A Few Quick Book Reviews for March 2021

2021 has already been an awesome year for books for me!! I hope it’s been the same for you. There are so many excellent books I’m anticipating in the coming months too!! I’m linking up with Steph & Jana today to share the books I’ve read since the last Show Us Your Books link-up. I hope you find one here to add to your list!!!


Float PlanFloat Plan by Trish Doller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d requested an ARC of Float Plan months ago and was sure I would really enjoy it, but I was actually blown away but just how MUCH I loved this book. For one thing, it was an ideal book to read during the pandemic because it was amazing to live vicariously through characters sailing through the Caribbean. However, these characters and the plot of this book were so heart-warming, heart-wrenching, and oh-so-loveable that I just couldn’t put this down and I enjoyed every single second of reading it. I laughed AND I cried and as soon as that ever happens to me while reading, the book becomes an immediate 5-star-contender.

We know from the synopsis and the first page of the book that Anna recently lost her fiance to suicide and she is (and will be) affected by that for years to come. Her grief felt very real, and her decision to take their sailboat on the trip they’d planned together despite not being the strongest sailor was relatable and it became obvious that the reader was along for a fun and interesting tale. When Anna meets Keane after her first stop along the route, it is NOT difficult for the reader to fall head over heels for this hilariously sweet Irishman with an exceptional sense of humour who tells it how it is and challenges Anna in more ways than one.

I really liked the way this story evolved, and all of the fun people these two characters had the pleasure of meeting on their travels. I live for stories with exceptional character development and that was the case in this book. If you like contemporary romance that is relatively low-angst but heavy on the emotions (such as some of Mhairi MacFarlane’s books, PS I Love You, and Evvie Drake Starts Over), I think you would enjoy this book as much as I did.

Thank you to Edelweiss and St Martins Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

You Are a Badass Every Day: How to Keep Your Motivation Strong, Your Vibe High, and Your Quest for Transformation UnstoppableYou Are a Badass Every Day: How to Keep Your Motivation Strong, Your Vibe High, and Your Quest for Transformation Unstoppable by Jen Sincero
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I took this audiobook with me on a walk around the neighbourhood on a particularly challenging puppy/parenting day and it invigorated, inspired, and emboldened me. Excellent tips in this book. It is short, and a bit woo-woo at times, but there was a lot of practical advice that I can always benefit from. Did it change my life? No. Did it change my day/week? Yep, for sure.

Accidentally EngagedAccidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve seen SO many pictures this week of this book next to sourdough bread, and I’m happy to join the club! I could not resist picking up a loaf of sourdough to enjoy while I read this book. It was delicious!!! I also made french toast with it for my kids and they loved it too 🙂 

As for the book itself, I highly recommend it! Nadim and Reena were such fun characters and I enjoyed their fake engagement on a TV cooking show as well as all of the hilarity (and frustrations!) associated with their traditional Indian families. There were a lot of funny moments in the book and a lot of cute romantic moments too. Reena had wonderful friends, Nadim was sweet and adorable, and the recipes scattered throughout the book were mouth-watering. I now officially need to go back and read Amira’s book, The Chai Factor!! 

Highly recommend it for fans of contemporary romance with multicultural (Southeast Asian) representation. Great #CanLit set in Toronto!!

Finlay Donovan Is Killing ItFinlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was EXACTLY what I needed and reminded me why I love to read. It was just so fun – think of it maybe like a slightly more serious/grown-up version of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Finlay is barely (not at all, really) making ends meet as a newly single mom and her life feels like a disaster. She is discussing the advance for her newest book and what she believes she deserves for it and her conversation is overhead incorrectly and the eavesdropper assumes she is a hitman. She gets a note about someone to take out and when she decides to further investigate, she ends up with a bad man passed out in her minivan. The story all spirals from there. This book has tons of fun characters, a great not too gory/not too intense mystery storyline, and a quick-moving plot with a heroine you can’t help but root for. Definitely recommend!!!

This Close to OkayThis Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this book from Grand Central Publishing as a gifted copy for review. This book was so so much better than I could have ever expected. I found the premise interesting and was very compelled to read it, but I expected it to be heavy and I needed to wait a little bit to get to it. I was right – this book does have a lot of very heavy and emotional subject matter but it also has a lot of joy and some very tender, INCREDIBLY written passages. I listened to the majority on audio and the narration was superb. I absolutely adored Tallie and “Emmett” and I couldn’t stop reading/listening until I saw how everything ended up. A teeeeeeny part of me longed for a different ending, which I won’t spoil, but I understand how realistic it was for the story to end the way it did. This book is absolutely deserving of the hype in my opinion and I can’t wait to go through and make note of some of the lines that really, really spoke to me.

Trigger warnings: suicide, infertility, divorce/infidelity, deceit, death of family members


How to Pronounce KnifeHow to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an excellent collection of short stories that were extremely unique and opened my eyes to some of the immigrant experience in (I’m assuming) Canada or at least North America. Knife IS a dumb word to learn how to pronounce in the English language, isn’t it?

Some of these stories had a bit of humour, many were sad to read, and several just made me ponder a lot. I wished a few were longer, which always happens to me with short stories 😉 I can absolutely see why this collection won the Giller Prize.

The Four WindsThe Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll admit it took me QUITE a while to get into this book, which I’ve heard was intentional, but after about 50% it did get very hard to put this down. My goodness was it ever sad and depressing though. Just something to keep in mind ;). I listened to about a third of it and Julia Whelan’s narration was exceptional, as usual. The Four Winds is set at a time of such bleak desperation in America that it was hard to read, but it was eye-opening too. My heart broke countless times for these characters. I enjoyed the growth, evolution of relationships, and development of the characters and this book was very well written (as I’ve come to always expect from Kristin Hannah) but the entire story just made me so, so sad too.

Elsa and Loreda and Ant’s attitudes and adventures as they travel west to escape the dust bowl were so compelling to read about and I will not soon meet a character I admire as much as I did Elsa. She was the kind of mother I think we all hope to be but she was faced with difficulties I think we all hope we don’t have to be. The many characters along the side tugged at the heartstrings and my heart was in my throat many times near the end of this captivating story.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This Is My AmericaThis Is My America by Kim Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I first heard of this book through the SUYB link up, so if you recommended it – thank you!! This storyline kept me completely hooked the entire time. I’ve had some issues with YA this year but this book was fast-paced and, unfortunately, these teenagers were not allowed to act like normal teenagers and even experience normal teenage problems due to the unjust and wrongful imprisonment of an innocent father. Overall, I highly recommend this captivating fictional story about Tracy Beaumont and how she stands up for what she believes is right and solves a very scary and intense murder mystery in the face of extreme racism.

Sandcastle Beach (Matchmaker Bay #3)Sandcastle Beach by Jenny Holiday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third and final book in the Matchmaker Bay series, and although I believe Paradise Cove is maybe my favourite of the three, this was a solid finish and a great story about “enemies” to lovers. I’d enjoyed both Maya and Law in the previous two books and was so excited to see where this story took them. A few things I loved in this book: all of the village elders did some seriously fun meddling, there was some fun Shakespeare moments, the talk of delicious pizza, grilled cheese, and Riesling was fun :), and the friendships in this little town are sweet and fun to read about. I’ve really enjoyed this series and will likely pick up anything Jenny Holiday writes next.

Thank you to Forever and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Before the Ever AfterBefore the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was both eye-opening and absolutely heart-breaking. This book shares the progression and effects of CTE in football told from the point of view of the famous player’s son. I work in this area (slightly different but in neuropsychology) and have seen similar situations first hand so this hit me in all the feels.

A ​Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #4)A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodness gracious this book was a long one, which wasn’t surprising, but it took me a while to sink right into the story. I admit I liked this much more than I expected knowing that it was about Nesta and Cassian (mainly). There was some serious action at the end that really concluded it in a way that leaves things open to the next book in the series, so that was great. I really, REALLY appreciated the character development in this book because I was not expecting to identify with/resonate with Nesta in any way. I enjoyed the storyline (no spoilers) with Rhysand and Feyre and their family life. The new characters introduced in this book were all wonderful and it was great to read about newfound, powerful friendships and developing both mental and physical strength as women who have been through a lot. I found parts of the romance to be WAY over the top and that took away from the story a bit for me but Sarah J Maas has publicly called this her steamiest book yet and she isn’t wrong about that (haha). Overall, I have immensely enjoyed this series, especially on a mix of audio and ebook and I am feeling quite tempted to get to her other books now (Crescent City will be next for sure).

Quiet in Her BonesQuiet in Her Bones by Nalini Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For years now, a few of my friends have raved about Nalini Singh as an author but my first book by her was 2019’s thriller, A Madness of Sunshine, which was extremely good. Her books are set in New Zealand, which I love because it feels different, and I have family from there so it has always been interesting to me as a setting.

In Quiet in her Bones, we meet Aarav and his father right away as they begin to piece together the night Aarav’s mother disappeared 10 years ago. Aarav himself was recently in an accident and is in and out of doctors’ offices for his mental and physical health and we don’t quite get all of the information about his life and history right away. There is a bit of a sense of an unreliable narrator in this book because there is so much about the night in question that just doesn’t add up to the reader, but this moved the story along in a way that just compelled me to find out what the heck actually happened that night and what else has been happening since then. I started to get a little inkling about the ending mid-way through the book but it still wasn’t quite what I expected and it could have gone any number of ways based on the way the plot thickened.

There were a lot of cultural and domestic elements to this story as well and it was fleshed out in a way that really grasped me. I think fans of thrillers that aren’t too dark will enjoy this one a lot. And when you finish it, I’d love to talk about it more!!!


Happily Ever AftersHappily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book started off exceptionally cute and unique. Tessa has a brother with disabilities and recently moved to a new city and is starting at a new private school for the arts. She is a romance writer but hasn’t shared her writing with anyone other than her best friend. She makes some fun friends pretty quickly, and develops a crush, of course (YA;)), but then she makes some decisions that I didn’t agree with and the middle of the book all felt very AHH TEENAGE ANGST to me (as it should, I’m not the intended audience). I did enjoy the ending and the diversity expressed in this book and there were a lot of sweet moments of friendship and character development but it fell just a tiny bit flat for me overall.

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I also read Tilly and the Bookwanderers to the girls (WE LOVED IT SO MUCH), re-read Cinder on audio (just as good as I remembered, and I remembered very little so now about to head through the rest of the series again, yayy) , and a few dog books because #dogmommy. I also finished A Vow So Bold and Deadly, the third Cursebreakers book, and enjoyed it but need to refresh my memory on it before sharing a review because I binged it quite quickly (oops).

TL;DR: I recommend almost all of these depending on your tastes!! Highly recommend This Close to Okay, Finlay Donovan, and Float Plan. I don’t think you can go too wrong with any of these books though!!

What have you been reading lately? Care to share any thoughts on any of these ones?

10 responses to “A Few Quick Book Reviews for March 2021”

  1. I haven’t read Before the Ever After, just added it to my list! I might add the Finlay Donovan too, Jana also liked that.


  2. I felt the same way about Kristin’s new book– it was so sad but I just could not put it down once I got into it. It’s so hard to wrap my mind around the hardships they endured.


  3. hmm Accidentally Engaged somehow missed my ‘add to list because Heather tells me to’ books. adding now lol. finlay on my list too, so many people ahead of me.
    don’t you be reading Crescent City without me! lol


  4. Float Plan sounds absolutely perfect as does Accidentally Engaged. Also, I adore your Instagram feed.


  5. I’m a huge fan of Elle Cosimano’s books and I’m so glad you enjoyed Finlay! I recommend her YA books, too.


  6. I had This Is My America in last month’s book post. Glad you enjoyed it! I just added Float Plan and Accidentally Engaged to my to read list. I’m waiting for The Four Winds to come in from the library.


  7. Nadine Mathews Avatar
    Nadine Mathews

    I really enjoyed This Close to Okay, completely agree with you on the ending. I also enjoyed Four Winds even though it was slower moving and totally depressing! I will add Float Plan, Accidently Engaged and Finlay Donovon to the list!


  8. shootingstarsmag Avatar

    What a great reading month! i’m hoping to read Finlay Donovan this month. I own This Is My American and need to read that sometime soon.



  9. This is such a colorful collection of covers, lol. Your review sold me on Float Plan and I also added Finlay Donovan to my list. And I so agree with your Four Winds review– Elsa was constantly torn between making two difficult decisions to try and take care of her family.


  10. Many of these are on my TBR list – glad you liked them!


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