March Summary

I struggled a bit at the end of March to finish my Monthly Challenge, but overall it ended up being my most successful reading month! I read 3 Fantasy Novels for my monthly challenge, a few advanced reader copies of books from Netgalley, and several audiobooks. Here’s my March Summary:

Books read: 13
Pages read: 4,425
Main genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Favourite (new) book: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Favourite re-read: Beartown

I started off the month with a few ARC’s, which are early copies of books that publishers share with a limited number of readers to provide early feedback before the books are released. I’ve been getting more ARC’s from Netgalley since I started my blog and I’ve been starting to build some relationships with publishers, which has been a lot of fun for me!

The two ARC’s I read this month were The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore (which came out in early March) and Us Against You (which comes out in June). The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore was a short read about several girls that get lost in the woods at a summer camp when they were 12 and how it affects them later in life, which I really enjoyed. Us Against You is the sequel to Beartown, which was my favourite book of 2017, so of course I had to re-read Beartown this month as well. I loved Beartown just as much the second time around, but sadly I didn’t love Us Against You as much. I wrote a pretty in depth review about it and I did still really like it, it just couldn’t hold up to the masterpiece that is Beartown. But I’d still recommend reading it and I’m hoping for a third book!

Next I read 2 of books for my monthly challenge, The Thief and This Savage Song. I really liked The Thief, which is a fast read, and I’m excited to read further into the series, but I didn’t really like This Savage Song very much. I have it 3 stars, but as time passes I’m starting to like it less and less and I think it might be more of a 2.5 star read. I can’t quite pinpoint what I didn’t like about it, I just never really got into it and I didn’t think it was that engaging.

I had great success with Audiobooks this month though! I haven’t listened to any audiobooks since November (probably because I stopped running and I recently started again), but I got back into them this month. I was bored with the one I was listening to and I was never motivated to listen to it, so I decided to ditch it and start fresh, which was a great idea because I finished Before We Were Yours this month and absolutely flew through I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and The Authentics.

Before We Were Yours was an interesting historical read about the birth of adoption in Tennessee, but I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter totally blew me away! I didn’t really expect that much from it because I’d read the main character was pretty unlikeable, but I loved the audiobook narrator for this one and I thought the main character was just so well portrayed. I picked my last audiobook, The Authentics, because it had the same narrator and similar themes to I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, but while I liked it, it definitely wasn’t as strong a book.

My Book Club’s book of the month was The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. I gave it the highest rating of the group with a 7 out of 10, but the general consensus of the group was that we liked it, but didn’t love it. It has a fantastic setting and atmosphere, but the mystery plot leaves a little to be desired. I also read The Marrow Thieves this month in an attempt to read another of the Canada Reads shortlist before the debates. The other book I read from the Shortlist was The Boat People, and while I gave them both 4 stars, I liked The Marrow Thieves more. I thought the writing and story were both great and incredibly moving.

I snuck in a poetry reading this month as well and read Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. This is her debut novel, but I read her other book, The Sun and Her Flowers, last year and really liked it. I didn’t like Milk and Honey quite as much, but it was still a nice, fast read.

Finally, I thought my last book of the month was going to be my final challenge book, The Fifth Season, because it was taking me forever to get through, but I managed to cram in a reading of Avenged over the Easter weekend (the sequel to Ruined). I didn’t love The Fifth Season as much as I was hoping because it was a pretty heavy read and it took me a while to get into, but I’m optimistic about the rest of the series. Avenged was almost as much fun as Ruined, which I loved. I know the Ruined series is not even on the same level as the Fifth Season, which is quality fantasy writing and world building, but I can’t help but love it because it’s just so fast-paced and fun!

The Fifth Season

 

 

 

 

 

Rating: ⭐⭐
Author: NK Jemisin
Genres: Fantasy
Pub Date: Aug. 2015 (read Mar. 2018)

I’ve only heard good things about this series and I’ve been dying to read it for ages, but this was quite different than all the other fantasy I read and I really struggled to get into it.

I definitely liked the story, but it took me a while to get into it and it wasn’t until the first “twist” of the story that I started to understand how clever this was. I’ll be honest, I mostly read YA fantasy, which is why I think I initially struggled with this.

The Fifth Season supposedly tells the story of how the world ends for the last time. This world has been through many seasons that have threatened the existence of humans, but they have always managed to survive. The book starts off with a huge earthquake that destroys the major city of the continent, Yumenes, and with a mother fleeing her community after the death of her son. We follow the perspectives of 3 women as we learn about the intricacies of this world.

The continent is largely dictated by earthquakes. There are many fault lines and the ground is never stable. The communities are used to frequent shaking of the earth and many communities struggle to survive beyond a few seasons in this hostile world. There is one thing that can stabilize the earth and prevent earthquakes, the Orogenes, who can communicate with the earthquake and quell and create shakes. They can be extremely dangerous if not trained, so there is another group called Guardians, who seek out orogenes and bring them to the Fulcrum in Yumenes to be trained. Our three main characters are all orogenes. Essun has just lost her son after the great shake in Yumenes, Syenite is completing a mission on behalf of the Fulcrum, and Damaya has just been discovered in her community by a Guardian.

It’s a hard book to get into because there’s a lot to learn about this new world and it’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing perspectives. I also found the timeline a little confusing and had a hard time with Essun’s perspective because it’s written in 2nd person POV. But I did start to get into it after about the half way mark and I think the next two novels will be easier now that I understand the baseline of the story. Like I said, this book is quite clever and the writing is good.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to the next book, but I probably will try to do it soon because I’m worried about forgetting what happened in this book and I don’t want a steep learning curve again! Hoping the next one will be a 4 star read for me.

March Reading Challenge

I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with myself and how my January and February challenges have gone. If I hadn’t challenged myself to read them, I don’t think I would have got to any of the books on my February challenge, and they were all really good, so I’m glad I finally set aside time for them.

It can be kind of hard to pick them up sometimes. I like being able to just pick up and read whatever I’m feeling in the mood for, which can be a challenge when I’ve already set myself 3 books for that month, plus my monthly book club read. But it has been paying off, so I’m going to try and stick to it for now.

I’ve got a huge list of challenge ideas, so every month I’m torn about which one to pick, but I’ve been wanting to just do a generic Fantasy challenge, so I decided to go very broad on my March picks. I’ve got a huge pile of fantasy novels at home, so it’ll be nice to set aside some time for them. So my March Challenge is:

Read 3 Fantasy Books

Like I said, I’ve got a huge stack, but I do still want to be intentional about which ones I pick, so I’ve settled on 3 that have all gotten great reviews and that I’d like to finally get to. My only concern is that these are first books in multi-book series, so my TBR will only grow and I have a feeling I’ll be trying to fit some sequels in there too. My March picks are:

  1. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  2. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  3. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

The Thief is a older fantasy series that was first published in 1996 and had 4 books, but the author just published a 5th book last year, so it seems to have been getting a lot of hype again. To be honest, I don’t actually know what any of these 3 series are about, but they’ve been on my TBR for ages because they’ve all gotten such great reviews. I know The Thief focuses on a thief (duh) who the King has released from prison to try and steal something for him and I believe each of the books in this series are from a different point of view, but are all political fantasy-type novels about a place called Attolia. So I’ll see how accurate my description is and report back!

The second book I want to read is the first in the Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin and is called The Fifth Season. Again, all I know about this series is what’s in the goodreads synopsis, but it’s about the world ending and it sounds brutal! I’ve heard so much good stuff about this series and I’m excited to read it because it falls more within the adult fantasy/science fiction genre, whereas most of the fantasy books I read are very much YA fantasy books.

And finally, I’m planning to read This Savage Song, which is the first book in Victoria Schwab’s OTHER series. I read the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy last year and at the time I wasn’t as obsessed with it as everyone else seems to be, but I think I may have just read it at a bad time (mid-summer when I was super busy), because even though I didn’t love it, I can’t stop thinking about it. I keep recommending it to people and I feel like I want to re-read the whole thing. So I’ve decided to try her other series, which is a duology, but has likewise received fantastic reviews. This book has monsters! And embarrassingly that is the extent of what I know, but I promise a full synopsis in my review!

I feel like I should start reading these books right away to leave time to fit in some sequels in between them, but I just received an ARC for the Beartown sequel, Us Against You, which was my absolute favourite read last year, so I definitely have to read that and potentially also re-read Beartown before I can get around to these. So I think this may be a very successful reading month. Winter is almost over in Vancouver and transition seasons tend to be my best reading months because I’ve finished up my winter activities, but the hiking season hasn’t started up yet, so here’s too lots of books!