April Wrap up + FULL REVIEWS!♡ Picture books, French lit & Middle Grades.

I can now officially say that when you work full-time at a library, then you read more books. Obviously (and contrary to popular belief), you do not read at work, but you read a lot after work because you have seen all the pretty books you may potentially borrow and take home. Well, that is definitely what happened to me going from part-time employment at the library to full-time internship – 18 books in total. Are you ready to take a look at the monthly wrap up (and reviews)? Go!

N.B. The books I read which only exist in French have been reviewed in French as I know that a lot of you either want to read more books in that language or to learn it altogether.

Middle Grades (& classic ones)

The House in the Cerulean Sea, T.J. Klune. ☆☆☆☆☆

Can we give 6⭐️ to books on Goodreads? I do not think so but if it were possible, be sure I would have chosen that option. This book is probably one of my favorite books of the year (well, sure it is!)
We have everything I love: a beautiful love story, magical beings, kindness, action and a positive message. I won’t spoil you but know that I have heard EVERYONE on YouTube say it was a book to make you happy and of course it is. I listened to it and wow, I have spent the most beautiful bus rides in my whole life lol. It was so soothing to listen to it on my way back from work and I can’t recommend it enough. If you are feeling down right now, give it a chance as I am pretty sure it will boost your mood in a minute! 🌸

The Ickabog, J.K. Rowling.☆☆☆☆

As a Harry Potter fan, I just had to read this one. It was very good, even though rather slow at first. Obviously, it has nothing to do with the Harry Potter series but still, I can feel the author’s “touch”. I spent a really great time reading this story, but I was a little bit surprised as it is just not what I was expecting.

I do not want to give spoilers here, but I thought I would read something whimsical and ended up reading a rather hard book tackling topics such as treachery and the death of a parent.
Just know when going into it that it is not the cutest book in the world, but a very great book altogether.

I loved the plot twists and the overall story and above all, I loved the message of hope residing in this book.

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll. ☆☆☆☆

As a fan of the adventures of Alice in Wonderland, I just had to read the second part of it, right? Well, it was as always extremely enjoyable (4⭐️ because I will probably always have a preference for the first book) and beautiful. I still love the way the author plays with language, and I am still so impressed by all the layers of meaning of the book. Drugs, mental illness, everything seems to be in it. Thoughts on giving meaning to things too, and a lot of sentences meant to make you think in a whole new way.
The children’s book « side » of the book is perfect, and the adult’s book « side » is even more perfect maybe.
Also, big ❤️ for the audiobook version!

Paddington donne un coup de patte (French editon), Michael Bond ☆☆☆

As always with Middle Grades, this book was very wholesome and a total comfort read. In this one, we do not follow an actual novel but several adventures of the famous Paddington. I was used to the picture books I have at the library in which I work, but reading actual short stories was very interesting. In fact, the book is divided into different short stories with no real link between them, except the presence of our beloved bear.

To be honest, I would have preferred a novel or a novella to this amount of short stories, but it was still very pleasing to read. I loved it, and I think lots of children (and adults) would love it to.

Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi. ☆☆☆☆

I really loved reading Pinocchio and actually read the 200 pages of my edition in 1 day: that’s a thing! At first, I found it hard to read: Pinocchio was kind of nasty and not a good boy at all, and reading about his mischiefs felt quite odd. However, Ingot accustomed to the story and Pinocchio became kinder and kinder. It was such a pleasant read, and it is such a classic! It also delivers a beautiful message to all children out there (but also to us adults, who need to be good persons as well). ⭐️

Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie. ☆☆☆☆

Yet another classic I had not read! It is a strong 4⭐️ for me: full of hidden meaning, beauty and a clever writing. I feel life Peter Pan is one of these stories we all think we know even though we have actually never read the original version of it. At least, it was the case for me. I am beyond happy I got to actually read it after years spent thinking I knew the story: no, I did not. It is so pleasing to discover a story you think you knew. I highly recommend, both to those who know nothing of Peter Pan’s story, and to those who think they know, but might not…

Bliss (The Bliss Bakery #1), Kathryn Littlewood.☆☆☆☆

I really enjoyed that book (and it made me want to eat sugary things the whole time lol). As every Middle Grade I read, I reeeeally fell in love with it. We follow the story of the Bliss family, and especially Rose’s story.
We learn very early in the book (so no spoiler here) that this family knows how to bake magic things: muffins, pies etc. Rose, as a young teenager, would love to become prettier and more « remarkable ». Who has never felt transparent, especially as a teenager?
When their parents leave the bakery for a few days, aunt Lily appears. Rose sees in her everything she would love to be: a mix between beauty and intelligence.
But what will Rose do? What can she sacrifice for beauty? And what will she do with the wonderful Bliss kitchen book? I let you read to know… 🌸

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Roald Dahl.☆☆☆☆

I really enjoyed reading this book. This is, I think, my third book by Roald Dahl and I can definitely say that I love this writer.
In this story, we follow Charlie, his family and Mr Wonka in an adventure… in space! I must say that I did not really enjoy the beginning of the book (more or less until page 60) as to me, the part in which the characters are in space was not that interesting. The illustrations were cool and the adventures described were entertaining as well, but I missed a “little something”. I think it is because I still had Charlie and the Chocolate Factory too much in mind and I was comparing the two books too much. Of course, this one is the logical following part but it is still a very different book. Naturally, I preferred the last part of the book, when the characters are back in the factory.

In the first book, I saw a clear message on poverty and the importance of being a kind and polite child. In this one, I saw more of a criticism of people who always want more and lack discipline. In both books, I loved the moral message. I may just say that I think this book lacked depth compared to the first one, probably due to the fact that Charlie does not play such a big role in the plot structure.

Altogether, I loved this one, but I compared it too much to the first book. For those of you who do not have Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in mind, I think this can easily be a 5⭐️ read.

[ARC] Lizzie’s Dream Journal, Charlie King.☆☆☆☆

That book was a tough read. Oh it was good, but the topics… This is technically a Middle Grade and I easily get why: our main character is definitely in the right age range. However, I think the topics covered may be hard for a very young teenager. I am talking about the death of a parent, the loss of expectations and about bullying. However, I think it can be a great book to give a young (or not that young) teenager going through these dark events. As we know, it does not only happen to other people and, unfortunately, many people have to go through these dark times in the course of their life.

Regarding the story, I loved the concept of the journal: dreaming and writing are intricately connected and in its own special way, this novel is an ode to the power of writing and art. I loved that. I also loved the author’s writing. Nonetheless, and even though I see that it is the point of the book, I felt a little bit dizzy due to the mix between the two stories: the “setting story” and the stories Lizzie creates in her dreams. Personally, and even though both parts are interconnected, I have had a preference for the “setting story” and I may have preferred spending more time with Sophie than with Rodford for instance. However, this remark is really personal and you might actually prefer spending time in Lizzie’s dreams. Moreover, the two stories represent more or less 50/50 of the book, so no matter which one you prefer, I think you will enjoy reading the novel.
To finish, I must say that I have been amazed at the quality of the plot twists in this novel!

Picture books (French reviews mainly)

Le petit problème de Victor, Rhéa Dufresne, Thierry Manès. ☆☆☆☆☆

Ce livre est adorable. Ma collègue l’a commandé récemment pour la bibliothèque et en le voyant, je suis tombée amoureuse. Un livre pour les bébés qui ravira les parents, les maîtresses et (surtout, oops) les bibliothécaires !
Victor a en effet un problème que nous sommes beaucoup à avoir, adultes comme enfants ; mais quel est ce problème ?

La maison de l’ourse et tout ce qu’elle contient, Émilie Vast. ☆☆☆☆☆

Le travail d’Émilie Vast me rend toujours heureuse ; voir ses illustrations fait de moi la bibliothécaire la plus heureuse du monde ! Ce livre ne fait pas exception, il est parfait. Les illustrations sont d’une douceur infinie et le message est percutant. Presque tristes à son acmé, cet album nous rappelle l’importance des relations humaines et les problèmes liés au matérialisme.

Les choses précieuses, Astrid Desbordes & Pauline Martin. ☆☆☆☆☆

New York Melody, Hélène Druvert. ☆☆☆☆☆

Jump, Tatsuhide Matsuoka.☆☆☆☆

I have a passion for board books and this one is no exception. Once again, being a librarian means reading lots of fun books and this one is perfect. It is super simple, but typically the kind of book you can use for storytime; so many activities to be done around this!

The Three Robbers, Tomi Ungerer. ☆☆☆☆☆

Contemporary fiction

Love & Gelato (Love and Gelato #1), Jenna Evans Welch.☆☆☆☆☆

May I give this book 7 ⭐️? It is the best book I have read this year, like for SURE! We follow Carolina’s journey in Italy. After the death of her mother (we learn about it really early in the book), she goes to Italy as her mom asked her too before her death. Thus, she goes to Italy. Their, she tries to solve her mother’s mystery (such a crazy life!), while discovering Italy’s architecture and food. Oh, and she might also be involved in some kind of romance, which I will let to you to discover… 🌸
I saw that there were 2 other books in the series (also available on Scribd) so I will definitely listen to those. It is really the kind of book that makes me want to g to Italy. I can’t wait to be able to travel again after this pandemic situation and discover Italy. A full 7⭐️ star for this beautifully written, deep and suspenseful book.

The Reader on the 6.27, Jean-Paul Didierlaurent. ☆☆☆☆☆

This is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. I read it in French, I think it is important to mention that here juste in case the translation is not totally accurate.
So I borrowed it at my library and I fell in love with it immediately. A man (our main character, whose name creates a pun in French that I will let you discerner for yourself) works in a factory that basically destroys books (the ones that can’t be sold anymore or the ones that have a problem). I would love to tell you more about the story but I went into it with absolutely nothing in mind and I would not want to take away that pleasure from you. Just know that this story is full of hope, love, beauty hidden in the tiny little things and very, very normal and relatable people.

(French review)

La vie secrète des écrivains, Guillaume Musso. ☆☆☆☆

C’est la première fois que je lis un livre de Guillaume Musso mais étant bibliothécaire, je me suis dit qu’à un moment donné, il fallait bien se lancer ! Bah oui, les usagers ne se ruent pas dessus sans raison, si ? Et bien non, et je dirais même qu’ils ont une bonne raison : ce roman en particulier est vraiment bon.
Je trouve que c’est le parfait équilibre entre la description, le polar et le roman. Je vois une claire différence entre ces deux genres puisque selon moi, le roman se laisse le temps d’être, tandis que le polar vous jette dans des péripéties perpétuelles. J’ai donc trouvé cet équilibre très bien maîtrisé, et même si un lecteur avide de romans ou de polars pourrait rester sur sa faim, un lecteur comme moi (qui aime un petit peu tout ce qui se lit, oops) aimera certainement l’ouvrage de Guillaume Musso.

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds. ☆☆☆

I loved the concept and the writing, but I missed a little something. However, I think it is just me living extra long books but it perfectly does its job and is perfectly the kind of work it is supposed to be. I do understand those of you who rate the book 5⭐️, it is just not really my style. However, it was very good to listen to.

I hope you like reading these wrap ups as much as I love writing them. I feel like I never come to take the time to write long and in-depth reviews of books without giving spoilers so that’s why I think this format to be appropriate. I am still kept really busy with grad school and my internship but I am totally looking forward to reading your recommendations.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: