April 2020

So April. What a month. A whole month in lockdown meant that on top of doing a lot of uni work, I had free time to read a lot and watch some films. Therefore, today’s wrap up is kinda a long one but I guess we all have the time now for this.

Books

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

After hearing a lot of people (especially Lily) talk about re-reading this series in the lead up for the release of the prequel in May and it made me decide that I finally wanted to re-read this series for the first time since I read it in 2011. I really loved re-reading this, mainly for the nostaglia. It made me realise how many parts of this world I had forgotten about. Getting immersed in this series once again showed me how much I love this world and it still stands up to this day. – 5 out of 5 stars.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevado

After finishing The Hunger Games, I decided to pick up a contemporary book so that I had a break from all of the fantasy. I got sent an e-arc of this via netgalley and having loved her previous novel, I thought I would dive straight in. I really loved this book. It was a really unique concept with two sisters who don’t know about the others existence. I particularly loved the exploration of what family means. After their father dies and they uncover some secrets, both of the main girls struggle with dealing with who their father actually was and whether or not he was a bad person. It touches on the subject of morally grey characters which I really liked. I also think the topic really suited the format of verse well. I have not read The Poet X so I am not as familiar with her stories told in verse but now I definitely need to go back and read it. Another element I really enjoyed was the exploration of the Dominican Republic and the culture. I admittedly don’t know much about the culture so I learned a lot. I loved how it was very unapologetic about the culture. I think everyone needs to look out for this book when it releases in May as it will be a very popular release. – 4 out of 5 stars.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Then we entered a period of time where every book I read just kinda felt very meh and okay. I didn’t hate any of these books but I didn’t love them. This is a very well loved graphic novel that I understand the love for, but it is just not my kinda story. I’m not a huge fan of superheroes in books, even though I love superhero films. This wasn’t really a superhero story but it read like that so I was just slightly underwhelmed. – 3 out of 5 stars.

What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson

This book was randomly selected from my TBR for the OWLs readathon and I quite enjoyed it. It’s very sad yet still heartwarming. I didn’t love it because it is a middle grade novel which I don’t tend to enjoy as much. I appreciate them for what they are and I know that if I read this book when I was younger, I would have loved it. However, now I just feel like I’m too old for it. – 3.5 out of 5 stars.

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

Then I picked up a new YA romance release that I really enjoyed! It was so much fun and very relatable to me as both of the main characters are YA book bloggers which was so much fun to read about. The main character also bakes cupcakes and honestly, I want to steal that idea and transform my blog into it because I love baking as well. The only reason I didn’t rate it higher was because it was a bit cheesy overall but it’s definitely a fun read if you’re into YA romance. – 3.5 out of 5 stars.

A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby

This was another middle grade book that I enjoyed but didn’t love. It was very whimsical and I really liked the journey that the main character went on. I loved the gaming aspect of it as well as the part of it that was set in Kuwait. I feel like if you’re younger and you love magical stories, you will adore this book. – 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Homie by Danez Smith

I read this for the OWLs challenge of reading a book under 150 pages and I just didn’t like it at all but I think it was because I’m too stupid to understand poetry. I just didn’t get it. I understood the themes but I just never like poetry books so whilst I didn’t like it, I think it was a me problem. – 2 out of 5 stars.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

After that, I got back into playing animal crossing religiously so I decided to pick up the audiobook of Normal People, since the TV show is releasing soon. I devoured this book very quickly because it is definitely an addictive story. However, after finishing it, I just don’t really understand why it is so loved? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book. However, I am not sure why it became such a huge thing. But the more I thought about the book after, the more I liked it. It really does stay with you. Also I binged the adaptation in a day which was great.- 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

After that, I decided to carry on with my re-read of The Hunger Games trilogy and finally re-read my favourite book out of the three. I love Catching Fire, mainly because I love Finnick Odair, so I was excited to dive in. Most of my memory of the sequel comes from rewatching the film like 200 times so I was shocked by how different things are from what I remember. I forgot how much content there was before the Quarter Quell and I completely forgot how short the games were. I still loved this book because it has some great character moments. However, my one issue with it is that the pacing felt completely off. The first half of the book is very slow but then when the reaping happens, everything moves incredibly quickly. I also always find the ending very rushed and confusing. I understand why it is confusing because we are following Katniss’s POV and she has no idea what is happening but still I always felt like it was never fully explained. – 5 out of 5 stars.

Once Upon An Eid by various authors

I got approved for this e-arc on Netgalley so I decided to give it a go. I was quite excited because I love Eid and having stories centred around Eid made me happy. However, I felt like this anthology was a bit of a let down. Admittedly, I am not the audience for this book. It is aimed at a middle grade audience and it is very clearly aimed at those who don’t know much about fasting and Eid. However, I have read a number of middle grade books in my time but this felt too young, even compared to those. The writing was quite juvenile as evident by the overuse of exclamation points and it just didn’t feel realistic. On top of that, this anthology is incredibly short and it has a number of stories in it. Therefore, the stories themselves weren’t very well developed. Just as you began to understand the characters and the story arc, it ended. I think this is a good read for younger children, especially if they want to learn more about Ramadan and Eid, however it just wasn’t for me. –  3 out of 5 stars.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

After that, I decided to finally finish my reread of The Hunger Games trilogy. Honestly, I didn’t remember much of Mockingjay so this was a really interesting experience. There were still a lot of things that annoyed me and I do not think this is a perfect conclusion at all, however I still loved it for the nostalgia. – 5 out of 5 stars.

Boy Queen by George Lester

Next, I picked up my e-arc of Boy Queen from Netgalley. I really loved this book. It’s been so long since I read a proper UKYA contemporary and I’ve missed them. This was truly a wonderful debut, that’s full of entertainment. It was over the top at times and dramatic, just like the protagonist which I adored. I don’t think I’ve read a book focused on drag other than Black Flamingo so that was really refreshing to me. It was essentially Everybody’s Talking About Jamie in book format so it was frikkin fantastic. One unexpected element that I loved was the way that this book showed friendships. I’m a sucker for a good friendship story and the friendship element of this story was marvellous. It showed how flawed people can be but also how much a good friendship can help you to grow as a person. I loved this book and I think everyone will love it when it releases in August. – 4 out of 5 stars.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

After that, I picked up The Switch which only released in April. I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t a favourite of mine. I loved The Flatshare when I read it last year which is why I picked up this book and I can definitely see similar vibes, however this book leaned more on the chick-lit side than the romance side which is not usually my sort of thing. Reading from the POV of an 80 year old was very interesting and a lot different to what I normally read. Overall, I enjoyed this but it is not one of my favourites. – 3.5 out of 5 stars.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Next I decided to pick this up on a complete whim and it became my new favourite book and is definitely going to be up there for my favourite books of the year. I love enemies to lovers romances so therefore I’ve read a lot of them but this really twisted it on its head. This is the first book in a while that made me actually laugh out loud with some of the stuff they get up to but it was also full of really sweet and soft moments. I really loved this book and I’ve already re-read scenes from it. – 5 out of 5 stars

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

After loving You Deserve Each Other I decided to read a new adult romance release. I’m not sure if it was because I was all romanced out or because I had just read the best adult romance ever, but this book kinda bored me. I liked it and I appreciated all of the representation in it but I just found that I didn’t really care about any of what was happening. I definitely think this was just because of when I read it because almost everyone seems to love this book. – 3 out of 5 stars.

Ten Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon

The day I got approved for this on Netgalley, I started reading it straight away and finished it within 24 hours. I love Sandhya Menon’s books as they are so addictive and this was no exception. The last book in the series, There’s Something about Sweetie, was my favourite one so far so it was tough to beat that. Ultimately, this book didn’t live up to the Sweetie hype but I still had a lot of fun. Enemies to lovers and fake dating? Two of the best romance tropes ever. My main issue was with Pinky as a character. I felt like she was horrible at times and there was never truly a changing moment for her. For example, Samir goes through a transformation at the end and adapts but she never does. She irritated me a lot throughout the entire book and hindered my enjoyment. I also felt like her problems with her mum were solved way too quickly and we didn’t get full exploration of their dynamics. This book had great promise but some parts of the execution let it down. – 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Movies

Starstruck

Like the rest of the UK, I got Disney+ in March and I finally decided this month to rewatch my favourite disney channel film from when I was younger. I was obsessed with this film and I love revisiting it here and there to re-experience it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great film but I just love it. The songs in particular are fantastic. – 4 out of 5 stars.

The Hunger Games films

After rereading the books, I decided to rewatch the films and had a blast. I’m still not a huge fan of the first film but I adore Catching Fire and enjoyed the Mockingjay films. I’ve rewatched the first two a number of times but I’ve never rewatched the Mockingjay films for some reason so it was like I was experiencing those for the first time. These films have their flaws but they’re still great.

Ralph Breaks The Internet

One day, I just felt really tired and down so I decided to watch the Wreck It Ralph sequel on Disney+. I loved the first film but hadn’t heard much about the sequel but I thought it was great fun. It had some great internet related jokes and I found it hilarious at times. My only issue is that the ending felt a lot like the end to Toy Story 4 for me which was odd but I still really enjoyed this film. – 4 out of 5 stars.

So that was April for me. I read a lot but that was to be expected. How did you do in April?

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