March was a month. Between trying to finish up master’s labs (still got remote work to do, not to mention write up, all with 3 weeks to go) and various health scares and general end-of-term burn out, it was a lot.
I read about the same as last month, though nearly everything were new releases as I’m trying to get through ARCs and review copies. That is certainly not the norm for me – this early on in the year, backlist is usually higher (and that’s ignoring the old review copies I still haven’t got around to!)
Best New Release
My most anticipated book of the month, WILD AND WICKED THINGS, by Francesca May, lived up to my expectations. It’s a dark, sapphic, witchy book set in 1920s Britain on a fictional island where magic runs despite being banned…
I loved how dark this was, how truly morally grey the protagonists were. It really did fulfil the “dark” in dark fantasy in an incredibly personal way. The world won’t end if they fail, but their lives will, and that tightness of the story, combined with the complex relationships between the women, was great.
Best Backlist Read
If I hadn’t liked REDEMPTOR, by Jordan Ifueko, then this prompt would have been blank because I really did not like the rest of the little backlist I read this month. It’s also one of the few Young Adult titles I read in an adult and Middle Grade-heavy month.
REDEMPTOR is the sequel to RAYBEARER, and I loved loved loved the asexual rep in this book, and the very careful distinction it made between asexual and aromantic. This is an action-packed sequel that really delves into relationships of all sorts, which was so nice to see in Young Adult.
Most Surprising Read
I am not a big fan of contemporary for many reasons that come down to personal taste, but LOVEBOAT REUNION, by Abigail Hing Wen, is the second contemporary by the author that I have absolutely loved.
This is the sequel to LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI, and follows two of the secondary characters from that book in the months afterwards. They’re at university/repeating school and struggling – but their mutual support is invaluable. I really liked how the relationship grew out of that, giving it a firm foundation.
Best UK-Authored Read
THE SHIP OF DOOM, by M. A. Bennett, is the author’s first Middle Grade book. I’ve really enjoyed her Young Adult thrillers, so I was really excited when I found out about this new Middle Grade time travelling adventure series.
As you might be able to guess from the title and cover, this book takes place on the Titanic, as three children from the 1800s are sent forward in time by a mysterious society to find a radio. It was so much fun and the events of the mid-point absolutely did not go as I expected, which is always great.
THE STARDUST THIEF, by Chelsea Abdullah, does not come out until May (I was lucky enough to get an ARC) but if it’s not already on your radar to pre-order, absolutely do that right now. It’s always a little nerve-wracking to get a copy of one of your most anticipated books of the year, but luckily this book fulfilled every one of my expectations.
It’s a quest for a magic lamp that could change the world, but it’s also is about story telling and courage. The world is richly drawn and the ragtag crew of characters have brilliant banter – and are pretty grumpy!
Most Anticipated April Release
April is the first month this year that has the least books out that I am aware of (which given how behind I am is a very good thing.) However, it also brings the release of ONE FOOT IN THE FADE, by Luke Arnold.
This is the finale to the Fetch Phillips series, which contains THE LAST SMILE IN SUNDER CITY and DEAD MAN IN A DITCH. If you like fantasy noir, these are books to check out. Magic is gone, and it’s Private Eye Fetch Phillip’s fault. I love the gritty, post-magic world (which is a super cool premise) and the voice is brilliant, sucking you in from the first page.
How was your March?