Reading Recap - March 2021
Updated: May 31, 2021
Happy March and happy spring! We don't really get spring here in the Midwest, but the weather has been pretty good so far! I'm super excited to talk about the books I read this month. I had a lot of 5-star ratings this month which was surprising.
Let’s get to it!
The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn - finished 3/2/21 5/5 stars
As I mentioned in my non amazon book list, I bought all 8 Bridgerton books from Books A Million. Because of this, they shipped out of order but I now finally have all of them. This one was the first one I received, and I was super excited about it. It's advertised as enemies to lovers, which is my bread and butter. It is the second installment of the series and follows the relationship of Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Shepard. Anthony, the eldest of the Bridgerton children, decides it's time to marry and sets his eyes on Edwina Shepard, the younger sister of Kate Shepard. Kate absolutely hates Anthony and his reputation and will never allow her beloved sister to marry him. The story has a lot of cute and spicy moments and I really enjoyed it. I liked Anthony’s character in season one of Bridgerton on Netflix, which everyone should check out. And this story is going to be the main plot of season two. They cast Simone Ashley, from Netflix’s Sex Education, as Kate and I’m pumped. I can’t wait to see how this season uses the story.
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn - finished 3/5/21 4/5 stars
This story is the first of the Bridgerton series and focuses on Daphne, the fourth born and eldest daughter of the Bridgertons. She has been out in society for a couple of seasons but has not had any notable suitors. Simon Basset, the new Duke of Hastings, returns to London to sort the affairs of his late estranged father and has vowed never to marry. Together, they decided to enter a fake courtship to increase the interest of Daphne and protect Simon from the mothers of the Ton. This, of course, spirals out of control and the story really picks up from there. This novel is what the first season of Bridgerton is based on. The book and series are different, of course, and I think I prefer the show and the book the same amount. After reading The Viscount Who Loved Me, this one was just not as good. It was well written, and Daphne and Simon are super cute but it wasn’t as good as Anthony and Kate’s story.
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - finished 3/9/21 3/5 stars
I found this book through the podcast Chicks in the Office. Fran, one of the hosts, was recommending her beach reads throughout the summer and this was one of the titles she recommended. I completely forgot about it until I saw that the ebook was available on libby and decided to check it out. It was a total guilty pleasure read because the book was pretty bad. The premise is American, Bex Porter, studies abroad in England at a fake university and manages to fall into a relationship with the heir to the throne, Nick. If you could think of any and all fanfiction tropes, this book had it. Multiple love interests, a long unnecessary breakup, a large betrayal. I enjoyed it for what it was, a bad book, but I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone. There is a sequel that I have no desire to read so I decided to stick with the one.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner - finished 3/10/21 4/5 stars
This was my March pick for book of the month. I’m two months strong of reading my choices in the month I order them. Hopefully I can stick to it! This story is told in three perspectives. Caroline, the woman of the present, who is on a trip to London after finding out her husband had an affair. Nella, from the past, runs her mother’s apothecary in Regency England. She dedicates her life to helping women through medicine and poison. Eliza, also from the past, is a young servant girl whose connection to Nella creates trouble and sends her life in an unplanned direction. Overall, the book was pretty good. There were parts in the middle of the novel that felt as if it were two separate stories and not the intertwining of both stories. The ending really tied it together.
In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park - finished 3/13/21
I promised myself that this year I would go out of my way to read different genres of books, particularly non-fiction books. My first choice was a heavy hitter. I would like to note, however, that nonfiction books that are memoirs will not receive a rating on my blog. I don’t believe that its right to rank the traumas of someone else’s life. They were brave enough to share their story and that is more than enough. Yeonmi Park is a North Korean refugee who shares her story of freedom. From living in North Korea, to escaping to China to be sold into human trafficking, the bravery and resilience Park shows in immeasurable. She is probably best know for the video of her speech at the One Young World summit that went viral in 2015, I will link the speech as well as Yeonmi’s Instagram and YouTube channel. I can’t recommend this memoir enough.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert - finished 3/15/21 5/5 stars
This book was a rec from my friend Amy, Authentically Amy Reads, and I actually received this as a Christmas gift from my parents. I am not a big contemporary romance person, but I really enjoyed the book. Chloe Brown has a near death experience and realizes she hasn’t been living her life. To rectify this, she decides to make a list of things to do to “get a life”. She enlists the help of her building supervisor, Red Morgan, to help complete the list and a romance blossoms instead. This book is incredibly diverse but doesn’t make it a point to point out the diversity. Chloe is Black and that’s it. Her book isn’t about her suffering or what it means to be a Black woman, it focuses on her chronic illness and her relationship with Red. I absolutely adored it and bought the other two books in her series.
Animal Farm by George Orwell - finished 3/17/21 (audiobook) 5/5 stars
This book sparked my decision to read more classic novels with then turned in my 100 classics challenge, linked down below. I was on libby searching for audiobooks and saw that this was available. I remember in high school someone did a project on this book for our British literature class. I picked Wuthering Heights, which was a terrible mistake. However, I decided to give this one a chance. The novella is an allegory for the Russian government after the Bolshevik Revolution at the turn of the century. The animals of the manor farm overthrow the farmer and try to live in their own paradise. I didn’t expect to like this story as much as I did. At times it was incredibly frustrating to be able to see the truth behind the pigs’ actions and for the other animals to just blindly follow along. It was really well written and explains complex history in a digestible way. 1984 is on my 100 books list and I’m pumped for it, considering how much I liked this one.
Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston – finished 3/21/21 4.5/5 stars
This is the book that came in the Owl Crate I ordered. I did an unboxing on my Instagram and have a post dedicated to it here. The box came with a bunch of cute things, but the star was the book for the month. Cerys is the daughter of the royal gardener who has magical powers after surviving an attack in the forest surrounding her town. When the kingdom is attacked on the night of the coronation of a new queen, Cerys has to travel back into the woods for help. I really enjoyed the book. It was fast paced, and the plot was easy to follow. The characters were likable and didn’t make crazy decisions to create plot twists, which I hate. I really enjoyed it. The only issue I had with it was that none of the characters were described as anything other than white, which I know is a bit nitpicky but if you are creating fantasy worlds your characters should be diverse. But other than that I do highly recommend this book.
The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh – finished 3/24/21 4/5 stars
This book is another tiktok rec. This title has been recommended by no less than 10 separate tiktokers and Instagram accounts. This book is a big hit online, so I had to check it out. I did check out the audiobook from the library in December but dnf’d (Did Not Finish) it. I didn’t have the time to focus on the audiobook and needed to have the physical copy to read. So I picked up a copy of the book from Barnes & Noble and decided to try at it again. The Caliph of Khorsan, Khalid, has married and killed almost 100 women in 100 days. Shahrzad, or Shazi, marries Khalid with the plan to kill him for murdering her best friend. But as she continues to survive each night she realizes that there is more to him than the rumors. I really enjoyed it, it was a bit slow at the start but picked up at the end. The reason it’s not a 5-star rating is because I felt as if it were missing something. When I reached the end of the book I felt like there could have been more in this story before we reached the sequel. I enjoyed Shazi’s character and her development in the story but it just felt like it was missing something.
The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh – finished 3/27/21 4/5 stars
Before I finished The Wrath & The Dawn I bought the sequel. As soon as I realized the ending wasn’t going to tie everything up, I needed to have the book asap to find out what would happen. In the midst of a devastating storm, Shazi is basically kidnapped by Tariq, her childhood love. While separated, Shazi does everything in her power to get back to Khalid as it is revealed people close to them are trying to overthrow the king. I had the same issue with this story that I had with the first book. It felt like there could have been more happening or more to the plot than what there was. Again I enjoyed the characters and I enjoyed the ending but the in between was missing something. I know that this duology is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights so I might have read that to understand why the plot developed the way that it did. I don’t know if I plan to read more books by this author we’ll have to see.
For the 100 books challenge I don’t plan on including any information on the classics I read each month, all of that will be on each 10-book recaps. So below are the classics I finished this month.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Until next time!
Yeonmi Park’s One Young World Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufhKWfPSQOw
Yeonmi Park’s Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/YeonmiParkOfficial