122/2024 (II) – March & April Book Recap

I realized I forgot to post my March recap, so here are my thoughts on all the books I’ve read in the last two months. I’m a bit behind on my reading goals, but I’m sure I’ll get there. I just need to step up my reading a bit like I at the beginning of the year.

Screenshot of my reading stats, number of books, pages, minutes
2024 in books so far

Mad Woman (Bryony Gordon, 2024)
★ 4.25
Another great memoir style book from Bryony about how she managed to live through various (mental) health issues in the past 3 years. Some felt familiar from own experience but also from her previous books. In small parts dialogues or events felt a bit “staged”, which might be due to the need to condense events or keep privacy of people involved. Either way her experience of having symptoms dismissed by (male) mental health professionals because she’s a larger woman fills me with rage. We’ve still got such a long way to go.

This Must Be the Place (Maggie O’Farrell, 2017)
★ 4.0
This was my first ever O’Farrell novel and I think I might like to read more of her as I enjoyed her writing. The characters came to live for me and even though the plot meandered I was hooked to see how they got where they were the the story started or where they’d go. The plot move backwards and forwards through time with each chapter which sometimes was a bit difficult to follow, especially as there were multiple narrators. Each chapter had a different point of view and sometimes that even was a supporting character, which was something to get used to, but also made the storytelling quite unique for me. Sadly the switching back and forth between points of views sometimes made it harder for me to connect with the character’s emotions because we only ever got a quick spotlight of them. But all in all definitely a book I’d recommend.

Date with Justice (Julia Chapman, 2024) [Audiobook]
★ 3.75
Another quite enjoyable story from the Dales Detective / Dating Agency. I was wondering which sort of story it would be without the big archenemy out of the way and I have to say this still worked for me in the most part. Some connections – Sarah knowing Louise Dinsdale (listened to the audiobook, so not 100% sure on spelling) and also the victim from uni – felt a bit far-fetched. I loved the whole “Who’s the owner of Fellside Court?” plot and even the cupcake thief, though the revelations fell a bit short. Still haven’t figured out how they actually got into the cafe? But it moved another romantic plot forward, finally!

All in all, this would work well for me as a finale to the whole series. But of course I’d also like to hear more about all of the characters I’ve grown to love over the years.

Honey Girl (Morgan Rogers, 2021)
★ 3.75
I liked this one. For me the writing had a distinct lovely vibe and I appreciated the overall story arch and could even relate to it to some extent. I wish we had learned more about Yuki’s backstory and I sometimes thought there were a tad too many supportive characters. They all seemed interesting enough on their own, but there wasn’t room enough in the plot to fully get to know them.

Happiness Falls (Angie Kim, 2023)
★ 3.75
I was hooked on this story for most of the time I read it. I loved the narrator’s voice and all the family members. The investigation had enough twists and turns to stay interesting. I also appreciated the insight this story gave me into the world of nonspeaking people. The “HQ” storyline was super interesting at first, but got a bit much in the end. And I admit I had hoped for a different kind of ending, so the way it DID end left me a bit disappointed.

Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect (Benjamin Stevenson, 2024)
★ 3.5
Last week I re-read, well rather skimmed, the previous book to get reacustomed to the unique style of these books and to the main character. I loved the narration here, breaking the fourth wall all the time and being all meta about this crime novel, while he was part of the crime novel. The plot and what’s going on and what has been going on in the past felt a bit farfetched, more so than in the first book. But it was still fun.

Dances (Nicole Cuffy, 2023)
★ 3.25
This was an interesting read about a young black woman in the ballet world. I do like watching ballet in the theatre from time to time and am always so impressed by the dancers skills. This story gives a good insight how much you have to want to do this and how much it takes (physically, emotionally) to get to the top. Or even to be able to do this for a living.

Part of the backstory about Cece’s family could have been a bit more fleshed out and even though I absolutely understand why the writer uses so many ballet terms in writing, it made it difficult to read sometimes.

Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? (Crystal Smith Paul, 2023)
★ 2.75
I’m sad to say that I never really connected with any of these characters, except for Kitty in the past. To me the story dragged and especially the present felt overly complicated. All in all I often lost track of the many different characters mentioned. I also found the writing a bit bland. I loved the social and political issues raised here, but the way the story was told bored me a lot of times.

Rise to the Sun (Leah Johnson, 2021)
★ 2.25
This obviously wasn’t for me. I had enjoyed Jackson’s previous one, but to me this plot felt all over the place and tried too include too many current social issues. I also didn’t like either main characters all that much.

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