What books have you read in April this year? We are back with another monthly reading wrap up – you can find all of our previous blog posts for 2021 here to see what else we have been reading this year. But this month has been another great month for reading, full of Christian fiction, fantasy books and some non-fiction books too.
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When Twilight Breaks – Sarah Sundin
Christian Historical Fiction – 4/5 stars
This is exactly the kind of Christian fiction I’ve been hoping to find! Where the faith of the characters is an important part of their personality, it impacts the story line and the decisions that they make, whilst coming across completely naturally and opening up some really interesting conversations.
In this book we follow Evelyn and Peter, both Americans living in 1930’s Germany. As the situation in Germany becomes more hostile, Evelyn, a foreign correspondent, must walk the thin line of reporting truthfully on the oppression being experienced, whilst avoiding being expelled from the country or worse.
I loved exploring this time period in history, and particularly the German invasion of the Sudetenland. It was really interesting to look at those people who were originally supportive of Hitler and the economic success he brought to Germany, and then seeing them come to realise the reality of what was going on. The stakes of this book do feel really high, whilst also recognising that the characters’ American citizenship made them significantly more safe than German Jews. This book opened up so many discussions, from independence vs. partnership, to freedom vs. order, and leaning on God and other people.
Thank you so much to NetGalley & Revell for letting me read this book.
The Summer Job – Lizzy Dent
Contemporary Romance – 4/5 stars
The perfect summer read, even if it is summer in Scotland!
In this book we follow Birdy: broke, job-less and floundering. Until her best friend Heather flakes on a summer job offer and Birdy see’s her opportunity: how hard could it be to pass as a world class sommelier at a run-down hotel in Scotland?? Except that it’s not run down, and she soon realises that she can’t screw this up.
This is such a light-hearted, cute romance that really pulls you in and makes you want to be part of the family. The food and wine descriptions are mouth-watering, and the Scottish setting gave this is a real feeling of both adventure and peacefulness. But this book also manages to touch on some tough topics, and really tugs on your heart strings alongside the truly heart-warming loveliness of it all.
There is a sex scene in this book, but you can very easily skip over it without missing anything important to the plot/characters.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Penguin General UK – Viking for letting me read this book!
The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerising Girl – Theodora Goss
Historical Fantasy – 5/5 stars
This book is the third and final book in The Athena Club series, starting with The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, then European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman. In this series we follow the daughters of famous Victorian scientists from gothic literature (Justine Frankenstein, Catherine Moreau, Mary Jekyll etc.) as they investigate the society that their fathers are a part of and solve mysterious going-ons surrounding them. Throughout the three books they meet so many people that you will recognise from classic fiction (but don’t worry if you haven’t read those books, you won’t lose anything from the story!).
This book maintains the same feelings of adventure, found family and a fun dollop of humour, and I would love for it to continue for many, many more books.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
YA Fantasy – 5/5 stars
So, this was clearly a good month for finishing series as I also finished the Harry Potter series this month. I love this final book and it was really fun to re-read it again. The Battle of Hogwarts is just glorious. I’m sure you know all about Harry Potter, so I won’t keep waffling about it.
A Tap on the Window – Linwood Barclay
Mystery Thriller – 4/5 stars
This was a re-read for me, but I had missed a considerable amount of the book last time as I had been listening to the audiobook as I fell asleep. Thanks to this, this book was actually far better than I remembered. We follow Cal, a private investigator who gives a lift to a teenage girl on the side of the road in a rainstorm. This decision knocks a row of dominoes that wind up with him as a prime suspect in the murder of one girl, and the disappearance of another.
There are lots of twists during this book that keep it moving throughout, with just a few slower sections. We also see how Cal and his wife are dealing with their own grief over the loss of their sun, which adds another interesting element to the story.
The Best of Miranda – Miranda Hart
Non-Fiction – 4/5 stars
If you enjoy the TV show ‘Miranda’, then you’ll enjoy this book. It takes six of the episode scripts from the show, and adds in comments from Miranda about the characters, actors, scenes that were removed and more. It’s really interesting to read in script form, having seen the episodes and being able to picture what is being described. Each episode also has an introduction which shares more about the writing, rehearsal and filming process which I found really interesting to learn about, as well as little fun-facts and tit-bits about the episode.
Now I just want to re-watch the whole of this show…
God is Stranger – Krish Kandiah
Christian Non-Fiction – DNF (Did not finish)
I’m so sad that this is my first DNF of 2021. If you watched my April TBR video (find it here), you’ll have seen me saying that I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but as I looked more into it I was actually quite excited by the concept. This book explores some of the times in the Bible when God turns up in strange, or unexpected ways. When he does things that are hard for us to understand. These are often sections of the Bible that tend to be ignored and overlooked so I was really interested to read a book that explores these passages more deeply.
However, whilst I loved the idea of this book, I just didn’t enjoy the execution. Maybe this would work for people who are particularly struggling with these issues and how strange God seems, but as someone who was just interested to explore them more deeply, I did not like the way this was done. For each chapter, Kandiah would open up the passage but spend a lot of time just discussing how strange, and bad, and frustrating God seems. This I just found quite irritating as I didn’t agree with a lot of what he was saying, and thought some of the questions he was proposing had reasonably simple answers. And then I didn’t feel like the book did a good job at actually answering any of the questions… so definitely not for me, I DNF’d after 88 pages, but I do hope that this book can be of help to people who are really struggling with these questions and find Kandiah’s writing style easier than I did!
Moses and the Very Big Rescue – Tim Thornborough & Jennifer Davison
Children’s Bible Storybook – 5/5 stars
This is one of the newest books in the Very Best Bible Stories series, and one of my favourites so far! I love this series of Bible Storybooks, they have absolutely gorgeous artwork and stay very close to the Biblical story rather than simplifying the story or trying to make it “child-friendly”. It also doesn’t just stick to the best-known stories like Noah and Jonah etc., but branches out a little – for example Deborah is on my TBR and Esther’s story is coming later this year.
All of these books are great for reading with kids, and I think Moses would definitely be another fun one to read aloud, with lots of repetition, counting and incredible pictures.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
YA Dystopian – 5/5 stars
I had forgotten how much I enjoy this series, and the books are just really great. If you haven’t heard of this trilogy before, we are in a dystopian world where each year, two children from each district are chosen to fight to the death in a televised “Hunger Games”. We follow Katniss after she volunteers to take the place of her younger sister, and Peeta, the tributes from District 12 as they prepare for, and take part in the games.
Even on a re-read, these books are so tense and gripping and I can’t wait to read the next two books.
Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
Historical Fiction – 4/5 stars
If you love quite slow, character driven, stories that follow multiple generations of the same family, I think you will really love this book. It is so rich with history, and the experiences of so many different people from the early 1900s, first in Korea and then in Japan. We follow a young woman in Korea as she discovers that the father of her child is already married, and refuses to be bought, instead accepting a marriage proposal from a kind but sickly minister on his way to Japan. From here we see their experience as Koreans in Japan, the treatment of Christians at this time, the impact of the Second World War, and so many more events throughout their lives (and their children’s, and their grandchildren’s).
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the beautiful writing; it was the kind of book where I’d happily have continued reading about their lives for many, many more pages. The writing style also really adds dramatic effect to the more shocking moments of this story that did catch me off-guard. You do need to pay attention to keep track of all the characters, especially towards the end where there are many different generations and family members in the mix. There are also plenty of content warnings to be aware of (The StoryGraph is a good place to find a full list) as you often don’t see some of this content coming. The book also uses quite crude (I don’t know if that’s the best word, but basically quite shocking) language in dialogue and at times when talking about sex and people’s bodies which was quite jarring at times, which did really fit the characters and plotline.
- Books Read: 10 (including 1 DNF)
- Pages Read: 3646
- Average Rating: 4.2
To see which books I will be reading in May, check out my latest Penguins choose my TBR video here:
Other blog posts and videos you might enjoy…
- 25 books I want to read before 25
- Lessons from Jesus in the wilderness
- How to make prayer your go-to response