March 2023 Books #AmReading

The first quarter of the year has flown by, hasn’t it?

A couple of ARCS on my list… When are there ever not? (As of 11th March, er, there are more than a couple. now…!)

13 books for this month, and a short story arc read, too! And, apart from one, they were all ARCs! But pretty good ones!

Where Do I Go From Here? by India Rigg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a read!
TW – loss, early miscarriage, infertility
Seffy is a woman about to hit thirty. She’s divorced, childless, with a job that sucks the life out of her.
Thanks to her best friend, she ends up on a sabbatical to reflect upon her life and add to her Thirty Before Thirty bucket list.
Parallel to the present-day story is a journal of her year trying to conceive with her then-husband.
It took me longer than usual to read this book since it is focused so much on Seffy’s infertility journey, and some parts made me quite emotional.
Social media and the habit of sharing your good news and perfect life over the realities mean that often you are presented with image upon image and post upon post of people achieving exactly what you are struggling with. Even though you want to be happy, it is tough, sometimes, to be able to smile through the pain.
I felt this pain with Seffy but also saw her growth as she travels and meets different people who make her realise that her life doesn’t have to be incomplete just because her journey to motherhood will never be a simple one.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll admit to having this on my TBR trolley for a little while now, and the TV series release gave me a push to read it because I always like to read the book before a screen version, if possible.
DJ&TS is written as if reading the transcript of a series of interviews for a docuseries.
The series revolves around a hugely-successful fictional rock band from the 70s, or rather a band, The Sixes, which then took on Daisy Jones as the female vocalist who, alongside Billy, the lead singer, helped to catapult them to great heights.
It’s mixed with the rock and roll lifestyle, rife with sex and drugs, excesses that strip away soul and talent, and friendships, as well as highlighting the complexity of relationships and the importance of your childhood and upbringing, and how it reflects upon decisions made in adulthood.
I enjoyed it, and how it was written made me feel it could have happened.
I did research it a little after, and there are points of inspiration taken from the story of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, but it is essentially a fiction story.

Blog tour with a review coming soon on April 2nd!

Letters to a Writer of Color by Deepa Anappara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a writer of Colour, I was intrigued to read these essays by writers of various shades, with nuggets of advice and situations so similar, we have to sit up and take note.
An interesting read from a wide range of writers of colour. And it awakened an eye-opening sadness that we all face the same barriers in publishing, unfortunately… Unless we conform.
It’s not enough to write what we want in the prose that we feel sits naturally and best with us if we want to get past the gatekeepers of the big publishers out there and into the hands of the readers. Or the readers those same publishers seem to think we should be writing for.
There are many more readers out there that don’t fit the standard blueprint of all readers as they see it.
As POC writers, we can deliver our stories with different nuances.
We can make that bland story come alive with the extra spice or flavour we can add, depending on our background.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes dictated to us how ‘hot’ a curry (book) our readers can handle. Often we are stuck writing a mild chicken tikka masala when we want to add so much more.
Our writing should not always be considered a literary piece of art that can be studied and picked apart to learn about certain people. It should be read as fiction. To entertain, make people think, laugh, cry, as just that. Fiction. Not fiction from/for a certain diaspora.
I know I write how I want to write. My own experiences are woven within the stories to make them more real. And I will forever continue my Chickpea Curry Lit!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House UK and Vintaage for an ARC.

In My Life by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, I love Kay Bratt and her books!
She is one author who can turn her hand to so many genres! In this series alone, you’re looking at small-town fiction, romance, family drama, and mystery. And dogs!
As always, Taylor Gray is one of the main points of view, back in her police position, investigating a triple homicide in their town of Hart’s Ridge, as well as mothering her siblings, all whilst having her real mother back on the scene. Oh, and a tingle of romance occurring in more than one place, too!
I love learning more about Taylor, and each of her siblings, hoping that a future book will delve more into their stories.
The murders are the main opening point of the story. However, they do not overshadow what I feel is more important, and that is how Kay explores different relationships within the story.
It was great to learn more about her mother and her backstory, as well as get more of an idea about Anna and her life.
And how can I forget the dogs? Diesel is a key character, as always, but we might have a new regular in the form of Brandy!
Can’t wait to read more!

Blog tour review coming next month!

The Book-Lovers’ Retreat by Heidi Swain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a beauty of a book!
A tale of three friends off on a much dreamed-of holiday to the cottage where their favourite book and movie was set and filmed.
Only things are never that simple.
With one dropping out, one in a controlling relationship, and one not knowing where her life is leading, this trip takes on a different meaning.
As I read it, I kept thinking of Mama Mia and how three old friends take a holiday to reminisce about their youth and a similar vacation.
I know these ladies are younger, but Em, Rachel and Tori go on a real personal journey as they navigate this trip of a lifetime. And meeting Alex and Connor along the way makes for an even more interesting ride.
I loved the characters, the setting, and the concept. Heck, I want to go on a holiday like this, too!
I flew through this book and almost wish I hadn’t read it so fast!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for an ARC.

Releasing 30th August, 2023

Somewhere in the Crowd: The joyous Eurovision romcom you need to read in 2023 by Katrina Logan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four strangers (well, two strangers and two friends!) meet in 2011 at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, and a bond is built, with a pact made to meet every year to celebrate all that is wonderful about the contest.
Millie and James are best friends from England. They’ve grown up loving Eurovision due to a wonderful love story that started when Millie’s grandparents met in the 60s at one of the finals.
Aggie is a German musician who holds a deep love for the contest, too, and is desperate to be a part of the whole process.
Noah is travelling, and there by chance, with no real interest in Eurovision.
The story spans over ten years as the quartet meets yearly in the city where the Grand final is due.
Over the years, dynamics change, relationships strengthen, crumble and sometimes get rebuilt.
There is great character development for each of the four individuals, who are so different in their ways but held together by this pact to meet every year.
Romance? Yes, there is a low, simmering love story for more than one of them, too!
I enjoyed this read, especially because Eurovision is one of those constants in my life since childhood!

Releasing 20th April, 2023

Releasing 1st May, 2023. Blog Tour post coming in May!

Mrs. Porter Calling by A.J. Pearce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first two books in AJ Pearce’s Mrs Bird series and was thrilled to see a third in the offing, meaning we get to visit all those fabulous characters again!
War-torn Britain is both a devastatingly sad place, as well as one filled with hope. This comes across in Mrs Porter Calling, where Emmy continues her journey with Woman’s Friend magazine.
The arrival of Mrs Porter, the new ‘boss’, causes a stir. Their beloved magazine goes from one loved and read by women who can relate to every article to something akin to a third-rate Vogue or another society magazine.
Of course, the story doesn’t revolve solely around the magazine but also Emmy’s personal life as she navigates early marriage with her husband stationed abroad, living with her best friend Bunty, and a new set of housemates.
There is tragedy, but how it is dealt with still brings hope to the reader.
A lovely addition to the series.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC.

Releasing 25th May, 2023

The Motherload by Katy Cox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed The M-Word, so getting to read The Motherload was great!
It hit so many personal notes on so many levels.
Lucy is back with her family of fellow musician husband, Ed, and two boys. She’s struggling to build her cellist career again after motherhood, and Ed is trying his hardest to keep things afloat as they navigate the next chapter of parenthood, i.e., starting school.
Alongside her friends Charlie and Jen, with the support of her family, albeit far away in Wales, and the sometimes unwanted help of her mother-in-law, Lucy gets through some pretty sticky situations.
I am a teacher, and a Reception one at that, so reading about Stanley, Lucy’s 4-year-old son, and his struggles as he fails to settle in school while his obsessions and quirks get more and more pronounced, made me want to hug Lucy.
Autism is a broad spectrum, and it is being diagnosed much more, but still so misunderstood. I applaud how the staff were portrayed, as that is a daily scene in most classrooms, as we help parents and children come to terms with the possibility of diagnosis.
Brilliantly done, and I want to know what happens next in Lucy and her family’s life!
Many thanks to NetGalley, Atlantic and Corvus Books for an ARC.

Releasing June 1st, 2023

A Taste of Italian Sunshine by Leonie Mack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jenn is a woman on a mission. Having landed in Italy, she must prove to her boss (and crush) that she has a wealth of knowledge and ‘the nose’ to root out the perfect prosecco for the hotel chain she is working for.
There are several issues, though, including where she has to stay and that her ‘nose’ isn’t all that friendly with bubbles.
Oh, and there is a moody farmer, Tiziano, who keeps. popping up wherever she is. A farmer with his own deep-rooted secrets and nightmares.
I loved our Korean heroine, fighting to balance her mother’s expectations for her life and career, as well as navigating certain cultural expectations that kept on popping into her mind at inopportune moments, with her true desires for her life and future, that became clearer as she spent the summer in Veneto, among the farming community and in the bosom of Tiziano’s family.
Lovely arcs for both main characters and fun to read!
I enjoyed this and read it pretty much in one sitting!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Boldwood Books for an ARC.

Releasing 12th May, 2023

It’s Complicated by Emma Hughes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imagine being in your mid-thirties and told that you’d better get a wiggle on if you want kids because your body is not being very cooperative.
This is the situation our main character, Dee, finds herself in. She’s always wanted a family, and now, with a relationship that hinges on a childhood crush crumbling, she is at a loss as to what she can do to boost her chances of making her dream come true.
Dee rides the storm with her two best friends, Roo, inseparable since school, and Minnie, a more recent addition to their friendship circle. Both have strong opinions and battles to fight in the fertility/pregnancy stakes.
The idea of co-parenting with someone else desperate for a child but not in a relationship is planted. Soon, a chance meeting with chef Andy and some drunken disclosures later, Dee finds herself possibly embarking on a co-parenting journey.
This book has many offshoot stories regarding Dee’s friends, her mother, Alice and her partner Ines, and snippets of her relationship with her estranged father, who is living in Denmark.
It is a pleasant read with some deeper issues that haven’t been explored fully.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Random House, and Cornerstone (Penguin Books) for an ARC.

Releasing 6th July, 2023

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bonsamamad
    Apr 01, 2023 @ 04:15:05


    Liked by 1 person


  2. Colleen M. Chesebro
    Mar 31, 2023 @ 15:31:07

    These all sound wonderful, Ritu. I read so many books this month… I’m not as quick a reader as you, though! Wow. 💖

    Liked by 2 people


  3. beth
    Mar 31, 2023 @ 11:03:07

    sounds like some great reads and I’ve added a few to my summer break reading list )

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes
    Mar 31, 2023 @ 08:09:53

    I wish I knew how you manage to read all of these books!

    Liked by 2 people


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