Hello! I hope that you had a wonderful month and read lots of great books in March. I had a mixed bag of books this month, with quite a few 3 stars (which are not bad at all, they’re just not as exciting or enjoyable as I would hope for) – but we did manage to get some five stars towards the end of the month.
So, let’s dive into the books I read in March!
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
YA Fantasy – 4/5 stars
This book is the 6th book in the Harry Potter series. It is not my favourite book individually because I find it a lot slower than the others – Harry finds out a lot of important information which is really important in the context of the overall story, but this does just take time. I do love the Harry Potter series though, so it is always an enjoyable enough book to listen to.
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
Historical / Literary Fiction – 3/5 stars
In this story, we follow two black sisters who run away from their small town before one sister decides to pass as white and marry a white man leaving her sister behind. We follow each of the sisters, as well as their daughters and discover where their different choices have led them and what happens when their daughters meet.
I normally quite enjoy multiple point of view books, but I really didn’t enjoy it in this book. We follow each person for quite a chunk of the book before swapping to someone else, and I found the perspective swaps quite irritating and predictable. I also kept thinking that we were building up to something happening, but nothing significant ever came which I found quite disappointing.
This book does raise some really interesting questions and I was thinking about it for a long time afterwards, the execution just isn’t my favourite. However, so many people love this book so don’t let me put you off if you are interested!
All That We Carried – Erin Bartels
Christian / Contemporary Fiction – 4/5 stars
For my first dip into Christian Fiction, this was a really lovely place to start. In this story we follow two sisters, who have drifted apart since their parents’ deaths 10 years ago, as they set out on a hike together. It’s a really gentle, easy to read story but with just the right balance of interesting events happening along the journey and the discussions and discoveries they are having.
The book opens up so many interesting thoughts and reflections, about how the two sisters have responded to grief differently and how that has impacted their lives, how their grief has impacted what they believe about life and faith, and what they are each searching for in life.
The only reason this doesn’t reach 5 stars for me, is that at the beginning one of the sisters, Melanie seemed almost like a caricature of herself, it was just a bit too much; and there were a couple of hints towards something about Josh, a character they meet, which I really didn’t like – it just felt very unnecessary and took away from the story for me.
Thank you to NetGalley and Revell for letting me read this book.
The Frequency of Us – Keith Stuart
Romance / Historical / Mystery Fiction – 3/5 stars
I have such mixed feelings about this book! It was not at all what I was expecting, but I loved the mystery element to the story. In this book, we follow Laura, a young woman dealing with anxiety and her childhood trauma, who has returned home to live with her mum and has just taken a job as a carer. As part of this job, she meets Will – a grumpy, elderly man still trying to uncover the mystery of Elsa, the Austrian refugee he fell in love with before she disappeared without a trace when Bath was bombed during WWII, who no one else remembers.
This is a perfectly enjoyable read, and I found the writing style quick and easy to read. The characters are really interesting to read about, and I felt really invested in both Laura’s life and Will’s story. There were a few different, slightly creepy moments that really kept me guessing as to what was going on, but I ultimately didn’t love the conclusion – particularly how it pulled Laura’s dad into the story and the impact of the conclusion on Laura’s family. I would definitely recommend this book if enjoy multiple POVs and a real combination of different genres mixed together really well.
Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for letting me read this book!
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman – Theodora Goss
Fantasy / Historical Fiction – 5/5 stars
This book is the second in The Athena Club Series, which began with The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (you can see my review for this book in my January blog post here). This series follows a group of young women all related in some way to well known men from Victorian gothic literature (Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and others). After discovering each other, they team up to investigate and fight back against the society that their “fathers” belong to. This second book was just as good as the first and was packed full of adventure – as the name suggests we see the Athena club travelling across Europe, and meeting a whole lot of interesting characters along the way, many of whom I am sure you will recognise…
A Bend in the Road – Nicholas Sparks
Romance – 4/5 stars
A Bend in the Road is a really easy-to-read romance from Nicholas Sparks, following the story of Miles and his son several years after his wife was killed in a hit-and-run accident. The romance element of this book is just really nice to read, and had me smiling plenty of times, as did the relationship between Miles and his son. The other element of this book is Miles trying to uncover who was driving the car that killed his wife. This really ups the stakes of this books, and keeps you guessing. I did find Miles a much more annoying character this time of reading, even if he has an excuse for being very emotional.
The Crucible – Arthur Miller
Classic (Play) – 3/5 stars
So I read this book for school back in my GCSE English days, and haven’t looked at it since. I think spending so much time studying this book back then had me thinking that there was a lot more in this book then there actually was – it’s very short!
If you haven’t read this book before, it is a play based upon the Salem witch trials where a group of girls accuse other women of witchcraft in order to get themselves out of trouble. Every woman who is accused has to “confess” and accuse someone else in order to avoid hanging.
I do find this play super interesting and can definitely see some parallels with modern day society, but it does really feel like not a lot happens in this book.
When They Find Her – Lia Middleton
Thriller – 5/5 stars
This was an incredible debut thriller; I can’t wait to see what Lia Middleton does next!
In this story we follow Naomi as her daughter is allowed to stay overnight with her for the first time in many years. When it all goes horribly wrong, Naomi tells a lie and reports her daughter missing. What follows is a real spiral of lies situation and you can really feel the tension building up as the lies continue to grow.
I loved the tension of this book, and the way it pulls you so completely into Naomi’s life. Whilst at first you might want to yell at her for the decisions she’s making, you really come to feel for her and the emotions she’s going through. As well as following Naomi in the present day, you also see snippets of her past, revealing ever more about what has brought her to this place. I did not want to put this book down; it was so gripping and I definitely could have read it in one sitting! Highly recommend!
One note of warning: this book does talk about anxiety and in particular, post-partum anxiety. Personally I would really recommend avoiding this book if you have recently had a baby, or are expecting a baby.
Thank you so much to NetGalley & Penguin Random House UK Audio for letting me read this book!
Before the coffee gets cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Fantasy – 4/5 stars
Before the coffee gets cold is a really lovely book translated from Japanese about a time travelling cafe where people can travel back in time. But there are rules: you can’t leave your seat, you can’t change the future, and you must leave before the coffee gets cold.
This is the first book I’ve read that has been translated from Japanese and it was a very different experience. It took me a minute to get used to the writing style, but I really enjoyed this story. You follow four people’s experiences of travelling in time at the café, but the stories all build on one another (and get better and better in my opinion) and discuss some really important and emotional topics (I cried).
My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
Thriller – 4/5 stars
I actually didn’t talk about this book in my recent video (keep scrolling to find that) because I finished it on the very last day of March! This is a super quick (just 5 hours on Audiobook) thriller that is just so easy to get through & really enjoyable too.
We follow a young Nigerian woman who has been helping her sister to clean up after she has stabbed three of her boyfriends, apparently out of self-defence. But when her sister starts dating the doctor she really likes, she has to decide whether to continue protecting her sister, or potentially save this man.
This book is dark, but so easy to read or listen to (and I really loved the audiobook) and really makes you think about what you would do in these situations.
- Books read: 10
- Pages read: 3737
- Average rating: 3.9
To see which books I will be reading in April, check out my latest Penguins choose my TBR video here:
Other blog posts you might enjoy…
- Books I read in February 2021
- How to find Christian community
- More Prayers for the Coronavirus Pandemic