April Wrap Up 2016

Once again I had a pretty good reading month. I read nine books; three of which were on my kindle. My Goodreads challenge tells me that I am on track so far – I have read 33 books of my 100 book challenge. I think I am going to try out the read 5 books before you buy tactic after receiving quite a few books this month and realising my TBR pile is around 50 books. As always you can find my reading progress throughout the month on Goodreads if you are interested – my Goodreads. Like last month I have listed the books by rating, instead of chronological order. Let’s get started.

 

 

Sleeping Giants / Sylvain Neuval  ★★★
*digital ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Really more like a 2.5 star rating. I had this on my most anticipated books blog post, and would have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this book. Following the discovery of a giant metal hand on earth, this book chronicles the discovery and its after effects through interviews conducted by an anonymous person. A couple journal entries, news pieces and operation logs are also used. Don’t get me wrong overall I did enjoy this book, but felt that it had alot of potential that just wasn’t realised. The lack of characterisation left me disconnected from the characters, so throughout I didn’t feel particularly engaged with them or the plot. I also felt that it may have worked better if it was written in a more traditional way with interviews interwoven with the story throughout. Or if there had been more journal entries, news reports etc instead of mostly interviews. I like the idea of the format, I just think it didn’t quite work. Side note it kind of reminded me of the animated film The Iron Giant.

 

When We Were Orphans / Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★
Like the four other books I have read by Ishiguro, I did enjoy this book. However I would say that I personally felt that this was his weakest. I had some issues with the pacing and with some plot points, but once again Ishiguro crafts a complex and flawed narrator, who almost immediately reminded me of Mr Stevens from The Remains of the Day. Overall I did enjoy this, although I did feel it was maybe lacking in some way. I would recommend this, especially if you are an Ishiguro fan, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a starting place to his work.

 

Salt to the Sea / Ruta Sepetys ★★★
 It is historical fiction based around the devastating event of the sinking of a ship known as Wilhelm Gustloff when it was hit by Russian torpedoes in 1945. It follows four perspective – Joana, Florian, Emilia and Alfred. I thought this was a great book about something that I personally knew next to nothing about. However for me the short chapters didn’t work so well as it did in her other book, Between Shades of Grey. I found the short chapters left me feeling disconnected from the characters, and by extension the plot. The rapid change of perspective meant I also felt no real emotional connection with the characters and sometimes had trouble following the plot. I also felt the romance was a really obvious path/choice and was almost unnecessary. I have to admit that I am a little disappointed, as I had very high expectations from reading her other historical fiction book, Between Shades of Grey and all the other positive review. Overall I would recommend reading this and for the most part I do think it was a really great read.

 

Mary Barton / Elizabeth Gaskell ★
This is Gaskell’s first book and in my opinion it shows. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy this book; I just had some issues with it. The pacing was abit off, the characters lacked depth and I thought the plot was abit lacking as well. However the setting is a very interesting one and I will always enjoy Gaskell’s work. I definitely recommend if you are a fan of Gaskell. Full review coming soon.

 

Forest of Ruin / Kelley Armstrong  
This is the third and final book in the Age of Legend trilogy. This one is abit mixed for me. I really enjoyed it while I was reading – I love the interactions between the characters, the sarcasm and the sass but I can understand why some may be disappointed with this conclusion. As a book in a series this is great but as a conclusion to a trilogy I felt that it was abit lacking. Not alot actually happens and so too much focus is placed on the romance. I would have much preferred action and the twins actually doing something rather than them sorting out their relationships. I will say that I am happy with how the romance ended though. I also felt the ending was anticlimactic and even a bit clumsy – I’m not sure but looking back at it something just didn’t quite work for me. However while reading I was completely engaged and really enjoyed it. I would recommend, especially if you enjoy YA fantasy.

 

What’s Left of Me / Kat Zhang ★★★.5
I really enjoyed this first instalment of a trilogy, but I did have some issues with it. I thought the idea of having two souls in a body is a really interesting one and I really enjoyed the relationship between Addie and Eva. They each have their own distinctive personality and they work so well together. However I did feel that things progressed for Eva quite quickly. Similarly I feel like the parents jumped from one way of thinking to another really quickly, especially the father. I would have liked more world-building – more information about the world as a whole and not just how it is for Addie/Eva – just to give it more depth. Another thing is that I would have liked more background as to why hybrids are seen as a threat to society. I know having two souls is supposedly a danger to your sanity but I don’t quite understand why they are seen as such a threat. Maybe I missed something. However I did really enjoy it and I will be continuing on with this trilogy.

 

Wolf By Wolf / Ryan Graudin ★★★.5
*digital ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Set in 1956 this is an alternate history based on the Nazis control and the assassination of Hitler. I really enjoyed this book but I did have some issues with it. I felt as a whole the book was underdeveloped – I would have liked more depth from the setting and characters. The writing, mainly due to the flashbacks I think, could sometimes be a bit jarring and that disrupted the flow of the plot for me. I personally felt that the romance was unnecessary and also I’m pretty sure there is a love triangle which I also think is unnecessary (I really don’t like love triangles. However I did enjoy this book and I am interested to see how it progresses in the next book.

 

Twelve Kings / Bradley Beaulieu  ★★★.5
This was a great first instalment of this epic fantasy series. The characters and setting are both very well done, however the pacing is abit off at times. I have written a full review which you can check out here. Overall I would highly recommend if you are a fan of epic fantasy and don’t mind a slower pace.

 

The Wise Man’s Fear / Patrick Rothfuss ★★★★
This is the sequel to The Name of the Wind and therefore the second instalment in this fantasy trilogy. As with the first book, I really enjoyed it. However it is abit of a funny one for me – while reading it I was really engaged and enjoying it but when I wasn’t reading it I wouldn’t necessarily immediately reach for it. I kind of had to motivate myself to pick it up again. Don’t know what it was. I enjoyed the new setting, especially learning more about new cultures, although I did initially miss the university setting but I personally found the Felurian section dragged abit. Overall great fantasy second instalment and I am very much looking forward to whenever the next book comes out.

 

Those are all the books I read in the month of April. I am currently reading The Burning Bridge which is the second book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan and really enjoying it. Hopefully I will have another good reading month in May and will be able to get my TBR pile down abit. Hope you all had a great reading month.
Quick edit – I managed to finish The Burning Bridge on the last day of April and I absolutely loved it. I gave it a 4 star rating and I am very much looking forward to continue the series.

 

See you next time

 

Pippa

 

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