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Technically I was able to finish this one up on the last day of March. However, since it was mentioned on my April TBR post, I wanted to make sure it was mentioned here. I’m continuing to love this series and this book was no exception to that.

I’m now only one book away before the latest is released in June. I’m not quite sure I’ll be able to get caught up before then. My May is stacked right now both with visual and audio reads. Only time will tell if I can pull it off. If not, it’s still nice to know I have some more exciting stories of James Reece waiting for me.

4.5 Stars – Full review here.

Bloodlines was our Buddy Read group selection for the month of April. This was a book and author I was not familiar with. This is one of the reasons being in groups is so much fun. I probably never would have learned about this book without that type of exposure.

Unfortunately, this one didn’t actually connect with me. I still thought it was a good read. The epilogue was very interesting though. To be clear I listened to the audiobook narrated by Todd Menesses which was new to me. I don’t feel he did a bag job. This was just one of those reads that was alright for me.

3.75 Stars – No full review.

A King’s Radiance is one of those books that has been on my radar for way too long. Thankfully, I finally got to it in April thanks to taking part in the Domains Reading Challenge hosted by author Trudie Skies.

This book was a banger for me! It was one of those reads that were right up my alley. It was a good pace, solid world building and strong characters. I just devoured this read. I picked it up as often as I could to continue the story. I will certainly be looking to continue this story.

4.75 Stars – Full review here.

My biggest takeaway from The Empire’s Ruin was a feeling this tale is going to be more epic than the first series was. This was another audiobook listen which I thought was nicely done. After a couple of days listening I was surprised that I hadn’t progress as far into completing it as I thought I would have. That’s when I realised how much more dense this book was than those from the first series.

Even with that being said, I didn’t feel this was a slog at any point. It flowed well and kept me entertained throughout.

4.25 Stars – Full review here.

Deathbringer was a selection from my personal SPFBO-9 TBR. The cover was what initially caught my attention.

This ended up being a bit of a surprise for me. The opening scene and first couple of chapters was not what I had expected at all. However, any doubts I had whether I would enjoy it or not were gone by the halfway point and it finished strong.

This is another series that I’ll be keeping my eye on in the future.

4 Stars – Full review here.

I am still steadily trying to work my way through my collection of Michael Crichton books.

Where the previously mentioned read was a pleasant surprise and this one… not so much. I was probably about 20% into this when when I started wondering why I wasn’t feeling this story or its characters.

At that point I did a bit of research and then discovered this book wasn’t written by Crichton but simply had his name on the cover to show the connection to his book within this world. If you love an abundance of science in your science fiction, so much where it overshadows any story or characters, this might work for you still.

DNF 52% – No full review.

Bonus Read #1

As our team has already read 2 of the finalists, this was officially my third. I opted for an immersion read both visually with the Kindle version as well as the audiobook narrated by Elizabeth Phillips.

I really enjoyed this read. I have become a bit of a sucker for a story about AI with human traits at this part though. I really connected with this story and it’s characters though.

There were plenty of twists and turns along the way with this one to keep me on my toes which is another favorite mine, as long as they are fleshed out and make sense. This is another author and series on my radar moving forward.

4.25 Stars – Full review here.

I read book one of this series as part of my SPFBO-9 personal TBR and enjoyed it enough to continue. These are quick entertaining urban fantasy reads that I can plug in when I need a break from more epic reads.

Curse was no different in that aspect. I have been opted for the audiobook options for the first two books which are narrated by the author himself. He does a really good job. Unfortunately, his style in book two just didn’t land with me. It was a bit over the top several times where it was actually a bit of a distraction and I had trouble understanding what was even going on. 

My plan for the third book will be to give it a go as a visual read with the Kindle version. I was a bit worried trying to read this series while I’m also working on the Dresden Files as they do have some similarities. Thankfully they each have their own unique styles that I haven’t really had any trouble.

4 Stars – Full review here.

It’s been almost a year since I read Gideon the Ninth (Review here). I had heard a lot mixed feelings on book one, probably a bit more leaning toward it being a poor read. I wanted to give a try myself as it sounded interesting and I picked up a copy cheap a couple of years ago. I ended up rather enjoying book one.

Unfortunately, that was not the case with book two. I gave it almost half before I threw in the towel. I was constantly lost and I wasn’t connecting with the characters or story. I tried this with one of my favorite audiobook narrators as well. I have loved almost everything I’ve listened to from Moira Quirk so I don’t feel that had to do with me lack of interest in this book either.

DNF 48% – No review

The Dark Tower by Stephen King is a series I’ve wanted to try and enjoy for multiple reasons. The first is the fact I actually enjoyed the film which got me interested in this world to begin with. The second is even though Stephen King’s works have been hit or miss for me, I still feel he can create some wonderfully imaginative if not odd worlds to explore.

I’ve now read book one twice in just the last couple of years. The first attempt left me feeling rather confused and disappointed but I knew I wanted to give it another try. A buddy of mine who has read the series was interested in buddy reading book two with me. So I read the first again and did enjoy it a bit more than the first. That trend continues with The Drawing of the Three. I enjoyed this one more than book one. It still wasn’t a great read for me, but enough that I want to continue onto the next as I hear the story continues to get better.

3.75 Stars – Review COMING SOON

Bonus Read #2

Memoires of a Synth: Gold Record was my 4th SPSFC-3 Finalist read. I knew next to nothing coming into this one and was pleasantly surprised with it. I loved the story and characters and really hope this becomes a series.

The only real knock I had on this was the Kindle version I read had quite a few typos or misused words. This is one of those books that I think could certainly use another pass through a keen eyed editor or proofreader to become a shining star.

4.25 Stars – Review COMING SOON

My last official read in April was Grave Peril by Jim Butcher. I continue to have a lot of fun with this series. I had heard this was the one where the series really turns a corner as far as quality. I don’t know if I would go that far but there is visible growth in the story telling and how the characters relate to each other and the story for sure.

I still feel like this is the equivalent of a good TV show that I want to tune into weekly to see what the cast gets into next.

4 Stars – Review COMING SOON

The Monthly Wrap

There was definitely some ups and downs in the month of April. I was able to get through all but one of my proposed reads. I had to pause The Sword of Mercy and Wrath at 51% and bumped Don’t Bloody the Black Flag to next month. I wanted to get a jump on the four remaining SPSFC-3 finalists so that I didn’t feel pressured into May and June.

There were of course the two DNF (Did Not Finish) books. This was something I struggled with the last couple of years feeling I needed to finish everything I started. I’ve gotten much more comfortable in this department in the last few months. I realize not every book is going to be for me. There is no reason to force myself to finish a book that I’m not enjoying. The point in which I DNF a book will be case by case but I will give every effort I can in allowing a book chance before I make that final decision.

My favorite read of the month was certainly A King’s Radiance. I had heard good things about this one for awhile and I wished I hadn’t waited as long as I did to finally dive into it. That is just how it happens sometimes when there are so many books that I want to read.

My biggest surprise was Memoirs of a Synth: Gold Record. That is one thing about reading for competitions, I get the chance to try authors and books that I normally wouldn’t. Going in blind is also a bonus in many cases as I have no other influences to set any expectations of the read. Just a clean first impression and I like what Leigh Saunders has put together in this one.

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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