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Oh Hey! I'm Alice, I'm twenty three and I'm from Belfast. Welcome to my corner of the internet!

1 Apr 2021

Books I Read in March 2021

¡Hola! Eurovision season is really kicking off now so I feel like my reading has taken a bit of a hit while I try to keep up with constant releases - check out some of the songs from the contest this year that I think you should listen to here. I actually had such high hopes for this month's reading as well! I had a bit of a weird month because I didn't really love most of the things that I read and almost everything came in at a three-star rating, but that being said I did manage to read eight books so here's what I thought of them.
girl in blue holding book stack

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak


When Leisl Meminger is nine years old, she steals a book, it's the same day her brother died, it's also the same day that she arrives at her new foster family, the Hubermanns. Here she discovers many secrets about the war, learns a lot about herself and maybe steals a few more books along the way. This is a story of growing up, becoming your own person, and learning where you stand set against the bleak backdrop of Nazi Germany.

This book has been on my TBR for absolute YEARS as you can probably tell from the battered nature of this book! I knew that I wanted to pick it up at some point this year and I knew after reading only romances last month, that I wanted to kick this month off with some historical fiction. Unfortunately, I just didn't love this book as much as I wanted to. It had everything I should have wanted in a book - historical fiction being narrated by death with slight fantastical elements but something about it just didn't hit. I still thought it was a really good read and I'm so glad I finally got round to picking it up but it's sadly just not the new favourite that I wanted it to be!
black and white photo of mug saying 'vintage 1998 a great year'
hand holding the book thief by markus zusak in front of bookcase

Charming As A Verb

Ben Philippe


Henri Haltiwanger can charm his way out of anything, he's popular and he's Columbia bound, he's living his Haitian father's immigrant dream. So when Corrinne Troy needs help to improve her sociability so she can get a good reference for Princeton, Henri is the immediate choice. It also helps that his dad is the superintendent at her building so he's easily accessible. What originally started out as a mutual hustle becomes more than either of them bargained for.

This is a funny one, there were elements of this that I really liked. I loved Henri as a character and he was, in fact, charming a verb. The third act drama absolutely made me physically squirm with discomfort and I spent a solid half an hour doing the 'oh no' sound from TikTok, you know the one. I also didn't really feel any connection between Henri and Corrinne (I much preferred him with his ex) and this is a recurring trend that you'll see in this months reads. On the whole though, this was a very enjoyable read, I actually love reading male perspectives in YA but I don't see a lot of them so this was a nice change.
blonde girl with glasses holding white mug

Garden City

John Mark Comer


In this book, John Mark Comer unpacks what the bible really says about work and rest by looking at Genesis, the life of Jesus, and Revelation to answer questions about sacred and secular work and how to honour God in both work and rest. With a conversational tone aimed at twenty-thirty-somethings aiming to find purpose and direction for their lives.

I don't talk a lot about any of the Chrisitan books I read because honestly, I don't read many but I had a free Audible trial to redeem and knew that I wanted to use it for a John Mark Comer book. This book talks all about God's design for humanity, work and rest. It's very geared towards a younger adult audience and is conversational in tone, which made listening to the audiobook almost like listening to a podcast! I'm definitely interested in checking out some more of John Mark Comer's work because I've heard great things about 'The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry' and 'God has a Name'.
blonde girl with glasses in blue top and denim dungaree dress pinafore
black and white image of bookshelves

Kate In Waiting

Becky Albertalli

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher.

For as long as they can remember Kate Garfield and her best friend Anderson have shared crushes because crushing is always more fun when you get to share your feelings with your friends right? However when the mysterious Matt moves to their school, Kate and Anderson both start to fall hard and instead of this being a fun shared crush thing it starts to take a toll on their friendship as they know that if one of them ends up with him, the other will be heartbroken. What do you do when you and your best friend both want the same thing but only one of you can have it?

If you know me, I am the biggest Becky Albertalli fan. Simon Vs is literally one of my favourite books of all time and I've loved everything she's ever written. Her books are truly my happy place so needless to say I was over the moon to get the chance to read this one ahead of publication! I'll be honest here, this wasn't my favourite Becky book, I didn't feel a connection between Kate and Matt really at all which as the whole plot revolved around this crush, didn't really help. (my boy Noah though...). I also felt the writing was trying too hard to sound like a teenager (I never want to read the word f-boy again) and this is something that I generally find Becky does a great job with so I was a little disappointed in that regard. On the whole, though, I did really enjoy this. I loved the premise and the way the story played out didn't feel contrived (bar the fact I mentioned the fact there was zero chemistry between Kate and Matt) and the friendships were all super sweet. I did theatre in school so I loved getting to revisit all the old school theatre memories even down to eating pizza during Saturday tech rehearsals. I would also DIE for Noah Kaplan and Ryan Garfield - truly the softest boys ever. This book was so cosy though and still has all of the classic Becky charm that makes me fall in love with all of her characters and it is definitely a high 3.5 bordering on a 4 but I think ultimately I just wanted to love it more.
kindle paperwhite displaying kate in waiting by becky albertalli cover sitting on bee patterned cushion

Beartown

Fredrik Backman


Bear Town is a small town in the middle of nowhere in Sweden on the verge of crumbling and in order to rejuvenate their town they've pinned their hopes on the junior hockey team winning the national tournament. One night when a horrible incident happens it puts the club's victory in danger and the town begins to crack even more than before. Definite heavy content warning for this one!

This is a funny incidence of my taste in books and my taste in tv varying massively. This was essentially a scandi noir drama, which is one of my favourite tv genres but something that I very rarely read. I really enjoyed this though, definitely one of the best books I read this month but after a bit of a lacklustre month, that wasn't hard! I found myself totally captivated by the town of Bear Town and its inhabitants and you were always willing them to do well, or just to do better. This book is truly harrowing at parts and really does make you question humanity but that's the whole point. I didn't really vibe with some of the dialogue but I think that might have been due to the narration rather than the actual writing. I'm definitely interested in checking out more of Fredrick Backman's work because the inner Swede in me just knew we were going to get on from the get-go!
black and white photo of girl smiling while holding book stack and white mug

Infinity Reaper

Adam Silvera


In a New York City torn apart by a war between Celestials (those born with power) and Specters (those who have reaped their powers from magical creatures), brothers Brighton and Emil and the rest of the Spell Walkers are caught in the crossfire. New York really isn't the safest place to be a magical being and after the events of Infinity Son, they're in even more danger than ever!

I truly feel like I've been transported back in time to 2017/2018 when the only things I read were Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera books and it looks like nothing has changed! If you want to see my thoughts on Infinity Son they are here. I truly have so many thoughts about this book but sharing them would spoil Infinity Son which I guess is always the trouble with trying to review sequels. All I'm going to say is that I still adore Ness Arroyo (and he should have appeared more) and Brighton Rey is the worst character ever to exist ever - he literally made me squirm with disgust. What Adam has done here though is really adapt the characters from the first book and those that felt a little flat have been given more personality. He has however once again left us on yet another cliff hanger and has me eagerly anticipating book three! This is not a groundbreaking fantasy by any stretch but I do enjoy it very very much.
blonde girl with glasses smiling wearing blue and holding blue book infinity reaper by adam silvera

Klara and The Sun

Kazuo Ishiguro


Klara is an Artificial Friend with incredible observational skills who from her place in the store watches and learns as different people come in. She develops a relationship with a girl named Josie and hopes that she will return for her but Klara is warned not to put too much hope in the promises of humans.

Well, colour me a Kazuo Ishiguro fan! This is the first of his books I've ever read and what a read! I tend to limit myself to one book and one audiobook at a time but when this appeared on Libby I knew I needed to snatch it up right away. As you can tell, I had a bit of a weird run of books at the start of the month. I didn't hate anything, but I didn't love anything either. This book was PHENOMENAL! I was encapsulated from the very first page and I adored how intricately this story was woven together. I'm really not a big sci-fi reader so this was a little out of my comfort zone but I just loved it so much I'm definitely going to try and read more of Ishiguro's work now!
black and white image of open book the book thief by markus zusak with bookmark photostrip and white mug
photo of open book the book thief by markus zusak sitting on bed with bookmark photostrip and white mug

We Have Always Lived In The Castle

Shirley Jackson


Eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine (Merricat for short), her sister Constance and their old senile Uncle Julian are the last remaining Blackwoods after the rest of the family died in an arsenic poisoning six years ago. They live alone in their old family home in isolation but when their estranged cousin Charles turns up wanting to claim their fortune Merricat does whatever she can to try and drive him away and protect their house.

I've subconsciously decided to read at least one classic every month and this was the choice for March. I'll be honest, I'd heard so many people talk about this book and it's been on my TBR for years but I never really knew what it was about but when it turned up on Libby I knew it was time to give it a listen. This was an enjoyable and quick read which was perfect for finishing up the month. This is from the same author who wrote The Haunting of Hill House so if you enjoy it I'm sure you'd love this one as well. This book is not really scary per se it's more a psychological thriller that keeps you on edge. I just found out that there's been a movie adaption of this book with Sebastian Stan so I will most definitely be checking it out at some point!
girl in blue floral top and denim dungaree dress pinafore holding blue book with phoenix on cover infinity reaper by adam silvera
And that brings us to the end of March! All in all, a pretty weird month for me reading-wise. I'm so hopeful that next month will be filled with new favourites but for now, I'm just happy to be waving goodbye to March! Make sure you're following me on Goodreads to see how I'm getting on. How was your reading this month, did you get on with the books you read? Also, drop me some recommendations down below because I clearly need them!

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