April 2021 Wrap Up

Photo of 5 books in a stack with two small fake green plants on either side. It says April Wrap Up in the top left corner of the image.

Last month I got into a mini reading slump with a book club book and since then I’ve been putting less pressure on myself to finish books quickly or to read all the time, which as it happens is one of my 2021 reading goals.
It was a good month, I read 10 books and enjoyed them all – nothing lower than a 3 star rating!

E-Book – 3
Physical Copy – 5
Audiobook – 2

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
This book was in Month 1 of the Unbox Your Growth box. I found it an interesting book full of useful anecdotes and information. It was split into sections so I didn’t resonate with certain sections, for example mindset in a big company or parenting, but overall a decent book if you are making a big change or working on personal growth.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
I read this for book club and was super excited it was chosen. It follows the story of Adunni, a fourteen year old girl who is married off because her father needs the money. Her mother’s dying wish was for her to get an education and it is Adunni’s dream to be a teacher, speak up for herself and all the girls like her leaving a legacy behind. Things go from bad to worse and Adunni ends up a domestic slave but she is still determined to achieve her dream. This is an inspiring, eye opening, important read. Daré writes in a language that is a cross between Pidgin English, broken English and invented words to give Adunni her own, unique voice and I liked that this made it feel more authentic. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This seems to be a popular book but as I’m fairly new to sci-fi I hadn’t heard of it. I found it on the Waterstones website and was sold on the gorgeous cover and blurb. I figured it would be a good book to delve into to figure out if I liked having different species in my sci-fi or preferred super realistic fiction about human space exploration as it follows the crew of the Wayfarer, a group of misfits, on a mission to build a tunnel to a distant planet. If you’ve read my review, you’ll know I absolutely adored it. The characters were all loveable and it was a really great example of found family. A truly heartwarming read and I cannot wait to read Chambers’ other books!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh
I had this recommended to me and I read a few reviews that said the multiple POVs get confusing but I figured if I  listened to this on audiobook, it would help. The story is told from six POVs of teenagers who are on a mission to Terra-Two along with three veteran astronauts. They have trained at a prestigious school and are embarking on a twenty-year trip to set up Terra-Two for human colonisation. I have to admit, the many POVs definitely got confusing. It makes sense to have the six but their personalities and storylines blurred for me and it took me at least 3/4 of the book to have a grasp of each character. I also struggled to connect to the characters or find any intense like-ability. It probably didn’t help that I was reading this alongside The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet so it was easy to compare the two. A good read but not one I’d recommend in a hurry.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
This book, OMG.
That’s it.
Just OMG.
I couldn’t put it down. I feel like this is one of those where the less you know the better, but I highly recommend it. I got it in the 99p Kindle deal too but unfortunately it’s gone back up in price now.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
This is a short novella (just over 100 pages long) following an android called Hugo who works as a watchmaker at a prestigious academy. Hugo shuts himself away in his workshop and convinces himself he prefers being alone until Dorian barges into his life with his broken time-travel watch. In the attempt to fix it, they stumble upon a mystery that they are forced to solve if they want to repair Dorian’s watch. This was a really cute novella about the importance of friendship and celebrating your differences.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune
I have been wanting to read this for a while and I finally listened to it on audiobook. It took me a little while to get into but I’m glad I stuck with it. The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus Baker, a caseworker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, who leads a mundane, monotonous life. One day he is summoned to the office of Extremely Upper Management and sent on an assignment to Marsyas Island Orphanage to report back on six children deemed too dangerous to be put in any other orphanage – a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. This is another one of those books that is like a nice, warm hug. I loved Linus’ character development throughout and the six children were humorous and charming. I can definitely see why this is a Bookstagram favourite.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Endurance by Scott Kelly
Endurance is a memoir following astronaut Scott Kelly as he completes a year on board the International Space Station(ISS). This book tells Kelly’s story in two parallel timelines and his year on the ISS is explored in fascinating detail and honesty. Kelly has a way of writing that really feels like you are right there with him. It was so easy to imagine floating in the ISS, working on repairs or having dinner in the Russian module and I loved all the little anecdotes. Endurance will appeal to all kinds of readers – those that know everything about space and those that know absolutely nothing at all. If this is your first astronaut memoir it is a good place to start.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

All The Young Men by Kevin Carr O’Leary and Ruth Coker Burks
This was another book club pick that I had wanted to read. I haven’t seen it much on Bookstagram but I think it is an important one that should be added to everyone’s TBR. I hold my hands up and say I definitely need to learn more LGBTQ+ history and this book is perfect as it explores the early years of the AIDS crisis in the American South. Ruth Coker Burks visits a friend in hospital in 1986 and notices that the door to one of the rooms is painted red. The nurses refuse to enter, drawing straws to decide who will tend to the sick person inside. Out of impulse, Ruth enters the room and begins to care for the young man who cries for his Mum in the last moments of his life. From there, she goes on to help and care for so many young men and she does so in such a matter of fact, educational, and courageous way. Back then an AIDS diagnosis was a journey to death but no one but Ruth seems to care about the amount of people affected by this. She enters LGBTQ+ spaces as a god fearing, white CIS woman and educates the people within in a way that is not at all patronising, nor does she tell them to refrain from sex. This was a very eye opening read and I am glad I read it. I didn’t find it particularly emotional as it was harder to connect to the people mentioned as a lot of them were sadly only featured briefly, however, I did find it very sad that a lot of these men had their parents abandon them for their sexuality even when they were dying.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
This is the sequel to the The Calculating Stars and follows the story of Elma, the Lady Astronaut on her mission to Mars. I don’t like giving too much information on sequels as they often contain spoilers for the original book in the series but I definitely enjoyed this book. The characters introduced in The Calculating Stars were developed more and still remain flawed and realistic. A great sequel and I’m looking forward to reading The Relentless Moon.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

6 thoughts on “April 2021 Wrap Up

  1. I totally agree that sometimes less pressure means you end up enjoying the books more! Becky Chambers is an absolutely favourite of mine, so I’m so excited for you to discover the rest of her books – and I had the same reaction to Terra-Two, such unlikeable people!


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