April was a big month so I took a week off blogging (mostly because my cat punctured a rather deep hole in my thumb while I was medicating him, and because I speared by other hand with a mechanical pencil, so I actually had no working hands to type with). Therefore I didn’t catch up with my reviews, or work on any of the recommendation posts I wanted to. Hopefully you’ll get to read some of them this month! *Fingers crossed*
I did read more than I expected I would, finishing four books and three novellas. I started out the month with a plan to read certain books, but mid-month I was struggling so I just axed my TBR and read whatever I felt like reading. If I make a really long and varied TBR I can stick to it, but forcing myself to read books, for whatever reason, just ensures I won’t read anything.
My boy, Gizmo, had to have his sinus drained, and they gave him this unfortunate haircut.
He normally looks like this:
And here’s a photo of my girl, Latte, just because she’s beautiful:
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – A Chinese-inspired fantasy featuring a murder mystery and court politics.
The Sword and the Dagger by Robert Cochran – A YA historical fiction novel set during the crusades featuring a Christian Princess, a Knight, and a Muslim assassin joining forces on an epic quest.
Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan– An Eastern European inspired (YA) Fantasy about clerics and gods and blood magic and war.
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster – Nisha, an orphan grows up in a city of orphans who are trained in the arts. After starting a forbidden relationship and dreaming of life outside the walls, other girls start dying and Nisha must solve the mystery before she is the next victim.
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft – Set in an alternate steampunk timeline, a man and his wife honeymoon at The Tower of Babel. He gets separated from her, and faces all sorts of crazy situations and dangers in his quest to find her.
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Balli Kaur Jaswal – An adult historical mystery set in 1920s Bombay, featuring the first Indian female lawyer investigating a will that will leave the man’s widows penniless.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Sujata Massey – I don’t know much about this aside from it involves Punjabi widows and a writing class, presumably where they write smutty stories.
Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee – A short story collection that blends sci-fi and mythology, featuring important themes (such as colonisation, war, grief etc.) and amazing worldbuilding.
Books I Read
In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard ⭐️⭐️ Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novella – This is a Vietnamese inspired retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The worldbuilding was the highlight for me. It’s set in a futuristic world where creatures called Vanishers have destroyed the environment (and the fabric of reality). Frankly, a lot of the plot was confusing and somewhat convoluted, which is why I didn’t give it a higher rating.
Empress by Ruby Lal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Non Fiction – This biography follows the life, from birth to death, of Nur Jahan, the twentieth and favourite wife of Moghul Emperor Jahangir. It was easy to read and well researched, and provided a lot of context about the society, culture, religion etc. that she lived in.
White Lotus by Libbie Hawker DNF 35% Historical Fiction – Set in Ancient Egypt, White Lotus blends fact and fiction, telling the story of the haetera Doricha. Her life was inspiration for the oldest extant variation of the Cinderella tale. The book wasn’t bad, I just wasn’t really in the mood to read it, so I hope to come back to it at a later date.
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ YA Historical Fiction – A retelling of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, told from the dual perspectives of Ariadne and Theseus. I thought the worldbuilding was wonderful, and I really appreciated how the author explored a fully realised religio-political system where women held positions of power. I liked that the fantastical elements were given realistic explanations, such as the nature of the Minotaur. I also liked that the author rendered both Ariadne and Theseus as sympathetic and complex individuals, which is completely missing in the original iterations of the myth.
The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ YA Fantasy – The second in The Bone Witch trilogy, The Heart Forger continued the story of Tea on her path of vengeance. Told again in two narratives, The Bard narrates the present, while Tea narrates the events that led up to this point. In The Heart Forger the two timelines are quickly converging. While book one focused on character development, worldbuilding, and the backstory, book two is full of action. Full review to come.
Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sci-Fi Novella – For a fairly short novel(la) this packed a punch. Again, I think I need to write a full review for this one. In short, it features humans in a speculative future where the environment has been destroyed. Minh is an ecologist and habitat restoration specialist who applies for a project that involves time travel. There’s a lot of scientific, management sort of stuff, which I found kind of fascinating. It also explores an intergenerational friendship between two women, and the realities of time travel.
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sci-Fi Novella – This seemed to be a kind of Sherlock Holmes retelling, but I’m unsure if the comparison was an intentional one on the author’s part. In this version, Watson is a sentient spaceship with PTSD, and the Sherlock character is a drug addicted genius. It had an interesting plot, the worldbuilding was fascinating, and the characters were well developed considering it’s only 88 pages long.
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Historical Fantasy – This is a feminist retelling of The Iliad. It follows the women connected with The Trojan War, whether they be slaves or goddesses, wives or daughters, allies or enemies. It was so carefully crafted and sensitively rendered that I both laughed and cried. I don’t think I can express all my thoughts succinctly enough for a wrap up, so watch out for my full review.
The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton: This is a feminist fantasy retelling of King Lear by Shakespeare. So far the writing is beautiful, and the atmosphere and worldbuilding are completely enchanting. The four main characters are all very distinctive, and seem to have a lot of promise. It is quite long, and the pacing is languid, so I’m struggling a bit to stay engaged with the plot.
TV/Movies I Watched
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 2⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Exotic Marigold Hotel⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Second Exotic Marigold Hotel⭐️⭐️⭐️
Doctor Strange (Rewatch)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Nancy Drew and the Vanishing Stair⭐️⭐️⭐️
Catch up on my Blog
March Wrap Up
March Bullet Journal Flip Through
Things That Make Me Want to Pick Up a Book | Top Ten Tuesday
Bunny Books|| Easter Recommendations
Year of the Asian Reading Challenge
The Gilded Wolves Review
Top Ten Tuesday: Book Quotes
YouTube Videos I Liked
The Best YA Book of 2019? | The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg Review by Bethany @ Beautifully Bookish Bethany
May Bullet Journal Plan With Me | Koi Fish Theme by Pypah’s Art
Defacing Six of Crows by iLiveforbooks
Nevernight (Spoiler Free) Review by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes
Blog Posts I Liked
This was such an amazing month in the blogosphere and I read soo many fantastic, thoughtful discussions. I had such a hard time narrowing down which ones I thought were most deserving of linking. So I went crazy. I just want everyone to read all these phenomenal posts too!
#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Desi Voices. Desi Stories by Aradhna from Open Pages on Fadwa’s Blog Word Woonders
Overweight, underrepresented: Where are all the fat people in literature? by Shruti @ This is Lit
Things I want to see more in YA books by Amanda @ MetalPhantasmReads
Trigger Warnings: What Are They, And Do We Need Them? by Penny @ Read Yourself Happy
My Favorite Rating System: CAWPILE by Cat @ Pages & Plots
A Four-Star Book is not a Bad Book by Stephanie @ Adventures of a Bibliophile
‘Kilig’ and Other Alien Terms For Aromantics by Zia @ Accio! Blog
Do Characters Need to Be Relatable? by Krysta @ Pages Unbound Reviews
Miscategorizing Adult Books As YA (Discussion) by Briana @ Pages Unbound Reviews
In Defense of Flawed Characters by Krysta @ Pages Unbound Reviews
Disability the Forgotten Child of Diversity by Rebecca Thorne @ Diversely Creative
ARC Review: A Thousand Ships by Foxes and Fairy Tales
Want by Cindy Pon – A Cornerstone of YA Sci-Fi by CW @ A Quiet Pond
Review: The Silence of the Girls | The Iliad, by Briseis by Jolien @ The Fictional Reader
Books: Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Chelsea @ Spotlight On Stories
The Merciful Crow – Margaret Owen by Namera @ The Literary Invertebrate
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy by Chloe @ The Elven Warrior
Consequences of Conquest: Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen by Alexia @ The Bookworm Daydreamer
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He || ARC Review by Rain @ Book Dragonism
Romanov by Nadine Brandes// Might work as non-fiction, but not as fiction by Tasya @ The Literary Huntress
Most Anticipated May Releases
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields
How was April for you? What were your reading and watching highlights? Let me know in the comments below!