Monthly Recaps

March 2017 Reading Recap

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Whew! I hinted during my February recap that March could be a big reading month for me and I was right. I finished seven books this month! Some good, lots of meh, and lots of food! Because of the high number of books I’m writing my reviews “teeny tiny book review” style, which is something I’ve wanted to start for Belle of Booktopia’s instagram feed. Guess I’ll give it a test run here…

  1. Still Life by Louise Penny

    still lifeFirst in the Inspector Gamache mystery series, written in 2007. Takes place during present time in Three Pines, a fictional small town in Quebec, Canada. An elderly woman, Jane Neal, is murdered and Inspector Gamache and his team are sent to investigate. Everyone in town could be a suspect, and deep dark secrets are ultimately revealed. This didn’t knock my socks, but it was a good cozy mystery and I’ve heard the series definitely picks up when Penny finds her stride a few books in. It was definitely good enough for me to give the rest of the series a try!

    Favorite Quote:
    “Maybe, said his brain and his upbringing, if you make enough tea and small talk, time reverses and all bad things are undone.”

    Rating:
    3-5-stars3.5/5.0

  2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
    guernsey

    A pleasant historical fiction novel taking place in post World War II Britain and written entirely in the form of letters exchanged among the characters. Our protagonist is an author, Juliet, who begins corresponding with residents of Guernsey, an island that was occupied by the Germans during the war. Facing major writers block and finding the island a source of inspiration, she eventually travels there and is surprised how her life changes as a result. I listened to this on audio and it was was a cute, easy read. It was kind of predictable, but I still really enjoyed it and sometimes “neat and tidy” guilty pleasure reads are just nice to buffer all the harder more serious stuff in my reading life.

    Favorite Quote:
    This was hard- there were so many great gems in this book!
    “Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

    Rating:
    3-5-stars3.5/5.0

  3. The Fertility Diet by Dr. Jorge Chavarro, Dr. Walter Willett, and Patrick Skerrett

    fertility
    This non-fiction health book covers the science behind reproduction and how your diet can play a part in boosting your fertility or combating particular issues that could be preventing success. If a friend ever discloses that they are “trying,” (you’d think after 2.5 years I would cringe less at that phrase, but no. It still sounds terrible…) I will definitely refer them to this book. I was able to make corrections to my diet and vitamin intake in preparation for the IVF cycle I started this past month. Words of caution: 1) Do not use this book to justify overindulging in ice cream. I may have done that on multiple occasions… 2) Purchase the book or take notes as you go along. I wrongly assumed there would be a comprehensive and fairly directive summary at the end and I was wrong.

    Favorite Quote Recipes!:
    Doing things a little different for this one! Here were the yummy recipes I made sure to save before taking this book back to the library:
    -Chili Spiced Shrimp (favorite!)
    -Red Lentil, Toasted Almond, and Ginger Soup
    -Creamy Parsnip-Carrot Soup
    -Orange Glazed Salmon
    -Sesame Green Beans

    Rating:
    4 stars4.0/5.0

  4. The Whole 30: The Official 30 Day Guide To Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig

    whole30
    Another non-fiction health book (I told you there was a lot of food this month!). This book has inspired the very popular trend that is all over Pinterest and riffs off the current focus on paleo or clean eating. The basics: Eat fruit, vegetables, protein, and good fat. Don’t eat grains, dairy, or anything with additives or sugar (not even natural sugar alternatives like stevia). The book goes into it more and there are many other interesting rules, but I was not evangelic about it. I really enjoyed the challenge of recreating healthier versions of food I love (cauliflower crust pizza is actually pretty delicious!). I would definitely do it again/will be incorporating some of the recipes into our regular rotation.

    Favorite Quote Recipes!:
    -Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin (favorite!)
    -Butternut Squash Soup
    -No Fuss Salmon Cakes
    -Cauliflower Mash

    Rating:
    3 stars3.0/5.0

  5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

    alchemistThe alchemist is a modern classic fantasy novella set in pre-modern times (before cars, technology, etc.) and follows the journey of a young boy, Santiago, from Andalusia to Egypt. He is on a quest to pursue his “Personal Legend” after a recurring dream tells him to do so, and is tempted settle for the treasures he finds along the way (money, fame, love…). The writing is beautiful and the beginning was very good. I just lost interest towards the end as things became somewhat repetitive, or maybe I just didn’t get it? It was deep, beautiful and short.

    Favorite Quote:
    Again… so many quotables! This was another one that was hard to choose.
    “When we love, we always strive to be better than we are. When we strive to be better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

    Rating:
    3 stars3.0/5.0

  6. The Traitor’s Emblem by Juan Gomez-Jurado

    traitors emblem
    This historical fiction novel is set in Munich between WWI & WWII. I tried to explain the plot to Dan, but it’s kind of bananas so bear with me. Basically there is a young boy whose father died under mysterious circumstances and this chronicles his quest to find out the truth of what happened. Along the way he encounters the Masons, an evil cousin destined to be a Nazi, falls for a jewish girl, works in African diamond mines, and a bunch of other stuff. I read this book because it is notoriously the worst rated book my book club has ever read, and it’s my goal to go back and read all the books the club read before I was in it. I don’t really recommend this one, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected and I was never bored!

    Favorite Quote:
    I honestly didn’t write one down… yikes.

    Rating:
    2 stars2.0/5.0

  7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and JK Rowling

    HP and the CC.jpg
    This fantasy play is set nineteen years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the world of the Harry Potter series. The play follows Harry and his son Albus through Albus’ first few years at Hogwarts and focuses on the struggles between fathers and sons and also the blights of the children of celebrities. This was our book club book for March and the second time I read this book, which is actually just the play script and NOT a novelization of the play. That is an important distinction because many HP fans’ main complaint is that this book feels completely different than the rest of the series, and they’re right. Overall- this was just ok. I liked it because I got to revisit characters and places I love and it made HP relevant to a new generation. But honestly SPOILER: Did Voldemort really have sex? I just can’t…

    Favorite Quote:
    “Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”

    Rating:
    3 stars3.0/5.0

    So that’s March! I realize we’re halfway through April, but as I’m sure you can deduce from one of the books above, I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks. I’ve already read some great books in April and I can’t wait to tell you about them in a couple weeks. But until then…

    Off to the cupboard with you now, Chip. It’s past your bedtime. Goodnight, love…”

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