The eight books I read in April (Reading Wrap-Up #2 2023)

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In April, I read eight books. I’m going strong with my reading, and I didn’t expect to read this many books. I had a strong reading month in March, and I didn’t think I could keep that going into April. Like always, I read from different genres. I got into a thriller kick and found myself searching for a thriller to tick my mind. Therefore, I went through more thriller books than I would like, but I found a winner!

Here are the books I read in April:

April reading Wrap-Up

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo 4.5 ★

Crooked Kingdom is the second book in the Six of Crows duology. The first book was the heist, and Crooked Kingdom was the con. The story continues as the group tries to get Inez back from Wyland’s father and to get their money to capture Kuwei Yul-Bo. 

Crooked Kingdom gives more backstory to the characters, allowing the reader to fall more into the characters. By the middle of this book, I was heavily attached to all the characters. As a collection, the duology gets five stars. The story is exciting, face paced, and there’s a little romance if you’re into that storyline. The book is so high stakes; it kept me wondering if things would work out and how all the details would fit together. 

Crooked Kingdom is a true story of friendship and how these characters went from not knowing each other to being bonded for life. That may be too deep for a YA fantasy book, but friendship is the story’s root. The internet is wrapped up in the love story between Jepser and Wyland, which is fun to develop, but it wasn’t the bones of the book. I found it exciting to see how the little details I thought meant nothing along the way fit into the more important story.  

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson 3 ★

Pineapple Street is a character-driven story, and no major plot points happen. This book is a glimpse into the life of a wealthy Brooklyn family and the shenanigans that occur in the world. The parties, the themed outfits, assumptions, and much more are brought to life in this book. 

The book follows the stories of Darley and Georgiana, wealthy sisters born into this life, and Sasha, who married their brother and is thrown into a world where she doesn’t know the rules.  

I don’t have much to say about this book. It was good, it was interesting, and it was a quick read. I wouldn’t have purchased this book, but my husband did, and it was on the shelf, so I decided to read it. Reading this book was like watching a filler episode of Gossip Girl. 

The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh 2★

The Last Party is a thriller about a party that happens on New Year’s Eve, and Rhys Lloyd is murdered during the party. The book is about discovering who killed Rhys and why they wanted him dead. Everyone in town wanted him dead, so there is a lot of misdirection and clues to unravel to get to the truth. 

I was looking forward to reading a thriller this month, but this book didn’t hit. I want to mention that British procedures don’t always hit me, but I was willing to try it. This book being a British procedural book, was not the reason I was not too fond of this book.

The Last Party is a slow build story that constantly retells events through different points of view but at different times. Rhys is murdered, everyone is a suspect, and Rhys is an evil man. Therefore, it was hard to care who killed Rhys because he was bad. The reader got all these details from the start of the book, and it just kept piling on. Therefore, I didn’t care who killed him because he wasn’t pleasant. There were many twists and misdirections, which were interesting, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to read this book.

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden 3 ★

I made no notes on this book, so it made no impression. The Housemaid is similar to The Last Mrs. Parrish; I wouldn’t say I liked that book. Millie is trying to find a job after getting out of prison and lands a job as a maid for Nina and Andrew Winchester. One of the big secrets of the book was finding out what crime Millie committed to spend most of her life in prison.

The Winchester’s life seems perfect, but when Millie moves in, she notices things that are just odd. This is a psychological thriller taking many twists. This is a quick read that keeps the pages turning. Reading this book is like watching a Lifetime movie because the deeper you get into the story, the crazier the story gets. The Housemaid is worth the read just to read the crazy situations and twists.  

The Housemaid was an average read for me ONLY since there is a sequel to the book. If the book had ended where it did, I would have enjoyed it much more, but knowing there is a continuation takes away from the crazy situations in the book.

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney 5 ★

Still on the hunt for my perfect thriller, and my library loan came through for Daisy Darker. This book came into my life at the right time, and I didn’t want to put it down.

Daisy Darker is a take on And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. It’s Nana’s 80th birthday, so the Darker family gathers on Seaglass Island to celebrate. The thing about the island is you can only leave during the night at low tide, so everyone is prepared to stay. The night starts unexpectedly when Nana is killed, and the group is forced to come face to face with some truths.  

This book kept me on the edge the entire time. There are many twists throughout the book, and I was left wondering what was true and what was a lie. When the truth was finally revealed, I was floored.

This book movies quickly, and it is told through a then-and-now perspective. Every chapter ends with some cliffhanger that continues the story. This book is a classic whodunit story, and every family dies every hour until you find out who and why the killer did it. The outcome was interesting, a bit expected, but the book wrapped up nicely.

Daisy Haites by Jessa Hastings 4.25 ★

Daisy Haites is the second book in the Magnolia Parks universe. This book looks into the crime families of Magnolia Park’s universe. This book follows Daisy Haites, Christian Hemmes, and Julian Haites (Daisy’s brother).  

Here are the basics: Daisy likes Christian, who loves Magnolia, but Magnolia doesn’t love Christian like that because she loves BJ, who happens to be Christian’s best friend. Also, Daisy has a BJ/Magnolia vibe with her ex-boyfriend Romeo which complicates her love story. It’s a mess and chaotic.  

Daisy Haites follows the relationship between Daisy and Christian and is filled with tons of miscommunication and revenge sex throughout the book. Daisy is heavily protected because her brother is an arms and art dealer. Hasting points out that they are more “classy” criminals than most. Daisy is brilliant and wants to be a doctor and plays part-time doctor to her brother’s crew when they get in scuff-ups doing jobs. 

The first half of the book is a retelling of the first book through the POVs of Christian and Daisy. The internet is more interested in the Julian story in this book because Daisy is less likable of a character than Magnolia Parks. But I was interested in the love story between Daisy and Christian. I didn’t care for Christian in the first book, but seeing him in a new way in this book.

I formed definite negative feelings for Daisy. Magnolia Park’s label dropped every other sentence, and Daisy annotated everything through the book, even when it wasn’t needed. This was just a way to reinforce her scholarly background. I can’t rate these books five stars because of the relationships and the constant miscommunication, but these books do stick with me.

I am taken with the story and want the book to continue. I do think about the characters all the time, and I enjoy the universe. 

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez 3.75 ★

The Friend Zone is a contemporary fiction book with a side of romance. Kristen met Josh, but she’s in a relationship with Tyler, who is deployed. Kristen is dealing with her fertility issues and doesn’t want to get into a relationship with someone who wants kids. Kristen keeps this secret from Josh, creating tension in their relationship. Jost starts to like Kristen but waits in the friend zone hoping for things to fall through.

This book is a cute love story, but the miscommunication killed me. I firmly believe that if you can’t talk to the person you’re in a relationship with, you’re in the wrong relationship.  

The topics in this book are heavy. This is what I love about Abby Jimenez’s books. The issues are real, and the characters have depth. It’s not just a cheesy love story. These stories are real and relatable. There is also a death storyline, which adds more seriousness to the book.  

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez 4.25★

Sloan has been living a shell of life after the death of her fiance. But she meets Jason, who makes her want to move forward with her life. The Happy Every After Playlist continues the story from The Friend Zone and follows Sloan’s journey to reclaiming her life.

Jason is a Grammy-winning musician on the rise who longs for a regular life but also wants to make it big. Sloan and Jason fall quickly for each other after Sloan finds Jason’s dog, Tucker, while he’s on tour in Australia. They have a “Love is Blind” situation because they talk for two weeks before meeting each other. That allows Sloan and Jason to form a connection that catapults them into a whirlwind romance, and the timing does not always match up.

The Happy Ever After Playlist is a cute love story that has many layers: grieving life, moving on, work-life balance, and building a better relationship with yourself. I loved this story because the characters seemed tuned into each other. The miscommunication that may occur between the two of them is quickly cleared up after direct conversations. I loved the way these two talked to each and how they constantly worked on their relationship. This story about Sloan’s journey back into life was charming, witty, and authentic. I loved this book.

I had a strong reading month, and although I found some books I didn’t like, I did find some books I enjoyed. I’m a mood reader, so it will be magical if a book comes to me at the right time. But it’s always nice to find a book you loved when you weren’t expecting it. Reading is magic, and I hope you might also love (or hate) some of these books.

What are you reading? Are you a mood reader?


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