Well March was… a month. Let’s just say, I’m glad it’s over. This month, I didn’t get in quite as much reading as I hoped. I read a total of eight books, which is great, but I did have several others on my list. But, you know, reading isn’t a race. It’s about enjoyment, and I really enjoyed most of these books. Without further ado, here are some rapid reviews of the books I read last month.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye was difficult to read; I won’t lie. It’s a story of generational trauma, internalized racism, hegemonic beauty standards and the brutality of everyday people. Pecola Breedlove is one of the most tragic characters I’ve ever read, and her story, I know, will stick with me for a while. The graphic nature of particular scenes was a little too much for me, but I understand why Morrison described them the way she did – after all, this is unfortunately real life for many people. It probably goes without saying, but major trigger warnings for this book. I suggest checking Goodreads if you want more in-depth warnings.
The Bluest Eye is the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young girl who prays everyday for blue eyes and beauty, whose life is interspersed with trauma and ultimately begins to deteriorate.
“The soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers. Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear, and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live.”The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
Cassandra Clare does it again. I had high hopes for this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. To be fair, I don’t read these books for the plots, and frankly, I found the beginning of this one a little slow; however, what I will continue to shout from the rooftops is how amazing Clare is at creating characters and atmosphere. At the center of this book is yet again another ill-fated romance and a wonderful found (and blood) family, which I could read all day. Cordelia, James, Lucie and Matthew are some of my new favorite characters in this world, and I can’t wait to see where their story goes. If you want more in-depth thoughts on Chain of Gold, check out my full review.
Chain of Gold follows a group of Shadowhunters in Edwardian London, many of whom are the children of characters from The Infernal Devices, who have lived in a time of relative peace until a new species of demon begins to wreak havoc on their world.
“Humanity is drawn to light, not darkness.”Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
No Place for the Weary Kind: Women of the Smokies by Courtney Lix
Growing up in East Tennessee, I connected deeply to this collection of biographies. I had been browsing my local bookstore in search of a regional history book, and this one caught my eye. It’s amazing how connected you can feel to people you’ve never met, who lived centuries before you. That’s exactly how reading this book felt: a kinship with the women who settled the mountains that I’ve called home my entire life. This was the perfect women’s history month read, and a book I’m certain I’ll revisit when I want to feel more grounded in the place I call home. Plus, there was a chapter on Dolly Parton.
No Place for the Weary Kind: Women of the Smokies is a collection of biographies and stories of women past and present who have called The Great Smoky Mountains home, who were inspired by the landscape to create art or who depended on its bounty for life.
“To me, that’s what it means to be a woman of the Smokies: to feel a kinship with the land, to draw inspiration, possibility, and purpose from the mountains.”No Place for the Weary Kind: Women of the Smokies by Courtney Lix
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh Bardugo is one of my all-time favorite writers. She is the author of my favorite young adult fantasy duology, Six of Crows, and the author of The Grisha Triology and The Nikolai duology. When I heard she was coming out with an adult fantasy novel, I was ecstatic. Overall, I really enjoyed this first installation in her new series. Ninth House for me was a little disjointed in terms of plot, with multiple time jumps throughout; however, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much. The world is gritty and the magical, academic setting is fascinating. I have faith in Bardugo to create an expansive world and amazing characters and continue this series with new twists and turns along the way.
Ninth House follows Alex Stern, an out-of-place Yale undergrad who is charged with maintaining watch over the university’s magical secret societies.
“That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you’d been before life took away your belief in the possible. It gave back the world all lonely children longed for.”Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
I had heard amazing things about The Raven Cycle, but for some reason, I had put off reading it. In the past, I’d read the Shiver series by Stiefvater (in my post-Twilight haze); I didn’t hate the series, but I found it just… okay. I wasn’t sure The Raven Boys was for me, and I didn’t know anything other than the (not super helpful) blurb on the back of the books. Boy, I’m glad I gave this a chance. This first book was so magical and adventure-heavy, which was exactly what I needed during this time. It’s a great escape to the whimsical Henrietta, Virginia.
The Raven Boys follows Blue Sargent, who has been told her whole life that if she kisses her true love they will die, and a group of boys, who attend the prestigious Aglionby Academy, on their search for Glendower, a many-centuries dead Welsh king.
“Safe as life.”The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is Leslye Walton’s debut novel. This fact blows my mind. Walton has a whimsical, beautiful writing style and an ability to create such a magical world. You might say it’s… strange and beautiful. I absolutely loved reading about the generations of women in the Roux/Lavender family. The plot, to me, was interesting because it does focus on this generational story of love, but I didn’t connect as much to the plot build-up for the climax. However, the characters were lovely to read, and I will not stop loving books centered on a family of strong women.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender follows a family of women, including Ava Lavender, who is born with wings.
“And that might just be the root of the problem: we’re all afraid of each other, wings or no wings.”The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves is the second installment in The Raven Cycle. This book focuses more on Ronan, who is character I haven’t quite connected to fully yet. To me, the plot lagged somewhat in this book, and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The Raven Boys. I think generally this is because it in some ways lacked the discovery aspect of the first book. However, I really liked that we continue to get more scenes with the women of 300 Fox Way, who I find fascinating and delightful. I still enjoyed this installment so much and can’t wait to see where the story goes next.
The Raven Cycle follows Blue Sargent, who has been told her whole life that if she kisses her true love they will die, and a group of boys, who attend the prestigious Aglionby Academy, on their search for Glendower, a many-centuries dead Welsh king.
“If you never saw the stars, candles were enough.”The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stievfater
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I made a goal to read more classics this year. Little Women was one that I’ve had on my list for so long, but I finally decided to listen to the audiobook this month. I really, really enjoyed the audiobook from Audible, which has a full-cast audio and Laura Dern as narrator. This story is filled with amazing women and four sisters, whose dreams are all diverse but wonderful. Jo is the free-willed tomboy; Meg is the level-headed role model; Beth is the quiet, musical talent; and Amy is the outgoing socialite. Overall, I found the plot and characters to be compelling. I will say, though, I found the last quarter to be a little rushed, and there were definitely some choices that I did not enjoy.
Little Women follows a group of sisters during the Civil War, each trying to make their own way in the world and follow their individual dreams.
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Well, there you have it folks. What did you read in March? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned above? Let me know in the comments!