March Round Up

It’s the beginning of a new month so here are the books I completed in March along with the mini reviews.
I spent March on a book-buying ban that looks like it will have to continue into April due to me spending far too much money at ComicCon at the beginning of the month. However this does mean that I’m making a dent into the TBR, slowly.
Received for review/ARC – 3
Library/borrowed – 1
Bookcase; owned before Jan 2020 – 2
Kindle; owned before Jan 2020
Audiobook; owned before Jan 2020 – 4
New (bought in 2020) – 2
Bought just for a challenge category – 1

‘No’ is for a book that don’t fit into any of the criteria and an N/A on the ones where I’ve already used the matching criteria.

Pages read: 5643

  1. Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
    Popsugar – Pun in the title (Fun home =/= funeral home.)
    Flourish & Blotts – Graphic Novel
    *Read Harder – Graphic memoir
    My sister recommended this one as soon as I told her the list of ‘Read Harder’ challenges; its one that she studied at uni and enjoyed, the author is Bechdel from the Bechdel test. But this is a story of her child and teen years and coming out as gay and then when her father died soon after being told that he was also gay and having to reassess her life growing up and come to terms with his sexuality and how that repression impacted his life and hers. I didn’t ‘click’ with this one, it’s only 231 pages but it took me ages to read as I kept putting it down and not caring enough to pick back up again. I’m not one for memoirs anyway which I think was the biggest stumbling block, also it’s a heavy topic and is NOT a light easy read like people imagine graphic novels/comics to be.
  2. Esmé’s Wish – Elizabeth Foster
    Popsugar – Book on the cover
    Flourish & Blotts – N/A
    Read Harder – No
    I really enjoyed this book. I think it’s a great step between MG and YA fiction and an introduction to the fantasy and other-world genre (further than HP and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.) It’s a slow burn, taking time to get to Esperance and for the plot to move but it feels believable in it’s slow pace. Esme has to acquaint herself with this new world and it’s rules as well as trying to trace her mother’s footsteps. Once you hit the two thirds mark things really start moving and then it doesn’t stop. I saw a lot of the reveals coming but not all of them and I’ll be very happy to return to this world again.
    Full review to be found here
  3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Popsugar – Bird on the cover (Hedwig)
    Flourish & Blotts – Related to a serpent
    Read Harder – No
    I’m continuing to have Stephen Fry read to me as I go to sleep and listen to the relevant HP Unspoiled during the day. This one is my least favourite of the series but taking it slowly is allowing me to remember all the small moments in it also how suspicious Percy is throughout and just how useless Lockhart is. (He is a shame to my house).
  4. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – Guilty pleasure
    Read Harder – No
    I’ve used this as a guilty pleasure purely because it’s a favoured reread and means I’m not getting through the TBR also I prioritised this over actually reading blog tour books… I love this tale of Cather and her growing into herself at college/uni with relationships with her twin sister, her dad, her roommate and her roommate’s best friend. It’s a real coming of age story with fandom, fanfiction, and anxiety.
  5. Queen of Bones – Teresa Dovalpage
    Popsugar – Set in a country beginning with C (Cuba)
    Flourish & Blotts – N/A
    Read Harder – No
    This was a really interesting and gripping book. It was less about crime and murder and more about reconciling old with new. I didn’t know what to expect coming into it but I really enjoyed it, it made the city of Havana feel alive in a way that it hasn’t to me before. It’s full of culture and growth and although I saw a couple of things coming I didn’t guess all of it and was surprised multiple times at the different twists and turns.
    My only real problem is it wrapped up too quickly at the end, everything was full speed ahead and then it suddenly stopped and was wrapped up with a bow.
    Full review to be found here
  6. Evernight – Ross Mackenzie 
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – Involving potions
    Read Harder – MG NOT set in the UK or USA
    We celebrated World Book Day at Brownies by having our meeting in the bookshop, it was very exciting and full of a lot of fun activities including writing our own stories. I promised the girls that if they all agreed on a single book I would buy it and read it in time for our next meeting. After a lot of discussion this was the book that they picked.
  7. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – N/A
    Read Harder – No
    This has been on my TBR for far too long, one of those books that I always planned to get around too but hadn’t prioritised, I picked it at random to keep me company at work after scrolling through my audible TBR. It didn’t take long for me to be completely wrapped up in this world and the story. Where eugenics is taken to the extreme and young children are indoctrinated through sleep teaching. It’s easy to see why this book has survived for the past 75 years and why it’s considered such a genre classic.
  8. A Dream So Dark – L. L. McKinney
    Popsugar – Set in Japan
    Flourish & Blotts – Set in a palace
    Read Harder – N/A
    I ordered this one as soon as I finished the first book because i needed to know what happened next and how Alice dealt with everything going on – including her mother. This book continued to expand Wonderland and Alice’s position in it as well as how everything is getting darker and the Nightmares are getting stronger. I really enjoyed how this one showed the different areas of Wonderland and how Alice got lost and ended up at the Eastern Gate and went to Japan, plus the continued Sailor Moon fangirl moments are adorable and make Alice really likeable and real. I’m going to preorder the 3rd book which is due out later in the year.
  9. Surviving Me – Jo Johnson
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts
    Read Harder – No
    I found this book really enjoyable and most of the characters likeable (basically everyone apart from Adam’s wife and Tom’s ‘family’, but I’m not supposed to like them so that’s fine.) I’ve already suggested this one to my mum and I think people who enjoy contemporary general fiction would enjoy this one.
    There’s a lot in this book that I don’t touch upon in my full review; Tom drives for over an hour to spend his days hiding in a cafe where no one would recognise him, affairs, infertility, adoption, and Huntington’s disease just to name a few. But all other ‘issues’ are dealt with just as well and in a sensitive manner.
    Full review to be found here.
  10. A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
    Popsugar – By or about women in STEM
    Flourish & Blotts – N/A
    Read Harder – No
    One of my best friends has been telling me for many years how brilliant this series is. I read the first one in September (I was finished it the day I moved into my flat), and bought this one soon after so it’s been sitting on my shelves making me feel guilty for at least 6 months. Because of course my best friend was right and I really did love this book, it’s ‘proper’ sci-fi that does the job of being set in space and dealing with AIs and different species and looks at the question of what it is to feel alive. I’m planning on getting the 3rd one in this series but knowing me it’ll take another 6 months for me to read that one too.
  11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Akzaban – J K Rowling
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – Set in your favourite decade (90’s… ahh the past)
    Read Harder – No
    This is my favourite of the HP series and I think it’s because this is the book when it turns from being fun adventure stories for kids to being fairly dark. Discovering that one of the Potter’s best friends sold them out to Voldemort, and having literal personifications of depression sucking out happiness around the outskirts of Hogwarts is not a fun adventure. This is the beginning of the expansion of the world where we learn about a range of magical creatures and Harry spends a couple of weeks in Diagon Alley.
  12. The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern (Buddy Read)
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – Symbol on the cover
    Read Harder – No
    I… have no word words to describe this book. I wasn’t a fan of ‘Night Circus’ so had no plans to read the (lovely) proof copy my sister had managed to get. But when some friends were talking about doing a Buddy Read of it with only 50 pages a day I figured I may as well join in. And OH MY GOD I’m so glad that I did. It’s beautiful, full of stories within stories and different worlds. This is magical realism at it’s finest although the author has no link to South America. It’s fantasy and reality all merged together until it’s impossible to tell the difference between the two. I just… I really really loved this book in a way that I wasn’t expecting.
  13. Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson (Buddy Read)
    Popsugar – With a map
    Flourish & Blotts – Set outdoors
    Read Harder – No
    The beginning of Sanderson BIG EPIC SPRAWLING OH-MY-GOD-IT’S-HOW-MANY-BOOKS series. With the 4th book out of 10 coming out later in the year and people discussing it in the Magical Readathon discord 4 of us decided we wanted to read it as a group. This was a reread for 2 of us and the first time for another 2 which lead to really interesting dicussions as we all picked up different things. We’ve also decided that in the next year and a bit we’re going to read all of Sanderson. Regarding this series and this book I love the introductions to the different characters and the beginnings of a magic system, but plenty of politics and intrigue.
    Life before Death, Strength before Weakness, Journey before Destination.

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