April 15, 2023

What I Read in March 2023

I read six books in March, putting me at 19 for 2023 – six books behind to hit my goal for the year. Not a great reading month for me; I spent a lot more time socializing, and I also read some books that were a slog. Luckily, there’s plenty of time to make up for that going forward!

This novel was fantastic and definitely earned its five stars – go check it out!

5 stars:

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin: Sam had a major accident in childhood, and was in the hospital for reconstructive surgery on his foot; Sadie is at the hospital visiting her sister with cancer, and the two meet in a breakroom and bond over playing video games to become unexpected friends. After a big fight, they lose touch until they bump into each other in college – and decide to collaborate as video game designers. This is an epic novel that spans about 20 years, and I loved the twists and turns; it felt like real, messy life instead of just convenient plot points to further a narrative. It was really interesting to learn more about the gaming industry, and I appreciated that the author used a few obscure words that I had to look up and learn (maybe one every few chapters, so certainly not enough to distract me from the plot). I really enjoyed this!

4 stars:

Dark Corners (Rachel Krall, #2), by Megan Goldin: This is my third Megan Goldin book, but it’s only after reading that I realized this was book 2 in a series – and I missed book 1. Oops! I’ll have to wait a few months to try to forget a few things before picking up “Night Swim.” But I didn’t like this as much as the two Megan Goldin books I did read; while it was certainly a gripping thriller, it wasn’t as thought provoking as those others. Maddison Logan, a popular Instagram influencer, has disappeared after visiting a suspected serial killer in prison two days before his release. Rachel is a true crime podcaster who’s asked by the FBI to come to Florida to help them with the case – and then she decides she wants to do some digging of her own and try to help. I really enjoyed the inside look at the influencer world, and really liked the main characters. The plot was a little bit confusing until about halfway through, when things started coming together, but I did love the ending – and read the second half of this book in one night because I couldn’t put it down. All in all, definitely recommended, even if it wasn’t quite as engaging as some of Goldin’s other books.

French Holiday, by Sarah Ready: Merry’s younger sister gets everything she wants – so of COURSE Merry’s long-time crush / best friend fell for Angela immediately and they had a whirlwind wedding. Merry’s eccentric aunt offers Merry a three month stay at her castle in the French countryside, and she leaps at the chance to have her Eat, Pray, Love moment – until she gets there and finds her worst enemy, Noah, there too. I always find the enemies-to-lovers trope a bit cliched and predictable, but this had some fun insights on relationships that I enjoyed, and the mystery that ran alongside the main story was fun too. Overall, a sweet and fun light read!

3 stars:

The Sunset Crowd, by Karin Tanabe: This novel is set in Hollywood in the 70s. Bea Dupont is a young photographer who’s eschewed her blue blood Manhattan life for being part of the LA in crowd. Her clique is helmed by Evra, a famous fashionista who runs Sunset on Sunset, a popular clothing store that attracts people who want to be seen as much as they want to buy clothes. Most of the action picks up as Theodora Leigh, a Paramount assistant who wants to become a producer, stops in drop off a clothing return, and her intrigue immediately helps her join Evra’s circle – but is she what she seems? Bea is skeptical. I found this book a bit hard to get into, and ultimately far too long (was it really only 336 pages? It felt much longer). Parts were interesting, but the action moved slowly and the plot meandered a bit too much to hold my attention.

Not That Kind of Ever After, by Luci Adams: This book started with a bang – the opening sentence made me laugh out loud, and I actually took a photo of it and sent it to my girlfriends! Unfortunately, the rest was pretty hit or miss. Bella is a receptionist at a publishing company who desperately wants to be a writer; she signs up for a website that allows aspiring authors to get feedback on their work in progress, and starts posting stories of her dating escapades, all styled after fairytales. I found that plotline really interesting; what I hated was Bella’s immaturity and desperation, which permeates the whole book. She’s creepily obsessed with her best friend; she sleeps around for validation; and she won’t take responsibility for anything and takes everything (like her parents’ divorce) as a personal affront. The writing is absolutely stellar and full of great gems, but Bella is so immature and frustrating that it was hard to really embrace the plot. I am not a fan of hot mess main characters, so this plot just wasn’t really for me.

Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience, by Brené Brown: This book took me FOREVER to get through; I was putting it down and picking it back up for probably 6 months. (In reading the other reviews, people describe it as a true atlas that you aren’t supposed to read cover to cover, but it felt like it was written to be read in one shot.) In it, Brene Brown defines and distinguishes emotions, under the auspice that we need to be able to truly recognize our emotions and feelings in order to productively deal with them. I found some chapters really engaging, and others really boring, but the most frustrating part for me was the random meme-like visuals sprinkled throughout the book to emphasize various points; for me, they distracted me more than they helped. Overall, I thought this was a valuable effort, but would recommend picking it up to read a few key sections that speak to you rather than reading the whole thing.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


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