A look at April

Super behind on blogging. May has been crazy and there is still more crazy to come. This post was delayed because of my trip to see V.E. Schwab in Oxford on the 1st of May. I stupidly thought I’d write it on the plane/train on the way over and back but of course that didn’t happen. I plan on writing a little piece about the trip this week but in the meantime check out An Oxford Adventure on Bury the Cheese for the lowdown on our trip.

So April. It feels like it was months ago, it was a bit up and down for me in terms of reading. It started out amazing and ended in a total reading slump. Luckily I’m all better now and back to normal but honestly I felt like I would never recover.

I kicked off April by reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and I really did love it. I had a few issues with one or two things in terms of the language but overall this ended up being a 5 star read.

My favourite thing about this book was watching the transformation of Amari from princess to lionaire. She is a truly wonderful character and our portal into learning about the realities of the divîners and their place in the world. I can’t wait to see how Amari keeps developing.

I love strong and intelligent female protagonists and Amari is all those things for me. Zélie didn’t always play that role but I think we will really see her come into her own in the next book or at least I hope we do. There is room for her to be truly wonderful and I hope she doesn’t fall into that terrible ‘it’s all about the boy’ place that some heroines fall into. Which brings me to the one thing that I really didn’t love about the book. I honestly didn’t think there was any need for the romance that took place. It didn’t add anything to the story for me, in fact I think it took away and I may have given it only 4 stars if not for the other characters development and the ending.  Epic ending and I can’t wait for the next book.

At long last I got to Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Anna has been on my TBR for years and I read this with a friend as part of the #25inFive readathon.

I was kind of disappointed to be honest. Now I’m not the greatest lover of contemporary romances so I can sometimes be a harsh critic but this was actually winning for me up until all the drama. SO. MUCH. UNNECESSARY. DRAMA.

I personally thought this could have ended 100 pages earlier and some of the ‘conflict’ cut out of it altogether. It just didn’t fit with all that came before. All of a sudden every single person in the book hated Anna and I felt like I had whiplash because it came out of nowhere. It felt so forced and totally ruined my enjoyment of what had been a sweet and fluffy read. Still, I am contemplating reading the other two books in this series so it wasn’t that bad.

I’m part blaming The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black for my book slump. This book was absolutely wonderful and everything I read after just felt bleh.

I love Vampires. I read Dracula when I was around 13 and fell in love with the idea of them. They scared the absolute bejesus out of me but they were also compelling to read about and so mysterious.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown contains my kind of vampires. They are what vampires in my mind are supposed to be. Vampires are not nice, they may feel some kind of compassion but they are no longer human and their instinct is not supposed to be mercy, it’s supposed to be survival. Feeding off a sister or daughter is something a human may not contemplate but a hungry apex predator is going to gobble you up like you are the only ripe avocado in my kitchen on a Saturday morning.

There are no hearts and flowers in this book. There is scary ass vampires and humans who are either trying to survive or trying to become vampires and this makes for gore. So much gore. Lashings and lashing of fabulous gore. I often like to convince myself that I don’t like books with lots of violence and blood and then I read something like this and turn into Elizabeth Báthory.  I now must read all of Holly Blacks backlist.

My biggest disappointment of the month was The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. The cover is beyond stunning (especially the hardback) and the blurb had me so excited but it was a huge letdown for me. It actually angered me on more than one occasion and I couldn’t wait to be finished.

There was so much that should have been wonderful and the story of the sisters was actually the only thing that kept me reading to the end. The ‘atmosphere’ of the book overall was also fabulously spooky and the town itself was creepily like the village I grew up in so I was excited in the beginning but as I read it just started to fall apart.

My biggest issue with this book though (I have a fair few) is the issue of consent. I don’t want to spoil anything so this is just to say I couldn’t get past this one thing. It might be pedantic of me but it is something that concerned me greatly and something that was never discussed or explained and that was very worrisome. For me personally there was no romance in this book because of the consent issue. It was all smoke and mirrors and the culmination of all the events made the ick factor unbearable for me.

And ending on my poetry selection for the month of April which was the beautiful Rocket Fantastic: Poems by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. This was outstanding and I adored it and I feel I need to buy all of her other works. I also watched a lecture she gave at The New School in 2010 and it really enhanced my reading experience. She was fascinating to listen to and I think I’d happily listen to her speak for hours. This is a really lovely book and I highly recommend. I’m loving my 2018 poetry challenge and I will definitely be continuing on into 2019.

The Sun Got All Over Everything

Over the boys and girls by the pool,
over the bougainvillea, which got so hot
my palms stayed warm for minutes after.
It made a mess of a day
that was supposed to be the worst
and lured me outside so I forgot her death entirely.
And also the polar bears scrambling
on the ice chips. And also that there was no water
in the Golden State. The pool was full
and the sun poured across the women’s bodies
so you had to shade your eyes. Or I did. I had to
put my hand up to see what they were saying.
I know it’s no excuse. And I had made a plan
to cry all day

and into the evening. I marked in my book,
which seems like something I’d make up in a poem
except this time I actually did it.
I wrote: Grieve. Because we’re all so busy
aren’t we? And so broke. I needed to make
an appointment with my anguish, so I could
take my mind off buying groceries
that I really couldn’t afford. Anyway.
I didn’t mean to go outside except there
the sky was, just ridiculously blue,
taunting me with pigment that I felt
the need to name. And from somewhere
close by a voice I couldn’t see because the sun
was like a yolk cracked over it said,

What are you drinking? And I said,
I’m grieving. I’m very busy remembering.
I made an appointment because last year
I forgot and then felt awful. The sun opened
its mouth and made a gong of the canyons.

It poured across the girls and slicked across
their Dior lenses. I put my tongue on it
exactly when I should have been tearing
at my clothes and lighting candles.
I got on top and let it find the tightness
in my back and open where my wings would
be. Somewhere my mother was dying
and someone was skinning a giraffe.
And I let it go. I just let it go.

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