March has been a strange and difficult month for many people. Like many others I’m using my reading and blog as a way of escaping the outside; more than ever I’m grateful that one of my favourite pastimes is perfect for staying inside. Add all that extra time indoors to in a week’s annual leave at the end of the month and I’m afraid this month’s wrap up is a bit of a long one.
My Dark Vanessa* ~ Released earlier this month My Dark Vanessa tells the story of Vanessa Wye who in her second year of boarding school falls in love with her English teacher. I think we’ll be hearing a lot about this over the next couple of month and you can read my full review here, 3 stars.
Daisy Jones & The Six ~ I only read this about six months ago on my honeymoon but I’d heard so many things about how good it was in audioform that I decided to listen to it. Its a full cast so would really recommend if you haven’t read this yet that you give it a go in audio format, 4 stars.
The Body in the Garden* ~ This historical fiction/murder mystery follows recently widowed Lily Adler as she starts her return to London society, at one of the first parties she attends she overhears an argument followed by a gunshot. When the police dismiss the case due to lack of evidence Lily decides to take matters into her own hands, full review here, 4 stars.
Big Magic ~ This was quite a random pick from the unread depth of my kindle, technically self help Elizabeth Gilbert speaks about her own experiences and tips for all kinds of creative work. I less read this as self-help but more to find out more about her; generally it was a good read though I lost count of the number of times she repeated how little she expected Eat, Pray, Love to be the hit it was, 3 stars.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue ~ My second audiobook of the month was one I heard so much about last year on booktube and wasn’t too drawn in by the concept but when I saw it was available on my library’s digital catalogue I thought it was worth ago and was very pleasantly surprised. Monty and Percy have planned to spend the next year on The Grand Tour around Europe however after upsetting the wrong person while on a visit to Versailles the pair, along with Monty’s sister Felicity find themselves on the run without any of their usual luxuries, this was a lot of fun and I’ll definitely be carrying on with this series, 4 stars.
The Book Thief ~ This has been a long time coming and I’m so glad I finally got to it. I think this will end up being one of my favourite read of 2020, 5 stars.
Underwater Breathing ~ A book I started last year as part of a Try a Chapter tag; this tells the story of half-siblings Jacob and Ella who move with their parents into a house on the edge of a cliff on the Yorkshire coast; being only six Ella is terrified that their house is going to fall into the sea at any moment. It was a very atmospheric read as we switch between 2007 when the family first move into their house and ten years later when Jacob has been left to care for this alcoholic father and teenage Ella reappears from out of the blue, 4 stars.
An American Marriage ~ A year into their marriage Ray and Celestial’s lives are torn apart when Ray is accused of rape; they both know he is innocent as they were together at the time but despite this Ray is sentence to twelve years in prison. Switching perspectives throughout we heat all about their families, relationship and the impact being torn apart has on them and those around them. I thought this was beautifully done on audio and would really recommend, 4 stars.
The Breakthrough ~ Another Penguin Modern Classic this time from Daphne Du Maurier, this is a 1960s sci-fi in under 60 pages. I enjoyed the premise, our main character is deployed to assist on a project in rural Suffolk that is attempting to stay under government radar, 3 stars.
Little Bandaged Days ~ Released in January this tells the story of Erica who moves to Geneva with her family because of her husband’s promotion, as her husband works longer hours and travels more Erica is left to care for her two small children. Essentially alone in a place where she doesn’t speak the language and being expected to uphold certain standards in looking after her home, husband and children all start to take their toll and we follow are our main character as she starts to spiral out of control, 3 stars.
The Last Laugh ~ I’ve said it before, Tracy Bloom is my go to in uplifting reads, I find her writing is like a warm hug. The Last Laugh has a slightly less joyful theme; in one day Jenny’s world comes crashing down around her as she her fears of having cancer are confirmed and she discovers her husband is having an affair all on the day after her birthday. Unable to cope with delivering the news to her family she plans a party themed around 1996, the year she met her husband. Despite not having the happiest of story lines this is still an uplifting book which I really enjoyed, 4 stars.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation ~ If you listen to the Books Unbound podcast you can’t have escape Ariel talking about this book over the last few months, Iistened to the audiobook and had quite mixed feelings, parts confused me, parts made me laugh and some parts just made me angry. Our narrator, who’s name we don’t find out is determined to take a year out of her life and finds a physiologist willing to prescribe her a pic and mix of sleeping pills as she reports ongoing and worsening insomnia, 3 stars.
Nightingale Point ~ This has recently been long-listed for the women’s prize, starting in May 1996, Nightingale Point is a block of flats on a London estate. Throughout the book we follow several perspectives as they’re all caught up in a devastating, life-changing event; then continue to follow them for the months and years afterward. I don’t want to say too much because it all feels a bit spoiler-y but I really enjoyed this, 4 stars.
Titles marked * have been provided for free in exchange for an honest review.