Quick Lit: March 2020

With everything going on in the world and my home, I'm shocked that I finished 14 books in March. Thank you, Kindle and Audible! Twelve of the books that I read were in one of those two formats. I already shared my review of House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, if you missed it. In today's post, I'm chatting about six of the books I read in March + briefly mentioned my four re-reads. And in the next week or so, I will have reviews posted for the other three books that I read. If you enjoy this feature, check out other readers' reviews at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

FREE OF ME BY SHARON HODDE MILLER – I can't remember where I heard about this book, but the subtitle intrigued me: Why Life is Better When It's Not About You. In this Christian non-fiction book, Miller explores how self focus negatively affects every area of our lives. I thought the theme of the book was great, and I highlighted numerous thought-provoking passages. However, I did think the message got repetitive. There's only so many ways to make the same point. But the way Miller explores seven "When You Make _____ About You" things (such as God, family, friendships, etc.) was insightful and is the reason I So Liked It. And I both appreciated the way she honestly discussed her flaws and laughed that all of her examples were about herself, considering the theme of the book.

THE TWO LIVES OF LYDIA BIRD BY JOSIE SILVER – I didn't love Silver's popular debut, One Day in December, but was convinced it was largely due to the fact that I didn't love the romance itself or the hero. Now, I'm wondering if I just don't love Silver's writing. The concept of Lydia Bird was so interesting, but I just felt no connection to the heroine. Her grief and dilemma seemed so unemotional to me. The time jumps in the story made it hard to get invested in the story and gave it a wonky pacing. I'd still say I So Liked It because I thought the premise was enjoyable and wanted to see how it would all work out in the end. But it was just missing that certain spark! And though I predicted the ending, I was still surprised by how little development one element of it received.

AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS BY MARGARET ROGERSON – I read Rogerson's sophomore novel, Sorcery of Thorns, last year and really enjoyed it. That prompted me to buy her debut, even though I'd seen more mixed reviews for it. It got off to an enjoyable start, and I was immediately entranced by the fairy tale vibe. However, it slowed so much in the middle that I was totally bored. I wasn't invested in the characters themselves, so their fight against the fairy courts wasn't compelling to me. The romance was lackluster, too. I still enjoyed Rogerson's writing style and will probably check out future books from her, but I was just So Okay With It. As a note, I listened to the audiobook and loved Julia Whelan's narration, so I would recommend that format if this book appeals to you.

RISEN MOTHERHOOD BY EMILY JENSEN & LAURA WIFLER – Although I don't listen to it consistently, I'm a fan of the Jensen and Wifler's Risen Motherhood podcast. So, I was excited when I found out they were publishing a book! The subtitle is Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments, and I loved the way they examined how the Gospel applies to every aspect of motherhood. I thought it might over-spiritualize things, but then I was convicted by how thoughtfully they illustrated that everything can be viewed through the lens of our faith. I particularly loved the chapters on heart attitudes, transitions, mundane moments, and self-care. There are lots of Scripture references, so it felt very biblically grounded. It's one of the best parenting books I've read, and I So Enjoyed It.

THE LIGHT OVER LONDON BY JULIA KELLY – I loved the idea of reading about a woman serving in the British Army's anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl during WWII. Unfortunately, this book didn't deliver on that premise. It wasn't bad – it was just so bland! It felt very generic, interchangeable with so many other books set during this time period. The dual point of views, one modern and one historical, didn't work for me. I didn't understand the modern heroine's motivation and found the inserted journal entries pretty pointless. As for the historical heroine, I wanted to learn more about her role in the Army. It was so disappointing! The romances in both timelines took priority over historical research or a compelling plot, so I was just So Okay With It and will probably forget I ever read it.

TO HAVE AND TO HOAX BY MARTHA WATERS* – When I received an email pitching this as a historical rom com, I had to try it! The hero and heroine fell in love, got married, and now have barely spoken in the past four years. What follows is a series of mostly hilarious hijinks and pranks between two people who clearly still love each other. I had a feeling their estrangement stemmed from miscommunication, but I didn't mind too much because it felt realistic for the characters and the age at which they married. But the story dragged on just a bit too long and got repetitive, especially when one honest conversation could have cleared up all their issues. It was still a promising start to what could be a series (based on the delightful secondary characters), and I So Liked It.

In March, I re-read four books. I listened to The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary first, which was just as wonderful as I remembered. I love Tiffy and Leon so much! I'm happy they each got their own narrator on the audio, too. Once again, I was moved by the combination of humor + emotional subject matter. I'm still So Obsessed With It. My next audio re-read, Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane, had that same combination. Even though I I'd read it before, I still laughed, cried, and swooned. And yes, I'm So Obsessed With It. Both books are great on audio!

Then, I re-read The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez. I wanted to refresh my memory before The Happy Ever After Playlist, and I'm so glad I did! I adore Kristen and Josh's love story, but Kristen's friendship with Sloan is one of my favorite aspects. I So Loved It and, after I finished, I bought it on audio for future re-reads. Finally, I flew through No Limits by Ellie Marney. And y'all, I can't believe I didn't re-read it sooner. The conflict, the romance, the character growth – I'm HERE FOR IT and So Obsessed With It. It was an excellent month for re-reads.

*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 comment

  1. I felt so similarly about An Enchantment of Ravens! I went into it with low expectations since I knew so many people who didn't love it, and it turned out to be just okay overall.


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