lights. Usually in these books one option is right, and people who believe the other are seen as crazy, but in this both options are seen as valid and we don’t know which is correct. We see good and bad from both sides, and the reader interprets which option they choose to believe.

One of the things I loved about this book was Steven and his father’s reaction to the Lights. In some ways it reminded me of The War of the Worlds in the lack of urgency and the very British way of reacting to things. Steven and his father have a plan to escape, but are waiting until the Lights actually come to their town to escape. This was very similar to The War of the Worlds in which people are unconcerned until the aliens are actively attacking them. Aliens two miles down the road is fine.

After the Lights arrive the story follows a more traditional plot, trying to stay out of the path of the Lights as they face more challenges to survive. Even though this follows a familiar plot I was still engrossed in the book and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. Nathan Kuzack creates characters that you come to care about very quickly.

This book feels like a traditional sci-fi and I’d recommend it to both fans of YA, and those who prefer more adult books. This was a unique take on possible aliens and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m definitely going to be reading more books by this author.

Let me know if you read this book because I’d love to talk about it.

Reading The Lights at 37,000 feet

Review: The Hunting Party ★★★

EVERYONE’S INVITED.
EVERYONE’S A SUSPECT.Everyone’s Invited

Everyon

In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather.
The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
The outsider
The victim.
Not an accident – a murder among friends.

Blurb from Amazon
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party was another book that didn’t live up to expectations. From the blurb I was expecting an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery, 9 guests, one of them has been found dead, who is the killer?

Instead this is more similar to Big Little Lies were we know somebody has been murdered but we don’t know who. There are chapters from the point of view of different guests, leading up to the murder, and the lodge staff after the murder interspersed throughout the book.

I think I would have enjoyed the story more if it had been told in a more linear fashion, with the discovery of the body (and the identity of the victim) at the start of the book, then flashing back to the start of the holiday. I personally find more enjoyment in trying to guess the identity of the killer. I don’t find that hiding the identity of the victim adds any tension to the story and it removes the opportunity to guess at the identity of the killer.

I did really like the following quote from the book. I’ve always believed that anyone is capable of murder given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

Some people, given just the right amount of pressure, taken out of their usual, comfortable environments, don’t need much encouragement at all to become monsters.

The Hunting Party

Overall I did enjoy the book, it just wasn’t what I had been expecting.

Review: The Chalk Man ★★.5

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realises that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Goodreads blurb
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The Chalk Man is another book with great reviews that missed the mark, it alternated between 1986 and 2016 but I didn’t connect with either storyline.

This book follows a pretty standard thriller plot, with events from years before finally being resolved, but didn’t bring anything new or create characters that I cared about. The events were vaguely connected, but mostly due to the fact that they took place during the same summer rather than any deeper connection.

Often the characters in thrillers are flawed or unlikeable and the author draws the reader in, making them care about the character in spite of this, but I didn’t get that in this book. I didn’t like the character any more at the end of the story than at the beginning. I also felt let down that the twists weren’t unexpected or gripping. They were the predictable ‘twists’ that you would expect with no surprises.

I think this book may have suffered due to my reading it after Twisted, as this just wasn’t up to the same standard. It was okay, but nothing mind blowing.