What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April, 2023)

Happy Spring!  The weather is finally turning warm near me, but even though I do love reading under a warm blanket, my reading is still continuing along.  Mostly fiction in the last few weeks – and not quite as much Martha Wells as last month!

I did read two more installments in Wells’ Raksura series though – Book 4, The Edge of Worlds, and an anthology of short stories set in the same world, Stories of the Raksura, Volume One (of Two).  I should have read the short stories before Book 4, I think – no real harm in spoilers, but the chronology would have fit better.  I enjoyed both books – the short stories had some interesting alternate perspectives and filled in a few pieces of world building, and Book 4 started a new adventure that continues into the final book.  Still highly recommend this series!

I’ve been rereading another series as well, Caroline B. Cooney’s Janie series, which begins with The Face on the Milk Carton.  The series starts with teenager Janie recognizing herself as the little girl in a “Lost Child” ad on a milk carton, and trying to unravel how that can be possible.  Although the series does revolve around a kidnapping (albeit twelve years previously), they’re mostly a psychological exploration of how Janie and her two families deal with the aftermath all these years later.  I don’t find them nearly as much a thriller as the branding tries to make them out, but I did find them very engaging.  I read the first three probably twenty years ago, and two more were written since then.  They’re pretty short, so I’ve read the first four already, with the fifth on the way from the library.

I enjoyed The Guest List by Lucy Foley some while ago, so I looked up another book by her and read The Book of Lost and Found.  A historical fiction one, it follows a woman trying to trace the story of her grandparents, with extensive flashback into the late 1920s and leading into World War II.  I mostly liked it and found it engaging, although a couple of “twists” were painfully predictable, and the bittersweet ending was a little dissatisfying to me personally.

In fairy tale retellings (sort of), I read the first in a new Disney series (because they keep finding new ways to spin off their movies…!), Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault.  It’s a sequel to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, melded with the French Revolution.  It’s a brilliant premise and I appreciated what the book was trying to do, but it felt a little uneven.  Slightly simplistic in spots, and though this is very small, the world-building really broke for me when Belle and the Beast-turned-Prince traveled to Paris with only Lumiere, and tried to carry their own bags.  A Prince carrying his own luggage just doesn’t fit in the same world as Marie Antoinette’s Versailles.  Either we’re in a world of complex royal protocol or we’re not.

And speaking of fairy tale retellings, I also read The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder, a twist on Sleeping Beauty with a bit of Little Red Riding Hood throne in.  It’s the story of two heroines partnering together to try to rescue a sleeping prince (I always love that kind of switch-up), and the story is as much about their friendship as about each of their romances.  I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and plan to read the sequel soon.

I have a couple more fantasy novels lined up, as well as a biography of Winston Churchill – because I’ve been watching The Crown and it made me want to read more on Churchill.  So more updates next month!

One thought on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April, 2023)

  1. I’ve also read Lucy Foley’s “The Guest List,” which I really enjoyed. Your description of it makes me want to check out “The Book of Lost and Found.” I like stories set in those eras (1920’s – 1940’s). Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

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