March 2022 Grown Up Book Reviews

March 2022 Grown Up Book Reviews

March 31, 2022
by
Brittany the Book Lady

March was another excellent reading month and I'm pleasantly surprised with myself that I completed a diverse array of books totaling 16 books between digital reads, physical reads, and some audiobooks! 

Here's a snapshot of the books that I read this month -

*BOTM = Book of the Month, ARC = Advanced Reader Copy*

5 ⭐️ Books

  • I Must Betray You (BOTM)

4.5 ⭐️ Books

  • The Girl Who Smiled Beads (audio)
  • How to Break Up with Your Phone (ebook)
  • What You Wish For (audio, BOTM)

4 ⭐️ Books

  • The Grace Year
  • Before She Knew Him (audio)
  • Gallant
  • It Ends with Us (BOTM)
  • Stuck with You (audio, novella)
  • Under One Roof (audio, novella)
  • The Vanishing

3.75 ⭐️ Books

  • The Unsinkable Greta James (BOTM)

3.5 ⭐️ Books

  • A Woman is No Man (audio, BOTM)

3.25 ⭐️ Books

  • One Italian Summer (audio, BOTM)

3 ⭐️ Books

  • The Roughest Draft (audio)
  • A Little Hope (audio, BOTM)

Want more detailed book reviews? See below! 

**Want to ship your first Book of the Month hardcover book for just $5? Be sure to use my referral code when you sign up for your subscription! Skip anytime!** 

A Little Hope - Ethan Joella

Short summary

This debut explores the daily nuances, heartaches, and relationships of a small town community of neighbors whose lives intersect.

Overall review

This book had way too many characters for my liking. I had a lot of trouble keeping everyone straight, especially in the audiobook version of this book. There was also an overwhelming amount of loss and devastation within the lives of the characters. To me, it was an unbelievable amount of heartache crammed into one book, which made it unrelatable and unrealistic to me! With so many characters, I didn’t find myself truly invested in any of the storylines. I rarely DNF books so I pressed on and finished listening but I found this one to be boring and meh.

Overall rating - 3⭐️

The Vanishing (48 Hours #1) - Gabrielle Lord

Short summary

Jazz’s best friend has been kidnapped and she takes it upon herself to become an amateur sleuth to investigate what has happened on her mission to save her friend! After all, the kidnapper has threatened Anika’s parents that no police can be involved! She buddies up with arch enemy Phoenix to uncover clues and crime scene evidence to analyze in Phoenix’s mother’s forensics lab. It turns out that they have drudged up a 20 year potential murder case! Can they find their missing friend before time runs out?

Overall review

I don’t read a lot of YA fiction, but this was a page turner for me and I really enjoyed it! I especially liked the amateur sleuth and crime scene investigation aspects of this book. The twist was completely unexpected!

Overall rating - 4⭐️

Under One Roof (The STEMinist Novellas #1) - Ali Hazelwood

Short summary

Mara inherits half of a house from her late mentor Helena, but the trouble is she needs to move in with Liam, Helena’s nephew, who also happens to be somewhat of a nemesis. He offers to buy her out, but she needs this house and will stand firm! Can they work out their differences as they get to know each other better? Will they grow to be able to stand each other? And an even better question might be - Could Helena be meddling in their futures, even from beyond the grave?

Overall review

I really enjoyed this little novella, even though it had a little bit of steam, as all of Ali Hazelwood’s books do! Short, sweet, and with a little spice! Super fun!

Overall rating - 4⭐️

What You Wish For - Katherine Center

Short summary

Samantha is a school librarian with a past. In her past, she was quiet, “mousy,” and she claimed to be invisible. She has changed jobs and blossomed a bit! She was once in love with Duncan at a different school, but he didn’t know it. She kept herself hidden. Now, years later in a crazy turn of events, he steps in to lead at her school after the school has suffered a tragic loss. But Duncan has changed! What caused him to be this way? Samantha no longer recognizes the person he has become and the school that she knows and loves is now suffering from all of the changes he is making. Can she get to the root of what has happened to him? Can they both find themselves through this turn of events? Could there be something between them after all?

Overall review

Once again, Katherine Center doesn’t disappoint in this one! After enjoying The Things You Save in a Fire via audiobook last year, I had to try out this one too! Great story with some light romance and light on the steam factor is right up my alley! And it involves a librarian and a school setting! That had me sold! Samantha was so quirky and likable too. I couldn’t help but root on her happiness!

Overall rating 4.5⭐️

The Roughest Draft - Emily Wibberly & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Short summary

** spoiler alert **

Katrina and Nathan are EX-romance coauthors who cut ties after completing a best seller together to everyone’s shock and surprise! They never went public on the reasons why. Fast forward to today and Katrina’s fiancé convinces her to work with Nathan once again to help advance her career (and his too). So the angsty duo reconvene in their old stomping grounds to work out their emotions on paper by co-writing once again. Why did they really split before? Will they be able to reconcile enough to finish this new book and move on?

Overall review

I’ve gotta hand it to the authors of this one for a unique concept for a book, and it’s always kinda fun to read books about books, however this one fell a little short for me. Emotional cheating isn’t really a trope I like to read for one, and the flashbacks between past and present were a bit scattered and confusing to me. I did prefer the present timeline more than the past, however. It was entertaining and I finished listening to this one quickly, but in my opinion, it was lacking a bit of substance.

Overall rating 3.5⭐️

How to Break Up with Your Phone - Catherine Price

Short summary

Learn how your smartphone may be negatively impacting your life, brain, and relationships. Follow this 30 day guide to break up and then make up with your phone so that you have a healthier relationship with it.

Overall review

This is a must read if you even feel mildly addicted to your phone. The tips and tricks can be implemented right away to help you reclaim your life from phone addition. It’s a process but it’s doable!

Overall rating 4.5⭐️

Stuck with You (The STEMinist Novellas #2)- Ali Hazelwood

Short summary

Sadie had crossed paths with Erik before, but had her heart broken. Their encounter wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, (or so she thinks). Then they find themselves trapped together on a New York elevator and of course they have to flesh out their short lived shared history. Is there more to Erik than Sadie thought?

Overall review

Ali Hazelwood knocks it out of the park again with a spicy little novella here. It was a quick and cute listen!

Overall rating - 4⭐️

It Ends with Us - Colleen Hoover

Short summary

** spoiler alert **

Lily’s life certainly hasn’t been easy, but she’s ready to make a life for herself in Boston after graduating college. She opens an up and coming floral shop and loves adding her own spin to the beautiful arrangements! She meets Ryle and falls head over heels for him, even though he seems like a bit of a commitment-phobe at first. Maybe there is more to Ryle than meets the eye. As she explores a relationship with Ryle, she is haunted by her past and she can’t shake thoughts of her old love Atlas from her broken past.

Overall review

This was a tough read and I put it down many times, most notably after reading a spoiler on Bookstagram! I did plow through the rest of the book and I’m glad I did. While difficult to read at times, this book shed a lot of light on women in abusive relationships and why they often stay. It’s not always black and white for these women. I really appreciated Colleen’s author’s note at the end. Hearing her inspiration for the book and her own history really shed a light on this difficult issue for me.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

The Unsinkable Greta James - Jennifer E. Smith

Short review

Greta is an indie rockstar musician who tragically lost her mother and feels lost without her number one fan. She always had all of her support and she always encouraged her to follow her dreams. This is in sharp contrast to her father who marches to the beat of his own drum and has always been skeptical of Greta’s success. Following her mother’s death, Greta has the opportunity to take a trip of a lifetime, alongside her father, on an Alaskan cruise, a cruise that he should have been taking to celebrate his 40th anniversary with her mother. She decides to go. After all, what else does she have going for her? She’s been musically stagnant since breaking down on stage in front of a live audience. Will she and her father be able to draw closer on this trip after suffering such tragic loss? This book also does have a touch of romance woven into the storyline.

Overall review

This book was entertaining and having gone on an Alaskan cruise a few years ago, I really loved revisiting the setting. It was lacking in some ways, just the same. For me, the romance piece was a bit distracting to the main storyline, partly because it felt a bit undeveloped to me. It was an interesting grief to follow along on and I liked seeing the character development in Greta.

Overall rating 3.75, rounded to 4⭐️ on goodreads.

A Woman is No Man - Etaf Rum

Short summary

This book gives us an inside look into the lives, perspectives, and circumstances of Arab women who live in the US. The book alternates between Deya and her mother Isra across time periods. Deya is coming of age at 18 and living with her grandparents. She has no choice but to marry and she’s meeting with potential suitors. She doesn’t want to get married and wants freedom. She is led to believe that her parents died in a car crash but new information and a new person from her past resurfaces and she learns that there is a lot more to her complex family history than she ever knew.

Overall review

I appreciated how insightful this book was and how it highlighted and shed light on a diverse experience that I don’t have much prior knowledge of. With that said, parts of the book were tricky for me to follow with the intersecting and alternating story lines between mother and daughter. It could be that listening via audio was a bit more difficult to follow. I also found a lot of the story to be super redundant and I do realize that this was the nature of the story - history repeating itself. But because of that, it fell a bit short for me. But I am glad that I read it because this story needed to be told.

Overall rating 3.5, rounded down to 3⭐️ on goodreads.

One Italian Summer - Rebecca Serle

** spoiler alert **

Short summary

Katy’s mother passes away and Katy is lost. Their bond was so tight and not only were they mother-daughter, but they were best friends. Katy relies on Carol for everything and she borderline had her to make her difficult choices for her. After all, mother knows what’s best, right? Katy questions her whole life and even her marriage following the loss of her mom. She and Carol had planned a trip to Italy and Katy decides to go and immerses herself in Italy and it’s culture. She even meets someone that has her further questioning her life choices and marriage! And astonishingly, she meets Carol at 30 years old and gets to know her as the young woman who she once was. Will Katy find who she truly is without her mom through this whole surreal and fantastical experience?

Overall review

I loved the atmosphere and setting of this book. I was a bit troubled by Katy’s super close relationship with her mom. They were so attached that she fell apart after her passing, and I don’t think that level of closeness is healthy. I suppose that’s important to the whole premise of this book, but it didn’t do as much for me. I was also a bit troubled by her budding relationship with the man who she met while she still had a husband back home. I’m just not a fan of the cheating/emotional cheating trope.

Overall rating - 3.25, rounded down to 3⭐️ on goodreads.

Gallant - V. E. Schwab

Short summary

Olivia is a nonverbal orphan, trying to piece together where she came from using her mother’s journal and wondering where she really belongs. Where will she go after she leaves Merilance? Then she receives a mysterious letter from a relative who urges her to come home to Gallant. But Gallant is a place that her mother has said she won’t be safe. She has no where else to go and she longs to meet this family that she didn’t know she had. But Gallant is not what she expected at all. In fact, they are surprised when she shows up. Who wrote the letter summoning her to this place and what has become of the long history of Priors who lived and died on the grounds of this place? Moreover, what is beyond the wall?

Overall review

This book was dark, atmospheric, and macabre. I don’t usually read much YA fantasy, but this one was entertaining to me. I felt like it was a bit of a mash up between Mexican Gothic and Alice in Wonderland. I recommend giving this one a shot.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

The Girl Who Smiled Beads - Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

Short summary

This book shares the spellingbinding yet beautiful and courageous story of Clemantine and her teen sister who ran and spent 6 years bouncing between refugee camps following the Rwandan genocide of 1994. To have to witness so much death, cruelty, and devastation at their young age is unthinkable. But their experiences were also sprinkled with moments of kindness. Clemantine and her sister were finally granted asylum in the US which gave them a chance to build new lives for themselves, but they still were not easy. Clemantine struggled with her identity and the discrepancy between her life back where she came from and her new life in America.

Overall review

This books is based on a true story and this book is thought of as a memory of childhood as a Rwandan Refugee. I am drawn to stories like this one. Strangely beautiful but so, so unimaginably heavy. I am glad to have had the opportunity to learn more about this experience, as I didn’t have much prior knowledge of this event and this message needs to be heard, in my opinion.

Overall rating - 4.5, rounded down to 4⭐️ on goodreads

Before She Knew Him - Peter Swanson

Short summary

Henrietta and her husband Lloyd have moved into a new home in Boston. Hen is a functioning adult with bipolar disorder who illustrates children’s books. She and her husband seem to be settling in until they have a dinner party with the next door neighbors. All is going smoothly until a house tour reveals an object that may be linked to an unsolved murder case that Hen happens to have a past obsession with. She cannot shake this and becomes convinced that her next door neighbor is the murderer. What will she do with this knowledge?

Overall review

I absolutely blew through the audiobook version of this book in one day while doing chores around the house. Without giving too much away, it was riveting all the way through.

Overall rating - 4⭐️

The Grace Year - Kim Liggett

Short summary

In their 16th year, the girls in this community must go away and purify themselves in what the leaders have coined the “grace year.” During this time, they must rid themselves of their magic. But not all girls will return alive from their grace year. But what’s more dangerous? The elements, the poachers who are ready to steal them away, or each other?

Overall review

Although tough and gruesome to read at times, I really enjoyed this ya dystopian novel. It even had a hint of romance! Without giving away any details, I really liked the ending!

Overall rating - 4⭐️

I Must Betray You - Ruta Sepetys

Short summary

Cristian is a seventeen year old student living in communist Romania in the 1980s. He wants to be a writer one day, but of course, Romanians aren’t allowed to dream. Rules are imposed on the citizens from every direction and there are citizen spies everywhere. You can’t trust anyone. Even friends and family members betray one another! Cristian is blackmailed into informing on an American diplomat, but he wants nothing more than to expose the pain, devastation, and harsh reality of their lives to the rest of the world.

Overall review

I blew through this book in 1 day. This book was stunning in all of the best ways. I love historical fiction and this was a highly informative and well-researched page-turner. I was blown away by the hardships of the Romanian people in this time period and I wasn’t aware of the events surrounding the tyranny, citizen informers, and eventual Romanian revolution. I cannot recommend this book enough. I already know it’s going to be one of my top reads of this year.

Overall rating - 5⭐️ glowing stars!

I would love to connect with you more about all things books! Be sure to follow me on instagram, check me on out on goodreads, and join my VIP book community on Facebook! 

Which books did you read in March? 

Brittany the Book Lady

Growing up I was first introduced to Usborne Books and More at a young age when my mom had purchased books for our family. Since then, I've fallen in love with the books and the company's mission to promote literacy throughout the country.​

All Posts By This Author
Connect with Us

Recent Posts