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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

April Wrap-Up: My Favorite Reads of the Month



My very favorite Bossy April reads!

Here are the six books I most loved reading this past month.

If you've read any of these titles, I'd love to hear what you think!

And I'd also love to hear: what are some of your recent favorite reads?


 

01 Funny Story by Emily Henry

Funny Story is the perfect rom-com read. Henry offers funny banter that made me laugh, some steamy moments, and a sweet love story. Reading this one made me happy.

When Peter abruptly breaks up with Daphne, citing his sudden love for his childhood best friend Petra, Daphne is left emotionally reeling--and without a place to live.

Desperate and devastated, she reluctantly moves into a spare room in the apartment of an acquaintance, "pothead" Miles. He has extra space because he was just dumped by his live-in girlfriend Petra. Who left him for Daphne's fiancé, Peter.

This is exxxxcellent Emily Henry. The banter is fantastic, and I laughed many times while reading this one. There's steaminess and affection and character growth. No one is perfect, no one is swooning, and the love in this happy read is immensely satisfying.

The rom-com conflict that prevents an immediate happy resolution was based on a communication fail--a setup I usually detest, because: just talk to each other!--but this one was so well done and understandable from both sides, I was hook, line, and sinker for all of it.

Henry offers up lots of book love, as usual: Daphne is a dedicated children's librarian.

I listened to Funny Story as an audiobook (narrated by the fantastic Julia Whelan).

For my full review of this book, please see Funny Story.


 

02 Shark Heart: A Love Story by Emily Habeck

Emily Habeck's debut novel offers an unusual premise in which one member of a newlywed couple begins transforming into a great white shark due to a mutation, and builds a beautifully written, poignant, fascinating story.

Shark Heart: A Love Story follows newlyweds Wren and Lewis as they adjust to the sudden prospect of a drastic, potentially deadly (to Wren), fundamental shift (for Lewis) and shocking metamorphosis: Lewis has a mutation that's already affecting him, beginning his transformation into a great white shark.

We track back through time to witness Wren's younger years, then farther back to understand Wren's mother's youth and the way her mother's mutation and diagnosis shaped her life and that of Wren. Lewis's transformation stirs up difficult memories and complex emotions surrounding Wren's mother's change into a (land) animal--and her resulting inability to care for Wren.

This was strange and interesting. I loved the dark, oddball humor that occasionally crept in surrounding the mutations in the book. Shark Heart was surprisingly poignant speculative fiction.

I listened to Shark Heart: A Love Story as an audiobook.

Click here for my full review of Shark Heart.


 

03 Family Family by Laurie Frankel

Frankel's story of a nontraditional, loving, zany family flips traditional views of unplanned, young pregnancy through the view of a main protagonist who refuses to fear, feel shame, or to regret the sometimes complicated occurrences in her life.

India Allwood is a successful actor who's supposed to be doing the publicity for her new movie, which exploits the heartbreak of giving a baby up for adoption.

When she shares her frank thoughts about the complex issues surrounding unplanned pregnancy, a storm of publicity explodes around her. Her precocious ten-year-old kids secretly reach out to family for help--but even India doesn't realize the ripple effect of the contact her beloved children are making.

Family Family offers varied love and acceptance, discovery, and renewed connection. I also loved the peek at a celebrity's home life.

You can see the rough sketches of where the novel is going, but the extended, loving, odd, sometimes zany family was unexpected in its makeup and irresistible in its existence within this charming story from Frankel.

Click here for my full review of Family Family.


 

04 The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown

Brown's debut fantasy novel offers a swirl of magical books, a makeshift team of world-savers, plenty of danger, various villains, and repeated time travel.

Cassie Andrews works in a New York City bookshop and lives a quiet life, content with her lively best-friend roommate Izzy and the book-loving characters she meets at work.

One of these customers is a kind older man she's become dear friends with. When he dies suddenly in the shop, Cassie is bereft. But along with his copy of The Count of Monte Cristo is a smaller, unusual book. Inside, incredibly, is an inscription...made out to her. And inside the enigmatic pages are the words Any door is every door.

Strange things begin happening to Cassie and Izzy when Cassie takes possession of the book, and soon a rumpled Scottish man, Drummond Fox, appears, with knowledge of The Book of Doors and other Special Books.

One villain seems to be dispensed with during the course of the story and a more dastardly one emerges and prolongs the conflict with Cassie and the good guys. I liked this ramping-up of the evil side of things and how it made Cassie's quest even more essential.

The end portions were really interesting and offered some poignancy as well as some origin-story satisfaction, but I found myself wanting to know more about Cassie's pivotal role as related to the Special Books.

I listened to The Book of Doors as an audiobook.

Please click here for my full review of The Book of Doors.


 

05 Queens of London by Heather Webb

Queens of London is fascinating historical fiction that explores the gritty underbelly of post-World War I London through the points of view of Diamond Annie, head of an all-woman gang, and the female police inspector determined to arrest her.

In post-World War I London, female lawlessness in the form of the Forty Elephants gang of women, an offshoot of the Elephant and Castle men's gang, butts up against law enforcement, which only recently includes women officers.

It's 1925, and Diamond Annie is running a ruthless, savvy, gritty, loyal ring of female thieves and cons, and her significant ambition means she's dreaming of bigger and more wide-ranging success.

But one of Britain's first female police officers, Lilian Wyles, is underestimated, dismissed, disrespected--and desperate to prove her excellent mettle as an investigator by taking down Annie's gang.

When the two aspiring women's bids for victory clash, traditional female roles and power structures are shaken to their cores.

For my full review, check out Queens of London.


 

06 The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden, author of the captivating Winternight trilogy, here shares a mysterious, haunting historical fiction story with a speculative twist, set against the backdrop of the trudging, brutal destruction of World War I.

In The Warm Hands of Ghosts, Arden presents the story of Laura, a combat nurse who is searching for her brother Freddie in the confusion, relentless mud, and grim destruction of the Great War.

Freddie is reported as having died, but strange and unnerving clues indicate to Laura that something more mysterious may have happened to him. Others keep sighting Freddie, and Laura herself feels that he is near.

The story's pacing felt quite slow and the tone extremely dark and hushed for the majority of the book, so that my attention frequently wavered. The slog of fighting and of the horrifyingly deadly war is conveyed with vivid, crushing, uncomfortable detail. I was glad when Laura began to allow herself to be vulnerable toward the end of the novel, and I very much liked the resolutions of the story.

For my full review, please see The Warm Hands of Ghosts.

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