So once again I’m super behind on reviews. Here we are in May, and I have written basically zero April reviews! So even though my memory is a little hazy on some of the ones I read earlier in the month, here we go!
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs (finished April 7) – 4*
This is one of the hazy ones. I picked up this book because the subtitle was “A Novel in Clues,” which intrigued me. However, the clues were sadly lacking, and even the mystery wasn’t as engaging as I wanted it to be. It’s definitely more novel-y than thriller-y, and there is a LOT of math in this book. It is really more of a straight novel, looking at a family after the sudden death of the patriarch. There is a bit of suspense, but it is not the driving force of the story. Still, I did overall enjoy the story and the characters, even if this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. There were also a lot of dark themes throughout, which I wasn’t completely prepared for – child abuse, vigilante justice, drug abuse, suicide, etc. In a way, this story was a lot more about the main character coming to grips with her family, both adopted and not, and her place with them, than it was about Isaac’s mysterious equation. While I did give this book 4* for being a read that kept my attention, it wasn’t a book that I wanted to go back and read again. And I still feel a little ripped off about the misleading “novel in clues” bit!
Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (finished April 8) – 5*
Frankly, I’m always going to give every book in this series 5* because I have no objectivity. I’ve read these books since I was a little girl, over and over, and I love every page of them. A while ago some other blog that I follow was reading these books for the first time (I honestly can’t remember which blog this was or I would link to it) and she seemed to feel that there was a real up and down to the series. If I remember correctly, she liked about every other book and felt like the rest were filler content. However, in my own prejudiced way I absolutely love this entry to the series. Here, Anne has set aside her personal ambitions to do the right thing for the people she loves – and comes to find that it was the right thing for her as well. While not preachy, there is an overall reminder throughout the story that sometimes life doesn’t go the way we had planned out, and that’s not always a negative thing.
If I have a criticism of this story, it’s that I would love to have more stories involving Anne’s group of friends. They are such a fun crowd, and it would have been nice to Diana’s romance mature instead of just sort of appearing. Still, this is still a book that I love and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting.
Leave It To Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse (finished April 10) – 5*
No one can make me feel better about life than Wodehouse. From the opening chapter of “Dark Plottings at Blandings Castle” through the delights of “Sensational Occurrence at a Poetry Reading” and “Almost Entirely About Flower-Pots” (followed by “More on the Flower-Pot Theme”), this book made me laugh out loud on more than on occasion. Yes, Psmith himself can be a bit much, but the overall story is so fun and full of such fun characters and completely absurd situations that I could barely put this one down while I was reading it. It’s another reread that just gets better every time I revisit it.
Moonlight Becomes You by Mary Higgins Clark (finished April 12) – 4*
Despite the fact that I quite enjoy mystery/thrillers, I’ve read almost nothing by MHC. Recently, I got an entire box of mysteries, including several of her stand-alone titles, and this was the first that I picked up. The first chapter opens with the main character, Maggie, trapped inside of a coffin (SO CREEPY). From there, we go back in time a few weeks to find out how she ended up there. The hook of that opening, knowing that that doom is yet to come, is absolutely fantastic, and the pacing from there is perfect. While I really enjoyed this story a lot, there’s a supposed romantic relationship between Maggie and one of the other characters that felt like the big weak point of the story and was what kept me from giving this more than 4*. A lot of the climax hinges on his desperation to find her, but I couldn’t quite find that believable since we hadn’t really had much interaction between the two of them during the rest of the book. Still, this was a great one-off read that made me quite intrigued to read some more of Clark’s writing. Plus, it randomly took me to Rhode Island for my #ReadtheUSA2020 challenge, which was a great bonus!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (finished April 13) – 4.5*
If you’re noticing a reread theme in April, you would be correct. When I’m feeling stressed or not really feeling like reading, I go back to revisit old friends. I find books that I’ve loved in the past to be comforting and safe to read. I’ve been wanting to reread Fangirl for quite some time. I had only read it once before and I really liked it, and I was curious as to whether or not I would still enjoy it the second time around. The answer – yes! I may have even enjoyed it more. I’ve read several of Rowell’s books, and genuinely feel like this age of character is her sweet spot. She captures Cath’s insecurities and uncertainties so well, while making Cath be more than just those things. I really love how romance isn’t the driving story here – instead, we also see a lot of family relationships that Cath is trying to learn how to balance as she heads into adulthood. I would absolutely love to have a story during this exact period of time focused on Cath’s twin, Wren, who was also going through a lot of growth and change during this time, although in a completely different way.
One thing that kind of made me roll my eyes a few times was the fact that Cath and her sister have lived in Omaha all their lives and are now going to school in Lincoln, but they act like the other students there are basically a bunch of hicks instead of cool city people like Cath and Wren are. And like… Omaha is NOT that big of a city (I’ve been there), and Omaha and Lincoln are not that far apart, so that felt a little random to me. However, overall this is book is so funny and well-written that I was able to forgive it a few small issues and just roll with what was happening.