Hey everyone! I feel like it’s been so long since I did a reading wrap up! I read 7 books in March, bringing my yearly total to 21. While I think 7 is quite a low number, I’m still in a bit of a reading slump so I can’t really expect higher numbers.
I won’t spoil these books below, I’ll just give a brief description and link to a more in depth review when applicable. My ratings system is like the Goodreads system, 5 total possible stars, 5 being the best. I don’t do half stars either, just full stars! I’ll go in order from lowest to highest rating.
Onto the books!
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
The second book in Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes series was okay but I didn’t think it was as good as the first. The premise of the series is that Sherlock Homes’ descendant, Charlotte, and Dr. Watson’s descendant, Jamie, meet at school and befriend each other. Both are very similar to the iconic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters. They also meet Professor Moriarty’s descendant, August Moriarty, in this story.
I feel that the first book was very fresh and had a great new spin on an old tale. However this one was boring in comparison and didn’t live up to the first. This one felt very haphazardly put together and Charlotte and Jamie didn’t mesh as nicely on this one. I do not plan to continue this series any further.
I gave The Last of August 3 out of 5 stars.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
I heard about this book from many, many booktubers and had thought I’d really enjoy it. The main character is 17 year old Ismae, who has trained as an assassin after escaping an abusive childhood home and an arranged marriage that would have killed her. At Death’s convent she is nearing the end of her studies and hoping to take her vows when she is sent on her first (although the Goodreads description states “most important”) mission to protect the duchess of Brittany. There she struggles to decide who to trust, especially when she starts to doubt the decisions and orders from the convent.
I honestly thought this book was entirely too long and that a lot of extra bits were added for the page numbers rather than the plot or the reader’s enjoyment. I also felt that the magic system wasn’t quite well planned. It is very, very light fantasy but it doesn’t seem to be consistent. Ismae herself was quite aggravating as she just isn’t very smart and doesn’t seem smart enough to be effective as an assassin, just relying on the fact that she has skills that were granted by Death.
I gave Grave Mercy 3 out of 5 stars.
Girl Online Going Solo by Zoe Sugg
I mostly picked this book up just out of pure curiosity. I hadn’t enjoyed Zoe’s first two books that much, rating them each 2 stars. I’m so happy I did though, I liked this one much better!
Penny is a character I can relate to because we’re both anxiety prone ladies. While Penny is a lot younger and she has problems that I find silly, she was quite resourceful in this book. She wants to believe the best in everyone and makes mistakes along her journey. This was a huge improvement!
I gave Girl Online Going Solo 4 out of 5 stars.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I did a whole review on this book already, and I actually had won it in a giveaway! This book follows sisters Scarlett and Tella, who dream of seeing the magical performance Caraval, despite having never left their island and an abusive, controlling father. As Scarlett prepares for her wedding, a marriage arranged by her father, invitations to Caravel finally arrive and Tella takes her away. However they are separated after arriving and Scarlett races to find her before the end of Caraval.
I really enjoyed this book! It was fun to see this world unfold. Scarlett is such an interesting character and reading how much she cares about her sister was so heartwarming. I have heard people compare it to The Night Circus and while I think it has the same feel it is a completely different story and so creative and fun.
I gave Caraval 4 out of 5 stars.
March: Books One, Two, and Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin (Co-writer), and Nate Powell (Artist)
I read all three graphic novels in John Lewis’ series March. I know I have a lot of readers from outside the US so I’ll explain a bit of background first. John Lewis is a congressman who represents a part of Georgia known as the 5th district in the House of Representatives. He held various key roles in the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s, including organizing freedom rides, the March on Washington (1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech), and championed nonviolent protests on the road to racial equality.
This trilogy is a powerful autobiography, intertwining Congressman Lewis’ experiences in the Civil Rights Movement and President Barrack Obama’s inauguration. Entirely in black and white it highlights the differences between the two historical times in history. One scene will show a younger Lewis being severely beaten, supporting black people in the south trying to register to vote despite obvious discrimination, and even learning of the deaths of other activists before suddenly switching to a beautiful moment with a black mother and her two young sons, President Obama being sworn in, and being awarded the Medal of Freedom from the President.
I would have done a full review if I hadn’t had to turn these books in so quickly. They were only 7 day loans from the library so I honestly did feel a little rushed while I read them and would have loved to take my time. As these are all real events you can find videos and transcripts from the events that are described. It was so powerful to go from seeing a bloodied and bruised Lewis to seeing him respected and honored as a Congressman on the next page. Of the three books I think the second was my favorite. This one showed the Freedom Riders journey and all the dangers they had to face to get to the deep south, the March on Washington, and the bombing of an Alabama black church that resulted in the death of young girls and then showed it against the inauguration day of President Obama, the first black president.
I highly, highly recommend this series. I was so happy to hear from my cousin that she had read the first book in school recently (she’s in high school) after I snapchatted the second book. Since then I’ve seen that all three books have been New York Times bestsellers and won a variety of awards. They are amazing and I would recommend to anyone.
I gave all three books in the March series 5 out of 5 stars.
So those are my March books! Let me know what you’ve been reading this month. I’d love to know!
Thanks for reading!