I don’t know about the rest of you but I can’t believe it’s March already. But here I am with my next round of five most recent reads—I’m very behind on these, about seven books behind after these five, but they’re slowly coming together. Today’s reviews are all from a vlog I did in which my friend, Meredith, picked my reads for me. I’ve linked the video there, but we’re going to jump into them right now.
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
I was a little nervous about this one—it doesn’t have the best average rating on Goodreads (3.62), and so that made me a little hesitant. I can understand why people might not like this, but I really, really enjoyed it. It’s pretty slow and very political and historical but I found that it really worked for me. I thought the world was fascinating and I loved learning things as we went along. I thought it had an interesting cast of characters as well—I felt like I didn’t now who to trust and I kind of loved that feeling. My only complaint is that it feels like the first book in a series even thought it’s a standalone—I don’t know whether He had intend to continue it but it wasn’t picked up or what, but there were definitely some things left unresolved. Obviously I don’t know what He had planned but I feel like this would’ve made a perfect duology. But since I guess I’ll just have to pick up He’s other books…as if I hadn’t planned to already.
A Lady For A Duke by Alexis Hall
I was originally really excited for this one because I’ve been feeling in a bit of historical romance mood lately, but that keeps disappearing the second I actually pick up a historical romance. Because of that, it took me about a month to actually finish this one. It’s also just kind of a huge book—I found it incredibly slow and weirdly paced. It hits most of the same beats as any other historical romance, but it felt weirdly removed from the situation. I really felt like I was watching things happen but not really getting to now any of the characters. I can’t deny that the romance is sweet—the love and support between Gracewood and Viola is obvious and it was really lovely to see. I guess I just wanted a little bit more tension there, but I think that’s partly because of the way things are paced and some of the things that would’ve built tension were already resolved earlier. I also wasn’t super keen on the disability representation. One of my disabilities is somewhat similar to Gracewood’s, and I hated the discourse around him being ‘a cripple’, ‘broken’, etc. Sure, the attitudes were pretty historically accurate, but at times it felt like a plot point or a way to make Gracewood more interesting and brooding. Hall seemed to treat Viola’s transness in such a delicate and respectful way, as it should be, but I felt like Gracewood’s disability deserved the same treatment. We didn’t need any transphobia for the story to work, so we could’ve done without the ableism too. All in all, I didn’t have the worst time reading this—like I said, it was sweet but I just wanted more.
Hani and Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
I tried to read this one in 2021 after reading The Henna Wars but I just wasn’t in the right mood for it at the time. I’m definitely moving away from YA contemporaries these days but it’s nice to read one every now and again that I do enjoy. I thought this was very sweet—I liked how Hani and Ishu’s relationship developed and it was a mostly fun read. I do love a good fake dating scheme and I did really enjoy the whole booklet thing. I think the reasons for them fake dating were a bit of a throwaway excuse—we see a bit about it, but Ishu’s excuse in particular was pretty flimsy. I was kind of sad that neither Hani or Ishu really had any friends—Ishu is just alone and Hand’s friends absolutely suck. I just love when YA contemporaries actually have healthy female friendships in them and the fact that this didn’t did bring down my enjoyment of it. I did really like the family relationships, particularly Hani and her mum and Ishu and her sister—it was nice to see a little bit of support for them both outside of each other. All up, it was cute, it was fun and I enjoyed it.
Crystal Crowned (Air Awakens #5) by Elise Kova
Oh boy, oh boy, where do I even begin with this one? I guess with this: I DNFed this about 54 pages in. I first read this series while it was being released as part of the ARC team but never read this final one. I loved them, thought it was one of my favourite series ever. I discovered while rereading books three and four this year that I did not still love them. In fact, I kind of hated them. But still I pushed through to this one so I could finish the series before just deciding to DNF it. I’d hoped I’d enjoy this more because it wasn’t a reread but I very quickly realised this was just going to cycle through the usual stuff: Vhalla makes terrible decision after terrible decision, Aldrik continues to be an asshole and most of the characters I actually liked are dead. I don’t think I’m going to regret not finishing this one. As always, I don’t give my DNF star ratings.
Broken (In The Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson
I accidentally ended up reading this one in mid-January—I thought it was part of a project I was doing, and then I found weeks after I read it that it wasn’t. So I read this whole book for no reason. I really had no interest in it beforehand, and I didn’t enjoy it that much, so it kind of feels like a waste now. Lawson has a very chaotic way of writing, and that just didn’t work for me. It honestly made me feel a bit overwhelmed and frazzled because I just couldn’t keep up with what each essay was meant to be about. It wasn’t a complete disaster—I enjoyed most of the pieces about Lawson’s experience with chronic and mental illness; a lot of it I could relate to, and some of it was beautifully written. At least having accidentally read this, I now know that Lawson’s books aren’t for me, and I can skip them in the future.
4 thoughts on “Five Most Recent Reads | March 2nd”
Great post! I liked Joan He’s The Ones We’re Meant to Find – I might have to check out this one too.
Ok I really wanted to read Air Awakens buuuuutttt I don’t know. I didnt’t know it was such a long series, for starters. But also…dnf at page 54. I might skip it lol
The first two were good, but beyond there it’s just a bit of a trash fire.