April Wrap-Up | clinging to books during a pandemic

I don’t know exactly what’s happening with time right now, but March lasted approximately five years but April went by in two heartbeats??

I guess a part of it is that I’ve kind of just settled into this new normal, which is weird in its own way considering how horrible the world is as a whole. But I guess we’ve all had to get used to getting on with our lives while the world falls apart during the past few years, huh?

What a bummer way to start out a wrap-up. Anyway, April wasn’t a bad month! Not much happened in my life, unsurprisingly, but I am able to work from home a few days a week now, which is nice. And I’m writing a lot! So between working, writing, reading, and blogging, I’ve been able to keep myself pretty busy.

A highlight of the month was taking part in the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon! My goal was to pursue the dragon taming special course, which meant studying Magizoology (4 books) as well as another dragon book for extra research…and I was successful! I even managed to fit in a few extra prompts as well. I can’t wait for the N.E.W.T.s in August!

This month, I read a total of ten books with an average rating of 3.9 stars. There were lots of pretty average rated books for me in April, but luckily I also found a few standouts. Now let’s talk about what I read!

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Books I read

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The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Extra research – book with dragons ✨

Mini review is here. A sweet middle grade book about dragons and memory that was nice but, ironically, not the most memorable.

Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Astronomy – Night classes: read the majority of this book when it’s dark outside ✨

Mini review is here. I was a little sad that I didn’t love this book as much as I hoped I would. It was still a fun space adventure, but it didn’t live up to all of my hopes and dreams.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Asthon, & Jodi Meadows ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Herbology – Mimubulus Mimbletonia: title that starts with M ✨

Mini review is here. This Jane Eyre retelling was lots of fun! It might not have grabbed me as much as the first book in this series, but I still enjoyed it.

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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #3) (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Care of Magical Creatures – Hippogriffs: creature with a beak on the cover ✨

Series review is here. With this, I finished my reread of The Hunger Games series. This one is my least favorite, but I still had a LOT of thoughts about it, which you know if you’ve read my (very long) series review.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Charms – Lumos Maxima: white cover ✨

Mini review is here. An excellent futuristic fantasy with incredible worldbuilding, though it definitely suffered in the pacing department.

The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #0.5) ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Potions – Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages ✨

The prequel novella to The Bone Season! Not much to say about this other than it was nice to get some background on the characters but not the most mindblowing.

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A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen (The Bright Sessions #2) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

RELEASE: Sept. 29, 2020

I’m still in shock that I’ve read this?? A Neon Darkness is the second novelization of my favorite fiction podcast, The Bright Sessions, and it’s the origin story of the podcast’s villain, Damien. I wasn’t sure how Lauren Shippen could possibly make me so invested in Damien’s backstory, but here we are. I’ll have a review out for this eventually, but in the meantime, get excited!!

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Muggle Studies – book from a perspective of a muggle (contemporary) ✨

This book just made me so happy!! I’ll have a review out next week probably, but Sparknotes version: I felt so inspired and ready to change the world after reading this, and I loved it.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman (reread) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Rereading Alice Oseman is always a sure way to brighten up my life. I read this in less than a day and I think I loved it even more the second time?? I want to hug both Angel and Jimmy. And this time around, I appreciated Bliss SO MUCH – she’s such a highlight of this book! I want a sequel soooo baaaad. Anyway, my review from reading this for the first time two years ago is here.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 ✨ O.W.L. exam: Defense Against the Dark Arts – Grindylows: book set at the sea/coast ✨

Full review is here. Well, I’ve found a new favorite! I could gush about this book for days, which is pretty much exactly what I did in my review, so I’ll spare you all here. Long story short, go read it!!

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Other things

Schitt’s Creek finale

Schitt's Creek finale GIFs! by CBC | GIPHY

Another one of my favorite shows ended and I’m sad! But also happy because the ending was so beautiful and perfect??? Ahhhh the conflicting emotions!

Schitt’s Creek never failed to make me smile, and I’m certainly going to miss it and all of the characters that I got attached to over the course of six seasons. Still, it felt like the right place to end, and I’m really satisfied with how things turned out. I will admit that I shed a few happy tears.

Some things keeping me sane right now

Andre Braugher GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Rewatching certain shows has been filling my heart with joy. My family and I are steadily making our way through Brooklyn Nine Nine and it’s just as fantastic as it always has been. It’s official – Captain Holt is my favorite character. I also revisited Yuri! On Ice for approximately the hundredth time. It’s a little ridiculous how happy that show makes me and how much I cry when it ends. I’ve been slowly making my way through rewatching the best parts of The X Files (aka all the episodes where Mulder & Scully gaze at each other a lot) for the past few months, which continued in April as well.

I Am Not Okay With This Wyatt Oleff GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share ...

I also watched some new shows! I Am Not Okay With This took me by surprise, and I ended up watching the entire first season in one day…though to be fair, it was only seven episodes. I’m also almost caught up on Derry Girls, which is the perfect amount of silliness I need in my life right now.

For some reason, I’ve been loving listening to podcasts more than usual! After reading A Neon Darkness, I decided to re-listen to The Bright Sessions, even though I’ve listened to it so many times before. I’m currently on Season 3 and enjoying it immensely!

Some other nonfiction podcasts that I’ve enjoyed lately are Our Opinions Are Correct (a podcast about SFF and storytelling from two SFF writers), Spirits (all about folklore and mythology), Hot and Bothered: Twilight in Quarantine (reading Twilight and giving hilarious unsolicited advice to the characters), and Keeping a Notebook (a writing podcast from Nina LaCour that’s so inspiring and relaxing).

Music that I listened to

  • Black Coffee Morning by Bluebiird | “Oh, play it again for me / Big bright moon in the sky”
  • Adore You by Harry Styles | “I’d walk through fire for you / Just let me adore you”
  • Time by The National Parks | “Let you go or keep running, I hope you know that I’ll keep coming”
  • New Friends by Orla Gartland | “And to them, I’m just some girl who broke your heart and wrote a song about it”

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Posts I loved

🌷 Ellyn @ allonsythornraxx recommended books based on Disney movies and I LOVE all of the suggestions.

🌷 Sophie @ Me & Ink wrote a great discussion about morally grey characters that was such a fascinating read!

🌷 May @ forever and everly recommended a ton of books by authors of color for anyone who’s been reading only white authors.

🌷 Laura @ thebookcorps listed 29 TV shows to watch during lockdown, including some of my favorites!

🌷 Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner talked about why she loves middle grade books, and I agree with everything she said!

🌷 Fatma @ The Book Place discussed the trope of the Messy Woman in fiction, highlighting both good and bad examples.

🌷 Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks talked about how she plans her blog content, and I’m very impressed by her organization!

🌷 Lauren @ twenty-seven letters gave her reaction to watching the last two Harry Potter movies and finally finishing her HP journey!

🌷 Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea listed all the f/f books she’s read as well as the ones on her TBR – a great resource for anyone in need of recommendations.

🌷 Alice @ love for words supplied a few resources for legally finding books for free, which is so cool!

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May TBR

I have a ton of ARCs that have piled up, and I want to use May to get through as many of them as possible! Plus a few others, if I can fit them in. We’ll see.

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  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (out Oct. 6)
  • By the Book by Amanda Sellet (out May 12)
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (out Aug. 4)
  • Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner (out May 26)
  • Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power (out July 7)
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (out Sept. 1)
  • A Peculiar Peril by Jeff VanderMeer (out July 7)
  • The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune (out July 14)
  • The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi (out Sept. 22)
  • Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
  • The Wicked King by Holly Black

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I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe and healthy! And now, well…

Its Gonna Be May Justin Timberlake GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

What did you read in April? What have you been reading or watching to keep yourself busy from home?

x Margaret

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33 thoughts on “April Wrap-Up | clinging to books during a pandemic

  1. I have also been listening to Harry Styles A LOT lately, though the other day, Florence Pugh was doing one of her dancing sesh’s on Insta to Train to Mexico by Toby Sebastian, and it has been stuck in my head for literal days, plural.

    Also super jealous you get to read Cemetery Boys! I’m so excited for September!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. omg yes i love Schitts Creek and Derry Girls!! 💖 so sad to see Schitts Creek end, but like you said it was such a beautiful final outfit (Moiras final outfit omg!!!!)

    and thank you so much for linking my post!! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh… you got to read A Neon Darkness, how exciting?!?! I’m so glad you enjoyed it !! I’m definitely excited as I’m loving villains/antagonists lately and I love looking into their past and choices 😍 plus Damien is one of my favourites for this as he was really well written so I need to know more !! yess rereading I Was Born For This is a great choice as it is such a good read and I love the characters. I really hope there is a sequel one day !!
        YESSS B99, one of my favourite shows too !! I love Captain Holt so much 😍😍 his humour is everything !!
        Thank you so much for sharing my post, I’m so glad you enjoyed it !! 💛
        I hope you enjoy all your May reads and have a great month !! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yessss, A Neon Darkness was soooo good! Unsurprisingly 😂 I think you’ll love it if you’re into reading villain stories, bc this is definitely one of the best of those I’ve ever read.
        IWBFT is perfect for rereading 😄 A sequel would be amaaaazing!
        Hooray for Captain Holt! ❤️
        I hope your May is wonderful as well – happy reading! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Every time I read one of your posts, I go all wowowowowow like a broken record.

    The House in the Cerulean Sea was amazing and now I’m so excited to read Yes, No, Maybe So. I hope you’ll have the best May ever, and congrats on acing your O.W.L.s!

    (Thank you so much for mentioning my post 💖)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have had an amazing reading month. I thought I’d have more time to read in April, but the weather has been so gorgeous I found myself in the garden most days so didn’t get much in. I adore Yuri! On Ice and it’s high time I watch it again cause that show just makes me smile. I hope May is kind to you. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s strange how quickly April was over compared to March 😱 I’m so happy to hear that you liked Yes No Maybe So because I just got the ebook and hope to read it soon 🥰 I also watched I Am Not Okay with This with a friend and I loved it! I definitely hope there is a second season as I wanted so many more episodes 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Truly! Time has no meaning anymore. I hope you love Yes No Maybe So as much as I did! 😀 Ooh what great timing on I Am Not Okay With This! I’m very excited for a potential second season, because I need to know what happens next 😱 Thanks so much, Caro!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh I’m so jealous you get to read Cemetery Boys, I was heartbroken when they pushed the release date back until September. I just went and watched the trailer for I Am Not Okay With This because I hadn’t heard about it, and it looks amazing so I think I know what I’ll be watching next! I’m now no longer going out to work, so I’m hoping to use May to get through every book I own that I haven’t already read (I’ve got it down to 12 so far). Then through the magic of the internet, I will be purchasing more books! I hope you have a wonderful month! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, the pushed back release date of Cemetery Boys – and so many other books right now! – is so sad 😢 Ahhh I hope you enjoy I Am Not Okay With This! 😀 Those sound like some pretty great May plans. Getting your TBR down to 12 is quite a feat! Good luck with your reading, and happy May 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. first of all — that tbr for may, i am JEALOUS!! i hope you love the silvered serpents, addie larue, cemetery boys, and burn our bodies down, because i am SO excited for them ❤ and aah it seems like almost every blogger i've read wrap-ups from agrees that april was over super quickly!

    i'm really happy to see that you loved the house on the cerulean sea — i've been seeing so many people gush over it. i hope you have an amazing may, and thank you so much for linking to one of my posts!! 🥺💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh yes it’s such an exciting TBR! 😀 All of those truly sound amazing, and I can’t wait to read them. And yep, April really just flew past??

      The House in the Cerulean Sea is incredible, I could gush about it for days! Thanks so much, and happy May to you too 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, I’m glad you enjoyed the finale of Schitt’s Creek. I was forced to give up on it, because it was taken off Netflix, at least in Hungary, and I’m SO ANGRY about that. I’m so excited for Bonds of Brass, so it’s a pity it didn’t work for you as much as you hoped it would. I’ll lower my expectations a bit. I agree with you about My Plain Jane – it wasn’t terrible, but it also didn’t live up to my expectations. Also, even though it was supposed to be Jane’s story, she was the most boring, generic character ever? I was far more interested in the other two protagonists. Hope you’re having a great month! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, that’s so sad that Schitt’s Creek was taken off Netflix for you! I hope you’re able to find some other way of watching it. Bonds of Brass was a bit of a disappointment, though from the reviews I’ve seen, I may be in the minority 🤷‍♀️ And I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt that way about My Plain Jane! I agree that her character was somehow the least interesting 😂 Thanks so much – I hope you May is wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Margaret!
    I agree that this month feels surreally normal despite everything that’s going on. Glad to hear that you’ve been keeping busy and that you’ve gotten lots of writing done! Yes No Maybe So sounds like a really cute and adorable book – it might be exactly what I need at the moment. Thank you for linking my post! Wishing you a wonderful month 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. thank you for mentioning my post!! <33 i am very honored 😭😭 also, i'm glad that your month wasn't horrible considering the state of the world right now ❤ I've also been watching a lot of things to cope, haha! I really want to continue watching B99 (I used to watch it religiously), but I've forgotten so much of the show already. I honestly see it as complete in my head already lmao

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ah I’m really glad to hear you’re able to keep yourself busy lately, that’s always good ❤ I'm so happy you re-read I Was Born For This as well, I adore this book so much, I need to re-read it eventually, too ❤ AND YES I'd love a sequel, too! 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing my post! ❤ you have such an exciting TBR for the month, can't wait to hear your thoughts on the silvered serpents! 🙂
    Have a lovely month! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marie! ❤️ Rereading I Was Born For This is always a good decision, in my opinion 😄 A sequel would be amazing!!
      I’m very excited for The Silvered Serpents, as well as all the other books on this months tbr 😊 Hope you have a wonderful May as well!!

      Liked by 1 person

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