At the beginning of 2015, I set a goal for myself basically saying that I wasn't going to read any books that weren't on my shelf, and to further that, I wasn't going to buy anymore books until I finished all of the ones that I needed to read.
So about that...
Yeah. That lasted...hmm...maybe two months? Maybe not even. I'm not sure, but basically, that's done. I don't know what happened, but all of a sudden, I found myself getting all of these books from the library, and it just snowballed into madness. I found that setting that challenge for myself really took the fun out of reading for me. It was like school all over again where I was being forced to read books. Even though I really do want to read the books on my shelf (obviously since I bought them, well most of them), I felt like I was limiting myself, and that just made it less fun. Not to mention, there are so many great books (and great sequels) coming out this year, that it was hard to make myself not read all of these new releases.
So now that I've attempted to justify why I haven't been sticking to my challenge... I read a lot of amazing books in April. Admittedly, a good bit of them were audio books because I traveled to and from Texas twice and took an hour and a half trip to Monroe to visit my sister. While I do love jammin' to some tunes on the road, I love listening to books on long drives, so I took advantage of all my road trips to listen to some books.
I read seven books in April! Woah! The first three, I have done book reviews for on my blog, and I'll include the links to those.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Finished April 9
This was the book I listened to on my way to and from Las Colinas, Texas, and what an awesome, awesome read. This book just tore at my heartstrings for real. You can check out the blog post here or watch the video review below. I'd recommend this book to everyone to read, whether you consider yourself to be a young adult or not. It touches on the subject of suicide in such a real way, and I think this is one of my favorite books with that theme because the story is told in a unique way that really helps you get into the mind of someone who may be struggling with suicide.
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Finished April 14
Another great book by Gayle Forman. I don't know why, but three of the books I read in April were about suicide, and this was another one of them. You can read my full review here. If you're a fan of Gayle Forman, you will definitely enjoy this book. I have to admit that there were a few elements of the book I wasn't crazy about, and I couldn't really relate to any of the characters, but this also touches on the subject of suicide and was a good read.
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
Finished April 18
This was the read for #BlissfulBookTalk, and I did a full book to movie review on my YouTube channel, which you can watch below. You can also read a few of my thoughts here. I haven't read a Nicholas Sparks book that I haven't enjoyed, and this has officially become one of my favorites by him. I'm a sucker for a southern gentleman, and that's exactly what one of the main characters, Luke, is. He is just a natural charmer, and I love that there's a movie adaptation so I can put a face to a name.
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Finished April 20
I listened to this book on my commute to and from the ACMs. It was a pretty quick listen. This is the third book I read in April that centered around the subject of suicide. Falling Into Place tells the story of Liz Emerson who is a seemingly popular person at her school, but that popularity has become a burden for reasons that you find out later, and for many reasons, she decides to run her car off the road. The story is told by switching from the events that lead up to her suicide and the hour leading up to her driving her car off of the road.
I have two main complaints about this book: 1) Liz wasn't a likable character to me, and at times, it was really hard for me to feel sorry for her. 2) I wasn't crazy about the narrator. I mean, it's pretty unique who it ends up being, but it's also confusing. About halfway (maybe sooner?) through the book, it becomes pretty obvious who the narrator is, but it was just weird to me, and any further explanation would lead to spoilers.
Let's get back to Liz. At the beginning of the book, you really feel sorry for her. It's hard not to because she purposely drove her car off the road, and instead of dying, she's in a coma, and she may or may not live. As the book goes on, you learn more about Liz, and you start to realize that she was a pretty awful person, and all of the things that led up to her not even liking herself also made me not like her at all.
That being said, it was an interesting read, and Amy Zhang is an incredible storyteller. The writing in this book was beautiful, and you would think that bouncing back and forth from the past to the car crash to the present would get confusing (especially if you're listening to the audio book), but it actually all flowed together pretty seamlessly.
My favorite character was Liam. He was the person who found Liz, and he ends up being a pretty important character as far as Liz's past goes. Also, the events that happened between Liam and Liz may be what really made me start to dislike Liz a whole lot more than I initially had.
I'd give this book a 4 out of 5. Even with a main character that I didn't like, this book was still awesome.
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Finished April 24
I listened to this book when I went to visit my sister at school. She lives about an hour and a half away from where I live, so this was the perfect choice since it's just a short novella from The Lunar Chronicles series. I love The Lunar Chronicles (also, I just love Marissa Meyer in general), and you can read my reviews for Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress.
Fairest dives deeper into the story of Queen Levana, the ruler of Luna. As readers, we're all kind of meant to hate Levana, and this book kind of makes you feel sorry for her. It was so interesting to learn about why Levana doesn't want to show her true self and why she's so desperate to rule Earth.
I also love that it showed backgrounds for other important characters, including Winter, who will be the subject of the last book in the series.
This is another 5 out of 5 review for Marissa. I don't know how she does it, but she is such an amazing author with a huge imagination.
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
Finished April 25
I was so excited to read this book because Zoe is one of my favorite YouTubers. She's so bubbly and adorable, and of course I love supporting fellow bloggers, so I had to read it.
Girl Online is about a girl named Penny who has an online alias known as GirlOnline. This is her little corner of the internet where she blogs about the random happenings of her life. She keeps her blog identity anonymous from everyone aside from her best friend, Elliot. During Christmas, Penny is whisked away to NYC because her mother lands a wedding planning job, and Elliott goes with her. On the trip, Penny meets Noah who also has a secret of his own.
I thought this was a really adorable book and definitely a quick read. Although much of it was a bit cliched, Noah's secret was obvious from the beginning, and some things were just a bit too convenient, I really enjoyed this book. I have to admit that the beginning was a bit slow for me. I didn't really become interested in the book until Penny met Noah because that's when the book actually started going somewhere.
I loved that it touched on the subjects of anxiety, homosexuality, and the harshness of the internet. Those are all three things that need to be talked about more, and I know that Zoe deals with internet trolls on a daily basis, so I'm sure she was excited to write about that. I do feel like some parts of the book were autobiographical for her in a way (I mean, it's about a blogger who gets anxiety attacks), but at the same time, it's dramatized and fictionalized in a big way.
While it was a bit predictable, I still think this book was so cute, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel. Overall, I give Girl Online a 3.5 out of 5.
Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman
Finished April 30
Apparently I read two Gayle Forman books in April. I loved Just One Day, and because of my challenge, I was supposed to wait to read this book, but then I pretty much abandoned my challenge, so I let myself read it. If you haven't read the first book in the series, this will probably contain some spoilers.
Just One Year follows Willem's journey in the year after he and Allyson, aka Lulu, met. I really liked Willem, and I think I may have liked him more than I liked Allyson in the first book, but I didn't think his journey was as interesting as Allyson's. This may be because there were so many different characters introduced in this book. I was also sad every time I read about him with another girl because I wanted him to wait for Allyson. Although this was probably unrealistic, I still held on to the sad hope.
I really enjoyed the Just One Year series because I loved living the same year from two different perspectives. I feel like Willem went through so much in the year that he and Allyson were apart, and I think that has a lot to do with his free spirit. He was used to always being on the go, and that didn't stop while he was (kind of) looking for his Lulu.
I give this book a 3.5 out of 5. I'm really looking forward to reading the novella, Just One Night. I was really disappointed that both books pretty much ended in the same place, because I really wanted to know what happened to them, but I'm glad that Gayle decided to write a novella, so we could learn what happened after the two of them found each other (or really after Allyson found Willem because, let's be honest, she did all the legwork).
It's been a long time since I've read this many books in one month, and I'm pretty excited about it. As you can probably tell, I'm all about that YA, and I love a good love story. I already have a ton of books I want to read in May, and I can't wait to share those with y'all as well.