March 2020 Reading Wrap Up!

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I posted here but I intend to be more regular from now on. I actually have a bunch of blog posts prepared and ready to go up but I was just not finding the time to do it before now. I will post more from now on. Hopefully.

As you know, I have a BookTube channel (here’s the link: The Melodramatic Bookworm) where I talk predominantly about books. I used to do monthly wrap ups over there, where I made videos in which I talked about books I read each month. But the past couple of months have been stressful to the point where I had to take a step back from something, and I chose BookTube to be that something.

So for the time being at least, I will be doing my monthly wrap ups here on my blog as I try to bring it back on track. 🙂

This March, I hosted a readathon called the DramaQueenAThon on my Instagram page (Melodramatic Bookworm on Instagram) in which there were 3 rules:

  • Read at least 2 books.
  • All of the books you read have to be by a woman author.
  • At least one of these authors has to be Indian.

I was so happy to see the amount of participation it got and the enthusiasm with which people joined in! And because of that, I decided to host another readathon in May. But more on that later.

I managed to read 12 books in March for this readathon and was in the middle of 3 other books when March ended. I have finished two of those books since then. Here’s a wrap up of all the books I read in March 2020.

#1 – House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild

Thank you, Bloomsbury India for the review copy. 🙂

House of Trelawney

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this one at all!

‘House of Trelawney’ is the story of an old, aristocratic family and how each one of them handles it when they fall on hard times. Not to mention, the past comes barging into their midst and none of them knows what to make of it and of their feelings.

I loved the concept, but I didn’t at all like how it was written. There’s no clarity and no consistency in this confused plot with confused and annoying characters. I was excited to read it, but disappointment kicks you where it counts without any warning. Meh.

My rating: 2.5/5 stars

I will be posting a full review of this book on the blog soon. Do keep your eyes peeled for that, if you’d like to read it. 🙂

#2 – Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill

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This is a reread and one of my favorite books of all time! I hosted a 32-hour readathon for Women’s Day and this was one of the books I picked for it. I couldn’t not!

Nikita Gill gives such a lovely feminist twist to the fairytales we have grown up on that it made me want to hug the book and cry.

I did a video review of this book on my channel a while ago. If you’d like to watch it, here’s the link:

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill – Video Review.

My rating: 5/5 stars

#3 – The Liberation of Sita by Volga, translated by T. Vijay Kumar & C. Vijayasree

liberation of sitaI actually started reading this book not liking how the translation was. But as it progressed, it pulled me in to the extent that I was almost crying by the end of it. Almost.

Here’s something that the translators have said about Volga’s writing. I couldn’t ever put my thoughts in such beautiful words, however much I try:

“Volga’s re-visionist myth-making opens new spaces within the old discourse, enabling women to view their life and experiences from gynocentric perspectives. They recreate a world of freedom in which they not only willingly bear the responsibility of their own survival, but also have a sense of joy and complete freedom. Women are no longer means to serve someone else’s ends, nor are they merely the prizes in men’s quests. On the contrary, they are questers seeking their own salvation.”

My rating: 4.5/ 5 stars

#4 – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (graphic novel)

to kill a mockingbirdI read this one for the 32-hour readathon as well and this was also a form of reread.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books of all time and when I lay eyes on the graphic novel version of it, I was so darn excited!

I couldn’t ever explain how much of an influence this book has been on me. Atticus’s morals, my indignation at the unfairness of treating one person different from the other based on their skin color, the innocence of childhood, karma – all of it is just awe-inspiring. My only question is: Do we have people like Atticus Finch in real life? Or is it just an ideal version of what God intended humans to be?

And reading the graphic novel was an equally inspiring experience to me. Finished it in a few hours because graphic novel. And it is one that I will recommend everywhere to people looking for graphic novel recommendations!

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

#5 – Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

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I listened to this book on libro.fm and I absolutely loved it!

The Torres sisters – Ana, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa – dream of escaping their irresponsible father, who after their mother’s passing has turned needy and selfish. But when a group of boys in their neighborhood spot them escaping and follow them, it leads to the girls being forced back into the house they want to escape, and eventually in Ana’s death.

Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa are devastated and one year later, are still grieving Ana’s death. But when strange things start happening around the house, the three sisters begin to wonder if it is Ana trying to reach out to them with a message. If it is, what is she trying to tell them?

I loved listening to this audiobook so much especially because it’s so dark and spooky! It gives you an adrenalin-inducing rush. It angers you, it spooks you, it creeps you out, it gives you that tiny bit of joy, and it breaks your heart. It’s a lot to digest but in the end, it leaves you feeling fulfilled and emotional.

Highly recommend this one and if you can listen to its audiobook. It’s an experience in itself!

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

#6 – A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

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What a heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching story this is!

This is the story of Beck Keverich, whose violent mother decided to channel her music dreams through her son after an illness ended her own career. Beck hates the piano but he goes on with it since he is scared to stand up to her. She wants him to play the masters but all Beck wants to do is to compose his own music. It seems like a no-brainer for Beck because as long as Ida concentrates on him, she wouldn’t lay a hand on his step-sister Joey and he will do anything to protect Joey.

But when cheerful, bubbly August Frey turns up in Beck’s life, demanding to be let in, he finally begins to see hope, love, and an escape from his abusive, hateful mother and the circumstances she creates.

Cait is such an amazing writer! With every turn of the page, I either felt anger, disgust, joy, butterflies, sorrow, or vindication, and if a writer can take you on this roller-coaster in fewer than 300 pages, it’s a win!

Also, PSA: If you’re reading this book, DO NOT read this in a public place. You will end up crying and not prettily at that. Just read it at home and bawl your eyes out, if you will.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars

P.S. Link to my Instagram review: A Thousand Perfect Notes

#7 – Like a Girl by Aparna Jain

like a girl

This is a collection of stories of some of the most fearless, badass women in Indian history, right from Sultan Razia (who we mistakenly call Razia Sultana) to P.V. Sindhu. But this is not just about the women who have done right. It is also about those who did some questionable things and the author doesn’t sugarcoat her words. Either way, I loved reading about them and about how they fought the times they lived in and emerged stronger, if not always victorious.

My only complaints from this book are:

  • Each woman’s story starts with a dreamy opening, one that is really unnecessary.
  • The stories are not expansive enough. I would have loved to read about fewer women in here with more details related to each one of them.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

#8 – House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Thank you, Bloomsbury India for the review copy and for having me on the Instagram tour for this book. It was my absolute privilege and pleasure! 🙂

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I swear my heart skipped a beat when I saw this title while writing this post. This one is too, too, too good! Loved it so and cried – nay, bawled – like a baby in the last 200-300 pages! The characters, the plot, the emotions are all so complex and so vivid that I tumbled into the world and began to follow the characters around. Oh, and the tension between the characters! There’s so much of it that I almost imploded as I read and digested it all. There were a couple of plot holes but they can be easily ignored because of how awesome the rest of the book is!

The thing about this book is that giving out even a single thing about it becomes rather spoiler-y. But I’m still going to try!

Bryce Quinlan is half-Fae and is best friends with Danika Fendyr, the badass leader of the wolf pack. She has a job that she tolerates, friends that she loves, and the reputation of a party girl. But one night, when she is out partying, a demon kills her closest friends, leaving her grieving.

Two years later, when similar killings start again, she is pulled into the investigation because of her proximity to the previous victims. She has to work alongside Hunt Athalar, a fallen Angel who is called the Shadow of Death because of his brutal skills and strength to uncover who it is that is orchestrating these attacks. And when they reach the dark underbelly of Lunathion, they have to confront a lot of demons, both physical and metaphorical, in order to reach the truth behind the crimes.

DAMN THIS BOOK GAVE ME SO MANY FEELS!

My rating: 5/5 stars! DUH!

P.S. Link to my Instagram tour stop/review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)

#9 – You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Thank you, Pan Macmillan India for the review copy. 🙂

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‘You Are Not Alone’ is a thrilling ride from beginning to finish as you wonder what is happening, why things are happening, and get equal parts frustrated and thrilled as the plot progresses. And what a plot it is!

Shay Miller is looking for life to turn around. But when she witnesses something devastating as she is waiting for the subway, her life is really about to turn, but not the way she imagines it.

The Moore sisters, on the other hand are classy and sophisticated, something that everyone who comes in contact with them wants to be. Shay is no different.

And when their friendship blooms, Shay begins to believe she can become them and can have their life. But there’s a lot that she doesn’t know. Will her naivete save her? Or is she going to burn to ashes?

I loved the thrill that the book gave me, the little twists and turns making me go, “Holy moly!” The back stories of the characters interwoven throughout the book were amazingly written, to the point where when it came to the pre-climax, I went, “Oooooooo!” It’s fast-paced, it’s twisted, it plays with your head in so many places, and most of all, you’re rooting for the protagonist to open her eyes. I also loved how Shay’s love for statistics plays a huge role in the plot. Things mentioned early in the book get referenced later on and that’s the kind of thing I usually love in a book.

But there were a couple of things I had a problem with – not something I didn’t like; they just didn’t sit well with me.

  • For someone who is a stickler for statistics, Shay is blind as hell for such a huge part of the book despite so many red flags.
  • Too many coincidences! It was the baddie setting it all up, I know, but still!
  • Some characters weren’t used fully.
  • The end was rushed with a few loose ends.

My rating: 4 stars

P.S. Link to my Instagram review: You Are Not Alone

#10 – The Crown of Seven Stars by Gitanjali Murari

Thank you, Penguin Random House for the review copy. 🙂

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‘The Crown of Seven Stars’ is the story of King Vasuket of Aum, who wears ‘the crown of seven stars’. He loses his family – two strapping sons and wife – along with his best friend and general, Meghabhuti. This loss sinks him into deep grief and despair. But there are two-faced forces working within the palace against the King.

Saahas, Meghabuti’s son, is a righteous man who loves his King. He brings the King back into the light, but the forces are too strong for him to keep an eye on Vasuket. One day, his Saade Saati, or the unlucky period of 7.5 years that every human has to undergo at least once in their lifetime, begins. Saahas has to pick himself up and fight to bring justice to the people felled by the past and for the only home he has ever loved – Aum.

I went into this book with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement and I found it to be engaging to a certain extent. So many characters going along the fast-paced plot line means that you don’t have a second’s respite. There’s always something going on and that makes ‘The Crown of Seven Stars’ an amazing read for those who love fast-paced reads. I also admired the plot because it was full of action and a kind of mythology and spirituality that I usually like reading in a book.

But there were also things I didn’t like.

  • The plot, while fast-paced, was all over the place.
  • The characters are either underdeveloped or change colors faster than you can blink. It leaves you feeling dissatisfied, like eating uncooked food.
  • For a book as this, god is in the details but there were no details here.
  • Some events or characters appear convenient; some even unnecessary.
  • It feels cliched though this particular plot mightn’t have been done before.

My rating: 3/5 stars

P.S. Link to my Instagram review: The Crown of Seven Stars

#11 – The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace

princess amanda lovelaceThis was an impulse pick for me but once I got over the slower parts, I began to enjoy myself thoroughly.

I started out thinking that this book was slow and similar to books I’ve read before. But it got intense real fast and there were so many places where I went, “Oh that’s me” or “Yaaaaaassss” in an excited voice in my head. By the end, I wanted more and now I’m going to go and read more of Amanda Lovelace’s books, thank you very much! 😀

My rating: 4 stars.

#12 – The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Thank you Penguin Random House for the review copy. 🙂

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I don’t want to talk about this book because I’m so disappointed and angry especially because I loved The Night Circus so much! Where’s the plot in this one? Why are they doing what they’re doing? Why is Zachary such a clueless ding-dong? I’m so pissed off!

I’ll post a full review of this book soon. Until then, this will have to do. L

My rating: 2.5 stars.

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I brought in 3 books from March into April:

  • The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
  • Confess by Colleen Hoover

I’ve finished reading Oona Out of Order and Confess and quite enjoyed them both. Will do a detailed talk about them in my April wrap up post. J

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How did your March reading go? What are you planning to read in April? What book did you start off April with? Have you read any of these books mentioned in this blog post? Let me know in the comments section! 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life! 😀

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Picture sources:

Book covers: Amazon/Goodreads

Pictures featuring me: My Instagram page – instagram.com/melodramaticbookworm

Featured image: Created by Freepik – www.freepik.com

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