After a bit of a slow reading month in March, April was a month filled with some fantastic reads! My TBR (to be read) stack remains dozens of books long but I’m feeling like I’m in a great reading groove. Nothing sparks joy like surveying my bookshelf and deciding which book I’m going to begin reading next.
1. Infinite Country by Patricia Engle. 2/5 ⭐️ “Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north. How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope.” This was a bit of a slow read for me but I appreciated that the characters felt real in their pain and struggles.
2. People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry. 4/5 ⭐️ “Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?” Henry’s books are always a slam drunk for me! I flew through this one as I was so invested in the “will they won’t they” drama of their relationship. A perfect book to read on the beach or on vacation.
3. Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering. 3/5 ⭐️ “Skye Starling is overjoyed when her boyfriend, Burke Michaels, proposes after a whirlwind courtship. Though Skye seems to have the world at her fingertips―she’s smart, beautiful, and from a well-off family―she’s also battled crippling OCD ever since her mother’s death when she was eleven, and her romantic relationships have suffered as a result.But now Burke―handsome, older, and more emotionally mature than any man she’s met before―says he wants her. Forever. Except, Burke isn’t who he claims to be. And interspersed letters to his therapist reveal the truth: he’s happily married, and using Skye for his own, deceptive ends. In a third perspective, set thirty years earlier, a scrappy seventeen-year-old named Heather is determined to end things with Burke, a local bad boy, and make a better life for herself in New York City. But can her adolescent love stay firmly in her past―or will he find his way into her future?” This book had so many twists and turns I was on the edge of my seat. Much of the book felt unbelievable to me but it was an easy one to devour in a day.
4. Northern Spy by Flynn Berry. 3.5/5 ⭐️ “A producer at the BBC and mother to a new baby, Tessa is at work in Belfast one day when the news of another raid comes on the air. The IRA may have gone underground in the two decades since the Good Friday Agreement, but they never really went away, and lately bomb threats, security checkpoints, and helicopters floating ominously over the city have become features of everyday life. As the news reporter requests the public’s help in locating those responsible for the robbery, security footage reveals Tessa’s sister, Marian, pulling a black ski mask over her face. The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa is convinced she must have been abducted or coerced; the sisters have always opposed the violence enacted in the name of uniting Ireland. And besides, Marian is vacationing on the north coast. Tessa just spoke to her yesterday. When the truth about Marian comes to light, Tessa is faced with impossible choices that will test the limits of her ideals, the bonds of her family, her notions of right and wrong, and her identity as a sister and a mother. Walking an increasingly perilous road, she wants nothing more than to protect the one person she loves more fiercely than her sister: her infant son, Finn.” This book had my heart racing! I always love a good spy novel with unanticipated events where I’m left in the dark just as much as the protagonist is. I was questioning every decision Tessa was making along way not knowing if what she was doing was the right or wrong move!
5. Outlawed by Anna North. 5/5 ⭐️ “In the year of our Lord 1894, the day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all. Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes.” One of my favorite books of the year. It was gritty, captivating and unlike any other book I’ve read. I loved the spin on a Western featuring a feminist twist. I cheered for their victories and was heart broken for their losses. I can’t recommend this book enough!