March 2020 Reads

March was … unexpected to say the least. What started out as a normal month ended with in-person school being cancelled for the rest of the year and way more time at home than expected. At first I thought this would be great for reading, but I ended up having long periods where I couldn’t concentrate on anything followed by short periods where I’d read for an entire day. This was the first of many weird months, but I managed to read a few pretty good books anyway!

Stats

Number of books read: 8 📘📘📘📘📘📘📘📘

Print books: 5 📚📚📚📚📚

Audiobooks: 1 🎧

Kindle books: 2 📱📱

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars books: 1

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 star books: 4

⭐⭐⭐ 3 star books: 3

⭐⭐ 2 star books: 0

1 star books: 0

😍 Favorite book: The Maze Runner

☹️ Least favorite book: The Space Between

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

when we were vikings by andrew david macdonald book cover

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Read from February 29, 2020 – March 1, 2020.

Zelda lives with her older brother Gert, who helps her get along in the world since she was born on the fetal alcohol spectrum. Zelda loves Vikings and she lets the rules and moral code she’s learned from them guide her life. She’s really put to the test when she finds out Gert has been making dangerous choices to earn the money they need. She decides she needs to be the hero in her own legend and protect her family before the villains can hurt them.

Something was missing from this book for me. I enjoyed the story and was invested the whole time, but the emotional bond never clicked for me like it does for most stories I end up loving. I can’t put into words what I didn’t love about it, but it ended up being just okay to me.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

number the stars by lois lowry book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from January 6, 2020 – March 5, 2020.

This is another book I’m reading with one of the book clubs in my 4th grade class. It was a very powerful, touching, but still kid appropriate story about some of the fears and trials Jewish people had during WWII. it’s a heavy subject for fourth graders, but they’ve been treating it with the gravity, respect, and shock it deserves. I can’t wait to discuss the end of the book with them.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

The Space Between by Dete Meserve

the space between by dete meserve book cover

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Read from March 1, 2020 – March 14, 2020.

Astronomer Sarah Mayfield comes home after making a career-topping presentation to NASA and finds her husband Ben has gone missing, left a gun in their bedroom, and instructed their son to keep the doors locked and the alarms armed. As Sarah works to find out what happened to her husband, secrets unravel and nothing is what it seems to be.

It took me a bit longer than usual to get through this book. It was a good story and I was interested in knowing what happened, but nothing kept me gripped or deeply invested. The Space Between was well written and I liked the way Dete Meserve revealed little bits and pieces of the truth to keep the reader guessing about Ben’s disappearance alongside Sarah. However, I figured out the true culprit pretty early on and most of the story was quite predictable. Not a bad read, but overall pretty mediocre and relatively forgettable.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

Hour of the Assassin by Matthew Quirk

hour of the assassin by matthew quirk book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from March 15, 2020 – March 16, 2020.

Nick Averose is a former Secret Service agent who now works as an independent contractor exposing the flaws in high level security operations. He poses as a threat, sneaking his way through the defenses, and then tells his target exactly how he got in and what to fix. Everything gets turned upside down one night when he’s inside the former CIA director’s house. The director ends up dead, Nick’s fingerprints are all over the scene, and the documentation that gave him permission to be there is missing. Nick doesn’t know who he can trust and it seems like any and all of Washington’s elite could be involved.

I wasn’t very excited about the March options from Book of the Month, but I settled on Hour of the Assassin because it sounded the most up my alley out of the options. I’m glad I picked it because I ended up flying through this fast-paced political thriller. The short chapters kept me turning the pages and the mystery, intrigue, and action kept me intrigued in the plot. This one is definitely a solid read!

Find this review on Goodreads here.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

miracle creek by angie kim book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from March 17, 2020 – March 21, 2020.

The Yoos immigrated to Virginia from Korea for a better life and more opportunities. They’re on their way to their dream when they set up a somewhat controversial medical treatment facility. Parents from all over the area bring their children with autism, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities to Miracle Creek for the oxygen treatments. Everything is going smoothly until one fateful day when a fire causes an explosion, two deaths, and several severe injuries. The story unfolds in the courtroom, as the mother of the young boy who was killed is put on trial for arson and murder. But everything is not what it seems, as details are revealed piece by piece and secrets and lies are peeled back to reveal still more layers of secrets and lies.

The inside flap describes Miracle Creek as a courtroom thriller, but that’s not how I would describe it at all. It actually reminded me a bit of Big Little Lies. There’s a fair bit of domesticity, more than I was expecting. The story not only deals with the unfolding of a mystery, but also with ideas of family, loyalty, honesty, and lies. The thing that reminded me most of Big Little Lies though was the story structure. Both books start with an earth shattering event — a crime, a terrible tragedy. And then, as you read on, the story slowly unfolds and bit by bit, pieces become clear. However, it’s not clear until the end exactly what happened and how. Big Little Lies’s interviews are replaced by Miracle Creek’s courtroom scenes, I think you’d enjoy the way Angie Kim’s novel unfolds. The thing that kept this at 4 stars for me was the characterization. I cared a lot about the plot and the mystery, but I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of the characters. Overall though, this was a great book and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a slow burn that will tease you by slowly revealing details throughout the whole story.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

the chain by adrian mckinty book cover

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from March 21, 2020 – March 22, 2020.

On her way to the oncologist, Rachel receives the worst call of her life — even worse than the news she expects to receive at her appointment. Her daughter has been kidnapped and, even worse, she’s now part of The Chain. In order to save her daughter, she needs to kidnap someone else’s child in order to continue The Chain. Rachel has to decide what lengths she’s willing to go to for her daughter, especially since it seems that once you’re part of The Chain, there’s no turning back.

I absolutely flew through The Chain. It’s a fast-paced, actionpacked novel that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The premise is what drew me in and it kept me hanging on until the end. I love books like this — books that suck me in, propel me through, and spit me out at the end — but it seems like their flaws are always in the wrapup. When your story has been gogogo the whole time, especially when the stakes are enormously high, it’s hard to end it in a way that feels satisfying, natural, and in harmony with the rest of the story.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

right behind you by lisa gardner book cover

3 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Read from March 23, 2020 – March 26, 2020.

Eight years ago, Telly Ray Nash and his little sister Sharlah were placed in foster homes after the night Telly Ray beat their parents to death with a baseball bat to protect his sister from their abusive father. Fast forward and Sharlah is about to be adopted by her newest foster family — two former FBI profilers — and hasn’t spoken to her brother since that fateful night years ago. But things take a turn when profilers Quincy and Rainie are called to consult on a spree killer case in their hometown and all signs point to Telly Ray Nash as the killer.

I absolutely loved the bones of this story. Misunderstood teens in separate foster families, a loyal dog sidekick, FBI profilers, twists, turns, and family secrets — it had all the makings of a thriller I would adore. But Right Behind You could have used another pass by a cutthroat editor because this book was bogged down by so much extra that didn’t need to be there. A faster pace would have given the twists more punch, given Telly and Sharlah’s sibling storyline more urgency, and it would have taken this book to a four star read for me. I thought the character of tracker/cheesemaker Cal Noonan could have been cut entirely, but then I read the author’s note at the end of the book and saw that Lisa Gardner’s main inspiration for this book was her research on fugitive tracking. This made the inclusion of Cal make more sense, but it didn’t make him necessary in the slightest. Overall, this book had so much potential and I enjoyed myself while reading it, but I really just wanted to get out my red pen and slash entire chapters the whole time I was reading.

Find this review on Goodreads here.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

the maze runner by james dashner book cover

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Read from March 18, 2020 – March 27, 2020.

Thomas wakes up to find himself being pulled out of a box into The Glade. He can’t remember who he is, why he’s there, or anything about his life before. He meets the rest of the Gladers — a group of boys who’ve had the same experience as Thomas and who are now doing what they can to survive and search for an exit to the maze that surrounds their new home. Everything changes the next day when a girl shows up in the box. The first girl in the history of The Glade. As things become more and more chaotic, Thomas and the others grow increasingly desperate to find a way out of the maze and back home — even though what little they remember of the time before might be even worse than what they face in the maze.

Once this whole social distancing thing started and everything started feeling more and more like the apocalypse, I decided I was in the mood for some good old YA dystopia. My library had The Maze Runner on audiobook, so I decided to give this old favorite a new listen while going on solo walks for my daily dose of vitamin D. Wow. I’m always impressed when a book I remember loving as a kid holds up this well and this one certainly impressed me. The pacing, the characterization, and the world-building were all incredible. (I love re-reading a book I haven’t touched in a long time because each plot twist feels vaguely familiar but still surprising.) Most of all, this book has a killer ending. The first time I read it was shortly after it had been published and the sequel didn’t come out until another year after so I’m not sure if I ever read it, but I definitely want to pick it up now.

**read as an audiobook**

Find this review on Goodreads here.

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