23 Quick Book Reviews: April 2021 Novel Ideas
The April 2021 Novel Ideas edition features all kinds of great books reviewed in only a few lines. We’ve got books from Amanda Gorman, Laurie Frankel, Sally Hepworth, W. Bruce Cameron, and more.
Romance, fantasy, mysteries, historical fiction, we’ve got it all! We hope it can help you find your next great read!
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Jackie’s April 2021 Novel Ideas Stack
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman
The minute I heard this poem at the inauguration, I knew I needed to pre-order the book. This tiny little book packs a very powerful punch. When Libro.fm gave me a copy of this book with Amanda Gorman reading the poem and Oprah reading the forward, I cried all over again as I listened.
The Maze of Bones (39 Clues #1 by Rick Riordan)
We listened to this book during a family road trip and it kept every member of my family completely entertained for the entire trip. This thrilling, middle grade mystery sends Amy and Dan on a quest to find the clues that will lead to the family secrets.
To Love and to Loathe (The Regency Vows #2) by Martha Waters
I loved to Have and to Hoax so I jumped at the chance to read this book and I loved it!
To Love and To Loathe was exactly what I hoped it would be- funny, entertaining, and a great romance. It does not follow the same formula as the last book which makes it all the more enjoyable as something fresh and new.
But don’t worry, you will see some of your favorite characters from the last book. I love the characters and I love the book all the more because of that.
Thank you Atria for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
One Two Three by Laurie Frankel
I had really high hopes for this book because I loved her last book. I enjoyed this book about the Mitchel triplets who nicknames each other One, Two and Three. 17 years ago Bourne’s water turned green and now, the town is fully accepting of the differences in many of the children born in the aftermath of the poisoned water.
I liked this book but, for me, it didn’t have the same pull as Frankel’s first book.
Thank you Libro.fm for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
A Dog’s Courage: A Dog’s Way Home Novel by W. Bruce Cameron
I don’t know what it is about reading a book from a dog’s perspective that is so emotional. Cameron captures exactly how I think my dog thinks in every one of his books and this one is no exception. Bella was once a lost dog and now must find the courage to protect two mountain lion cubs in the middle of a massive forest fire. This book is captivating, thrilling and emotional.
Thank you Forge for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Namesake (Fable #2) by Adrienne Young
This is the second book in the Fable series and I liked this book even more than the first one. With the Marigold free, Fable thinks things will get easier but she must now descend into more lies, betrayal, and secrets. This conclusion is the perfect end to this YA duology.
Thank you Mcmillian Audio for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
The good sister is a psychological thriller that will keep you on your toes until the very end. Fern and Rose are twins who have always had each other. Rose is the responsible one who has always looked out for Fern.
Fern has trouble reading social situations, doesn’t like loud noises, and makes dangerous mistakes all the time.
Rose’s most important job was protecting Fern from their crazy mother. When Fern decides to have a baby for Rose, secrets start to come out. This is one of the books about sisters that will keep you guessing until the end and even then, you’ll be thinking about this book.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Kate and her best friend Anderson have communal crushes that work well when they are from afar but not so well when the crush comes to school and joins the school musical.
Matt Olsen was the cute guy to crush on from camp who now had the potential to come between Andy and Kate. Will their friendship be able to withstand heart ache and will Kate be able to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight?
Becky Albertalli captures the angst of high-school and heartache with perfection.
Thank you Book Spark for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin
Wow, did I love this book. Grace has always wanted to live in London and finds herself working at a bookshop as WWII looms on the horizon. Grace’s new found love of books, the store and the friends who have become family, become the glue that holds her together during air-raids, blitzes and nights spent in darkness.
Love books about books? Check out our post here.
Ready of Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World by Madeline Levine
I cannot believe that this book was not written in the middle of this pandemic. The advice in this book is absolutely a must read for every parent and is so relevant to our lives NOW.
We live in such uncertain times with no precedent for the challenges our children are facing. This book gives wonderful advice in a clear and meaningful way.
Dictionary or Lost Words by Pip Williams
I have to say that I never had any idea how the dictionary was made and how “abridged” my version actually is (think 20 volumes and 4ft of shelf space).
This historical fiction was brilliantly researched and detailed. The heart of this book is the importance of words and women finding their power in small ways in a male centered world.
At times I thought the book moved a little slowly but it is well written and enjoyable.
Thank you Ballantine for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Goodbye, Lark Lovejoy by Kris Clink
This is the perfect feel good read for a hectic week. Lark Lovejoy is a 38 year old widow with two young boys. She decides to move back to her hometown and try and move forward with her life.
Will she have the guts to start winemaking as she always wanted to do before becoming a lawyer? And will she finally find a way to be happy again?
Lark did not expect to meet a younger man with his own difficult past. Despite sad moments and difficult topics, I found this book thoroughly enjoyable and difficult to put down. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!
Thanks Bookspark for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Kirsten’s April 2021 Novel Ideas Stack
Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey
This southern beach reads is a total summer 2021 must-read. It’s uplifting and poignant and had me laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time.
It starts with a woman whose marriage is ending and a widower dealing trying to move on. They are childhood friends and she discovers that the embryos he froze with his deceased wife are deemed abandoned.
He’s determined to find a surrogate and she’s determined to support him. Their mothers, on the other hand, are determined to get them together.
The story is set in Palm Beach and Cape Carolina, with a touch of NYC. Some of the scenes gave me such Dawson’s Creek vibes too!!
Thanks to Gallery Books for my review copy. All opinions are my own.
The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman and her poem, The Hill We Climb, was the highlight of the inaugural ceremony for many people. When I saw that she was releasing it in book form I ran to get it!
Then I listened to her perform it (with Oprah reading the foreword) and I cried all over again, remembering the chills I got watching Biden and Harris take their oaths. Truly a wonderful keepsake.
Thanks to Libro.fm for my free review copy. All opinions are my own.
The Arsonists City by Hala Alyan
I adored this book. Absolutely adored it. It’s about an upper-middle class Syrian-Lebanese family who are living in America but return home to their roots in Beirut.
Told in a dual timeline format, we get to see the life of the mother and father before and just after they immigrated to America, as well as the perspective of their adult children when they return to Beirut.
I was moved by the depiction of war and it’s affects on civilian families, but also by the struggles that immigrants face here in the USA. I was also thoroughly entertained by the unraveling of the many family secrets.
If you are a fan of family dramas, this is a must-read!
Thanks to HMH Books for my review copy. All opinions are my own.
Summertime Guests by Wendy Francis
Well, this book was such a treat! It takes place at a seaside resort over one fateful weekend. We get a glimpse into the lives of the various guests and what brought them to the resort.
Oh and did I mention it opens with a woman falling to her death by the resort pool? Was it a murder? Was it a suicide? Was it an accident? And which of the guests is the victim?
It’s a light read perfect for the beach. Check out more beach reads at our beach read hub!
Thanks to Graydon House for my review copy. All opinions are my own.
Infinite Country by Patrica Engel
March 2021 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
This story of an immigrant family split apart by US policy and ICE had such potential, but I had trouble keeping the timeline and the characters all straight in my head.
It’s told from the mother, father, and one daughter’s point of view. The struggles of a husband and wife separated for almost a decade were heartbreaking, but the way it was laid out had me confused and frustrated.
The Push by Ashley Audrain
January 2021 GMA Book Club Pick
This is a domestic noir that will scare the pants off most mothers. It’s compulsively readable.
Blythe Conner comes from a long line of bad mothers, but she’s determined not to be one. When she has Violet, she struggles to connect with her.
The reader is left wondering if Blythe is a mother who sees the worst in her child or if there really is something off with Violet. Something that even her husband can’t see. There is a reason this domestic thriller was chosen by GMA. It is that good.
Eli’s Promise by Ronald Balson
While most of Balson’s work focuses on the Holocaust, this work focuses on life before the war, when Jewish businesses started to be taken away, and after the war in displacement camps.
I didn’t know much about life in displacement camps or the practice of appropriating Jewish businesses so I was fascinated. Eli’s quest to find the man he deemed responsible for so many of his family’s troubles was compelling too.
The Betrothed by Kiera Cass
So look. This book was not good. I didn’t connect with the love story and yet I’m intrigued enough to want to see where book two goes.
Basically, a young woman gets engaged to the king, but then realizes she loves someone else. Could have been great was pretty bad, especially compared to my beloved Selection Series.
Ready or Not by Dr. Madeline Levine
WOW. If you are a parent, this is a must-read. Dr. Levine’s advice helped me on such a deep level with how I parent my children.
Her thoughts on teaching kids to be adaptable, creative, and flexible were so informative. I was also made deeply aware of how much of an impact parents make on the way children learn to react.
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Look. Everyone knows the middle book in a trilogy is just a bridge. It gets us from the beginning to the conclusion, and hopefully entertains us along the way.
This one does just that. It was entertaining, but not ground-breaking. It felt very much like the bridge between Serpent & Dove and Gods & Monsters. Not much happened until the ending but the end was on point.
Check out my Serpent & Dove review here.