March Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! I read quite a bit in March. I finished 15 1/2 books and reread one book. I’ve read 40 books this year towards by Goodreads challenge of 200. Joining readathons and listening to audiobooks helps me so much to accomplish my goal.

The first book I read for March was The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen.
face of deception
I gave this book 4 Stars. Eve is a forensic sculptor. She takes skulls of the deceased who are unidentified and uses clay to sculpt a face onto the skull to determine what the deceased look like. We learn early in the book that part of her motivation is her daughter was murdered, but the body had never been found. She gets hired by billionaire John Logan for a mysterious job involving an unidentified skull. We follow her as she discovers some of Logan’s secrets and unveils truths nobody would’ve ever suspected. This book was pretty interesting, especially considering it was written in the 90’s. It didn’t blow my mind, but I enjoyed it.

Next, I read The Blue Hour by T. Jefferson Parker. This is the first book in the Merci Rayborn series.
blue hour
I gave this book 3 stars. Merci Rayborn is a detective in Orange County California and she teams up with a retired detective Tim Hess for a disturbing and terrifying case. There is a man going around murdering women. He lies in wait in their backseats and when they enter the car, he kidnaps and murders them. He leaves their entrails behind in their purses, earning him the title of “The Purse Snatcher”. The detectives form a bond and work well together, finding clues and getting closer to solving these crimes. There’s an interesting twist in the end, as with most crime books/thrillers. I enjoyed the overall story, but there were certain occurrences in the book that I personally did not like, which is why I gave it 3 stars.

The third book I read in March was Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.
nevermoor
I LOVED this book and I gave it 5 stars. This is a middle grade book that includes magic, mystery, and adventure. Morrigan Crow is cursed and prophesied to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. The evening before a mysterious stranger, Jupiter North, comes to her home and takes her to the land of Nevermoor. He becomes her guardian and benefactor as she enters the trials to become a member of the Wundrous Society. As long as she is a member (or participating to become one) of this very exclusive organization, she doesn’t have to return to her previous life or world where she is destined to die. This book was just so exciting and entertaining and I can’t wait to read the next book, Wundersmith.

After Nevermoor, I finished reading Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I started it in February, but finished in March.
illuminae
In the end, I rated this book 3 stars. I probably would’ve rated it 2, but the second half of the book picked up. I notice a lot of people loved the unique layout of the book, but I wasn’t a fan. I also thought it was just very slow until the 300-400 page mark. One of my biggest complaints about this book was how SERIOUS this situation was and how intense their predicament should have been and 50% of the story is two teenagers making kissy faces at each other through instant messaging. Maybe I’m just too old for these shenanigans. I am curious to see how the story progresses since I did enjoy the last half of the book, but it’s definitely on the lower end of my TBR.

The next book I read was The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. This is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy.
girl in the tower
I read the physical book and listened to the audio book simultaneously. I gave this book 5 stars. I think the audio book really brought the story to life. We continued following Vasya’s story after she left her family home and ventured out on her own. She ends up in Moscow where her brother and sister live. She disguises herself as a boy for her own safety and discovers a threat to the prince of Moscow. I felt there was a lot more adventure and felt more engrossed in the story in this book, compared to the first one. I’m excited to discover how her story continues in the last book.

For my sixth book of March, I read The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. This is the 34th book in the Alex Delaware series. I chose this book for #MarchMysteryMadness for a book involving a wedding.
wedding guest.jpg
I rated this book 2 stars. The book was written well enough that I didn’t feel I was missing a lot by not having read the first 33 books in the series. There were some things that were mentioned that I assumed I would get more of a backstory on if I HAD read the previous books, but I wasn’t confused about anything. Dr. Alex Delaware is a psychologist that assists the police, more specifically, his good friend Detective Milo Sturgis. There is a murder during a wedding and both Delaware and Sturgis work together to find the clues and solve the murder. I rated the book so low because I felt the LGBTQ+ representation wasn’t handled well. There was also the problem of every female description being of a sexual nature and involved a detailed description of their breasts. A lot of the characters were exotic dancers, but I still felt between the LGBTQ+ characters and the females, the descriptions were inappropriate and unnecessary.

After that disappointment, the next book on my list was Witness by Caroline Mitchell. This book was also pretty disappointing.
witness
I also rated this book 2 stars and was another pick for #MarchMysteryMadness. The synopsis of this book sounded really interesting, so I was excited and thought it would be a decent thriller. The MC Rebecca has a secret that her ex husband Solomon knows. The problem is Solomon was just released from jail and has decided to exact his revenge on Rebecca, blaming her for testifying against him in a murder. Rebecca is now hiding in a remote village in Wales (if I remember correctly), with her daughter and new husband. One day she finds a cell phone hiding in her home where she gets a text message stating that she has to witness crimes and assaults against the people she cares for. The MC was just annoying and cowardly and basically allowed others to be injured and assaulted because Solomon threatened her and family if she went to the police. The book was written in a way that I wasn’t bored, but I just very much disliked the MC and the how the story developed. I might give this author another chance, but as a thriller, this book was a let down.

Verity by Colleen Hoover was a much more exciting thriller and I gave it 5 stars.
verity
The ending of the book wasn’t 100% satisfactory for me, but the story was suspenseful and messed with the reader’s mind. The MC, Lowen Ashleigh, is hired to continue famous author Verity Crawford’s popular book series. Verity’s husband, Jeremy, hires and offers Lowen to stay in their home while she reads Verity’s notes on the series and how the series should progress. Verity is unable to continue her series because she was an a car accident that essentially left her a vegetable. In her perusing, Lowen finds an unfinished autobiography. Verity writes some of her terrible actions and thoughts in this manuscript and strange things start occurring in the Crawford home. I found myself nervous about what was happening and excited to read about what was going to happen next. This is one of the few thrillers that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Next, I read The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
silent patient
I rated this book 4 stars. It was a good story and pretty suspenseful. I don’t know if I quite predicted the twist, or I had just been reading so many thrillers lately, that I just wasn’t shocked. Alicia is found at home with a gun in her hand and her husband found dead. She doesn’t speak again. She is tried and because she doesn’t speak is found guilty. She is committed to an asylum where psychotherapist Theo Faber begins working and he makes it his goal to get her talking about what transpired. I think I read this book in one sitting. It was very engrossing and well written. I’d recommend this book if you are interested in thrillers.

My next read was the Red Light by T. Jefferson Parker. I also read this book for the #MarchMysteryMadness readathon and it is the second book in the Merci Rayborn series.
red light
I rated this one a little higher than the first book at 4 stars. As I mentioned before, with the first book, I thought the story was really good, there were just certain things that occurred that I just personally didn’t like. In this book the story was well written and interesting. We continue with Merci’s story and her next crime to solve. The other officer she is dating is suspected of a murder. She wants to believe he is innocent, but starts unraveling clues that point to his guilt. I enjoyed how the story progressed and generally enjoy Parker’s writing style. There is one last book in the series that I will read for #OWLsReadathon2019

My eleventh book of the month was The Extinction of All Children by L. J. Epps.
extinction
I rated this book 4 stars. I found the synopsis of this book instantly intriguing. Emma Whisperer is the last child allowed to live in Territory L. Every woman who becomes pregnant after her birth is thrown in jail and the baby is killed. When the President throws a celebration for Emma on her 18th birthday, Emma feels compelled to speak up and defy the President’s laws. She’s thrown in jail and so many interesting things happen to her as the story progresses. TBH, this book was a bit slow and the writing was rough, but the overall story was extremely interesting. I also read the second book of this series in March.

Next, I read The Killing Game by Iris Johansen. This was actually my first book for the Charms prompt for #OWLsReadathon2019. I was allowed to start 5 days early for this readathon.
killing game
The rating I gave this book was 3 stars. As with The Red Light, I rated this book lower for certain aspects that I personally disliked. Eve Duncan returns from her hiatus and begins receiving mysterious phone calls from a man who claims to have murdered her daughter. She thought her daughter’s murderer had already been executed for his crimes, but the mysterious caller knows details only the murderer could know. He starts threatening a young girl in a foster home and Eve feels it’s her obligation to keep this girl safe while the police try to locate him.

After finishing my Charms book, I still had a few days left before I could begin any other books for my OWLs readathon. I picked up One For the Money by Janet Evanovich trusting it would be a pretty quick read.
one for the money
I rated this book 4 stars. Stephanie has lost her job and is to the point where she is selling furniture for money. Her parents suggest she see her cousin who runs a bail bonds business. Instead of becoming a receptionist, as was her initial plan, she becomes a bounty hunter. Her first target is not only the kid that took her virginity when she was 16, but Joe is now also a cop. In her struggle to find and capture him, she uncovers a plot that appears he had been framed. They eventually work together to try and prove his innocence while she learns the ins and outs of being a bounty hunter. Stephanie’s wit and tough girl resilience made her an easily likable character. The story wasn’t perfect, but overall quite entertaining.

Still needing to tackle some books on my TBR and waiting patiently for April to get here, I started Punishment by Scott J. Holiday. I was able to borrow this book from Kindle Unlimited and read the ebook and listened to the audio book simultaneously.
punishment.jpg
I rated this book 4 stars. In the not so distant future, there is a machine that attaches to a person’s memory and can extract it to replay their experiences. As a detective, John Barnes uses this machine to see murder victim’s last visions. He starts seeing the same masked man in several victims’ memories. The murderer, Calavera, starts antagonizing the detectives and getting off on leaving clues for the detectives. The overall story was really interesting and I liked Detective Barnes’s character. I’ll likely read the next book in the series next month.

My second to last book for the month of March was Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. I was given the earc of this book from NetGalley. I had started it earlier in the month and wanted to finish and review it before April.
wicked saints
I gave this book 4 stars. I did write a more thorough review on my blog. (https://starvinforbooks.com/2019/04/02/wicked-saints-by-emily-a-duncan/) A prince, a girl who derives her magic from the gods, and a mysterious boy’s paths all intertwine in this fantasy. In the end, they plan on murdering the king to the end the war. The story is essentially their journey to get that point. I enjoyed it, but I felt I was missing something. During the first time I read it I felt easily distracted. I wanted to love it like a lot of others seem to. I REREAD it hoping to discover what it was the enthralled so many others. I just didn’t feel it. It was a well written book and I enjoyed the unique magical aspect and I definitely plan on reading the second book, but something about it just fell flat with me. (Sorry 😦 )

My last book for March was Journey to Territory M. This is the second book in the Extinction of All Children series by L. J. Epps.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00062]
I rated this book 4 stars. We continue with Emma’s journey into Territory M. Here she is seeking answers to questions the President couldn’t seem to answer for her. She’s determined to find the leader of M and convince them to assist her in overthrowing President Esther and her unscrupulous laws. There were parts of this story that I enjoyed more and some parts I enjoyed less than the first book. I felt the story was a little faster pace and the plot got juicier. I did begin to dislike the MC, Emma. I found her reckless and annoying in this book. I will read the last book in the series to see how her adventure concludes.

Well, that was it for March! Thanks for reading!
-V

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