April 2021 Reading: Empower Your Kids; Another Life; The Dig Street Festival; The Summer Job; Sybelia Drive; Chauvo-Feminism; Absorbed; Outsiders; Boys Don’t Cry; Poirot Investigates; Among the Beasts and Briars; Charity

I’ve had a funny old month, with a little wobble about my book blogging abilities, but I feel like I’ve come out the other side and realised that as long as I am enjoying myself and sharing the book love, it really doesn’t matter if I don’t manage to read ALL the books! Of course, relaxing and leaning into it means I actually managed to read a bit more than usual this month, because life is funny like that! So here’s a quick round-up of the 12 books I read in April, along with links to my full reviews where relevant.

Empower Your Kids! by Judy Bartkowiak (2021)

I find Judy Bartkowiak’s work really interesting and useful – I am still getting to grips with some of the concepts, but I use bits of her techniques on an almost daily basis with my little ones. This guide, Empower Your Kids, is another brilliant, friendly, helpful book. You can read my full review here.

Another Life by Jodie Chapman (2021)

Jodie Chapman’s debut novel is a beautifully written exploration of the complications that come with falling in love. There is both sadness and hope in this book, and I was very moved by it. My full review is here.

The Dig Street Festival by Chris Walsh (2021)

I had a good feeling about this book, and I was not disappointed. Walsh dives joyously into the odd lives of those who aren’t often depicted in fiction, the side-lined, the margin-dwellers, and brings both humour and poignancy to the bizarre journey he takes us on. Highly recommended – you can read my full thoughts on this fabulous book here.

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent (2021)

The Summer Job is a sparkling, fun-filled, quirky comedy with plenty of heart and a flawed protagonist whose missteps and triumphs are a joy to follow. Perfect for sunny garden reading this spring/summer. My full review is here.

Sybelia Drive by Karin Cecile Davidson (2020)

Sybelia Drive is a stunning debut novel that absolutely blew me away, and I am already sure it is going to be one of my top reads of 2021. Interweaving the first person narratives of several characters, this astounding book feels complex and full while still being a total pleasure to read. I loved it. You can find my full review of this incredible book here.

Chauvo-Feminism by Sam Mills (2021)

Sam Mills writes boldly and frankly about the insidious rise of hidden chauvinism – men who outwardly profess alliance with the #MeToo movement, while their private actions tell a different story. A thought-provoking, powerful read that opened my eyes to behaviours that it is all too easy to ignore. My full review is here.

Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead (2021)

The first book published by new imprint New Ruins, Kylie Whitehead’s novel is a strange, horror-tinged exploration of modern relationships and individual identity. It’s a surreal yet compulsively readable book, and I enjoyed it immensely. My full review of Absorbed is here.

Outsiders edited by Alice Slater (2020)

I really loved this collection. Authors at the peak of their powers explore the titular theme in a variety of surprising and powerful ways, and it is a book I know I will be revisiting. You can read my full review of this stunning short story anthology here.

Boys Don’t Cry by Fíona Scarlett (2021)

Oh, this book is so very special indeed. I cannot urge you enough to add this to your TBR – it is a beautifully written debut novel that will stay with me forever. Click here to read my full review.

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (1924)

This was our Poirot readalong book for April, and I think most of us agreed that while the short stories in this collection were fun as brain teasers, it was hard to get invested as the stories are so short. It is always amusing to see Hastings and Poirot interacting, but I am looking forward to getting back to a full novel for our May read, The Big Four.

Among the Beasts and Briars by Ashley Poston (2020)

Another readalong book – I don’t think I loved this one quite as much as some of the group, but to be fair I don’t read very much fantasy, so it was probably a bit out of my comfort zone! I loved Fox, though, and had a LOT of fun chatting with the group about the book, so I regret nothing! And the story rattles along at an impressive pace, which is always a good thing!

Charity by Madeline Dewhurst (2021)

This is a very impressive debut novel, weaving multiple genres together in a clever, satisfying way. I really enjoyed this book – you can find my full blog tour review (hot off the press!) here.

All in all, I feel like I’m ending the month on a really positive note. I have read some great books in April, and I’ve resolved to be kinder to myself and not put myself under unnecessary pressure. I even have tentative plans to read some of my own bought books in May – wish me luck!

Happy Reading!

Ellie x


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