March reading wrap-up (#1 2023)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s my first reading wrap-up on the blog. I’m Angela, and I don’t read vast amounts of books per month. The goal is a read a book a week. I’m not a person who will turn up reading 32 books this month. I am happy to report I read eight books this month from different genres. Don’t forget to check out my reading-related vlogs.

Meet Me in Margins by Melissa Ferguson  Rating: 3 stars.

Savannah is an editor at a non-fiction publishing company, but she dreams of writing romance books. After getting feedback on her book, she knows she needs help to make the book better. Savannah accidentally leaves her novel in the book room at work, and when she goes to retrieve it, the first chapter is marked with good notes. And the book takes off from there.  

The book is cute. It’s non-spice and just a cute story. It’s a workplace romance with a twist. Meet Me in the Margins is a basic romance book. I didn’t love the relationship between Savannah and Will because it didn’t give me romance; it gave me friends, and the reader is supposed to accept it. Things happened quickly in this book (not bad), but the storyline could have been more coherent. Not bad, not superb. 

Five Survive by Holly Jackson  Rating: 4 stars.

I was most excited to read this book this month because I loved the Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series. I enjoyed Jackson’s writing style and character development; the book’s premise sounded interesting.  

Five Survive is a YA thriller where Red and her friends are on a road trip to spring break until they make a wrong turn. They are being hunted by a sniper and are forced to share their secrets to survive the night.

This book is a page-turner, and I loved how the story is told hour by hour. Immediately, I was trying to figure out what Red’s secret was and how that would affect everyone else. There are many twists in the book which were interesting. But what made me keep turning the pages in the book was how psychotic Maddy’s brother, Oliver, is throughout the book. Oliver is crazy, and I kept saying I would be more afraid of him than the sniper outside of the RV. As the book went on, I started to hate his character more and more, and I was hoping he would be the person that wouldn’t survive the night.  

Five Survive had more of the grit I wanted GGGTM would have had. These characters had life on the line, and that was written on every page. And then the twist comes, and it keeps rolling in. The final twist was something I thought was coming, but only after finding out about the first two twists. I highly recommend this book.

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano  Rating: 4 Stars

Jumps the Gun is the third book in the Finlay Donovan series. These are cozy mysteries, and you must suspend your belief system to enjoy these books. Finlay gets wrapped up in organized crime in the first book, and the theme continues rolling through the books. She’s an accidental hitman, but she’s just a mom trying to provide for her family.

This time around, Finlay and Vera attend a citizen’s police academy and try to unravel the mystery of who is the dirty cop in the group. Meanwhile, Finlay is falling hard for police detective Nick, which is problematic because she’s an accidental hitman.  

Vera is the book’s star with comedic timing, but she comes with her legal problems. Both women are entangled in their romances and are trying to get money and eliminate the crimes that seem to keep happening while they are around.

The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn  Rating: 3 stars

This Highland Fling is a grump sunshine romance. Bonnie and her best friend, Dakota, move to a small town in Scottland to manage and revamp a coffee shop owned by Rowan’s parents. Rowan is brash and unhappy and is confused about why his parents are going on holiday without telling him and leaving the coffee shop to strangers. Bonnie and Rowan have many run-ins, and he starts to change his demeanor, and she starts to figure things out. Bonnie and Rowan have to work through independent issues that eventually lead them to each other.

A few things bugged me about this book, like the relationship between Dakota and Bonnie. They were besties until they weren’t when Dakota hooks up with the only other lesbian in town. Dakota dropped Bonnie like a bad habit and made some pretty rude comments to her. It seemed all the rails for that to happen, but I got this was there to create another challenge for Bonnie. The quickness of how Rowan and Bonnie got together seemed rushed. They seemed like friends and not lovers part until they suddenly were together. There was no burn in The Highland Fling.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid Rating: 4.5 stars

Malibu Rising is a must-read historical fiction book. The famous Riva’s kids throw an epic party every year, but in 1983 the party ends in flames. Malibu Rising tells how the Riva kids become famous siblings. The backstory of the Riva family comes to a head at the party. It’s incredible how the story weaves the past into the present and represents who each of the kids are at the heart of it all.  

I may not love all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, but she knows how to tell a story. Reid has a way of telling a story and is a master at historical fiction. I haven’t loved all the characters she’s featured, but I’ve loved how she tells a story. I also love how Reid takes characters from other books and puts them in each story, which excites you to read the other books. 

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card Rating: 4 stars

Ender’s Game is my first dip into science fiction, and I surprisingly loved this book.  

“In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers.”

The book follows Andrew “Ender” Wiggins’s journey to the Battle School. The book follows Ender from age six to eleven when he trains at the battle school and the challenges he faces. The government is trying to find someone skilled enough to be the “buggers,” Ender is their last hope at success.  

Ender’s Game involves a lot of military strategy talk, which you pick up on quickly. But there are other themes explored[ like Ender’s battle with himself over who he is bred to be versus who he wants to be, family relationships, relationships with peers/colleagues, and some politics. 

I can’t honestly explain the book because this is my first dip into science fiction. But Ender’s Game is a page-turner and kept me interested until the end. I’m unsure if I can commit to reading all 20 books, but I want to see what happens next.  

Magnolia Parks by Jessa Hastings  Rating: Rising 3.5 stars

Magnolia Parks shook me. I rated it 3.5 stars but I can’t stop thinking about this book. Isn’t that the sign of a good book when it stays with you for so long?  

Magnolia Parks is a contemporary fiction book that shook me. It’s a childhood friend-to-lover situation, but it’s not a romance situation. It’s an interesting character-driven story. BJ and Magnolia are childhood sweethearts and had that “destined to be together” love until BJ cheats on Magnolia. She’s heartbroken, and he’s doing everything possible to regain her.

She won’t take him back because she can’t trust him, but she can’t let him go either. She leans on him for emotional support, which includes always being together without being together. BJ won’t tell Magnolia who the girl in question is, aggravating the situation even more. Magnolia fake dates to hurt BJ, and every time Magnolia lashes out at BJ, he sleeps with another girl. It’s a dangerous cycle, and it all comes to a head in this book. I’ve already written a post about this book, so if you want to know more, read it!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Rating: 4.5 stars

If you love a heist, you’ll like this book! Six of Crows is a YA fantasy heist story. It’s connected to the Shadow and Bone series, but reading that series before this book is optional.

Kaz Brekker assembles a team to capture a scientist who created a drug that turns the Grisha into deadly weapons. The book stands on its own by going through every part of a heist: the assembling of the team, the planning, the theft, and the aftermath. It’s a heist with magic and backstories to unravel why they all got that point. It’s a quick dive into a new/old world with everything on the line.

Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan, and Jesper create a powerful story that leaves you rooting for them to succeed. Plus, there’s always a love story between many characters to add another level. 

Those are the books I read in March. I had a strong reading month and enjoyed most of the books. There was not a book I wouldn’t recommend to someone else to read. I’m a mood reader, and the book selections go either way. It is nice to have a satisfying month of reading.

Have you read any of them? What did you think? And what are you reading for April?



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