March Wrap-Up

March has been a mixed bag of a reading month. I had big plans, and I didn’t quite meet them. I’m a little disappointed in myself because this is the first month of 2017 so far that I haven’t met my TBR goal. Not only did I not read the number of books I was planning for, but some of the books I did read were not in the plan at all. I wish I would have read more, and there’s a surprising number of 3 star books on this list, which is also unfortunate (2 is the lowest I’ve ever rated a book so far, and that’s rare. 3 star books are generally books I didn’t like much beyond the fact that they were books and I like reading books better than I like not reading books).  But hey, some months are like that. I’m still above my reading quantity from last year at this time, so even though I didn’t quite meet my goal this month I’m still doing all right. Here’s what I did manage to read in March:

  1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. 3 out of 5 stars. I got off to a bad start this month by beginning with a book I meantclockworkangel to finish in February that not only took much longer than I wanted but was much less fun to read this year than I remember it being in the past. With as much as I’ve been enjoying Clare’s books this year and as much as I recall enjoying this particular series when I read it the first time, I was disappointed to have so many issues with Clockwork Angel this time around. I am still interested in reading the rest of Clare’s books in my 2017 Shadowhunter marathon, though, and I’m eager to check out the rest of this series in particular because I have high hopes for its improvement as the plot continues.
  2. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. 3 out of beforethefall5 stars. I thought this one would be more thrilling, but in actuality it wasn’t even especially mysterious. This novel about a private plane crashing into the Atlantic is more a study of human nature and the lives affected by tragedy than a search for answers that’ll boggle the mind. Although beautifully written, the focus of the story felt oddly out of place.
  3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber. 3 out of 5 stars. The YA community has been caravalabsolutely raving about this book lately, but again I was a little let down. The dark and glittering atmosphere was fun and mysterious, but really it only helped hide some flaws in plot and character that detracted from the overall story for me. I’m interested enough in a few of the characters to see where the sequel will take this story, but it’ll have to do a few things a lot better to receive a better rating than this first one managed from me.
  4. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. 4 out of 5 stars. FullSizeRender (1)This one was nearly a 5 star book for me, but there were a few slow parts in the middle that pulled me out of the story a bit. Even so, I loved the way everything in this book connected and the unique world of magic weaved into the story, and I’ll definitely be checking out the next book in this series early this upcoming month. I’m hooked on these characters and so curious about how everything will play out. I immediately watched the first season of the corresponding TV show after finishing the book, and I loved that too.
  5. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. 5 out of 5 stars. Here’s one I really loved. FullSizeRender (3)This one will probably even make it onto my favorite reads of the year list because of its powerful and impactful messages. It’s one of those YA books that people of all ages should read because its about so much more than entertainment and its scope is much larger than confusing teenage years. Even though the end of the story was incredibly sad, I do not regret a single minute I spent reading this book and highly recommend it, to everyone. Enter with caution, though; this one deals closely with suicide and other deaths, and will prey on your emotions.
  6. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. 3 out of FullSizeRender (4)5 stars. Unfortunately, even though I love the Grishaverse so far, I did not enjoy this sequel as much as the first book in this trilogy. This one did not seem nearly as daring and surprising as Shadow and Bone, although I am glad I read it anyway and am still excited to be finishing this trilogy next month with Ruin and Rising. I can’t wait to see where this story will end, especially after the epilogue of this second volume which was really my favorite part of the entire book.
  7. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. 4 out of 5 stars. This book is a beautiful FullSizeRender (7)portrait both of a unique place–northern Minnesota–and of the dangers and responsibilities of growing up before one is ready. Although I’m more familiar with southern Minnesota where the atmosphere is a bit different than what’s described in this book, I loved reading about one of the states that’s so often overlooked in American literature, especially one so close to home. The voice of this story is beautiful and absolutely does both the location and the tragic story matter justice.

Honorary Mention: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This was my classic of the month for March, but I underestimated its size. I’m really enjoying it and will be finishing it soon, but I was only about halfway through at the end of March. My review for this book will go up in my April reading wrap-up, but I wanted to mention it here since I have finished a good portion and I was supposed to finish it in March. I’ve been marking some great quotes and making note of several interesting writing techniques, so I might end up doing some sort of post on this book soon even though I don’t normally post full reviews of classics. In any case, more of my thoughts on Jane Eyre will be forthcoming.

March is really just a blah month for me in general, usually. I’m tired of winter but spring hasn’t quite arrived, and it’s a long month without anything really notable going on. It’s just a lot of empty days in between more exciting things. It might have been a better reading month if I hadn’t picked so many long and underimpressive books to read during it, but I made it through and I didn’t really do so horribly. And now it’s time to move on. April is my birthday month, and the weather should start improving, and I’m excited about my new TBR, so I’m confident that things will start looking up.

How do you go about turning things around after a reading slump, or just a bad month in general?

Sincerely,

The Literary Elephant

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