Whoa. April is almost over. The year is 2021, the coronavirus is still outwitting governments, and AI has juuust about taken over people’s abilities to think independently. What’s a girl to do?

Well, you do what you’ve been doing ever since you were 13 and realized the world was going to do its thing regardless of what you thought or did. You read, naturally. But these days, you pluck out your nearsighted contacts and stick a Kindle inches from your face.

After the very excellent The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah, I went to A Book Like Foo‘s intelligent algorithm for recommendations. And out popped out As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner.

Loved this.

I try to know as little as possible before reading a book. So I judge a cover and book blurb as quickly as possible to ensure that I don’t overthink whether or not this is something I will enjoy.

What I did know was that ABAH was set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Perfect. It was fascinating to discover how much current times echo what happened during WWI. What I didn’t expect was the family of girls to relocate to their uncle’s undertaker business — and I might have shrieked with delight and jumped up and down when read this.

I was too old when this originally came out, having missed out on the Sisterhood craze including the film. But when I was tearing through the internet in an attempt to find a book for my 16 year old student, Sisterhood came highly recommended.

It was way less heavy than The Perks of Being a Wallflower (our previous book) and even though the story line bounced between the four girlfriends, it was easier for her to understand. Definitely would recommend it for YA as it deals with big themes with all the symbolism and motifs you’d expect in older classic novels.

Another YA book…

Looking for something different, I read this cute romantic sci-fi by Melissa Landers about an orphan trying to leave her past behind on Earth for an uncertain, but new future somewhere past the colonized planets. It’s considered a fast-paced book and based on my StoryGraph those are not my jams, but I really did like this, and fell in love with the characters.

Starflight is part of a duology so I picked up Starfall right afterwards, but couldn’t get into it so I’ve put it aside for now. But if you’re interested in a quirky, light, and funny adventure, this one’s great.

I went back to Susan Meissner

Once I find a new author, sometimes I feel like devouring everything by them so I picked up another Susan Meissner book. This one was set during WWII. And it’s interesting how I’ve read so many historical fictions about this time but never specifically about the London Blitz. And despite what I though might happen, this had enough twists and turns to keep my attention.

How was your April? What did you read?

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24 replies on “📚 Reading Roundup: April 2021

  1. As Bright As Heaven sounds like an awesome read! Very timely, too, as you pointed out. Undertake business is so interesting. You got me curious about this one. I was maybe in high school when the Traveling Pants became a thing, but I just never got to it. I heard it became a movie. Oh well. I am happy you had a nice reading month this April. More nice books next May!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I know the Sisterhood movies were popular too. Maybe one day I’ll watch it 🙂

      I thoroughly enjoyed ABAH. I liked learning how Philadelphia (one of the hardest hit cities) handled the Spanish flu. How people wore masks, how quickly they ran out of space for their dead, and so on. Same challenges as today, 100 yrs later, but the epidemic was the backdrop to the characters… Cheers!


  2. Hi Lani! Sorry for not being around much these days – I’m on a social media break, or better: digital detox, and am now about to find my way slowly back. Anyway, love your reading roundup, I haven’t read any of these so far but trusting your judgment completely am going to see if I can find copies of them in my local library, especially curious about Susan Meissner! Spanish Flu, eh? Sounds too familiar at the moment. 😉 Like you I missed out on the Sisterhood hype, so that will surely be a treat to discover now. And I do love some good sci-fi fiction!
    As you can probably guess I’ve got so much more time now to read, it amazes even me! Currently reading “Olive, Again” by Elizabeth Strout which might be my Book of the Year. And then, because I’ve got a soft spot for vampires, “Midnight Sun” by Stephanie Meyer. Also “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport.
    Have a lovely week ahead! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, you’re reading Cal Newport, now I understand the digital detox. I sent you a message on IG a week ago because I was worried about you! Now I know why folks announce that they are leaving the scene 😛 Good for you though. Would love to hear your thoughts on it…

      Thanks for the recommendations. I feel like I’m in reading heaven these days, but I know I’ll burn through the ones I’m reading soon enough – and you had me at ‘book of the year!’ That’s quite a compliment. Glad you are well, Sarah, xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My thoughts about leaving the scene are still in the process of forming. 😉 I’ll have to figure out how to stay active on social media without compromising my mental health. For now I’ve decided not to install the apps on my phone again but only access the various media via computer, mainly I think WP. Not sure about IG. That at least should help reduce the time I spend there. 😉
        Oh, and many conratulations btw – you know, your newsletter and the wonderful news you shared with us there. 😉 xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Sarah. Yes, please do let this social media break (for good?) percolate because I do want to know how it goes.

        I’ve given up on IG for the time being. It’s funny a platform like Twitter, as a writer, should be my platform but it’s so toxic (I think it’s the worst) that I can’t bring myself down to participate.

        WP is good because it’s a deeper dive. You’re basically visiting ppl at home – hahahhaa.

        Thanks again, take care, xo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Totally agree, I think WP is the nicest social media there is, and as soon as I feel up for it, I’ll be back visiting everybody at home. 😉 Hehe!
        Still trying to figure out my future approach to IG etc – luckily I’ve never taken part in Twitter! But I did delete my FB account – yay me! 😉
        Take care and see you soon, I hope. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Let me know if you want to chat about it 🙂 I understand your dilemma. Esp for an artist like yourself. I just posted on IG yesterday after a looong time away. I’m feeling wishy-washy about it as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh, I’m so sorry that I didn’t saw this earlier, Lani! Of course I’d love to chat about the whole social media/break thing with you! I’m actually in the process to find my way slowly back here and plan writing a post about it. 😀 Going to hop over to your blog soon! xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. When the world isn’t to my liking, I always escape into a book, Lani. Something I’ve done all my life, and will most probably die doing. I must say that when I do read fiction I definitely enjoy historical fiction. For me, place is a very important part of a story. Perhaps because it also hit my love of travel button at the same time.
    Although not finished, I’m busy reading a “Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War”
    by Annia Ciezadlo. I have a thing for the Middle East, so this memoir is right up my alley. I must confess that I mostly read non-fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I go through phases but it’s been awhile since I’ve gone on a big nonfic reading spree. Maybe because I feel like I mostly read nonfic during the day, at night I want the utter escapism. 😛

      I believe I have a Middle East fictional story in my queue so I’ll let you know if it’s any good. xo


      1. Wonderful! I’m looking forward to that.
        Yip, I completely understand, as most non-fiction requires more concentration and feels a bit like work at times. Fiction for me is also pure escapism.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like some interesting reads for the month of April. I’m going to look into As Bright as Heaven. Your reading is always varied, and –unlike some of us–you also read YA to find something for a student. I like to vary my reading too. I’m almost done with Quichotte by Salman Rushdie. His books are always unique. My most recent historical fiction was The Engineer’s Wife, and it was fascinating. Before that, The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, which I love, love, loved. And two memoirs: Remembering Shanghai and Rabbit in the Moon. Next up: crime fiction by Robert Dugoni.

    By the way, tomorrow is publication day for my novel, When in Vanuatu.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful. I’m so happy about the book launch, Nicki. ❤

      And I'll definitely read another Kristin Hannah book so I'll check out The Four Winds. Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Agree that it’s best to know not much books you’re starting but at the same time you want to know enough to avoid a fizzer….it’s quite a balancing act!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, a quick glance can include the rating system. Also, if friends recommend them that can be a good sign as well, although, for me that’s the touchier one… tastes in music, film, restaurants, books, etc…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The Meissner books sound good. I’m reading a historical right now, The Mercies, which is excellent. Set in Norway in the 1600s around witch trials–makes me shiver just reading about such cold (weather and otherwise)! I’m sure I’m on the cusp of reading more YA, since my boys are entering tween-hood and I like to keep up with their lists. It’s a lot of Manga for one right now and the other likes fantasy books. Happy to have good readers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a lot of great YA out there. I totally get why adults go crazy over that genre. There’s a need to tackle big and important themes without gratuitous sex or violence. I don’t know exactly, maybe it’s our desire to read something less depressing, too.

      Because even though YA can be depressing and doesn’t look away from our struggles, these books end up taking up a special place and honor the importance of values I hold dear.

      I’ll remember The Mercies. My favorite play is The Crucible by Arthur Miller, so I do love a good witch trial 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Less depressing sounds good. I know literary fiction gets flack for that. Looking forward to my guys finding their own YA niche. Their reading level is high but I’m not ready for them to read ALL the stuff yet, so I’m choosy.

        Guess I like a good witch trial in literature, too. The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent was also fantastic for that!

        Have a good rest of your week, my friend. xoxo~R.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My husband has gotten me started on a series that medieval history buffs will like. Author Melvin Starr has written a series of 5 novels about surgeon Hugh de Singleton who also solves murders in 1300’s England. The characters feel very real (1st person narration helps)
    and we’re learning a lot about medieval life (and vocab.-there’s a short glossary at the front of each book).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. That sounds fascinating and unique. Glad you found something that tickles your interest! I love that, sinking your self into a good series. xo


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