April 2023 Wrap Up

Here is what I read/posted in April.

As always, let me know if you have read any of these books and (if you did) what you thought of them.


Books I Read:

ARC from author
KU Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Non-ARC from Novel Cause
Non-ARC from Novel Cause
ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca
ARC from author, Level Best Books, IBPA, Member’s Titles
Free Kindle Purchase—No review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Non-ARC from author
KU Purchase—No Review
Free Amazon Prime Reads—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books
ARC from St. Martin’s Press
Non-ARC from Author
Non-ARC from Author
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
ARC from St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks
ARC from Sourcebooks Fire
Non ARC from author
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
Kindle Purchase—No Review
KU Purchase—No Review
Free Kindle Purchase—No Review
ARC from author
ARC from Crooked Lane Books
ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
ARC from Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Dial Press Trade Paperback

Books I got from NetGalley:

Read Now from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Wish granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Bantam
Read Now from Tor Publishing Group, Tor Books
Wish Granted from Sourcebooks Casablanca
Wished Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Delacorte Press
Invite from Random House Publishing Group – Random House, Random House Trade Paperbacks
SMP Influencer Program pick from St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Random House, The Dial Group
Wish Granted from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books
Request from Meryl Media Group, Rosewind Books

Books I got from Authors/Indie Publishers:

Non-Arc from author
ARC from Novel Cause
ARC from author
Non ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
Non-ARC from author
ARC from Author

Giveaway Winners

Goodreads Giveaway—Kindle download
Goodreads Giveaway—Paperback
Goodreads Giveaway—Paperback
Goodreads Giveaway—Paperback

Books Reviewed:

The Witch and the Vampire—review here

Prince of Typgar: Nurjan and the Monks of Meirar—review here

Read to Death at the Lakeside Library—review here

Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose—review here

Body Count by SM Thomas—review here

Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle by Krishna Sudhir—review here

Wings Once Cursed and Bound by Piper J. Drake—review here

No Time to Breathe by Lori Duffy Foster—review here

Another Chance at Happiness by Dani Phoenix—review here

Tales from the Box, Volume 1 by Weston Kincaide—review here

Pieces of Me by Kate McLaughlin—review here

Where Coyotes Howl by Sandra Dallas—review here

Bait by D.I. Jolly—review here

Missing by Amy Kulp—review here

How to Best a Marquess—review here

This Delicious Death—review here


Reading Challenges:

2023 Monthly Themes (Continue a series or reread an author already read this year): Claim My Baby—Finished 3-31-23

Romanceopoly 2023! (Read a book where the main character works at or owns a bar)-About LoveFinished 4-1-23

Buzzword Reading Challenge 2023 (words in the title related to emotions, from happy to sad, smile to frown, pride to rage)—P.S. I Hate You—Finished 4-3-23

2023 Sami Parker Reads Title Challenge (a book with one of these words in the title: Sunny, Bright, Cloud or Rain): Brightest Shadow—Finished 4-6-2023

Cover Scavenger Hunt 2023 (a flower): A Spirited Manor—Finished 4-7-2023

The StoryGraph’s OnBoarding Reading Challenge 2023 (read one of the first 10 books you added to your to-read pile): The Night Swim—Finished 4-8-2023

The StoryGraph Reads the World 2023 (Italy): Find Me—Finished 4-10-2023

The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenge (a biography about someone you don’t know much about): Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot—Finished 4-11-2023

Beat the Backlist 2023 (take place primarily in winter or a cold region): Tainted—Finished 4-19-2023

Scavenger Hunt TBR Book Challenge (go to the acknowledgments of the last book you read for this prompt. What name did you first see? Find a book written by an author with that name): Frost Burn—Finished 4-20-2023

Scavenger Hunt (Book I found that day): Delicate Ink—Finished 4-20-2023

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 (a book by a first time author): The Fifth Floor—Finished 4-21-23

2023 TBR Toppler (continue a series): Ten Thousand Lies—Finished 4-22-23

2023 Reading Challenge (book that has been on my TBR for the longest time): Purple Death—Finished 4-23-23

2023 ABC Challenge (D): Descendants—Carrying over to May

2023 TBR Prompts (A BookTok Favorite): The Song of Achilles—Carrying over to May

The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss

Book Cover

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House, The Dial Press

Date of publication: November 30th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

A young woman in a vaudeville sister act must learn to forge her own path after her twin runs away to Hollywood in this richly immersive debut about love, family, and friendship.

Leaving was my sister’s choice. I would have to make my own.

All Harriet Szász has ever known is life onstage with her sister, Josie. As “The Sisters Sweet,” they pose as conjoined twins in a vaudeville act conceived of by their ambitious parents, who were once themselves theatrical stars. But after Josie exposes the family’s fraud and runs away to Hollywood, Harriet must learn to live out of the spotlight—and her sister’s shadow. Striving to keep her struggling family afloat, she molds herself into the perfect daughter. As Josie’s star rises in California, the Szászes fall on hard times and Harriet begins to form her first relationships outside her family. She must decide whether to honor her mother, her father, or the self she’s only beginning to get to know.

Full of long-simmering tensions, buried secrets, questionable saviors, and broken promises, this is a story about how much we are beholden to others and what we owe ourselves. Layered and intimate, The Sisters Sweet heralds the arrival of an accomplished new voice in fiction.


First Line:

A young woman is pacing up and down the front steps of my house, her briefcase bouncing against her knees

the sisters sweet by elizabeth weiss

When I first got the invite to review The Sisters Sweet, I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to read it, let alone review it. But, I read the blurb, and one word jumped out at me “Vaudville.” It was that word that convinced me to read this book. Now that I’ve read it and have had some time to sit on what I have read, I am kind of “meh” about The Sisters Sweet. I have neither good nor bad feelings towards it. Just “meh” feelings, if that makes sense.

The Sisters Sweet is two stories, well three if you count Harriet talking to the Vanity Fair reporter after Josie died. The first story is about Harriet, her relationships with her parents, uncle, cousin, and various men that come and go in her life. The second story is about Josie and Harriet’s parents and their choices in their lives. I didn’t exactly like that there were two separate plotlines. I could have done without knowing about Maude and Lenny’s backgrounds. But it was there, and it did add depth to the story.

The first plotline in The Sisters Sweet follows Josie and Harriet’s rise to vaudeville fame and their ultimate crash when Josie takes off in the middle of an act. After that, the book focuses on Harriet and what her life was like after Josie left. Harriet was left to clean up the mess Josie made and become a daughter who would never disappoint her parents or overbearing uncle. Harriet is living a double life, though. She was partying with her cousin, sleeping around, and drinking way too much. It was a matter of time before everything came crashing down. But at what cost?

The second plotline centers around Maude, Lenny, and their years before the girls. As I stated above, I didn’t think that exploring the traumas, highs, and lows they had before the twins would help. And it didn’t. I could have cared less about Maude, her accident, and her uneasy relationship with her sister’s husband. I also didn’t care about Lenny, his early years, or that he was a lush. It did nothing to change my mind about how horrible they were (and yes, they were awful parents).

The Sisters Sweet was a medium-paced read. That complimented the flow very well. There was some lag in the middle of the book, but it didn’t take away from reading.

I wish there had been more scenes with Josie in them. While she wasn’t likable, I would have liked to see what was going on in her mind. After escaping from her parents, she became almost a footnote in the book. The author detailed her life through the press and movies. I feel that she could have become more personable if she had more of a presence in the book, and it would have made some of the ending scenes a bit more believable.

I did feel bad for Harry. She was the overlooked child because everything centered around Josie. She was the one who was hurt the most when Josie took off. She also had to be strong and had to be an adult at such a young age. I did think that she would go down the same road as her mother (unwed mother), but I was glad when the author decided not to do that. Instead, Harry became a dutiful daughter during the day and a party animal at night.

I was not too fond of Maude and Lenny. They were selfish people and awful parents. Maude was a selfish woman who couldn’t show affection to her children. Later in the book, Lenny is a drunk who puts Harry in situations that no teenager should have been in.

I was very interested in the historical fiction angle of The Sisters Sweet. But, I felt that the book swept over some of the more important historical events. Those events would have added an extra depth needed to the book.

The end of The Sisters Sweet confused me a little. I understood that the entire book was Harry telling the reporter “her” story. But it wasn’t clear about exactly what happened when the reporter left. I have a hunch that it was what I thought it was.

I would recommend The Sisters Sweet to anyone over the age of 16. There are sexual situations, violence, and mild language.

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House, The Dial Press

Date of publication: February 13th, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Romance

Where you can find Surprise Me: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

Trigger Warning: None

Continue reading “Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella”