Sunday, April 2, 2023

Monthly Reads - March 2023

I hope you all are enjoying all the book reviews, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

Go As A River was received as a review copy - this post contains affiliate links

So, in March I read 8 books - a mix of genres from adult historical fiction to YA fantasy. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books, but I think this month was mostly newer release! I read 4 audio books, 3 physical books, and 1 e-book! 

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

Venco by Cherie Dimaline ~ ☆☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is an adult magical realism book - my favourite author writing about feminist witches coming together to take down the patriarchy?! We meet a woman who finds a magical spoon and is taken on a whirlwind road trip with her Grandmother. While the coven is coming together, they are also being chased by the last benandanti, male witch hunters with somewhat magical powers of their own. They are racing the clock and each other - he is conniving and sinister, but irresistible too. This book is about finding the magic in the monotonous and making your own future. Loved the characters, story and want more, more, more! 

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn ~ ☆☆☆ ½ - 3.5 stars. This is the second book in the Legendborn series - a somewhat King Arthur retelling with highschool students set in college setting. This followed closely on the heels of book one, so I won't spill the plot, but this one is a huge book (28 hour audiobook) and it is a lot - there is a ton of plot and so much going on, it was almost too much to follow. I did love the ending and will read book 3! 

Go As A River by Shelley Read ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a historical fiction book - I tend to read these the least, but this was one of the Indigo monthly picks for February and it is a hyped new release (thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy). This books spans 30 years and starts in the 1940s with a teenage girl on her families peach farm - she is the only girl in a family struck by many tragedies. She has a quick, passionate affair with a young man passing through town, however quickly finds out of racism and it ends in tragedy. She escapes town and eventually takes her peaches and eventually settles in a new spot. This is a slow burn story, but focuses on love, family and rebuilding. It is beautifully written and there is a lot that goes on. I enjoyed the setting and the resilience of the characters. I did think it was a slower start and it took me a bit to connect to the characters, but halfway through as we were really getting in, I could not put it down and I was rooting for all of our characters, and it was tragic and hopeful and beautiful!

Beartown by Fredrick Backman ~ ☆☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is the first book in the Beartown trilogy, that is a contemporary fiction series. This is a book set in a hockey town and what happens when an act of violence occurs comes to light on the eve of the most important game for the town. Wow, I've heard such great things about this book, but I still wasn't quite sure that a book about hockey would be a favourite of mine. And, that's somewhat the idea, while this is a book surrounding hockey, it's truly a look at characters and a petri-dish at how people respond to acts of violence when a seemingly upstanding community member commits the act. I typically don't love a multi-pov story, but it worked here and the characters are all faced with dilemmas and the town draws lines and picks sides. So many fantastic characters and a compelling, well-written story!

Tapwe and The Magic Hat by Buffy Sainte-Marie ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a middle grade/kids contemporary fiction book - I loved reading this with Elliott. It's the sort of introduction to kids for tricksters and a good moral of treating everyone kindly. Loved all the Cree wording throughout that helped keep the story authentic and introduce my kid to other languages. We enjoyed the story and my sister illustrated the book based on some old drawings Buffy did - thought they were really cute!

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna ~ ☆☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is a super sweet, magical realism, cozy fantasy read! We meet a witch, Mika Moon who has grown up alone, as she's always been taught that witches are too powerful if they are together for too long. She has used coping mechanisms of not getting too close to anyone and move around often. But, she gets a job offer she can't refuse - she is helping three young witches control their power. As she gets to know the girls and the other staff that work in the manner, there is of course this lovely found family element that is just totally heart-warming. The extra characters are fabulous - and of course, the love interest is a broody librarian with a grumpy/sunshine feel. There is good buildup and tension, the fallout was unexpected (just a different way), but it all wrapped up so nicely. Like a lovely, warm witchy hug!

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt ~ ☆☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. Well this has been the month of remarkable contemporary fiction books! This follows Tova, a woman in her 70s who cleans at the local aquarium to keep herself busy, and Marcellus, an octopus in the aquarium who Tova makes a connection. We also follow Cameron, who makes his way to their town and unexpectedly in to everyone's lives. Tova has had a difficult go, but her cute but matter-of-fact perspective was fun to read. This is the story how their lives interconnect and their stories come together. It is a slow build as everything comes together, but I loved everyone's lives and small town six-degree-of-separation type stories. Lovely and I love octopuses. 

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult fantasy book - the first in a duology (or series, I'm not sure). This focuses on our main characters, Iris and Roman as they are competing journalists in the same company vying for the same job. They come from very different worlds and find a connection through magical typewriters, where only Roman knows her identity. The war is two old rival Gods who have awoken and are calling civilians to pick sides and fight for them. Iris decides to go to the front lines of the war to try and find her brother and report on the war. When Roman reads her articles he follows her there - and eventually through war and worst-case scenarios, they fall in love. But, it is short lived as the war encloses on their town. I loved the characters and the story was well paced and exciting. The ending was gut-wrenching and I cannot wait to see what happens next - I need to read the next one asap!

Okay, March was a fantastic reading month - so many great books were read this month! 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

What was the best book you read this month?! My favourite of all of these was Venco, but Beartown was solidly up there too (and everything else!)

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