April Wrap Up & May TBR

Thursday, 30 April 2015

So I thought I would start a little segment on my blog that I know is very popular around the book blogging community and that is to discuss what I read in the previous month and what I intend, or hope to read in the following month. So here goes nothing, this is my April Wrap Up and my TBR for the month of May!

So last month I told you guys that April for me was going to be hectic-ish? I had my trip away to Disneyland Paris which seems like forever ago now, and then I had my birthday. Add that together with work I expected to have and I planned for a very busy month but I was quite pleased with my reading this month - although it didn't seem like a lot at the time I don't think I've done too badly! I also said I was going to attempt something called 'ARC April' in which I would solely dedicate my time to reading all of the ARC's I have to read, but yeah as you can imagine that didn't go to plan. One of the books I read this month just really but me in a reading slump so my motivation to read all of the review books just dwindled. However fear not because I have my reading motivation back! I read a grand total of 7 books in April, the same amount as March! That brings my total book count to 26 books for 2015, meaning I'm just over 50% of the way through done my reading challenge of the year. I think I'm going to smash that if I continue to read as I am currently! So let's see what I read this month and my opinions on them!

1. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories (3/5 stars)
This was a lovely collection of short stories by Tim Burton. I'm a huge fan of all of his movies and I love the usual way his characters are drawn - so when you get short stories with the same gritty and raw artwork that is to be expected from Tim Burton it was just a lovely reading experience. Expect dark, creepy and at times entertaining tales straight out of the brilliant mind of Burton himself. These are exactly what I expected them to be. A good read for fans of Tim Burton but nothing overly exceptional. I loved some stories while I detested others.

2. The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones by Anna Mainwaring (4/5 stars)
Oh I loved this book. It was a quirky and uplifting contemporary that I managed to fly through on a three hour train journey down to London. I literally could not put the book down. Each element of this book was decorated to perfection. The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones was light hearted, quick and thrilling read with humour that will make any reader laugh out loud. Anna Mainwaring tackles a sensitive subject that teenagers of the age will understand and appreciate! Thank you to Anna for sending this my way! You can read my full review of this book here.

3. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install (4/5 stars)
I thoroughly loved this book, the characters were well developed, the adventurous plot was sound. I want a Tang. My only criticism is that I felt some of the stops on Ben and Tang's journey could have been a bit longer, each destination seemed to feel a bit repetitive. Overall, a fantastic read. I was so glad to receive this book for review from Ben at Penguin Random House and to be part of the blog tour that went with it. If you want to see more of my thoughts click here for my review, and to read the guest post that Deborah wrote for my blog, click here.

4. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (2/5 stars/DNF) 
Ah this book. I had really high hopes for this book as well. Unfortunately this was the book that put me in my reading slump. The beginning of the book was brilliant, the setting was well developed and the plot had me gripped - this was going to be a whole new take on the vampire genre, or so I thought. The plot was slow and didn't really have me that enthralled. The moment they got to the Coldtown I expected the pace to pick up but it didn't, it just kept dwindling around. I guessed some of the plot twists before they arrived and frankly I wasn't excited to continue with this book at all, I actually tried to pick it up several times. I am really disappointed that I couldn't bring myself to finish this book because I loved The Darkest Part of the Forest - hopefully I'll try this again in the future and enjoy it a lot more. You can read my full review of this book here.

5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (4/5 stars)
So this was the second time I've read Eleanor & Park and it was definitely better the second time around. I was reminded of the romance and how realistic it felt to life. However the one thing I didn't like about this book the first time around was the ending. I've discussed this with many friends and I always just came to the conclusion that the ending was predictable and anticlimactic in my opinion. Has my opinion on the ending changed? Slightly. I still hate the fact that in a whole year that she only responded once and that it's the final line of the book, but I enjoyed how open it was left. You can read my full review of this book here.

6. The Catalyst by Helena Coggan (3/5 stars)
For a fifteen year old author I have to say this book blew my mind. The writing was exquisite and way beyond anything I expected. Some of the language and expression was extremely detailed and I really enjoyed it. Plot wise it fell slightly flat, the beginning was just a tad confusing (so much going on at once) but once the plot kicked off it really started to shape an enjoyable dystopian/fantasy novel. It was a unique idea that I thought worked well, I just saw so much potential with it that I would have liked to see. It was all going so well until the end. Mmm that ending for me just wasn't overly sufficient - I would have liked to have seen a lot more to it. I was excited at the concept of spying on the enemy but there were just too many parties in play. I think I would have enjoyed this so much more if it was just one force against the other, but when you have a triad of people it's just difficult to try and understand. A shame really. You can read my full review of this book here.

7. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (4/5 stars)
Okay where to begin with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this novel although some of the set up to the romance slightly annoyed me. I didn't really enjoy Finch's character in the first quarter of the book perhaps because I thought he was being exceedingly over personal. For somebody he didn't know he felt quite happy to pressurise Violet's character to revealing her past when quite clearly it was obvious she was struggling. Looking past that I adored the romance once it kicked off and I really liked the road trip kind of plot in the background - about how they had to visit each place and leave their mark. It was unique and I enjoyed it. I got really invested in these characters and then my heart broke with the ending. I was sat in a staff room at school surrounding by my teaching colleagues when I choked at the end and started to take some very deep breaths. Holy hell no wonder it's compared to John Green - Jennifer Niven you are ruthless. I hope to have a review of this book up very soon so keep an eye out!

So those were all 7 of the books I read in April, but what do I plan on reading in May? Well besides a few birthdays I can't see anything major taking place (besides working) that would take up the majority of my time! This means that hopefully I will manage to get lots of reading done! With a few books coming out in June that I have to get to for review, I also want to try manage my ARC's more effectively. I actually have a blog post all about it, so check that out here. However, this is my ambitious TBR for the month of May...
  • Mind Games by Teri Terry
  • Remix by Non Pratt
  • Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Best Kept Secret by Wendi Nunnery
  • The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Will I stray from my listed TBR? Probably. Do I care? Not really. If I can manage to get what needs to be reviewed done and then still have enough time to actually enjoy my reading then who cares?

Let me know in the comments below what books you read this month and one book you're looking forward to reading next month!

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