April 2023 in Books

April is always this conundrum to me. It feels like an incredibly long month but I’m also trying to grapple with the fact that it’s already over and now it’s May! I did so much in April. Hung out with so many friends, went on so many adventures, drank a lot of wine, and enjoyed the sunshine. The best part about the weather getting better is that now I have many more places to read. In fact, we have 2 different hammocks in our backyard (1 sitting and 1 laying) and I have been taking full advantage of it before it’s too hot to lay outside. I told myself I wouldn’t buy anymore books this month and I think I bought at lease 5 so… I’m really bad at this. If everyone could stop publishing books for like, a year, that’d be wonderful. Please and thank you.

Anyway, despite driving into work 3 days a week, I actually didn’t get through a lot of my audiobooks. I’ve been listening to some podcasts and just jamming out to music. In fact, I need to update my Spotify playlists after I finish writing this post that I completely forgot about until April 30th. My bad. That’s how busy I’ve been guys. I have so many ideas for my website (mostly things to write), which I’m hoping to focus on. This isn’t just a book place, I swear.

Anne Boleyn, A Kings Obsession (Six Tudor Queens #2) by Allison Weir

My Rating: 1/5 stars
I picked up this book, unaware that it was the 2nd in a series. I am a big Anne Boleyn fan (still feels weird to say that) so I know a lot about her and quite a bit about the other wives. That being said, this book absolutely didn’t make me want to read the rest. I understand this is “historical fiction” but Weir really leans on the “fiction” part way too hard. Being in Anne’s head is like being in a bratty 12 year old girls’ head. Weir clearly doesn’t like Anne (or any of the Boleyn’s) and never allows Anne to progress. Even at 31 years old, Anne is still a bratty girl who throws jealous temper tantrums. Most of her thoughts are about cute boys or keeping her virginity. Anne was known to be cunning and witty – none of that is present in this book. Most of her “cunning” is done accidentally. She falls into the historical movements that Anne was so instrumental in. It’s pure insult. She also remains incredibly insecure, which wasn’t a trait that Anne was reported to have. Anne is horrified by rape, and yet barely bats an eye when George full on admits that he rapes women (yes, let’s further push the “she slept with her brother” rumor by talking about how she loves him no matter what). Most of this book was pure fluff. It could have been 200 pages shorter. It makes me think the author got paid by the letter. The book gets a lot of stuff wrong (sure, fine, whatever, fiction). I hated this book.

I would like to talk about how much was done to placate a man child. King Henry VIII was just the biggest baby. I cannot believe that people actually listened to this loser. He was going to find anyone that would annul his marriage to Katherine. The hoops he jumped through were astounding. WHICH. ACTUALLY. Now that I’m writing this out, I cannot believe this author really fought so hard to make Anne insecure and childish, despite the fact that this man literally created a whole ass religion just to be able to marry her. Come on.

Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

My Rating: 4/5 stars
Look, ma, it’s not a series! I have read Christina Lauren before and I enjoyed it immensely. I desperately needed something that would cleanse my palate instead of continued disappointment. Let me tell you, this best friend duo really knows how to write a book to bring you out of a rut! The characters were all well written. Jess and River didn’t seem like a forced couple (fake dating!), they really felt like they fit well together, once both of them let their guards down a bit. The scientific jargon made me yawn (I’d love for an actually scientific person to tell me if what they wrote was actually fairly accurate or not though) but I skimmed that stuff anyway (sorry not sorry). River might be one of my favorite book boyfriends πŸ™‚

The Deal (Off Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy

My Rating: 3/5 stars
I desperately wanted to HATE this book. I did. But it’s a solid 3. I will say, the author’s POV in Garrett’s head isn’t great. She doesn’t write male POV’s very well. She managed to work in the r*pe storyline okay. In the first 6 lines, we learn that Hannah was r*ped years ago and it just jumps right out at you. It made me really angry. I thought it wasn’t going to pertain to the story and it did, in a way. However, it’s definitely a trigger warning for people. This book was also fake dating – which I’ve decided is my 2nd favorite trope (obviously after Enemies to Lovers). Can someone please let me know if you know anyone who regularly says “hells yeah”? Because the author seems to think 20something college boys say it A LOT. I’ve never, in my 34 years of life, heard someone say “hells yeah”. There were a lot of cringy lines. Like this gem: “I’m well aware that we sound like characters from a cheesy porno” ARE YOU THOUGH? ARE YOU THAT SELF AWARE? I don’t think either of the characters really are that self aware, tbh. The character development is… lacking. Hannah doesn’t go out and party/drink but she has a fake ID (she’s not Veronica Mars either)? Weird. Can we also talk about how all girls are just sooooooo tiny in all these books? Just so itsy bitsy ommmgggggg do you have to buy kids clothing? Gag me. It’s okay to have a female romance character be over 5’3 and 115 pounds. It really won’t kill you.

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

My Rating: 5/5 stars
I was hooked right out of the gate. The prologue got me with the dead body floating down in Lake Tahoe. Hells yeah (jk). This book is told in two POVs: Nina (the con artist) and Vanessa (the girl from old money and an instagram influencer), which is incredibly helpful. You get to see every single interaction between the women from both sides. Seemingly small gestures from one woman are taken a completely different way by the other woman. It creates a very interesting battle in your head. Which woman is in the right? I sided with Nina immediately. This family ruined her entire life. She deserves revenge. But the sensible (and let’s face it, lazy) woman inside me realizes that revenge isn’t a dish best served cold. It’s best served never. Karma will get people… Which it seems was what was happening with Vanessa, so Nina stepping in really just delayed the inevitable. I will say, my prediction as to who the dead body was, was correct πŸ˜‰ But the reasoning why the dead body was the dead body was not correct. So I only get half a point. My mind really warred with itself during this one on who the bad guy really was and what was the true story. I do have to say that Nina is kind of a bad con artist. I can’t spoil it, so I won’t, but there’s a scene with a safe that made me almost throw my book across the room and say, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR DAMN MIND?!” The moral of this book is that everyone needs therapy so go make your appointment.

The Lost Girls by Ava Benny-Morrison

My Rating: 4/5 stars
This was one of my Powell’s books purchases from my RV Road Trip last May! I’d like to start out by telling my American audience that the dates in this book are like this: 11 November 1988. It confused my brain a lot. Thanks, America, for being weirdos. This book is about the murders of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and Khandalyce Pearce (Karlie’s daughter). I had never heard of this case. It took place in Australia in the mid-2010s. It’s a pretty horrific case that made me tear up. The murderer is behind bars (thankfully) and it’s hard to talk about this book without referencing him. Karlie was in a very short term relationship with this man (I’m refusing to put his name here because he’s a trash human) that seemed fueled by drugs. This man murdered her, assaulted her body, and then murdered (and possibly assaulted) her 2.5 year old daughter, Khandalyce, simply because it’d be kinda weird if the mom went MIA and he had her kid. He has never really admitted to this crime (he did in court but then like, took it back?) and when he was in court, he continually tried to delay it by giving completely bullshit reasons. How none of her family members didn’t run across the court room and beat the living shit out of him, I will never know. This guy also continued to use Karlie’s bank card (which was replenished by her family members because he was using her phone to contact them and ask for money, pretending to be her) along with his ex-girlfriend. Which is where I want to stop. There was a human being who:

  • Knew that he murdered Karlie and Khandalyce but didn’t say anything because she hated Karlie for “taking away” her boyfriend (wut?)
  • Stayed with a man despite knowing that he sexually assaulted a 9 year old girl
  • Stayed with a man despite knowing that he murdered a 2.5 year old because he was sexually assaulting her

I don’t know if calling this woman a human being is fair, because she is utter scum too. I understand being afraid for your life, but there has to be line drawn somewhere. There has to be a point in time where you have to admit what you know. I had a really hard time with her – especially her outcome.

This book was very well written (despite some grammatical errors, mostly missing commas) and factual. You can tell the author did her research. She left her own opinions at the door, which is needed here. At this point, I don’t know if I want to read true crime anymore. I’m so worked up and just… angry.

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi [audiobook]

My Rating: 4/5 stars
It might surprise you to find out that I have never read this book. I had purchased this book in high school, intending to read it, but like so many books, it just sat there, waiting for me to pick it up (I didn’t). I honestly don’t know where that book went. I think I lent it to someone and it never made it’s way back to me. Which is fine. If you don’t know, this book is about the Manson Murders. The audiobook was great. Whoever this narrator is was born to read books aloud. I knew a lot about this case already so the first half of this book was a little repetitive for me. As it dived into the interviews and statements made by the Manson Family, that’s the stuff I didn’t really know about. The author really did a fantastic job of laying out the evidence but also really pointing out the pitfalls of the police force. The amount of times Charlie was just glossed over as a possible person of interest simply because he was such a nice guy (i.e. “charming” white man) was mind blowing. The police just refused to believe good old Charlie could do anything. When, in reality, he was manipulating young (and very sheltered) minds into believing him, no matter what. Here’s a reminder not to shelter your kids from everything – they could just go along with some psycho because they want to riot against you. I also really want to know why Spahn Ranch was just left to rot away with an incredibly old man as its owner. Where was his family? Or friends? Or like, literally anyone?

If you like true crime, I’d absolutely give this a listen (or read!). As a warning, since Manson was obsessed with a war between white place and black people, the n-word is used a lot in this book.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to include this next bit because it was a DNF (Did Not Finish). I decided that I wanted to share this DNF in here, just because it’s so popular and I wanted to share why I couldn’t finish it.

Spare by Prince Harry [audiobook]: In the end, I put this book down around 37% in. This book was not written for me. He tries to take every story the British Media (the actual scum of the Earth) has said about him and tells his side. It comes off as very “That’s not FAIR”. I tried to be sympathetic – I will (hopefully) never understand what it’s like to have the entire world reading un-true stories about me. In the end, it came off as very whiny and I stopped caring. I already know that 99.9% of what entertainment media says is a lie anyway. The second thing that made me stop was that Harry talks a lot about how he believed his mom never died, that she’s alive and well and simply living her best life in hiding. Clearly, I didn’t know Princess Diana but she did not seem like the type to abandon her children. Unfortunately, since I didn’t finish the book, I don’t know if he ever came to the realization that she is actually dead (that’s honestly what kept me going though). He definitely believed it into his 20s, which is so incredibly baffling. He’d talk about constantly seeing signs his mom sent him but if she was still alive, how was she sending you signs from the beyond? This book honestly made me re-consider which “side” I’m on in this whole fight between the Royal Family and Harry & Meghan. It really comes off as a huge money grab and maybe I was naive in thinking he just wanted to ~tell his truth~. Because his truth is kinda petty and childish. He sounded very fake to me.

Have you read any of these books? Have I convinced you (or not) to read any of these? What was your favorite book to read in April?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: