April was definitely full of challenges. Not only was I reading the books I set up for myself, but I also started doing some experiments on my reading life. Whenever I do experiments like this, I always end up burnt out and exhausted from reading. However, the challenges also share some interesting insights about my reading life and how I want to continue pursuing that in the future.
Two of the main challenges I set myself for April was to read 125 pages a day and also read two books at a time. You might be thinking that it’s not a good idea to schedule out your reading like this, but I will note that the challenge of reading more throughout the day made me find pockets of time where I could read. Also, I found that I needed to really keep my phone away from me so I’m not distracted by my phone.
This month, I read 10 books. This is more than average and definitely met with a ton of challenges. By the end of the month, I was severely burnt out with wild swings in my mood. I picked up three books I decided weren’t right for me at the moment. I tried reading a few romances to thwart the burnout I felt creeping in. And I think I learned that it’s not about the quantity of books I read, but the quality. It’s good to know because that overwhelming sensation that I won’t read all the books I want to read before I die is crippling.
My favorites of the month
The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne: My first foray into a high fantasy novel that takes place in Norse mythology. And I somehow came out of the book wishing I was a viking and that dragon existed. Brutal in the treatment of its characters, but also left with this hopeful feeling that will carry you into the next book.
Nettle and Bone by T Kingfisher: If you’re a fan of unconventional fairy tales, then this is the book for you. This was my first T Kingfisher book and trust me, it won’t be my last. The princess goes to save her sister in this one with the help of some unusual characters including her fairy godmother, a necromancer witch, a dog made of bones, and a demon chicken. Oh, of course there’s a knight in shining armor, but he’s wanted for murder.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel: I’m a huge fan of villain stories and I was blown away by this one. Based on the story of Ramayana, this will make you think differently about the position of wicked stepmother. Beautifully written and deeply moving, if you’re a fan of well-written characters, then you’ll fall in love with this one.
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez: This was such a fun one for me and nice foil throughout my month of ups and downs. If you like stories featuring a good-hearted dude who falls absolutely in love with the hardworking and rich doctor, then you’ll like this one. I absolutely loved the small town vibes, the cute baby goats, and the little romance budding between these two
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I Lin: I’m a huge fan of tea, so when I heard about a YA fantasy story where the young hero needs to brew tea to be the Empress’s advisor, then you’ll really like this one. Filled with political intrigue, a magical competition, and big reveals, then you’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat for this one.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse: A reread for me, but I’m so glad I did it. It was my last book of the month and it made me so happy to end on a high note. A chosen one, a destiny to meet, and a huge twisted world of politics that you won’t have any problems losing yourself in this fast-paced fantasy book.
Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer: I read this one to start my Hugo Awards reading early. It’s a YA thriller about a young person who’s on the run from her estranged father. With the help of her new friends and an AI with too much personality, you’ll find yourself worried for the young person and if she’ll ever get away from her dad.
An Arrow to the Moon by Emily XR Pan: Imagine if the goddess of the moon and the god of hunting fell down to earth and met as young people. Well, that’s what you get with this story. A bit more romantic than I imagined and with an ending I didn’t see coming, I thought this was such a great little story with some well-executed fairy tale in the mix.
A Proposal They Can’t Refuse by Natalie Caña: If you wanted a romance story with all the tropes, then this is for you. Second-chance romance, fake dating/engagement, a grump and sunshine couple, and two small businesses to save. I really loved getting into this one and hoping the best for both.