Unfortunately, April was a very slow reading month for me. I am ashamed to say that not only did I read slowly, but I read very unreliably. I only made it through three books and listened to two audio books.
I received a review copy of The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden from the publisher and I really enjoyed the story. If you enjoy family drama or read and enjoyed Still Alice, I would recommend picking up The Wide Circumference of Love. You can read my review of it here.
I finally got around to reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I really enjoyed this one, but I can't help but feel that maybe I missed something. Shadow is a character that never felt fully in focus for me. Gaiman left out a lot about Shadow on purpose, which just left me wanting more information which was a little frustrating at times, but it was a tease that works very well within this story. By the end, I still had almost as many questions about him and his background as I did at the beginning. I loved the vision of both the old and new gods presented by Gaiman-especially the old. How the old came to be in America, how they have adapted to the rapidly changing world, and how Gaiman exposed their flaws and weaknesses were all engaging and made reading this massive book enjoyable instead of tedious. The new gods represent perfectly what modern American culture values and all but worship, which isn't the most flattering but accurate. American Gods is dark, gritty, very graphic, and a bit weird, but a good read. I will have to read this a second time for sure. I just know that there are things that I will catch on a reread that I missed the first time through.
The last book that I read in April was Do Not Go Gently (Starletta Duvall Mystery #1) by Judith Smith-Levin. I have had the entire Starletta Duvall series on my shelves for a while now and had yet to pick one up. I am so glad that I grabbed this one. It was a very quick and enjoyable read that is a little dark and gritty, but no so much so that it was too disturbing. Star (Starletta) is a an interesting and strong character who has followed in her father's footsteps as a detective. She has fought for and won the respect of her fellow officers in a male dominated environment that is harsh, crude, and sometimes cruel. Star is such a likable character. She's not perfect, but she is the kind of woman that you would want as a friend as well as to have your back. Smith-Levin also touches on social issues facing Black women who have successful careers and are looking to have fulfilling personal lives as well. The way that she addresses social issues is done by allowing her characters to have challenges that are realistic and relatable without being preachy. I enjoyed this one so much that I made sure to grab the next two in the series for my pile to read during our move. Unfortunately, these stories are not available as ebooks, which is a shame, but they are still available to order used through vendors on Amazon. I did an entire feature post on this series and you can check that out here.
My first audio book for April was Penmort Castle and it was exactly what I expect and enjoy from a Kristen Ashley romance. The romance between the main couple is passionate and one that you want to root for. The secondary characters are always enjoyable as well. Although Penmort Castle has a paranormal element to it (a crazed ghost that seeks revenge through the generations), it really reads more like a contemporary romance and not a paranormal one. If you are hesitating picking this one up because of the ghost element, I would say definitely give it a try, there are no complicated paranormal elements that have to be explained. Abby Craden did an excellent job with narrating; especially the voice of Cash. It's nice when a female narrator can still nail the male characters, especially if they are supposed to have a Scottish brogue! Another bonus for KA books, if you buy the ebook you can often add the audio book for only $1.99. You can't beat a deal like that with a stick! I already own the other two books in the Ghosts and Reincarnation series, so I will be getting around to them eventually.
Her Russian Billionaire was a revisit for me. I already owned the ebook of this one and read it back in 2013. Back then it was one of my favorite IR stories. I admit that it has a plot that I no longer love because it has been used so much, but at the time I was fresh to contemporary romances and I hadn't become jaded by reading too many romances with this particular plot twist. I won't say here what it was, since it's a spoiler, but you can read my original review here. Theodora Taylor knows how to give her readers straight forward, enjoyable, steamy romances and that is exactly what you get in Her Russian Billionaire. I was very happy to get this as an audio book and I hope that Theodora Taylor continues to release more of her titles on audio. Clementine Dove did a good job narrating this one, and I believe that it was the first time that I have listened to a book narrated by her. Because I own the ebook, this was another bargain at only $1.99!
That's it folks! My pitiful April reading month summed up! Here's hoping that I get more, or at least more pages read during May!