The Mindfuck Series by S.T. Abby
This is technically a five-book series, but I read all five books back to back over the course of a weekend, so I’m not sure where each book starts and ends. The series follows a female serial killer as she falls in love with the FBI agent who is trying to hunt her down. (It’s essentially Bones meets Dexter). The series certainly won’t be winning any Pulitzers, but overall it was a really fun fast-paced read perfect for when you want to turn your brain off.
I’d recommend it to a true-crime lover who was in love with Seeley Booth from Bones.
Manacled by Senlinyu
Okay, so originally I wasn’t going to include this in my monthly reading wrap-up, but I sunk too many hours into this one for it not to count towards my reading goal (also it was really good). Manacled is Harry Potter fanfiction that I was convinced to by the good people over on Tik Tok. I don’t read fanfiction regularly (aka at all really), but for some reason, I decided to try this.
It diverges from the HP timeline in book 6 and explores a world where Harry and the gang lose the war. The story follows Hermione who’s now in her early twenties and has been captured by Voldemort and forced into slavery Handmaid’s Tale style. She’s assigned to Draco’s house and has severe memory loss. This story exceeded every single expectation I had for it. It’s HUGE (over 300,000, so like double the length of the 7th HP book). It’s incredibly heavy and dark. I sobbed through the second half of this book. Senlinyu build an entirely new world on top of the Harry Potter universe and it was stunning. It explored PTSD, trauma, grief, and toxic relationships, so beautifully with these familiar characters who are now complex and traumatized adults. I loved it!
I’d recommend this to people who loved ACOSF and A Little Life. You have to love both. It can’t be one or the other.
The Maid by Nita Prose
This novel is about a maid in a hotel who discovers a body in one of the rooms she’s cleaning. Our main character thinks about the world a little differently than the rest of us and has been struggling ever since the death of her grandmother. What follows is a cozy mystery with a loveable main character. While I don’t think this is the genre for me, I know that a lot of people really adored this book.
I’d recommend this to someone who wants a mystery that won’t keep them awake at night.
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
I was gifted this book by my sister for Christmas and finally got around to reading it this month! It’s a YA horror that follows three sisters with strange abilities. These three girls vanished when they were children only to be found one month later in the exact spot they disappeared, but when they returned something wasn’t quite right about them. Years later with the eldest two sisters grown, one sister goes missing and the other two go on a hunt to find her. This book was so twisty and fun. I loved the mix of creepy and pretty!!!
I’d recommend this to anyone obsessed with the sister dynamics in the ACOTAR series.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
This book has been on my radar for quite some time now, but I knew it was going to be heavy and I wanted to make sure I was in the right headspace. It follows a woman in two timelines one starting when she was fifteen and another when she’s thirty-two. As a fifteen-year-old, she has a sexual relationship with one of her teachers at boarding school and at thirty-three, allegations are coming out about this teacher. It explores the ways she felt about this relationship both as a teen and now as an adult. The author dealt with this issue in such a beautiful and nuanced way, where the relationship was both understandable, and not at all glamorized. I adored it!
I’d recommend this to everyone (with the caveat that it is very heavy and potentially triggering)
Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score
After My Dark Vanessa, I was eager to read something a bit lighter, so I picked up this KU romance that I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this book. It was a super sweet small-town romance about a woman who runs away from her wedding, only to end up caring for her twin sister’s daughter and falling for the local grump. It was a little silly at times, but it was such a breezy delight!
I’d recommend this to someone recovering from a heavier read!
The Confidence of Wildflowers & The Resurrection of Wildflowers by Micalea Smeltzer
I squeezed in another two books on the very last day of April. This is an age-gap romance between a young woman and her neighbor. She’s eighteen at the beginning of the story and tbh I felt a little icky about it after reading My Dark Vanessa. For me, it didn’t feel like it really had a strong plot, but was more of an exploration of these two developing a relationship. It wasn’t my type of romance and I struggled to connect to the characters (aka I did not cry at all, even though this had a Colleen Hoover level tragedy).
I’d recommend this to someone who loved the Ravenhood duet.