April 2024 Wrap-Up

April 2024 Wrap-Up

Hi friends! I hope you're having a great May and a good start to your spring! It's been snowing here the last three days which has been so depressing, but the sun is out and shining today. Hopefully the last dregs of winter will disappear with the warmer weather today.

It's a good thing I powered through my 100 book goal in 2023 because I'm taking things at a much slower pace this year. I'm happy to report I'm still finding some good quality reads that I'm excited to share with you!

I read five books in April: two physical books and three audiobooks. Let's go!

What Moves the Dead - T. Kingfisher

⬤⬤⬤⬤◔ | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own.

T. Kingfisher has created a strange, creepy little world for herself in the Sworn Solider series in which she can do whatever weird and dark things she wants. And it works so well. This book is very different in premise than WHAT MOVES THE DEAD, but our group of odd, loveable characters helps connect this gap and drew me right into the premise of this story just as quick as the first book. This was a quick read that never felt dull, but still managed to improve on the relationships established in the first book.

I do think the premise of WHAT MOVES THE DEAD was a little creepier to me than this plot, but I still really enjoyed myself and think I'll probably pick up a physical copy at some point, which is something I almost never do with ARCs. I really enjoy the intrigue of the worldbuilding and atmospheric elements of this series and I really hope Kingfisher continues with these episodic novellas. So good!

content warnings: body horror, war, gore, animal death

Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World - John Vaillant

⬤⬤⬤⬤◐ | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: Sometimes I pick up a book to read for a reading challenge where I otherwise might not have. I always love when those books end up being a real hit. Right off the bat I would like to say that I really loved the narrator's job on this book, and when I went to see what else he's narrated, it's this singular hard-hitting environmental nonfiction and a TON of smut. Go off king.

The first part of FIRE WEATHER was my favorite and the most compelling to me, as it details the Fort McMurray fire in Alberta in 2016. I really enjoyed hearing about the history of the area, the specific conditions that made that fire so destructive, and how the town responded and was affected. It reminded me a lot of FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL, but I liked it even more than that. I loved the science mixed with first-person accounts and thought the storytelling was very impactful.

I also found the second half of the book, which is more concerned with the history of the politization of climate change to be incredibly interesting. However, this half of the book was also the hardest to listen to. Living in an area that is so directly impacted by climate change (with the evaporation of the Great Salt Lake and wildfire smoke that stays in the Salt Lake valley from nearby fires all summer), climate change is on my mind all the time, and I mostly feel entirely helpless about it. I know the author needs to present facts boldly as they are to raise awareness about the severity of the issue, but it was pretty depressing to me, especially with no "but here are groups doing good / progress being made" bit at the end - which I understand would be dishonest to do because things aren't good and this is reality and you can't make up a false positive ending for your nonfiction science book to make people feel better about themselves.

I think this book is outstanding, I really do. It may be hard for people to listen to, especially those already painfully aware of the dire situation we're in. But I do think FIRE WEATHER is important to read and share, and it deserves all the awards, nominations, and praise it's received so far.

content warnings: fire/fire injury, grief

Sociopath - Patric Gagne

⬤⬤⬤⬤ 〇 | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: First off, what an interesting book to be narrated by the author. Despite what you may think, Patric is a very engaging narrator and infuses her story with a lot of humor and tone I really enjoyed.

I want to try and keep this review brief because I know I could get really into it if I tried. I see some reviewers repeating a couple of points in the comments and I think they're interesting and want to address them in my own review.

1. Patric has no credentials and the Ph.D. she has is from an unaccredited university/degree mill/somewhere unreliable. Her dissertation can't be found anywhere online.

This is obviously questionable and leads me to doubt some of her academic expertise, but I don't think this takes away from the themes of her story. At its essence, the message of this memoir is to spread awareness of sociopathy/antisocial personality disorder and help destigmatize it. While it would have been really nice to have some more credible sources from an academic and research perspective, it doesn't negate Patric's lived experiences and the fact that her purpose in writing this memoir is a good one.

2. Patric is a sociopath and therefore must be lying/embellishing most of her story. She even said at the start of the book that some conversations were reconstructed and not exact.

I do think it's important to read this book with a grain of salt when it's been written by a self-admitted chronic liar. However, most memoirs are like this. People don't remember the minutiae of every conversation they've ever had with the expectation they might write a memoir someday and need to recall it. This was actually my exact problem with THE GLASS CASTLE, an incredibly well-received memoir that doesn't make this disclaimer but I found to be more egregious in this aspect of storytelling than SOCIOPATH.

I think this story is fascinating and well-told, so I'm willing to give Patric some trust and credit in what she's trying to do. It's not a perfect book by any means, but I couldn't put it down.

content warnings: animal cruelty, stalking, mental illness, violence, toxic relationships, toxic friendships

When Among Crows -Veronica Roth

⬤⬤⬤⬤ 〇 | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to Tor Books and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own.

I haven't read any Veronica Roth since my DIVERGENT days, and I was really pleasantly surprised! This was a fast-paced, well-written, fun little novella that I got a kick out of. I enjoyed the worldbuilding and lore, I liked the relationships between the characters that were as developed as you'd expect in less than 200 pages. I enjoyed the twists and turns the story took, and I liked the ending. Not much to complain about!

My personal beef is that I didn't realize this was urban fantasy, and I'm much much more of a high fantasy girlie. I would have loved to see a novel-length version of this in its own developed world, but I'm not complaining about what we got! If you've been hesitating on post-DIVERGENT Roth, I think this is a great book to pick up.

content warnings: blood, gore, violence, body horror, death of parent

Keanu Reeves is Not in Love With You: The Murky World of Online Romance Fraud -Becky Holmes

⬤⬤⬤⬤◔ |audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: My penchant for niche non-fiction strikes again. I really enjoyed the framing of this book, from the author describing her own personal experiences with humor to telling other people's stories in a more serious manner. As someone who doesn't have any first-hand experience with romance fraud, I found these stories to be fascinating.

I enjoyed Becky's narration and found myself laughing out loud at some of her humor, even if a number of her jokes weren't my personal taste. At times, these jokes felt a little repetitive, but books don't often make me laugh out loud so I'm giving the hits more weight than the misses.

Holmes does a great job of bringing awareness to a underdiscussed topic and removing the shame and guilt surrounding the issue. She gives the stories the weight they deserve while also breaking the tension with funnier or less serious anecdotes that are still relevant to the discussion. I also appreciate how she gives tips and advice to readers about how to recognize some of these schemes for themselves.

I think I read this book in a couple of days, and I found it to be memorable, informative, and humorous. Would recommend if the topic is of interest!

content warnings: pandemic, stalking


What was your favorite book you read this month? Let me know!

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