April 2022 Novel Ideas: 23 Quick Lit Reviews

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I love the warm weather of spring and reading outside! April 2022 Novel Ideas reflects the lighter reading fare I tend to gravitate toward in spring.

As Jackie and I prepare for the Summer Reading Challenge, we often find ourselves reading carefree stories perfect for beach season. In fact, you’ll find many of the books below on our Ultimate Beach Reads 2022 book list.

Enjoy the list below and let us know if you find anything to add to your reading list!

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you.

Kirsten’s April 2022 Novel Ideas Stack

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

The sequel to Tokyo Ever After delivered the same rich details about Japanese history and customs, as well as covering the expectations of the royal family.

Izumi is learning all of these things thanks to her new tutor, Eriku, a handsome young man around her age. She’s desperately trying to be the perfect princess so that her parent’s wedding will be approved.

But should she be sacrificing who she is for their union? And what about her growing feelings for Eriku? This story was charming and delightful. I’m hopeful we will get another story in this series.

Thanks to Flatiron Books for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

May 2022 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

I haven’t read a novel with as much heart as this one in quite some time.

Elderly, recently widowed Tova loves her job cleaning the aquarium in town in the quiet of the night, especially because of her fondness for Marcellus, the octopus. She finds solace in the aquarium as it makes her feel closer to her son, Erik – a marine life lover – who disappeared on a boat when he was 18.

But when she hurts herself and is unable to return to work at full capacity, she grows close with her replacement, Cameron, a young man newly arrived in town looking for his birth mother.

Meanwhile, Marcellus knows what really happened to Erik and he wants to help Tova find the closure she needs. His narration is interspersed with Tova and Cameron’s for a story that is compelling, heartwarming, and utterly unique.

I will be shoving this book into the hands of everyone who asks for a book recommendation. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s my favorite book of the year so far.

Thanks to Ecco Books for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The No-Show by Beth O’Leary

Beth O’Leary has done it again with the No-show. The premise is simple. Three women are stood up on Valentine’s Day. As they try to overcome the embarrassment and stay in the relationship with their respective dates, secrets are told, love is tested, and not all is what it seems.

This may seem like a typical romance, but it’s really about each of the women finding themselves and what they need in a relationship. There is also a tragedy woven into the story that had me in tears at the end. The ways their lives interconnect is special and wrapped up beautifully at the end.

Thanks to Berkley for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Wedding Season by Katy Birchall

When Freya is left a the altar by her fiance, she’s not sure how she’s going to get through the wedding season ahead of her. Soon her friends have a plan – Freya must perform a series of challenges at each of the 7 weddings she’s going to attend.

In the process, she tries to put her relationship behind her and get over the heartbreak while celebrating her friends and loved ones. This charming tale had me smiling and cheering for Freya and her heart.

Love a good wedding story? Check out these fiction books about wedding season!

Thanks to MacMillan Audio for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Royal Assignment by Alexandra Joel

I found this story about an Australian journalist’s rise in an all-male industry to be quite informative. I love historical fiction novels that look at groundbreaking women.

This novel had mystery, romance, and fierce female leads set against the backdrop of the 60s. The royal in the title is a little misleading as the royals come up as only minor characters.

Instead, we get to learn about the newspaper industry and just how hard it was for females to be accepted in journalism at the time.

Thanks to Harper Collins for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Elektra by Jennifer Saint

It’s official. I will read anything that Jennifer Saint writes because she nails it every time!

Elektra is told from the perspective of three women linked to famed ruler Agamemnon. His wife, Clytemnestra, his daughter, Elektra, and the Troy princess, Cassandra.

Starting with the Agamemnon sacrificing one of his daughters to the gods of war, we see how these three women’s lives are impacted by his involvement in the Trojan War and how trauma can have a profound impact on those that experience it.

In Elektra, Saint once again weaves a masterful tale of greek mythology. She’s the modern-day Homer and I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next!

Thanks to MacMillan Audio for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews

The Homewreckers is basically HGTV with a dash of murder and I AM HERE FOR IT!!!

I adored this story about a fixer-upper reality TV series and its female lead contractor. From the dead body and subsequent murder mystery to the detailed home renovation discussions – this book has it all.

Throw in a beach setting and a romance or two and it’s basically beach read heaven. All hail Mary Kay Andrews and her amazing summer reads.

Thanks to St. Martins Press for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

I love a good mythology retelling, but usually, I read Greek mythology. Kaikeyi is a retelling of a story well-known in the Hindu religion.

While I can’t attest to the accuracy of the tale, I can say that I was utterly captivated by the story of Kaikeyi’s life. I learned that she is a villain in Hindu but I found Patel’s narrative so compelling that I felt for Kaikeyi and supported all of her decisions.

If you are a fan of Ariadne, Circe, or other mythological retellings, you must pick up this book. It’s wonderful.

Thanks to Redhook for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight

The title of the Mayfair bookshop is a little miss leading. The story is a fictional biography of famed author Nancy Mitford, but it has little to do with the bookshop she worked in.

I’ve read other stories about Nancy and know that she is a fascinating lady, yet I found that she came across as flat and meek in this version of her life.

I would recommend this list of books about writers instead.

Thanks to William Morrow for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher

I love Kerri Maher’s other two books so I eagerly grabbed this story about an American ex-Pat (Sylvia Beach) that opened a bookstore in Paris during the time between WWI and WWII.

The story was sprinkled with literary figures well-known from the time – think Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stein, etc. But the story really revolves around Beach’s publication of Joyce’s Ulysses.

I had no idea that the famous book caused such a stir in the world at the time – with many publishing houses refusing to publish it based on its content.

The story was interesting but a little dragged out in parts. I think the tedium of the publishing process just got to be a little too detailed for my taste.

If this story catches your eye, check out our list of books about bookstores!

Thanks to Berkley for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Club by Ellery Lloyd

March 2022 Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

This book was a WILD ride and I loved every exhilarating twist and turn! The Home Club is clearly based on members-only celebrity clubs like SoHo House but the newest Home Club is opening on a private island and features an opening weekend to die for.

Literally, because it’s a murder mystery. Except we the readers don’t know who is murdered, how, or why at the beginning…but instead we are treated to various narrators telling the points of view of the weekend as it unfolds.

The layered approach to telling the story of the celebrity shenanigans and the murder of a key figure in the Home Group family had me flipping through the pages of this book. A truly enjoyable beach read!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

February 2022 GMA Book Club Pick

WHAT A MYSTERY! The Violin Conspiracy opens with a man’s 14 million dollar Stradivarius violin being stolen and the drama doesn’t let up.

Ray McMillian is a young black musical prodigy who just so happens to have inherited his grandpa’s busted-up fiddle – that turns out to be a rare violin built by one of the greats. But when the origins of the violin come into question along with Ray’s claim to the instrument, the plot keeps thickening.

Truly the story was a gripping page-turner I could not put down. Slocumb’s ability to weave a multi-faceted tale was astounding. I look forward to whatever story he crafts next.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

Greta James is at a crossroads in her career and her life. After a very public breakdown following her mother’s death, Greta decides to go on an Alaskan Cruise with her father.

But Greta and her father haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. This book focused on Greta’s relationship with her dad and herself. There is a side love story angle, but I would not classify this book as a romance.

I loved Greta’s soul searching set against the gorgeous backdrop of Alaska. This story would make a perfect vacation read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

April 2022 GMA Book Club Pick

I don’t even know where to begin with this unique story. Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in the 50s when women were expected to know their place in society — their place being the kitchen and the home.

Elizabeth struggles to be taken seriously in her field and as a single mother, that just won’t due. So when an offer to host a cooking show for women is put in her path she reluctantly takes it.

She uses her no-nonsense attitude and chemistry principles to teach the women in America to not only cook but to follow their dreams outside of the home.

Zott is a quirky character like Eleanor Oliphant with a charming daughter and a dog whose inner monologue is as quirky as hers. An absolutely wonderful read!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Amor Towles can do no wrong! I loved this story set in 1938 that follows a year in working girl Katey Kontent’s life in NYC. Starting and ending on NYE, we get to see the many twists and turns of Katey’s life that year.

Romances, career changes, and discovered secrets pepper the year of entering womanhood for Miss Kontent. Towles’s writing was captivating as always. His characters were expertly crafted and I felt an emotional connection to each of them.

This one will have to go on our list of the best books about NYE!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

All the Queen’s Men by SJ Bennett

Her Majesty, The Queen, is back to solving mysteries in what is quickly becoming my new favorite mystery series.

After a painting goes missing Queen Elizabeth II and her assistant Private Secretary, Rosie, are on the case! As Rosie does the legwork to uncover the painting, people start turning up dead at Buckingham Palace.

Can the Queen use her cunning to solve the case from her throne? You bet she can and quicker than I was able to solve the case.

If you love the royals, you’ll love our post of the best royal reads!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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Jackie’s April 2022 Novel Ideas Stack

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner

What can I say about this book other than the fact that it is non-stop fun. It is a book equivalent of a soap opera. Every character has secrets that will be exposed.

When Ruby decides that she is going to marry her boyfriend Gabe after living together in her parents house throughout the pandemic, secrets from the past will emerge and every single relationship is threatened. This book is perfect for the beach and is the perfect summer read.

Thanks to Atria for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

I was not sure what to expect when I read this book. It is a powerful YA story that is unexpected and powerful. The story deals with very serious topics like alcoholism, drug use, overdoses and sexual assault.

These can all be trigger warnings especially for any Young adult reading the book. I enjoyed it but, I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if it was not described as a love story. There is an underlying theme of what you would do for someone you love but, I would not classify this as a love story.

Thanks to Libro.fm for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

This LGBTQ YA Romance is a refreshing and sweet romance about Shara Wheeler who her academic rival Chloe, Smith, her quarterback boyfriend, and Rory her neighbor before disappearing and leaving clues for the three to find her.

The scavenger hunt is both literal and figurative search for Chloe, Smith, and Rory to find Shara and themselves in the process. This smart book had me listening nonstop.

Thanks to Macmillan Audio for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

I loved this book set in a bookstore! The story takes place just after WWII. Three women are working in Bloomsbury Books. Each has their reason for working there and trying to find their place in a man’s world.

We get to see alternating narrators, one of whom was in Jenner’s first book, The Jane Austen Society. But, you didnt have to read that book to delight in this one.

Everything about this story made me smile from the literary figures who appear in the story and become important to the story to each of the characters development. There were strong females in this book who left me smiling from the first minute to the last.

Thanks to MacMillan and Macmillan Audio for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Flirting with Fate by J.C Cervantes

Ava is on her way to meet her dying grandmother and get her grandmother’s inheritance (powers) when she gets in a car accident. The result? Someone else, Achilles, receives her power.

Now, Ava must get her powers back from him with the help of her grandmother as her spirit guide. While the story is superficially about getting her powers, the deeper theme is the strong familial ties and the guilt she has over not being with her grandmother. This was a fun read, despite the fact that I did not like Achilles at the beginning of the story (which makes it hard to like him in the end).

Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for my review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hello Molly!

Wow. I did not know that Molly Shannon had such trauma in her early childhood. She grew up without her mother and with an alcoholic father. The fact that she is able to maintain such a positive outlook and continue to make others laugh seems amazing to me. Molly’s story is a very powerful one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyen

Washington Black, Wash, is a slave in a barbados sugar plantation. When he is selected for be the man servant for the master’s brother, he does not know what to expect. Christopher Wilde is nothing like his brother. He is an explorer, an inventor and an abolitionist. Soon the two find themselves fleeing to save Wash’s life.

This is a powerful story about what it means to be truly free.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Did you find any books from April 2022 Novel Ideas to add to your bookshelf?

The post April 2022 Novel Ideas: 23 Quick Lit Reviews appeared first on Beyond the Bookends.

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