Tag Archives: April 2017

April 2017 Monthly Wrap-Up

2017 Monthly Wrap-Up

April 2017 Happenings at The Story Sanctuary

As we get near to the end of the school year, things always start to speed up. April always feels like the breath before the plunge into May. I’m pretty excited about the number of books I managed to read. Six are currently in the queue, reviews already written and ready to post this month! Most of those came as part of a challenge with Bookshelves and Paperbacks to catch up on some languishing ARCs. More about how that worked out in a second.

You also may have spotted me on Book Addicts Guide in Brittany’s Book and a Beverage feature in which she interviews bloggers. Yay! Big thanks to Brittany for hosting me. I love reading the Book and Beverage posts, and it was fun to have a chance to participate.

April 2017 OwlCrate Box

I also got an OwlCrate box for April that made me cry. I haven’t read anything by Becky Albertalli yet, though I own a copy of Simon & the Homo Sapiens Agenda that I bought with a Christmas gift card from my in-laws. Anyway, each OwlCrate box comes with a book and a letter from the author. Becky’s letter had me bawling in my kitchen. In a good way. She talks about missing her grandmother, whom her protagonist was named after and who passed away while the book was being written and which still makes me misty-eyed. Grandmas are so special. I miss mine every day.

She also talks about feeling different than everyone else or feeling like the last person to do something. There’s so much pressure out there to find the right label, to establish who you are, to rush into new experiences. We need voices saying it’s okay not to know all the answers about who you are and not to rush into everything. So I’m really interested in reading her book, The Upside of Unrequieted which explores some of these issues.

You can see photos of the boxes and order a box of your own here.

April 2017 AVA Reading Challenge with Bookshelves and Paperbacks

Okay. Onto the ARC Challenge! I sort of did this on a whim. Another blog I follow was participating and I thought, hey, I’ve got this stack of ARCs I need out of my queue. Let’s go for it! So I made a handy little picture of my choices and went for it. If you’re a regular follower, you probably saw my Saturday Challenge updates.

So here’s how it all ended up. I’m two books away from finishing my whole list. I’m reading The Falconer now. I like it a lot, but for some reason the blend of genres (it’s kind of Jane Austen meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer only faeries instead of vampires?) keeps kind of throwing me for a loop. It’s like I can only keep one of those ideas in my head at a time. But so far, I’m enjoying it. Last but not least is The Lost and the Found, a story about a girl whose sister was kidnapped and suddenly returns home. I’m not sure why this one got bumped to last. I interviewed the author Cat Clarke, and she left me super intrigued about the book. I’m still planning to work it in, hopefully this week.

Here are the books you missed last month.

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This is a dystopian story that reminded me a little bit (in concept) of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, except instead of the focus being on physical beauty, it’s about achieving an appearance of moral perfection to avoid being cast out as a pariah. A girl who has sacrificed her “perfect” image to help someone in need becomes a voice for many who’ve been cast out as Flawed people.

The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I liked this middle grade book a lot. The sense of adventure kept me turning pages and the imaginative approach to the origin of constellations definitely had me hooked. Readers who liked The Map to Everywhere will probably enjoy this one.

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I got Letters to the Lost as an ARC at the last minute, and I am not at all sorry! The story had so much heart. I laughed, I cried, I read it super fast. This has to be one of the top must-read YA books this year.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I can’t believe it took me so long to read Three Times Lucky. Fantastic characters, amazing setting, great story! If you know me in real life, don’t be surprised if I chase you around with a copy of this book. You need to read it!

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I’m more of a light sci-fi girl than true sci-fi reader, but the characters in this story absolutely made me swoon. I was a fan of Abel right from the beginning. The ending was a bit tricky for me, but even if I’d known that, I would still have read it.

Dream Magic by Joshua Khan

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This reminded me of Leah Cypess (whose books I love!) but for a slightly younger crowd. It’s a bit dark because it’s set in a kingdom of the dead (zombies, vampires, that sort of thing) but it’s got a lot of spunk and humor to balance it out.

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I’m usually a sucker for fairy tales re-imagined, but this one is something extra special. It has elements of Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty mashed up together and a compelling voice in both its heroines. If you’re a fan of fairy tales, don’t miss it!

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Initially I think I was drawn to Angelfall because it reminded me a bit of one of the moments in the series by Laini Taylor. There’s a moment when angels, which aren’t really angels at all but creatures from another world, invade earth. Angelfall has a similar-ish plot. I liked the characters and diverse cast.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Another must-read. Jacqueline Woodson shares memories of her childhood in simple, powerful lines of poetry. Gorgeous and moving.

Unblemished by Sara Ella

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I feel like this book gets the most-surprising-book award for me this year. The description sort of underwhelmed me but to be honest, there aren’t a lot of Christian YA books coming my way, so I pounced on it anyway. And I’m so glad I did! I loved the story world and several times the plot swung in a direction I didn’t at all expect. After reading it, I requested an ARC of the second book, and I’m already excited about reading it.

The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

If you told me this book had a lot of military and sci-fi elements I probably would have passed on reading it. Which would have been totally sad, because I really enjoyed it! If you liked Hayley Stone’s Machinations, you need to add The Rift Uprising to your to-be-read list.

Hit the Ground Running by Mark Burley

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Suspense plus parkour? Um, YES! I feel like suspense is what historical YA used to be for me: that genre I had no idea I enjoyed. It’s the opener of a series, and always the big question is whether I’d follow the series to the next book, because often I don’t. I’ll definitely be watching for more of Mark Burley’s tale, though.


What’s Next?

I toyed with the idea of doing an informal challenge this month to try to catch up on some more books I’ve been meaning to read since the April challenge went so well. Unfortunately, I think this month is going to be a bit too crazy what with end-of-year school stuff and all. So I’m going to stick to my handy review calendar this month and work extra books in where I can. This summer, my daughter and I are thinking about doing a weekly bookish activity, so I’ll be organizing those as well. Once we have our list together, I’ll post some information about it so you can read or craft along with us!

What about you?

Any interesting bookish plans for the summer (or winter, depending on where you are)? Going to any events or looking forward to a book release? Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine is at the top of my summer release list. How about you?