Five Most Recent Reads | March 18th

It’s time for yet another instalment in my five most recent reads post. I’m sorry that most of my posts so far this month have been been these mini reviews, but I’ve just not had the time or ideas for anything else lately. I’m still running a little behind with this reviews, but these ones here are from the end of February until early March so at least we’re in the same month now. So without further ado, let’s jump in.

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

I’m a huge fan of Talia Hibbert’s Brown sister series and her one paranormal book that never got a sequel (still devastated about that), so I was excited to see this YA from her. Sadly, it ended up falling a little flat for me. I did still enjoy it—it had a lot of things I like from Hibbert; the family relationships, the banter etc. but I was hoping for more. I’d been expecting a little more OCD representation, especially since Hibbert did the disability representation so well in the Brown sisters. As far as I know, it is #OwnVoices rep so my problem wasn’t really with the representation itself but more that I’d been expecting more discussion around it. I didn’t love the romance between Bradley and Celine either—it was fine, even cute at points but I didn’t feel that invested in their relationship. This honestly could’ve been because of the YA aspect—I’m so used to smut with Hibbert’s books now that the build-up just didn’t feel the same here. For the most part it was still a fun read, but I don’t imagine I’ll be coming back to it the way I do with Hibbert’s romance work.

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

This was a reread for me at the end of February for the book club I run with my friends Mel and Lana. I’d originally read it in 2020 on Lana’s recommendation—it was part of a vlog I did here but I just wasn’t writing reviews at that time. We’d studied the movie more than a few times in high school, so I was already pretty familiar with the story but the book definitely added to the experience. This has some of the most beautiful writing that I’ve ever experienced—both times I’ve read it I’ve been shocked by how lyrical and vivid it is. Maybe it’s because we did watch the movie so many times, but I could see the story play out in my head as I read along with it. Both times I’ve read it, I’ve been absolutely destroyed by the story—it’s so beautiful that I end up sobbing multiple times throughout it even though I know exactly what’s coming. Kahu is an absolutely adorable and wonderful character to read about, and I think it adds to the story so much that we don’t see things from her point of view—I don’t know what it is, it just fits the story so well. I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough—it deserves to read, studied and loved for the rest of time.

The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel by Nicki Greenberg

This has been sitting on my shelf since early 2021 so I figured it was probably time to get around to it. I’d become a fan of Nicki Greenberg after meeting her at an event way back in 2013 or 2014 and going on to read her graphic novel adaptations of The Great Gatsby and Hamlet with these adorable little creatures, so I was very excited for a middle-grade from her. I have to admit that I didn’t completely love this. I enjoyed Pepper, the protagonist, she’s smart and a bit mischievous and I really liked her new friends Norah, and especially, Sol. I also really enjoyed the setting of an ocean liner in the 1920s as it sails towards New York—that made for a lot of fun, but also interesting discussion on class and etc. through a child’s eye. The mystery was interesting enough—it gave off a lot of Nancy Drew vibes to me so that was fun too. I think the main issue I had was age-related—Pepper is meant to be 13 but she felt more like 8 or 9, so when intense things happen or her reactions to particular things, there were times it seemed strange until I remembered that. All in all, it was a fun read and I’ll definitely consider reading the sequel.

Forgotten Women: The Leaders by Zing Tsjeng

I’ve been wanting to read the books in this series for years so I was very lucky to find this one secondhand for a few dollars a few months back. I figured with March being Women’s History Month, it would be the perfect time to pick it up. I honestly love this style of book—the short biographies alongside the beautiful illustrations. I think it’s a nice way to learn about new people and from there, I can go and do my own research into the ones who particularly interested me. I’ve read quite a few like this, but I enjoyed this one. I’ve heard of a few of the women in here, but it was interesting to learn about the others who I’d never heard of—there’s definitely a few I’m going to try to find some more details about. I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to pic up some of the others someday too.

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

I think most people in the online book community have at least heard of this series—I’d heard about it from so many different people that I figured it was about time I picked it up. I’m not a sci-fi reader, I probably only read one or two books in the genre per year, if any. But as a teenager I was a big fan of sci fi shows and movies, so I’ve always thought that I probably just hasn’t found the right book. It pains me to say, but I don’t think this is the one either. I enjoyed it enough, but I just wasn’t blown away. I actually enjoyed the story and the characters for the most part, but I felt lost a lot of the time. Sometimes it really felt like I’d accidentally picked up book three in the series and had missed all the set-up and important world-building and that was why I was confused by some of the things. All that being said, I’m still considering at least picking up the second book in the series to see if I enjoy it more now that I understand the world a little better.

And that’s it for today. Have you read any of these? What have you been reading lately?


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