What I read in April 2023

What I read in April 2023

Each month I share short and sweet book reviews of the books I’ve read. You can follow me on Goodreads for more real-time updates. Click on the images or the titles below to see eacg book on Amazon. Purchasing through my affiliate links give me a small commission at no cost to you (thank you for supporting A Lively Hope!)

I read 12 books in April, which is pretty average for me. Read on for quick reviews of each book I finished!

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

This book has been everywhere, and while I’m certainly on the tail-end of the rush to read it that’s not unsual for me at all. I tend to wait on buzzy books to see if they hold up over time. This one certainly did! I ended up not quite sure how I felt about Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. It was a propulsive read and I found myself loving the characters despite (or maybe because of) their flaws.  

I’ve heard over and over again that you don’t have to love video games in order to love this book, but I tend to disagree. A huge amount of time is spent describing video games in great detail. I wasn’t bothered by this, but it for sure would have been more interesting if I was a gamer (I’m definitely not).

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

I really wanted to love this book but in the end I gave it 3.5 stars. I mostly removed stars because I have a real issue when the crux of the conflict in a story could be solved with one conversation. That’s exactly how I felt about one of the timelines. Why can’t they just talk to each other?!

What I enjoyed: the swimming references, the friendships and the love story.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

This was a reread and I found I did not really remember anything from the first time I read the book. It’s an interesting structure: basically an estranged mom visiting her daughter in the hospital and they just talk about a bunch of people from their past and the mostly sad things that happened to them.  Surprisingly engrossing as you see the stories unfold.

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

In the second in the Amgash series we see more of the people mentioned in the first book and learn more of their backstory and why they are the way that they are.  Again mostly sad stories about hard things happening. We do see some improvement in Lucy’s relationship with her siblings, which added some hope. I enjoyed it, despite the hard bits, and I’ll definitely continue on with the series. I’m interested to see what happens to all of the characters I’ve grown to love.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Another reread for me, this time I read it aloud to my kids. They loved it and I found I liked it even more the second time. Kate DiCamillo is always a win for me. This is a great story about found family and appreciating the good things in our lives.

The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman

This book has been on my list for a long time and I’m so glad I finally read it! Very interesting look at the Chernobyl disaster from the perspective of two middle grade girls and their unlikely friendship that develops.  There is an alternate timeline that adds more detail to the story as well.

Goodbye, I Love You by Carol Lynn Pearson

This book broke my heart, but I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about your LGBTQ loved ones, especially in regards to faith.

The Very Very Far North by Dan Bar-el

This was such a fun read! We listened to it in the car and the audio is fantastic, sweet story about making friends. It includes a lot about manners and etiquette as well as working to understand how friends want to be treated.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

Jason and I loved the PBS adaptation of these books and I’m finally getting to start reading them. Such a charming and delightful story about a quirky English family that moves to Corfu, the loveable characters they meet and all the wacky hijinks that ensue. Think James Herriot in a warmer climate. 

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lai

This is a middle grade novel in verse about a family that escaped Vietnam during the war and emigrated to America. Based on the author’s life events, it is both sad and hopeful.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

I loved the characters, I loved the dual timeline and the way that we slowly discover the truth and how all the moving parts fit together. It’s a little melancholy which is right up my alley. I was conflicted about how I wanted this to end, but I ended up loving how it all came together. 

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

This is book four in the beloved Murderbot Diaries series. I’m slowly working my way through these on audiobook.  I enjoyed getting to understand Murderbot more and to see its friendships and relationships develop further.   Looking forward to reading the novel next (the first four books are novellas).

What have you been reading lately?