Posted in Books and Shows

March: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello! How’s your week going? I can’t believe it’s already the end of March.

This week, I’ve been able to read a bit more than usual…I feel like I was slacking on my reading in March. With back to in person learning and after school activities, I felt like I was asleep before my head hit the pillow most nights.

Before I share about the books I read this month, I have to take a moment to remember Beverly Cleary.

My love for reading started at a young age, and I have my parents to thank for that! I can also thank Beverly Cleary. I remember going to my elementary school library, and perusing the bookshelves. One of the very first books that I checked out from Mrs. Jones, our school librarian, was Dear Mr. Henshaw. I read all of the Ramona books as well. Those books were classics and Cleary was a literary legend. She will be missed.

This month I read…

Two of the books I loved and will definitely be “Top Reads” for 2021. The other book I thought was just ok.

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

We Were the Lucky Ones:

We Were the Lucky Ones

Summary:

It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.

An extraordinary, propulsive novel, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can endure and even thrive. 

Quick Thoughts:

This was an amazing book! I don’t typically turn to historical fiction, but I’d heard wonderful things about this book. It captured my attention from the very first page. I loved how the story was organized moving back and forth between family members. Needless to say, this book had some heartbreaking moments, but the Kurc family members certainly were the lucky ones.

Rating:

Layla:

Layla

Summary:

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

Quick Thoughts:

This book was odd. I enjoyed it in the beginning as Leeds and Layla got to know each other, but I almost quit reading it once I started to piece together what was going on in the plotline. Also, as with many Hoover books, there are some “R rated” scenes.

Rating:

The Giver of the Stars:

The Giver of the Stars

Summary:

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Quick Thoughts:

I don’t think I’ve read a Moyes book since Me Before You gutted me quite a few years ago. Giver of the Stars has definitely been a popular book. I was on the library waitlist forever, and so many people (including my mom) said how much they enjoyed reading it, so I bought it assuming it would be a keeper!

I loved the Kentucky references, and the fact that most chapters started with a quote, including…

…and best of all, the wilderness of books, in which she could wander, where she liked, made the library a region of bliss to her.” -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

These strong-willed ladies and the relationships they form are extraordinary. The setting, their journey, and the obstacles they overcome are inspiring.

This book is one of my favorite books to date! I’m definitely glad that I’ve added this one to my bookshelf as I know it’s one that I will read again.

Rating:

For Fun:

I thought I’d share this book again that a former colleague of mine wrote…and used our family photo (from 2014) for the cover! I definitely hope to read it soon!

Megan‘s Miracles

What have you been reading lately? I’m trying to get my Goodreads shelves organized, and am making “summer reads” as a priority. What should I read this summer?

I hope you are having a great week.

{this post contained Amazon affiliate links…}

8 thoughts on “March: What I’ve Been Reading

  1. I’ve only read Giver of these three, but I agree. Me Before You was rough! This is almost as if a different author wrote it. I may pick up Lucky Ones. I’m just starting The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman.

    Liked by 1 person

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