April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part One [Books]

April 2020 1JanuaryFebruaryMarch Part 1March Part 2

I am not doing great at getting these up in a timely way. Ah well. April was another month in which I finished a lot of books, which means this is going to be another two parter. April also saw me complete my 2020 Reading Goal, which was set at 50. I’ve now increased it to 75. And it seems May is a bit of a reading slump month for me. So far I’ve finished 5 books this month, which is still good for me but I doubt it’ll exceed the 18 I read in April.

Doctor Who, The Tenth Doctor Adventures, Volume 1

doctor who tenth doctor adventures

My Review

2020 is the year I started listening to audiobooks. After a rocky start with DisneyWar, I’ve found myself enjoying them a lot, especially full cast productions. The Tenth Doctor Adventures contains three stories starring my favourite doctor and Donna, who though not my favourite of the companions, is still one I really like. This audio production was absolutely great to listen to, and I look forward to checking out more in the future.

Dead Daughters – Tim Meyer

dead daughters

My Review

Poltergeist Press are an absolutely fantastic indie horror publisher, putting out great books. Dead Daughters was slightly more thriller than horror for me, but I still really enjoyed this one. It’s got an intriguing premise and interesting characters able to carry the reader through. Definitley worth checking out.

Cirque Des Freaks and Other Tales of Horror – Julián López

cirquwMy Review

I had really high hopes for this one, and unfortunately it didn’t match up. I go into more detail in my review, but these felt more like doomed love stories than actual horror. Not to mention the plot for one story is ripped straight out of the horror film Waxwork. If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ horror anthologies, I recommend Black Rainbow instead.

The Devil’s City – Sara Tantlinger & Matt Corley

the devil's city

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

Talking to friends who have read this, The Devil’s City works much better as a companion to the game currently in production, rather than as a standalone novella. I didn’t really get on with it, but I can see the appeal for others. For me, it moved too fast and didn’t feel like it had enough space to breathe, but many horror lovers have throughly enjoyed it.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K. Rowling

tales of beedleMy Review

I gave this a listen on Audible as it was a freebie. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it hadn’t been free anyway, but I was still glad I didn’t spend money/credits on it. The narration is great, with some fantastic actors involved, but parts of the book smack of self-righteousness. I read this originally at university, but returning to it now, I really wasn’t fussed.

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

vicious

My Review

I really liked this. Of course I did, it’s a Schwab novel, and I know I’m always getting interesting characters, intriguing plots and wonderful settings with Schwab’s books. Vicious asks what it really means to be a hero or a villain, and who actually decides who is who. If you’ve not checked this out, I cannot urge you enough to do so.

The Corpse Garden – S.H. Cooper

the corpse garden

My Review

I will shout this from the rooftops: S.H. Cooper is a bloody fantastic writer. Her short stories are excellent at combining heartbreak with horror, and reinforce an idea I will bang on and on about until someone tells me to shut up – horror is at its best when it is about love. If you haven’t checked out any of Cooper’s work, why not? For horror fans, there’s her two short story collections and the novella, The Festering Ones. If horror isn’t your thing or you also love YA Fantasy, go read The Knight’s Daughter.

Ghostland – Duncan Ralston

ghostland

My Review

Unfortunately I wasn’t really fussed on this one, and I absolutely love stories with multiple ghosts focused around an interesting setting. But this just read a bit superficial to me. There was no real character development, the book didn’t know if it wanted to be YA or Adult, and there wasn’t anything really new to it. It felt much like Jurassic Park with Ghosts. Which is an awesome premise, just not pulled off very well here.

Beauty – Sarah Pinborough

beauty

My Review

I already really miss this series. After reading all three, I can safely say this is a fantastic, interesting take on fairy tales, giving them modern twists while creating a new fantasy world around them. I really enjoyed all three books, but they definitely got better with each one. And I got through all three really quickly. This is a trilogy definitely worth checking out.

So there we have the first 9 books I read in April. Part Two coming as soon as possible!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard – J.K Rowling [Books]

tales of beedleI originally read this book many years ago, shortly after its release, when a friend leant it to me in university. I remember finishing it in one sitting, and sort of enjoying it, but not enough that I ever really sought it out to read again. When this popped up as a free read on Audible, I thought I’d dip my toe into the Wizarding World again.

I’m going to preface this now with saying – I love the Wizarding World. I love Harry Potter, and Hogwarts will always have a special place in my heart. I do not, however, support JKR. Her attitude on Twitter has made it clear the kind of person she really is, and that person is not someone I admire.

Let me start with the voice acting for this audiobook. It is fantastic. The actors are the same actors involved in the film franchise, and they are absolutely fantastic. Jude Law provides narration as Dumbledore. Warwick Davis, Evanna Lynch, Jason Isaacs and Bonnie Wright are just some of the names familiar to HP fans involved in this project. Each narrator really brings the stories to life, giving them an extra something that maybe wouldn’t be present if I was reading this book rather than listening to an audiobook.

The stories themselves are okay. They’re basically fairy tales, but as if they were told by witches and wizards, rather than just about those characters. Much is made of the fact Beedle wrote nice things about Muggles, and the characters often help each other rather than witches and wizards keeping themselves separate. It’s about helping the community, being tolerant of one another and, er, hey, maybe certain authors should go back and read their own books. Just saying.

So the stories are sort of okay. But this audiobook isn’t just the actual tales being told in here, it also contains the ‘notes’ from Professor Albus Dumbledore, read by Jude Law.

The main thing I disliked about this was in those notes. They just come across really, really smug, and not because Jude Law is reading them, or because it’s ‘Dumbledore’. They constantly feel like JKR patting herself on the back for such ‘forward thinking’, constantly admiring herself for how different these are to ‘Muggle’ fairy tales, when there’s nothing here to really make them stand out, except that they are part of the Wizarding World.

The actors involved really made this worth listening to, but unfortunately the actual content falls flat. I’m honestly glad this was available for free – would not have wanted to spend money or even my Audible credit on it.