April Reading Wrap-Up

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A is for April and A is for ARCs!! I started the month with You’ve Reached Sam and Folklorn and concluded it with Hurricane Summer and We Are Satellites. So much variety and so many good reads. Here’s a glimpse at what I read this month:

reviews

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Image Description: A flat lay featuring an e-book copy of the book You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao as seen on the screen of an Android tablet with a black case. Surrounding the tablet are bits of candy bar, guitar picks, an upturned CD, the neck of an acoustic six string guitar, an iPhone with screen lit up to a call from “Sam,” the corner of a denim jacket, and scattered bits of dried Jasmine tea leaves.
☕☕☕☕ (four stars as rated in cups of coffee from the shop where Sam and Julie’s story began)

I was given a free review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a treasure from SO many different angles. Loss is a messy process. Watching Julie sabotage herself with a deep and desperate sadness that bordered on frustrating for me as a reader, was honestly a brilliant move by Thao. You’ve Reached Sam will speak to anyone that has had to say goodbye to a loved one or, honestly, anyone that has watched someone else have to do the same. Continue reading my previous post about this book.

✨ Rep in this book: Multiple East Asian characters, gay supporting characters

Content warnings for this book: car accident, divorce, death of a partner, trauma, grief, racism, bullying


A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Image Description: A flat lay featuring as e-book copy of A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas as seen on the screen of an Android tablet with a black case. To the top and left of the tablet are flowers with sparkles on them. A hand fan is spread open at the bottom right and feathers are scattered around. There is a blue masquerade mask to the top right and wisps of smoke entering the frame from the bottom.
👖👖 (two stars as rated in Cassian’s pants because IYKYK)

Look, I honestly didn’t really want to review this book. I didn’t like it that much, I skimmed about 40% of it and I now actually strongly dislike a lot of the characters I previously loved because of the decisions they made in this novel. I won’t say that it ruined the series for me, but it certainly didn’t improve it at all and I would probably not recommend it to anyone. So there is that. Womp.

✨ Rep in this book: n/a

✨ Content warnings for this book: sexual content, trauma, grief, death, themes of war and battle, medical stuff, abduction, bodily mutilation, gore, sexism


A Blade So Black (Nightmare-Verse #1) by L.L. McKinney

Image Description: A flat lay featuring the audio book for A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney as seen on the screen of an Android phone. To the top left of the phone are a pair of headphones. To the bottom left is Sarah’s hand reaching into the frame and holding a red rose. There is a string of gold beads to the right and playing cards are scattered all around.
💔💔💔💔 (four stars as rated in hearts so broken because THAT ENDING 😭)

It is impossible to remove a book from its context so my review of this book consists mostly of what I realized and experienced while read this book in April of 2021. That being said, this story is equal parts entertaining and deeply important. I had a lot of fun with it and the audio narration by Jeanette Illidge is absolutely outstanding. Continue reading my previous post about this book.

✨ Rep in this book: Black Protagonist, own voices, queer side characters

✨ Content warnings for this book: death of a parent, violence, racism, police brutality, death, war and battle


A Ph Love Story by Loan Le

Image Description: A flat lay featuring an audio book version of A Ph Love Story by Loan Le as seen on the screen of an Android phone with a black case. The phone sits on a cutting board which slices diagonally through the frame and is surrounded by star anise, cardamom, Thai basil, lime wedges and cinnamon sticks. A soup spoon enters the frame to the left and there is a large white bowl of broth to the right.
🖌️🖌️🖌️🖌️🖌️ (five stars as rated in Linh Mai’s paintbrushes)

Reading this book was one of the most heart-fluttering, giggle-inducing, tear-jerking book experiences I’ve had yet in 2021. This story has everything I am looking for in a YA love story. The relationships are dynamic, the characters are compelling and an author that can make you laugh in the midst of palpable heartbreak is probably the definition of literary excellence. In A Phở Love Story Loan Le has managed to illustrate the immigrant experience – as well as that of second generation Asian American teenagers – sincerely and respectfully while still keeping the overall tone of the book lighthearted and profoundly hopeful. If that doesn’t deserve five stars then I honestly don’t know what does. Continue reading my previous post about this book.

✨ Rep in this book: Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American cast of characters, own voices

Content warnings for this book: racism, generational trauma, death of a loved one, refugee experience, grief, drowning, mentions of war


Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur

Image Description: a flat lay featuring an e-book copy of Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur as seen on the screen of an android tablet with a black case. Daisies and pink carnations lay to the bottom left and top right of the tablet on a white and pink marbled surface. Black feathers are scattered at the top left.
🎀🎀🎀🎀🎀 (five stars as rated in red ribbons trailing along behind your friend each time she visits)

I was given a free review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Folklorn is an exploration of diaspora, identity and self love. The experiences – both real and imagined – of the protagonist, Elsa, as well as her brother, Chris, her parents and particularly that of her friend, Oskar are all written, even at their worst with so much compassion. And while the pain was visceral at moments, it does ultimately lead to a place of healing that is deeply deserved by the characters and was profoundly satisfying for me as the reader. For me, though, the best part of this book came afterwards in getting to read the experiences that my friends had with the it and for whom similar stories and experiences of the Asian diaspora are starkly underrepresented. Continue reading in my previous post about this book.

✨ Rep in this book: Korean cast of characters

✨ Content warnings for this book: drowning, death of a parent, racism, domestic abuse, violence, suicide, medical stuff


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Image Description: a flat lay featuring the audio book version of Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo as seen on the screen of a white iPhone. The phone is being held in a white hand that rests on the sand of the beach. A few palm shadows peek in at the top of the frame.
♟️♟️♟️♟️♟️ (five stars as rated in strategically placed chess pieces that will make you think they let you win)

What first must be said about this book is that it is an absolute delight to listen to. I am blown away by the talent that is Elizabeth Acevedo. Both her voice and style of writing generated such tangible imagery for me that I was literally move to tears at moments. This book is truly stunning on all counts. Continue reading in my previous post about this book.

Rep in this book: Dominican and Dominican-American MC’s, Queer MC

Content warnings for this book: plane crash, death of a parent, infidelity, sexual violence and assault, medical stuff, thoughts of suicide, discussion of sexual trafficking


Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

Image Description: a flat lay featuring an Advance Reader’ Edition of the book Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield. The book is surrounded by halved citrus fruits of a variety of colors all facing up. A few are quartered. A cutting board peeks in at the top left.
🦋🦋🦋🦋(four stars as rated in a butterfly pendant on a little gold chain)

I was sent an advanced reader copy of this novel by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.

Hurricane Summer was such an experience. I am overwhelmed by how much nuance and imagery this single story holds. This book is proof that we can sometimes learn just as much from fiction as nonfiction. The mentions of colorism and colonialism in particular were so poignantly and elegantly done that I could have spent a whole novel on the ins and outs of that alone. That plot though… I could feel it developing from page one – like a storm building on the horizon. Read my full review of Hurricane Summer.

✨ Rep in this book: Jamaican and Jamaican-Canadian cast of characters, own voices

Content warnings for this book: drowning, death of a parent, death racism, racial slurs, domestic abuse, violence, vomiting, sexual assault, abortion, infidelity, sexual content


Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Image Description: a flat lay featuring an audio book copy of Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam as seen on the screen of a white iPhone. The phone rests on the bottom of a paper calendar before a yellow backdrop. A few seashells are scattered around at the right side of the picture.
🦩🦩🦩🦩(four stars as rated in flamingos because…. um… flamingos?)

If you are into the kind of film where you don’t see the monster until 2/3 of the way through, then have I got the book for you! Leave The World Behind is, in my opinion, the definition of a psychological thriller. What is most unsettling about this story isn’t what it shows you but what it doesn’t. There is very little action, but don’t take that to mean that the book does not move. I genuinely could not put it down. This is the kind of story you keep thinking about for days afterward. Read my full review of Leave The World Behind.

✨ Rep in this book: Black supporting characters, AOC

Content warnings for this book: mentions of death, disease and civil unrest, vomit, medical stuff, cursing, racism


We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker

Image Description: A flat lay featuring an e-book version of the book We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker as seen on the screen of an iPad. To the left of the tablet is a laptop keyboard with a pair of reading glasses folded upon it. A coffee cup and notebook peek onto the frame at the top left corner.
🔊🔊🔊🔊 (four stars as rated in all the noise that never ever stops)

I was given a free review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first Sarah Pinsker novel and it exceeded all of my expectations! The story is one part speculative sci-fi, one part family drama, and one part conspiracy! But what I really, really loved about this novel was how quickly it moved. Everything I knew about the story going into it literally occurs within the first 10 pages! The book just takes off and sustains this fast, engrossing pace throughout. I loved that especially considering the technical nature of the subject matter which could have become very easily bogged down. Read my full review of We Are Satellites.

✨ Rep in this book: Queer MC’s, Neurodivergent MC

Content warnings for this book: thoughts of suicide, addiction, mentions of war and battle, trauma, medical stuff, gas-lighting


  • Female authors: 7
  • AOC: 7
  • Queer rep: 4
  • Debut Novels: 3
  • Neurodivergent Rep: 1

Thanks for reading, friends, and a lovely March to you all!

Sarah

Published by Sarah

My name is Sarah and I can't imagine my life without books. Actually, I can and it's terrible. I'm also into climbing, video games and bothering the nearest cat.

8 thoughts on “April Reading Wrap-Up

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