March 2020 Reading Recap


Here we are friends, in a time of social distancing where staying at home is the most productive thing you can do to keep yourself and those around you safe. Which for me, includes working my dayjob from 9 to 5 and then spending time with audiobooks while playing video games (currently playing Animal Crossing). This is what I read in March. I should really consider augmenting my reading goal, I’m 17 books ahead already.

This month, I also interviewed K.M. Szpara to celebrate the release of his debut novel, Docile.

Read Cover-to-Cover in March


When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

  • Queer teens try to fix a magical murder without anyone else around them finding out
  • Takeaway: Pulling off a book with an ensemble cast but with one emotional thread


The Age of Ice by J.M. Sidorova

  • Adult fantasy about a prince who cannot age and cannot get warm
  • Spans multiple eras of Russian history
  • Takeaway: Pulling off a multi-lifetime book without going for the obvious historical events


Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

  • Young adult fantasy that has elements of Beauty & the Beast
  • Also takes place in a magical library
  • Takeaway: Capturing and distilling the elements of a classic fairy tale


The Fortress by S.A. Jones

  • Adult speculative fiction about a man sent to live in an all-femme society to fix his marriage and get a major attitude adjustment
  • Debut novel for Erewhon Books
  • Takeaway: Condemning contemporary attitudes without being prescriptive about solutions to those attitudes


All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

  • Young adult contemporary thriller in which six teens are forced to chose between having one of them killed or killing the entire dinner party
  • Stressful af
  • Takeaway: Moving two timelines forward towards the same stunning conclusion


The Deep by Alma Katsu

  • Adult historical horror about a young woman who survived the sinking of the Titanic and the Britannic
  • Takeaway: Coordinating two time lines and a massive cast in parallel



Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

  • Young adult fantasy about a librarian who teams up with a magician to solve a murder
  • Libraries and murder mysteries certainly had a moment in 2019
  • Takeaway: How to make your main character smart and adept at magic without making her too overpowered


The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #1) by Theodora Goss

  • Adult fantasy bringing together Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde and other classics of Victorian horror
  • Can appeal to younger readers as well
  • Takeaway: Make as many references as you want


The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

  • Adult horror about a woman and her dog cleaning up grandma’s house and it goes about as well as you expect
  • The dog does not die
  • Takeaway: There are so many ways to make the every day absolutely horrifying


The Cabin At the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

  • Adult horror about gay parents and their adopted kid getting attacked by doomsday cultists during their idyllic New England vacation
  • Takeaway: Get so deep in your characters’ heads that you’re not sure who’s telling the truth


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

  • Young adult thriller about a final project which is actually an excuse to solve a murder
  • Takeaway: Use different formats and styles to tell a story


The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons

  • Adult fantasy that reminded me so much of Dragon Age 2, it’s not even funny, and has a great cast and incredible voice
  • So excited for the rest
  • Takeaway: Have fun with the order a story is told


Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale #1) by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

  • Novel taking place in the paranormal town of Night Vale where an ageless pawn shop owner and a mother work together to solve a mystery
  • Takeaway: Making the strange as commonplace to the reader as it is to the inhabitants of a world


Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

  • Heart-wrenching young adult contemporary about a young Filipino American going to the Philippines to understand the circumstances behind his cousin’s murder as a result of Duterte’s war on drugs
  • Takeaway: Own voices novels add a level of contextualization that confers authenticity


Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

  • Historical non-fiction about the Chernobyl catastrophe focusing on the context that led to choices made and not made
  • Takeaway: New perspectives can round out understanding of an event

Did Not Finish


The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

  • Young adult fantasy in which talents are a kind of magic
  • Takeaway: Be wary of making things a little too easy for the main character


Next month, all I have going on is finishing my own work in progress (lol) and then actually learning sentence craft.

Until next time,

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