Monday, August 2, 2021

What I Read In March

Who called it - that I wouldn't have my March books reviewed before August? You all win an imaginary badge, and I am one of your ranks because I also knew I'd blow it up. I am *determined* to catch up without overwhelming you all (ya know, all 4 of you) with book reviews. Chugging along, I'll get there.

This feels like another lifetime ago, but here's what I read in March.

All the books I read in March |

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (4 stars)
Despite rating it as high as I did, I struggle to really describe what this book was about. I wouldn't have read this book if it weren't for BOTM, and while I liked it for it's beautiful writing, it's not one that really sticks with me. It was a lot of things. It's a book about family dynamics and minorities and romance and story telling. It's about a directionless PhD graduate who marries a stranger in Vegas and then goes in search of her. It's artsy and complicated, and a good exploration of the human experience. If you want to dig into some angst and emotion, this is a good one to check out.

Twelve Pillars by Jim Rohn (4 stars)
This is a super-quick and easy read that uses fiction to describe twelve aspects (or pillars) for living a good life. While the "twist" ending is entirely predictable, and the story is really pretty heavy on the cheese, I liked the messaging and the light-hearted nature of the more sage-like character, as well as the quick reminder of what a little intention can do for your life. It's a great one if you want something fast (like, read in an hour or two fast) to boost your state of mind.

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (5 stars)
On the other hand...this book was the opposite of fast. Not only because of its size or the importance of the information within it, but because of the way it made me stop to ruminate over the shocking and sometimes sickening history our country carries. This book was incredibly eye-opening, incredibly well-written, and an excellent choice for self-educating on the issues of racism, discrimination, and the social struggles of our communities. Such an important book.

The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren (4 stars)
If you know me at all, you know I love a Christina Lauren no matter what. That stands for this book, and yet it wasn't exactly my favorite. I'm not sure I could even say why? Maybe just that there have been so many of their books that have lit me up like a Christmas tree (I'm looking at you, In a Holidaze and Love and Other Words), that this one felt a little too heavy on the issues vs the romance. It was based on a fictionalized Chip & Joanna Gaines couple and the assistants that make their lives happen. There were romances all over the place - the one blossoming between the assistants, the one the "Chip" character was having behind his wife's back, and the publicly perfect one they were all supposed to be portraying.March book stackIt was a fun look at what their world might be like, for sure, and I definitely enjoyed it. This just wouldn't be the first CL book I'd recommend to someone new to their books. 

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz (3 stars)
Sigh...conflict. If I had one word to describe this book, it would be that. As a yogi, I connected with certain aspects of this book, and can even see the merit in the proposed agreements. However, it was written in the privileged way of an oblivious self-help writer (and don't get me wrong, I like self-help and I'm not angry at all of those authors - some of them just ignorantly miss the mark.) This guy missed the mark. I will forever remember this book as the one that told me I "shouldn't take it personally" if someone holds a gun to my head. Excuse me? I think I would, though, thanks. That line alone makes me want to drop it down to 2 stars, but there was still something about the other agreements that revved up that spiritual motivation side of me. So, if you're looking for an almost drill-sergeant, "there's no other options, we're hardcore about our spirituality!!!" type book...maybe this will hit for you? Just go into it with the understanding that you're probably going to get a bit annoyed by the author.  

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (4 stars)
I'll be honest with you: I chose to read this one because of the cover. No, no, that's not true. I read What You Wish For by Katherine Center because of the cover, and I really liked that book, so I thought I'd like this equally as gorgeous cover, too. I did like it (though not as much as WYWF), and it's unlike any other romance I've read in that the female lead is a firefighter. Usually smutty romance (not that this one was very smutty) has the stereotypical hunky fireman, ya know? So it was cool to see her strength and determination shine through as she navigated her career and the misogyny within it. And still find love, resolution, and forgiveness along the way. I loved how this one ended.

You Have a Match by Emma Lord (4 stars)
This one was fun! Partially because it's got that summer camp trope I'm into, but also because I have a found-through-DNA-kit family, too. The main characters in this books are two women in their late teens who discovered that they're actually sisters. Not even half sisters - full sisters. They lead entirely different lives, and in order to not rock the boat with their parents, the pair meet up at summer camp to get to know each other better and figure out what the heck happened in their past. Naturally, there's a touch of romance along the way, and I adored it. Such a cute story.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren (5 stars)
This was my first 5 star-fiction of the year, though it is backlist (from 2018). There was just....something about this story! I mean - 1) Christina Lauren, duh 2) friends who have spent entirely too much time unaware that they're in love with each other 3) super fun friend dynamic with one girl in a group of goofy, protective guys. Who wouldn't want to sign up for that?? This was so good - a "stay up way too late to read more of it" kinda good. Obsessssed.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (4 stars)
What an interesting one this was! Full of feminist themes and strength through adversity (plus a little side of sneaky murder), this book was a whole vibe. It passes between scorned Caroline in modern time and Nella and Eliza in the 1700's as they inhabit the same streets of London. Caroline is there on what is supposed to be her 10th wedding anniversary trip, but is instead flying solo and finding herself wrapped up in a long-forgotten mystery. Said mystery was left behind by dark apothecary Nella and her young assistant, Eliza. I spent the whole book feeling anxious for all three of these characters - hoping for the best, feeling for their causes, and wishing them all happiness. It's a really unique and interesting ride, and would be a really great one for the fall!

March was my best month of the first quarter, and it had some really great reads in there! At this point, I'd hit 22/100 books for the year - a little shy of my goal, but getting there!

I'm swearing it now: April's books will be up sooner than my recent record. ;)

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