Quick Lit: March 2019

After finally catching up on my backlog of Quick Lit posts, I told myself that I could never get that far behind again. I think it took me longer to get motivated to start than it did to actually write the reviews. With that said, let's talk about what I read in March (right before we enter May haha!). I finished 21 books, and I'm chatting about 15 of them in today's post. Four others are briefly mentioned at the end, and the other two will be included in April's Quick Lit. As always, check out the linkup hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy for more reviews and recommendations.

GRAVE MERCY, DARK TRIUMPH AND MORTAL HEART BY ROBIN LAFEVERS – After spending the month of February re-reading, you'd think that I would be eager to get back to the brand-new books. I found myself still craving familiar reads, so I decided to listen to this series on audio. And since the first book in the new companion duology released in February, I knew a memory refresh was in order before I picked up that one. I read this series at the height of their popularity years ago and hadn't re-read them since. I loved them then, but I kept wondering if they'd hold up. Fake spoiler alert: all three were still AMAZING! Why didn't I re-read them sooner?

My favorite will always be Dark Triumph because Sybella + Beast = magic, but I was surprised to find that Mortal Heart was even better than I'd remembered. Possibly even stronger than Grave Mercy? Gasp, I know! If you want more thoughts on these assassin nuns, here's my original series review since my re-read reaction is basically just ALL THE FEELS. As for the audiobooks, all three have different narrators. The first and third were just okay, in my opinion, but much better on 3x speed. The second was really good, and I was excited to see she narrates Sybella's POV in the newest book, too. I'm happy to say I'm still So Obsessed With this series.

MARIANA BY SUSANNA KEARSLEY – I've heard Kelly rave about this book for years, and I kept meaning to read it after I thoroughly enjoyed The Winter Sea. It's only my second book by this author, but I can already see similarities between them! This book was really grounded in the setting, and I loved that it was so important to the story. I'm generally not a fan of two timelines in books (one present and one historical, in this case), but I could see how both timelines had to exist for the story Kearsley was telling. The story and atmosphere were so well done, though I wanted more from the characters and the romantic relationships. But I So Enjoyed It overall! 

FREDERICA BY GEORGETTE HEYER – I've only read one book by Heyer, The Grand Sophy, and it was eight years ago. But I gave it five stars, so she's been on my bookish radar ever since! Heyer is considered the queen of Regency romance, and I couldn't wait to start this one. While I loved the family dynamics and humorous scenes, the story seemed to drag on forever. And the romance was the weakest part of the book to me! I wasn't invested in the couple at all, and I was bummed because I'd expected so much more. I'll probably try at least one more book from Heyer in the future, but this one didn't really work for me. I was So Okay With It.

CODE NAME VERITY BY ELIZABETH WEIN – The first time I read this book, I loved it. And I noted that I thought it was the type of book that "only gets better every time you revisit it." But that was six years ago, and I'd never re-read it since then. All I could remember was that it was slow and hard to get into at first, and I forgot what I loved. But I owned the audiobook, so I figured I'd give it a try. OH MY GOODNESS. Past Me was an idiot – this book is perfection, and my memory was the problem. Listening to it made the writing come to life in a new way, and I highly recommend that format. This book is meant to be read by such talented narrators! I'm So Obsessed With It.

PERSUASION BY JANE AUSTEN – Is there a more romantic moment in Austen’s novels than Wentworth’s letter to Anne at the end of of this one? And what is there to say about Persuasion that hasn’t been said before? I adore all of Austen’s novels, but this is probably my second favorite after Pride and Prejudice. It all works for me: the characters, the emotion, the uncertainty, the ending. I could go on! It’s a slower, quieter story, but I love how Austen gives us such an introspective heroine. And this book is probably why I’ll always have a soft spot for second chance romances! I listened to it on audio, and Juliet Stevenson did a lovely job narrating it. I'm So Obsessed With It.

COURTING DARKNESS BY ROBIN LAFEVERS – After re-reading the His Fair Assassin series, I couldn't wait to dive in to the first book is the new companion duology! Following Sybella (from the original trilogy) and another novitiate that we'd heard of but never met, I'm thrilled that LaFevers is continuing to explore this world! There's so much political intrigue and personal drama in this one, and I loved everything about it. I do think that it's best if you've read the other series first because you need all the background to appreciate the relationships and overall plot. It ends on a cliffhanger, but I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel. I'm So Obsessed With It!

A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION BY DEANNA RAYBOURN* – Veronica is an outspoken, adventurous heroine with a penchant for getting herself into trouble and a talent for solving mysteries. Her sidekick, Revelstoke Templeton-Vane, is slightly exasperated by her antics... but he's secretly swooning, too. The slow burn between them is my favorite, and each mystery has been fun and fascinating. This particular book takes Veronica and Stoker to a small island off the coast, which I loved! The isolated setting, atmospheric description of it, and the small circle of suspects added to the suspense. It gave the book a gothic vibe, and I'm So Obsessed With It. (Books 1, 2, and 3)

PETER PAN BY J.M. BARRIE – When I was scrolling through my Audible library, I noticed Peter Pan, narrated by Jim Dale. I can't even find the edition for sale now, but I know I've owned it for years. I've intended to read ever since it was chosen for my Consider This Classic feature. At five hours long, I finished it in one evening and loved Dale's narration. He was the highlight for me! I loved many of Barrie's turns of phrase, and there were endearing moments in the story. But, on the whole, it was much darker than I'd realized. It reminded me of Lord of the Flies – not exactly what I'd expected! I So Liked It, but it's not a classic I see myself revisiting.

HEART'S BLOOD BY JULIET MARILLIER – This historical fantasy is set in Ireland and loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. Marillier kept the familiar elements of the fairy tale — a castle, a curse, a flower, a beastly man, and beautiful girl — but fleshed it out in a way that was entirely her own. I loved noticing all the nods to the inspiration while still feeling as though I was reading something entirely new. Though I found the mystery incredibly obvious, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this story. I loved the descriptive writing, the memorable secondary characters, and the subtle romance. And oh my, it was so atmospheric! The pace is on the slower side, but I still So Loved It.

EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN BY CHRIS CLEAVE – Quite honestly, this is my least favorite read of the year so far and one I should have quit. Stilted dialogue, awful characters, tedious story. I started it on audio and made it almost halfway through before picking up the book so I could just skim to the end. I thought it might redeem itself, but it just kept getting worse. And while I understand it’s historically accurate, the repeated use of racial slurs and opinions felt gratuitous and problematic. The black characters only existed as character development for the white heroine, and it was done so offensively. I could rant about this in more detail, but the gist is I So Disliked It.

DEVIL'S DAUGHTER BY LISA KLEYPAS – I have loved West as a secondary character in the previous books and was so looking forward to seeing him find love. His story didn't disappoint! Phoebe was delightful, though I wanted to shake her a few times. Their banter and chemistry made them a fun couple. The children from her previous marriage were lovely additions to the story, and it was cute to see West win them over with his boyish antics. But the real MVP was Phoebe's dad – Sebastian St. Vincent, who readers originally met in the Wallflowers series. Bless his meddling ways! This might be my favorite of the series, and I So Loved It.

WHAT MATTERS IN JANE AUSTEN? BY JOHN MULLAN – It's almost impossible for me to resist books about or inspired by Jane Austen. This particular one has been on my shelves for years, and I'm so glad I finally read it. A few essays in here were so insightful that they will affect how I re-read Austen in the future (in a good way). The introduction and last two chapters, in particular, were excellent. Those were worth the price of the book, for me! But many others dragged and got repetitive. I’d recommend it to fellow Austen lovers — with the caveat that you may skim a bit. The writing isn't too scholarly, which I appreciated, too. I So Liked It

ENCHANTÉE BY GITA TRELEASE – Hello, gorgeous cover. Did I pre-order this based on its beauty and summary alone? Yes, I did. It's set in Paris during the French Revolution, but there's something special about Trelease's version of the world – it's got magic! I can't resist real events that have a creative twist, and it was done in such a believable way in this book. Trelease's writing was lovely, and I enjoyed how the heroine's personal struggles weren't overshadowed by the country's upheaval. However, I would have loved more development from the characters and the romance because I was never deeply invested in either. I So Liked It overall though! 

There were a few books that I won't be reviewing but wanted to mention. Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean was a fun start to a new series, though it did feel long and overly dramatic at times. The romance was great, however, and I So Enjoyed It. I had similar feelings about Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas – nice romance and trope (devilish hero reformed by unconventional woman) but also felt it dragged on and got ridiculous. I'm a little torn on the rating but would probably say I So Enjoyed It. And finally, I read Just Like Heaven and A Night Like This by Julia Quinn, the first two books in the Smythe-Smith Quartet. I didn't particularly enjoy either one – mostly forgettable and boring with a few moments of cuteness. I'm So Okay With It but won't be continuing the series. 

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.

What have you been reading lately?


  1. I'm in the same boat for Code Name Verity! I read it several years ago and loved it and have been meaning to reread it ever since, and then I picked it up during an Audible sale and now you're making me super anxious to start listening to it right now! I'll definitely have to do it soon, since I suspect I'll have a similar reaction.

    And I keep hearing such amazing things about Lisa Kleypas' newest release! I'm saving it for a rainy day, but I'm glad to hear you loved it!

  2. SEBASTIAN ST. VINCENT FOREVER <3 But also, I really want to reread the His Fair Assassin series after seeing that you really felt like they held up well! I've never reread the books, and I'd really like to - especially so that I can continue on and read Courting Darkness (though I know it's not strictly necessary).


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