March 2019 Books to Read (and Skip)

March 14, 2019 Mini Book Reviews 14

March 2019 Books to Read

 

Here’s what I wrote before finishing Daisy Jones & the Six:

March was a bit of a down month for my new release reading, but I kind of expected that going in. There just weren’t a ton of March releases I was looking forward to. Then, a couple I had hopes for didn’t pan out. I actually finished two March books I ended up not liking, which is rare for me. But, they were quick, easy reads, which makes me less likely to DNF them.

Here’s what I think now:

I think I might have found my #1 book of 2019! It’s going to take something really special to top this!

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Favorite Book of March 2019

Daisy Jones and the SixDaisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Fiction (Release Date: March 5, 2019)
368 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Book of the Month (Publisher: Ballantine Books)

I’d planned to include Daisy Jones & the Six in this round-up, but once I read it, I had so much to say about it that I decided it needed it’s own full review. So, that’s coming early next week…stay tuned!

 

 

 

Also Read This One

A Woman is No ManA Woman is No Manby Etaf Rum
Fiction (Release Date: March 5, 2019)
336 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Harper)

Plot Summary: A dual timeline story of a Palestinian mother (Isra) and daughter (Deya) growing up in Brooklyn in a household that tried to strictly adhere to traditional Muslim custom (i.e. arranged marriage at a young age, men valued over women, women confined to the home, physical and emotional abuse, etc).

My Thoughts: Let me start by saying A Woman is No Man is a feminist’s worst nightmare…in the sense that women are still treated this way in some cultures even though it’s 2019. I’d heard it was brutal reading before I started it and it was. Women are treated like unpaid servants / slaves by their own families (i.e. husbands, fathers, and brothers) and constantly made to feel ashamed…just for being a woman. They have no agency or choice about what happens in their lives and even the older women in the book perpetuate the cycle by forcing their daughters into marriages similar to their own. I’m shuddering wondering how much of this story is autobiographical for Rum (this NPR interview leads to me believe at least some of it is). But, how brave of her to speak out and try to change the cycle. Her female characters also show immense bravery to attempt to change their futures and it’s this small ray of hope at the end of the book that made all the brutality worth it. In a way, A Woman is No Man ended up being a badass lady book. In addition to being a window into this hidden culture, A Woman is No Man has some suspenseful story hooks that kept me turning the pages…and, I loved that books and reading serve as such a balm for these women amid such oppression. If your book club can stomach the brutality, this would be an excellent choice!

I was born without a voice, one cold, overcast day in Brooklyn, New York. No one ever spoke of my condition. I did not know I was mute until years later, when I’d opened my mouth to ask for what I wanted and realized no one could hear me. Where I come from, voicelessness is the condition of my gender, as normal as the bosoms on a woman’s chest, as necessary as the next generation inside her belly.

Skip These

Before She Knew HimBefore She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
Fiction – Mystery / Thriller (Released March 5, 2019)
320 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (William Morrow)

Plot Summary: A woman with a history of mental illness and erratic behavior (Hen) suspects her high school teacher neighbor (Matthew) of murder.

My Thoughts: Y’all know psychological thrillers are risky for me, but I liked Swanson’s previous novel, The Kind Worth Killing. Unfortunately, Before She Knew Him turned out to be exactly the type of psychological thriller I can’t stand…the one with a plot twist and/or ending that ventures into eye-rolling / outlandish territory. The ending to this one struck me as a total gimmick. After reading two of Swanson’s thrillers, I’ve noticed something he does with his “villains”…he gives them a motive for their bad behavior that most rational people would agree with, but that the villain takes to an extreme most rational people never would. He did this in The Kind Worth Killing and again in Before She Knew Him. While I appreciate the thought-provoking element of this approach, I’ve had trouble really buying into the motive in both cases. Yes, I agree that the victims weren’t necessarily good people, but I just couldn’t buy into someone taking “justice” against them to such extreme lengths. And, this calling card isn’t even the outlandish gimmick I was referring to earlier…that’s something else entirely. I guess the good news is I did fly through this novel…mostly to see if he could end it in a surprising, yet believable way. I’d hoped this one would go on my Summer Reading Guide, but it sadly doesn’t cut it.

They had a secret, the two of them, and there is no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.

Tomorrow There Will Be SunTomorrow There Will Be Sun by Dana Reinhardt
Fiction – Brain Candy (Released March 12, 2019)
288 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Pamela Dorman Books)

Plot Summary: Best friends and business partners Peter and Solly and their families vacation in a private villa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to celebrate Peter’s 50th birthday…and things inevitably go wrong.

My Thoughts: This book has been compared to Siracusa, a vacation book which I loved, and The Vacationers, a vacation book which I didn’t, so I was curious to see where it would land. It was definitely more The Vacationers with some Do Not Be Alarmed thrown in. But, I felt like I’d read this book before. There wasn’t much unique about it. It’s your average vacation book where there are simmering issues amongst the vacationers, but without anything truly compelling or writing that stands out. There is a bit of plot involving some local gang politics and I wish the whole book had centered more around that, which would have made it a different book, but I think more unique and intriguing. Unfortunately, I started skimming around the 60% mark.

I didn’t plant the devil grass, neither of us did, but we let it spread untended.

The DNF’s

White ElephantWhite Elephantby Julie Langsdorf (March 26, 2019)
DNF at 19%
It was fine, but it needed to be more than fine for me to continue. I didn’t care much about what was going to happen. Also, it immediately followed Daisy Jones & the Six, which is a terrible position to be in.

 

 

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this month?

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14 Responses to “March 2019 Books to Read (and Skip)”

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I’m listening to Daisy Jones and the Six and the narration is fabulous but the book hasn’t struck me yet. Everyone else is loving it, though, so I can’t figure out why I’m not connecting with it.

  2. Susie | Novel Visits

    Taylor Jenkins Reid truly is amazing. To follow up Evelyn Hugo with an even more propelling story in Daisy has rapidly moved her to one of my very top authors. Can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.

  3. Melissa Cushman

    The best book I read this month is definitely also Daisy Jones and the Six! But I loved The Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance and The Lost Man as well.

  4. Anita

    I’m reading Daisy Jones & The Six right now and I’m loving it. I’ve had some other good books and I’m so happy I skipped the Swanson…ha ha. Some more new releases to read and I also have A Woman is No Man to get to.

  5. Madeline

    Swanson goes downhill with every book. I’ve read the past 4 and The Kind Worth Killing was by far the best.

    I was going to pass on Daisy … Evelyn Hugo was OK but I wasn’t doing hula-hoops over it — but with all the hype, I put it on hold.

    A Woman Is No Man .. Once again I was on the fence. I sure hope this isn’t the Palestinian version of There There (the WORST book I read last year). Chick Lit, Grit Lit, Dick Lit and now we have Vic Lit.

    The Lost Man … mentioned in the comments above. Yes! My first 5* book this year. Loved The Dry but I think this might be better.

  6. Carmen

    Looking forward to your full review of Daisy Jones and The Six. A Woman is No Man indeed sounds like a tough read.

  7. Catherine

    Do I really need to answer that question- as I screamed at you in texts to hurry up and read it? DAISY JONES. Loved everything about the book.

    We still need an off-line discussion about the final Isra chapter in A Woman is No Man because I don’t get it. It seems to contradict entire book.

  8. Pussreboots

    The best 2019 books I’ve read this month were all released last month. They are: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, Swap’d by Tamara Ireland Stone, The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf, Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks, and, Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

  9. Kim@Time2Read

    You are the first person I’ve seen that said she didn’t like The Vactioners — except for me. It got good reviews, but I was pretty underwhelmed by it. I probably won’t read Daisy Jones. I know it is also getting great reviews, but the synopsis just doesn’t appeal to me. It reminds me a bit of A Visit From The Goon Squad, another book that got great reviews but just didn’t work for me.
    I loved A Woman Is No Man….though the last chapter left me confused!

  10. Jessica

    A Woman is No Man…as far as the brutality goes, is it in line with A Thousand Splendid Sons by Khaled Hosseini? Trying to gauge my ability to stomach it as it sounds like a magnificent read!

  11. CJ | A Well-Read Tart

    I keep putting off reading Daisy Jones because the premise just doesn’t interest me…but I keep hearing SUCH good things about it… Plus, I adored Evelyn Hugo and an earlier book by Jenkins Reid (After I Do), so…I will probably cave and read this one eventually.

    I also wasn’t impressed with The Vacationers, but I did like Do Not Become Alarmed, though it was much grittier than I was expecting it to be. Will stay away from the combo of the two, though, per your recommendation. 😉

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