April Wrap-up: OWL's, Easter Readathon and Romance Books

April was an incredibly good reading month for me, I took part in two different readathons (OWL's by G at BookRoast & the Easter Readathon by Kate at Reading Through Infinity) and then had an entire week where I only read F/F romance books! In total I read 17 books - 11 physical and 6 e-books, one of which I read twice because it was so good.

April started off with the OWL's readathon and after scrolling through the amazing career's document a couple of times I decided to go for the Hogwarts Professor as it seemed the most likely to allow me to mood-read my way through the entire readathon. I was going to do some of the additional mini courses as well but I completely forgot about those until it was too late. 

The Diary of a Killer Cat & The Return of the Killer Cat - Anne Fine

  • Two childhood favourites I picked up purely because they were short enough to fit the 'under 150 pages' prompt but I actually enjoyed them much more than I thought I would. Written in from the perspective of the cat himself these books are incredibly light hearted, downright hilarious and a joy to read.

Let's Talk About Love - Claire Kann

  • Bisexual, black and ace - Alice is a character who I adored from the very first page. She was honest about all aspects of herself and refused to conform to the 'norm' in her relationships with others, both platonic and romantic. I did feel that some of the plot was a little bit jarring - her passion for interior design seemed to just appear out of nowhere and 80% of the problems could have been solved several chapters earlier than they were if the characters had just communicated with each other. I did enjoy it though; it's fast and a light hearted read. 

The Gracekeepers - Kirsty Logan

  • This book is so magical and truly makes my heart long for adventure. (It's also one of the only fantasy books I've read more than once.) Every single character is unique and I'd happily read a dozen spin-off sequels about all of them. Kirsty's writing is so beautifully descriptive that it truly feels like you could sink through the page and into the water with Callanish and North. Their love story is so understated and the small shared moments between the two of them when they first meet properly take my breath away every time I read it. 

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ+ History - Amelia Abraham

  • I wasn't totally sure what to expect from this one but the honest and open discussions that Amelia has had with various members of the queer community around the world were collected together wonderfully. From equal marriage to families to arranging pride marches - so much was covered in the pages and it was informative, important and (at times) very funny. Queer history is something I'm super passionate about so discovering the people who are championing causes, big and small, in their own communities and further afield was incredibly inspiring. 

The Prom - Saundra Mitchell

  • Is The Prom the best book I've ever read? No. But it's far from being the worst and I did absolutely love every single page, cry about fifty times while reading it and finish the entire book in one sitting. A coming of age, coming out story that - despite having such a short page count - still manages to pack in one hell of an emotional punch. Fluffy and soft in places while also being heartwrenchingly painful three pages later; the struggles that both Emma and Alyssa face are very different but equally important (although this wasn't quite portrayed on page as much as I would have liked to see.) I know that having prior knowledge of the musical definitely helped me get into this one because I felt like I already understood who the characters were before ever meeting them on page. 

Tweet Cute - Emma Lord

  • Adorable, delightful and absolutely hilarious. I loved every single page of this one and have wanted to re-read it ever since I finished it. It's incredibly well written, manages to be light hearted while carrying an emotional message right through the centre and is one of the best portrayals of teenagers being chaotic that I've ever had the privilege to read. Both the protagonist's have storylines that don't revolve solely around the romance and 

Skylarks - Karen Gregory

  • I adore this book so much. Amazing characters, a beautifully written and horribly realistic portrayal of being working class and living below the poverty line and a secondary plot about finding your place, all combined with the softest sapphic romance. The descriptions are truly the pièce-de-résistance of the entire book - whether it's Joni's house or the bike ride to the library Karen Gregory has painted such a beautiful picture that you can literally see everything in your mind and that only serves to make the emotional aspects of the story that much stronger because they've been woven into such a strong foundation.

I actually combined the Easter Readathon with the OWL's so The Prom, Skylarks, Tweet Cute & Queer Intentions all overlap between two readathons but after finishing the OWL's over the weekend I picked out Monday's book (Upside) for Easter only.

The Upside of Unrequited - Becky Albertalli

  • A soft, quiet YA contemporary about courage, confidence and following your heart. One of the main things I love about this book is the side characters. The dialogue just leaps off the page and every single character is believable (and collectively they portray such a wide range of diversity too) - I end up rooting for all of them to be happy, not just Molly. 

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven

  • I had such high hopes for this book and unfortunately it didn't even come close to meeting them. I found Izzy quite unlikeable from the first few pages but when she outed her best friend and didn't do anything to apologise or make up for it she went from unlikeable to despised. From the blurb and other reviews I expected much more of a 'let's track down the scumbag who leaked the photos' plot-line but this didn't happen at all, the reveal was very flat and ultimately I felt this was a book where nothing actually happened.

The Deepest Breath - Meg Grehan

  • The Deepest Breath is charming, heart warming, heart wrenching and absolutely beautiful. I have never once felt so SEEN in a book before. The representation of little Stevie searching for answers in an attempt to squash down her anxieties and coming across scores of information, but never the section that she truly wishes for, broke my heart and then put it back together again a couple of pages later.

Having read pretty much only YA for the entire month so far I decided to switch it up a little bit for the final week of the month (and take full advantage of the free kindle unlimited subscription I had for the month) and dive into my other favourite - F/F romance!

Before You Say I Do - Clare Lydon

  • For a short little book this one sure does manage to hold a Lot! Friends, jobs, falling for the one person you absolutely shouldn't even look at. But everything is balanced so well; it's a romance novel so of course the romance between the two women takes up a lot of page space but you get to know so many of the side characters and each protagonist has a storyline that goes beyond 'falls in love' - whether it's job dissatisfaction, rethinking their entire career, or wanting to change the way they do relationships. The dialogue is really funny and delightfully British and while I do prefer a little more setting and description normally that didn't take away anything from my enjoyment of this one.

The Gay Girls Guide to Ruining Prom - Siera Maley

  • A one sided fake-dating story that very quickly gets even more complicated than you could ever imagine! Messy friendships, religious parents and real feelings all swirl around together in this book and create absolute chaos for most of the characters. I read this almost in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down - betrayal, drama and a highly realistic "oh shit i have a crush" moment all make for a stunning contemporary romance set against the backdrop of the final year of high school in a book that manages to be funny, heartfelt and a genuinely lovely story in one go.

Ice Cream Wars - A. E Radley & Emma Sterner-Radley

  • Rivals to lovers and an ice cream feud? Honestly what could be better. Lighthearted and incredibly sweet; this novella includes so much good stuff for so few pages! I really loved that the two women were such polar opposites of each other without becoming over the top although I would have preferred a slightly longer transition between 'rivals' and 'lovers' - the book timeline I believe was longer, but on page there wasn't even a chapter between the two stages of their relationship. Ultimately I have read better from both authors but considering this was a novella I probably should have adjusted my expectations a little bit, although I did still enjoy reading it.

Sweetest Thing - Natasha West

  • Enemies to lovers + opposites attract on a baking show? Yes please. This was such a joy to read. Lighthearted, fun and incredibly witty were all things I was expecting it to be having read other books by Natasha (and it was all of those things) but the mystery surrounding the baking show added to the charming romance was a wonderful surprise. I really loved both characters and adored how they were each given a backstory and a plot thread that didn't include romance at all - just determination and baking. I also loved that the drama didn't stem from their relationship at all but the things that were happening around them!

The Ladies Guide to Celestial Mechanics - Olivia Waite (x 2)

  • I officially have a new favourite book. Lucy & Catherine are both so well-rounded individually that when they are together on page you can literally see the connection between them, you feel like you know each of them and you can't help but root for them both as people and as a couple. Character driven books are just *chefs kiss* and this took it to a Whole New Level! The softness between them, their concerns and past relationships being discussed and processed healthily, the arc between who they were at the start of the book and who they wanted to be at the end. Everything was absolutely stunning and so beautifully written. I just- AHHHHHH. You know the emoji that's smiling and there are hearts floating around? Yeah, that was me for literally the entire freaking book. It's so good. Soft, tender, romantic, realistic. I adored every single page and I actually read it twice because I read it too quickly the first time and needed to process and savour it a lot more.

April was such a good reading month and it was really hard to pick a favourite but I think I have to say that Tweet Cute and The Ladies Guide to Celestial Mechanic were the standout reads for me.
What was your favourite book you read in April?

eloise x

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