TBRs and Wrap ups

March 2020 Wrap Up // Buddy reads (not) galore?

March seemed to last 40 years, so how come I only read 10 books and not 2847 books?

I’m kidding, I’m actually really pleased with 10 because I’ve managed to read 10 books each month since the start of the year. If I keep this up, I might actually hit my goal of 100???

Books cover

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Harley in the Sky // 4 stars // Paperback

I read this at the very beginning of March for the blog tour and, no surprise, I adored it. This book is an ode to dreams, found families, and the magic of a circus.

Harley in the Sky follows Harley Milano, a teen living in Las Vegas, whose parents run the Teatro della Notte circus. The compelling nature of the story is also down to Akemi’s engaging writing style and the way she creates characters that you can’t help but invest your whole heart in.

Harley is a spectacular YA contemporary, full of heart, poignant moments, and positive messages about mental health.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Upright Women Wanted // 4 stars // Audiobook

So it turns out that I love Westerns, as long as they’re queer, diverse, and full of action.

The story follows a group of ‘librarians’ who are journeying across the States when they find themselves with a stowaway, Esther. Esther is figuring out that she likes women rather than men, and runs away from an arranged marriage to try and find happiness.

And find it she does. In shootouts, campfire discussions and in her growing attraction to Cye. There’s non-binary rep, women of colour, and a sapphic relationship. Basically everyone is queer and I’m here for it.

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Little Women // 4 stars // Audiobook

I went to see Little Women at the cinema when it came out a few months ago and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to (finally) read the book. I listened to the audio and it turned out to be a thoroughly cosy read. All those descriptions of the sisters having Christmas dinner and sitting round the fire with each other. COSY.

Yes, some sexist ideas are propagated, but I think this is a product of when the book was written. The way each girl grows up and finds her path and happiness in life is heart-warming.

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Under Rose-Tainted Skies // 3 stars // Paperback

This is a really intense, heavy read, with probably the most detailed mental health rep I’ve ever read. The story follows Nora, who has OCD and agoraphobia and finds it difficult to leave her house. Things change for her when a boy moves in next door and she finds herself growing attracted to him.

I was worried this was going to turn into a ‘love cures all’ type story with the love interest ‘saving’ the protagonist, but thankfully that didn’t happen at all. Instead we see a budding romance between someone with little to no MH issues and someone with many MH issues, and watch as they begin to trust each other and create safe spaces for Nora.

There are light-hearted moments but there are also some very sad, gut-wrenching moments, so please be careful of the TWs if you decide to pick it up. TWs: Anxiety, self-harm, depression, panic attacks, agoraphobia, OCD.

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Mad Woman // 3 stars // E-book

This collection is about love, relationships, sexism, and lived experiences as women. As with a lot of poetry anthologies I’ve read, some of the poems really hit the mark but others are a little lacking.

I found the longer poems had more impact and told more of a story, whereas the shorter poems weren’t long enough for me to get into.

I really liked some of Kat Savage’s metaphors, but her writing style didn’t really blow me away. Having said that, the intimate way she narrates her emotions makes her voice stand out. This was a solid collection, but lacking in a little bit of punch and power; I’m not sure I’ll remember many of the poems in a year’s time.

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Geekerella // 4 stars // Audiobook

I read this on audio and. I. loved. it. This is a Cinderella retelling and it’s so well executed. A lot of the connections to the original story are subtle and they never become too cliched or on the nose.

I enjoyed Elle and Sage’s budding friendship and Elle and Darien’s growing attraction to each other. Their texts were fun and believeable and I got really invested in them finally meeting up. (Every time something got in the way of this happening, I kept shouting at the audio narrator.)

I’ll always be a fan of books that involve fandom or conventions and this series captures the atmosphere of cons beautifully. The excitement, the unity, the anticipation; it’s all there. Elle’s battle to get there is so worthwhile for the wonderful cosplay contest scenes and post-con ball.

51329850. sy475 Eden Springs // 3 stars // E-book

This was a quick, fun read, but the plot structure was pretty strange. The main point of Aaron arriving in Eden Springs is to catch a group of men who have gone rogue and kidnapped women and children. But this part of the plot is resolved two thirds of the way into the book, leaving the final third to just sort of flounder?

I can see what the author was trying to do – leave the final section for more relantionship development – but it I think the climax should have come later. The capture of the rogues was also anticlimactic and over in the space of a few pages without much action.

I enjoyed reading this, but I think the whole story could have benefited from being 100 pages longer and having more plot points and character development.

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Everyday Angel // 4 stars // Paperback

The first book I read for the PositiviTea and Books readathon was Everyday Angel and it was such a sweet, innocent read. The idea of the readathon was to read positive and uplifting books and this was definitely both of those things.

Everyday Angel follows Aria, an angel who comes to earth to find her charge and help her through turbulent times. But Aria also learns things about herself and her gifts.

The plot is simple and straight forward, but that’s what I’d expect from a middle grade series aimed at younger readers and it didn’t stop me from enjoying it. There were messages about love, hope, and trust woven into this story and it was lovely to read a pretty innocent book about two young girls growing closer as friends and stronger as people.

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Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 // 4 stars // Paperback

I also picked this up for the PosiviTea and Books readathon and it was definitely the most poignant, feminist book I read over the weekend.

It discusses sexism, the gender pay gap, mysogyny and the safety of women in South Korea. It pulls absolutely 0 punches when exploring women’s roles, expectations of girls, and men’s attitudes towards women.

 

45166076. sy475 The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water // 4.5 stars // Paperback

This was probably my favourite of all the books I read in March. It’s a brilliant wuxia-inspired historical fantasy about a nun that joined a group of bandits. And I LOVED IT.

Sounds like a fun action adventure, right? Friends, it’s so much more than that.

This book is about sexuality, identity, the pursuit of happiness, and finding your place in the world. It’s funny, witty, and wonderfully diverse. It releases in June 2020 and I cannot recommend it enough. I had a fantastic time reading it.

This month's posts.jpg

In March I talked about authors with great social media presences and the fantasy books on my Spring TBR.

Since things are pretty stressful right now, I shared some sweet and uplifting books to pick up if you’re in need of a comfort read.

I also co-hosted the PositiviTea and Books readathon with Beth @Booksnest and you can find my TBR/announcement post here and my wrap up here.

Life Updates

Lockdown

(CW: This section of the post briefly mentions the current global pandemic.)

The UK went into lockdown in March due to covid-19 so it’s been a strange few weeks. Almost all shops and cafes have closed and a lot of events have been cancelled.

I was supposed to be going to NYA Lit Festival in March, but that’s been postponed until later in the year. Of course I’m sad that I won’t get to see friends for a while, but we just can’t take those kinds of risks right now, so it’s definitely the right decision.

I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home so I’ve been doing that for about three weeks now. My parents have joined me since the full lockdown came into effect and we’re all managing OK. I miss going places, doing things, and seeing friends, but we gotta do what we gotta do to safeguard the vulnerable and elderly.

I’m still keeping up with my sports classes via video calls (we’re doing virtual spin!) and I’ve hired out a spin bike from my instructor, which has actually been really good because it means I can do classes and my own sessions.

Birthdays

My Dad celebrated his birthday in March before lockdown came into effect and the weather was glorious so we went for a really pleasant walk in the countryside.

We also went out for a birthday meal (what I suspect will have been our last meal out for a long time) and I had the best vegan fajitas. I baked him a birthday cake and we gave it to him after our meal.

Readathons

To try and help lift people’s spirits, Beth @Booksnest and I hosted the PositiviTea and Books readathon in March. It was a weekend-long readathon and we had prompts and reading sprints to encourage people to pick up books that would make them feel good.

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I read three books over the course of the weekend (Everyday Angel, Kim Jiyoung, and The Order of the Pure Moon) and started a fourth. I normally don’t even get through one book per weekend, so I was very happy with this. And I found a new favourite!

Beth and I ended up having a great time and I’m so glad and thankful that lots of people joined in.

Buddy reads

I was meant to buddy reading Bone Crier’s Moon and The Guinevere Deception in March, but time sort of got away from me.

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I’ve now started Guinevere and I’m about two thirds of the way through, but I didn’t get to BCM. There was one point in the month where I thought I wasn’t going to get to either or my buddy reads, so I’m thankful I managed to start one.

I’m just sorry to my pals Lucy and Lydia for making them wait! What is it with me and buddy reads, hmm?

I’m slow to start them and then once I get going I end up being either miles ahead or miles behind my buddy. 😂 I actually have a post on why I think this is coming soon!


That’s it for my March wrap up. What did you read in March? Is your country on lockdown? Let me know how you’re doing ❤

Until next time,KateNEW

6 thoughts on “March 2020 Wrap Up // Buddy reads (not) galore?

  1. There’s a really interesting mix of books here, and I think you should be really chuffed with the amount you read! I hoping to get to Little Women this month so I can finally tick it off my list. B x

  2. These seem to be really good books! I’ve been wanting to read Geekerella for a while, and with that review, you might’ve just give me the courage to finally do it. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in the Water (that has to be the longest book title i’ve ever seen) is a book i’ve never heard about, but a nun joining a group of bandits? I need to know more. Like, right now.

  3. Looks like you had a great reading month! I only managed five which I’m pretty pleased with all things considering. Harley in the Sky is a book I can’t wait to read, it’s been on my TBR ever since it was announced! Geekerella is one I’ve not been sure about but it sounds great so I might give the audio a chance!

  4. I thought January was lasting long but March felt like it was twice as long as that 😅 I hope you’re doing okay even with everything going on 🌸💗 I’ve read more towards the end of the month and I especially loved reading the Gentleman’s Guide Novella, it was the perfect comfort read in these times! I’m happy to see that you liked Geekerella, as this book is always comforting to me as well 🥰

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