What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April 2024)

Welcome to another round of “What I’ve Been Reading Lately” when I join other readers through Modern Mrs Darcy’s monthly QuickLit posts in sharing what we’ve been reading lately.

I love when an unanticipated common thread appears between reads. Sometimes it’s obvious very quickly; other times the common thread is more obscure. This month it was between two very different crime fiction reads, one I read for my Nordic Literature Reading Challenge and the other in anticipation of an author event at the LA Times Festival of Books last month. The settings and the unique cultural and historical aspects of these settings were so very different, a remote village in northern Sweden versus a diverse suburb in the American South, that at first I didn’t consider them similar at all. However, the two books shared some strong noir elements: flawed protagonists, brutal crimes, and an exploration of the darker sides of human nature. It was fun to mix up my Nordic Noir reading with some Southern Noir.

What have you been reading lately?

Yours Truly (Part of Your World, #2) by Abby Jimenez (2023) 🎧
Narrated by Kyla Garcia & Zachary Webber

Loved this story! I listened to it; the audiobook with the two narrators was excellent. This is the story of Brianna and Jacob, two ER doctors, whose lives cross as Briana’s divorce is finalizing and Jacob has moved to her hospital to get away from his ex who is now marrying his brother. Their first encounter is rocky, but a letter from Jacob resets everything. The characters are mature, thoughtful, and funny. They each have their own real issues affecting their take on their relationship. It was such a heartwarming story. I couldn’t wait to return to it after every listen. (Though book #2 in the series, it was totally fine to read as a standalone.) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Last Snow by Stina Jackson (2020) 📖
Translated from the Swedish by Susan Beard (2021)

As is often the case with Nordic Noir, the setting was bleak (remote village in northern Sweden) and the characters were flawed, in this case very flawed. There was nothing heartwarming or pleasant in this story, but it did have intriguing mystery and suspense that kept me reading. Liv lives with her domineering father and sullen 17-year old son. She is miserable and unable to leave. The father is hated by the community and believed to have a fortune hidden away at home. His death comes as no surprise to the community. It’s also the story of Liam who has a young child and is trying to break away from his controlling drug-dealing brother. There is unease and tension between everyone; anyone could have murdered the father. It took me a while to follow the jumps in the story and timeline at the beginning (the formatting and/or chapter titles could have been done better), but it soon settled for me. The ending was surprisingly satisfying. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman (2017) 🎧
Translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith (2018)
Narrated by Marin Ireland

I wasn’t the greatest fan of the first book in the series (Reading Lately, March 2018), but I enjoyed the ending enough to want to read the second in the series. Here I am 6 years later finally reading it! And I loved it. An omniscient narrator is telling the story of Beartown after its star hockey player has left town. Mia is trying to get on with her life after the sexual assault. The town’s beloved hockey club is struggling to survive and a new hockey coach is brought in to build a winning team. The town is very divided and there is a lot of tension and conflict, but there is also kindness, compassion, and hope. Can’t wait to read the final book in the series, Winners (but I must admit that the page count of 671 pages/21+ listening hours is a little intimidating).  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

All the Sinners Bleed by S. A. Cosby (2023) 📖

I was a great fan of Razorblade Tears (Reading Lately, June 2023) so I was quick to pick up his new title as well as buy a ticket to see him on a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books in April (an experience that didn’t disappoint!). In this story, readers follow Sheriff Crown, a former FBI agent and now first Black sheriff of his hometown in Virginia, as a shooting of a popular white teacher by a Black former student who is then killed by deputies opens up a whole sinister serial child killer mystery. It’s not for sensitive readers. At times, it was hard to keep track of all the characters, and occasionally, the writing was a little overdone, but overall a very engaging and riveting read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What have you been reading lately?

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2 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April 2024)

  1. Thanks again for your book reviews. I always appreciate them. I’m hesitant to add any more books to my list of “to read.” I have 469 on my Goodreads list to read. The original “group” is still there as I tend to read the more recent suggestions! UGH! I’ll be 78 this summer, so no way will I get all of these read! We left CA for Sweden on April 26 so I’ve not had a lot of time to read. April’s reading: The Mayfair Bookshop was the first “April” book. Enjoyable and fun to read. I knew nothing about the Mitfords…what a family! Nancy Mitford’s book The Pursuit of Love is part of The Mayfair Bookshop and I think I need to try to find it and read it! If I ever get to London again, I will definitely try to visit the Mayfair Bookshop! Another historical fiction was next: The Secret Pianist. An interesting historical fiction WWII book. I felt really happy to read 2 books in a row I really, really enjoyed reading. Those were the only 2 I finished in April.

    • I appreciate your updates! Love that you had two really enjoyable reads in a row. Have a great time in Sweden!

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