This month has been a very mixed reading month – as of today (March 25th) I’ve finished five books and I’ve had easy five stars and reluctant three stars, a book that took me over two weeks to finish and books that I finished in less than 48 hours.
The first book I finished was the audiobook of The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang and just like every other book in The Kiss Quotient series, I absolutely adored it. I feel like I’ve said ‘autism representation’ about three million times but it’s just so good – each of the three books in the series shows autism in a different way and shows love interests that have different experiences with ASD. The Heart Principle felt even more perfect for me because the heroine doesn’t realise she’s autistic until she’s in her mid-to-late twenties, not realising the reason she finds everything so difficult is because her brain isn’t like everyone else in her family. Watching her figure out how to make adaptations for herself as well as realising that there was a reason she found everything so hard hit so close to home. I really want to pick up a physical copy of the whole trilogy but particularly this book – it’s definitely made it onto my list of all time favourite books
And I wish I could say the second book I finished this month had the same reaction, but The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake was a 3 star read that seriously lingered on the border of 2 stars. The characters I thought were wonderful, I really liked not only how they were shown as individuals but how their relationships with each other developed, even though six characters made it a little difficult to follow (especially when they’re sometimes referred to by surname and I really couldn’t commit them all to memory). This book took me eleven days to read because I was waiting for a plot to appear – for my first book over 500 pages to read this year, it was a real slog and even now, I don’t think there really was a plot line until the last two or three chapters. Everything was only explained on a surface level from what they were being taught in classes, what they were learning from the archives and even their magic abilities felt like they were being glossed over. Then the ending wasn’t even an ending – I was genuinely shocked the it ended so abruptly and that literally no conclusions were drawn; I wouldn’t even call it a cliffhanger, because a cliffhanger implies a rounded off plot with a little detail that lures you into the next book, but The Atlas Six didn’t have this and I had to reread the last chapter just to try and understand how they could call that an ending and why so many people have been singing this book’s praises.
Reluctantly (and only because I already owned it), I went straight on to The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake, which took me even longer (and over a fortnight) to finish. My unexplained affection for the characters did carry over to this sequel – I thought Tristan actually saw some really interesting character development and the portrayal of Callum was surprisingly sweet. Having established a major plot point at the end of the first book, there was a great opening for the characters to band together to work solidly with one aim. But, again, it was glossed over and the one thing they all ‘swore to do’ in the first one, they didn’t even achieve in the second one! With more context to the peripheral characters, Paradox was loosely held together with a plot but only just. I found with this sequel, I couldn’t read more than 30 or 40 pages without falling asleep – on the day I finished it, I was determined to finish the last 50 pages I had to read so I could read something more enjoyable, but it sent me to sleep twice (and I really didn’t need two naps). But because I am somewhat attached to the characters and similarly to Six, Paradox just stops rather than having an ending, I will probably be reading the last of the trilogy whenever it comes out, but I will be gritting my teeth while I do it.
Following this, I wanted something easy to read that I knew I would enjoy, so I picked hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick from our wedding library (the set of books our wedding guests gave us that are a collection of our favourite people’s favourite books). I remember reading this book when I was a teenager but I remembered nothing about it and I know I donated my copy, so I was intrigued to try and find out why. It’s probably because it’s a novel that’s written like below average fanfiction, but for that reason I kind of loved it? It was ridiculous and the protagonists were insane and the whole thing was mental, but it was easy to read and so far fetched that it was almost laughable. I gave it 3 stars because it’s not a well written book in any way, shape or form, but it makes me feel like I’m back in my Twilight era and I’m here for that kind of nostalgia. I’ve picked up the next three books on my kindle and I’m glad I have them as an easy read that I can dip in and out of in the midst of working on my physical tbr. Which leads me to…
The next book was the next title to come out of my tbr jar (wonderfully chosen by my husband in this tiktok) – The Innocent’s Story by Nicky Singer was the book that I always named as my favourite when I was a teenager – I remember writing a review to enter a competition for the Costa Book Awards when I was maybe still in primary school? This book has been on my all-time favourites list for a long time and I had it in my tbr jar so I could reread it and still see if that was the case! I was pleasantly surprised that I think I enjoyed it even more reading it as an adult than I did as a kid – it’s a YA fantasy (maybe?) about a 13 year old girl who is caught up in a suicide bomb explosion that kills her and her sister. She ends up floating around as a ball of mist – a para-spirit – who can sit in people’s brains and listen in on what they’re thinking and doing without having any impact. She ends up in the head of the young man who pulled the trigger and is the reason she’s dead. Despite being told from a teenager’s perspective, the narrative is so mature (perhaps because it was written in 2005) and makes you think about religion, the concept of a higher power, the basics of good vs bad, morality; so many interesting topics. I wish more people knew about this book – at 217 pages it’s a really quick, easy read and genuinely really interesting. Rereading it firmly cemented it’s place on my favourites list!
With a few days of the month to go, I envision that I will probably finish This Is How You Lose The Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohta (it’s only 208 pages) and make a start on The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (which I’m mildly apprehensive of as it’s my second attempt at reading it).
Despite spending so long reading the Atlas series, it’s been a really good reading month, I think because I threw myself into new books head first after finishing The Atlas Paradox just to read something that didn’t send me to sleep!
According to Storygraph, having finished 16 books this year means I’m 6 books ahead of my reading goal and with a few weekends away planned (my husband travels for work and I’m essentially hitchhiking!), I imagine April will be much the same! With our honey moon (a two week trip to Kos, Greece) booked for May, it’s looking like I might be hitting my reading goal early! At this rate I’ll have met my goal of 42 books by August I reckon but the important thing for me is not to put any pressure on myself – any reading is a good amount of reading!
Thank you for listening to me ramble about books again!