Looking Back at the Books I Read in April 2023

I started this month feeling in a book slump since I didn’t want to pick up any new books. Then, around halfway through the month, I started devouring books again. Though even with that being said, I still feel like I didn’t read a lot this month (compared to others) even when you factor in my re-reads. As one of the new books was only half a book and the re-reads I skipped a lot to get to the dialogue or juicy bits. Sometimes I really don’t like being a mood reader. If it doesn’t vibe with the moment, I cannot make myself read a book regardless of how good it might be. And I know I have a lot of books that I could read. But every time I go to read them, my brain just says “nope, not today.” So, with that being said here’s a summary of everything I did manage to read during the month of April and my thoughts regarding those books.

So, what did I read this month?

These are all the new books I read, not any that I decided to re-read along the way. If I did a review, I’ll share the link to those. Otherwise, I will do a quick review of the book or series (with the series getting the mini-review at the end of all the books in the list). Mostly, those will just be a quick blurb about what the book/series was about.

  1. Rule Number Five (Rule Breaker Series, Book 1) by J Wilder – 3.5 stars
    • This book I kept going back and forth between 3.25 and 3.5 stars. There’s a trope I’m not a massive fan of (aka miscommunication) but it wasn’t like they avoided talking about what was going to happen. Sidney was going to get into politics so she would be in Canada, while Jax was going to move to Boston to play for the Bruins. So, it was agreed that they would break up when the school year ended, even if Jax didn’t want that to happen. But they never talked about why Sidney kept insisting that would happen when they both clearly loved each other. So, the ending was a bit of a heart wrencher followed by a time jump to when they finally ended up back together when Jax learned why she swore never to get involved with a professional hockey player. The book was good, but knowing it was all going to come crashing down didn’t leave you holding much hope for the pair.
  2. Off the Ice (Central State, Book 4) by Jaqueline Snow – 3.5 stars
    • When I started this book, I didn’t realize it was the fourth book in the series but it is standalone so it’s not like I had to read the others to understand this one. Though I’m probably going to go back to read the other three down. Anyways… this one followed Cal and Elle, he’s a hockey player who never lets anyone in and Elle is hopeless, bubbly romantic. Polar opposites, as he’s a grump and she’s sunshine personified. But it works for them especially once they learn to communicate their feelings, which neither one is good at. He shows through actions, and she expects words yet doesn’t use them to communicate her feelings. So, both think the other doesn’t want anything yet carve affection/love from the other. It was cute.
  3. Heartless Foe (Shadowblood Souls, Book 4) by Eva Chase – 3.25 stars
    • Riva, Drey, Griffin, Jake, Dom, and Zian find themselves with a few younger shadowbloods to be held captive by the third founding member of the Guardians. Only he’s more sadist than the others. He uses wristbands that can instantly knock out or kill members if they don’t follow his orders. Several individuals don’t make it out of the villa. But the main six manage to at the very end following some shocking revelations and help from the outside.
  4. Bloodmarked (Legendborn, Book 2) by Tracy Deonn4.5 stars
    • See my review for thoughts on this book.
  5. When She’s Fearless (A Risdaverse Tale) by Ruby Dixon – 3.25 stars
    • A short novella following Chelsea and Hrrrusek. It’s an instalove trope with a reckless heroine. Not my favorite trope but it works for these two.
  6. Offside Hearts (Love and Hockey, Book 1) by Nikki Lawson – 3.75 stars
    • A cute hockey romance focused on a professional hockey player (Noah) and the team’s social media manager (Margo). The two meet before she starts working for the team and despite trying to keep things professional, the two fall in love. She shows him what having a supportive family is like since his family is narcissistic and looks down on his goal of playing hockey. While he protects/comforts her from the things she fears (thunderstorms, elevators, problems from her past, etc.). He’s such a cinnamon roll, golden retriever. I can’t wait to read more from this author as I seriously enjoyed this book.
  7. Until I Get You by Claire Contreras – 2.75 stars
    • Lachlan falls in love with Lyla the moment they meet, but she is cold and emotionally distant. We’re told more than we see that these two have a deep connection. And that she apparently hinted about her past to him, though we aren’t privy to that conversation. Then she disappears for three years after her stalker attacks Lachlan. Of course, he has no idea who it is, despite the fact that it is strongly hinted at in the beginning of the book, and we know it’s someone in the sports facility with a lot of power, and she specifically refuses to tell him until after his final game. Only one person fits that description, but Lachlan is unaware, so he talks before the game, which leads to the attack in which both of them end up in the hospital. So, three years later, he’s angry at her and she’s hiding, but now that he has his father’s company’s help, he manages to find her and convinces her to marry him. Then Lachlan persuades Lyla to reveal the person who raped, stalked, and murdered her mother and ex-boyfriend before setting that person up to get a confession that will land him in prison for life. All the while, I had no emotional connection to either of the characters because we don’t get to any of that depth. This book would have been better if we had a stronger connection to the characters or seen more of their development. Because it wasn’t present throughout the book.

My Rating System

Check out this post to see how my rating scale works, but the quick version is:

  • 5 stars = Masterpiece. Nothing can literally be better than this. Not to mention, a major book slump happens afterward where I am unable to pick up another book for quite some time.
  • 4 stars = One of the best books I’ve ever read, I couldn’t put it down and found little fault in it.
  • 3 stars = A good book but there were some flaws, from editing to plot to you name it.
  • 2 stars = Liked the book, but wouldn’t say it was something that was memorable.
  • 1 star = Book wasn’t for me.

I almost never give a 5-star rating. Some books have come close, but something always held me back from giving it to those books. I also use .25 increments with the ratings, so there’s a range in each of those levels.

What is currently unfinished?

I figured I would add this section as these were things I started to read, but haven’t finished yet so I can’t exactly give them a rating quite yet. I am not DNF’ing these books. I will finish them at some point, most likely next month. I just have to get back to them. I got distracted or pulled away from them for one reason or another.

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
    • I’ve read up to chapter 3 before my brain went “Not right now, please. Too much information.” Which I know is something that happens with every high fantasy book. It started out interesting and I do have every intention of finishing it in the future. It just didn’t happen this month.

What did I re-read?

None of these were full re-reads as I skipped parts to get to more of the relationship moments between the characters. And considering in these books, that’s most of the content, so I read all of it. The parts I skipped were some of the mission details or when the characters were alone. Though I would still count them as I read the mass majority of the book.

  1. Savage Bonds (The Bonds that Tie, Book 2) by J Bree
  2. Blood Bonds (The Bonds that Tie, Book 3) by J Bree
  3. Forced Bonds (The Bonds that Tie, Book 4) by J Bree
  4. Tragic Bonds (The Bonds that Tie, Book 5) by J Bree
    • See my review for thoughts on this series, I decided to re-read from the second book to the last. It started out as re-reading a segment in the second book and turned into me reading the rest of the series.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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