MARCH WRAP UP

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it’s end-of-the-month wrap up time!! March has been quite the month..

anyway, here are the 12 books I read this month!

PS: I am majorly behind on my review writing this month, so most of these books don’t have full reviews yet, but I’m gonna catch up on my reviews this weekend (or so I’m telling myself) so I’ll update this post with links if any of them end up going up on the blog. for now, I’ll just leave mini-reviews in case you’re curious what my general opinion is for each of these books. 😊

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what i read

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🌵 Real Life – Brandon Taylor | ★★★★ | full review

🌵 How to Pronounce Knife – Souvankham Thammavongsa | ★★.5 | full review going up here on April 21, but if you’re curious you can also check it out on my Goodreads here

This was a very middle-of-the-road read; I didn’t think there was anything wrong with these stories per se, it was just that unfortunately they didn’t make any impression on me.

🌵 Travelling in a Strange Land – David Park | ★★★

Again, like with How to Pronounce Knife, I thought this was okay. I wish it had more of an emotional punch, especially considering that a big part of its plot was about grief, but it just didn’t end up being all that memorable or emotionally affecting for me.

🌵 We Are Okay – Nina LaCour | ★★

I decided to read this cause I needed a short audiobook and this fit the bill. I gave it a shot, but I didn’t much like it. 😦 The dialogue was stilted and I didn’t particularly care about the story, either. YA these days tends to be more miss than hit for me, unfortunately…

🌵 The Fire Starters – Jan Carson | ★★★.5 | full review

🌵The Harpy – Megan Hunter | ★★★ | full review going up here on August 11, but if you’re curious you can also check it out on my Goodreads here

🌵 Young Skins – Colin Barrett | ★★★

There were a couple short stories from this collection that I loved–specifically the last three: “Calm with Horses,” “Diamonds”, and “Kindly Forget My Existence”–but the rest I mostly felt lukewarm about. I’m definitely interested in what Colin Barrett writes next, though, as I do think his writing is quite promising.

🌵 My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell | ★★★★

This was a tough read; it made me very uncomfortable to read, but that has more to do with the subject matter than anything that Kate Elizabeth Russell did wrong because this is an excellent debut. My Dark Vanessa is definitely one of the best character studies I’ve read this year. I can’t wait to see what Russell’s future novels will be like.

🌵 All the Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld | ★★

I read this because I was hearing a lot of praise for Evie Wyld’s newest novel, The Bass Rock, and wanted to check out this novel before I tried The Bass Rock. Sadly this novel didn’t work for me at all. It tried to use an ambitious structure which it couldn’t quite pull off, and the main character was just a little bit too elusive for my liking.

🌵 Milkman – Anna Burns | ★★★★ | full review coming soon

I LOVED this; definitely one of my new favourites of the year. Anna Burns is a one-of-a-kind writer.

🌵 You Will Never Be Forgotten – Mary South | ★★★ | full review coming soon

As with Young Skins, I thought this was just okay. Mary South experiments a lot with her short stories’ structure, with mixed results.

🌵 False Knees – Joshua Barkman | ★★★★ | full review coming soon

The False Knees comics are some of the best things to ever come out of the internet. Adorable, beautifully drawn, funny, and so wholesome. I love these dumb birds and their antics. 💖💖💖💖

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I don’t really do TBRs because I’m too much of a mood reader and I tend to randomly pick up a lot of stuff depending on what I have access to and what pops up on my radar during the month (also I DNF a lot 🤷), but here are some books that I would ideally like to get to this month.

the list includes: Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight, Mary Toft; or The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer, Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, The Everlasting by Katy Simpson Smith, and A Kind of Compass edited by Belinda McKeon.


did you find any new favourite books in March? have you read any of the books I mentioned? let me know; I’d love to hear! 🥰🥰🥰


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JANUARY WRAP UP

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january is over which means time for a wrap up!! and let me say, january was good to me. i read 14 books, THREE of which made it to my 2020 favourites shelf, which was such a pleasant surprise. AND 2 of those 3 books were nonfiction, which is so unheard of for me. there’s some amazing nonfiction out there apparently, who knew?? (everyone knew)

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what i read

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🌵 January 1-2: Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan | ★★★

this one doesn’t come out till june so i won’t say much, but i have a review of it that’s going to be posted to the blog around that time. if you’re curious though, i wrote a review for it on goodreads.

🌵 January 3-4: Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson | ★★

woman likes shitty man, woman sleeps with shitty man, woman is sad because shitty man ghosts her. the end. (what was i supposed to get out of this, exactly ???) needless to say, i didn’t particularly enjoy this.

🌵 January 4-5: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin | ★★★

► this was enjoyable, but i had a lot of little gripes about it that just accumulated over the course of my reading it.
► by far my biggest problem with this book was that the romantic dynamic between its 2 main leads was SO SIMILAR to matthias and nina’s dynamic from six of crows. like pretty much identical. the nina character, lou, speaks her mind, is free-spirited, embarrasses her love interest, is part of a group of people that the love interest has vowed to exterminate, loves desserts, and has magical powers. the matthias character, reid, is uptight, has been indoctrinated into a group of people with an oppressive ideology, is good at fighting, but ultimately falls for the nina character. it was just way too similar for me to able to disentangle it from six of crows. also let’s be honest the nina/matthias dynamic is SO much more well-executed than the lou/reid dynamic.
► did not like how possessive/territorial reid was. im so bored by male characters who feel the need to protect their female love interests at every second. chill
► i am also so bored by male love interests who are angry all the time. chill
► the inclusion of french in this book is so forced and randomly done that it added absolutely nothing to the story. telling me a character is drinking a “chocolat chaud” at a cafe is not worldbuilding lol. nor is adding the occasional french swear word.

🌵 January 6: “Color and Light” by Sally Rooney | ★★★★★ (reread)

(listened to sally rooney’s narration of the story on the new yorker podcast)

“He’s seen the display ten or twelve times now, or however many years the festival has been going. The first time he was a teenager, still in school. He thought that his life was just about to start happening then. He thought that he was poised tantalizingly on the brink, and that any day—or even any minute—the waiting would end and the real thing would begin.”

so tantalizingly short. there’s a feeling, here, that something is on the brink of happening, that something important has maybe already happened–and then the story ends.

it’s just so damn good.

🌵 January 6-8: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid | ★★.5

What compelling story this book had was completely overshadowed by its weak dialogue. There is so much extraneous dialogue in this book. So. much. unnecessary. dialogue. I like “unnecessary” dialogue when it helps build character dynamics or establishes a social atmosphere of some kind, but that was not the case here. Like Emira and Alix would be talking and literally every other sentence would be Briar interrupting them with some weird observation (do kids really talk like that ?) that completely detracted from the oftentimes serious conversations being had.

Also I didn’t like the ending of this at all. I’m just so tired of endings that deflate all the conflict that had been building up in the story by tying everything up in a pretty little bow with zero nuance or time to actually flesh out the implications of what the characters did.

One more thing that irritated me: the constant references to Alix’s weight. Always the fact that Alix hasn’t lost her baby weight or has gained weight or her friends telling her she needs to lose weight or her eating too much and thinking about how she needs to drop the baby weight. This was never questioned or challenged; we were just supposed to accept that being fat is bad and that shaming your friends for their weight is okay. (Hint: it’s not.)

🌵 January 6-13: The Idiot by Elif Batuman | ★★★★.5 

haven’t reviewed this yet, but it’s one of my favourite books of this year. psychologically astute, thematically complex, and compellingly written.

🌵 January 14: Fox 8 by George Saunders | ★★★.5 stars

such a cute lil book complete with fun doodles and some interesting, relevant themes about environmental conservation. a quick, enjoyable read.

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🌵 January 8-16: Know My Name by Chanel Miller | ★★★★★

wow wow wow. this is one of the most powerful books i have ever read, and i don’t hesitate to say that for a second. it is searing, arresting, masterful. it seems false, somehow, to give this a numerical rating, given how monumental of a read it really was, but this book deserves nothing less than 5 stars.

🌵 January 15: Lucky Caller by Emma Mills | ★★★

definitely my least favourite emma mills. the dialogue was weak and a little repetitive, the jokes never quite landed for me (i barely laughed at all while i read this, which is a travesty considering this is an emma mills book), and the characters just didn’t end up feeling all that fleshed out. the story needed more pages and more time to breathe; sadly, it didn’t get either.

🌵 January 14-19: Solace by Belinda McKeon | ★★

sadly a very forgettable book. the characters didn’t feel fleshed out, and the plot meandered. i didn’t feel like it was going anywhere, or that it even had anywhere to go. definitely recommend reading Belinda McKeon’s Tender though. it’s leaps and bounds better than Solace.

🌵 January 16-22: Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett | ★★.5 | full review

🌵 January 21-24: The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter | ★★.5 

the prose here is what didn’t work for me. it was trying to be poetic but couldn’t quite get there, so what you got as a result was writing that felt clunky and forced more than anything else. the book is also very episodic in terms of the way its told—typically in half-page mini chapters—and so that, too, ended up making the story feel more fragmented and less cohesive as a narrative.

i do appreciate the focus on loneliness and isolation in this story, though. etter definitely didn’t sugarcoat her protagonist’s experiences of sometimes unbearable solitude and longing.

🌵 January 26: Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell | ★★★.5 

will review this soon, but it was a really lovely collection of short stories, all centering on the experiences of adolescent girls in northern ireland.

🌵 January 22 – February 3: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe | ★★★★★

it’s kind of cheating to include this in my january wrap up since i technically didn’t finish it till february, but i really wanted to include it anyway because it was AMAZING. i read the audiobook and WOW. i’m gonna try and write a full review for this soon because it was honestly one of the best non-fiction books i’ve ever read. it doesn’t get better than this.


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APRIL WRAP UP

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april has finally come to an end and it’s been wild, to say the least. i barely read anything in the first two weeks, but managed to read a lot in the end of the month so it balanced out. i had some great reads, some okay reads, and some not great reads. overall, not too bad!

below are all the books i read this month, in the order i read them, and all the blog posts i’ve written this month too. if i’ve written a full review for any of the books below, i’ve linked it. and for those that i haven’t fully reviewed, i’ll leave a mini-review in this post. 😊

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what i read

BloomLovely WarConversations with Friends

Image result for love from a to zAlways Never YoursSeverance

Image result for spinning silverNormal PeopleIf I'm Being Honest

Hark! A Vagrant (Hark! A Vagrant, #1)


🌵 April 8: Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Samantha Ganucheau | ★★★ | Mini Review

🌵 April 12: Lovely War by Julie Berry | ★★★ .5

I enjoyed this, but I can’t say much more than that. I’m honestly struggling to write a review for this right now because it was sadly pretty forgettable to me. I’ve never really been that big of a fan of World War I or II stories, and basically all of this book is a WWI story, so… Julie Berry is an amazing writer though, and I’m still eagerly anticipating anything she decides to write.

🌵 April 12-13: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney | ★★★★ | Full Review

🌵 April 14: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali | ★★★ | Goodreads

I didn’t love this, but I thought it was an overall enjoyable story with great ownvoices Muslim rep. I especially liked the framing of Love from A to Z‘s story, the fact that the story is coming from the Marvels and Oddities journals of its protagonists. The novel also tackles a lot of issues: Islamophobia, microaggressions, being diagnosed and living with multiple sclerosis, social justice more generally.

The only reason this gets 3 stars is because I found the development of the dynamic between its main characters lacking. The novel is supposed to be based on this romance between Adam and Zayneb, but I never really felt that enough time was dedicated to them getting to know each other. Overall though, I think a lot of people will enjoy this when it comes out (April 30th!!).

(Thank you to Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster Books for providing me with an eARC of this via NetGalley!)

🌵 April 16: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka | ★★★ .5 (reread!) | Full Review

🌵 April 17-19: Severance by Ling Ma | ★★ .5 | Full Review

🌵 April 21-22: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik | ★★ .5 

I mostly found this to be really underwhelming. The plot was soooooo slowwwww and at some points I just felt like I was reading different descriptions of the same thing, mostly just wintery settings. Overall, this book struck me as a plot- rather than character-focused one. There were some attempts at giving the protagonists some character development, but it never really felt substantial to me. Plus, there were like 92307424 POVs in this book, and a lot of them just weren’t necessary. I ended up skimming a lot of this, so I can’t really say that I enjoyed it all that much.

🌵 April 23-24: Normal People by Sally Rooney | ★★★★★ (reread) | Full Review

🌵 April 26: If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka| ★★★★ 

I was expecting Cute Shit, and that is exactly what I got. This was great!! I loved Cameron and Brendan, loved all the cool settings that the characters go to, loved the whole Taming of the Shrew-inspired plot. Fun and fluffy and enjoyable.

🌵 April 27: Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton | ★★★

Kate Beaton is clearly very funny, I just wish i had the historical background to understand most of her comics–because when they didn’t go over my head, I actually really loved them.

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what i wrote

Here are all the blog posts that I’ve written this month! Given that this was my first month of actively blogging, I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to put out (13 blog posts in 2 weeks!!!) and have so many ideas for blog posts going forward. Thank you so much to everyone who’s followed or liked or commented–I really appreciate it. 😊

🌵 Book Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

🌵 Mini Book Reviews (January-April)

🌵 Top 5 Rainy Day Reads (Top Ten Tuesday)

🌵 Book Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney (aka my fav book of the year so far!!!! nbd!!)

🌵 First Lines Friday #1

🌵 Book Review: Severance by Ling Ma

🌵 How I Designed my Book Blog (this was my fav post of the month to write! i loved going through my design process and putting all its parts together to create an image of what i was going for with my blog design 😊)

🌵 Book Review: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

🌵 Beautiful Books: Behind the Scenes – Jane Austen Chiltern Editions (this is a new series that i started on my blog and that i really enjoyed doing!! i basically feature some beautiful books that i own and show you some of the cool design aspects that they have)

🌵 Meeting Sally Rooney (discussion) (aaaaaa i still cant believe i actually met sally rooneY!!!!!!)

🌵 Favourite Books for my Favourite Movies (recommendations) (also LOVED writing this post. i love these movies so much so i really enjoyed recommending books similar to them!!)

🌵 April – Monthly Favourites


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