In April, I read six books, making it a successful reading month.
Some novels I purchased myself , some were generously sent for review from Penguin Random House, and others have been sitting on my bookshelf begging me to read them.
Let’s dive into the wrap up!
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
This novel has been everywhere recently, and for good reason!
This novel follows our main characters named Theodore Finch and Violet Markey.
After the tragic death of her sister, Violet is counting down the days until school is done and she can get out of her small town.
Theodore Finch thinks about ways he could end his life, but whenever something good happens, he doesn’t go through with it.
One day Violet and Theodore end up on opposite side of the ledge of their bell tower at school, both determined to jump. It is at that point in the novel that our characters meet and talk for the first time. It is unclear who convinces whom not to jump, but they both end up safely back on the ground. After their meeting, they are paired up for a group project where they have to explore and find the natural wonders of their state.
Rating: I loved the message behind this story and the way the main characters interacted. This novel is a story where the characters will stay with you long after you have read the last page. I would give this novel 4.5 out of 5 tea mugs.
P.S Rumor has it that Elle Fanning has been cast to play Violet Markey in the movie that comes out in a few years.
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
This novel was sent to me for review from Penguin Random House, and I am so glad they sent it my way!
Below is a brief synopsis of The Mountain Story, but you can check out my full review here.
The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens follows our main character Wolf (Wilfred) Truly who currently lives in Michigan with his father Frankie Truly. After Frankie makes a foolish bet and loses his house, the pair are forced to migrate to California.
A long drive later, Wolf and Frankie make a pit stop at a local gas station where Wolf meets a boy his own age named Byrd. It doesn’t take them long to become fast friends. This gas station sits at the base of a mountain that Byrd has climbed several times. Soon, Byrd is eager to show Wolf the mountain as well.
A tragic accident occurs and Wolf doesn’t know if he can handle being in this world anymore. After much thought, Wolf comes to the decision that he is going to take his own life. One day he heads up the mountain prepared to jump to his death, when he meets a group of novice hikers. These three women ask Wolf if he could be their tour guide. He grudgingly agrees and they head out on an adventure of a life time.
“Five days. Four lost hikers. Three survivors.”
–The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens
Rating: Overall 5 out of 5 tea mugs, a must read novel!
The Spectacular Tail of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson
I was lucky to win this picture book in a twitter give-away last month, thanks to Penguin Random House.
As a child, Emma Thompson enjoyed listening to her father read to her and her sister. Emma Thompsons favourite book in the series was The Tale of Mr. Tod. The Spectacular Tail of Peter Rabbit is based on Beatrice Potters characters, with a new and original plot line written by Emma Thompson.
This storybook had a wonderful plot that involved Peter Rabbit getting himself into trouble, and having to find a way out of the mess he had made. The plot was well thought out and had a great moral at the end of the story that teaches children, and even adults a lesson. The illustrations were done by Eleanor Taylor who has been illustrating children’s storybooks for the past fifteen years. Her Illustrations were absolutely gorgeous. The images are wonderful to look at and follow the story line well.
Rating: Overall, I enjoyed this novel, the plot and the beautiful illustrations that went along with it. I give this picture book a 3.5 out of 5 tea mugs.
Unsinkable by Silken Laumann
In last month’s wrap up I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Despite not reading many non-fiction novels fearing they would be uninteresting, I thoroughly enjoyed his novel. I decided that I should read another non-fiction novel this month, and found this novel on a bookshelf at home.
Unsinkable follows the story of the famous rower Silken Laumann involved in a terrible rowing accident that left her with a bashed up calf after a German boat collided with her own. Despite her injury, Silken was determined to overcome her injury and row in the Olympics, scheduled to take place 10 months later. This novel explores not only Silken’s drive as a professional athlete, but the family dynamics behind her success, or maybe lack there of. Silken focuses on her childhood, her rowing career, but most importantly her family and her children. This novel is a sneak peek into the world of Olympic athletes and what it takes to be the best in the world.
Rating: With the aid of Sylvia Fraser, Silken Laumann shares the story of her life and her ability to overcome adversity in the toughest of situations. If you are looking for an inspirational or motivational read, this is the book for you! Overall, I would give this novel a 3 out of 5 tea mugs- a good read.
After Helen by Paul Cavanagh
Paul Cavanagh was London first Lit Idol winner at the London International Book Fair in the UK, and his debut novel After Helen was the novel that helped him win in the UK.
This novel focuses on a man named Irving Cruickshank who is mourning the loss of his wife Helen, and is left to raise his rebellious teenage daughter Severn. Irving teaches history at a local high school, and is surrounded by teenage students everyday, yet he cannot seem to figure out his own daughter. Severn is left feeling angry at her mother for leaving her too early, and at her father for pretending that she no longer exists.
Irving is used to Severn acting out, or staying out late, but when she fails to return home one night, Irving is left to solve the mystery of finding his daughter. Along the way, he finds out some secrets that Helen failed to mention before she passed away.
This story follows a father trying his best, and a daughter left feeling confused, trying to find a way to put what happened behind them and create a stronger bond between each other.
Rating: This novel takes you on a journey of family secrets and how people don’t always know what they are getting themselves into. I would give this novel 3.5 out of 5 mugs.
P.S. Paul Cavanagh’s latest novel called Missing Steps came out on April 30th. Keep your eyes peeled for my review that comes out later this month.
The Classic Challenge
Check out my post on The Classic Challenge to get more information about it and see why I decided to start this challenge in the first place.
This month’s classic was a continuation from last months choice. This month I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. This is the second novel in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I have enjoyed this series and plan on reading the following novel in the series (The Horse and His Boy) this month. This novel was great, it is a classic that not only children by but adults can enjoy as well. I liked the originality of the text and the creative mix of creatures that roam the land of Narnia.
Rating: Overall, I would give this novel a 5 out of 5 tea mugs. I can not wait to read The Horse and His Boy.
I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it with a friend if you did! Let me know what you read this month. Anything I should absolutely be reading?
Stay tuned for my next post, a review on an upcoming novel that I am sure you will enjoy.
Until next time,