April was a packed reading month thanks to a Discord Readathon and wrapping up a book I've been reading with some colleagues at work. Overall, it was a month with lots of amazing reads (nothing lower than 4 stars) and some truly delightful surprise hits. 

1. Thrice (Needle and Leaf Book 1)

This was a truly special 5/5 for me

I'd been meaning to get to Thrice for quite some time now, but had no idea that I would love it as much as I did. It's got this almost-cozy sort of feeling to it and just tells a good, clean, entertaining story that will most certainly live rent-free in my head for quite a long time. 

2. The Culture Map 

(Finished chapters 7-8 + the Epilogue this month)

5/5 for an awesome professional resource

I've been reading this one for the past couple of months with coworkers, doing about one chapter a week. It was an awesome book about doing business with people from cultures that are different from your own, reflecting on the aspects of your own culture that you might not be conscious about, and providing tools/techniques for navigating situations where peoples' cultures might clash in the workplace. I highly recommend this one, especially if you can read this with others since it sparked some great discussions on my team!

3. The Last Wish (The Witcher # 0.5)

A surprising 4.5/5 read

I'd been putting this one off for so long, but found myself surprised and delighted by the fairy tale inspirations for these stories and the darkly funny humor that seems largely absent from adaptations of this work. This illustrated hardcover edition is also an absolute pleasure to read and I think it greatly enhanced my experience. 

4. Endsinger (The Lotus War Book Three)

This was a 4/5 conclusion to a 4/5 series 

This is a deeply flawed and sometimes needlessly edgy series. The pretense of being inspired by actual Japanese culture does a great disservice to what is otherwise a fun anime-inspired romp filled with action and intrigue. This final book in the trilogy does nothing to correct the overarching flaws of the series, but it still offers a deeply satisfying conclusion to a story that I've enjoyed in spite of it's problems. 

5. Pale Kings (Emaneska #2)

This was a 4/5 comeback to a series I was previously lukewarm on

I didn't particularly jive with THE WRITTEN last month, even though I also didn't hate it by any means. Because there is a Discord read along going for this and it happened to fit the prompts for a Readathon going on in a different Discord, I decided to continue with PALE KINGS and was very pleased to find that it was better than the first book in just about every way. It's really shifted my opinion of the series as a whole and I think I will be continuing on with it next month. 

6. A Touch of Light (The Ashes of Avarin #1)

4/5 for me 

This beautifully written, dark fantasy debut did not connect with me in all the ways that I hoped it might, but there are some extremely interesting concepts/ideas that it explores and I think that the second book in the series will be even better than this one. 

BONUS: Proof Copy of Umbrage

Toward the end of this month, I received a Proof copy of my upcoming YA superhero fantasy, UMBRAGE. I've noted a couple of tweaks I want to make to the cover and also verified some of the interior formatting. Heading into next month, I will be doing a more thorough read through/review of the book to make sure it is as ready for it's June 30th release as it can be. 

Going into May, I will be trying to give a little more time to the final read through of my own book. There is a chunkier book I've had on my shelf for ages that I would like to try getting through as well in addition to the EMANESKA read along and perhaps a novella or graphic novel to round things out. 


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