Amanda Reads – April 2017

Welp! April was busy, y’all, but that should be nothing new, for those of you who have been regularly reading this here blog. It was a super weird month. I had jury duty, and did Tome Topple and have been working 60 hours weeks, between two jobs. But I also finalized the print ARC for Something Beautiful and had some other exciting stuff happen in my personal life, so it’s not all weird/bad!

A reminder of the rating scale:

  • 0 dogs petted: DNF. I couldn’t get through the book. It’s not a good day.
  • 1 dog petted: It was an okay day. I mean, I got to pet a dog. But it could have been better.
  • 2 dogs petted: A solid effort. May recommend.
  • 3 dogs petted: A really good day, tbh. Would recommend willingly to friends and family.
  • 4 or more dogs petted: Best day. Will be recommending to all the people. Pet all the dogs.

Let’s dive straight into the books. I had deemed last month Backlist April, and I mostly stuck with that!

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

This was my only audiobook listen this month, and I absolutely loved it. Amy Poehler’s narration was top-notch, funny, entertaining, and charming, just like how I imagine AP is in real life. As I may have mentioned when I reviewed Tina Fey’s memoir—why didn’t they talk about Mean Girls more??? That’s the real question. But! I enjoyed it, and if Poehler were to write another memoir, I’d read it. Well, I should say—I’d listen to the audiobook.

Rating: 3 dogs petted.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

I’ve had this book on my shelf for YEARS, and it’s about time I actually read it! The perfect start to Backlist April. Mindy Kaling is funny and honest and fresh, but I have the same basic complaints/reactions as I did to Amy Poehler’s book—I didn’t learn anything new, but I laughed a lot. A solid read, and I do plan to read her second book. It’s already on my Kindle, in fact!

Rating: 3 dogs petted.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Okay, hi! Welcome to Tome Topple! This book is a whopping 650 pages long! Bleh.

As a reminder of books past, I disliked Heir of Fire A LOT. I was bored, and I hate the whole “girl has to have a much-older mentor/guide teach her how to master her special gifts” thing. In fact, I remember being sad that SJM went there at all, because the first two books aren’t like that. So I was a little nervous for QoS after HoF. BUT I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. I liked being back in Rifthold (I think this is going to be a theme in this series—I tend to like the books set in Rifthold and dislike the ones set elsewhere), and I liked having both Chaol and Aedion as main characters again. Aelin and Rowan’s growing love was swoonworthy in this installment, and Nesryn and Lysandra were solid additions to the cast. And Manon! I still love Manon and the witches so so much. They need their own book. SJM, give the witches their own book!

There was some icky ableism at the end of the book after Chaol gets severely injured, and the cast was predominantly white and revered for blond or silver hair. Those things were in the back of my mind the whole time. But I definitely enjoyed reading this installment in the series.

Rating: 3 dogs petted.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

After the ending in QoS, I had high expectations for Empire of Storms. Did it deliver? HELL NO. I was so disappointed in this book. Ugh.

Remember how I said that I didn’t tend to like the books that weren’t set in Rifthold? YEAH. THIS ONE IS NOT SET IN RIFTHOLD. We’re like, a little bit of everywhere, and there’s a lot of traveling and a lot of talk about draining magic and how special Aelin is. Yawn. I will say that Lysandra is amazing throughout the book, as are Manon and Elide. I kind of hated everyone else, although I have found more respect for Aedion and Dorian as characters. The members of the cadre in this book were a fun addition, but the talk of males and their sexual prowess got super old. Speaking of—there was SO MUCH SEX in this book. So much. Like, how is this YA?

The ending though. The ending set us up for the next phase of the story so nicely, and it was completely bonkers. COMPLETELY BONKERS. I’m glad we get a break, though. I need a break from this world. So the Chaol novel is coming this fall (get ready for more ableism bullshit, I bet) and then the final ToG book is coming in 2018. And then I can tie a little bow on this series and read better things.

Rating: 1.5 dogs petted. A semi-solid effort, but not well-executed for how much happened. Also, give us a break, SJM! That book was 700 pages long!

Solo by Lauren E. Rico

I had the pleasure of getting an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (the full review will be going up on Booknista next week, so this will be short). This was supposed to be a May read, but then I flew through it. Oops?

Things I liked about this book:

  • It was a fun enemies-to-lovers story.
  • It was a fun student-teacher romance story.
  • It was fluffy and light and had realistic dialogue.
  • The side characters were both entertaining and awful.

Things I disliked about this book:

  • Drew Markham is supposed to have his PhD, but is potentially the dumbest love interest I’ve ever read. And such a flip-flopper! To the point, near the end, where it didn’t even seem realistic, didn’t seem like he was the same character at all.
  • There was some shitty stuff said about depression and suicide that is going to make me slap a trigger warning on every single instance of talking about this book. The author talks about depression like it was someone’s fault (which is awful) and then goes on to say that suicide is also someone’s fault. Even so far as to say that people could have prevented it and it was someone’s fault that a character died. I was… shocked. Horrified. And so deeply uncomfortable. There’s one line near the end… oh gosh, I don’t even know if I want to write this. Summation: a character says that the other character that committed suicide was a “psycho bitch.” I’ll discuss the situation in depth in my actual review. In any case, that line and the other instances of ableism in regards to mental illness lost this book some stars for me.

Stay tuned for my full review on Booknista!

Rating: 2 dogs petted. I enjoyed it, but I’ll never recommend it without a huge trigger warning splashed all over it.

While I didn’t read as many books this month, I probably read close the same number of pages. As I stated in my last post, May is ARC May! I’m kicking it off on this lovely May Day and am hoping to get through some awesome books this month.

What did y’all read in April? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading and dog petting!


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