Wrap Up

Great Books, TV Shows and Video Games in Our April Wrap Up

Hello friends! I’ve come to love writing these wrap ups not only because they’re fun, but also because they remind me that it is the end of the month when time has pretty much lost its meaning. πŸ˜… Don’t judge, I’ve been cooped up inside for weeks – one of the most exciting moments of my month was buying a puzzle, and then instead of making me happy it made me so angry I wanted to burn it!? Rude. Who knew that puzzles are so difficult!? πŸ˜…

Either way, I survived the month, Sabrina survived the month, and today, we’ll be sharing what we did, what books we read and what posts of yours we loved during April.

LIFE

SABRINA

Perhaps surprisingly, I actually have a couple of things to mention this month. First, it was my sister’s birthday on the 19th so we had a nice day going on a family bike ride and getting takeaway from one of our favourite restaurants for dinner. There was a crazy number of people on the bike track – I guess everyone is trying to get their outdoor exercise in before the cold weather truly hits. I think it’s definitely hit by now. I’ve also had a few video chats with my friends which has been really nice and started watching Elementary and the new season of MasterChef Australia.

Other than that, I have been playing Spyro (which is what this whole paragraph is going to be about, so feel free to skip it if you’re not interested, lol). I bought the Reignited trilogy some time last year, but had an unfortunate incident with the game eating my save file that has stopped me from touching it for a while. I think I figured out the cause of the issue, and though I can’t fix the problem, I can avoid it happening again if I’m careful. I’ve been enjoying the game so far – it makes such a difference being able to change the camera view with the mouse compared to playing on the Playstation and having to wait for it to catch up. I’ve almost finished the first game in the trilogy, and then I’ll be on to my favourite: Gateway to Glimmer!

VERA

Honestly, life has been pretty damn boring recently. I’ve been staying in the house and only wandered out to the garden, or for a short walk. It really is a blessing to live in a small town these days, because it’s pretty normal for the streets to be empty, and now with the lockdown there are even fewer people out and about. I’ve been keeping in contact with all my friends, but it sucks to not be able to meet, or not even know when we’ll be able to meet.

That said! I did some things I’m pretty happy with or proud of! I’ve been doing well in uni – although, I’m about ready to sucker punch one of my professors. Also, online learning, especially without, ya know, actual classes because the professors lack the necessary technology, is absolute shit. A good thing is that I set up a home office for myself at the beginning of the month, as seen in my tweet below, and I’m really proud of how it looks. (The bookshelves were there already, but I re-organized the rest of my room to put the desk there as well.)

Also! I’ve slowly been getting more and more into The Magnus Archives during the last two-three months, and oh my god, the past couple of days? I can hardly stop listening to it. I love the characters SO MUCH, and the story has me on the edge of my seat. I’m only on episode 94, so don’t spoil anything, but ahh, I would love to talk about it! So, let me know if you’ve listened to it? (I did spoil the ships for myself, and I’m ready for them.)

BOOKS

VERA

I read 22 books in April, and my average rating of them was 4.13 – so I’m pleased both quality and quantity-wise. πŸ₯° I discovered quite a few novels that immediately jumped to my all time favorites list, and there were no crushing disappointments at all!? I have so many books I want to highlight, so just… bear with me. πŸ™ˆ

Oh, but before that! I participated in two readathons this month, the Stay Home Reading Rush and Read A Little Romance, and I managed to complete my tbr for both. πŸ₯°

The Top Three/My New Favorites:

Call It What You Want
Only Mostly Devastated
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling

✨ Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer was exactly what I needed. It was such a beautiful, emotional novel, and the characters!! You guys, the characters were so damn lovely; I just wanted to give them all a hug. If you love novels about friendship, family, and if you like a good romance, Call It What You Want is for you.

✨ Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales is the softest book ever!? The thing is, it deals with important, hard issues, as one of the main characters is scared to come out as bisexual, but it is made soft and wholesome by the wonderful cast and lovely friendships. Also, all the Grease elements made me so gleeful! Such a wonderfully written retelling.

✨ The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim is a heartbreaking novel about depression, family and culture, and it’s something you should 1000% add to your TBR. I’ll be posting my review of it and of Only Mostly Devastated soon, so! Stay tuned!

Other Incredible Novels

✨ A Madness of Sunshine is Nalini Singh’s mystery/thriller debut, and y’all, it’s such an incredible novel! It’s a small town mystery that takes place in New Zealand, and while I did guess some of the twists, others managed to surprise me, and I loved the gradual development of the plot and the characters. 5/5 stars!

✨ Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai: A few years ago, I tried to read Hate To Want You by Rai, but I could not get into it. Nothing wrong with the novel, but it was way too angsty for my taste. I needed a novel with two non-white protagonists for Read A Little Romance, though, and Girl Gone Viral was one of the few I could find, so I decided to give another chance to the author. And I loved this book – it was soft and wholesome, and it made me so happy. I quickly read the first book in the series, as well, which was good too, but less so. Anyhow, 5/5 for Girl Gone Viral.

✨ The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend is a novel I’ve heard literally nothing but great things about, and I have to admit, it is a magical, entertaining novel. I loved the characters and the setting – it made me so nostalgic for when I was a child. Oh, and if you’re into audiobooks that’s the route I recommend taking. 4/5

SABRINA

This month has been a pretty good reading month, though I will admit I have been in a slump for about a week at this point. Is that because I have been dedicating more time to playing video games and watching tv than reading? Probably. The highlight was participating in the Stay at Home Reading Rush where I managed to read four books in four days, despite having extreme doubts that I’d be able to do it. Anyway, here’s my thoughts on some of the books I read:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
This book was excruciatingly slow, even more so because I was enjoying the writing and the setting so much.  I feel like I didn’t get to really know any of the characters except β€˜Zachary Ezra Rawlins’ and Kat (who was barely even in it!).  It also had such a sad overtone – I really wish I’d got to experience the setting in its glory days rather than the rundown mess that is was in the story.  Of course, it was still enjoyable as a mess, but it felt like I was missing out. I gave it 3/5 stars.

The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert
I read another book by this author earlier this year, and I must admit I enjoyed this one quite a bit more.  Something about the writing style worked better for me this time around.  I still struggled with the pacing though – I wish the surprisingly intense section near the end of the book had been explored further. Still, I gave this 4/5 stars.

Lanny by Max Porter
This was probably my most surprising read of the month and it’s turned out to be a new favourite. It’s a literary fiction book with elements of fabulism that explores the lives of people in a small town. Sort of. I don’t really know how to explain it, lol. It had some beautiful writing and I loved some of the characters. I was super happy with the ending as well as I had been worried it wouldn’t turn out in a way I’d be satisfied with – it did though! 4/5 stars.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Despite this not being my lowest rated book in April, it was definitely the most disappointing to me.  I went in hoping for an interesting alien story, but instead it was mostly focused around political consequences to stupid actions by a small number of people.  It was told through audio transcripts, and while this worked for the most part, there were several instances where other formats would have really elevated the novel – particularly the action scenes, which actively suffered.  There were still parts where I was engrossed with the story, I just feel like it could have been so much more interesting to me if it had taken a different approach.  I ended up giving it 2.5/5 stars.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I know – I keep saying I don’t like war books and I went and picked up a war book. In my defence, this book actually takes place after the war is over and it was forced upon me by my mum. It’s told through a series of letters, which turned out to be quite fun and kept me turning the pages. Surprisingly, I think the characters were actually well-developed through the letters, and I even found myself crying a little bit due to them. Still, there were moments where the letter format hindered the storytelling and the pacing got strange near the end. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

IN THE BLOGOSPHERE

Discussions, Lists:

Reviews:

Because in our experience reviews tend to do worse than, well, any other type of post, we will also be highlighting our favorite reviews of each month from now on.

LET’S CHAT!

How are you doing? How was your April? What was your favorite book of the month? How about your least favorite? Have you listened to The Magnus Archives?

40 thoughts on “Great Books, TV Shows and Video Games in Our April Wrap Up

  1. I can totally relate to the bike trails being so crowded, Sabrina! I live in a small town but it also gets a lot of tourists, and the streets were crowded with them yesterday, even though nothing is open for them! It was very frustrating to see.

    Anyways, I’m glad both of you had good months! I guess boring is better than stressful haha! Happy May to the two of you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m actually really proud of that number, haha. I hope May lives up to that. The puzzle is a picture of a street from inside a restaurant – so we see the interior, some people and the street. I’m not even halfway done with it. *sighs*

      Like

    1. I’m so proud of that number, especially because I managed to avoid slumps – March was full of times when I just could not concentrate on reading. I think the challenges I did helped me in April.

      Lol, no, that is the worst!! But wow, you’re fast, I’m still not even halfway done with my puzzle. πŸ˜…
      Thanks! πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. OMG yes, what even IS time anymore? What day is it? I feel like I am stuck in some strange Twilight Zone time warp. Life has been fairly boring for me lately, as well. I have done a lot of baking and Netflix-watching. Basically just wasting my time. I love The Starless Sea so far, but I am not too far into it yet. I hope all of you have a wonderful May!
    Erin @ The Book Archive

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Vera! You had such a good reading month. Yeah!! I cannot wait until Nov, when Dumpling comes out. Everyone raves about that book. I need to read it. Your home office looks so nice and inviting too.

    Sabrina, how fun to have a family bike ride. Great idea! You got to be together AND exercise. Winning!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Glad to hear you’re all doing well and staying safe at the moment! I’m very impressed that you were able to read 22 books in April, Vera! And no huge disappointments? That’s amazing!
    Thanks so much for sharing my posts! ❀ Happy May!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic wrap up, ladies! Thank you for also mentioning my review for the Trials of Morrigan Crow ❀ That book was so much fun and gave me such throwback "reading harry potter for the first time" vibes (in the best way), I loved it! On another note, I was playing Spyro Reignited a lot last month so what's this about the game eating your save file!? Is that a game glitch? I hope it doesn't happen again! I've got quite a few of the books you highlighted on my TBR and it's so great to see you loved them πŸ˜€ I hope May is an awesome month for both of you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! I loved your review, and it gave me the push to pick up the novel – which was, yes, such a nostalgic read. It really reminded me of my childhood and made me so happy. I’m looking forward to the sequel. I hope May has been kind to you so far. πŸ™‚

      Like

    2. No need to panic about the save file thing! I play through Steam, and I think the problem is that I was playing on offline mode, and when I switched to online it deleted everything I’d done offline. I just need to remember to manually go and move my save file if I have to go on offline again. It’s a pain, but not a problem most people will have.
      Hope you have a great May πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew puzzles are hard. I kept debating buying one during all of this, especially as I now have a kitchen table I could complete it on, but then I remembered I have no patience and a short temper and thought I might attempt to flip the table when I couldn’t find the right pieces. I feel like puzzles are better done with someone else because at least you’ve got someone to complain to when you can’t find that last edge piece.

    And can I say Spyro! I brought the remastered trilogy last year and played for a bit. It was fun but I forgot how frustrating that game could be (I’m a perfectionist who likes to complete everything who has no patience to put the work in. It’s an issue).

    Vera, your home office looks so pretty! I feel like I need to sort out my desk space now but honestly, as long as I’m comfy I’m happy. I wish it was pretty like that. I totally want to steal your laptop stand as well. I need one of those in my life. I will start the Magnus Archives today (I was too busy yesterday but today I can do it, as long as I leave one headphone out so I can hear if the postman comes to the door).

    Now you’ve both talked about books I need to read so I seriously need to start reading more. Turns out despite having more free time at home I still waste half my day on social media.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I officially hate puzzles. πŸ˜… And I’m not even halfway done with this!! I’m quarter done, if that. Ugh. At least I can listen to The Magnus Archives when trying to put this monster together.

      Thanks! πŸ™‚ The laptop stand is from ikea, and it was super-cheap, as far as I remember. I bought it ages ago, though, but I think they should still have something like this.

      Lol, good luck on reading more! πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. I’m glad that it looks like both of you had a good April!! And I’m super glad that you’re doing well in uni, Vera! It’s’ what you deserve πŸ₯Ί the Magnus Archives!! I listened to the first two episodes of the first season, and I haven’t listened to more since πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ But in my defense, it’s because I don’t have many things to do at home while listening to something on audio. Though I’ve heard *such* good things about the podcast, especially the ships! Also, I’m so excited to read The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling and Morrigan Crow! I’ve heard good things about both, and I hope they don’t disappoint ❀ I hope you two have a wonderful May!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! πŸ’œπŸ’œ I’m so obsessed with TMA, so it made me happy to hear yesterday that you’re enjoying it. πŸ˜€ Yeah, it can be hard to find activities that work with a podcast, I mostly listened to it while trying to figure out how to put together the puzzle. (Which I’m only like, quarter-done with still. 😐) I hope you’ll enjoy The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling and Morrigan Crow both!! Thanks! Hope your May has been going well. πŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Time has truly been so weird, it’s almost two months since I turned in my Thesis … how??? I’m happy you two have had such a good reading month though! Also thank you so much for featuring my review, it means a lot! πŸ’›

    Sabrina: Video Games have been great for me as well! I have a Nintendo DS so I’ve been playing a lot of Zelda Games as I always love them! I have never played Spyro but I’m happy to hear that you have been enjoying it so much πŸ₯°

    Vera: I’m sorry online classes have been difficult, but your home office is actual goals!! It’s so aesthetically pleasing and simply looks amazing with all the bookshelves in the background πŸ’— I hope things will get better with your classes!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It has been quite a quiet month in April but I’m glad there were good things in both your months still. Your home office looks so cute !!
    I might have to check out The Magnus Archives as I enjoyed the last podcast I listened to so it would be cool to have another one !!
    22 books is impressive !! I really want to read The Surprising Power of A Good Dumpling so I’m glad you enjoyed that one.
    I loved the writing and experience of The Starless Sea too. It was amazing !! But I totally get what you said about the characters as you didn’t know them too well really.
    Thank you so much for sharing my post, it means the world !! πŸ’›
    I hope you have a great May !! πŸ’•πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I loved putting it together. πŸ™‚
      Yes, Sophie, listen to The Magnus Archives!! I’ve converted some people already, and it’s really so damn good! Let me know if you start to listen to it, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also, what was the last podcast you listened to?
      The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling was incredible, I hope you’ll also love that!
      Hope you’re having a great May. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay!!!
        Ahh.. that makes me so excited, it will probably be in a month or two as I’ve just got scribd for a while and I want to make the most of it !! But thank you and I will!! It was The Bright Sessions, the therapy for the superpowered people. It was fun and I loved it !!
        I’m excited for it !! Thank you !! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m planning on getting scribd, just not now because I’ve planned some buddy-reads with physical copies I own, so I feel you on wanting to make the most of it. But seriously, let me know when you listen to TMA!! I’d love to hear your thoughts. πŸ˜€ The Bright Sessions sounds great, I’m writing it down, because I’ve been looking for something else for when I’m finished with TMA.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Haha, I can completely relate to getting angry at puzzles – they’re so frustrating!! πŸ˜‚

    22 books, wow! I thought I was doing well with 8! I’ve not seen The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling before but the cover looks absolutely adorable. Why do the cutest books have to be the most heartbreaking?

    Oh no Sabrina, I’m sorry Sleeping Giants was a disappointment for you! I’ve been pretty up and down about wanting to read that book. Sometimes it sounds interesting and other times I’m not sure about it.

    I hope you both have a wonderful month! ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’re so lucky to have such a lovely space for your home office! A bookish nook where I can read and work is like the central point of my dream house ❀ Enjoy gaming as well, I haven't played Spyro but have been addicted to Animal Crossing πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So you both kept busy, though in different ways. Vera – I’m envious of your office LOL. And I’m glad uni went well, despite some glitches in the system! Great idea, linking to some reviews as well. Have a great May girls (well, as good as the present situation permits…I know a lot about the lockdown in Hungary via our Twitter chats, but virtually nothing about Australia…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I love my office so much. I bought the shelves last summer, and I was SO EXCITED when they arrived, because I always had smaller shelves all around my room. And now all my books are together. πŸ˜€ I hope your May has been good so far. πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. Lovely wrap-up! ❀
    Sabrina, I'm happy you could still celebrate your sister's birthday and overall had a nice day!
    Veronika, I love your home office so, so much, it looks so… peaceful somehow ahah, I love it πŸ™‚
    You both had a fantastic reading month, wow, that's so amazing. I really want to read Call it What You Want πŸ™‚
    have a lovely month! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marie! πŸ™‚
      Thank you!! It’s really nice sitting in it. πŸ˜€
      Call It What You Want is incredible, and I think you’d love it based on what kind of contemporaries I’ve seen you enjoy. I hope so, anyway. πŸ™‚ Hope your May has been great!

      Liked by 1 person

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