• This photo is actually a throwback to last year but I’m so over the cold weather #sorrynotsorry.
• We spent the day at the Children’s Museum and had a blast! There’s currently a Mr. Rogers exhibit that was definitely my favorite part: the original puppets were there as well as a pair of his shoes and a sweater!
• My mom and I went to a chili and pierogi cook-off! So fun, so delicious. We also tried out a new tea house in town and I have a feeling we’ll be dropping by a LOT. (They had an Oregon Trail card game and Titanic tea – was this place made for me or what??)
• I received a murder mystery subscription box for Christmas and recently my family and I dove in to try to solve a case!
• I’ve mentioned before about how Sundays are my baking days. There’s something so perfect about waking up to a dark, sleepy house (with Matt and the pups still in bed) and it’s just me. This past weekend I did something I’m shocked I’ve never done before: I made a recipe taken from the back of a box. It was for a cinnamon pecan coffee cake (thank you, Quaker Oats!), and it was DELICIOUS. I’ll be sharing the recipe soon, so be sure to check back!
• In April I read 17 books and I couldn’t be more delighted! After some seriously disappointing read, I stepped away from my ARCs for a bit – 11 of those 17 were from the library. I’m surprised I only listened to 3 audiobooks in April: Meg Gardiner’s Unsub, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan’s The Royal We, and Georgia Bragg’s How They Croaked – this was an impulse grab for a Saturday spent at the office where there was only one other person in the entire building. While interesting, the book also spelled Poe’s name as Edgar Allen Poe, so..) In addition to the 3 5-star reads from my mini review round-up post, I also loved the new Flintstones graphic novels, Then She Was Gone (scroll down for a link to my review), and Kelley Armstrong’s upcoming Aftermath – check back soon for my review!
TOO CLOSE TO BREATH BY OLIVIA KIERNAN was an f-bomb laden, extremely dark story introducing DCS Frankie Sheehan. When a glamorous and sophisticated professor is found hanging in her home, her death is initially written off as suicide. Then the old stab wounds and poorly healed bones are discovered…along with another body. My biggest issue with this one was that, for a good chunk of the novel, I felt like I was reading a sequel. Something major went on in Frankie’s past – her last case that led to some time off. That previous case is called back to so many times throughout this book that I was constantly feeling as though I had missed a crucial detail that wasn’t there.
THE BELOVEDS BY MAUREEN LINDLEY was one of my most anticipated reads of the year with its once-grand ancestral home and comparisons to Daphne du Maurier. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a huge letdown. While I normally have no problem with unlikable characters, Elizabeth was so over-the-top nasty that I couldn’t deal with her. This is a woman in her 40s who still can’t get over the fact that, as children, her younger sister was the favorite. She has since made it her life’s work to make Gloria miserable, from drowning her kitten to poisoning her husband. Her spiral into insanity was somewhat intriguing (she’s convinced a phantom dog is following her, there are cracks forming in the ceiling), but by the end of the novel, the book itself even seemed bored.
THE SECRET TO SOUTHERN CHARM BY KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY felt a bit long for a summery beach read, around 400 pages, but it went surprisingly fast. It’s also the second book in the series, but it seems to take place immediately after the first ends and there’s such a massive amount of explanation that I honestly don’t feel the need to ever go back and read book one whoops. One thing I noticed in this novel was that every single character in this family was dealing with a major tragedy, from the military husband who has gone missing, to the father who was killed in 9/11, to the announcement of brain cancer. It was a bit much and everyone (from the main character in her early 30s to the 83-year-old grandmother) had the same voice. That said, the town was so charming and lovely.
THE ELIZAS BY SARA SHEPARD continued my month of disappointing reads. Not only was this one Sara’s first adult novel, but it was also my first novel of hers period and I was so excited to dive in! A young woman set to release her debut novel, is discovered in a pool. She claims she was pushed, but her family aren’t so quick to believe her. After all, this isn’t the first time she’s tried to commit suicide by drowning. Her story should have been the one to keep me invested: attempted murder! maybe she’s just losing her mind?! a public meltdown during her first on-air interview! Instead, what I found myself drawn to were the chapters from her book and, honestly, I would have much preferred reading that novel instead.
APRIL’S MINI REVIEW ROUND-UP saw a bit of a turn for my lackluster month of books. Out of the four reads mentioned in this post, 3 are 5-stars. And I’m SUPER stingy with my 5 stars guys. Two YA nonfiction biography collections about remarkable and fascinating women throughout history and another nonfiction about a collection of bird essays from one of my favorite podcasts were the highlights of my month. The other book in this post? I was so looking forward to it: The Royal We. Sadly, I’m definitely in the minority with my feelings on it.
THEN SHE WAS GONE BY LISA JEWELL was my second-to-last read in April and yet another winner. A daughter seemingly vanishes one day, gone without a trace. As the months turn into years, the police slowly back off, suspecting the daughter had simply run away, but her mother is convinced she would never do that. A decade later a man enters the picture, charming and gorgeous, and the moment Laurel meets his little girl, she’s dumbstruck. Poppy looks exactly like Ellie. Why? How? I don’t want to give away anything here – PLEASE go read this one. All I’m saying is that this thriller left me in tears.