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Monthly Book Round-Up: March

I’m a bit behind on my book round-up. I always try to do this the first week in April, but with vacation and then just trying to get back into my routine, I completely spaced. And now it’s almost the end of April, and I’m just getting to it.

While spring is finally here (it took long enough!), March was definitely still cold and gross. We had a couple of nice days, but for the most part, it was just yuck. Which meant I spent a lot of time reading. Not as much as I have in the past, but I certainly enjoyed sitting on my couch and reading a good book. I read some books for work as well, so I’ll only be discussing the ones I read outside of work.

Here we go!

david macUnsplash // David Mac


Everything Beautiful Began After – Simon Booy

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens—trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear. George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or wandering the city in a drunken stupor. Henry is in Athens to dig. An accomplished young archaeologist, he devotedly uncovers the city’s past as a way to escape his own, which holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about….and then, with a series of chance meetings, Rebecca, George, and Henry are suddenly in flight, their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come.

Verdict: I was kind of in the middle with this book. I loved the story concept. I thought the descriptions and detail in the book was good. But the book kind of let me down. I think I had higher expectations for it (even though it was a $.99 find!) because the reviews were pretty good for it, but I found it just to be mediocre. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate, but probably wouldn’t recommend it.


Leaving Time – Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (from Goodreads): For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague. Hard questions and answers.

Verdict: I’m a big Jodi Picoult fan. I always have been. And this one did not disappoint. Perhaps I enjoyed it more because I work in a field where I’m surrounded by spirituality, mediums, and so on, but this book really struck a chord with me and I couldn’t put it down. It was a bit different for a Picoult story, but a good one none the less.


Survival Lessons – Alice Hoffman

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Fifteen years ago, Alice Hoffman received a diagnosis that changed everything about the life she’d been living. Most significant, aside from the grueling physical ordeal she underwent, was the way it changed how she felt inside and what she thought she ought to be doing with her days. Now she has written the book that she needed to read then. In this honest, wise, and upbeat guide, Alice Hoffman provides a road map for the making of one’s life into the very best it can be. As she says, “In many ways I wrote this book to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. There were many times when I forgot about roses and starry nights. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts sorrow and joy, and that it’s impossible to have one without the other. . . . I wrote to remind myself that in the darkest hour the roses still bloom, the stars still come out at night. And to remind myself that, despite everything that was happening to me, there were still some choices I could make.

Verdict: If I was going through a health crisis, or knew someone that was, I would definitely recommend this book to them. I had gotten this book when it was on sale. I didn’t realize it was short (under 100 pages) and more of quick thoughts, not an actual memoir, when I bought it. But, I’m happy it was the first thing I’ve read by Alice Hoffman because now I know more about her personal story, and know that she is a phenomenal writer.


Life in Motion – Misty Copeland

To read more on this book, check out my book review that was posted for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club.


Life Among Giants – Bill Roorbach

Synopsis (from Goodreads): An exploration of lives touched by greatness and tragedy in equal measure, Roorbach’s latest novel traces towering Princeton graduate and NFL player–cum–restaurateur David “Lizard” Hochmeyer in his attempt to unravel the tangled conspiracy behind his parents’ murder in 1970. When his parents are killed in front of him at a restaurant, David believes the culprits are connected to his neighbor, the elegant ballerina Sylphide, whose rock star husband also died under mysterious circumstances, and with whom David has fallen heedlessly in love. As David trades a career in football for one in food, his sister, Kate, a tennis star with “tough girl” endorsements, slides into paranoia over their parents’ deaths. It is a soapy and thrilling indulgence, a tale of opulence, love triangles, and madness, set against a sumptuous landscape of lust and feasts, a sensory abundance that fails to mitigate the sorrows of David’s youth.

Verdict: I had a hard time with this book. The synopsis drew me in. It sounded so interesting. The premise was good, but it was almost too descriptive. And it bounced around quite a bit, which could get confusing. And I don’t get confused easily. Let’s leave it as this. There were parts I enjoyed. There were parts I just wanted to get through. And there were parts that were neither here nor there. Read if you wish. Perhaps you’ll like it more than me.


Help for the Haunted – John Searles

Synopsis (from Goodreads): It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family’s past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

Verdict: Another book I thought sounded pretty incredible. Thankfully I wasn’t as disappointed with this one. I always love a good mystery/ghost story, and was thrilled to get my hands on this one. While it was a mystery of sorts, it didn’t have as much of the paranormal aspect as I had hoped. But, it was a good story nonetheless, and I enjoyed getting lost in it.

I hope you enjoyed the March round-up! April’s will be here before you know it! Guess I better get reading 😉


(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

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Monthly Book Round-up – January

Since I seem to fail at doing individual book reviews, I’ve decided I’ll do a round-up of what I read the previous month. Just seems easier. I’ll be doing book reviews for the books I read for Sarah Ohm’s Blogger Book Club, but for the rest, it will just be a round-up.

As you all know, I read a lot. I love reading. I have since I was a child. I love escaping into a new world through books. The last few years, I’ve made the goal of reading 100 books. While I’ve come close, I haven’t quite reached that goal yet. So this year, I decided not to set a goal. Mainly so I could get remember why I love to read. That it’s not about reading as many books as possible, but enjoying the process.

I read 5 books in January. One of which was over 600 pages, but well worth the read. I’ve had some books on my Nook since last year that I wanted to read, so that’s what the month of January (and beginning of February) has been about. Here we go!

Monthly Book Round Up JanuaryGratisography


The Best of Me – Nicholas Sparks

Synopsis (From Goodreads): The Best of Me is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

Verdict: I always love a good Nicholas Sparks book. I don’t like to admit it, but sometimes, you just need a good romance novel and a good cry. This one was good. The love story was reminiscent of many of his previous books, but with a really solid twist. I enjoyed it, and I really want to see the movie now.


 Summer House – Nancy Thayer

Synopsis (From Goodreads): After years of wandering from whim to whim, thirty-year-old Charlotte Wheelwright seems to have at last found her niche. The free spirit enjoys running an organic gardening business on the island of Nantucket, thanks in large part to her spry grandmother Nona, who donated a portion of land on the family’s seaside compound to get Charlotte started. Though Charlotte’s skill with plants is bringing her success, cultivating something deeper with people–particularly her handsome neighbor Coop–might be more of a challenge. As summer progresses, these three women–Charlotte, Nona, and Helen–come to terms with the decisions they have made. Revisiting the lives and loves that have crossed their paths and the possibilities of the roads not taken, they may just discover that what they’ve always sought was right in front of them all along.

Verdict: I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’m always drawn to anything that has summer, beach, etc. in the title and I figured the cold winter would be a good time to read it; let me escape to a warmer place. But what I discovered was a wonderfully written story of family dynamics, and I loved reading every minute.


Between the Lines – Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books— one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

Verdict: Okay. I love Jodi Picoult. And I loved that she wrote a book with her daughter. And I thought the concept was so interesting, and totally different. And as someone who was always reading in middle and high school, I definitely could relate to Delilah (although, I wasn’t a loner.) But the idea of “What happens to the book’s characters when we close the book?” – incredible.


The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness

Synopsis (From Goodreads): After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches–with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Verdict: I loved these entire trilogy. I loved the way this book wrapped up the trilogy. I wish she would write more books, not necessarily for this trilogy just in general. I want this trilogy made into a movie. Seriously, I loved it. And I’m not one to enjoy supernatural-type books. It’s incredible. If you don’t mind putting the time into it (each book is a minimum of 500 pages), then read them. You won’t be disappointed.


Fixed on You – Laurelin Paige

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Wither’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out—move up at the nightclub she works at and stay away from any guy who might trigger her obsessive love disorder. A perfect plan.But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous—the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of it. Avoiding him isn’t an option after he offers a business proposition she can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

Verdict: Okay. So, this is one of those books that I’ve had on my Nook since last year. I bought the entire trilogy for $1.99. I really liked the Fifty Shades of Grey series (even though I can’t really stand erotica novels), and I’ve read a few other series similar since. Mainly because they’ve been cheap. The first book in this series was… good. Enough for me to move onto the second. If your a romance/erotica fan,  you’ll enjoy this book. If you don’t, but liked Fifty Shades of Grey, don’t read it because you’ll be annoyed and disappointed.


And that is my January book round-up! Stay tuned for February!

(Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. By purchasing items via these links, I will earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for said items.)

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