Friday, May 01, 2015

Best Books of April

April was cuh-razy, with the A to Z Challenge and moving. We closed on a house this week and as you're reading this, we're surrounded by moving boxes. But I still managed to read five books this month. It will probably be no surprise that two of those books were read via audiobook while I was packing and cleaning. Thanks to Lauren Myracle and Paula Hawkins for making moving so much more entertaining. 

And now...the best books I read in April.

My first book is by two authors I consider friends even though I haven't met them in person yet. This book is pure awesomeness! You must pre-order it now. It's on sale May 19.



You're Invited by Jen Malone and Gail Nall is the first in a two-part series about tween girls who run their very own party-planning business. The concept of a group of girls running a party-planning business is so fun, but these mega-talented authors make it about so much more than that. The themes of friendship and parental acceptance are something every reader can relate to.

My second book is another one for young girls that readers of all ages will enjoy. In Jo Whittemore's Colonial Madness, a tween and her mom are challenged to spend two weeks living in colonial times.



This book is a fun learning experience, especially for young girls, who don't realize how lucky they are to wear clean clothes every day and get milk from the refrigerator rather than the barn. But the overall message is even more important: family comes first, especially the bond between mother and child.

Next up is Defying Reason by Elizabeth Seckman. I'm sure I've already gushed about this author a million times, but I'll gush some more.



This is a new adult-ish romance, with characters in their early 20s. I haven't read the other books in the series, but this book stands completely on its own. Tanner and Jo leap off the page as incredibly realistic, likable characters. Best of all, the story is completely unpredictable, which I love in a romance!

The first book I read on audio was Lauren Myracle's The Fashion Disaster That Changed My Life.



I loved her book TTYL, so I was excited to see this on the list of books Audible recommended to me. Lauren has a knack for capturing the voice of her intended age group, usually in a unique format. TTYL was a story told in instant messages. The Fashion Disaster That Changed My Life is told through diary entries. Lauren perfectly captures the strains of peer pressure while also showing young girls that it's possible to find your own way in life.

My last book of the month is one that I've wanted to read since January. I always try to read the most-talked-about book of the year. This year, that book is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.



Let me just say, this book isn't what you expect. It's been compared to Hitchcock and in premise, I'd agree. Like Gone Girl, however, this book delves deep into unlikeable characters and makes you somehow like them despite their many (many) flaws. People said this one started off "slow," but I don't think so. If you're expecting a thrill-a-minute mystery, though, you might be disappointed. If you're just ready to settle in and enjoy the ride, I highly recommend this one. Catch it before they cast the movie. It's always more fun when you aren't picturing Hollywood faces on the characters, I've found!

Have you read any good books lately?

33 comments:

  1. How kind of you to do this for a writers, Stephanie. I wonder if you could spare a moment and pop over to my blog? I am trying very hard to encourage people to buy my free Kindle book, available for five days and to sign up for my newsletter, a new venture for me and a little unsure about it. Carole.

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    1. I'll do my best! I have to warn people--I'm going to be a bit out of sorts for the next few days. I'm moving, so life is chaos. Plus Comcast "promises" they'll cut our Internet over to our new house at 3pm today, but for some reason I'm having a hard time trusting them...

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    2. I hope it turns out better for you than for us! We had the absolute worst experience with Comcast during our move. We ended up switching over to Verizon for the internet and cut the cord on cable TV.

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    3. Yeah, they have that "mover's edge" program but I'm hearing that doesn't really work. They're supposed to cut it off at your old location and cut it on at your new, but people report still getting billed for the old location and having to call and deal with that whole thing. Mover's edge makes sense, though. Most people are actually transferring service, so they need to make it as seamless as possible. I think it's a combination of them being a massive company with a monopoly on high-speed Internet in most areas and being a service that people RELY on. Unless they're perfect 100 percent of the time, people are going to be angry.

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  2. Colonial Madness looks amusing.

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  3. Wow! you've been a very busy lady yet you find time to read or listen to books. I hope that you'll enjoy your new home.
    I always love reading your book reviews. I think I would enjoy The fashion Disaster That Changed My Life because it in diary form. I love to go back and read my own journals.

    Have a happy day.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. I always wish I'd kept a journal when I was a kid! I had one in sixth grade, but it's long gone. It would be interesting to go back and read my thoughts from that time.

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  4. COLONIAL MADNESS sounds interesting. Sadly, I've no time to read since I spend ten hours a day translating books :) Currently GOLDEN SON from Pierce Brown and I have ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES waiting to be translated too.

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    1. That sounds like reading, though! You're just being paid to do it.

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  5. Moving is never fun, but a bigger house is I suppose. Until you start cleaning lol a good mixture this month at your sea

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    1. Yes, bigger house equals more cleaning, which is never a good thing. But at least this house is mostly carpet. Vacuuming is easier than cleaning all of the other kinds of floors that are now in style!

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  6. Loved THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN! I know it's weird to say that about a dark, creepy book but it's still true. :)

    And I'm still surrounded by moving boxes. We seem to have pooped out on the unpacking. I have no idea how you handled A-Z and moving! :o

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    1. I have a feeling that will be us, too! I hear stories about people who have their entire houses unpacked in the first four days, but that isn't me.

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  7. I loved GIRL ON THE TRAIN. I featured it in my February "best books." I can't wait to read something else by Paula Hawkins. I will be interested to see what they do with the movie.

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    1. What do you want to bet, they pick some beautiful, skinny Hollywood actress to play the lead role--despite the unflattering description of her in the book? Nothing against Ben Affleck, but I think casting him as the lead in Gone Girl messed it up a little. People weren't surprised by the twist because Ben Affleck is too likable a guy. In the book, you weren't sure whether you should like the guy or not...

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  8. That's a lot of great new releases. My TBR pile keeps on growing!! Congrats on your move. I know what it feels like to live out of boxes...not fun. For me, the first order of business is unpacking the kitchen. Once I've got the kitchen squared away, and I can start cooking instead of ordering take out, it starts to feel like home. Especially when I hook up the coffe pot and I smell the coffee brewing!

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  9. I'm doing a mega fest on episodes of 'Empresses' or, also called, 'The history of Zhen Huan.' It's remarkable.

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  10. Based on your words, I think I will try The Girl on the Train!

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  11. congrats on the new house and good luck with the move!

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  12. Have I told you lately that I love you?

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  13. I need to stop saying I don't have time to read... you blogged pretty well every day in April.. sold a house and packed plus you read 5 books... I just have to make time... ♡

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  14. You sure promote other authors. I love that about you.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

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  15. I am definitely going to have to check out Colonial Madness for Amara! Thanks!

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  16. I heard from several different people they liked The Girl on the Train; I'll have to look for it. You are right, it is better to read the book before they cast the movie. I hadn't thought of that before except I read Gone Girl after the movie came out but before I saw it. I did picture Ben Affleck a lot with the character as I read the book.

    You did great in April to be moving, to be doing the A/Z, to be reading! When did you sleep?

    betty

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  17. I love the cover on Colonial Madness! Very intriguing.
    Good luck with the moving and such. These are busy times!

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  18. I haven't read anything really good, lately, actually. I read some so-so books. My inner editor kicked in. When I start finding ways the book could have been better, I know I'm not totally into it.

    Good luck with your move.

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  19. Moving is so stressful. Hope it all goes smoothly for you.

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  20. Sounds like I need to read Girl on a Train; I've heard a lot of good things about it.

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  21. I've been looking into reading Girl on a Train but couldn't get convinced. I think I'll read it now though. :D

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  22. Great and interesting, thanks for sharing!

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  23. Congrats on a new home, Stephanie. Moving is challenging..... Girl On The Train is on my TBR list.

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  24. I'm reading The Girl on the Train right now and I can hardly stand to put it down! I'm hoping to finish it tonight when I get home from work.

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