What I Read in April

Audiobook reads:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of The Radium Girls by Kate Moore: This nonfiction account was feeling very repetitive so I skipped ahead to close to the end to learn the resolution.

Physical reads:

Emily Of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs (Started in January and read one section a day until April 10)

The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth (finished May 2)

Everything I read this month took me a long freaking time to read for one reason or another. But my clear favorite was The Glass Sentence, an amazingly unique story with incredible world-building and a loveable, independent heroine. I can’t wait to read the two sequels and I highly recommend it!

What was your favorite read in April? 

Double Mini Movie Review: Candy Jar and Avengers: Infinity War

I wanted to talk briefly about two very different movies I watched over the weekend, the new Netflix movie Candy Jar, and this little indie project you probably haven’t heard of called Avengers: Infinity War. 😉

Candy Jar

I got an email from Netflix alerting me they just added a movie I might like. I usually look at these emails but don’t take stalk in them, but this one caught my eye with the premise of two teen rivals. As some of you know, I am currently writing a story about two teens who are rivals in their school band, so I was excited to see a movie with a similar concept! And thankfully, I really enjoyed it! It wasn’t perfect… For starters, the name is sort of lame and doesn’t feel indicative of the whole film. It comes from the guidance counselor our two main characters, Lona and Bennett, are always coming to for advice, who has well over a dozen candy jars scattered throughout her office. (Yet somehow neither the guidance counselor nor our main characters seem to gain any weight…) While the counselor plays a small but fairly important role, the candy really doesn’t at all. There were also a couple of moments and characters that I felt could have been developed and fleshed out a little more fully, but it was a well-paced 92-minute-long movie, so that’s not really a big complaint.

I really enjoyed seeing how Lona and Bennett’s relationship blossomed from rivals to friends to the possibility of something more, but without diving deep into a romance. Their interactions feel realistic and mostly organic. I enjoyed all the production aspects of the movie as well. If you’re in need of a quick, fun watch, particularly if you’re a fan of young adult contemporary, I’d recommend Candy Jar!

Avengers: Infinity War

It’s basically impossible to talk about this movie without diving into spoilers, so here’s what I will say first: this movie is well-crafted and unlike anything else you’ve seen from Marvel. I don’t think I can say anything else at all without getting into spoilers, so be warned, SPOILERS BELOW!

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I’m not going to do a deep dive into all the nuances of the film; I’ll leave that to other folks. But at the end, when we see Thanos sit down to watch his sunset and the credits started rolling, I was in actual shock all through the credits and for a little while afterward. Wait, so they just killed off half the Avengers? I knew deep down there this meant there would be a reset down the line (which is not my favorite plot device, but I have allowed it on Star Trek and Fringe), but there is no hope of that in this film, other than Dr. Strange telling Tony, “This was the only way,” and the scene we got at the very, very end of the credits. As one article I read summed it up, this film does not have all the typical beats found in storytelling, in fact, it is acting as the falling action of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe arc. Which, I’ve got to say, is one heck of a way to make a franchise of movies.

I’m still processing how much I like the film. I mean, it can’t stand alone at all. While it’s well-crafted, entertaining, and not overtly dark and gritty, it carries much less levity than other Marvel fare, which was important for the nature of this film. And Thanos means business, unlike nearly every other Marvel villain we’ve dealt with. I think I will have to wait it out and see how everything ultimately comes together before I can properly judge this movie.

How did Infinity War make you feel? I’d love to hear your thoughts about either of these movies!

What I Read in March

Audiobook reads:

Blessed Are the Misfits by Brant Hansen

Seven Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxes*

*I actually can’t remember if I finished this in March or April

Physical reads:

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Set aside: Renegades by Marissa Meyer… oh this breaks my heart, but I was not feeling it. I might pick it up again but I’m just not sure. Why can nothing of hers since The Lunar Chronicles compare?

My Favorite Read

100% definitely Letters to the Lost. I had heard a lot of good things about it, but I was still skeptical for some reason, but I finally decided to get it in paperback and WHOA. While I was reading it I was thinking, this is enjoyable but it’s not going to be a favorite or anything, because I didn’t super love the characters (though I did care about them). But I found it highly, highly readable, and then at the end was there wasn’t a neat bow on top but it was hopeful and realistic and poignant I was just like YES, I want to tell stories like this. I’ll probably wait for More Than We Can Tell to come out in paperback too, but I’m definitely planning to read it as well. What was your favorite read in March?

The Top 10 Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books That Surprised Me.

Any time I read a book, I want to love it. But sometimes, for whatever reason, I expect to like but maybe not love a book, but read it for one reason or another. Here are some books I hoped to like, but ended up really loving/liking more than expected!

This week’s list is in no particular order.

1. All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

2. A Dash of Dragon by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski

3. Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

4. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

5. Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

6. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

8. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

9. Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

10. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

What books have you read that exceeded your expectations?

What I Read in February

No audiobooks this time around, after listening to eight in January! But here’s what I did read:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson #1) by Rick Riordan

All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater 

Love, Life and the List by Kasie West (finished March 1)

It was a great month for reading! I enjoyed each book, and I enjoyed each one just a little more than the one I had just finished.

Favorite book quotes of the month:

What did you read in February? Which was your favorite?