Reading Recap: March 2024

My March recap looks crazy with 12 titles! Probably the most I’ve read in one month however, 7 of these 12 were short stories. Either way, it was a good month for reading, including the latest and greatest by Kennedy Ryan and Tia Williams.

Significant Others by Zoe Eisenberg – Okay, this story annoyed me. Significant Others is about two long time friends, Jess and Ren, who have been doing life together since college. Living in Hawaii, they purchased a house together and are moving forward with their lives – Jess is a successful real estate agent, while Ren is working as a bartender and dance instructor. When Ren ends up getting pregnant off a one night stand and decides to keep the baby, she and Jess agree to coparent together. All is well until the baby daddy re-enters the picture and things happen where Ren and Jess’ long term friendship ends up being more fragile than imagined. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story but I ended up feeling angry about how it ended. It’s silly that years of friendship were ruined over some guy. Ren came off as selfish and immature while Jess could be seen as too rigid and controlling. By the end of the book, Jess got the short end of the stick, which admittedly was her own doing, but I still don’t think her ending was fair.

The Improbable Meet-Cute Anthology – This anthology, made up of six short stories available on Kindle, came out for Valentine’s day, which natch, considering all the stories take place ON Valentines day. I read all six and really loved half of them (The Exception to the Rule by Christina Lauren, Worst Wingman Ever by Abby Jimenez, and With Any Luck by Ashley Poston), two of them were meh (Rosie and the Dreamboat by Sally Thorne and Drop, Cover, and Hold On by Jasmine Guillory), and one was my very least favorite (Royal Valentine by Sariah Wilson). They were fun to read and could all be read in one day if you’re really ambitious.

Fallen Grace by Sadeqa Johnson – This short story, available on Amazon, follows one of he characters from Sadeqa Johnson’s book House of Eve (read my review here), Bubbles, who manages to escape with her baby. As she struggles post birth, she’s on the run with one of the other girls from the center, a white girl named Gretchen, trying to figure out her next steps. As this is happening during segregation, the risk for getting caught and getting into more trouble increases for Bubbles. While this is a short story, it is captivating from the very first page, especially if you read House of Eve. I was scared for Bubbles the entire time and was really rooting for her as things kept going left though the ending gave me hope that things turned out okay for her.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna – I was excited to read this one as I’m a fan of magical realism, though I will say this is more magic than magical realism. Despite that, I did enjoy the story and the plot. This story follows a witch in London who is trying to find where she belongs. Part of an unofficial society of witches who only meet once a quarter, Mika longs for a real sense of community and somewhere she can stay for longer than a few months. She really just wants to fully be herself, a witch, which is against the rules so she pretends to be a witch for social media. Until she gets a weird email with a proposition for a job: move into their home and teach three young witches how to manage their magic. Skeptical, she decides to check out the offer and meets the house of misfit adults and the three young witches. I think this book is supposed to be a romance but the romance portion is honestly a subplot for the rest of the story – this is a slow burn in that sense – as the plot is focused on Mika and her magic, and her relationship to the three girls and with the head witch of the society. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that the romance took a bad seat as it was needed for the plot but if you’re fully expecting love on the forefront and everything else in the background, you may be disappointed.

One Week in Paradise by Anise Starre –  This one was a random selection from Kindle Unlimited that I was pleasantly surprised by. I felt like I needed a palette cleanser and wanted a cute romance to round out March and this one did not disappoint. One Week in Paradise is the story of Bailey Clarke, a hair influencer who fell from grace after a cheating scandal involving her now ex went viral. Trying to recover from the breakup and the aftermath of going viral for the wrong reasons, Bailey is trying to figure out her next steps as pressure from her parents to get a “real” job builds. On the cusp of losing hope, Bailey receives an email for a brand trip to a couples only resort in Jamaica. The problem? Bailey is obviously newly single. She was about to decline the invitation until her brother suggests to take his best friend Caspian aka Cash as her guest. She begrudgingly agrees after he does reluctantly because Bailey always thought Cash hated her given his avoidant behavior around her since they were kids. They agree to pretend to be a couple to go on this trip, and the lines blur between fake and real the more they spend time together in Jamaica. The plot is very predictable but still fresh and captivating to read. The story itself is fast paced and relatively short though it doesn’t leave any loose ends and felt satisfying to finish. This is actually part of a three book series, this is the first, and I am planning on reading the next ones.

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