March Speed Review + BookTube Channel!

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe it is April 2021! I hope you are all doing well. And hurray – spring is here! I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I read in March, and I almost completed my March TBR (to be read), and threw in some extras.

So without further ado – my March Speed Review!
(Books are alphabetical by title within their star rating.)

5 Star – Loved & highly recommend

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (non-fiction)
    • I definitely want to read this again – and highly recommend it. I listened to the audio book, and now need a paper copy to underline and highlight. It is a letter from a father to a son, a memoir, and a narrative of the US racial history. Recommended by Toni Morrison as required reading – I agree.
  • Blanche on the Lam (Blanche White #1) by Barbara Neely (mystery)
    • I discovered Barbara Neely when looking at the Mystery Writers of America Awards in 2020, for which she won the Grand Master Award in 2020 for contributions to the genre. This novel, Blanche on the Lam, has also won many awards, deservedly so. The protagonist is a great character, the mystery is good, and the commentary on racial relations is thought-provoking.

4 Star – Definitely enjoyed & recommend

  • The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole (sci-fi romance )
    • Recommended in a 2019 video by Booking Jordan, this is a fun sci-fi romance that I listened to and could not do anything else until I finished. I enjoyed the characters, the story arc, and the twist.
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown (non-fiction, self-help)
    • I finally decided to listen to this on audio and am glad I did. I also watched her TED talk and Netflix movie, so their all kind of blurring together for me, but there’s some great stuff here.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (historical fiction, generational saga)
    • Recommended by many folks, this is a generational saga that follows two half-siblings from Ghana and their descendants across 300 years. It is a hard read, but important and profound in giving narrative structure and personal perspectives on the atrocities of colonialism and slavery, and their impact on families.
  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (non-fiction)
    • I finished this book, and was inspired to dig into policy as a way to move our country toward anti-racist change. I give this book 4 stars and recommend, though some reviewers raise critiques of 1) Kendi’s definition of racism and his theory of how Black people can be racist too, and 2) a problematic handling of colorism.
      These critiques are important, and I also think there is value in reading the book.
  • The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud (YA fantasy)
    • I read this YA fantasy because one of my favorite BookTubers loves it – Lianne at Literary Diversions. A fun ensemble fantasy. I enjoyed the characters and storytelling and look forward to reading the next in the series.
  • Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo (YA fantasy)
    • This is another YA fantasy I ready because of a BookTube recommendation from a favorite – Cindy at WithCindy. A YA Fantasy heist movie, it took me a little bit to get into it but then I got hooked. I appreciated the way the story utilized POV switches (Point of View), the depth it slowly gave each character, the way the stakes kept escalating, and some twists on conventional tropes.

3 Star – Pretty Good

  • Magical Negro by Morgan Parker (poetry)
    • This was a good book of poetry with poignant verse on the experiences of Black women. It is a 4.33 average rating on GoodReads with many rave reviews. It was a good read, but I missed some of the cultural references, which impacted my connection with some poems. This was also good to experience – not all works have to be written for my consumption/cultural background.
  • Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) by Jacqueline Winspear (mystery, historical)
    • Set post World War One in England, with flashbacks of the protagonists childhood and the war, it does a good job of setting up the female detective agency, a cast of loveable side characters, and complexity around war and our response after it.

Do Not Recommend

  • Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson (mystery)
    • I wasn’t a fan of the protagonist in this, and found myself pulled out of the story by implausibility problems. Also, it completely spoils eight other real mystery novels, which didn’t seem like a fair move.

DNF – Did Not Finish

  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (contemporary fiction)
    • This is a much-raved about novel of contemporary fiction that explorers tensions and racial dynamics between a few characters. The white woman employer in this story was too obnoxious for me to keep reading, but maybe that’s the point. It’s definitely worth checking out, it just wasn’t for me and my TBR is very long already.

Carrying over into April TBR

  • The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward

BookTube

I decided to start a BookTube channel in addition to this blog! Here’s my first video and introduction. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of my March reads, as well as a discussion of my April TBR!


Writing goals

You may have noticed I saved the update on my writing goal for the end. Sadly, I did not make my March writing goal of editing and giving three chapters to my coach and beta readers. So for April – I will aim for one chapter and work on my outline!


Till next time – be well!

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