March Reading Wrap-Up

Big thanks to my ongoing mental rut and the well-greased elliptical at my fitness center for all the reading motivation and time. I experienced some pretty fantastic books in March… 

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle – This book came highly recommended by several friends and I ended up liking it quite a bit. The spin on Romeo and Juliet is unique, and main character Rose was likable. I thought her friendship with Charlie and Olivia was this story’s greatest strength. I loved the unwavering loyalty between the girls. Rob (Romeo), on the other hand, was a total douche. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say that the emerging relationship between Rose and “the other guy” was far more romantic.

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren – If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know this isn’t exactly my usual kind of book. But I have to say… I liked it better than I though I would. I was prepared for smut and cheesiness — both were present — but there was also some genuine emotion and a semblance of plot. The stakes weren’t terribly high, but Chloe was a smart, sassy woman with a backbone, and Bennett was reasonably complicated and eventually likable. I appreciated that Chloe didn’t let her cocky boss walk all over her, and Bennett’s arc was enough to leave me satisfied (jeez… no innuendo intended). While I probably won’t read more books of this type, I have to say: I didn’t hate it.

The List by Siobhan Vivian – I was hesitant to pick up this book thanks to the mention of eight (!) narrators in the summary. The mere idea of it seemed really… crowded. But, I’m SO glad I gave The List a chance. This novel was excellent: compelling and relevant and surprising. It was easy to keep track of the eight girls whose names appear on the list because their voices and their stories are all incredibly unique. Similar to the movie Mean Girls and Courtney Summers’s  Some Girls Are, I feel like The List should required reading for all girls about to enter high school. Its message is profound without ever trying too hard. My full review is HERE (at YA Confidential).

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – I loved this book more than I can eloquently express. I actually considered not reviewing it because it’s so hard to put into words how deeply Eleanor and Park’s story impacted me — I absolutely adore these two. Eleanor & Park is just too incredible not to recommend, so I featured it in a raving, fangirl-ish Bookanista post. You can read it HERE.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan – I don’t read tons of books classified as paranormal, and I don’t often read books that people describe as “funny,” but Unspoken got so much love during the 2012 Superlatives Blogfest (thank you for the constant mentions, Tracey and Jess!), I just couldn’t resist. Unspoken is funny, but not in a silly, slapstick sort of way. Rather, protagonist Kami is quick and witty, and her motley crew is always up to some sort of craziness in the name of journalistic truth. My favorite part of this story (by far) is the very complicated bond between Kami and Jared, and, to be honest, the last few pages of the book kind of shattered my heart. Cannot wait to read the next in this series, Untold.

Requiem by Lauren Oliver – I liked Delirium a lot, and Pandemonium was one of my favorite books of 2012. Requiem, while very, very good, left me wanting more. Lauren Oliver’s writing was predictably gorgeous, and Lena continued to be a protagonist I could relate to and root for, but the road the romance took in this final installment was not what I was hoping for (totally my personal preference, so if you’re on Team Other Guy, you’re probably hating me right now). Also, the final chapters left me slightly underwhelmed. I wanted more — more emotion, more explanation, more wow. I don’t know… Am I crazy?

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson – This one is not just a military book, nor is it just a cheating book.  There’s so much to Quinn’s story: weighty family issues, bullying, genuine (though rather untraditional) friendships, and incomprehensibly difficult choices.The dynamic between Quinn, Carey, and their good friend Blake was incredibly compelling, and Jackson’s writing is lovely, nuanced and authentic and without fluff. A definite recommend. You can find my full Bookanista review HERE.

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley – Lots to like about this novel: the slowly unraveling mystery behind Angie’s disappearance and “the man” who held her prisoner for years, the complex science behind “fragmented” personalities, the ups and downs of recovering from unimaginable trauma, and the complicated preexisting relationships Angie is thrown back into after emerging from captivity. That said, Angie’s lack of emotion (while understandable when factoring in her “alters”) made her occasionally difficult to connect with. Recommended to those who enjoy stories of the psychological sort. My full review is HERE.

Tell me: What’s the very best book you read in March?

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18 responses to “March Reading Wrap-Up

  1. My TBR pile just grew by four more books. * shakes head * Thanks for the recs, Katy.

  2. Alison Miller

    Um…I was Team Other Guy and while I was satisfied with that part of it – I too longed for more from Requiem. I felt like it wrapped up too quickly. Also, my TBR list just keeps growing! I can’t seem to keep up with all the new books as well as the old ones I haven’t read yet! Not a bad place to be, but still. As for what I’m reading – I borrowed FIRE from one of my students, have THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER on loan from the library, and just bought WONDER. I hope to get a LOT of reading in over spring break (since the stupid weather’s not cooperating) while working on massive chunks of CM. Oh – and I just finished up HYSTERIA by Megan Miranda. A must read, Katy. LOVED this book.

    Thanks for the recs! Have a lovely week!

    • I can’t believe you were Team Other Guy, Alison! But yeah… I’m totally on the same page with having wanted more from the ending of REQUIEM. Still a fantastic trilogy, though.

      I can’t wait to hear what you think of WONDER… I’ve heard such awesome things about it. And thanks for the HYSTERIA rec. I’ve had my eye on that one!

  3. Eek, great list! Requiem and Eleanor & Park are staring down from atop my dresser–I’m afraid I may spend my entire spring break reading! I also read Unspoken after all the love it got during Superlatives, and I’m so glad I did (except that, yeah, it does rip your heart out.)

    • I think reading is a pretty great way to spend spring break. 🙂 I hope you love REQUIEM and ELEANOR & PARK. E&P, especially, is so incredibly well done.

  4. You read some pretty great books this month, Katy! You’re not alone on wanting more out of Requiem. I was Team I’m Not Sure I Care Who She Ends Up With (I liked both of them for different reasons), so that aspect of the story was all right. Though, like you say, I wanted more romance than I got. The ending was fast-paced, but then it felt like it ended quickly and fizzled out a bit. Oddly, Hana’s story fascinated me more than Lena’s.

    I keep hearing such great things about ELEANOR & PARK. I really need to read it! 🙂

    • I was more interested in Hana than Lena too, Jaime, which surprised me because when I first heard about the Hana POV chapters, I was dubious. I hope you get to read E&P soon… I LOVED that story so much!

  5. Rebecca Behrens

    So many of these books are on my list–especially ELEANOR & PARK, after all the glowing reviews I’ve read for it. I need to catch up with the DELIRIUM trilogy, too! I’ve only read the first book so far.

  6. I really enjoyed UNSPOKEN too. The cover looked sort of middle grade to me, so I kept passing over it at the bookstore until the good reviews convinced me I needed to read it. The dynamic between Kami and Jared was my favourite part as well, and I loved Kami’s sense of humour. After that gut-wrenching ending I can’t wait for the next book! I haven’t read REQUIEM yet, but I have a feeling my reaction to the plot and love triangle will be the same as Jaime’s.

    • I had the same reaction to UNSPOKEN’s cover. It’s adorable, but it definitely doesn’t speak to the kind of book it really is. And I could not believe that ending… My poor heart! As far as REQUIEM goes, I was pretty indifferent to the love triangle by the end of the book too. I had strong feelings about who I wanted Lena to end up with going into this last book, but by the end I was pretty eh.

  7. I didn’t continue the Delirium books after the first, though I’m thinking about it since I do want to know what happens. I don’t think you’re crazy though because I’ve been seeing some other reviewers who expressed some lingering dissatisfaction with the ending. I’ve totally added Elanor & Park to my TBR now because I keep hearing about how good it is! The cover is adorable too!

    Also, I’m glad you liked UNSPOKEN! My favorite part (aside from the humor) was also Kami and Jared’s complicated relationship and how it plays with a lot of paranormal romance tropes. I can’t say the ending was that much of a surprise for me, but I’m used to SRB’s mean cliffhangers and emotion-manipulating shenanigans! 😉 Looking forward to Untold!

    • UNSPOKEN was my first SRB novel, so I was totally unprepared for that ending. I feel like someone should have warned me! As far as the DELIRIUM trilogy, I think it’s worth reading for the second book (PANDEMONIUM) alone. That story was incredibly well done, and Lauren Oliver’s writing is decidedly beautiful. You’ll have to let me know what you think if you continue on with the series.

  8. stephscottil

    I loved If I Lie, it was one of my favorite YA books from last year. And I have Unspoken at home on loan from the library. Like you, I’m a tough sell on paranormal YA, but I’d been meaning to read one of Brennan’s books and I heard wonderful things about that one.

    I’m almost thinking I might ditch my fitness class so I can log time on the eliptical reading! I usually am so bored on exercise machines, which is why I do classes instead. I think because I don’t work as hard that way; I’d rather sweat a ton and work hard,then go home and read.

    • Haha… Yes, reading at home is much more appealing! I usually run outside, but if I’m in the middle of a really good book (like now, with Nancy Werlin’s IMPOSSIBLE) I’ll go to the gym and hit the elliptical. Definitely read UNSPOKEN before its due date… Such a fantastic story!

  9. I’m so glad you liked UNSPOKEN after I raved about it so much. That relationship between Kami and Jared was just so awesome…and I think I connected with it so much because of my own book that I’m working on. (You know what I mean…haha) And ARGH that ending. I actually tweeted SRB “MY HEARTTTT!” when I finished it. I can’t wait for the next book…but I don’t know if I can handle it!

    • I *do* know what you mean! I adored UNSPOKEN… I’m equal parts thrilled and terrified to read the next book. I don’t think my poor heart can stand anymore Kami/Jared-induced pain!