Recent Reads, March 2022

Okay – this was the month that I went ALL IN on Sarah J. Maas books. I saw Becca post on Instagram about the second book in the Crescent City books, and basically I started reading it and never looked back. But I did manage to read a few other books this month, too.

In a New York Minute by Kate Spencer

This was such a fun, charming rom-com – I started and finished it in one day because I didn’t want to stop reading! It’s such a New York love story – Franny is having a very bad day, and to make matters worse, when she gets to the subway, her dress gets caught in the doors and splits open up the back. A mystery stranger rescues her by offering her his suit jacket, but the two part ways without exchanging contact information. Their meet cute goes viral on social media, they’re brought back together on a local morning show, and… it does not go well! Without giving away too much, what could be a cliche “enemies to lovers” story is actually a really nuanced rom com. Highly recommend!

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

This is a seven book series, so I’m going to save you from a recap of each of the books, because that would get VERY lengthy. This is the most young adult series from Maas, and probably my least favorite (but I read all seven books very quickly, so I definitely didn’t hate it!). Celeana is an assassin who has been imprisoned in a life of manual labor, but the prince and the captain of his guard come to take her to the palace to take part in a competition to find a new royal assassin. In exchange, after working as the assassin, she’ll be given her freedom. She agrees, only to find that something evil is lurking in the deeps. She sets out to find out what’s happening… getting tangled in a love triangle along the way, of course. In the course of the series, Celeana helps to free magic in the kingdom, and travels to find out who she really is and what she’s capable of.

Violeta by Isabel Allende

This is such a beautiful book – Isabel Allende is my favorite author, and this one didn’t disappoint. It actually starts during the Spanish flu pandemic and ends with the current one, which is such an interesting way to bookend the story. Violeta’s family, at a young age, loses everything and they’re forced to move to a remote village and start their life over. The book continues to follow Violeta throughout her life, all written in the form of a (long!) letter to someone dear to her – I don’t want to spoil the reveal! There’s so much to it – the fight for women’s rights, love affairs, civil unrest. It’s just a really, really beautiful story.

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This is such an amazing magical realism story. Nina is a young woman staying with her cousin and his wife, making her entrance into society. But she also has telekinesis, and her inability to control it leaves her subject to vicious gossip and rumors. She meets, and starts to become close to, Hector, a performer who has perfected his telekinetic skill. Nina finds out that Hector has a history with her cousin’s wife and is devastated. Hector has to come to terms with his own past and realize what he really wants for his future. The story just really drew me in – the descriptions are so captivating.

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

I saw this described as a “wild ride” in the best way, and I think that’s the perfect description for this book. The Chao family has owned a Chinese restaurant in a small town in Wisconsin for years, with the children working there as they’re growing up. They’re not exactly well-liked, but the restaurant is, so they’re left alone. But when all the children come home, and their father is found dead and murder is suspected, lots of long-simmering resentments come to the surface – both inside the family, and in the community. As they work to figure out the mystery of what happened to their father, the brothers unravel other hidden secrets about their family, too.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

I’ve seen this book getting lots of hype, and it’s absolutely so deserved. This story spans countries and generations and is so moving. Two siblings, Byron and Benny, are brought together by a strange request – to listen to a recording that their mother made, together, and to eat the black cake that she made for them “when the time is right.” Throughout the recordings, their mother Eleanor fills them in on her life – things that happened to her as a child and secrets that she’s kept hidden for a long time. It’s one of those stories where everything just comes together so nicely in the end, and it’s so powerful.

Crescent City book one and book two by Sarah J. Maas

This is the newest series from Sarah J. Maas, and while I still love ACOTAR the most, the end of the second book in this series made me AUDIBLY gasp. Crescent City is a lot more of a modern world than ACOTAR, and the story follows Bryce, who is quickly blindsided by a huge event in her life and finds herself searching for a murderer. She’s tasked with working with Hunt on this case, who is an angel assassin of sorts. Unsurprisingly, sparks fly, but it turns out the case they’re working on is not at all what it seems, and has much deeper – and darker – repercussions.

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