Furbaby Friday: Azula’s Week in Reading 4/8/2022

Happy Friday, book friends! It’s been a rainy week in Pittsburgh, so Azula’s walk schedule has been a bit disrupted. I’ve also had a busy week, with my second wedding dress fitting and a couple of late-night events at work. Azula and I are both pretty big creatues of habit, so it’s been… well, exhausting.

That’s not to say I didn’t get in some good morning reading a few days this week. I’m really trying to get back in the habit of limiting my AM screen time and reading my self-care books in the morning. I’ve lost steam with my current one, Heal from Within, but do want to finish it.

Morning reading & snuggles

I’m almost through identifying my possible issues across all 7 chakras, which hopefully means we’ll get to some more practical advice. Identifying our challenges is important, but I’ve been in therapy for years and generally know what my whole deal is in that respect, so I’m eager to hear some guidance on how to work on these issues more than I am how to identify them. That’s not to say self-reflection isn’t valuable–it definitely is!

In spite of the rain, we got out for our run this week (more on that over on the running/self-care blog, if you’re curious). For Azula, many evenings were spent wondering when mommy would be home and why dad was doing the dinner.

Azula and the soon-to-be Mr. Your Book Friend before our morning run

Next week is less jam-packed in the evenings, though it is about time for Andy and I to go do the marriage license thing, so we’ll be fitting that in one night. The wedding is so soon and I can’t wait to clear out the mental space that wedding planning has been taking up and fill it with more books, more writing, and more adventures!

How was your week? Did you read any good books? Let me know!

The Best Books I Read in April 2021

(This post originally appeared on Your Book Friend’s Medium page. If you’re a Medium reader and want to see posts when they first hit the internet, follow the blog here.)

T.S. Eliot says April is the cruelest month, and I don’t tend to agree… except for this year. It snowed where I live and the semester seemed to just. drag. on. I’m pretty excited to welcome in the month of May and its promise of summer reading.

But first, let’s bid April adieu with a reading recap!

(Full disclosure: Book links appearing below are affiliate links, which means Your Book Friend will earn a small commission if you choose to purchase.)

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: Paperback (my first in a while, weirdly)
Why I read it: Impulse buy on my impromptu birthday trip to Barnes & Noble

I wrote about my love for The Two Lives of Lydia Bird extensively over at Coffee Time Reviews. It’s a real gut punch of a novel about grief, with a surreal twist in the form of an alternate universe.

It took me longer than I expected to get through it given that I devoured Silver’s prior book, One Day in December, in about a day. I chalk that up to the heavy subject matter of grief and loss requiring a break now and again.

I recommend this to anyone who’s looking for an interesting take on the topic of grief, or in for a compelling read in general.

Wine Girl by Victoria James

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: Audiobook (LibroFm)
Why I read it: Saw it on a list somewhere and used my LibroFm credit for it on impulse

I… still don’t fully know how I felt about Wine Girl.

I love a good memoir read by the author, but in this case it took me a bit to get used to how James reads her work aloud. In the beginning, some of the sentences felt a bit awkward, like she was nervous, and I found it distracting. Eventually she — or I — settled in, and that part became easier.

There is a ton of interesting information about the world of wine and fine dining in this memoir. I really enjoy learning about things from a first-person perspective like this, and feel like I am now better equipped to hold a conversation about wine.

I think the ending left an [insert wine metaphor here] taste in my mouth, as it felt like a bit of an odd place to end the narrative, in my opinion. I’m still glad I listened to it, but I felt there could’ve been a little something more to bring it together at the end.

If you love a good food memoir and/or wine, this might be a good read for you!

The Topography of Hidden Stories by Julie MacDonnell

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: Kindle eBook
Why I read it: Trying to add variety to my reading life, so I selected this as a short story collection for the year

I’ll be honest, I don’t frequently read short story collections. When I read fiction, I like to be pulled fully into a world or a plot, and the frequent gear shifts of short story collections don’t often work for me.

The title The Topography of Hidden Stories piqued my interest, so I gave it a go, and overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Each story was, as the title of the collection suggests, about the type of people who are often forgotten or overlooked — young girls, aging women, etc. While the characters and circumstances of each story were different, the general mood/vibe was similar, which gave this collection a feeling of cohesiveness that I appreciated.

If you’re a fan of reading stories about small moments, or if you love a short story, this collection might be for you.

A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: Reader review PDF
Why I read it: As a reviewer for Coffee Time Reviews — and to rekindle my interest in dystopias.

I read A Touch of Death as a review request for Coffee Time Reviews, and it completely sucked me in. I kept telling my fiancé to leave me alone because I was busy reading my book.

I’m going to keep my comments on this one brief, as you can check out the full review in Coffee Time Reviews.

It’s a dystopia, the first one I’ve read in a while, and also features one of my favorite tropes in the form of a love triangle. Seeing as it’s book one of a pentalogy, I foresee a good deal of additional reading in my near future.

Lady August by Becky Michaels

Cover image courtesy of Goodreads

Format: Kindle eBook
Why I read it: I try a Regency romance every now and again because it doesn’t make sense to me that I’m not into this genre when I love Jane Austen and romantic comedy so much.

As much as I love Jane Austen (and modern twists on her stories), I’ve never quite gotten into the wide world of Regency romance. It wasn’t until I began reading Lady August that I understood my hesitancy.

There’s a great deal of moping about and lack of agency that’s possible for women in stories set in this time, and the archaic notions around sex and intimacy aren’t exactly my jam.

This book deftly fashions characters who have more modern sensibilities but still make sense within the limitations and restrictions of society in a different time, where scandal could arise from so little as a kiss.

The titular Lady August and our hero have their reasons for being a little outside the social norms, but other characters also feel more updated in their behaviors and attitudes, which is overall refreshing. I enjoyed that our heroine was not afraid to speak our mind, and our hero was not unknown to shed a tear or two.

In all, a thoroughly enjoyable read that I got through at a quick clip due to the imminently readable style.

So, that’s my April in reading!

I’m looking forward to the May summer vibes, with hopefully much more sunny outdoor reading.

I’m in a book club that will be reading People We Meet on Vacation next month, so I’m looking forward to that. Also on the radar is finishing up Mike Chen’s We Could Be Heroes..

I’d love to hear what everyone’s reading in the responses! Never one to turn down a chance to add more books to the TBR.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, why not give Your Book Friend a follow? Or, consider buying me a coffee  so I can stay caffeinated and read more books!