April began with the launch of my freelance editing business, taking a trip to New York to see family, and spending a week on the couch with the flu. Fun. I did manage to read a few books, maintaining a good pace to hit my goal of 100 books in 2019. These were the books I planned set out as my TBR for the month:
- Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
- Gates of Stone by Angus Macallan
- Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Things didn’t go quite as planned.
- Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
- Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer
- Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Fred Rogers
- Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson
- Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Siege and Storm left me with questions and concerns (in a good way) for what could happen in the third book. And it still managed to maintain good pacing and development for this book. If I had a complaint, it would be the characterization. There were moments where I questioned why someone would do something or how they were able to do it. The final installment of the Shadow and Bone trilogy was satisfying. Bardugo does a great job of wrapping up all the plot lines. Her writing continues to be easy to digest, and I found the pacing well suited to the plot. Even though this is young adult, things get wrapped up a little too neatly for my taste.
The A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood collection features songs written by Fred Rogers for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Children’s Corner. I think many of us are acquainted with his work in one way or another, and it was wonderful to get to read some of the lyrics to the songs of my childhood. Some I recognized from watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with my sons. The illustrations were cute and colorful. However, since I didn’t recognize all of the songs, it was hard to read them as anything other than straight poetry, which made them harder to appreciate.
Last year, I read Stevenson’s Nimona, and I loved it. I enjoy her unique art style. I thought the Lumberjanes was fun, following five friends at a scouting-style summer camp where strange creatures and events appear around them. It was action-packed while being funny and cute where it needed to be. Unfortunately, we jump right into the action and get very little downtime to provide proper character development. I even had trouble keeping the names straight. While this wasn’t my favorite of her work, I’ll definitely be continuing the series.
My book club chose the classic dystopian Parable of the Sower as our May read. It is the first in the Earthseed duology and the first Butler I have read. It was written in 1993 and looked forward to a bleak future set in 2025 where the United States has descended into chaos. She tackled a lot of controversial topics such as race, drugs, politics, corrupt police, and religion. It is the last that is the main focus for the heroine Lauren. While I appreciate the writing style and subject, I was left wanting. How did the world get to this state? The world felt real, but it didn’t feel like enough backstory. Often, Lauren felt removed in her descriptions of events, and I wish there was more emotion from the characters.
I enjoyed Dreyer’s English, and one of these days I’ll review it on my editing blog.
There were no books I put aside this month!
- A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh
- City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
- City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams
Tell me about what you read recently!