March was a great month for us! Our friend Steffi visited us at the beginning of the month, and then we spent a nice day at a nearby zoo. For the second half of the month, we were on vacation, which gave us lots of time to read – finally!
For Maraia’s 30th birthday, we met her parents and grandma in the Caribbean island of Bonaire, her very favorite place. It was Sebastian’s first time there, and fortunately he now loves it as much as Maraia and her family do. We spent two glorious weeks enjoying the warm, sunny weather; eating delicious food and gelato; chatting with the friendly guests at our small hotel; showing Sebastian around the island, and, most importantly, snorkeling. We saw tons of amazing fish and creatures, and Sebastian took full advantage of the underwater camera he got for Christmas. ?
Books & Audiobooks
Heilige Mörderin – Keiko Higashino
Learning who the murder is in the first chapter doesn’t take away from the suspense of this book at all. It was fascinating reading about the investigation of such a well-executed crime. The ending came as a surprise to both of us, but not in an implausible way.
Der Psychopath – Bram Dehouck
What a dud. The best thing we can say about this book is that it was short. The beginning was okay but not exactly what we’d call a thriller. The ending was a boring disappointment. It just sort of ended, without any suspense, especially since we didn’t care about any of the characters.
Not Dead Enough – Peter James
This is another solid edition to the Roy Grace series. It kept us hooked from the very beginning, and even though we guessed the twist fairly early on, we enjoyed watching Grace and his fellow detectives come to the same conclusion we’d already arrived at. Maraia’s only complaint with the book is the repeated sexist and offensive descriptions of women.
You Don’t Know Me – Imran Mahmood
This book wasn’t at all what we expected, unfortunately. The 400-page book is one long closing argument speech, giving by the defendant himself and spanning many days. There’s no dialogue, just narration. We’d be been willing to overlook the implausibility of the entire premise of the book if the end weren’t so utterly disappointing.
Cupido – Jilliane Hoffman
This was a reread for Sebastian, and he loved it the first time, so he was disappointed when Maraia didn’t enjoy it at first, complaining that mystery/thrillers don’t need so many pages. ? After a certain point, though, the story picked up and became quite suspenseful. It’s nice to read a thriller told from a lawyer’s perspective for a change and to see more of the legal aspects of a case after a suspect has already been caught and charged.
Little Boy Blue – M.J. Arlidge
Although we still enjoyed it, this is definitely the weakest book in the series so far. The plot was quite contrived, and it’s getting harder and harder to believe the things that keep happening to the main character. It ended on a major cliffhanger, though, so we’ll definitely be reading on.
Ship of Destiny – Robin Hobb
Ship of Destiny remains Maraia’s favorite Robin Hobb book, at least so far. Rereading it added so many new layers of understanding, and she’s already ready to read it again. Sebastian probably didn’t love the book as much as Maraia but it was definitely his favorite Hobb novel so far (the first 5-star read!) and he’s very happy with how all the storylines came together.
Wenn ich dich hole – Anja Goerz
While the story in this psychological thriller was rather predictable and lacked some suspense I still enjoyed the setting (a small village at the North Sea) and hence the atmosphere and as usual Stefan Kaminski did a great job with the narration. Also the audiobook was rather short with only about 5 hours so even though it wasn’t very suspenseful it also wasn’t long enough to become tedious.
Das Meer – Wolfram Fleischhauer
The dark and bloody cover design made me expect a thriller but now that I’ve finished the book I understand why it didn’t come with a thriller label from the publisher. This story about the criminal overfishing of the oceans definitely had some suspense but wasn’t a typical thriller story. However I enjoyed the audiobook since I found the topic really interesting (and a lot of facts quite shocking) and Johannes Steck’s narration was great as always.
Bis alle Schuld beglichen – Alexander Hartung
This book came with high expectations, being a Kindle bestseller in Germany, but after the first chapters I was a bit disappointed since it seemed like a typical self-publishing thriller which was kept rather simple and not too realistic but later on I really enjoyed the book. The unusual characters grew on me and the story had some interesting twists and a good level of suspense – definitely a series I’m going to continue!
Tempests and Slaughter – Tamora Pierce
I think the only reason that this was enjoyable at all is that I’m a huge Tamora Pierce fan, and I liked seeing Numair as a child. However, the book didn’t have a plot, so its 500 pages dragged quite a bit. I think Tamora Pierce does better when writing from a girl’s perspective, and I miss the girl power so prominent in her earlier books. I also wish there had been more diversity. The diversity that was present was pretty half-hearted.
Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
I don’t usually read graphic novels, but my friend Simon recommended this one, so I decided to give it a try. It’s a collection of short stories that are all very weird and very dark. Aside from the first story, I liked this book a lot! My favorite part is the absolutely gorgeous art.
The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion – Margaret Killjoy
I read this on Lucille’s recommendation and had no idea what it was about, or even which genre it was. Fortunately, she didn’t lead me astray. This is one of the most unique novellas I’ve ever read, and there’s so much to love about it. It’s diverse, it has a great cast of characters, and it features a demon deer that is out for blood. I’m so glad there’s a sequel coming out next month.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson
I listened to this for the Colour Me Read Challenge (genre: memoir). I I think I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d listened to it before Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson’s second book. That one made me laugh myself to tears, whereas this one just made me chuckle a bit. From what I’ve gathered from other people who’ve read both, whichever one a person reads first is the one that seems funnier.
Wild Magic / Wolf Speaker / Emperor Mage – Tamora Pierce
After reading Numair’s backstory in Tempests and Slaughter, I was craving a reread of the Immortals quartet. I remember hating the audiobook narration when I listened to them a few years ago, but it must have been a different edition, because I’m quite enjoying it now. Tamora Pierce herself narrates the audiobooks, along with a full cast.
Every Falling Star – Sungju Lee
I decided to read another memoir for the Colour Me Read Challenge, and thought I’d go with one that my friend Chelsea read earlier this year and loved. I didn’t realize that it’s geared towards a YA audience, so that through me off at first, but I learned a lot. I had to keep reminding myself that these horrific events happened (and are still happening) during my lifetime, not some time in the distant past.
Let’s Talk About Love – Claire Kann
I read this in one sitting while on the plane, which I think made me enjoy it more than I might have otherwise. I didn’t have time to stop and really think about things. I later read a negative review written by Chiara and found myself agreeing with many of her points. I’m not sure where that leaves me. I think this is a book people will either love or hate.
American Panda – Gloria Chao
I adore this book. It has everything I look for in contemporary YA: characters who are diverse and realistic, body image positivity, a plot outside of the romance, friendships, and family dynamics. Plus, it’s set in college instead of high school. I would call this New Adult, and it’s what I’d like to see more of in the genre. It even gets bonus points for making me hungry constantly!
Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
I haven’t been getting along with YA fantasy, but I couldn’t miss one written by a black author, with POC characters and a black girl on the cover. I hope this is only the first of many! I’m torn as to how I actually feel about the book, though. Had it been written by a white author and had white characters, I probably would have DNF’d. It’s not that is bad – it’s quite impressive for a debut novel – but I prefer my fantasy without cheesy, gratuitous romances. I also wish the characters hadn’t filled such stereotypical roles that I’ve seen far too often in YA fantasy. Still, there was plenty to enjoy, from the interesting magic system to the cliffhanger ending.
- HARRY POTTER 1-4: We started rewatching these movies while Steffi was here and decided to keep going. They’re so long that we have to split them up into two days. ? (Maraia thinks they’re all kind of terrible and doesn’t understand how anyone can love them but not like the books. Sebastian actually enjoys them – some of them more, some of them less.)
- THIS IS US: Maraia had been wanting to watch this for ages, but neither of us thought it was something Sebastian would enjoy. Turns out we were wrong! We went through two, sometimes even three episodes a night, it was that good.
- STROMBERG: If this show is good for something, it’s helping Maraia feel sleepy enough to go to bed.
- FRESH OFF THE BOAT: We’ll never get tired of watching this show! It makes us laugh every time.
- THE GOOD PLACE: We’re finally done with season 2 and impatient for more. Once again, the show through us another unexpected twist, and we can’t wait to see where things will go next.
- DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY: We were excited to start season 2 after enjoying the weird but hilarious season 1. Sadly, we didn’t make it past the first episode, which was absolutely terrible. We had no idea what was going on, and it went from enjoyable weird to just bad weird. We’re still not sure if we want to give the second episode a try or not.
- LIFE IN PIECES: It’s hard to believe we love this show so much, considering how awful all of the characters have become. That’s what makes it such a realistic show, though.
Ahh Bonaire looks so amazing and I love the photos! (THAT TURTLE AND THAT WATER. ?) I’m so glad it was a lovely time for you all!! And hehe okay I confess I have only seen one Harry Potter movie and couldn’t be bothered to force myself to see the rest. ? The books are better. (Which reminds me I’m going to reread this year?! I need to get onto that.) Also I saw Chiara’s review of Let’s Talk About Love too and I still love it, but def agreed with some of her points too.?And 100% with you on COBAB, Maraia. *nods* The world and culture were amazing but I kind of died every time the dude (Inan?) narrated.? He was so angsty.
Anyway, yay for a great March for you both!!
Did I not send you my turtle video?! I’m so relieved Sebastian loved Bonaire, haha.
Well, I approve of that decision and wouldn’t encourage you to see more. Which one did you see? Are you rereading via audio?
I can’t believe I didn’t write for your birthday, Maraia! HAPPY BIRTHDAY. (I owe you a letter)
This post was fun to read – I’m glad you all enjoyed Bonaire.
And wow, you must be one of the rare people who didn’t completely swoon over Children of Blood and Bone. I have it on my to-buy list, I’ll get to it eventually, of course. Will you be reviewing it?
It took me a minute to realize who you were. xD Thank you! ?
Thanks for reading! We have fun writing these posts, but I always worry that they’re too long for people.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of it! Someone I know on bookstagram gave it 2 stars for many of the same reasons, and I think more reviews will start coming out that are less glowing, once the hype dies down. I don’t really review anything more than the short paragraph I write here. ?
Those underwater pictures are so cool! I’m glad you two had such a great time!! 😀
Wow Maraia you read so much this month!!
I’m SO glad you liked TLWSTL as well! It must have been a great duo with Through the Wood, I loved this one too!
I loved Let’s Talk About Love when I read it, but that review you linked is pretty accurate as well! Like you I read it in one setting, and I think that that’s why I loved it so much, plus some stuff really made me cry a lot and I felt happy to read about it so? It was good for me the time I read it and that’s an important book for representation but I wouldn’t know how to review it!
Eh I don’t know if I will read COBAB, it sounds great but it’s a big book and from the reviews I’ve seen I don’t think I’ll love the romance aspect? I read 10% of it last month and didn’t felt compelled to keep reading, I feel bad about it 🙁 maybe later
Wishing you both a great month of April!!
Thanks, Lucille! It was so much fun to have a camera this time. I also have a video of me with the turtle and some other cool ones, if you want to see more.
FINALLY!! I haven’t had a reading month like this in ages, and it’s still so much less than I used to read. ?
Yeah, I agree, that’s why I feel so conflicted about it. But what helps one person might not work for someone else.
Don’t feel bad! It’s one of those books that we’re almost obligated to like, and I’ll admit I rounded up on GR for that reason, rather than down. But just because it’s written by a POC author with POC characters doesn’t change the fact that I just don’t like YA fantasy very much!
I hope you have a great April as well. ?
OOOh I saw your photos on instagram and was 100% sure it wasn’t Germany because it looked WAY too warm in tropical, so I’m glad I turned out to be right! That island looks amazing! I’ve never even heard of it before but WOAH. I’ve never really been to that kind of tropical tiny island paradise type thing before.
I kind of agree with you about Harry Potter, but I also think that they’re vaguely enjoyable (although the acting is sometimes really bad) and probably got a lot of people into HP who wouldn’t have otherwise? I do wish there was more mercy that was based on the books and not the movies. I really liked American Panda, although it’s sad Let’s Talk About Love didn’t live up to expectation–I fell like it’s very hyped.
Hahaha, definitely not Germany. It was snowing and -1˚ when we left and 6˚ and raining when we got back. ? If you have any interest in snorkeling or diving, I highly, highly recommend Bonaire. It’s called Diver’s Paradise for a reason. There’s not much to do if you don’t want to dive, snorkel, or wind surf, but for those three things, there’s nowhere better.
You’re right, they are vaguely enjoyable. It’s just that they leave out or change all of my favorite parts of the books! Let me know if you end up reading Let’s Talk About Love. ?
Haha, I love the underwater selfie of you too! I’m pretty sure I couldn’t look so good snorkeling. I’m a hot mess in the water. I’d look like a dying puffer fish (whatever that looks like). I’m glad you guys had a lovely time!
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this, but I like the little arrows you guys use for showing your thoughts on a book. Such a quick and easy way to see your thoughts and actually more clear than star ratings as what each star represents can be quite different depending on the person.
Ahhh Through the Woods! Maraia, that book has been on my mind so much lately! I keep wanting to buy it but have been holding myself back because I promised myself I wouldn’t buy anymore crap before my (hopeful) move. But ah, I love Emily Carroll’s artwork and the fact that it’s dark appeals to me so much. I’m glad to see you liked it. Makes it even harder for me to stop myself from buying it but I’ll resist! (Once I’m moved though, it’s definitely getting added to my bookshelf.)
I haven’t read (nor have I even heard) of most of the other books. I’m glad to see they were all mostly positive experiences though. 🙂
Haha, the Harry Potter movies. I haven’t watched them in a long time. Every once in a while there’ll be one playing on tv and my dad will put it on just because I’m in the room and he assumes that’s what I want to watch, but meh, they’re alright. I never got into the HP movies like I did the LotR ones. Maybe if we would’ve been born a little later we would’ve sucked in more.
I hope you guys have a lovely April! Any plans or mostly just getting back into the groove of things after your vacation? I have a feeling April isn’t going to have too much going on for me but BRING ON MAY! I’m so ready to be reunited with Dave. <3
Thanks, Asti! I’m actually really surprised it turned out as well as it did. Our attempts at a turtle selfie were SO BAD. ? Hahaha, I personally find puffer fish adorable. ?
Thank you! Sebastian has spent a lot of time redesigning things (more to come, theoretically), so it’s nice to hear that you like them. Getting to pick my arrows is actually my favorite part of writing wrap-ups. xD
That will be a nice edition to your new library in England! I read it on the computer, since I got the ebook from the library, but I’m assuming you’d rather have a physical copy.
LotR and HP movies are on completely different levels! We’re doing LotR next, and I can’t wait.
We have a super busy April and a super busy May, so I don’t even know when I’m supposed to re-adjust. Coming back hit me hard. MAY WILL BE SO AMAZING FOR YOU! ?
Wow, that water picture of the both of you is amazing! *__* I’m so glad you guys had an amazing vacation \O/
I’m surprised I never recommended The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion to you! It’s definitely a pretty unique series with amazing writing. I hope the author sells more books in the series because I think so far it’s only two.
I’m definitely interested in reading Let’s Talk About Love and American Panda one day and I have no idea if I want to read Children of Blood and Bone especially after what you just said about it. I’m so over the trope-y YA fantasy, it’s not even funny anymore. /O\
OMG you don’t like the Harry Potter movies? Haha why not? I’ve never rewatched them so I have no idea if I’ll still like them and part of me just goes, ‚But it’s Harry Potter!‘ XD
Eeee send me your thoughts on This Is Us! My basic thoughts are: Eh about Rebecca (season 2 changed that a bit sobs), hate Kevin (don’t hate Kevin anymore after season 2 and annoyed about it XD), RANDALL ROCKS, so does his family, Kate is awesome, her boyfriend not so much and poor Jack =/ This show also makes me cry almost every episode XD
I need to catch up on the latest season of Fresh Off the Boat!
Thank you! I want to get it printed. I’m glad, too. I didn’t *really* think Sebastian would it like it, but it was still such a relief that he loved it as much as he did.
Oh, really? I’ll keep my fingers crossed for more! Her books are so unique.
Yeahhh, I don’t think you’d be too thrilled, TBH. American Panda, though, is definitely worth it.
They take out or ruin all my favorite parts!! ?
Haha, have you seen Parenthood yet? Your thoughts remind me of mine about that show. RANDALL IS THE BEST. I love him, his wife, his biological father, his kids, and his dad. I can’t wait for season 2.
American Panda is high on my TBR. I ended up buying it because everyone was talking about it. I though Through the Woods was pretty good. I read it during the month of October and thought it was perfect for Halloween. I love The Good Place so much. It’s one of those feel-good shows I never tire of rewatching. Happy April!
I hope you love American Panda as much as I did! The Good Place definitely lived up to the hype. Happy April to you. ?
I loved seeing and hearing more about your trip to Bonaire in this post. It sounds like a magical place!
It’s so awesome how many books you guys read together! (And makes me wish my husband read a bit more.. alas, I still love him ☺️)
I read LTAL so fast as well. In fact, I feel like I’ve forgotten quite a bit of it. I did really enjoy it and seeing through a new perspective but something felt off that I couldn’t put my finger on. I think I’m going to check out the review that you linked, I’d love to see more thoughts on it. American Panda has been on my mind as a book I need to check out – and even more so now that you enjoyed it! 🙂
I’m so happy that you both are enjoying This Is Us!! I also didn’t think it was a show I would be into but both Casey and I were hooked on it after the first episode. I can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts as you continue on to season 2!
Thanks, Katie! I’m still hoping you guys can go there with us one day.
Haha, maybe he’ll take up reading once he’s retired? ? It is pretty great to read together!
Let me know what you think of the other review! I hope you’ll read American Panda. ?
Have you watched Parenthood? I can’t remember if we’ve talked about it. But it’s similar to This Is Us, which is why I wanted to watch This Is Us in the first place. I think you’d love it if you don’t already! I hope we’ll get to watch season 2 soon.