Hi everyone! Today I’m here with my (slightly late) April wrap up! Overall I had a pretty good reading month in April and I also stepped out of my comfort zone in terms of genres, too, so I think that’s a success! Compared to last month this is a much shorter wrap up, but without any further ado, let’s get into it!
So, in April I read 18 books – a mixture of shorter manga, graphic novels and picture books, an much chunkier fantasy and contemporary reads! Due to these longer books, my total pages isn’t that far off of last month’s total, despite me reading fewer books this month! I also had no DNFs, and I think that’s a first for 2021, so that’s definitely something to celebrate! My most read genre is, once again, contemporary and romance, though sci-fi was close to stealing its crown! In terms of format, I read 13 ARCs, 5 physical books, 0 audiobooks, and 15 e-books. All but three of the books I read in April were queer and 8 of them were written by authors of colour. I did plan to read more than I got round to but a combination of those longer books and a mild reading slump halfway through the month meant that I read less than I wanted to, but I’m still very happy with what I did read!
So, in April I branched out a bit in my reading by picking up quite a few graphic novels – including some that are very out of my comfort zone genre-wise – a picture book and a couple of mangas! Right at the start of the month I read Boys Run the Riot Vol. 1 by Keito Gaku and I absolutely loved it! I do have a wee mini review up already (in fact almost all of the graphic novels and manga here are included) for this one, but it was my second ever manga and I’m already so excited to pick up more! It’s a really fun story about a closeted trans guy who befriends the new, intimidating guy in his class and the two team up to create a clothing business. I enjoyed the own-voices trans representation and a new trans character is introduced right at the end, so I’m looking forward to picking up the sequel! At the start of April I also picked up Lonely Receiver by Zac Thompson, Jen Hickman and Simon Bowland. This is a sapphic sci-fi/horror graphic novella with some really beautiful artwork. In the book, the main character’s AI wife up and leaves her one day without warning and she has to figure out her life without her wife, all the while trying to find her again. Although the last part of the book left me so, so confused and there were a few very gratuitous sex scenes, overall I really really enjoyed this graphic novel!
A really lovely, short picture book that I picked up this month is New Year by Mei Zihan and Qin Leng. It follows a father who is missing his grown up daughter over the Chinese New Year period as she now lives with her husband in Paris. This was a gorgeous book that was really quite melancholy and the illustrations in particular were beautiful. I really don’t think that this is a picture book targeted towards children and I think that anyone of any age will really enjoy it! A new favourite of mine that I discovered in April is On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden. This was my first foray into Tillie Walden’s work and it definitely won’t be my last! I adored the found family aspect and the sci-fi world that she created without any men was just so rich and wonderful! The illustrations and colour palette were also unbelievably gorgeous and I can’t wait to pick up more by her! Finally, the second manga I read in April is Chasing After Aoi Koshiba Vol. 1 by Hazuki Takeoka and Fly. This is a sapphic manga that literally made me laugh out loud on several occasions! I absolutely flew through this manga and I couldn’t help but wish it was longer! The cute illustrations were absolutely perfect for the story and I’m so excited to pick up the sequel!
As I mentioned, I read quite a bit of contemporary and romance last month! Starting off, we have Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee! This was such a fantastic debut and when I say that it reads a lot like fanfiction, I really mean that in the best possible way! The main character is trans and triracial and there are plenty other queer characters throughout, including a nonbinary character who changes eir pronouns several times throughout the book (and the discussion surrounding it was so so heartwarming and needed!). I have a full review for this book if you want to know all my thoughts on it, but definitely pick this one up when it’s released! An adult sapphic romance I picked up this month was You Again by Aurora Rey – my first book by this author! This was a sweet second chance, butch/femme romance with wonderful characters (one of the main characters’ daughter was adorable!). I didn’t enjoy the miscommunication trope but other than that this was your classic adult sapphic romance and it was just what I needed when I picked it up! Next is a book that I’m just going to refer you to my review for – Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins. Despite this being a really fun read that reminded me of films I loved growing up, like St Trinnians and Wild Child, I really had some *thoughts* on how Scotland was represented in the book! The sapphic romance was sweet, though, and overall I did enjoy my reading experience!
The Queen Has a Cold is my second book by Jane Kolven and one that I was slightly hesitant about after not loving her debut. This follows an intersex nonbinary main character with a lesbian love interest and it was a lot more fun than I expected! I’m still not in love with Kolven’s writing and I definitely had some problems with the book, but overall I found myself sucked into the story and didn’t want to put it down, so I will be checking out her future books! Finally, right at the end of the month I read one of the Sapphic Stories Bookclub picks of the month – Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen. Again, I have a full review for this one, but in essence, this was my other favourite book of the month. The book just felt like summer and I adored the friendships and the sapphic relationship. It was just a whole lot of fun and had great nostalgic vibes!
Sci-fi is not a genre that I read a whole lot of, honestly because so much of it goes over my head. I am not a science-y person in the slightest so unless everything’s explained like you’re talking to a child, I’m not gonna get it! But I had a really great reading month this time round when it came to this genre! Of course, I picked up the latest Cute Mutants book and SJ did not let us down! This was an amazing penultimate book in the series with some new loveable characters and so much action (also yes, I did cry). I have a review for this book, too, and overall I’m both excited and terrified for the final book in the series! A book I was so excited about is Local Star by Aimee Ogden. This is a super queer sci-fi novella with a polyamorous triad at the heart of it and in general polyamory is really normalised in this world! The world-building, action and relationships in this book were so good and despite not understanding a lot of the terminology (don’t worry, there is a glossary where things are explained, I just didn’t see it until the end of my ARC!) I would highly, highly recommend picking this one up!
I also picked up my first book by Rivers Solomon this month – Sorrowland. This is faer latest novel and it’s a blend of sci-fi and horror with some great found family, so much queer representation and characters of colour and such an intriguing plot. I don’t want to say too much about this book for fear of ruining it but this is a book that will definitely stick with you long after reading it, and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author! Finally, returning back to a more classic sci-fi, is Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater Than Death. This book is what it’d be like if Doctor Who, Star Trek and I Am Number Four had a baby, and it’s so much fun! There’s a tonne of great rep in there as well as some lush, sprawling world building and a really exciting plot development and I’m excited to see where the series goes! Check out my review if you want to know my full thoughts!
I read some really great fantasy in the month of April, starting with These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy. This is a gorgeous, exciting retelling of the Russian folktale of The Firebird. This has really interesting sibling relationships and some amazing character growth throughout, as well as a really lovely enemies-to-lovers, bodyguard/princess sapphic romance! Although I wished there was more worldbuilding, the ending was so, so good and I’m dying for the sequel. Again, I have a full review for this one if you want to know my thoughts in more detail! For the Celestial Book Club this month I read The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco! I preordered this book back in 2019 but just never got round to reading it, so I’m so glad the book club chose this! The whole concept of twin goddesses ruling opposite sides of a planet, one permanently night and covered in snow, and the other permanently day and nothing but desert, was done so well. I also loved the two relationships throughout – the sapphic one was a lot of fun but I found myself (strangely) loving the other relationship even more. Though the ending fell a wee bit flat for me, I’m listening to the audiobook of the sequel right now, so I’ll hopefully have a series review up soon! Finally, I read the re-released short story by P. Djèlí Clark which is set in the same world as the ‘Dead Djinn Universe‘ – The Angel of Khan el-Khalili. This was a really great short story that felt like it encompassed so much more than what you find in its 32 pages. I’m always so in awe by this early 1900s steampunk Cairo that Clark has created and this was no exception. If you haven’t already, this is the perfect time to read these short stories and novella in time for the first full length novel being released in May!
Lastly, in April I read one nonfiction book – Mixed/Other by Natalie Morris. This is a great insight into the lives of mixed race people living in the UK today and there are so many valuable points of discussion throughout the book including, though not limited to, the fetishization of mixed race people’s bodies, family relationships, generational trauma, proximity to whiteness, the homogenisation of mixed race identities, and the importance of listening to the voices of those who are of two non-white ethnic backgrounds. This was such an eye-opening read and I highly recommend picking this one up if you can!
So, that was my April wrap up! If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to know what you thought of them, and let me know what your favourite reads of the month were! As always, stay safe!