The Books I Read in April & Our First Share Your Shelf Link Party

 While Marilyn, Jennifer, Tanya, and I were in Tennessee we were talking about how much we miss having monthly link ups about books and book reviews. We decided to start a monthly link up that will go live on the first Thursday of every month and be dedicated solely to books and book reviews. I hope you'll join us.  


I had a very good reading month and managed to finish 14 books! Part of that was due to being stuck at home with no car for a few weeks and part of that was due to finding some really great books to read and listen to.



1. Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney-- Oh this was a fun little murder mystery! Daisy's family is gathering together at her grandmother's house for her grandmother's 80th birthday. Her grandmother lives on a private island that is only accessible during low tide so they will be cut off from the outside world for 8 hours. Each comes to the party with secrets and the family's relationships have all been strained for years but when Nana's body is found at the stroke of midnight the family is stunned.  Then slowly one by one other family members are picked off and the reader is left struggling to find out who is the murderer and why. It was a fun story with lots of plot twists and a bit of a weird ending that I'm still not sure how I liked.. 


2. Key Lime Garden Inn by Annie Cabot-- This was a lighter read (of sorts) and just what I needed after a few "darker" books like the one above.  When Maggie's husband announces he wants a divorce she is left reeling and doesn't have enough time to even process that before he winds up dying. Unsure of what to do with herself she takes her friend up on her offer to spend some time on Captiva Island, Florida and heal. While there Maggie struggles to figure out her next steps but makes some new friends and sees lots of possibilities opening up. The book also deals with each of her children and the choices they make in the year after their father's death. Captiva Island has made it onto my list of places I'd like to visit one day! 


3. The Hike by Lucy Clarke-- Liz, Maggie, Helena and Joni have been friends since grade school and have been going on annual girl's trips to keep in touch. This year Liz suggests a rather rugged and rural 4 day hike through the mountains of Norway. Liz thinks the hike is just what they need; to get back to nature and leave their worries behind them. I liked that for the once that the friendship between these 4 is really quite deep; not that they don't have squabbles and hurts and misunderstandings but usually these type of suspenseful books show 4 friends that aren't really friends anymore. I could not put this down.  


4. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears-- I wasn't sure I'd like this memoir since I knew nothing at all about Britney Spears other than maybe a couple of her songs. But I enjoyed this memoir and was shocked over some of the things that happened to her and that her family put her through.  It was a great way to cross "written by a ghostwriter" off my challenge list.  


5. The Last Love Note by Emma Gray-- This was such a great story but it was so sad (which I did figure going into it!).  Kate lost her husband two years ago and has been struggling to find her footing ever since.  She thought she was doing a pretty good job keeping things going for both herself and her young son when her travel plans go awry and find her stranded for a few nights at a beach house with her boss.  There she finally has the chance to process her grief and reflect on all that has happened to her in such a short amount of time. It was a beautiful and powerful story about love and loss and rebirth. 


6. The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer-- Lucy is struggling to make ends meet working as a teacher's aide and she wants nothing more than to adopt Christopher who has been left orphaned by his parents. Lucy and Christopher make wishes all day long about what their future will look like together. But Lucy knows she cannot adopt Christopher without money and a way to support them though.  When Lucy discovers that the famous author Jack Masterson is hosting a contest at his Clock Island home she's thrilled and nervous to discover that she's been invited. If she can win she can auction off his newest novel and all her problems will be solved. 


7. One of Us is Back by Karen M. McManus-- The whole Bayview crew is home for the summer and everyone hopes that life will go back to normal but when a mysterious billboard claims it's time for a new game and one of the gang goes missing. Every member of the crew is a potential target and there are still lots of secrets yet to uncover... it was a fun ending to the trilogy.  


8. Hypnotized by Love by Sarah Wilson-- Savannah is a hypnotist specializing in helping people overcoming simple mental problems like fear and anxiety. But everyone is a skeptic, including her high school rival Mason. When Mason shows up back in town he wants to write an article about hypnosis and decides that he first needs to try a session with Savannah. When a fire alarm interrupts their session, Savannah is worried that Mason hasn't fully come out of his hypnosis and follows him around to try and keep him safe. Only she discovers that the more time she spends around him, the harder time she had holding onto her past hurt and anger towards him. It was a cute little love story, if totally predictable at times. 


9. Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston-- I watched the movie on Netflix a few months back and wanted to read the book too; I figured it was perfect for my local library's color book challenge. It's a cute story about the first son of the United States and the Prince of England who start out as enemies and turn into something so much more. I am such a sucker for any of these enemy to lover plot lines... however just to warn you the book is a bit more R rated rather than PG-13 like the movie. 


10. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan-- this was a hilarious and quick audiobook. I've always enjoyed Jim Gaffigan's work and his book is just as funny as any of his stand up acts. As a father to 5 young children living in a 2 bedroom, 5th floor walk up in New York he uses humor to cope. I love that he is the voice of his own audiobook too. 


11. Heidi by Johanna Spyri-- I have been reading back through a few old storybooks I remember from my childhood (like The Secret Garden) and decided Heidi was one I wanted to read again. It was just as cute as I remember it being but much more religious than I remember it; I didn't mind though as I thought it was a great message. 


12. The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters--  Another audiobook I enjoyed listening to. When a family of Mi'kmaq from Nova Scotia go for their annual blueberry picking in Maine the youngest daughter goes missing. Joe, her older brother that is the last to see her struggles for many years to overcome his fear, anger, and guilt. Nora is a young girl growing up in Maine with severely overprotective parents and is plagued by dreams and visions that feel so real to her but upset her parents whenever she talks about them. She feels like her parents are keeping a secret and it takes her decades to unravel it. Told in alternating voices between Joe and Nora it was a pretty interesting story to listen to. 


13. Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne-- Violet is asked by her employer to help groom her grandson Cain to fit into the upper east side Manhattan society in which Violet blends in seamlessly. Cain's grandmother is hopeful that Cain will be willing and able to take over as heir to the family's company. Cain had been raised by his mother in Louisiana and knew nothing of his father or grandparents. He is less than enthusiastic about this makeover but is willing to play along for the sake of a big payday at the end. Cain and Violet are often at odds and both have to learn to make compromises and Violet is surprised to realize she is not the only one doing the teaching. It was a really cute and quick little story. 


14. One for Sorrow by Joanne Tracey-- I love Joanne Tracey's books and this cozy little murder mystery was no different. When Clem learns that her aunt Rose has died and left her everything she's prepared to head back to the seaside town she grew up in and sell both her aunt's house and business. But after arriving in town Clem is left feeling like everything is not as it seems. She suspects foul play surrounding her aunt's death and being home, connecting with old friends, and seeing the house and shop she spent so many of her years in makes her question whether she even wants to sell.  


I am knocking books off my 52 challenge left and right. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Linking up with: Thinking Out Loud, 












Comments

  1. Wow you are a reading machine! Thanks for sharing- Adding a few to my queue and starting with "Hypnotized By Love" - looks so cute!

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    1. I have had a lot of time on my hands to read and listen.

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  2. I haven't read Heidi since I was a child and had kind of forgotten about it. I might have to revisit. One of my all time favorite books is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I first read it as a teenager and reread it recently and loved it every bit as much as I did then. I've read The Wishing Game, but will check out some of your other titles too. I added my link today. Thanks for hosting.

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    1. I kind of had too; but it was really cute. I'll have to look into A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; I've never read that.

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  3. That's a serious challenge...52 in 52.
    I liked the Britney Spears book more than I thought I would. Teens of the 2000s should have it as required reading.

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    1. Aw, thank you! I like a serious challenge (but typically read about 120 books a year so it's not super challenging for me-- other than those handful of prompts I have zero interest in each year).

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  4. You read some good books. I enjoy all of Lucy Clarke´s books. The Hike kind of stressed me out (lol) but I couldn´t put it down!

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    1. It stressed me out too! I always want to know how it's going to end just so I can relax and enjoy the story.

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  5. Your challenge is really coming along!

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    1. It really is! I think this might be the fastest I've ever filled it in before; but can already tell it will slow down dramatically now as the categories I have left are much more specific.

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  6. Some of what you read sound really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Wow Joanne, you've read so many books! I will be adding these to my book list and looking forward to seeing what everyone else is reading.

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  8. I loved The Last Love Note and The Wishing Game. I need to catch up on the One of Us Is Lying series. I have the next two books but haven't read them!

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    1. It was a cute series but I do think I liked the first book the best.

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  9. I'd like to listen to the Jim Gaffigan book too. And maybe read the Brittany Spears one. I don't know much about her either, but I keep hearing that her memoir is good.

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    1. I really like celebrity memoirs because I learn so much about these celebrities lives since I'm not usually one up on who's who and what's what.

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  10. I enjoyed The Wishing Game and The Last Love Note!

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    1. They were both such touching stories in their own ways.

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  11. Oh,I bet that Dad is Fat would be funny!
    I'm adding that to my list!
    Xoxo
    Jodie

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  12. Poor Britney Spears. She seems to be struggling so much lately. I bet the Jim Gaffigan book was funny. That would be a good one for Michael and I on a road trip. You had a BIG reading month - way to go!

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  13. Girl, that is a lot of books! I saw the Key Lime Garden Inn book on a list and it sounded interesting. I love Jim Gaffigan. Yay for the link up!

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    1. I always start out the month strong with so many books and then peter out towards the end..

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  14. I haven't read any of these and are adding a few to my library list. Thank you for sharing!

    Jill- Doused in Pink

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  15. I think the only ones I've read are Heidi (many decades ago) and Daisey Darker. How do you have time to read, hike, bake, and home school? You are amazing, Joanne!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. I don't really know... tough I do read while baking and we finished homeschooling for the year this week.

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  16. I have been wanting to read The Berry Pickers; maybe I will listen to it instead! I have been looking for an audiobook. I also want to read Daisy Darker.

    I have been having fun reading through books I enjoyed as a kid, or even middle grade books that I somehow missed in childhood. :)

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    1. I rarely think to go back and reread books I loved but it definitely brought some nostalgia feelings with it. I used to read so much middle grade fiction with my boys through homeschooling and I loved all the books we read so I really need to keep that in mind when picking my own reads for the month.

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  17. What a fun link party and a great bunch of books you read/listened to. I'm really interested in the Gaffigan. I enjoy him so much!

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  18. I cannot get over how many books you read in a month. I still haven't read the Britney memoir, but goodness, I've heard nightmare stories about what she went through.

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    1. I honestly had no idea you could be institutionalized against your will as an adult!

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  19. I am just at the part when Lucy gets to Clock Island in The Wishing Game. I am crossing my fingers for her to win! Sounds like I should be reading Brittany Spears next. Thanks for sharing your reading list!

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  20. I read a lot of books but also try to go to a lot of book events and book stores. I shared one event I went to recently.

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  21. Glad to see your book review link-up and to read your reviews of April's books. I am always astonished by how much you read. I am lucky to get 2 books finished in a month. My hat goes off to you!!

    I liked The Berry Pickers very much. Glad to read your review of Britney Spear's memoir and Jim Gaffigan's book. We are watching a spoof on Netflix called Pop Tart and Jim Gaffigan is in it. He is so funny.

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    1. We started watching that movie too (though we didn't finish it); I almost didn't recognize Jim Gaffigan at first but I just knew I knew that voice!

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  22. Hi, Joanne - Congratulations on your 52 Book Reading Challenge - You truly have knocked it out of the park! I'm glad that you are also a fan of Joanne Tracey's book. I am patiently waiting for her next books to become available - which she assures us will be soon! <3

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  23. Hi Joanne, you're doing great with the 52 Book Club challenge - such a great range of books you've been reading! I'm with you on loving Joanne Tracey's books, she's so talented isn't she? We'll have to join your book linkup next month!

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    1. Thank you! We'd love to have you join us.

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  24. Hi Joanne, I've read The Hike, One for Sorrow and The Berry Pickers and loved them all. I've put your book review linkup on my calendar and will join you. I'm so pleased there is a book review linkup to look forward to.

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  25. You are the second person to recommend The Hike so will add it to my list.

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  26. The Hike sounds like something I'd enjoy. I've also heard great things about Red White and Blue. Thanks for linking up.

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  27. I will have to try to remember to link up with you next time around! I had Daisy Darker on my TBR awhile ago and forgot about it, so it was good to see it on your list and that you enjoyed it. Red White and Royal Blue looks like a fun read as well. Thanks for sharing this at Twenty-Six Lists - and I'm sorry it took me several days to make my rounds and comment!

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    1. Oh that's no problem! Sometimes life gets busy and blogging just has to take a backseat.

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  28. I've read one Alice Feeney book (Rock, Paper, Scissors)..this one sounds interesting. The one I read had an odd ending as well. I'll have to check out the hike. All these books sound goo. I'l also need to remember to link my post to your once a month one. Since it's the beginning of the month, is it fine if i just link this one, since I won't have read much more in the next week or so?

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