2021 April Wrap Up

I think we can all admit that my April TBR was a little bit lofty… It should come as no shock to anyone that I didn’t manage to read all 17 books that I’d added to the list for the month. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not happy with the amount that I got read this month. Quite the contrary, I’m proud of myself for managing to read as much as I did.

17 books is a lot to try and read while working full time and having other life commitments. I also deviated from my planned books a little bit here are there. So, 17 might not be the total books that I completed this month, but I’m certainly pleased with the books I did manage to finish.

I’m also thrilled with the quality of books that I read this month. In general I try to read stories that I think I’m going to enjoy – who purposely picks up a book hoping to hate it? – but even still, some of the books I read this month far exceeded my expectations of them. In fact, I might have read a couple of all time favourite books this month. And that’s pretty darn cool! (More on this later!)

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As always, here are some pictures of my pup, Yzma. (Shameless plug for her adorable PupStagram account @YzmaTheHound):

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Or, check out my BookStagram account (@PhantomOfTheLibrary1995):

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Without further ado, here’s my reading stats for April:


For reference: Physical books, eBooks, AudioBooks, and Library books.

Total titles completed: 14

Total pages read: 3,575 pages (avg. 275 pages) + 1 AudioBook of unspecified pages


Completed Books:

  1. A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong (Thorne Manor, Book 1)[5 stars] 336 pages
  2. Aofie’s Quest by Angela J. Ford (Goodreads)[3.5 stars] 586 pages
  3. Gifted by Andy Lewter (Valens, Book 1)[4 stars] 210 pages
  4. Condition Black by Stu Jones and Gareth Worthington (Goodreads)[5 stars] 332 pages
  5. Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan (Earthbound Angels, Book 1)[4 stars] 222 pages
  6. The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf (The Witches of Vegas, Book 1) (Goodreads)[4 stars] 272 pages
  7. Witching on a Star by Erin Bedford (Academy of Witches, Book 1)[2.5 stars] 187 pages
  8. Borrowed Treasure by Jessica Tastet (Website)[4 stars] 231 pages
  9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy, Book 1)[3 stars] 358 pages
  10. The Bird that Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli (Goodreads)[3.5 stars] ? pages
  11. Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart (Sledgehammer: A Rock and Roll Fable, Book 1) (Amazon)[3.5 stars] 407 pages
  12. Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine (The Keepers of Knowledge, Book 6)[4 stars] 288 pages
  13. Signs of Love: Winter by Anyta Sunday (Signs of Love, Exclusive eNovella)[4 stars] 71 pages
  14. Signs of Love: Spring by Anyta Sunday (Signs of Love, Book 0.6 )[3.5 stars] 75 pages

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Review Posts:

  1. Gifted by Andy Lewter
  2. Condition Black by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones
  3. The Peasant’s Dream by Melanie Dickerson
  4. The Forever Crew by C.M. Stunich
  5. A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong
  6. The Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan
  7. The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf
  8. Borrowed Treasure by Jessica Tastet
  9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  10. Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart
  11. The Bird that Sang in Color by Grace Mattioli
  12. Mistletoe Match by Lindzee Armstrong
  13. Witching on a Star by Erin Bedford

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Spotlight Posts:

  1. The Demon of Yodok by Adria Carmichael
  2. Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw
  3. The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter

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Wrap Up:

A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong:

Thorne Manor has always been haunted… and it’s always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could slip through time in her great aunt’s house where she could visit with William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, Bronwyn is convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later, Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor and the ghosts within it. When she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. Grown into a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life has been marred by tragedy and scandal that has him living at the manor – and his beloved moors – in self imposed exile. He’s also holding a grudge at Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with the ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes that they are linked to William and the scandal surrounding him. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past.

This was the book I chose to read for the March Buzzword of “Time”. I started it pretty late in March which wouldn’t have usually been a problem, but after the first night where I flew through half this story, I couldn’t pick the book back up until I’d finished moving… in April. Which is why this book appears here, in my April Wrap Up. I started it in March, but did not finish it. Therefore, it was a book “to be read”/finished in April.

I didn’t read the synopsis going into this story because Kelley Armstrong is my favourite author of all time. I knew that no matter what she put in this book I was going to love it. And I was right. This is a fantastic story and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend that you do. Like all Kelley Armstrong books, I was in love with the world from the very beginning and my only problem with the book was that it ended.

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Aofie’s Quest by Angela J. Ford:

Eighteen year old Aofie’s Mor is an outcast princess, hiding with the centaurs. She’s spent her entire life to take back her kingdom from the angel of death. When she comes of age, the centaurs prepare her to reunite with the humans. But, as she sets to depart, Aofie learns a horrific truth that leaves her questioning her true identity.

The threads of betrayal and corruption run deeper than Aofie imagined, the trials and tribulations she goes through only causing her to question her life even more. Caught in the ultimate war between good and evil, Aofie must make a choice – a choice that will determine her future.

I received this story in exchange for an honest review.

Right off the bat it’s clear that Aofie has a thirst for knowledge and is naïve to the human world. Aofie doesn’t let the unknown stop her from venturing out of the safety of the Beluar Woods and start her quest. With many mishaps along the way, Aofie learns that her actions have consequences. Yet every adventure Aofie goes through teachers her something – about herself, her destiny, and even the world around her.

A full review will be posted in early May.

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Gifted by Andy Lewter:

The last thing Abigail Everett thought would happen over spring break was having her perspective on the world completely shifted. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what happened.

Between struggling to control her newly formed abilities; coming face to face with dark and deceiving minds that seek her leadership; and learning about the existence of a mythical world she never thought possible, Abigail risks everything – the future of mankind and the safety of its people in her hands.

I received this story in exchange for an honest review.

Lewter does a fantastic job at creating a mystery right at the start of the story. It had me hooked right away and just waiting for the reveal to happen. The clues were there and it was up to me to put things together. It was also refreshing to see a character struggling with powers she didn’t know she had – or even wanted. I also really enjoyed the struggle that others characters went through in this story. How do you know when to keep things to yourself and when to share what you know with the people you care about? How do you know if you’ve gone too far – or not far enough?

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Condition Black by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones:

Evan Weyland, a scientist developing new technologies to fight cancer, sees the world through the lens of someone on the Autistic Spectrum. His guiding light is his wife, Marie – a globally recognized war correspondent. When she returns home from Syria deathly ill with an unknown disease, Evan believes his research might be able to unlock a cure. When his superiors refuse his plea for help, Evan’s single minded love for Marie drives him into taking matters into his own hands. A decision that has far greater consequences than he could have imagined.

Billy Vicki, a Captain in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, is a veteran that’s unable to leave the horrors of war behind him. Only his loving family and a sense of absolute justice keeps him grounded. When Billy’s unit becomes aware of a US sanctioned airstrike on a civilian settlement in Syria and a comatose reporter with an unknown illness, he fears the worst. An unethical military project thought mothballed has resurfaced and a civilian might be about in inadvertently unleash it upon the world – a mistake that could cost the lives of millions.

I received this story in exchange for an honest review.

As scientific advancements occur in our own world, it’s a bit surreal to catch a glimpse into a world we might be heading towards. While we might not end up living in a country under martial law, the medical and general scientific advancements in this story are real life goals. Medical advancements that allow us to fight cancer – and potentially any diseases that come our way? Absolutely! Better understanding the human mind and how it works? Yes, please!

Plus the Autistic rep in this story is absolutely phenomenal. I adore the fact that this book was released in April specifically because it’s Autism Awareness Month. I adore the detail and dedication that went into this story. This isn’t the kind of book that I’d generally pick up on my own, but I’m so glad that I did. This is absolutely a read I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

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Oracle of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Corrigan:

Carrie works at a diner in South Philadelphia, dispensing advice to humans and angels wise enough to seek her counsel. But there are some problems that even the best advice can’t solve. Her latest supplicant, Sebastian, is unique among those who have sought her aid – he sold his soul to a demon to save his sister’s life. Yet his heart remains pure.

Carrie has lived for millennia with the knowledge that her immortality is due to the suffering of others and she can’t bare to see another good man damned while it’s within her power to prevent it. In order to negotiate his contract, Carrie must travel the depths of hall and parley with the demons that control pathways. As the cost of her journey rises, Carrie must determine how much she’s willing to sacrifice to save one good soul.

I stumbled upon this read while looking at one of Corrigan’s other reads, and I absolutely felly in love with the cover. While I expected this story to focus more on Sebastian and his story than it did, I found I adored the focus on Carrie’s life that the story took. I adored the jumps between time, the way it was used to give context to Carrie’s life and the decisions she’s made. I adored the way Corrigan dealt with the war between Heaven and Hell and the fall angels aftermath. I look forward to continuing on with this series and seeing what else Corrigan will do with this world.

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The Witches of Vegas by Mark Rosendorf:

Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?

By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip—a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians—who can’t possibly keep pace.

Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.

But can the combined witches’ powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?

I received this story in exchange for an honest review.

The main plot of this story is clear right from the beginning, but I also really enjoyed the more subtle subplots that popped up throughout this book. Like the lesson of your actions having consequences and hindsight being 20/20. I enjoyed seeing the way that these characters interacted with each other and the budding relationships that were formed. I liked getting an insight into the magic system of this world and the history of the magical community.

As soon as I finished this story, I looked forward to starting the next one… So I did, almost instantly.

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Witching on a Star by Erin Bedford:

All her life, Max knew she was destined for more. On the eve of her high school graduation she finds out that she’s a witch, completely changing her future plans. Now Max isn’t headed to an Ivy League school like she’d always expected, but to the Witch’s Academy to learn what being a witch entails.

If Max hopes to survive her new destiny, she’ll have to deal with a mean girls clique, way too sexy for their own good bad boys, and a popularity contest she didn’t want to win. Turns out magic has more consequences than Max realized. Here’s hoping she’s more prepared than she thinks to handle it.

I picked up this story as my April Buzzword pick. The prompt this month was “Galaxy Terms”, so I figured a book with star in the title was as good a pick as any. I found Witching on a Star on my kindle account, so picked it up and hoped for the best.

I have to say, I found myself disappointed in this read. I really wanted to love it. It’s got so many things that I adore in a book – magic, mayhem, discovering you have powers you didn’t know you had, a reverse harem… It’s even my favourite genre to read – Urban Fantasy. Yet I just did not enjoy my time in this world. I don’t see myself continuing on with this series, and I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone when I can think of a couple of books with similar premises that I enjoyed much more than this read. This just wasn’t the read for me.

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Borrowed Treasure by Jessica Tastet:

Sissy Ames has been driven to succeed her entire life. On her own, she’s turned her Bittersweet Café into a success, and she’s rebuilt a friendship with her cousin Harper after years of going it alone, but her past bad judgement in trusting Hunter Wells during their relationship continues to cast shadows on the future she’s trying to build for herself.

Hunter Wells has been coasting through life, working at the family business and creating the life that his family expects for him. He’d once hoped for a different existence, but he’d been forced to move on and make do after Sissy Ames had ended their three-year relationship without an explanation.

Even in their small town, the two have managed to avoid each other, but then Hunter’s fiancée, Sissy’s nemesis, disappears after a suspicious confrontation, leaving them both looking like likely suspects. The only hope they have of clearing their names and figuring out what led to the disappearance is to find the one item that drove them apart two years ago: The Ames BORROWED TREASURE.

I received this story in exchange for an honest review.

This is a cute romance filled with Southern charm. It gave exactly what it promises to the reader – a nice, clean romance with a mystery in the background. I thought that more of this book would be geared towards the mystery aspect of the story, but I’m tickled pink with the story structure that Tastet went with instead. I enjoyed watching deceptions being revealed and history being rewritten when things come to light. This was a fantastic read and I look forward to reading more from Tastet in the future.

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo:

Surrounded by enemies, the once great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness that just so happens to be crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. To make matters worse, Ravka’s fate now rests on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. When her regiment is attacked in the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life. A power that could very well be the key to saving their war ravaged country.

Wrenched away from everything she’s ever known, Alina is whisked to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha – the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing this lavish is as it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her to succeed, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha… and her own heart.

With the Shadow and Bone series arriving on Netflix this month, I knew I needed to reread this series – and eventually all of the books in this world. While I haven’t read the full trilogy yet, I figure I’ll finish the books soon. I thought about starting the series before rereading the books, but I changed my mind. The show will be there as soon as I finish the books.

My reread of this story helped reorient the events in the book in my brain. For whatever reason, the order of events was all over the place in my brain. I’m looking forward to seeing how the events in this series actually unfold.

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The Bird That Sang on Color by Grace Mattioli:

In her teens, Donna Greco subscribes to a conventional view of success in life – and pushes her freewheeling, artistic brother, Vincent, to do the same. However, he remains single, childless, and subsists in cramped apartments. She harbours guilt for her supposed failure in relation to his happiness until she discovers a sketch-book he’d made of his life. In fact, it prompts her own journey to live authentically.

Focusing on serious issues such as alcoholism, death, and family conflict, Mattioli manages to balance the serious with wit and humour. The story spans decades, beginning in 1970 and ending in the present. Readers will be left wondering “What pictures will you have of yourself by the end of your life?”

I received this story in exchange for an honest review.

I found this to be a very cute slice of life story that dealt with a lot of heavy topics in a serious yet entertaining way. The situations in this story feel real, like they could seriously happen to you. And this book made me truly think about what in life makes me happy. This read encouraged me to spend more time doing things that make me happy, that will help me create colour pictures of my life.

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Jukebox Hero by Jason Stuart:

It’s Back to the ’80’s like never before!

Things aren’t all rainbows and cupcakes at the corner of Elm and E streets. Molly Slater just wants to forget everything she can’t remember and play heavy metal with her best friend in the garage. And maybe get a date for prom if he’s not a skeeze. But someone in this ‘burb has been killing redheads, and Molly has the reddest hair of them all.

When a night of babysitting gone wrong gets her in the crosshairs of the local gang scene, Molly discovers fabulous secrets about herself. The hunted becomes the hunter as she prowls the darkness that has crept into her sleepy town. But a far more sinister force, some thing from another world, has other plans in store for her…

I received this story in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed my time in this world immensely. I could never personally give up my Saturdays to detention just to take a teacher’s Saturdays away, but I applaud Molly for her gumption and fearlessness in doing just that. I can’t imagine knowing that girls were dying who looked like me and not being terrified enough to change up my appearance – even if just a little bit. I’m sure if I was a teenager and girls who looked like me were being killed I could convince my parents to let me dye my hair. As a precaution, you know? But Molly is brave enough and comfortable enough in her own skin to stay true to herself.

If there’s anything that I’d love to take from Molly’s story, it’s her confidence in her own abilities. The world might not be as simple as she thought it was, but that doesn’t stop her from living life to its fullest. She might just want to rock out in the garage with her best friend, but sometimes plans change. Sometimes, you’ve got to risk it all.

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Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine:

Indigo Rain is regretful of a dark past, leading to a vow to remain alone and focus on researching ancient merfolk tribes. When she unearths a seabed burial site that even she cannot identify, she shares this with a High Council merfolk historian… keeping one shocking secret to herself.

Bay Finley is the flirty Royal merfolk Keeper assigned to teach Indigo on Pyreshore, a glamoured city of supernaturals tasked with keeping their invaluable knowledge alive. Indigo thinks Bay is a haughty know-it-all, but also dangerously handsome. He’s engaged to Abigail Torrent, a Royal, unlike Indigo. But he’s begun spending a lot of time in the lab…

Indigo has three quests:
Uncover the mystery of the burial tablet, resist falling in love, and never, ever reveal her biggest secret, even to the Keepers.

This story gave me everything I wanted from it and then a little bit more. Maybe it’s the anthropology major in me and maybe it’s just general human curiosity, but I absolutely adored getting to follow Indigo as she unearthed artifacts and looked into her peoples’ past. I adored her unearthing the mystery surrounding her tablet and the secret she’s keeping from everyone.

While this is the sixth book in the series, each book is written by a different author about a different supernatural race within this world – vampires, mimics, witches, merfolk, gargoyles, sphinxes, werewolves, fae, and the other animal shifters. This makes it extremely easy to pick up any of the stories regardless of their “order” in the series. I’m thrilled to have picked up Secrets of the Mermaid – clearly, the story about the merfolk – as an introduction to the series as now I can’t wait to continue on with the world. What else will these supernatural creatures have in store?

I certainly look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

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Signs of Love: Winter by Anyta Sunday:

What happens when a clueless hero believes in star-sign compatibility? What happens when there’s only one sign left to try?

Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer… Caspian’s tried the lot, compatibility nil.

Leo is his last hope for happiness.

He just has to find one.

Maybe his Virgo best friend will help? He should sneak over next door and see…

This is currently an exclusive eNovella which you can acquire by signing up for Anyta Sunday’s email newsletter. If you’re a fan of the Signs of Love series – or just male/male romances in general – I’d recommend giving this read a try.

I’ve read all of the full length novels in the Signs of Love series that have come out so far, and I look forward to reading any other stories that come out. This is a sweet little boy next door story and I enjoyed my time in Caspian’s head.

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Signs of Love: Spring by Anyta Sunday:

Life loves to spring starry surprises.

Writing flowery love horoscopes is not something Flynn Reilly ever saw himself doing. But when he’s hired to package them up with extravagant bouquets and deliver them to his slick, always smiling Sagittarian frenemy . . . well, a struggling florist must do what a struggling florist must do.

Luckily for this Leo, where every rose has its thorn, every thorn has its rose. These horoscopes aren’t 𝘵𝘦𝘤𝘩𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 from him. So . . . who says he can’t let out a little snarky subtext?

Only now, his Sagittarian frenemy has him making up flowery love horoscopes in response . . .

He hasn’t spent this much time around those soft, sexy smiles since . . . they were best friends.

Keep it professional.

But… could this sow the seeds of something special?

Like I said for Signs of Love: Winter, I absolutely adore this world. The horoscopes being sent back and forth were adorable and made me smile. Flynn might not have expected that his best friend turned enemy would pop back into his life, but I bet he’s thrilled that he did.

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As you can see, I managed to read a good chunk in April, even if it wasn’t all 17 books on my TBR. I said I’d talk about my new favourites later, and now’s that time!

It should come as no shock that starting off this list of favourite reads is Condition Black by Gareth Worthington and Stu Jones. This isn’t a genre I normally find myself drawn to, but I’m so glad that I picked this book up. Everything this story gave, I absolutely loved. The autistic representation in this novel was phenomenal. The scientific advancements both awe inspiring and terrifying. The characters thoughts and motivations almost tangible parts of the story. It’s been weeks since I read this book, and I still think about it almost daily. That’s at least 10 books ago – not including the ones I’m currently in the middle of. And yet it’s still the first book I think of when I think of fantastic books that I’ve read recently.

Another new favourite that shouldn’t be a shock to anyone who’s been around for any length of time is A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong. As she is my favourite author of all time, it basically goes without saying at this point that I’m going to absolutely love anything she releases. I’ve yet to find a book of hers that I’m not going to pick up time and time again (pun not intended, but greatly appreciated). She’s the author I go to when I find myself in a reading slump or just craving a read I know I’m going to adore. A Stitch in Time did not disappoint, though I do wish that I could get my hands on A Twist of Fate right this second. Alas, I’ll have to wait for the story to come out just like every other Kelley Armstrong fan.

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One of my goals for this year is to read at least one book a month for the Buzzword Readathon/Reading Challenge. In April the theme was “space words” or galaxy terms. The book that I picked up this month for this prompt was Witching on a Star, “star” being the space term I was going with. Unfortunately, this was decidedly not a new favourite read. Not everything you pick up can be a winner for every reader, and this one just wasn’t for me. Which sucks because it claims to have things that I love – magic, mayhem, and a reverse harem romance plotline. Maybe I’ll pick up another book sometime this year that’s got a space word in the title, and I can pretend that it’s my April pick instead. You know, find a read that’s more my type and I’m happy to have spent time on.

Finally, the question of the month: What’s your go to book/author that you recommend to people?

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