Books I Read – March/April 2021

March and April have come and gone and so have several books on my reading list. Between moving to Albania, writing a bit more on the blog, and just the books I did choose, I didn’t read as much as I wanted, but I did read some. Find out the winners and losers!

Books I Read - March/April 2021 | Poppies and Jasmine

Faithless in Death – JD Robb

Faithless In Death - JD Robb | Poppies and Jasmine

I just finished the Nora Roberts Challenge, and already I’m behind again! Regardless, I picked up the newest In Death book, and Nora Roberts has outdone herself again. I loved it! It was one of her bigger stories, and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the book, especially as Dallas started gearing up for the takedown of the murderers. Faithless is definitely a must-read!

The Perfect Child – Lucinda Berry

The Perfect Child - Lucinda Berry | Poppies and Jasmine

This book was very dark, but also very predictable. I didn’t love it – while it should have been a great thriller, there was nothing really thrilling about it. The author was pretty vague as to the antagonist’s root cause, which was annoying as being so minimized and simplified the plot. There are much better thrillers out there, so pass on this.

Matchmaking For Beginners – Maddie Dawson

Matchmaking For Beginners - Maddie Dawson | Poppies and Jasmine

I did NOT like this book. I was hoping for a cute rom-com type book, but the author was so determined to make the main characters quirky that they ended up being too weird to be likeable or realistic, while nearly every other supporting character was flat and dull. In a book like this, without a heavy, driving plot, characters are key, and the ones in Matchmaking just can’t carry the story.

The Apartment – K.L. Slater

The Apartment - K.L. Slater | Poppies and Jasmine

The premise is interesting, but a bit too weird for me, and in the end, the plot just fell flat. After a excruciating long lead-in to the main action, the author wrapped everything up just too easily before there was even enough drama to justify the beginning half of the book. This was no good.

The Good Girl – Mary Kubica

The Good Girl - Mary Kubica | Poppies and Jasmine

This one was…fine. Better than the last three, but that’s not saying much. It played with Stockholm syndrome a bit, but that was really about the most it did. The “twist” was all too predictable – I saw it coming for pages before it actually hit. Pass on this and pick up a better book to while away the time.

The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne | Poppies and Jasmine

I want to re-read some classic books, because a number of them I haven’t read since I was a kid. I started with The Scarlet Letter, a book I’ve always enjoyed. It’s good, if you don’t know. It’s definitely a bit dry, due to the styles of the times, but you definitely feel for poor Hester. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit depressing how little we’ve advanced – sure, we no longer make women wear a scarlet A but we still shame people for their sex lives constantly.

Ms. Bitch – Tricia O’Malley

Ms. Bitch - Tricia O'Malley | Poppies and Jasmine

This book was cute. I thought it would be about reclaiming the word bitch, but the author only did so in nominal instances, which was a bit disappointing. It started out really strong but the story moved too fast, particularly when the main character entered a new relationship. I liked her finding herself ultimately, but in general, while cute, this book just isn’t really worth it.

Anne Boleyn – Evelyn Anthony

Anne Boleyn - Evelyn Anthony | Poppies and Jasmine

This historical fiction novel was a bit dry. I’m very interested in Anne Boleyn, I’ve read a lot about her, and I just feel like Anthony’s version – cold, conniving, and calculating – isn’t true to what we know about her in a lot of ways. On top of that, there were a lot of events mentioned in the book but glossed over, and others that involved far more assumptions than I think were necessary. All in all, not my favorite novel covering her life.

Foster’s Historical Irish Oddities – Allen Foster

Foster's Historical Irish Oddities - Allen Foster | Poppies and Jasmine

This book was full of short weird stories that either took place in Ireland or involved Irish people – sometimes very loosely. Some of the stories were short, ranging only a paragraph, while others took up a few pages, but they were interesting. Most were really funny, and I laughed out loud during a handful. If you’re looking for something to read in short breaks, this is a really good choice!

Melody – C.L. Stone

Melody - C.L. Stone | Poppies and Jasmine

I’m a huge fan of C.L. Stone’s Academy series, so I picked this one up to give it a shot. It was pretty amazing. Like her other books, it took some time to figure out what was going on, but I was riveted long before that. I can’t really describe it coherently without giving away the plot, but you should definitely add this to your reading list.

Secrets Of The Tudor Court – D.L. Bogdan

Secrets Of The Tudor Court - D.L. Bogdan | Poppies and Jasmine

This novel was a fairly cynical, but likely accurate, take on the Duke of Norfolk, and even more, his daughter Mary Howard. If you want a snapshot of just how harsh noble life was during the Renaissance, this is a great book to pick up. It’s interesting, and at times, heartbreaking, and definitely horrifying to my feminist sensibilities. All in all, though, if you’ve very interested in this time period, read it; otherwise, pass.

Rivals Of The Tudor Court – D.L. Bogdan

Rivals In The Tudor Court - D.L. Bogdan | Poppies and Jasmine

I probably should have read this first, as it covers the story of Norfolk growing up. It humanized him and softened him to some degree, the first book I’ve ever seen to do so, fiction or nonfiction. It was better than Secrets, and a definite must-read for history lovers.

The Mountaintop School For Dogs And Other Second Chances – Ellen Cooney

The Mountaintop School For Dogs And Other Second Chances - Ellen Cooney | Poppies and Jasmine

This book is perfect for dog lovers and anyone who understands that dogs teach us far more than we could ever teach them. It was a little weird, and took me some time to get interested, but it was ultimately amazing. Dogs and animals in general are a massive part of my life, so this really hit home with me.

Even Good Girls – Nicholas Jordan

Even Good Girls - Nicholas Jordan | Books I Read - Poppies and Jasmine

This book was…boring. It was too pat, just checking off the boxes on how to plot a novel. There was no suspense, nothing particularly interesting about the characters, just…there. Just pass on this, there are so many books that are so much better, and honestly, even novels that are worse are at least more interesting.

Overprotected – Jennifer Laurens

Overprotected - Jennifer Laurens | Books I Read - Poppies and Jasmine

Ugh, yet another enemies-to-lovers story. I honestly hate these books most of the time, and this one was worse than normal because the switch happened in about two pages. On top of that, the female main character drove me up a wall – I can’t imagine ever tolerating that extreme level of overprotectiveness. It was just too hard for me to suspend disbelief in this story. Pass.

Head Over High Heels – Lila Monroe

Head Over High Heels - Lila Monroe | Books I Read - Poppies and Jasmine

This was a cutesy romance that was a light, mediocre read at best. The male lead was far too perfect to be interesting, whereas the female character was way, way too dramatic for me, and that characteristic led to a LOT of annoying side tangents. If you want a romance novel, there’s much better ones out there.

The Three Roosevelts -James MacGregor Burns

The Three Roosevelts - James MacGregor Burns | Books I Read - Poppies and Jasmine

I’m a huge Roosevelt fan, so I was very annoyed that the author moved very quickly and lightly through Theodore Roosevelt, who is obviously the best Roosevelt. I mean, half a sentence on his times in the Badlands, and only a paragraph on Cuba? On top of that, the writer clearly has a fairly negative view on Teddy’s approach to a lot of things. From there, he dragged out FDR and Eleanor, and still managed to focus on less consequential accomplishments while ignoring their more important achievements. Not a fan at all.

The Queen’s Rival – Diane Haegar

The Queen's Rival - Diane Haegar | Books I Read - Poppies and Jasmine

This novel covered Henry VIII’s affair with Bessie Blount, and it took a particularly romantic view of it, which struck an odd chord with me. It was never particularly bad, although it was never particularly good, either. Instead, the novel was just soft and ambivalent.

So I read about half as many books as compared to February, but I know some of these were longer in length or just harder reads. I feel like this month featured a lot of duds, though, so hopefully I have better picks next month!

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