Reads of March ’23

assorted-title book lot

I read twelve books in March. Most of them were on audio this time around, but I was really busy all month and didn’t get to pick up as many physical books as I would have liked. I have three currently being read, I just haven’t had the time to finish them. But now that inventory at the day job is over and my move to a new house is complete, I should have more free time to read books. But that’s why I’m always so thankful for audio books. They allow me to read as much as I can while doing other things like cleaning and packing. Now let’s get into the books.

Babel by R.F. Kuang
I had a lot of feelings about this book and the story went to so many places I thought I had reading whiplash. In a good way.
The characters were beautiful. So many layers from good to evil and somewhere in between. And when losses occurred, I felt them like a punch to the gut. Even the ones I didn’t like very much.
The world building was amazing. We were dropped right into it and fully immersed. There was barely a second that I had time to question what was happening before I got it and loved it.
And the drama – wow. When the story first began, I had no idea where it was going to end up. But I am so pleased with where it went. This book explored very deep topics and societal issues and poked at dark places people would rather not explore. Amazing. I’m going to read this one again for sure.

The Witch in the Well by Camilla Bruce
I had a lot of hope for this one, but it didn’t quite meet the expectations. Maybe if I read a physical copy, I could follow it a little better. But it still wasn’t quite amazing.
The three voices didn’t quite gel together to finish up the storylines in a satisfying way. It was interesting and had a lot of potential, but I don’t think it was quite there.

Our Shadows Have Claws by Ampara Ortiz et. al.
There were stories I loved and gave me the creeps, and there were a few so-so stories. But they were all amazing in the way they were full of culture and personality. I’d heard of a few of these monsters before, but they were all fascinating and terrifying.
I loved how the stories weren’t only about the monsters and those horrors. They each had very distinct characters with real problems and their struggles were included alongside the creature aspect.
My favorite stories were La Patasola and La Madrina. They both had so much heart.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Overall, this one was fun and full of twists and turns. I liked the puzzle and the race to the prize.
However, I felt like everyone lacked real emotion. But I suppose that could be tallied up to the fact that everyone lives behind an avatar and they might be emotionally stunted. And it was a little too perfect for Wade to never struggled with the games. The only time he fell behind was when he was hung up on Artemis. And even then he ended up in the right place.
I wish there had been a little more to the ending, but I know there’s another book. So, maybe that gives more answers to the questions I’m left with.
I enjoyed it, but still kind of eh.

The Silent Ones by K.L. Slater
I couldn’t get enough of this one. I didn’t like any of the characters as people, but that added to the tension. From the get-go, you know it’s about more than the two girls and the story barrels along at full speed, hitting you with truth bombs one after another until the final big twist.
The outcome was so bonkers and I loved it. Will definitely have to read more books by this author.

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones
This story had a great premise and the twists really leave you guessing about WTF is really going on. There’s only one little clue at the beginning that hints at the catastrophe.
The style of writing really keeps you gripped the entire way through. I only wish it had been a little longer for more character development.

Fledgling by Octavia Butler
This one was a little hard to enjoy. The vampire myth was great and there was a lot of action and heartbreak to keep me enthralled, but I couldn’t get past the fact that the MC was in a body of a ten year old and had all these grown men in her pants. Yes, I know she’s technically an adult, but ew.
Sad this was her last book and the series won’t continue though.

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
This novella was a wild ride and I very much enjoyed it. This entire premise of hippos and the wild west was super entertaining.
However, there definitely could have been more. The characters were a little weak, but I got the impression the author knew they intimately. It just didn’t translate to the page. And as such, I found it hard to care about them.
A good read, though.

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson
This book was delightfully entertaining. I had to go preorder the next book as soon as I finished.
The cast of characters drew me in and I felt like I was one of them. They didn’t always act in a way I expected, but I won’t fault them for it. They were in a very extreme situation.
I really enjoyed the little pop culture references and modern jokes. I laughed out loud a lot.
Can’t wait for the next book.

John Dies at the End by David Wong/Jason Pargin
This was a crazy roller coaster ride of a book. I saw a review that calls it “supernatural meets south park” and that really sums it up.
The two MC’s really stumble into the crap and take it in stride. John more than David. But they are really entertaining. David does his best when faced with the worst and acts like he has nothing to do lose – until he does.
I liked Amy coming out of her shell and how she turned out. And I’m looking forward to reading the next book.
A few favorite quotes – “Son, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world there was only one of him.”
“Something coming back from the dead was almost always bad news. Movies taught me that. For every one Jesus, you get a million zombies.”
“On judgment day, I’d be able to proudly state that wen I thought the hordes of hell were coming for a local girl, I stood ready to shoot at them with a small caliber pistol.”

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
And to think I almost DNFed this book because I didn’t care for the cat POV.
I can’t say much because spoilers, but this was an incredible mind f*ck of a book.
Every time I thought i had something figured out, I was wrong. The reveal was so well done and the ending was so perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better thrilling read.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
A very dark and suspenseful read.
I’ve seen the movie, years ago, so I didn’t go in completely blind. But there was great detail and a very rich storyline. Each character gets their full development and they were very real people who popped off the page. Even knowing how it would end, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the climax and resolution. I also really appreciated how the story didn’t vilify trans people and how Clarice made her presence known as a powerful and smart woman. Great book.

What have you been reading? What’s been your favorite so far? My favorite from this month as a hard decision, but I went with Her Majesty’s Royal Coven. I’ll be exploring my deeper opinions and analysis in a future post.