I slowed it down during March with my books, but only slightly, as I still read a whopping ten books. We went from a high month in February where all the books were great…to March, the month where I had the most number of horrible books I’ve encountered since I started doing reviews. How do you manage to call it and DNF (did not finish) a book when you hate it? Honestly, teach me your ways. Instead – I slogged through each page complaining about how much I hated said book. It was all in the hopes it somehow got better or because I simply wanted to know how the stupid storyline ended.
On a winning note, I finally managed to schedule and get my book reviews to align with Jana and Steph‘s Show Us Your Books link-up! I’ve been meaning to for months, because I love how they’ve created this little community for all book lovers to chat.
March’s Top Pick: Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
March’s Dud: The Idiot – Elif Batuman (You know it’s a bad month when there’s MULTIPLE dud contenders.)
There were tears. (Lots of them.) I didn’t want Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows to end, even though I’ve read through it multiple times before. I know every time I read through the series, that sadness will be there as the pages dwindle, but I also know I can re-enter Harry’s world many more times throughout my life. The series will always have a special place in my heart.
I don’t even know where to begin with this book. It sent me into a rage. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is basically bad fanfiction. In February I posted my full length review (yes, it deserved one) so I’ll spare you the details here. Basically it comes down to there being no charm of the original books and I’m simply going to pretend it doesn’t exist. I was shocked this book wasn’t the dud of March, but somehow another book stole that title. Barely.
Guess what…I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda because it’s going to be a movie with Love, Simon. How many of you saw that coming? My biggest complaint was that reading it, I realized just how far removed from my high school years I am. At times the mellow-dramatic teenage angst felt so over-the-top, but probably is far more realistic for that age than I want to recall. If you can get past that with only a few eye rolls, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is an enjoyable story about being vulnerable and loved for exactly who you are. Some of the questions posed are worthy of larger discussions such as why in society is straight and white still the default.
Ever read the first book in a series, enjoyed it and thought oh boy there’s four more? Of course you have – that’s what all readers do. In the case of the Time Quartet by L’Engle, it really should’ve stopped with A Wrinkle in Time. Book two, A Wind in the Door was terrible. TERRIBLE. If it wasn’t for my pure stubbornness and dislike of not finishing books – I wouldn’t have made it more than 40 pages into this. The storyline, characters, everything about it seems jumbled and halfed. The magic is gone with that wind.
Even though I predicted almost every single twist (which I can’t tell if that’s a result of them actually being semi-predictable or if I’m a little too obsessed with pop culture) the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was still a thoroughly enjoyable read. The titular character Evelyn is complicated and flawed and she knows that. The book’s title (purposefully) makes the reader assume this will be all about Evelyn’s seven husbands, but it’s so much more than that. Know that this isn’t just your simple “chick-lit” story, rather it’s a full of bombshells, scheming, secrets, lies, and the lengths one will go to in becoming famous and protecting those they love. If the rest of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s works are this good, I definitely need to pick them up soon.
The Idiot – Elif Batuman (1 Rose)
I ended up feeling like the idiot as this was almost torture to get through. I understand the premise of The Idiot was language being susceptible to problems and barriers, but it felt stagnant, pretentious, and disjointed. I can’t even decide what was the worst part. Was it the dry writing that felt like I was muddling through sludge? Was it the one dimensional characters that even through 423 pages, I couldn’t connect with the main character, let alone the secondary characters. Actually, all the characters annoyed me when they did show the slightest glimpse of personality. There wasn’t much of a story, but I kept reading to see if that ever changed. Unless all those things sound fun to you, I’d skip it.
Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff (2.5 Roses)
The first-half I zoomed through, but the second-half was a struggle. While later chapters felt more interesting, they also left me with the need to take a shower because I felt gross in some respects. A story of two ultimately unlikeable characters, Lotto and Mathilde. It documents their love affair, both in building it up and tearing it down. I enjoyed that the marriage was realistic, with a good and not-so-good look at what it takes to make one work, but was unpleasantly surprised to find one particular side to be heavy-handed in the bad. While I loved the big reveal, it seemed Fates and Furies ended so soon after it left me with a feeling of “that’s it?” One can tell Gross is a lover of language as the book is brimming with beautiful metaphors and descriptions, but at times it felt convoluted and overdone. The lovers of Greek Mythology will be happy as well to find those long-held anecdotes weaved throughout to propel the storyline.
Seven Days of Us – Francesca Hornak (3 Roses)
We’ve all heard it before – a dysfunctional family coming together for the first time in ages. In the case of the Birch family, its to celebrate Christmas and spend seven days quarantined together, due to prodigal daughter Olivia coming home after being a doctor in Liberia helping patients with a deadly virus. As the patriarch of the family refers to the holiday, “every Christmas is a quarantine of sorts.” Of course, the premise couldn’t be as simple as that – there’s secret relationships, an unknown child from a long-ago affair, and cancer diagnoses! While it’s nothing new, Seven Days of Us was still a fun read. I will say there was one last twist at the end that was fairly unnecessary and I felt at least, took away slightly from the book. (That could also be because I’m someone who just likes happy endings okay?)
If it hasn’t been said yet, Neil deGrasse Tyson has one of the best voices to listen to when learning about science. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry was a fascinating juncture into subject matters way over my head. After finishing, I felt like I learned a lot of cool things – but was still left confused. The universe is truly mind boggling. Neil deGrasse Tyson makes a weighty subject, much more accessible taking the reader on a journey from the creation of matter to the periodic table of elements. If you’re a perpetual learner or a science geek, I would definitely recommend this. My only caveat would be to read it slowly and properly digest each chapter.
Dream Year – Ben Arment (2 Roses)
A friend who recently launched her own business highly reccomended Dream Year and I was excited to read it. While I will honestly say I did learn a few lessons, most of the book came off as extremely privileged. At one point Ben Arment discusses how he lost $15,000 attempting his dream but he learned that you have to be prepared to take big chances and lose it all. Telling people to not think of losing large sums of money as a deterrent to attempting something is not reality. Most people would be bankrupt or at least in a financial position that would be near impossible to recover from if they lost that amount of money. There may be truth to taking risks, but saying if people aren’t willing to risk it all is just another excuse they have to overcome is simply bullshit to put it mildly.
Have you ever found a book in the self-help genre that doesn’t come from an incredibly privileged point of view?
P.S. – Let’s reminisce about a better time, when I had a month full of amazing books. Otherwise know as last month.
Until next time,