March turned out to be a very decent reading month. I managed to finish six books, and amongst those, there were a few great reads. By no means extraordinary, but a very good month as far as I’m concerned.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
The book is set in present-day Southern California, where two young Black girls navigate life from being teenagers through adulthood.
The story begins with a secret young Nadia keeps from everyone, even those she’s closest to.
While she’s mourning her mother’s recent suicide, she gets close to Luke, the pastor’s son. Their short-lived romance ends in an unwanted pregnancy, which changes their lives forever. The decisions taken as teenagers have repercussions on everyone around them and follow them well into their adulthood. Even Aubrey, Nadia’s best friend is impacted by this decision, but she has no clue of it at the time.
A great debut novel by Brit Bennet, her second book is The Vanishing Half.
We are all faced with choices when we’re young adults, choices that shape the rest of our lives. We all wonder what would’ve happened if we chose differently?
This book is very insightful even though it’s a work of fiction. It makes you wonder how you would react if life dealt you the same hand.
I enjoyed this book more than the second one from this author that most people seem to favor. Maybe her style is not as refined yet, which I actually prefer.
The Vanishing Half, her second book that I actually read first, is also very good. But if I have to choose between the two, I prefer this one. Unpopular opinion, but that’s ok. We all have different tastes, don’t judge mine, please!
What I liked about the book is how the author developed the characters. With their flaws, she made them more approachable. They are very human, and as humans, they sometimes make questionable decisions they end up regretting. Just like in real life, don’t we all do that?
It was an easy, fast read that I will recommend, even if you’re in a reading slump.
Hint, hint, I’m preparing something nice in the near future, so stay tuned for that. I won’t give it away yet so I won’t spoil the surprise.
Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette
In another debut novel, the setting of the book happens in a halfway house where four sisters had to relocate after their parish went broke. Agatha, the main protagonist, is forced to step out of her comfort zone and teach algebra at the only high school in the small town. There, she makes some connections outside the little bubble she was in for nine years. And circumstances make her reevaluate her reasons for choosing sisterhood as a vocation.
As I’m used to thrillers where I’m always waiting for something to happen, I was a little disappointed. I know that it’s an unrealistic expectation, but I prefer books where some sort of action happens. This book was more about a more in-depth look at Agatha and how she sees herself as a woman and as a sister/nun.
What I did like about the book is how she came about and saw the hypocrisy of the church, which led her to stand up to her true self.
There’s lots of narration and thought development in the book, but that’s about it. If you like lots of descriptions and characterizations, then this book is definitely for you. But if you prefer something more fast-paced, you might not enjoy it as much.
Still, it’s a different book from what I’m usually drawn to, but I don’t regret reading it. Sometimes it feels nice to step out of our comfort zone.
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny
Meet Jane, a second-grade teacher that just moved to Boyne City, Michigan. Then there’s Duncan, the easy-going guy that everyone loves, and most women in the town slept with him. Duncan’s co-worker Jimmy is a very nice guy, but very awkward. There’s Aggie, Duncan’s ex, who is now married to Gary. All their lives are intertwined in some way, and the author takes you to observe how their relationships develop through the years.
Every single character in this book was quirky and strange, which was annoying most of the time. The dialogue was way too strange for me at times, as it’s not something I’m used to. But curiosity got the best of me and I powered through it. It even made me chuckle at times, although most of the time I just rolled my eyes.
That being said, I didn’t hate the book, but it’s one I’m very glad I only borrowed from the library. Talking about judging a book by its cover!
The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
Detective Erika Foster is called to the scene of a murder as soon she gets to South London, after a recent move from Manchester. Alongside her new colleagues, she leads the investigation of the young girl whose body was found under the ice in a park. She’s still dealing with her own issues after having just lost her husband in the last investigation she led. But her instincts are good, even though she has to prove herself again. She comes close to uncovering the truth, but the killer is closing in on Erika. She has to battle her own demons while trying to solve this case.
This is my comfort-zone read of the month, and I’m so happy I finally picked it up. It was sitting on my TBR pile for a good number of years, but I finally plunged into the series this month. Bryndza built up Erika’s character to make her a very perceptive and complex detective.
She’s not only smart but also listens to her instincts, which rarely steer her wrong.
I personally love strong female characters that don’t allow anyone to step all over them. Although at times I found Erika to be very bold and I questioned her reasoning, Brydza somehow made her make sense.
The storyline had a few twists and turns but flowed very easily, without confusing the reader with unnecessary narrative or obnoxious characters. A thriller filled with all the right elements, I highly recommend this first book in the series.
If you’re into fast-paced, well-plotted thrillers, then you will enjoy this one.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Lily grew up in a small Maine town and moved to Boston as soon as she graduated college. Ambitious and a little stubborn, she meets neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid almost immediately. She feels sparks at first sight, but Lily didn’t make the first move. Although their encounter was brief, she can’t seem to forget about him. Instead, she decides to pursue her dream of opening up her own flower shop. As she’s about to make her dream a reality, she suddenly gets the perfect employee that seemingly fell straight from above. Everything seems to fall perfectly into place for Lily until things start to fall apart.
OMG! I really loved my first Colleen Hoover book! Honestly, when an author is lauded on Instagram, I have my reservations. Not because I don’t trust people’s opinions, but because our tastes vary. Many people are into the Acotar series, but it just doesn’t seem that appealing to me. And don’t get me started on Harry Potter!
Anyway, as I was saying, this was a very pleasant surprise. I connected with Lily almost immediately, as with the rest of the characters. Yes, sometimes the story was far-fetched and it seemed too good to be true, but it is, after all, fiction.
Although Lily is far from perfect, I really did like her character. The storyline had me cringing at times, others I was rooting for her to choose differently. She is doing her best at dealing with life, something she got very good at while living at home. But now, she has to make her own decisions and live her own life. But will she make the right decision in the end?
This book made me feel a lot of emotions. Some good, some bad. At times I laughed out loud, at others I wanted to throw something at a wall.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy reading the story, and it was a breath of fresh air from all the thrillers I usually gravitate towards.
If you haven’t read Colleen Hoover, yet, I definitely recommend her. She has a way of keeping you entangled in the characters’ lives that she created as if they’re your own friends.
The Golden Couple by Greer Henricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Wealthy couple Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem like they are perfect. After Marissa has a one-night stand with someone, she reaches out to Avery Chambers, a therapist who lost her license but still counsels people from her own office. Her unconventional methods are what attracted Marissa to her because she is desperate to save her marriage. Both Marissa and Matthew are very committed to making their marriage work, but it becomes apparent that they are still keeping secrets from each other and from Avery. But Avery is determined to help them. Can she save their marriage, or is it already too late?
I enjoyed the duo’s writing once again. I have read their first book, The Wife Between Us a couple of years ago, and I find their style easy to follow. The storyline flows easily, and although it has many twists and turns, it’s not confusing, unlike some other authors.
Narrated from the two main characters’ point of view, Avery and Marissa, the story takes you through the unconventional methods ex-therapist Avery employs to help her clients fix their relationships. I thought the story was cleverly plotted, and although the characters are flawed, they are relatable. What human being doesn’t keep secrets and has ulterior motives?
I especially enjoyed the twist that came towards the end that I honestly didn’t see coming. I won’t give you more because I don’t want to spoil the ending. But it was an enjoyable read that will surely get you out of a reading slump. A light thriller that can be considered a popcorn read, with some elements a psychological domestic thriller possesses.
I can consider the duo writing team my go-to when I’m in the mood for a fast, easy read that is filled with some action.
I tried to fit in another book by the end of the month, but I ended up with these six. It was still a very good month, so I’m not complaining. Did you read any of those? If you did, what are your thoughts on them?
I always welcome comments that are open to a healthy debate, so don’t be shy.
Until my next month’s reads, take care.