March 2021 wrap-up

Hiya pals, I’m a bit late with this post but here’s a brief overview of what I read and enjoyed in March. I’ve had limited time to sit down, relax and pick up a book this month so I found myself turning more to audiobooks which I think may be a recurring theme for the foreseeable. I access almost all the audiobooks I listen to through my local library and the BorrowBox app – I highly recommend checking if your library has something similar, as they have been so helpful and they have an extensive selection. Audiobooks can be hit or miss in my experience, so trying them out for free is a bonus.
Anyway, here is my quick wrap up! Please let me know if you have read any of these, or if they are still on your TBR.

The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People by Meik Wiking (audio)

This was a short but sweet way to begin my reading month, as the audio copy was only a few hours long. It was a refreshing and uplifting read – the book outlines studies of happiness across the globe but also a few heartwarming case studies, which highlight how people and communities are taking active steps to enjoy more fulfilled lives. It provided some hope and allowed time for reflection on my own habits and how I could incorporate small steps to increasing my own happiness, but those around me too.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it! I gave it 4 stars.

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Perry (audio)

Okay so I picked this book as the synopsis gave me Stalking Jack the Ripper in Edinburgh vibes, and although there are some similarities, I was surprised by this story as it was not what I expected at all. I really enjoyed it as it is unlike what I normally read, but instantly gravitated towards the story of crime in Edinburgh’s dingy old town contrasting with the luxury of the new town. The whole plot is shrouded in mystery – who is Will Raven and what is the background that he tries so hard to conceal, who is killing young women in such a violent way, and perhaps most importantly, who can be trusted… It was a thrilling read and so well written – it was a fascinating look at the medical profession during the 1800s, particularly early forms of anaesthetic for surgery and childbirth. Will and Sarah make an interesting detective team and I enjoyed seeing their dynamics constantly change as they face various hurdles in their quest to find out what is happening in their city and why young pregnant women are being found dead. Sarah is such an interesting character as she is confined by her gender and class but finds ways of pursuing her passion of medicine, even amongst the world of snooty men.

If you enjoy historical mysteries, this story is definitely for you! I enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars overall.

Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang

Opium and Absinthe was the only physical book I read all month, and even then.. I only read half of it! I am notorious for starting a book and abandoning it part way through if I get caught up in other books. Unfortunately, this happened to Opium and Absinthe, which I originally started in summer last year and just finished this month after a hiatus. I was concerned about jumping back into a story right in the middle of the book, but I was easily able to rejoin this world of 19th century New York socialites, opiates and Dracula. Tilly is on a mission to find out what really happened to her sister, although as her addiction becomes stronger it’s difficult to focus on the task and reality – I think sometimes the writing highlighted that. The beginning of the book was a little dull (although I’m not sure if that’s because I left such a gap in finishing the story) but when I got back into the story I found the pace picked up and the storyline progressed. I initially wasn’t a huge fan of Tilly, but I definitely warmed up to her when she started to take back control. The story had a bit of a shock factor and a twist, which I enjoyed and didn’t expect! The hint of impossible makes this an intriguing smoke and mirrors story.

Another 4 star historical crime novel (it seems to be a bit of a theme this month) that I would recommend!

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (audio)

This was such a fun read and was really refreshing after 2 historical mystery novels! I really went into this blind as I didn’t check the synopsis beforehand and was really just going off the name and praise I had seen online – it did not disappoint! It was such an interesting concept and that translated really well into the storyline. I won’t give anything away, because I think part of the fun was not knowing what to expect… you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

An overall fun and engaging read for all bookworms who fantisise about fighting evil on the side.. I gave it 4 stars!

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace (audio)

I received an e-book copy of All the Stars and Teeth from Netgalley but also accessed the audiobook through Borrowbox, although my plan was to switch between formats I predominantly followed the audio copy. I have seen a lot of hype for this book and while I found aspects of it enjoyable, I really wasn’t blown away by it but I liked the world and learning about the various islands and the magic systems. I also enjoyed the sense of adventure and pirate vibes throughout the story. I may go back to the e-book at some point to see if I am more engaged by that format, as I think I missed some points from the audio book as I tend to listen to them in the background while doing other things. Sometimes I do have to rewind sections that I miss, so that could have contributed to my overall lack of enthusiasm for the story – maybe I hit my audiobook limit for the month and this one suffered because of it. If I do go back to it, I’ll update my ratings and review accordingly!

I gave it a rating of 3 stars because I enjoyed aspects of it but really wasn’t too invested in the story, but I would recommend reading it for yourself if you enjoy unique magic systems and runaway princess must unite the kingdom type stories.

Fable by Adrienne Young (e-book – gifted)

I was so excited when Titan Books got in touch to offer me a copy of Fable to read and review, I am a huge fan of Adrienne Young’s books so I actually squealed with excitement! Due to the lockdown, they were unable to send physical copies so I was gifted an e-copy of the book which I was thrilled about.

This book had so much hype! I see it everywhere online and it was promoted by Reece’s Book Club so I had extra high expectations for it. It was a great story and I thought it was well written, there was adventure and drama and intrigue, but there was also a lot of world building and backstories that needed put in place which really slowed the pace of the first half of the book. I would say it really picks up towards the end, where it sets up the sequel but obviously the first half is so important for establishing the world and tense relationships between everything. I liked the characters as we got to know them, and it certainly has a fair few morally grey souls who are very intriguing. The crew were a little jarring at first, but once their stories unfold and a few secrets are spilled, a found family narrative starts to shine through. Fable herself really grew on me as the story unfolded, although I think there is so much more to expect from her in the future!

Because I found the first half a little slow and put too much pressure on the hype, I gave this 4 stars but I am so excited to read Namesake and see what happens to Fable and our motley crew next! If you enjoy pirates, adventures and drama – this is a story for you. Huge thank you to Titan Books for gifting me a copy of this book!

Alright, that’s it for my quick recap! You can head over to my Instagram if you want to see more of what I have been reading or chat about books.

Much love,

Alison x

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