March 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

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(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

The crazy weather of March allowed for a lot of book reading time. I’ve gotta say: since I’ve gotten better at paying attention to my source recommendations (s/o Sarah’s Book Shelves, Basicbsguide, Reading n Running, and Novel Visits), my reading life has improved so much. I’m getting better at not following the hype on EVERY.SINGLE.BOOK and sometimes just sitting back and seeing what more people say about it.

Below is my March reads…click on the links for my full reviews!

  • *** The Island of Sea Women by: Lisa See (Scribner) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • A perfect choice for the historical fiction reader that needs a break from the WWII/Nazi theme. Set in Korea during the WWII time period, this book is a fascinating glimpse into real-life “mermaids” – the haenyeo. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • A Woman Is No Man by: Etaf Rum (Haper) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • A book I can’t stop thinking about since I finished the last page! Powerful, hard-to-read at times, and so thought-provoking. The last 50ish pages were some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever written about a mother’s commitment to her children, come what may. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • *** A People’s History of Heaven by: Mathangi Subramanian (Algonquin) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019
    • Another book I can’t stop thinking about. Heaven is a slum in Bangladore. And despite the difficulties of living in extreme poverty, these characters left me with such a sense of hope. The friendship theme is strong in this book and I just thought it was so gorgeously done. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • *** Daisy Jones and The Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • I have yet to read a TJR book that left me disappointed. All done so differently, they are each uniquely written, but I think this one takes the cake! Told in interview (script) format, I couldn’t get enough of this book. At times, I questioned that it wasn’t written about an actual band. The only regret I have with this one is that I might have enjoyed listening to the audio about this one. I’ve heard it’s phenomenal! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • *** The Things We Cannot Say by: Kelly Rimmer (Graydon House) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019
    • Sadly, this one fell flat for me. I think it was more my issues than the book itself though because I’ve seen rave reviews. I honestly think I’m burned out on WWII historical fiction right now and am craving a break. All of that to say: don’t let my opinion on this one sway you. Search out some other reviews to make your final decision! ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • Queenie by: Candice Carty-Williams (Scout Press) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019
    • This one started out so poorly for me, but finished so strong! I was frustrated with Queenie in so many ways, but as the book progressed, I came to love her so much. I have continued to think about this book on and off and I think Queenie will become a beloved character to me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • *** A Grip of Time by: Lauren Kessler (Red Lightning Books) – On Shelves: May 1, 2019
    • It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to pick this one up and I’m glad I did. As someone who loves books about writing, I especially loved how Kessler wanted to start a writing group in a prison to learn about the inmates lives and to help them work through personal issues at the same time. Kessler also included some convincing facts and figures regarding the American prisons and its prisoners. Lots of food for thought in this one! This one isn’t on shelves until May 1, 2019, but be sure to put it on your list! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Next Year in Havana by: Chanel Cleeton (Berkley) – Pub Date: February 6, 2018
    • Rereading this one was like visiting an old friend. I loved it it last year (it was one of my favorite books of 2018), and the second time around did not disappoint. Full of Cuban history and politics, this book is smart while also entertaining with the present-day timeline. The second book by Cleeton is out in April and I cannot wait! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Five Feet Apart by: Rachel Lippincott (Simon and Schuster for Young Readers) – Pub Date: November 20, 2018
    • With a movie adaptation just released, I wanted to read this one (I generally prefer the book vs the movie). I really didn’t know much about cycstic fibrosis before reading this so I appreciated gaining more of an insight into this disease. I liked the characters too, and overall, I thought this book was fine. My 11-year-old and I read this one together and both really enjoyed it! (There were some mature themes, so I’m glad I was able to censor some of that out!) ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
  • Dear Martin by: Nic Stone (Ember) – Pub Date: October 17, 2017
    • A small book (just barely over 200 pages), but it packs a huge punch. In response to so many young Black (unarmed) men being gunned down by law enforcement in recent news, Stone delivers a book that addresses the subtle racism that is so present in today’s world. Eye-opening, revealing, and honest, this is a must read for everyone! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Other Americans by: Laila Lalami (Pantheon) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019
    • Roxane Gay gave this one five stars so I’m not sure how much convincing one would need to read this one. I’m no Roxane Gay, but I whole-heartedly agree with her. This was such a good book! Insights into the characters’ lives (and there are lots of them, but don’t be scared because it’s not confusing at all!) are revealed in layers over time. I loved Lalami’s writing and I couldn’t put this book down! (Read my full review here!) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Renegade Women in Film and TV by: Elizabeth Weitzman (Clarkson Potter) – Pub Date: February 5, 2019
    • My daughter and I read this one together. We loved the illustrations – they’re gorgeous – and we enjoyed learning about the women trailblazers – both past and present – in the film and tv industry. This was a perfect book to read in Women’s History Month! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • In Another Time by: Jillian Cantor (Harper Perennial) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • It seems like most of #bookstagram is loving this one! I’ll have my full review up on Monday, April 1st as part of the Get Red PR campaign! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 🎧 Cherry by: Nico Walker (Knopf) – Pub Date: August 14, 2018
    • This one took me awhile to get through because, at first, it enthralled me. I couldn’t get enough of it (and my housework thanks this book for it), but as it moved on, it lost its steam for me. Apparently this book is a semi-autobiographical novel about the author. He went to war in Iraq and when he returns, he suffers from PTSD and has a heroine addiction. He turns to bank robbery to fuel his habit. At times, I was a little shocked at the vulgarity of it, but I also understand that the topic warrants that kind of grit and honesty. I think there’s something to hearing that kind of blatant talk vs reading it, so I’m sure that was part of the issue. Overall, I LOVED the narrator, Jeremy Bobb, and he deserves 5-stars alone for his performance! He was incredible and I appreciated his gravely voice so much; if not for his performance, I may have DNF’d this one. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • If, Then by: Kate Hope Day (Random House) – Pub Date: March 12, 2019
    • Don’t you wish covers would be an indication of a good book? Like, if the cover is beautiful and gorgeous, the book will land among your favorites. Bad cover? Terrible book. Wouldn’t that make things easier? In all seriousness, I LOVE the cover of this book, but I didn’t love the story. I found it disjointed and confusing, uninteresting and bland. I did appreciate the volcano in the story and it seemed like its own character. What’s frustrating about that is that it had better character development than all the other characters in the story! I could appreciate the premise of the story, but it just felt like way too much was going on. With a big cast of characters who each had their own issues, there was no connection. It quite literally felt like five different stories that tried to be one. Unfortunately, this one just did not work for me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Beautiful Bad by: Annie Ward (Park Row) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • I really enjoyed this book! While a little predictable towards the end, it didn’t detract from the story. Maddie’s adventures with Jo in war-torn countries, Ian’s alcoholism and PTSD issues, Jo and Ian’s hatred for each other – all combined to create an intense roller coaster ride! I’ve found my mystery/thriller niche and its psychological thrillers. I love the mind mends and the well-developed plot lines that seem to be a little more present than in #whodunit stories. I switched off and on between reading and listening to this one and it was awesome! I enjoyed the audio version (though I’m confused why Ian sounded Irish instead of British 🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️), and mostly I was just so excited with the amount of housework, laundry, exercise I could get done while staying in the same story! I’m going to continue to seek out audiobooks of books I have on my shelf in order to increase my productivity!

DNF:

  • *** The Mastermind: Drugs, Murder, Betrayal by: Evan Ratliff (Random House) – Pub Date: January 29, 2019 (DNF @ 10%)
    • I desperately wanted to follow in Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup‘s footsteps (my review here), but I just couldn’t get into this one. I think some people will really be able to get on board with it, but I was getting way too confused and bored trying to keep this story straight. I’m gonna hand this one off to my father-in-law though because I think he’ll really enjoy it!
  • *** We Cast A Shadow by: Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World) – Pub Date: January 29, 2019 (DNF @ 24%)
    • One of the books I was most excited about this winter, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t grasp the writing style. This may be the first book I’ve read that’s satirical and I’m wondering if that’s my problem. I’m going to stick this one back on my shelves and search out a few more reviews before completely giving up on it, but for now, it’s just not for me. 
  • That Time I Loved You by: Carrianne Leung (Liveright) – Pub Date: March 27, 2019
    • I’m so bummed about this one because it was a #ShelfSubscription book from The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia. I read over half of it and it was just fine. I’ve made a deal with myself that when I stop caring about reading a book, I’m going to stop. I have way too many I want to read to spend time wasting time…so I stopped! It just felt like nothing happened and I just stopped caring.

It’s going to be hard to name just one book as my favorite book of March because I actually loved several. I suppose DAISY JONES AND THE SIX would be my favorite if I had to name one, but I also really adore A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF HEAVEN, A WOMAN IS NO MAN, QUEENIE, and THE OTHER AMERICANS, and BEAUTIFUL BAD.

What was your favorite read of March?

Author: happiestwhenreading

I'm a book lover of all genres - my favorites are memoir, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, and self-help/non-fiction.

2 thoughts on “March 2019 Reading Wrap-Up”

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