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The Books I Read | March Reading Wrap Up

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March 2020, weren’t you an unexpected month? At this point, I can’t even remember if you came in like a Lion or a Lamb because March 1st seems eons ago.

It was a different time, to say the least.

I didn’t even think about my own world changing until COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11th. On that day that I remember being at work and chatting with my supervisor and thinking, should I be concerned? Should I be more stressed than I actually feel?

Well less than 24 hours after that conversation, all Ontario schools were closed until April 6th, at the earliest. Then 72 hours after that, my public library decided to close its doors too. So in hindsight, I guess I should have been more concerned?

Now, March is over. I’ve been socially isolating for 18 days. My world as I once knew it is gone, and we are all in a new normal for who knows exactly how long. 

As always though we must remember to count our blessings right? In spite of all that is going on, I have so much to be grateful for. The least of which are the facts that I’m at home (which as a homebody I’m pretty okay with). I’m with Aric. We are both healthy. And we are both safe.

Life is going on.

What is actually most surprising to me however is the fact that I’m not getting more reading done like I anticipated I would be!

In the month of March, I read a total of 7 books, which is actually the same number of books I read in February, and the same number I read in January. So at least I’m being consistent!

Book #1 – Darling Rose Gold

by Stephanie Wrobel
Book #1 - Darling Rose Gold

Genre(s): Thriller, Contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This book was very very twisted but so captivating! I love books that feature mother-daughter relationships, and the relationship between Patty and Rose Gold was nothing short of complicated. 

Rose Gold lived her first 18 years believing she was chronically ill. Turns out, she was just being poisoned. Patty has just been released from prison at the start of the novel. Upon release, she moves back in with her daughter Rose Gold, who is now in her early 20’s and is raising a baby boy named Adam. This book is told from alternating perspectives and features a timeline that goes back and forward from the time of Patty’s sentencing. 
The story reads very well. The writing is evenly paced from start to finish. I was always wondering what was going to happen next and I couldn’t really ever predict what would happen next.

And, should we even talk about this stunning cover?

Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was published on Tues, March 17th 2020.

(Amazon)

Book #2 – Open Book

by Jessica Simpson
Book #2 - Open Book

Genre: Memoir
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Fantastic memoir! I’ll admit that I have never really listened to much of Jessica Simpson’s music or seen her movies, or really followed her career too closely. The one CD of hers I had was With You, and I did follow Newlyweds with Nick Lachey. So why did I pick this book up? Because I love memoirs and I wanted to hear her tell her story. 

I learned so much about Jessica that I never knew before. She shares details of her whole life, from her upbringing and the starting of her career to her various high-profile relationships. To her struggles with alcohol abuse and her journey into motherhood.

After reading this book, I feel that Jessica has been underestimated as a singer, as a woman, and as a singer/songwriter. She was ridiculed and tormented by the media a lot, mostly about her weight & dress size, and intelligence. Yes, she has had slip-ups just like all of us, where we say the wrong thing or have a moment where we say a “dumb” thing. But unlike Jessica, we don’t have those moments filmed and repeated in the media for days and days. And for a young teenager who was told to be more like Britney Spears in order to sell records, well I can only imagine the effects of that on her confidence and self-esteem.

I am so glad that she openly and honestly shared her story. I see Jessica as someone with wholesome values and strong morals, but as a young woman, those don’t always contend well in Hollywood. Because sex sells right? I empathize with Jessica’s struggles and I commend her for writing this book and putting her truth into the world. And I think it further shows that just because someone is a celebrity and makes millions of dollars, doesn’t mean that they aren’t a woman who has up and down days, just like the rest of us. 

(Amazon)

Book #3 – This is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences

by Sarah E. Hill
Book #3 - This is Your Brain on Birth Control

Genre: Nonfiction, Science
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I found this book very informative. There was so much about how birth control works that I was not aware of. Sarah Hill writes in a way that is insightful and research-based, without being too dry, boring, or scienc-y. From this book, I learned a lot about hormones, and my biggest takeaways were:
1. You are your hormones. Hormones are what make you unique. So when the birth control pill works by flatlining your hormones, it changes who you essentially are. 
2. Everyone experiences birth control differently. How it makes me feel will be different from anyone else. 
3. Women are where we are in society because of birth control. We have careers, we have children if and when we are ready, and we can have more dreams and goals than any generation before us. So thank you birth control.

But that doesn’t mean that I want to take that little pill any more…

This is a worthwhile read for any woman who has taken birth control, is taking birth control, or is thinking about taking birth control. We need to know more about what it does and how it controls our body!

(Amazon)

Book #4 – All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

by Bryn Greenwood
Book #4 - All The Ugly And Wonderful Things

Genre(s): Domestic Fiction, Literary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

This book truly is ugly and wonderful. It is a beautiful and tragic story of a relationship that is controversial and unconventional. Wavy is a young girl. Kellen is a man in his twenties. But does that mean what they have can’t be love even if it’s mutual? 

Inspired by pieces of the author’s own life, Wavy and her younger brother Dolan are growing up on a meth lab country farm. Their parents are abusive and the effects are obvious. Wavy doesn’t let anyone touch her – except Kellen. She only eats when he’s around. He’s her home. He’s her safety net. Tragically, their relationship faces many many obstacles. But I was rooting for them.

As a reader you can either embrace this story and relationship, or you can shake your head at it. You can choose to call it inappropriate and be appalled. That’s your prerogative. But what I love about fiction is how it can open your eyes to new possibilities. It can question your beliefs and morals. It can make you believe in love. This book was all of that for me.

Even though this story is raw, tragic, and heartbreaking, it’s a wonderfully written character-driven narrative.

(Amazon)

Book #5 – We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir 🇨🇦

by Samra Habib
Book #5 - We Have Always Been Here

Genre: Memoir
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

An insightful memoir about Samra’s experience growing up as an Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan, immigrating to Toronto with her family, and searching for happiness. She continually lived her life with courage and perseverance as she engaged in self-exploration and found her ‘people’ and her purpose. 

This book is a quick and easy read. It is rare for me to read a book in only two sittings! In fact, it reads like a long journal entry as Samra shares her thoughts and experiences in a narrative form. She doesn’t really give details about her siblings, other than her relationship with her parents. Rather, it’s a very self-focus memoir.

My upbringing was very different from Samra’s. I was in one of those families where the parents were involved in the community and we went on summer vacations. My parents were, and still are my greatest supporters. She alludes to not knowing what that is like. But where I did find common ground with the author is in the expression that chosen families are a cornerstone of queer culture. I would add that this is true of many other cultures too, but I do understand it’s increased importance in her eyes. I just know that my chosen family are my dearest friends who I share interests, values and morals with. Nominated as a Canada Reads title this year, I would say this is an important story to digest.

(Amazon)

Book #6 – Big Lies in a Small Town

by Diane Chamberlain
Book #6 - Big Lies in a Small Town

Genre(s): Literary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

One of the biggest features of this book is its dual timelines. It follows Morgan in 2018, who’s been released from prison early if she takes the opportunity to restore an old painting for a small North Carolina community. In 1940, we follow Anna who has won a competition to create a mural for that same community. The mystery of the mural and the townspeople starts to unravel as Morgan begins her work. 
This is a slow burning story that is written wonderfully. The writing actually reminded me a little bit of Kristin Hannah’s stories. The characters were well developed. The issues of race and the male/female dynamic presented are very reflective of the times. There’s even a tiny bit of romance in this book too that was unexpected based on the synopsis! 
This book is about connection, history, and finding your truth. It is a wonderful read if you can handle the slow but steady pace. And, it was one of my most anticipated reads for 2020.

(Amazon)

Book #7 – The Subtweet 🇨🇦

by Vivek Shraya
Book #7 - The Subtweet

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This is an original and unique fictional portrayal of female artists navigating their way through the Canadian music industry. 
I promise you will devour this book in one or two sittings because of its intriguing writing style and grappling storyline. I was so hooked by the characters. I’ve never read a book that has captured female friendship in this way before. Never. 
It covers themes of representation and the whiteness of audiences. I think there is so much a reader can dissect after reading this book. So read it, share it, and talk about it. 

The Subtweet will be released on Tuesday April 7th, 2020. Thank you to ECW Press for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review. You can read that full review here: Review | The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya

(Amazon)

Well, there you have it. Those are the seven books that I read this month. To see what’s on my reading list for April, you can watch my latest Youtube video. I’ll give you a hint – they are all from my own unread shelves!

In Case You Missed It

I was also busy this month getting this blog up and running. I must say that I am happy to be back book blogging and sharing my reading with all of you!

March Blog Posts

Currently Katie Is Social Distancing
Lighter Reads for Heavier Times

March Youtube Videos

March TBR
February Wrap Up
Friday Favourite #2 | Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Now on to April!

It’s hard to say what April will be like as the state of the world seems to be changing from day to day. I can guess that it will be a quiet month with more social distancing and staying home.

However, it is my birthday month, and Aric’s birthday month (actually are birthdays are the same day – April 30th) and it is our dating anniversary on April 26th (4 years!). Maybe we’ll be able to have a celebration with more than just the two of us? But if not, at least we’re together and that’s blessed and special enough. 

What are your plans for April reading or otherwise? Do you have a list of books to read? What about a movie or tv show to watch? How about a home project to complete?

Let me know because I’d love to chat with you!

Pinterest Pin Image. Book Covers and Title of Blog Post.

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