March 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

March has been such a chaotic month, to say the least! Here in the US, what began as a month to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day activities and friends’ birthdays shifted into a period of Coronavirus dangers and social isolation. We don’t know how long this danger will last. What I do know is that reading is always (and continues to be) my mainstay for healing!

I read 5 books during the month of March:
Genres (books may fall into more than one category):
Mystery: 2
Contemporary: 1
Historical Fiction: 3
Romance: 3

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry (4 Stars)
Thank you Pantheon Books for sending me an ARC of We Ride Upon Sticks! I enjoyed the throwbacks to the 80s as a female hockey team enlisted the help of supernatural powers to succeed!

The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole (4.5 Stars)
I purchased The A.I. Who Loved Me through Audible. It was a lighthearted, sexy read! I loved that the story held a diverse cast of characters!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (4 Stars)
Where the Crawdads Sing was supposed to be a book club selection for March, but my library closed a couple days before the meeting due to the coronavirus. I loved that I got the opportunity to read the story though! While I wasn’t blown away, I deeply appreciated the North Carolina marshland depictions!

Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot (4 Stars)
Thank you to Revell for sending me a copy of Out of the Embers! I loved this suspenseful-yet-sweet story of Texas in the 1850s!

Berried in the Past by Peg Cochran (5 Stars)
Thank you NetGalley for the eARC of Berried of the Past! I loved this cozy mystery set in a small Michigan town. The recipes given were also very yummy!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver (5 Stars)
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is equal parts romantic and emotional! Lydia struggles to live life without her fiance while experiencing another ‘life’ with him!

Those were the books I read during March! How about you?

Sunday Sentence: March 29

I’m participating in David Abrams’s ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.

“When you’re young you think you’ve got all the time in the world,” she says. “And then suddenly you turn around and you’re old and one of you isn’t there anymore and you wonder how the years went so fast”.

Source: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

‘The Two Lives of Lydia Bird’ by Josie Silver/A Review

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Length: 369 pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Hardcover (purchased through Book of the Month)
Release Date: March 3, 2020

Synopsis:
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

My Thoughts:
When Josie Silver’s new book The Two Lives of Lydia Bird became available for purchase, I immediately picked it up! I loved reading her debut novel One Day in December, and I was ready to enjoy another tale revolving around friendship and romance while enduring life experiences!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird begins with loss–Lydia Bird is struggling to live without her fiance Freddie Hunter, who was killed in a car accident. One evening, Lydia discovers that she can enter a world in which Freddie still exists. The story then takes us through Lydia’s life as she lives between these two worlds. The grieving process of losing a loved on can be extremely difficult and painful, yet Lydia’s grieving is placed on pause as she continues (in a sense) to have a life with Freddie. Both worlds are vastly different, and Lydia struggles to gain a sense of who she is as an individual throughout the experience.

Lydia is also struggling to repair her friendship with Jonah Jones. Jonah is both Lydia’s lifelong friend and Freddie’s closest companion. Since Jonah was with Freddie at the time of his death, he is also enduring his own grief as he continues life without him. Both Lydia and Freddie are also grieving the loss of the bond they shared throughout their lives. They make attempts to repair the bond they previously shared, yet the personal tie to Freddie makes things doubly complicated!

There is also a delightful cast of characters in this story, as Lydia’s family and co-workers ensure that she is not alone while navigating the grieving process. There are some unexpected turns in this tale, and Lydia faces some difficult lessons while learning to discover what she truly wants for herself!

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a wonderful story of a woman seeking to find her true self while navigating the stages of grief. It is a great depiction of Lydia’s desire of wanting her fiance to be remembered, while rediscovering the meaning of life. I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5/5 Stars



Friday Reads: March 27

I’m starting two books this weekend. I purchased book stories through Book of the Month!

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

This story is the April selection for the Literally Dead Book Club. I’m very excited to read this one!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Since Take a Hint, Dani Brown is coming out soon, I need to get started on the first installment!

OwlCrate March 2020 unboxing: Music of the Night

I received my March OwlCrate box a few days ago, and I’m so happy to share the items I received with you! This box marks OwlCrate’s 5th anniversary!


OwlCrate exclusive wireless speaker
Goblin Grove candle inspired by Wintersong, created by Flick the Wick
Phantom of the Opera poster print, illustrated by Anne Lambelet
OwlCrate exclusive Socks
Wooden art print inspired by Monsters of Verity, designed by Emilee Rudd
Bella’s Lullaby Lip Scrub, created by Fairytale Bath Company
ExLibris bookplates, designed by @veresknatasia_art
Monthly enamel pin, designed by Fable and Black
OwlCrate exclusive signed edition of Marie Lu’s The Kingdom of Back, with letter from the author!
This special edition book comes with sprayed silver foil edges!

WWW Wednesday: March 25

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and now maintained by Taking on a World of Words.

There are three prompts for WWW Wednesday:
–What are you currently reading?
–What did you finish recently reading?
–What do you think you’ll read next?

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
So far I like reading about Lydia’s ‘dual’ life, so to speak! I’m halfway into the novel, so I suspect things are going to get pretty complicated!

Berried in the Past (Cranberry Cove Mystery #5) by Peg Cochran
Thank you NetGalley for this wonderful eARC! I enjoyed this lovely mystery novel set in small town Michigan! It was filled with an eclectic cast of characters and delicious recipes!

Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot
Thank you Revell for the complimentary copy! I really loved reading this historical romance set in 1850s Texas. It was a heartwarming tale!

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
This book is the April selection of the Literally Dead Book Club! I’m glad that Book of the Month offered this story as one of their choices to purchase!

‘Berried in the Past’ by Peg Cochran/A Review

Berried in the Past by Peg Cochran
Book 5 in ‘Cranberry Cove’ series
Publisher: Beyond the Page
Length: 200 pages
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: March 24, 2020

Synopsis:
On a night of heavy snow and bitter cold, newlyweds Monica and Greg are comfortably nestled before a warm fire when they’re roused by a late-night knock at the door. Surprised to find a troubled and confused woman on the doorstep, Monica is even more shocked when the woman vacantly utters that someone is trying to kill her. Sensing distress but not danger, Monica decides to help this mysterious woman, but her clouded recollections yield little—until she dredges up memories of her sister and a nearby home, where they find the woman’s sister, dead.

Unable to deny her own curiosity or the woman’s request for help, Monica begins digging into the suspicious death, only to discover a murky family history of valuable land, a bullying brother, an unscrupulous real estate developer, and endless rumors of good deeds met with bad blood. And when the trail of the killer begins to turn cold, Monica realizes that while the family wants to bury their sister, someone is out to bury the clues—and if Monica’s not careful, to bury her as well.

My Thoughts:

**I received Berried in the Past through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review**

The past few days placed me in a mood where I longed for a story to help me escape the complicated times the world is currently experiencing. I found that story in Berried in the Past! This told the story of Monica Albertson, a small-town baker in Cranberry Cove (a village set in Michigan). Monica sets out to solve the murder of Marta Bakker, after her sister unexpectedly appears at her doorstep one night. Everyone who Monica meets has an explanation (and possibly a motive) for the woman’s death!

My interest was held from beginning to end, since I was curious to see how the mystery of Marta’s death would be solved. The side characters (and the conflicts that added on to the tale) kept things very interesting as well!

This book is the fifth installment of the Cranberry Cove series, but you don’t need to read the previous books to catch up on the goings-on in this small town. While I was relieved to discover that fact, I plan on picking up one of the earlier books in the series to learn how Monica’s relationship with the townspeople solidified!

The book was also filled with mouth-watering treats and baked goods. There are some recipes in the back of the novel which I’m very interested in trying out this week (I enjoyed reading about the Cranberry Orange Cake)!

Berried in the Past by Peg Cochran is sure to bring that escape from the crazy times happening in our world. You won’t be disappointed!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Goodreads Monday: March 23

I’m taking part in Goodreads Monday. This was started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.

This Week’s Post:

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Synopsis:
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…


After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

Why I Want to Read It:
I’ve recently gotten into reading books outside of my favorite genre. I’m naturally drawn toward Historical Fiction and Fantasy, but I’m beginning to branch out towards Contemporary stories. I came across this title while I was planning my wedding last year, so I placed this on my TBR list. I’ve yet to read it, but since I now own the book, I plan on doing so!

Sunday Sentence: March 22

I’m participating in David Abrams’s ‘Sunday Sentence‘ project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, ‘out of context and without commentary’.

‘If you really want the call to last, you can even cook the meal together before you eat it’.

Source: ‘How to Have a Virtual Dinner With Friends and Loved Ones’ by Rachel Kaser

‘Out of the Embers’ by Amanda Cabot/A Review

Out of the Embers by Amanda Cabot
Publisher: Revell
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 3, 2020

Synopsis:
Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

My Thoughts:
**I received a complimentary copy of Out of the Embers through Revell Reads Blogger Program**

Out of the Embers is a touching story about discovering a true sense of home through resilience and hope. The book follows a young woman named Evelyn Radcliffe and her young charge Polly after being saved (by fate) from their home being burned down. They find the sanctuary of Wyatt Clark and his family in Mesquite Springs, Texas. While Polly’s lineage has her own deep-seeded secrets, Evelyn changes her identity in order to have a more peaceful life. Along the way she encounters unexpected–and unwelcome–surprises from certain citizens. She also causes great changes in Wyatt’s life, as he seeks to discover his own destiny within the surroundings of his horse farm.

Both Evelyn and Wyatt are people seeking a change in their life paths: Evelyn seeking to start over from her devastating family losses, while Wyatt longs to branch out from a seemingly static life in Mesquite Springs. They each have a missing piece in their lives to fill as they establish their positions in society. Through the close-knit community of Mesquite Springs, Evelyn and Wyatt discover the meaning of family and kindred spirits.

I enjoyed the setting of the 1850s in Texas, as it displayed a simpler life. These residents live a happy life without the technology that bombards our present lives in every passing moment. Amanda Cabot also writes beautifully the nature of courtship, getting to know someone’s personality and quirks before committing your life to another. She also describes the bonding nature of female relationships, as Dorothy and Evelyn’s heartwarming scenes wonderfully describes.

I found Out of the Embers to be a heartwarming novel about community coming together during difficult times. It also has the touching connection of Evelyn and Wyatt’s story as they navigate their paths in life.

Rating: 4/5 Stars