Read in April 2024

I’m currently battling a fairly persistent reading slump, which is partly to blame for me not updating on my reviews here. Fortunately, in April I was still diligent enough to systematically write my reviews, which sadly cannot be said for May or June, but at the moment the number of books read from those two months combined is almost half lower than for the whole of April, so hopefully I’ll manage to get around to those reviews.

Anyway, April, the month of the Magical Readathon, which is always a very productive reading month for me. With 13 books and 4746 pages, April is currently the most productive reading month of 2024 so far. The average April book comes to 365 pages/book.

It was also good in terms of ratings, with proportionately more great books than mediocre books. The average April book comes in at 4.0 stars.

I didn’t vary much in terms of target group. I read 1 Young Adult book and the other 12 books were for an adult audience.

My reading method was more varied, with 1 e-book, 4 audiobooks and a whopping 8 physically owned books!

For the genres I alternated between 4 genres, namely horror (1), mystery (2), fantasy (4) and romance (6).

Below is the list of the books I read in April and my rating in stars.
Click the link to jump to the blurb and my review! As always, be aware that both blurb and review may contain spoilers, especially if they are sequels in a series! Sometimes I’ll hide specific spoilers behind an expandable text.

  1. Young, Adrienne – The Unmaking of June Farrow ★★★
  2. Abercrombie, Joe – A Little Hatred (First Law World #8) 🎧 ★★★★
  3. Lauren, Christina – The Exception to the Rule (The Improbable Meet-Cute #1) ★★★★
  4. Smythe, Rachel – Lore Olympus: Volume One (Lore Olympus #4) ★★★★★
  5. Smythe, Rachel – Lore Olympus: Volume Two (Lore Olympus #5) ★★★★★
  6. Smythe, Rachel – Lore Olympus: Volume Three (Lore Olympus #) ★★★★★
  7. Smythe, Rachel – Lore Olympus: Volume Four (Lore Olympus #4) ★★★★★
  8. Smythe, Rachel – Lore Olympus: Volume Five (Lore Olympus #5) ★★★★★
  9. Jackson, Holly – The Reappearance of Rachel Price 🎧 ★★★
  10. Hashem, Sara – The Jasad Heir (The Scorched Throne #) ★★
  11. Connell, Richard – The Most Dangerous Game 🎧 ★★★
  12. Horowitz, Anthony – Close to Death (Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery #) 🎧 ★★★★
  13. White, Frances – Voyage of the Damned ★★★★

Young, Adrienne – The Unmaking of June Farrow ★★★

Genre: Fantasy

One woman risks everything to end her family’s centuries-old curse, solve her mother’s disappearance, and find love in this mesmerizing novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Spells for Forgetting.

In the small mountain town of Jasper, North Carolina, June Farrow is waiting for fate to find her. The Farrow women are known for their thriving flower farm—and the mysterious curse that has plagued their family line for as long as anyone can remember. But June is determined to be the last of her name, and in turn, be first Farrow to never find love. The whole town knows of the madness that led to Susanna Farrow’s disappearance, leaving her daughter, June, to be raised by her grandmother and haunted by rumors. Everyone in Jasper is certain that it’s only a matter of time before she finds the same end, but June hasn’t told a single soul that it’s already begun.

After her grandmother’s death, a series of clues linking her mother’s disappearance to the town’s grim past emerge, leading June to a mysterious door. Behind it may lay the answer to the mysteries that have always lingered like a dark shadow over Jasper and the Farrows, but the further into the unknown she goes, the more her mind seems to unravel. Upon crossing the threshold, June embarks on a journey that will not only change both the past and the future, but entangle her fate and her heart in a star-crossed love.

With The Unmaking of June Farrow, Adrienne Young delivers a brilliant story with romance, mystery, and a touch of the impossible—a story you will never forget.

The last couple of books I read at the end of March, really put me down. Even though I had written my reviews and could usually pinpoint why those books were failures for me, I still worried that my current state of mind was the culprit, preventing me from truly disappearing into a story.
With the start of the Magical Readathon I desperately wanted to find my mojo back, since I had planned to read a lot of books that sounded really intriguing, but I was also feeling apprehensive, afraid to discover that the issue did indeed lie with me and not so much with the books.
But I’m so happy to say that this first book proved that I was not the problem, at least not in its entirety.

The Unmaking of June Farrow is a quaint little book enveloping multiple genres within a magical realism blanket. It’s richly atmospheric, brimming with mystery, family and self-discovery. It’s also a mind-bending time travel story, with shocking and delicious twists.
Even though reasonings and explanations of the how and why are very sparse, which is usually a thorn in my side, since I like to know the ins and outs of everything, I was nevertheless really drawn in by this atmospheric, mystical book.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the ride and was satisfied with the story and its wrap-up.

🎧 Abercrombie, Joe – A Little Hatred (First Law World #8) ★★★★

Genre: Grimdark Fantasy

The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever.

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal’s son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specialises in disappointments.

Savine dan Glokta – socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union – plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control.

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another…

You could already read my review of this book here!

Lauren, Christina – The Exception to the Rule (The Improbable Meet-Cute #1) ★★★★

Genre: Contemporary Romance

On February 14, an accidental email to a stranger opens the door to an unexpected relationship in a captivating short story by the New York Times bestselling authors of The Unhoneymooners.

One typo, and a boy and girl connect by chance. Wishing each other a happy Valentine’s Day isn’t the end. In fact, it becomes a friendly annual tradition—with rules: no pics, no real names, nothing too personal. As years pass, the rules for their email “dates” are breaking, and they’re sharing more than they imagined—including the urge to ask…what if we actually met?

Christina Lauren’s The Exception to the Rule is part of The Improbable Meet-Cute, irresistibly romantic stories about finding love when and where you least expect it. They can be read or listened to in one sitting.

Something small and lighthearted as an in-between read, picked up after reading Kathleen’s review.
And yes, this was definitely super cute and adorable. Only 100 pages long, but still manages to deliver a sucker punch of emotions.

Smythe, Rachel – Lore Olympus: Volume One, Two, Three, Four & Five (Lore Olympus) ★★★★★

Genre: Graphic novel, Romantiek

Lore Olympus is a romance webcomic created by New Zealand artist Rachel Smythe. The comic is a modern retelling of the relationship between the Greek goddess and god Persephone and Hades. It began publishing weekly on the platform Webtoon in March 2018.
The story is an adaptation of the classic Greek myth The Abduction of Persephone in a mostly modern setting. The comic deals with themes of rape, harassment, abuse, and trauma.

I’ve been hoarding volume 4 and 5 unread for a while now, because I didn’t want to be in a situation where I couldn’t start reading a new volume without having to wait on its publication, but I really needed this reread and continuation.
As always, massively loved these and will forever be reading and rereading, which is why these deserve to be promoted from 4 to 5 stars!

🎧 Jackson, Holly – The Reappearance of Rachel Price ★★★

Genre: YA Mystery

A new true-crime fueled mystery thriller about a girl determined to uncover the shocking truth about her missing mother while filming a documentary on the unsolved case.

Lights. Camera. Lies.

18-year-old Bel has lived her whole life in the shadow of her mom’s mysterious disappearance. Sixteen years ago, Rachel Price vanished and young Bel was the only witness, but she has no memory of it. Rachel is gone, long presumed dead, and Bel wishes everyone would just move on.

But the case is dragged up from the past when the Price family agree to a true crime documentary. Bel can’t wait for filming to end, for life to go back to normal. And then the impossible happens. Rachel Price reappears, and life will never be normal again.

Rachel has an unbelievable story about what happened to her. Unbelievable, because Bel isn’t sure it’s real. If Rachel is lying, then where has she been all this time? And – could she be dangerous? With the cameras still rolling, Bel must uncover the truth about her mother, and find out why Rachel Price really came back from the dead . . .

Holly Jackson’s latest YA mystery comes with a very enticing premise that immediately drew me in. My level of intrigue remained high throughout the entire novel, despite grappling with some pacing issues. While certain sections dragged on, others raced forward, culminating in an ending that felt hurried and oversimplified, marked by strangely motivated decisions.


for instance, the resolution involving Carter and her parents felt too quick and easy. Carter’s easy dismissal of her supposed mother and her lack of grief for her father felt really unsettling.

Many of the characters, for the most part, felt somewhat underdeveloped, resulting in a lack of genuine emotional investment. Although the main character possessed more depth, her bitterness often rendered her unsympathetic. Nevertheless, the portrayal of her fear of abandonment provided insight into her motivations, albeit reinforcing her unlikeable traits.

The plot is rife with twists and revelations, some more predictable than others.


That the father would turn out to be the big bad was pretty clear from the start, considering his involvement would provide the biggest shock to the reader. The way the author also gave subtle hints about how he’s not as gentle as you might think, for example the whole scene where he tells the story about peeing in the car is such a nasty piece of gaslighting!

Ultimately, an enjoyable book to read, despite its shortcomings..

Hashem, Sara – The Jasad Heir (The Scorched Throne #) ★★

Genre: Fantasy

At ten-years-old, the Heir of Jasad flees a massacre that takes her entire family.

At fifteen, she buries her first body.

At twenty, the clock is ticking on Sylvia’s third attempt at a home. Nizahl’s armies have laid waste to Jasad and banned magic across the four remaining kingdoms. Fortunately, Sylvia’s magic is as good at playing dead as she is.

When the Nizahl Heir tracks a group of Jasadis to Sylvia’s village, the quiet life she’s crafted unravels. Calculating and cold, Arin’s tactical brilliance is surpassed only by his hatred for magic. After a mistake exposes Sylvia’s magic to Arin, he offers her an escape: compete as Nizahl’s Champion in the Alcalah tournament and win immunity from persecution. In exchange, Arin will use her as bait to draw out the Jasadis he’s hunting.

To win the deadly Alcalah, Sylvia must work with Arin to free her trapped magic, all while staying a step ahead of his efforts to uncover her identity. As the two grow closer, Sylvia is thrust into the world of cunning royals and double-dealing politics. The Jasadi groups escalate the fight to make Sylvia the face of their movement, and Sylvia realizes winning her freedom as Nizahl’s Champion means destroying any chance of reuniting Jasad under her banner.

The scorched kingdom is rising again, and Sylvia will have to choose between the life she’s earned, and the one she left behind.

“The Jasad Heir” initially seemed to promise an intriguing journey, a blend of fantasy and romance in a world steeped in ancient Egyptian influences. Unfortunately, this promise proved to be only superficial, as the story ultimately fell short of its potential.

From the very first pages, I was inundated with an avalanche of unfamiliar names and terms, which significantly complicated my attempts to understand this new world. The lack of a map or glossary to provide context only made the situation worse. After reading only 25 pages, I felt a growing irritation at this unfathomable information overload, and seriously considered putting the book down. But, seduced by the praise of others, I decided to persevere. In retrospect, I should have listened to my gut.

My main motivation to persevere was based on a video by Regan from PeruseProjects, in which she spoke enthusiastically about the novel and especially the connections between the characters, especially the romantic subplot where real enemies slowly turn into lovers. Unfortunately, my own reading experience was almost the opposite. In addition to my frustration with the lack of clarity, disjointed pacing and confusing scene transitions created a sense of disorientation and annoyance. It was almost ironic that I chose this book for the prompt “book that can get you out of a reading slump” for the Magical Readathon.

The characters also offered little redemption. The main character felt weak, her motivations were often unclear and there was hardly any character development throughout the story. The side characters were also not well developed. They were often pushed to the background except when the plot needed them, giving them little depth or meaning. The supposed romance between the enemies was also disappointing and lacked any kind of tension or believability. The abrupt transition from enmity to love felt forced and deprived the relationship of any emotional impact.

Despite the promise of Egyptian inspiration, “The Jasad Heir” also fails to deliver on this aspect, at least I have no idea what was supposed to be Egyptian about it. Throughout the story, neither the setting nor the historical context manage to coalesce into a coherent whole with or without the alleged Egyptian influences.

So yeah, in my opinion “The Jasad Heir” wasted its potential. While there is a lot of promise for the story and world, it was marred by the muddled and confusing execution.

🎧 Connell, Richard – The Most Dangerous Game ★★★

Genre: Horror

The Most Dangerous Game features a big-game hunter from New York who becomes shipwrecked on an isolated island in the Caribbean and is hunted by a Russian aristocrat.

My initial encounter with this story came through a Rik Ringers comic book (I think), but until now I had not read the original story. While seeking a short story featuring the word ‘game’ in the title to meet an additional prompt for the Magical Readathon, I stumbled upon this one on Storytel.

First of all, the audio rendition (by Edward E. French) was exceptionally performed: menacing, well intoned and with sound effects at just the right moments.

“Sometimes I think evil is a tangible thing – with wave lengths, just as sound and light have.”

The story is a well-constructed and captivating adventure, with a not-so-subtle message about the beastly nature of man, despite his attempts to appear civilized. The ending is ambiguous and thought provoking.

🎧 Horowitz, Anthony – Close to Death (Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery #) ★★★★

Genre: Mysterie

From global bestselling Anthony Horowitz, a brilliantly entertaining new mystery in the Hawthorne and Horowitz series.

Richmond, London . Six attractive houses are tucked away in an exclusive and very upmarket gated Riverside Close. Surrounded by flowers and shrubbery, they’re sealed off from the busy main road and the realities of urban life. At weekends, with the gate locked, the residents enjoy the sound of birdsong, the whirr of mowers, the occasional snatch of opera through an open window.

Everyone knows each other. Everyone gets on.

That is, until the Kenworthies arrive. With their four big gas-guzzling cars, their noisy children and their plans to build a swimming pool in their garden, they quickly offend every one of their neighbours.

When Charles Kenworthy is found dead on his porch, the bolt of a crossbow through his chest, Daniel Hawthorne is called in.

But how do you solve a murder when everyone has the same motive?

In this fifth installment of the Hawthorne and Horowitz series, Anthony Horowitz once again blends mystery and metafiction in an intriguingly original twist on the locked-room murdermystery.

Structurally, this novel reads very different than its predecessors.
Since Horowitz is pressed for time to write a new novel in the series and new murder mysteries are not just lying around, he must resort to an old Hawthorne case. He is hereby sentenced to rely on the information that Hawthorne chooses to share at times that suit him.
This results in a kind of three-part story: Horowitz’s novelization of the events leading up to the murder; the murder as investigated by Hawthorne in the past with his assistant of the time; and Horowitz’s descriptions of his attempts to write the novel based on Hawthorne’s information.

The fact that this novel is told primarily in the third person surprised me a bit at first, but it resulted in a very compelling and skillful piece of storytelling. Very clever and I flew through the book again. Extra thumbs up for audiobook narrator Rory Kinnear.

I also couldn’t help squealing with joy when Horowitz himself revealed in the afterword that he has planned 7 more books in this series. I can’t wait for the sequel and to finally read some more about Hawthorne and the events in Reeth!

White, Frances – Voyage of the Damned ★★★★

Genre: Fantasy

For a thousand years, Concordia has maintained peace between its provinces. To mark this incredible feat, the emperor’s ship embarks upon a twelve-day voyage to the sacred Goddess’s Mountain.

Aboard are the heirs of the twelve provinces of Concordia, each graced with a unique and secret magical ability known as a Blessing.

Except one: Ganymedes Piscero – class clown, slacker, and all-round disappointment.

When a beloved heir is murdered, everyone is a suspect. Stuck at sea and surrounded by powerful people without a Blessing to protect him, odds of survival are slim.

But as the bodies pile higher, Ganymedes must become the hero he was not born to be. Can he unmask the killer and their blessing before this bloody crusade reaches the shores of Concordia?

Or will the empire as he knows it fall?

Those who follow my reading habits will know that in addition to fantasy, I also have a serious soft spot for murder mysteries. A book that combines both immediately shoots all the way to the top of my TBR.
And this one certainly didn’t disappoint. A very strong debut.
Ganymedes, the main character, is certainly one that not everyone will like. He is the epitome of fake it ’till you make it and has a tendency to exaggerate everything, from his sarcastic humor to his self-criticism and pity.
It also took me some time to get used to it, but in the end he became what made a big part of the book for me. Combined with the extravagant atmosphere, the almost parodic version of the closed room murder mystery and a very nicely conceived fantasy world, I really found this a breath of fresh air.
Fun, unique and damn entertaining.
I would like to remark that this did not really feel like a full blown adult book for me, neither is it a YA. Something in between, but without any sexual content often associated with the genre called “New Adult”.

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