April Wrap-up and May Plans

Teal title card reading "April Wrap-Up" with flower ornaments around it.

Another late post, and the reason is… I caught covid and spent the last week being useless, doing nothing but blowing my nose, sleeping, and having insomnia (the irony, I know!) and brain fog. Even listening to an audiobook was hard, let alone write anything…

I’m on the mend though, and I want to get this out ASAP so I can focus on my May plans.

April was a pretty good month as things go, I read 14 books and close to 3500 pages! As always, a lot of audiobooks – and I cleared some old books from my TBR, that I own in ebook but found the audiobook for instead, so that really helped!

That said… I also blew up my budget by buying so many paper books, so while ebooks went down, paper and overall TBR went up… ah well, the curse of the book enthusiast I suppose!

The Highlights

Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells

Murderbot really stands up to a reread! I’m counting it as one of my favourite comfort reads. They’re short, they’re read lovingly by Kevin R. Free, and they’re great to read past midnight when you can’t sleep. Artificial Condition is probably my favourite of the series thanks to ART!

Cover for Artificial Condition by Martha Wells, showing a humanoid figure in armor, standing on top of a building against a background of orange smoke, with a spaceship in the background as well.

Good Neighbors, by Stephanie Burgis

I wrote a full review earlier but it’s definitely one of those cute romcoms that go automatically in the comfort reads pile. Plus, who doesn’t like a historical romance with a side of supernatural and clockpunk?

Full review here.

Cover for Good Neighbors by Stephanie Burgis, a purple background with a gothic castle and dead tree outlined at the back, two black figures - a man and a woman - standing around the title which has spooky figures like a spiderweb in one of the O's and a black bird on the D.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club, by Malinda Lo

More historical romance, queer this time, and set in 1950s San Francisco. It manages to be both heartwarming and heavily loaded with the racism and homophobia of the time – between the Red Scare and bar raids. I think it speaks to most queers of today, to be honest.

Full review here.

Cover of Last night at the Telegraph Club, by Malinda Lo, showing a night time street with glowing lit signs in Chinese, old style cars, and buildings in a Chinese style. A lamp post's light  shines in the foreground, and at the limits of the cone of light, two women stand together at the mouth of an alley, facing each other and holding hands.

Big Panda & Tiny Dragon, by James Norbury

A mix of lovely paintings/drawings and little motivational dialogue. It’s heartwarming, cute, and refreshing to read. I borrowed it from the library so I read it in only a few days, but it’s the kind of book I need to own and go back to on a low day, even just to look back at the art.

Cover for Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury. On a white background, a tiny watercolour drawing of a tree with autumn leaves, with a panda on all fours next to it. A tiny black dragon stands on the panda's back, looking up at the tree. There are mountains in the background.

Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice

I don’t really go for post-apocalypse stories most of the time, but this was a short and powerful read. We follow a family on an Anishinaabe reservation in the northernmost parts of Canada (presumably), having to survive through winter without any of the “modern” comforts that are electricity, cell service, or even cars, as the snow piles up. We never really learn why things went tits up in the wider world, but the isolation and the snow make for a good huis-clos. It’s really just a setting to explore Native resilience and societal breakdown. I came away feeling like I learned something.

Cover for Moon of the Crusted Snow, by Waubgeshig Rice. Most of the cover is misty, with the bottom third a huge snow covered landscape, with an electric line and some trees in the distance, perhaps even a mountain. There is no road, but there is a car getting snowed in, the snow covering all the wheels and reaching the windshield. It's pretty bleak.

May Plans

I feel like I’ve lost a week already, but I’m trying to be gentle with myself and not push. Which is why I’ve listened to audiobooks so far and not read much on paper… but that’s alright!

My official plans are to finish Priory of the Orange Tree (I’m only just about 120 pages in at this point… I struggle to pick it up, not least of which because it’s so heavy my hands cramp), and also to read mermaid themed stories, since it’s #mermay2022 over on Twitter, and while it’s always been for artists, I feel like it’s a good excuse to use the theme and mood that this gives me, to read all the mermaid stories I have piling up!

Pile of books resting on my laptop. The larger one, at the bottom, is the hardback for In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan. It has a library cover and tag. 
Then my own books, all paperbacks: Ice Massacre, by Tiana Warner, then The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, then Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen, and finally Seafire, by Natalie C. Parker, at the top.
The outline of a grey cat can be seen behind the pile.
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