Books I Read in March

 I have been hitting it out of the park with the books I've been reading so far this year.  I had another great month of reading and managed to finish 11 books!  



1.  Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion & Anne Buist--  I really enjoyed this story about two people hiking the Chemin (or Camino de Stantiago trail); a hiking route that starts in France and ends at the northwestern tip of Spain. Zoe is an American who is recently widowed and comes to France to meet up with an old college friend. She discovers the Chemin and decides to walk after feeling a strong pull that this is her destiny.  Hoping to find answers and mull over her life she sets out with just a backpack of supplies and assurances that help will be found along the way.  Martin is a British teacher working in France when he and his students design a better cart for lugging supplies along the trail.  He decides to hike it so that he can give a full report of his cart at a trade show in the summer.  Also looking for his next steps in life after his teaching season is over.  The two meet up again and again along with a cast of other characters/hikers that the two keep interacting with.  It was a very enjoyable, leisurely read. 



2. Wildfire by Drew Barrymore-- Drew is quite the expressive storyteller and I found her stories delightful (if a bit dramatic at times!).  Little snippets of memoirs throughout her life and told in no particular order this book reminds me of a set of short stories but they are entertaining.  I found myself Googling a bit about her life to learn more about her.  A fun way to pass the time while listening on my commutes. 



3. The Speed of Light: A Novel by Elissa Grossell Dickey-- Simone has had a rough year with an MS diagnosis, falling in love/breaking up with a great guy, and now she's facing a possible loss of her job.  Then on one December morning while preparing for a meeting at work she's locked in the bathroom when she hears gunshots.  Hiding and scared Simone starts reflecting over the last year of her life.  Told in two alternating storylines picking up from just before her MS diagnosis moving forward and one told from the first gunshots to creeping out of her hiding place on it was a compelling read. 



4. Lie, Lie Again by Stacy Wise-- A somewhat weird and twisted novel about 3 women living in the same apartment complex.  All have secrets and lies at the very center of their lives and the book starts off with the three of them looking at a body found at the bottom of the stairs. It was a good book but I do feel that everything was wrapped up much too neatly in the end.  



5. I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys-- I just LOVE Ruta's books and this one about a boy turned spy in Communist controlled Romania sucked me right in from the very first chapter.  Never knowing anything about what Romania was like under Nicolae Ceausescu's rule my heart ached for Cristian and his family and so many of the impossible choices they were faced with. It was a very moving and powerful historical fiction.  Again one of my favorite parts was the photos and real life stories included after the story. I could not put it down and read the entire thing cover to cover in just under 24 hours. 


6. A Thousand Steps by T Jefferson Parker--  Matt is a 16 year old boy growing up in Laguna beach, California in the late '60's.  His sister goes missing one summer morning and Matt tries to hunt her down.  With his older brother off fighting in Vietnam and his mother getting high most days he's left on his own a lot in a town that is very much into the whole peace, love, and enlightenment period.  It was an interesting story but I did have a hard time getting into it and almost added it to my DNF pile but I am so very glad I didn't as I ended up reading the last 100-150 pages in just one afternoon. It got really good really fast and I think this is one of those stories that is really going to stick with me. 



7. The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller-- I decided to start listening to this book on my commutes after finishing up Drew's book so quickly.  I found I really enjoyed it and followed along easily enough even with the constant flipping back and forth of the timelines.  Elle and her husband and children are at their family's summer place called the "Paper Palace." She had sex with her longtime friend Jonas last night and the story sort of takes off in two directions from there.  Lots of flashbacks from Elle's life and childhood jumping as far back as her grandparents and then the storyline picking up from her affair moving forward. I'll be honest.. I didn't love the ending since it felt like it was open to interpretation and I hate that but I did enjoy the rest of it and again think it's a book that's going to leave me thinking about it long after. 



8. Run Rose, Run: A Novel by Dolly Parton and James Patterson-- I was so happy to get my hands on this newest James Patterson so quickly.  I think this duo did a great job writing this story but there is no real murder mystery or thriller aspect like one would usually expect from a James Patterson novel.  However, I did enjoy it. I was so intrigued with AnnieLee's past and the secrets I knew she was keeping!  AnnieLee is a singer/ song writer who has made her way to Nashville with plans of making it big but she's also running from her past.  She befriends a country music star legend Ruthanna and while she is slow to trust anyone Annie Lee does begin to rely on Ruthanna and her friends. Together they build up Annie Lee's career.  But everyone seems to have secrets and some are bigger than others- as they are slowly revealed the story takes a few unexpected twists and turns too.  Another really enjoyable read. 


 

9. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover-- I was a bit trepidatious picking this one up since Hoover's books tend to be either hit or miss for me. This one was a hit.  Kenna has been in prison for the last 5 years for a mistake she made one night while driving under the influence. She wants nothing more than to lay eyes on the child she had while in prison but she had to give up custody of her daughter in order to make sure her daughter would have a good life. When she moves into the town her daughter now lives in she meets Leger and the two seem to continually be drawn together.  This was a pretty moving story filled with loss, love, forgiveness, and mistakes. 


10.  The Paid Bridesmaid by Sariah Wilson-- Right from the first page I could tell this was going to be a cute story. Rachael runs a business acting as a stand in bridesmaid or maid of honor for brides that either don't have friends and family to ask or don't want the drama of having their friends and families in the wedding.  All is going really well at her latest event- a wedding for Sadie and Dan, a lovely couple that have been wonderful to work for and with.  The event is in Hawaii and Rachael is thrilled that this big, splashy event could help her business grow.  Only problem is that the best man, Camden, suspects something is up.  As the two get to know one another sparks really start to fly but Rachel has a strict "no dating anyone from a wedding" and doesn't want to break her NDA.  The two have adorable chemistry and I loved reading their interactions and seeing how it was all going to play out so they could get to their happily ever after.  


11.  Love & Saffron; A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay- I had a sleepless morning where I was out of bed very early and since all my books and my kindle were in my room I grabbed another book out of my library stack before heading to the basement to workout; hoping to tire myself out.  But this book is just adorable and sucked me right in. Imogen and Joan end up writing letters back and forth sharing snippets of their lives along with recipes.  Set back in the early '60 along the west coast it was a super cute and quick read with actual recipes included in the back.



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Comments

  1. Adding some to my list- thank you for sharing, as always!

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  2. Oh, I love Ruta Sepetys and didn't know she had a new book out. Thanks for letting me know that.

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    1. I love her books too so I was thrilled to have found a new one by her.

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  3. You have some great ideas for me to add to my own tbr list. I've been wondering about the Dolly Parton book; glad to hear you thought it was good. I'll look it up at my library now!

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  4. A few of these are on my list. I listened to I Must Betray You, so I missed the added photos in the book! I DNF'd The Paid Bridesmaid.

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    1. I heard a few people gave up on the Paid Bridesmaid but I really liked it.

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  5. I thought it was funny that you had to google Drew Barrymore to get info on her even after reading her book. :)

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    1. I didn't know much about her childhood or life. I'm finding that with most of the memoirs I read I end up Googling even more as they reference time periods or people I don't know.

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  6. 11 books in one month? That is amazing! Thanks for sharing what looks like some interesting reads.

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  7. Great job reading so many books last month Joanne. The book Run Rose Run looks really good as I love James Patterson's books. I will be adding these to my book list.

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    1. I like some of James Patterson's books and thought this was very different from his usual tales.

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  8. What a great selection of books. I love the sound of Lie, Lie Again and Run Rose, Run x

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  9. I like the sound of Two Steps Forward and Love & Saffron. I Must Betray You sounds like a powerful read. A few to add to the list of books to try! #MMBC

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    1. Two Steps Forward was such a fun and lazy journey; almost made me wish we had something like that here to hike.

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  10. I always look forward to your book round up! I really loved Run Rose Run.

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  11. I can see how listening to books can be a great option. I was just talking about that with a friend, and she gets a whole different perspective of the books she listens to vs. reads.
    Thanks for all of the suggestions. Now I have my hands full, haha.
    XOOX
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I began listening to audiobooks when we started homeschooling; my boys and I would listen to stories while we drove and I was amazed at how quiet they were and how much they paid attention!

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  12. That is a lot of reading! We are reading Killers of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI for this month's book club and I thought it was good.

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  13. I'm reading Klara and the Sun...slow going...

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    1. Every now and then that can be a good thing.

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  14. I loved Reminders of Him! It was an easy read and it was really good!

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  15. A Thousand Steps was definitely hard to get into, but overall worth it.

    I loved The Paper Palace.

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    1. I loved that neither of those stories was cookie cutter or predictable and I know I'll remember them both years from now.

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  16. i didn't absolutely love Two Steps Forward, but it's one of those books i think of often and remember exactly where i was/what i was doing when i read (listened to) it, and feels more like a memory than a book i read, if that makes sense. it was good. i have never read a book by Ruta Sepetys (i know!!) but they are all on my list! i've never read a james patterson but i'll definitely read that one because of Dolly lol. can't wait to get to reminders of him, just got it!

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    1. Oh yes, Ruta's books are so good but they can be heavy so I like to throw light books in-between. I absolutely know what you mean about a memory as I feel like I walked that trek myself (though know I am not a backpack hiker by any means!).

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  17. The Paid Bridesmaid and I Must Betray You are both books that I really want to read. I'm glad you liked them both!

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. The Paid Bridesmaid was so cute and I Must Betray You was so powerful. I think you'll like them both.

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  18. I adored two steps forward! There are some other tiles on this list that could just end up on my TBR pile. Thanks for linking up.

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    1. It was such a cute story; I always dream of long hikes like that but when reality sets in I realize that it's probably not really for me. I don't think I'd enjoy traipsing along in any old weather carrying all my gear and supplies.

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  19. Hi, Joanne - Thank you so much for joining us again for What's On Your Bookshelf (this month combined with 'Friendly Friday Challenge.' I'm so glad that you enjoyed Two Steps Forward. I am a big Camino Trail fan (I've done four so far with another one coming up next month). Thank you for the other recommendations as well. Your Books Read in April List is very impressive!

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  20. Hi Joanne another great reading list that you have shared and the only one I've read is The Paper Palace. Thanks for your recommendations and for linking up with us for What's On Your Bookshelf? this month. I am very interested in reading Two Steps Forward although I've yet to walk the Camino Trail!

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    1. It was a neat read; though I'm not sure I'd enjoy walking the Camino myself.

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