March Reading Wrap-Up!

March was a rather good reading month for me, especially after the catastrophe that was February! February was one of the worst reading months that I had had in a very long time. But in March I managed to read a grand total of 12 books, including a few manga and a graphic novel! I’m very excited to share these titles with you all. They are all in order from the start of March to it’s last day.

My Love Story Volume 7 by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko (Illustrations) – We get a small break from Rinko and Takeo as the volume focuses on new found relationships with Sunakawa! I absolutely love how this series portrays real-life social situations that teens are faced with, especially in regards to romance, with very positive themes. Even if the situation is disheartening, the manga shows the good that comes from the experience, at the very least. I love it. It’s the epitome of feel good! – 5 / 5

The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata – A story of Kyoto post-WWII era that describes the beginning of modernisation and Westernisation in Japan. The book focuses on the debates of traditional versus contemporary, new versus old, modern versus classic. This is illustrated via breathtaking descriptions of locales, atmospheres, nature, spiritual practises, and the interactions of Japanese people–old and young. All of this is told via a plot that revolves around an adopted girl named Chieko whose curiosity concerning her birth parents begin to plague her as she reaches a marriageable age. – 3.75 / 5

Wanted (Pretty Little Liars #8) by Sara Shephard – You’d think that with everything these girls have experienced thus far in 8 instalments that they’d learn something, anything, & show a bit of growth. There’s only one character that’s had any semblance of growth & maturity. It makes me sad. The story itself feels like it’s being stretched way past it’s prime just for shock value. I can’t begin to fathom the fact that there are 8 books left!! – 2.75 / 5

The Trench (Meg #2) by Steve Alten – The sequel was even more action-packed and fast-paced than the first novel. I really enjoyed reading about the protagonist dealing with the new threat as he struggles with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from his experiences in the first novel. The victims are more shocking due to who they are, which contributed wonderfully to the edge-of-your-seat suspense. There were subplots that I didn’t care for, and that I felt weren’t a positive contribution to the novel as a whole. Overall, I rather liked this book very much! – 4 / 5

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka – An #OwnVoices Japanese novel about a Japanese-American family that’s uprooted from their home in Berkeley, CA and re-located to an internment camp in the middle of the Utah desert. One of the finest pieces of literature I’ve read in over a year. It’s surreal, haunting, and terribly emotional. The prose was beautifully straightforward and matter-of-fact as the novel unfolds via five separate first-person perspectives. I highly recommend this to everyone. – 5 / 5

The Girls Who Cried Monster (Goosebumps #10) by R.L.Stine – This is the best one so far. The suspense wasn’t too shabby and the creepy, grossly aspects were quite… well, creepy and gross, haha. I wasn’t expecting that ending at all, which was a great surprise. I don’t recommend reading this prior to, during, or right after eating. I made that mistake and almost vomited into Sir BF’s face. Poor guy! – 3 / 5

Twisted (Pretty Little Liars #9) by Sara Shephard – I DNF’d this book about a quarter of the way through it. This is one book after the halfway mark in the series as a whole and every character seemed to have been making reverse progress and reverse growth; they became more and more moronic and immature with every turn of the page. There just wasn’t anything left in this series that could be construed as decent in any form, or shape. It was physically and literally exhausting for me to pick this up. – 1 / 5

Primal Waters (Meg #3) by Steve Alten – I was pretty disappointed with this book. There were a lot of things that I felt could’ve been done better. It has a very slow start and the real action doesn’t truly begin until about 150 pages into the novel. There’s a lot of focus on what life is like after the glamour and celebrity status dies down. This aspect wasn’t too bad, but the family drama became a bit tedious and boring very quickly. There’s an adolescent character in the book that was so annoying that I found my interest waning much sooner than expected. The suspense is forced and didn’t have the thriller element that originally had me hooked. – 3 / 5

Snow Blind by Ollie Masters – This is a stand-alone graphic novel about a a high school boy named Teddy living in Alaska. After a photo of his dad drunk and passed out gets posted to a social media site, danger comes knocking on his family’s door, revealing a deep and dark secret to Teddy that his parents had been hiding from him his entire life. I rather enjoyed this quite a bit. The story, while slow at times and slightly vague, was very interesting and unlike anything I’ve read in comics in a long time. The art style is a gritty mingling of rough sketches and precise watercolours, which contributed to the dark and mysterious air of the tale rather nicely. The illustrations are actually one of the best parts of this novel. I’m glad that I picked it up! – 4 / 5

My Love Story Volume 8 by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko (Illustrations) – This volume focuses a lot more on Sana’s sister, Ai, and the struggle she’s dealing with in regards to romance. It was quite lovely to have the spotlight shine on her this time around. I think she’s a very pleasant and fun character in the series, and she’s definitely got a lot more depth than she gets credit for! – 5 / 5

My Love Story Volume 9 by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko (Illustrations) – Rinko is motivated and has found her calling. As she strives towards that goal, we see some internal conflict arise within Gouda. It definitely gives him more depth and normalises him, making him a person that everyone can relate to. – 4.5 / 5

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – An #OwnVoices Korean-American, young adult contemporary novel about growing up and falling in love. It follows Korean-American, Lara Jean Song, who wrote 5 letters to 5 boys that she’s had profound crushes on. The letters were personal and intimate, never meant to be mailed out. But by mysterious circumstances, one day, the letters get posted and Lara is left to deal with the fallout. I enjoyed this quite a lot more than I expected. My one quirk with the series is the complete dismissal of her being biracial, and the message that children who are biracial, specifically half-white, should just assimilate into white culture rather than embrace their other half. It’s a shitty message to send to kids. Emphasis on embracing herself as a whole and different individual would have given her character, and the story itself, more layers for a multi-dimensional story. Nonetheless, the book wasn’t bad and I did find it pleasant (aside from that one quirk). – 4.25 / 5