I definitely feel like I've been overall more productive since I've started working full-time (thankfully, from home, so far). I finished 12 books in March - only finished 10 last year, with all the insane stress that was March 2020. If I had to find something that isn't happening between work and reading, it's probably that I am not as closely able to supervise my kids' virtual schooling. And my Animal Crossing - New Horizons house is suffering (I HATE when I go there and have to kill a roach in my house).
Thanks again to all of you! I love the accountability of posting what I've read each month for Show Us Your Books with Jana Says and Life According to Steph, and I love checking out other book bloggers and seeing your comments on my blog. The news is stressful - hearing what the popular books are and who's enjoying what is way more valuable!
Here's a brief summary of the nine books I read last month. The title links go to Goodreads, and the links to the more in-depth review are either on my site, SweetlyBSquared, or the other site I review on frequently, Books I Think You Should Read. And always, if I've received the book for free from the author, publisher, or whatever, this does not change my review.
I Can See Clearly: Rise of a Supernatural Hero by James A. Cousmano -- Sixteen-year-old Luc Ponti is expected to go pro with his mad basketball skills, but instead an injury almost costs him his life. After his near-death experience in the hospital, Luc discovers he has a whole new set of skills - supernatural ones. I especially enjoyed Luc's spiritual exploration with his funky new monk friend. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars in my full review and recommended it for those who enjoy paranormal or spiritual stories. Also worth noting, I think this is supposed to be the first of a series. ⭐⭐⭐
Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman -- This quirky, unique family drama let its setting of Ireland color some of the language and traditions that made up three generations of the Gogarty family. Grandma Millie may be getting a little dotty, but a caretaker can set that right, right? Her granddaughter, Aideen, is feeling left-out of most things, and responds by acting out. In the middle is Kevin, unemployed and currently overseeing the older and younger generations of the family while not sure who he really is, if he's not providing financially for his family. The adventure all this lands them in is interesting. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommended it for those who enjoy fun, contemporary fiction. Check out my full review here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville -- This was a favorite this month. I love a bit of magical realism, and this Vancouver, Canada based book had plenty. Ev has always been able to feel the energy and emotions in objects. It helps her run her little business - selling found items in the Chinatown Night Market. She's only known one other person with this gift, but it turned him evil. When she meets Harriet and discovers she can do the same thing, Ev is reluctant to let someone else in. What if the wrong items make Harriet dangerous too? I enjoyed this book a lot and gave it 5 out of 5 stars in my full review. My biggest 5 star determining factor is if I want to read it again, and I do. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel by Renée Nault -- While I've read the original The Handmaid's Tale twice over the years (plus watched the 1990 movie and all of the tv series), I decided to mix it up when it was my book club pick for the month and went with the graphic novel instead. It had been sitting on my shelf and needed to be read. Graphic novels will never be my favorite, but I loved the strong depictions of the emotions for the situations in this book. The colors used for each character or role were easily recognized, and even without retelling the story, the book definitely brought it all to mind, as I stated in my review here. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐
Silence is a Sense by Layla AlAmmar -- 'Voiceless' is a Syrian refugee telling her anonymous story in a London online paper. We get to learn about her not only through her column (which her editor wants to have more emotion, but not divisive politics), but as she lives her life. No matter where she lives, no where is truly safe when people look at you as different. She's lost everything when she left her homeland alone, and she's not sure she can withstand losing anymore. I enjoyed this book as a beautiful depiction of a not-so-beautiful life. It was a well-written literary fiction and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Are We There Yet by Kathleen West -- Alice is used to having a perfect, enviable life. But within one day, she finds out her younger child isn't reading as well as she should, and her older child may be a bully. Suddenly even her closest friends don't look at her the same. While sometimes this book felt almost over-the-top as the epitome of white privilege, it was also a good reminder that no one has it as good as their Facebook profile would like you to believe. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars in my review here. ⭐⭐⭐
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall -- This mystery based on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (also published as Ten Little Indians) was a disappointment for most of my Yelp book club. I enjoyed it. The story was modernized - each of the seven people on the remote island were lured there for a different reason. What we find out as the story goes along is that each of them has a negative experience in their past that represents one of the seven deadly sins. During his long time suffering before his eventual death from cancer, Philip O (who most of them knew as their attorney) has orchestrated karmic retribution. I do love me some vigilante justice. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge -- Libertie Sampson has always been expected to be the doctor's daughter, and grow up to be a doctor herself. If it was up to her, she'd rather live a life that doesn't look first at her dark skin and her gender, and then at who she may really be. Libertie's life and search for her identity were wonderfully told, and her voice was clear and demanding of answers. I reviewed this one here and gave it 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐
Tell No Lies (Quinn & Costa Thriller #2) by Allison Brennan -- This series is such a fun escape for me. Kara Quinn is actually an LAPD detective, but when her undercover operation was blown wide open by at least one FBI agent, her life is at risk in the city she's always known. She now works the job she loves as an undercover officer on-loan to a great FBI agent and his team - the mobile investigations unit. Their second case together is supposed to be about environmental dumping and a murder that may have been committed to cover it up, but partway through the case, they stumble on a child trafficking ring, and Quinn feels a moral obligation to take care of that kind of evil. I enjoyed this book and gave it 4 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson -- I've never seen The Phantom of the Opera, but this gender-swap tale with a twist of fantasy intrigued me. Isda has grown up always in the opera house, where her only exposure to the world outside is viewing the opera patron's memories with her gift. When she meets Emeric, she's surprised to see another baby with the same deformities as her in his memories. My full 3 out of 5 star review is here. ⭐⭐⭐
Knives and Knightsticks by K. Lew & C.R. Lockhart -- I've got to admit, even the pitch email from these authors was fun. I can only guess that's just the way they are. This was the first book in their series about quirky best friends Sadie and Zoey, who live in Toronto. They don't go looking for trouble, but it seems to be finding them! I gave it 4 out of 5 stars in my complete review, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Magic Lessons: The Prequel to Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman -- I knew going in I'd love this one and I was so happy when I finally got my turn to borrow it from my local library. I love the original Practical Magic book, the movie, the soundtrack..you get the picture. This book told the story of Maria Owens - the first witch in their lineage. From her childhood after being found as an abandoned orphan in the woods, right up to her building the house the Owens women live in during the movie, and her adventures around the world in between. I loved it, and gave it 5 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I'm a little passed half way in The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert and really enjoying it. The Waterpark Capital of the World, ghosts, and quirky romance make this one lots of fun!
Looking forward to summer - longer days and time to sit outside and read!