Book Haul Monthly Wrap-Up

March 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Hi Readers! Well, at least the first half of March was great for my reading life. I finished up my Chain of Gold TBR and finally got to read Chain of Gold. And it was spectacular, but it did take me longer than I liked because I had to pack up our house in preparation for new floors (Yay!)–which we were in the midst of when Covid-19 overtook our lives. Life got pretty stressful with five of us living out of three rooms and one bathroom and no access to a kitchen–not to mention the growing hysteria of a pandemic. It was an adventure we’ll never forget.

BUT, our floors are finished and we’ve had plenty of extra time to get our house back in order–and start new home projects! My reading life, however, has fallen to the wayside. I’ve only managed to read one other book since Chain of Gold, and I had to force myself to do that. I’m hoping my reading slump will disappear along with the month of March. 😉


Looking back at my March TBR made me quite sad, remembering what an amazing reading month I had in February, but hopefully at the end of April I’ll be back on track!

Be sure to check out The Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction!

(Link to synopsis on Goodreads through the book title.)

March Wrap-Up

I started the month off finishing up my Chain of Gold TBR with several novellas from the Shadowhunter world:

Nothing But Shadows introduces us to James Herondale and The Merry Thieves, who are some of the main characters in Chain of Gold. I enjoyed this novella from the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.

Rating 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Cast Long Shadows, a novella from Ghosts of the Shadow Market, didn’t hold my attention as well. The writing style seemed so different from what I’ve come to expect from Clare. But I still enjoyed getting to know Matthew Fairchild.

Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Every Exquisite Thing, also from Ghosts of the Shadow Market, introduces us to Anna, one of the most memorable characters in Chain of Gold. I already love her character so much, and I can’t wait to see what she does next in the rest of the series.

Rating 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I never grow bored when Magnus Bane is involved in a story. The Midnight Heir, a novella from The Bane Chronicles, was great for so many reasons, but mostly because we get to see Will, Tessa, Jem, and Magnus together again!

Rating 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I finally had my hands on Chain of Gold, and even though I didn’t get to devote my full attention to it and read it continuously like I dreamed, I still relished every word.

Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
My Review

I did make it through one of my ARCs (Advance Reader Copies), A Good Neighborhood. While I didn’t love the ending of this one, I’m still thinking about it, which doesn’t happen too often with me.

Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
My Review

March Book Haul

Apparently, even when you’re stuck at home during a pandemic, you can end up with a decent Book Haul. My book subscription box from The Strand arrived early in the month and had two books I’m eager to read. I also snagged some books through Paperbackswap and received two additional ARCs in the mail.

The ARCs

Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs by Jennifer Finney Boylan – I received this ARC in the mail from Celadon Books. I’d never heard of it before, but the early reviews are great!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From bestselling author of She’s Not There, New York Timesopinion columnist, and human rights activist Jennifer Finney Boylan, Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs, a memoir of the transformative power of loving dogs.

This is a book about dogs: the love we have for them, and the way that love helps us understand the people we have been. 

It’s in the love of dogs, and my love for them, that I can best now take the measure of the child I once was, and the bottomless, unfathomable desires that once haunted me.

There are times when it is hard for me to fully remember that love, which was once so fragile, and so fierce. Sometimes it seems to fade before me, like breath on a mirror.

But I remember the dogs. 


In her New York Times opinion column, Jennifer Finney Boylan wrote about her relationship with her beloved dog Indigo, and her wise, funny, heartbreaking column went viral. In Good Boy, Boylan explores what should be the simplest topic in the world, but never is: finding and giving love.

Good Boy is a universal account of a remarkable story: showing how a young boy became a middle-aged woman—accompanied at seven crucial moments of growth and transformation by seven memorable dogs. “Everything I know about love,” she writes, “I learned from dogs.” Their love enables us pull off what seem like impossible feats: to find our way home when we are lost, to live our lives with humor and courage, and above all, to best become our true selves.

(4/21/20)


Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett – An ARC of this memoir arrived in the mail from Celadon Books, as well. It’s another one that hadn’t crossed my radar yet, but the early reviews are great and I’ve always been fascinated by cults.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Chosen as a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by O, The Oprah Magazine!

Hollywood Park is a remarkable memoir of a tumultuous life. Mikel Jollett was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults, and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse. Yet, ultimately, his is a story of fierce love and family loyalty told in a raw, poetic voice that signals the emergence of a uniquely gifted writer.

We were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves. No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went. They would arrive like ghosts, visiting us for a morning, an afternoon. They would sit with us or walk around the grounds, to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed. Then they’d disappear again, for weeks, for months, for years, leaving us alone with our memories and dreams, our questions and confusion. …

So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults. Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother. But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol. Raised by a clinically depressed mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician.

Hollywood Park is told at first through the limited perspective of a child, and then broadens as Jollett begins to understand the world around him. Although Mikel Jollett’s story is filled with heartbreak, it is ultimately an unforgettable portrayal of love at its fiercest and most loyal.

(5/5/20)


Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust – An ARC of this one arrived in my book box from The Strand, and I was very happy to see it. I’ve been admiring the cover for months.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.


(5/12/20)


Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis – This is an eARC I was invited to read from Atria Books through Netgalley and I couldn’t resist.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air. 

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over 

(7/14/20)

You can see my ARC ban is going swimmingly! 😉 Although, I did NOT request any of these, so I don’t feel too guilty about adding them to my pile.

Anna K by Jenny Lee was the other book in my Book Hookup box from The Strand. It sounds super fun!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Storyis a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.

(3/3/20)


I also received a few books through Paperbackswap this month:

How was your reading month? Have you read any of these books? Did you add any of them to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wandering!

16 thoughts on “March 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up & Book Haul”

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t expecting much this month. Most of these were a nice surprise. 🙂 Girl, Serpent, Thorn has some great early reviews!

    1. No, it’s paperbackswap.com. There’s a link on the right of my blog. It’s where you list used books you have and “trade” them out for credits. Then you can order other used books with your credits. I get a lot of books that way, and all I have to pay is shipping when I send my books.

  1. Ah, I hope April will be a much better reading month for you, Dedra! I also did the majority of my reading in the first half of March and the end of March was a pretty big bummer 🙈 Looks like you had a great haul though 😍 I can’t wait to read Girl, Serpent, Thorn! Happy reading!

    1. Thanks! It’s getting better. I was originally only attracted to Girl, Serpent, Thorn’s cover, but I was thrilled to discover it has great reviews, too. Stay well!

  2. Looks like you had a pretty good reading month, and I am glad you enjoyed Chain of Gold! I (somehow) got sent an ARC of it but haven’t read anything from the Shadowhunters world, so my COG TBR is a monster. Nice haul you have as well, and I feel you on ARC bans not going well, haha. I hope your slump goes away soon!

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I hope you decide to dive into the Shadowhunter world someday. I know it’s daunting, but I think it’s worth it. 😉 I *think* I finally kicked my reading slump to the curb. Ha! Happy Reading!

  3. I really want to read Chain of Gold after getting a sneak peek into the first few chapters. So riveting! I actually won a copy of Good Boy from Goodreads and have an ARC here to read soon for review.

    1. I hope you get to pick up Chain of Gold soon. I’m already excited to reread it. 😉 I hope we both enjoy Good Boy!

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