March flew by. It was such a busy month, I know I missed blogging a couple of times altogether, and this post is late. I’ll be back on a regular weekly schedule starting next week.

But now, on to the books!

My goal for March:

“For March, I’m going to stick with the same goal of 4 books.”

Actual vs. planned: (Link to my Goodreads 2017 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)

What She Knew – Gilly MacMillan – 3.5* – (Mar 3)

More like 3.5 stars because I have to deduct an entire half a star based on one of my pet peeves: civilians doing things the cops should be doing.

What I liked about this book was the way the family relationships were so complicated. While it was about a missing child, it was even more about what had happened before that point and how that baggage created so much additional tension during the search.

I didn’t predict the ending, though I wasn’t at all surprised either.

Coraline – Neil Gaiman – 5* – (Mar 5):

Coraline is a tough little cookie. I saw the animated movie years ago and would like to watch it again, but it seems the adaptation stayed fairly true to the book.

The illustrations add a lot to the experience, which was creepy and surrealistic, but also very relatable. I especially loved the cat who sometimes appears in her adventure.

All the Bright Places- Jennifer Niven – 5* – (Mar 17)

This book was both a joy and a sorrow to read. It begins with two teens considering jumping from a bell tower, suicidal for very different reasons. They form a relationship that doesn’t make sense to anyone else after becoming partners on a class project.

For once, I felt the marketing for this book got it right. It’s a definite cross between The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park. It’s beautiful and so heartbreaking. When I finished, I literally held it to my chest and took a few deep breaths to let it settle.

Pretend I’m Your Friend – MC Caschetta – 2.5* – (Mar 20):

I wanted to love it. I was super excited to order it, but when I sat down to read it, I was disappointed.

The main reason I was interested in this book is because it’s “entwined short stories” – which is what I’m currently writing. I’ve read a few connected collections, and the level of entanglement varies in each. This one was so subtle, I completely missed it until I was about three stories from the end and started scanning backward for repeated names. That’s not my gripe – I would’ve liked it to be a little more obvious, but that may have been my failure for reading it over a longer period. I still enjoyed the connections once I saw them.

My issue was more that I didn’t care for the content and I never strongly connected with any of the characters. The blurb says it’s about “fear, loss, and pain of love, sex, and family life” but most often, it was about sex. I’m no prude, but the way relationships (or lack of) were presented, the stories usually felt too emotionally distant for me to really get behind them.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Alvin Schwartz – 4* – (Mar 20):

It was so much fun to visit this book again! One of my friends posted about it on Facebook, and I bought it in a fit of elementary school nostalgia. It was so much fun to read through these stories and remember how I had been afraid as a child or how I had laughed. There’s a chapter that’s geared toward telling the stories in a group, complete with notes for dramatic pauses and screams and jumping. One note: If you order this, be sure to get a version with the original drawings. The artwork is key, and newer versions have different illustrations.

I started with three reading goals this year, but I’m adding a fourth:

  1. Read 40 books: – Currently at 17, which is 7 ahead of schedule according to Goodreads.
  2. Complete the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge: There are 24 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
    1. January – 5 (set somewhere you’ve never been, set in a school, thriller, library, kick-ass woman protag/female author)
    2. February – 4 (teaches something new, recommended by a friend, embarrassed to be seen with in public, takes place during winter)
    3. March – 3 (collection of short stories, one-word title, adapted to tv/movie)
  3. Decrease my TBR: 
    1. January 1 – 88 physical/29 digital
    2. January – 91/29 (read 2 physical, added 5 – 2 were gifts)
    3. February 28 – 91/30 (read 1 physical, bought a few, donated and otherwise updated my shelf to reflect what’s actually there)
    4. April 6 – 88/31 (no new physical, despite my birthday, bought 2 digital)
  4. Read more political/activism books: I read one in February. None in March. Sometimes the real world needs escaping.

Diversity? Three YA, two short stories, a thriller.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 3 books
  • 4 stars: 9 books
  • 3 stars: 4 books
  • 2 stars: 1 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 0 books

Pages read:

  • January – 2936
  • February – 1075
  • March – 1380

March involved some really slow reads but also a couple of quick ones. I suppose that balances out. I ended the month reading a nonfiction book that’s taking a long time to get through.

For April, I’ll stick with 4 books – it seems to be working. If you haven’t joined the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge yet, consider checking it out!