March 2017 Reading Review

March was an awesome reading month. It was a huge improvement on February and was largely assisted by two books that I devoured in less than 24 hours each. I read a lot of crime/mysteries/thrillers this month, so it will either encourage to read more next month or will satiate me for the time being. Anywhere, here’s my March 2017 reading review. (Also, apologies in advance for all the thrillers I read that aren’t available until June/July!)

My Cup and Chaucer | March 2017 Reading Review

March 2017 Reading Review
The Futures by Anna Pitoniak 
This was listed in my first 2017 preview and it was getting loads of buzz overseas, so naturally, I was really keen to pick it up. It’s a debut novel about two young lovers who move to New York straight out of college, and it’s kind of like a coming of age story (I guess?) where you don’t like either of the two main characters. They both act in ways that made me dislike them and struggle to feel any sympathy for them when, surprise surprise, life doesn’t turn out how they expected it would. It perfectly captures the feeling of uncertainty that many young people feel straight out of uni/college, and it also made me even more excited to visit New York next month, but with unlikeable protagonists, it was hard to get fully invested in their lives.  3★

 

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
I was stressed about picking up another book from my 2017 preview straight after one was a bit of a disappointment, but I’m happy to report that Mr Nix didn’t let me down. I want to start this mini-review by saying I felt way too old for this book, so I tried my best to read it from the perspective of the target audience, which is probably 9-14. It’s a ‘princess saves herself and everyone else’ tale with talking dogs and misbehaving frogs. It’s fun, it’s light-hearted, and it contains many timely messages for young minds. Garth is an excellent storyteller, and this is no exception. 4★

 

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica (available June 2017)
I raced through this book in a single day over a weekend this month. It wasn’t outstanding, but it was the right story at the right time and I was instantly gripped. The story is told through two perspectives: Clara, whose husband Nick has just died in a car accident, and Nick, in the days leading up to the accident. Clara and Nick’s daughter was unharmed in the accident, but her reaction during the days after the accident lead Clara to consider that perhaps it wasn’t an accident after all. Beyond being a great mystery, this story was also quite moving when it came to the topic of death and grief. It’s not the best thriller you’ll read all year, but it will make for a quick and enjoyable winter read when it’s released in June. 4★

 

The Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe 
This was the most confused book I’ve read all year. It didn’t know whether it wanted to be a true-crime story or a memoir, and instead, it became neither. It was an interesting enough story: young reporter covers a story about a serial killer, becomes obsessed with said serial killer. Unfortunately, I found that the author never really dug deep enough for readers to find out why her obsession began, or to uncover enough about her personality to make sense of it ourselves. There’s no suspense to her story, and frankly, it’s not that interesting. Learning more about the horrific murders fascinated me (I do not want to know what that says about me), but there are far better true crime tales out there. 3★

 

The Marsh King’s Daugther by Karen Dionne (available late June 2017)
I swear I need to stop getting overly excited about books months before they are published. So, I heard about The Marsh King’s Daughter back in December and was so hyped for it that I added it to my own 2017 preview. I’m so sorry to report that for me, it did not like up to the hype. Helena was born into captivity; her mother was abducted by her father when she was young and fell pregnant. They eventually escaped and Helena’s father went to prison, and The Marsh King’s Daughter begins with Helena learning her father has escaped. She knows he’s coming for her, so she tries to outsmart him. The book is let down in a big way by the overly long flashback sections. They detract from the actual suspense happening in the present-day storyline, but even that fell flat for me. It was a good idea poorly executed, but it’s getting loads of great reviews all over the place so maybe it’s just me? 3★

 

The Silent Invasion by James Bradley
If I could tell every author on the planet one thing, it would be to tread very carefully with animal abuse in fiction. There aren’t many instances when the senseless, detailed beating of an animal is necessary for a story to progress and more often than not it feels gratuitous. I like James’s adult writing, but for me, it didn’t quite hit the mark for a YA novel. 3★

 

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (available July 2017)
After a few average books, I was ready for something to blow me away and Michael Robotham did just that. If you’re a fan of Michael’s other books, you’ll know that he’s an excellent writer, but this book is definitely a departure from his usual style. It’s a thriller told from the perspective of two women; one has a seemingly perfect life, and the other covets that life beyond the point of obsession. If I’d been reading this over a weekend I reckon I would have torn through it in a single day, and although work got in the way I struggled to get Meg and Agatha out of my head until I finished it. This is absolutely worth tracking down when it’s published later this year. 5★

 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance 
I listened to this as an audiobook as it’s narrated by the author and because I felt like it would be the sort of non-fiction book that would take me ages to physically read. I treated it as a long podcast and got through it fairly quickly. I’d say that it’s probably 80% memoir, 20% social commentary, but that was fine by me because J.D. Vance has led an incredible life so far, and his social commentary was fairly elitist. I suppose what kept this from being a 5-star book for me was Vance’s somewhat arrogant tone when reflecting on the community he grew up in and the countless others like it across America. He’s achieved a lot against seemingly insurmountable odds, but he writes of blue-collar Appalachian workers with a strange air of superiority. Not going to college doesn’t automatically mean someone is lazy just like money rarely buys class. I’m not really qualified at all to dig deeper into this, but I felt as though those who are could be put off by Vance essentially telling them that they’re not good for much if they’re not trying to improve their circumstances. Some people are happy staying right where they are, and there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s what they want. 4★

 

The Party by Robyn Harding (available July 2017)
I wish I could have ended the month on a high note, but it was not meant to be. In The Party, a sweet sixteenth party goes horribly wrong and changes the course of many lives forever. Unfortunately for me, I felt like the author way trying too hard to be like Liane Moriarty when in reality no one except Liane can be Liane. Liane is a master of domestic suspense and tension, and that was really lacking in The Party. The characters felt fairly one-dimensional and most of them are all so bloody awful that it’s hard to feel any sympathy for them when their lives do start to fall apart. The ending was meant to shock me, but by then I cared so little for what happened that it really didn’t have any impact at all. 3★

 

So, there you have it. I smashed through a lot this month, but at certain times I did think of quality vs quantity and hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up some better books next month. What have you been reading? Does anything I read this month catch your fancy? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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