April reading wrap-up


Madison Aboud

In the month of April, I read 14 books

As a huge bookworm, I often read multiple books a month. In April, I read 14 books. Here they are!

I rate all of the books I read between one and five stars. If I love a book, it will either get a four or five-star rating. If I dislike a book, a one or two-star rating. If I like a book but don’t love a book, I will give it three stars. 

“A Touch of Darkness” by Scarlett St. Clair: 

The story Hades and Persephone with a twist. 

This was the first book I read this month, and it did not disappoint. From the humor, the banter, and the love interest, to the feminism and work aspect, I loved “A Touch of Darkness.” 

Persephone is going to college in the mortal world when she unintentionally makes a bet with the god of the dead. From there, chaos and romance ensues. 

“A Touch of Ruin” by Scarlett St. Clair: 

Book two of the month and book two in the “Touch of Darkness” series. Although this was an extremely enjoyable book, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first.

I loved Persephone’s wit in the first book, but in this one, she was whiny and wouldn’t take the blame for anything. Although both Hades and Persephone made mistakes, the majority were made by Persephone, and she pushed the blame onto everybody else. Communication is not something she seems to understand.

“The Phantom of the Opera – Graphic Novel” by Varga Tomi and Gaston Leroux:

Since I was young, I have always loved the Broadway musical “The Phantom of the Opera.” When I was a little older, I read the original novel by Gaston Leroux. I didn’t think it was possible to fall even more in love with a story, but I did. 

When I first heard about this graphic novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Since then, I have read it three times. 

Every time I reread this graphic novel, I find something new to enjoy. I love how the story brings quotes from the original novel into play along with keeping elements of the novel many people forget. This is perfect for anyone who loves the Broadway show, or is wanting to get into the world of “The Phantom of the Opera.” 

“Jane Eyre – Quick Text – Graphic Novel” by Amy Corzine andCharlotte Bronte: 

     Along with the “Phantom of the Opera-Graphic Novel,” I have read this graphic novel multiple times. However, unlike “Phantom” my liking of this book has decreased. 

       “Jane Eyre” is my all-time favorite book. Not being able to enjoy this graphic novel is due to the fact that I hold the book to such high standards. 

I believe the reason I disliked it so much this time is because it takes away from the original story. Everything is the same, but everything is different. An example of this would be Mr. Rochester’s character development. In the original novel, I loved watching him develop from being angry and assertive to kind and compassionate. However, in this graphic novel, I feel he was just the same at the end as in the beginning.  

Although I don’t like the writing style of this graphic novel because it feels incredibly immature and wrong. To me, it seems like the author read a CliffNotes of the original novel and then wrote this. 

“Jane Eyre – Quick Text – Graphic Novel” by Amy Corzine and Charlotte Bronte: 

     Along with the “Phantom of the Opera-Graphic Novel,” I have read this graphic novel multiple times. However, unlike “Phantom” my liking of this book has decreased. 

       “Jane Eyre” is my all-time favorite book. Not being able to enjoy this graphic novel is due to the fact that I hold the book to such high standards. 

“Ruby Red” by Kerstin Gier:

I picked up “Ruby Red” completely on a whim and I must say, I was shocked by how much I enjoyed it.

Gwenyth is a sixteen-year-old girl from London who finds out she has the ability to time travel. 

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I felt the main character, Gwenyth, was often immature. Anytime another character would say she was annoying, she fired back with a comment that proved them right. I continuously felt I was getting secondhand embarrassment every time she opened her mouth. 

“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman:

I have read many wonderful books this year and unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them. I really tried to enjoy this novel but was bitterly disappointed.

The story follows an unnamed narrator who returns to the place where he grew up for a funeral. While there, he visits the “ocean” at the end of the street where he grew up. He has a history with this specific place and as the story unravels, we learn what that history is. 

The biggest issue I had with this story is the writing style. I always felt like there was too much detail and other times too little. 

The characters in this story were incredibly unlikeable. I always love a good unlikeable character, but when all the characters are unlikeable, the story just isn’t worth it. 

“You’ve Reached Sam” by Dustin Thao

My toxic trait is I love to read books that will emotionally wreck me. “You’ve Reached Sam” did just that. 

Julie has her entire life planned out. Good grades, family life, college planned out, she has it all going for her. Until her boyfriend, Sam, passes away in a car accident. 

Desperate to hear his voice again, Julie calls Sam’s phone. To her surprise, he picks up. Julie knows their connection can’t last forever, but as time goes on, she begins to fall for Sam all over again. When she has to say goodbye again, she isn’t sure she will be ready.

I started this novel months ago, and while I liked it then, I had trouble liking the main character Julie. I often questioned her motives. However, I came around to her toward the end. Grief shapes and changes people, and Julie is one of the best examples I have seen to prove so. 

I cried a lot with this book. I can’t imagine what it is like to lose the one you love, just to get them back, to lose them again. “You’ve Reached Sam” did an amazing job of making the reader understand the experience. 

“A Touch of Malice” by Scarlett St. Clair:

The third book in the “Touch of Darkness” series. It’s hard to describe what goes on in this novel as it is the third book in the series, but I can easily say, I much prefer this book over the second one. 

I enjoyed seeing Persephone grow into herself and learn her magic. She wasn’t as whiny in this book, and she and Hades were able to communicate a lot more. I loved seeing how they grew as separate people and as a couple. 

This book shows the impact that plot points had on Persephone. There is a larger show of the trauma she went through and how it has affected her. Without this, the book would have been sorely lacking and wouldn’t have been as enjoyable or realistic.

“Birthday Girl” by Penelope Douglas.

Jordan thinks her life is finally together, until she moves in with her boyfriend, tries to make money and realizes her boyfriend is cheating on her. But, it’s okay. Because Pike Lawson is there too. 

I love Pike and Jordan’s relationship and the development it goes through. There are a lot of messes they have to overcome and watching them do so was such a joy. 

“Funny You Should Ask” by Elissa Sussman.

Reporter and the movie star. Second chance romance. And, of course, a puppy. 

Told through alternating timelines, “Funny You Should Ask” follows Chani, a reporter as she does a story on the infamous Gabe Parker, a famous movie star. With two alternating timelines, told ten years apart, readers watch as the two main characters grow and develop. 

I enjoyed the humor in this book and the romance, but it often felt like the two main characters were making things harder than they needed to be. I wasn’t a fan of the main character, but the story was enjoyable all the same. 

“Sing Me Forgotten” by Jessica S. Olson. 

A “Phantom of the Opera” fantasy retelling, “Sing Me Forgotten” is perfect for any music lover. 

In this action-packed fantasy, music is a source of magic. Our main character, Isda, is a Gravior, a partly deformed musical genius, who can manipulate people’s memories when singing. 

I wasn’t prepared for an unhappy ending, but that is what I received with this novel. However, unhappy or not, it didn’t take away from the beauty of this novel. 

I loved how Isda started as a hero and slowly became a villain. It is such an interesting twist and makes the story much more enjoyable. 

Towards the end of the month, I also read:

“And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie ( for school)

“Crooked House” by Agatha Christie (for school) 

“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss (childhood favorite of the month)

If I were to recommend only one book out of the 14 I read in April, I would recommend “You’ve Reached Sam” by Dustin Thao. Although it wasn’t my favorite of the month, I believe it is the novel people can relate to the most and teaches the most valuable lesson of all of them. 

My average rating for the month of April is 3.36 stars.