What I Read: March 2019

by - March 28, 2019

I'm honestly not sure how I was able to read this many books in March, it was such a crazy, mixed-up month schedule-wise. I also decided to change up my genres a little bit. I've been on a detective kick lately, especially for Isaac Bell, but I've read all the ones at my library and had a few new titles waiting to be read on my Kindle. So without further ado, here are my brief reviews of the books I read in March.

A Beautiful Poison
Author: Lydia Kang

Summary: Three friends separated by circumstance find themselves reunited as the people around them start to die of various poisonings. As the trio work to solve the crimes, old secrets are brought to the surface. To make matters even more complicated, a horrible outbreak of influenza sweeps the city.

My Thoughts: This book kept me guessing until the very end, and I was still wrong. It's probably the best book I've read so far this year (that wasn't an Isaac Bell detective adventure). I can't say much more without giving it away, but I highly recommend this book.

Friends Like These
Author: Hannah Ellis

Summary: Marie is newly single when she moves back in with her best friend only to find out her friend has been transferred to another country. In an effort to put herself out there, Marie goes to a speed dating event but ends up in a weight-loss meeting. As the title suggests, she ends up with an odd assortment of friends from this misadventure, but it turns out they're just what she needs.

My Thoughts: I've read a lot of British rom-coms, and this one is not as funny as the others I've read. That's not to say it isn't funny, but the comedic points are more subtle and quirky. It was fun to watch these different relationships unfold and the main character become more herself, although the development of the romantic relationship did get a little frustrating at times.

The Cactus
Author: Sarah Haywood

Summary: Susan's life is perfectly in order until she unexpectedly finds herself pregnant in her mid-40s and her mother dies, leaving her childhood home to the brother she does not get along with at all. Susan is convinced she can win the house away from her brother in court so that she can sell it and use the profit to help raise her child. The majority of the book focuses on that effort, with some side plots about developing friendships thrown in.

My Thoughts: Susan is a very unlikable character who thinks she's better/smarter/etc. than everyone else. Throughout the entire book, I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her. I'm actually not sure why I kept reading. I guess I was waiting on Susan to have some big change in character, but other than finding herself in a relationship, that didn't happen. Someone out there may really like this book, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

The Hopefuls
Author: Jennifer Close

Summary: Beth follows her aspiring politician husband, Matt, to Washington, D.C., where she absolutely hates living until they meet Jimmy and Ashleigh. Matt bounces from one unsatisfactory job to the next, while Jimmy seems to have all the luck. Eventually, Jimmy is asked to run for a state position in Texas and wants Matt to be his campaign manager. Matt and Beth move to Texas, where they live in the guest quarters of Jimmy and Ashleigh's home. Tensions get higher and higher as the campaign wears on and eventually reach the breaking point.

My Thoughts: I really connected with Beth. She's a journalist who lost her job at Vanity Fair and then doesn't really find the right fit in DC. The book is told from her point of view, and surprisingly I actually liked that it was written in first person (usually I don't). Overall, I enjoyed the more personal aspect of how a life in politics can affect everything. I also liked watching the dynamics of the friendships play out. One note: this book is written with a democratic point of view, so Republicans beware.

The Ballroom
Author: Anna Hope

Summary: John Mulligan and Ella Fay are residents at Sharston Asylum in the early 1900s, although neither is admitted for reasons that would stand up in today's world. The two meet at one of the facility's weekly dances and a relationship develops. Meanwhile, John attracts the anger of one of the doctors, and Ella befriends a suicidal woman who lives in books. The doctor plays a huge role in all three of their lives, making crucial decisions for each of them that ultimately decides their fates.

My Thoughts: This book is beautifully tragic. It's also a stark statement about the mental health industry in the early 1900s. I liked that it was told from the points of view of three main characters - John, Ella, and the doctor, who has some mental health issues of his own. There were also two strong supporting characters that helped shape this story. The ending is so bittersweet. It's a love story unlike any other I've read.

Neverland and Pan's Revenge
Author: Anna Katmore

Summary: In this retelling of Peter Pan, Angelina (Angel) finds herself accidentally transported to Neverland, but the fairytale she knows and loves doesn't match up with this magical world. In fact, Captain James (Jamie) Hook isn't quite as bad as the stories make him out to be. In the first book of the series, Angel and Jamie find themselves drawn together, but every day that passes in Neverland means more of Angel's memory erased, so it's a race against time to get her home. In the second book, Jamie realizes he can't live without his love and reverses the spell that's been keeping Neverland from moving forward in time. The consequences on Peter Pan are deadly and he's determined to get revenge.

My Thoughts: I love fairytale retellings, and this one did not disappoint. I loved how it kept comparing Peter and Hook to the Disney versions. I loved the sensual moments (no sex) between Angel and Jamie. I definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes fairytales/fantasy.

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