My Favourite Reads of March and April

This year, I was quite set on the idea of keeping up with monthly round ups of what I had been reading but life got in the way of that plan and I also couldn’t face the thought of writing 13 reviews for March (easily the most I have read in one month).

However, rather than miss out on shouting about some of the incredible books I have read, I thought I would combine March and April to share my favourite reads over the last 2 months. I haven’t read an awful lot in April as I’ve been relying on chunky hardbacks to help me both focus and relax at the moment, and whilst I have fallen behind on the Disability Readathon, all of the books I haven’t yet got to are very much at the top of my TBR list and I will be reading them in the coming months!

The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado

As a huge fan of Machado’s work, I decided it was about time I got my hands on a copy of The Low, Low Woods… and I am SO glad I did. Not only is the hardback book absolutely stunning and the artwork gorgeous but it was so entirely up my street that it made me wonder why I hadn’t bought it sooner.

The Low, Low Woods is a graphic novel about best friends El and Octavia. After they wake up in the cinema with no memory of the last few hours, we follow their journey to find out exactly what’s going on in their town. It’s weird, creepy and queer. I loved it!

Brood by Jackie Polzin

I was lucky enough to receive a proof of Jackie Polzin’s debut novel, Brood, from the lovely people at Picador. This is not something I would typically reach for but something about it drew me in. I sat down when it arrived on a Saturday morning to have a quick flick through and get a feel for the writing style and I just could not put it down. I spent the rest of the weekend with the book, and quickly fell in love with it.

Brood follows a year in the life of a woman as she tends to her four chickens and tries to keep them alive. This novel is a layered work of art that, in its own abstract way, tenderly addresses loss, grief and motherhood. It manages to communicate so much in very few words directly spoken about the key themes.

It’s both a quirky, interesting read, and one that feels like a slow, drawn out punch to the chest that leaves you heartbroken by the very last line. I can’t wait to read it again.

Sanatorium by Abi Palmer

How do I even begin to explain how much I adored this book? It was recommended to me on Twitter as part of a call out for books for the Disability Readathon and I think I read approximately 1 page before I immediately bought it. The writing is absolutely STUNNING. I love the style of the book and well, just everything about it.

Sanatorium is about a young woman who, following a month-long stay at a thermal water-based rehabilitation facility in Budapest, tries to continue her recovery using an £80 inflatable blue bathtub. Palmer uses memoir, poetry and meditations to move through contrasting spaces and explore chronic pain and illness.

Add this book to your TBR, you won’t regret it.

The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean

I was looking for a book I could really sink my teeth into and decided to finally pick up one from my birthday book haul, The Apparition Phase. I’m usually slightly intimidated by big hardbacks and lengthy books, so at 400+ pages I was a little daunted. However, I immediately got sucked into the story and was sad when the book was over!

The Apparition Phase follows siblings Tim and Abi, and the events that follow after they decide to stage a ghost photo and show it to a classmate. The book evolves into an almost entirely different plot which was really interesting, but still focuses primarily on the idea of ‘haunting’, in different forms. It was pacey, beautifully written, had fairly short chapters and there was a lingering ominous threat and presence the whole way through – pretty much my perfect book.

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

Okay, so I was definitely suckered into buying this book because of the absolutely GORGEOUS cover. But, I mean, can you really blame me? Regardless, I am so glad that I did buy it because this book was an absolute hit for me and I can see why so many people are talking about!

The Lamplighters tells the story of 3 lighthouse keepers who go missing, and leave the lighthouse in very mysterious conditions. The story follows the lead up to their going missing, and then 20 years in the future as told from the perspectives of the wives and girlfriends left behind.

I loved this book. It’s so beautifully written and is told in different styles throughout the chapters which I really enjoyed. You can feel how much heart Emma Stonex put into this book, there’s such warmth flowing through the pages. It’s atmospheric and readable, with mystery and intrigue thrown in. I would definitely recommend!

Ache Magazine

Another well-deserved shout out to Ache Magazine (which I have been talking about and recommending non-stop since I first read it). I’ve included Ache in a couple of recent posts but I just wanted to say again how incredible and beautiful each magazine is so definitely go check them out.

What has been your favourite recent read?

I’d love to hear about what you’ve been reading and enjoying! Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned or are they on your TBR pile? Let me know in the comments or let’s chat on Twitter!

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