March 2024 – Book Reviews

As I wrap up this month’s book reviews, we are already into the first week of April. How did that happen? Anyway, it’s been an amazing month as far as reading goes. I took advantage of the time off from work just before Easter, combined with days of non-stop rain, which meant there were days I read non-stop. Not complaining….let it rain I say. Anyway, here are the March 2024 – Book Reviews for you. Hope you find your next read…and if you do, let me know.

March 2024 - Book Reviews
March 2024 Book Reviews

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1. The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

Synopsis:
March 2024 - Book Reviews
March 2024 Book Reviews

Nora’s journey takes an unexpected turn as her troubled life reaches a tipping point. Just as the clock strikes midnight on what seems to be her final day, she discovers herself in a mysterious library. In this surreal setting, Nora is presented with a unique opportunity to rewrite her narrative by undoing past regrets and exploring the diverse paths she could have taken. 

This raises the ultimate question: with infinite choices, what is the best way to live?

My Review:

What would your life look like if you had made different choices? What is the best way to live? Are you the happiest version of yourself? What makes a life worth living? And are you willing to ask yourself the hard questions? I found The Midnight Library to be a masterpiece of thought-provoking literature. 

Highly recommended by one of my closest friends, the story of Nora hit me straight in the face and knocked me out for six! Figuratively speaking obviously! Jokes aside, not often will a book make me stop and ponder about my life, on such a deep level. It encouraged me to reflect on the choices I have made so far, and where they have led me. The Midnight Library is a gem of a book, which explores human life in its rawest form. 

Beautifully written, and with a well-paced plot, Matt Haig in one fell sweep, has become an auto-buy author on my list. There are numerous passages and quotes which I highlighted, some of which I felt deep down in my soul as if it was speaking to me. I cannot include them all in this review, but here are some of my favourites:

‘You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it’

‘We only know what we perceive. Everything we experience is ultimately just our perception of it. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see” ‘ 

‘We don’t have to do everything in order to be everything, because we are already infinite’

If you are the kind of reader who enjoys contemplating the intricacies of life, who loves the challenge of reading a story that will in essence make you think and re-evaluate your life, this is the book you need. 

2. House Of Sky & Breath – Crescent City Book 2 – Sarah J Maas – re-read

Synopsis: (spoilers ahead)
March 2024 - Book Reviews
March 2024 Book Reviews –
House Of Sky And Breath

After saving Crescent City, Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar find themselves trying to get back to normal.  Wanting an ordinary life and figuring out what the future holds, shouldn’t be so hard.

The rebels are chipping away at the Asteri’s power, The threat the rulers pose is growing. As expected Bryce and co get sucked into the rebels’ plans. They face a choice: remain silent and witness the oppression of others or fight for what’s right.  Staying silent has never been their forte.

My Review:

The third installment of this series has just been released, (review coming next month), which is why I decided to do a re-read. The Crescent City series is composed of intricate world-building and expansive storylines, with multiple POVs, and complex characters. 

Those that know me well, know that Sarah J Maas is one of my top 5 authors ever. She simply has a gift with words, effortlessly conveying all the details of an epic story. I say effortlessly because that’s how it feels to me, not sure if it’s as easy as she makes it seem. As an aspiring author myself, I wish I could have ten minutes of her time, so I could pick her brain and learn a thing or two.

My re-read of A House Of Sky And Breath was just as enjoyable as the first time I read it two years ago. You can find my review here.

However, I must admit that this is probably my least favourite Sarah J Maas book. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a five-star read on all accounts, but I just feel that it could have been shorter than its 816 pages. A lot was going on, and I mean A LOT. Some storylines, while essential to the plot, felt too prolonged. 

Having said that, this book also contained the mother of all cliffhangers. Simultaneously the most exhilarating and excruciating cliffhanger ever. If you know you know!! Let’s leave it at that, I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun for those of you who are still new to the SJM world. 

If you are a SJM fan, please get in touch. There is nothing I love more than to nerd over my favourite author, and discuss theories. 

3. The House Where She Died – Amy Cross

Synopsis:
March 2024 Book Reviews
March 2024 Book Reviews – The House Where She Died – Amy Cross

A haunted house story… told from the point of view of the house itself!

After years of silent solitude, an ancient house awakens with eager anticipation as a new family graces its halls. Yet, the joyous reunion is short-lived as the house senses an ominous presence lurking in the shadows. A mysterious grey figure fixates on the young girl, Dot, who has recently moved in with her parents.

What does this spectral figure desire from Dot? What malevolent force lies dormant in the depths of the basement? And why does the house itself remain oblivious to its own dark history, including the tragic demise of an unknown woman within its very walls?

My Review:

A few weeks ago I attended a writers workshop, where we discussed how to write from different perspectives. The House Where She Died was used as one of the examples. I’ve never before read a book from the perspective of a house, or an item, whether it’s a tree, a flower, or an object. 

After reading a short extract from this book, I found myself wanting to immerse myself in this story. As soon as I arrived home, I downloaded a copy and dived straight in. Like one does!!

Although I expected it to be a much darker read, I still found it to be an enjoyable one. Even at 139 pages long (a novella), the plot moved at a reasonable pace. It didn’t feel rushed like it can so often happen with shorter stories. The writing style was good, and the characters (the human ones) came across as relatable, and well-planned. 

My only criticism is….the constant repetition of thoughts coming from the house itself. It couldn’t remember its past and felt rather protective of its new family, fair enough. But there was a constant stream of self-doubt, which in all honesty became tiresome. 

All in all, The House Where She Died was a compelling and suspenseful read. The perspective of the house was well-planned, and beautifully executed, with the exception of the repetitive self-doubt narrative. Despite this minor flaw, the novel offered a unique and refreshing storytelling experience. 

4. Me vs Brain: An Overthinkers Guide to Life – Hayley Morris

Synopsis:
March 2024 Book Reviews
March 2024 Book Reviews – Me vs Brain – Hayley Morris

Meet Hayley Morris, affectionately known as the Brain Girl, not because of her exceptional intelligence, but due to her tendency to overthink everything. With a mission to reassure readers of their normalcy, Hayley dives into the intricacies of daily life that plague even the most ordinary individuals. From rehearsing imaginary arguments in the shower to navigating awkward encounters with plumbers, she shares her own embarrassing experiences with candid humour and relatable anecdotes.

In her book, Hayley leaves no stone unturned as she delves into topics ranging from dating dilemmas to bodily functions, from mental health struggles to navigating the world of menstrual cups. While she may not promise to cure anxiety or instil unshakable confidence, she offers readers a respite from incessant brain chatter by sharing her own trials and tribulations. Through laughter and solidarity, Hayley aims to remind readers that their quirks and anxieties are shared by many, fostering a sense of unity in the face of life’s everyday challenges.

My Review:

I discovered Hayley’s book while browsing the 0.99p deals on Amazon Kindle. (A daily ritual and one that ends up costing me a lot of money). The synopsis by itself had me in stitches, which led to good old-fashioned Instagram stalking, which in turn resulted in an hour of scrolling through her account and laughing my head off. Without a second thought,  I downloaded her book and I’m so glad I did. 

Me vs Brain was an absolute blast. Not only did it resonate with me, (yes I also happen to have an overactive brain which keeps bombarding me with unrealistic worst-case scenarios), but it ended up being the highlight of my day. I read this book for 30 minutes every morning, before diving into my daily schedule, and endless to-do lists. It made the start of my day so much brighter.

I would describe this book as a guilty pleasure. Hayley’s writing style was easy to read, and not overly descriptive, which fit in well with her hilarious banter. 

5. The Mindf#ck Series – S.T.Abby

March 2024 Book Reviews – Mindf#ck Series – S.T Abby

Lana Myers is left shattered after one fateful night, betrayed by those who wore the mask of virtue, leading to the irreversible destruction of her family and life. A decade later, consumed by vengeance, she emerges as a formidable force, forged in the crucible of her pain. They thought they had killed her that night, but instead, they birthed a relentless avenger.

Enter Logan Bennett, an unwavering FBI profiler committed to apprehending the monsters lurking in society’s shadows, driven by a singular purpose: to safeguard the innocent and restore justice.

But, what happens when the serial killer and the FBI Agent hunting her fall in love?

A gripping tale of betrayal, redemption, and forbidden love, where the lines between good and evil fade into obscurity.

My Review:

Someone remind me to stay off TikTok. I wouldn’t normally follow through with book recommendations, seeing as my TBR is as big as a buffet table at an all-you-can-read bookworm convention. However, there was something about this series that drew my attention. Let me just lay it out in words you can understand. I swallowed these five books in one go and I didn’t even suffer from indigestion. WTAF??

It wasn’t the writing that captivated me, in fact, it wasn’t that good, with a few grammatical errors here and there. There wasn’t any world-building, and the plot was brimming with gigantic holes. The last book felt pretty unrealistic, which had me rolling my eyes on numerous occasions. 

Having said all that, I still LOVED it. I loved it soooo freaking much! So what was it then, that captivated me from the first page? 

The premise, along with the fast pace plot sucked me in. Serial killer dating FBI Profiler, who is, unbeknownst to him, hunting her down. What is not to like? Not something I would normally read, but after scanning through all the fantastic reviews online, I was excited to dive in. 

Each book contained around 130 odd pages, so I thought, let’s see what this is about and if I don’t like it, it won’t seem like a total waste of my time.

With each instalment ending on a massive cliffhanger, I ultimately found myself sailing through the series in two days.

The Mindf#ck Series is twisty and dark, fast-paced, has a decent amount of smut, and surprisingly enough, likeable characters. But there is also tragedy, trauma and loss. The fact that I was rooting for the serial killer left me questioning my ethics! Oh well!  However, the deeper I delved into the story, the more I realized the true message from the author. 

Not all monsters are evil, and not all heroes are good.

If you are looking for an easy and entertaining read, full of twists, prohibited romance, or just a good old….guilty pleasure…This is the series for you! You are welcome 🙂

6. Something Quite Beautiful: Seven Short Stories – Amanda Prowse

Synopsis:
March 2024 Book Reviews –

Seven powerful and gripping short stories from bestselling author, Amanda Prowse.

Stories included are:

Something Quite Beautiful,

The Game, 

Ten Pound Ticket, 

Imogen’s Baby, 

Miss Potterton’s Birthday Tea, 

A Christmas Wish

Mr Portobollo’s Morning Paper

My Review:

This book is perfect for those who want to become avid readers or are just looking for a way of reading more, without feeling overwhelmed by big, long books.

Amanda Prowse’s writing is beautiful and so easy to read. It flows and captures every emotion. I was rather impressed by how well-executed the plotlines were. Writing engaging short stories can be tricky, considering that the author doesn’t have a lot of time to capture your attention and still includes all the necessary story arcs. However, in my personal opinion, Prowse is a master at achieving just that. 

From the first few pages, I was already hooked, especially with Imogen’s Baby. While I loved all the stories included in this book, this one in particular stood out as my favourite. I instantly connected with the main character, I felt her pain and was instantly sucked into her personal conflict. Storytelling at its best.

If you want to experience beautiful writing, with heartfelt stories that will stay with you for a long time, then definitely check out this book!

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