Kickin' It: March 2022 Wrap Up

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Kickin’ It is a feature at The Bucket List where I round-up the whole month in one post, bringing you reviews you may have missed, other awesome bookish things, and even what I’m currently obsessed with in other media besides books. March was a fine month. I tried to tackle some of the bigger and more daunting books on my TBR pile. However, not all books were amazing and I even felt a reading slump coming on but I decided to power through, hoping it would pass by reading books I knew I would love. Overall, I was able to complete the month by reading a total of 24 books. Here’s what I read in March:

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (5 stars): This one most definitely drew some inspiration from one of my favorite movies ever, When Harry Met Sally. The nonlinear narrative gives readers enough time to develop the two protagonists’ friendship. It was such a well-structured friends to lovers romance. I can’t wait to see what Henry writes next!

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (4 stars): I’ve seen this everywhere and it seems everyone has been recommending it. While I don’t think I feel very strongly about this one, the writing was absolutely fantastic! Gong immerses the reader in Shanghai of the 1920s. It was a bit slow, but it definitely picked up near the end. I’ll probably be reading the sequel to finish the duology.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (4 stars): I was so hesitant to start this, because I didn’t know if I was going to like a bully romance and the hype for this book never seems to die down. I was expecting the romance to be in the forefront of the narrative and was shocked to find that it isn’t. I enjoyed the good balance between faerie court politics and childish antics from the young royals. I’m excited to see where the series goes from here.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexia Daria (3.5 stars): This one had all the Jane the Virgin vibes, probably because they were filming a telenovela. This one definitely had a swoonworthy romance, but I didn’t think the highpoint of the novel was as strong as it could have been. However, I will definitely continue in this series.

Dead Sky Morning by Karina Halle (4 stars): This is the third book in the Experiment in Terror series. I haven’t heard many people discuss this one, but I highly recommend it if you adore those ghost hunting shows. This one was probably the scariest installment yet! Halle also adds romance into the mix and each novel so far has been such a great time.

Elemental Claim by Miranda Grant (3 stars): I found this recommended on TikTok last month and thought I’d try it out. I don’t read a lot of self-published work, but this urban fantasy romance was calling my name. The premise was incredible, but the worldbuilding was a bit messy. And the instalove really killed the romance for me.

The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee (4.5 stars): The book I didn’t know about until recently and the one I am so glad I read. The anxiety representation in this was impeccable. Though, I’m sad to see this series come to a close.

Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (4 stars): I adore the Stalking Jack the Ripper series! The writing is always amazing and I’m continuously surprised by the unpredictable investigations Thomas and Audrey Rose get tangled into.

Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco (5 stars): After adoring the third installment of Stalking Jack the Ripper, I decided to pick this novella up on a whim. This really cleans up the abrupt ending of Escaping from Houdini. Plus, it was dark, riveting, and absolutely heart-wrenching!

Honor Lost by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre (2.5 stars): Something is definitely lost, for sure, in this third and final book in The Honors trilogy. I feel like the authors really struggled to end the series, so they chose three plot points to focus on that made the narrative a mess. I loved the first two in the series, but I’m so disappointed that this one just wasn’t for me.

Crave by Tracy Wolff (2 stars): I don’t truly understand what this book was. I was so excited to pick this one up—vampires in a boarding school setting in Alaska—how cool does that sound? The slang and pop culture references will most definitely age this in ten years, if not sooner. Plus, there was barely any worldbuilding, such a lack that the plot became borderline nonsense. I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t get into it.

How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman (4 stars): This book only solidified my idea that I should read everything and anything by Upperman. It was equal parts haunting and romantic. I adored the elements of self-discovery and the exploration of grief in this. It is such an underrated book and I highly recommend it.

The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody (3.5 stars): I tend to never pick up middle grade but I won this book in a giveaway package and decided to give it a go. It’s a lovely adventure story that had so much heart and tons of fun.

Neon Gods by Katee Robert (4 stars): Having just finished the first two in Scarlett St. Clair’s Hades and Persephone series, I wanted to let enough time pass before going into another Hades and Persephone retelling. However, both series are quite different from each other that I didn’t have to worry. Neon Gods was fantastic and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (3 stars): So much dark academic vibes with this one! It was actually more haunting than it was meant to be because it took place at a fictional boarding school near where I live. The whole narrative felt strange, which was probably the intent, but I’m thinking dark academia is probably just not my thing.

Lying Season by Karina Halle (4 stars): Another book in the Experiment in Terror series, which follows amateur paranormal investigators and potential romance interests as they film their findings in haunted locations. This book revolves around a local haunted asylum. It’s a true mashup of genres from horror, paranormal, and romance. I love the series so much!

On Demon Wings by Karina Halle (4 stars): I may be obsessed with the Experiment in Terror series. I don’t even know why because I’m not giving any of them above a 4-star. This one was probably the most ambitious installment yet--instead of following the formula we have been following with the team investigating a haunted location, this one took place much closer to home and dealt with demon possession. It was absolutely fantastic! However, Halle just leaves each book on such a cliffhanger that I can’t help but go immediately to the next book. 

Old Blood by Karina Halle (3.5 stars): I was quite caught up in the Experiment in Terror series and decided to read this novella. It went by quickly and follows a side character’s life story. While I learned some things about one of the protagonist’s childhood, I didn’t find this as compelling as I was expecting. It was quite slow and overall, it was very sad.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (3.5 stars): The writing in this is gorgeous! I’m willing to read anything by Harrow now because the writing was so phenomenal. However, the story dragged a bit and I wasn’t entirely captured by it as I would have liked. Plus, it reads more like a literary fiction than a portal fantasy if that makes any sense.

The Sea Witch by Katee Robert (3.5 stars): I’m slowly on my way to finish the Wicked Villains series. This one is the fifth book and follows The Little Mermaid characters. Being deliberately vague, I found the circumstances that the protagonist found herself in to be unforgivable. Despite that, I will definitely be continuing in the series since I only have one more to go.

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (4.5 stars): A lot of the reviews I’ve read before diving in warned me against this one. Thus, I went into this not expecting a cute romance like the other two in the series had been. I must admit that this book delves deeper into mental health and other darker topics than the former books. However, I found myself connecting to the story in such a personal way. It was fantastic and I would love to reread it again soon.

Well Matched by Jen DeLuca (4 stars): I’m so happy I loved this one! I found the previous book in the series to be quite disappointing and I was extremely hesitant to continue, even though I adore the Ren Faire setting. I’m so glad I read this one, because it included several elements I love like a home improvement narrative and fake dating. It was the right amount of fluff and exactly what I needed at the time!

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff (3 stars): This is the first time I read a book by Kristoff, besides Illumanie, and I will most definitely be reading more from him in the future. His writing was fantastic, and I found myself highlighting quotes and scenes from the book. The book is told in an interview-style after the protagonist is kidnapped with no hope of escape. This narrative style told readers how the book is going to end. Plus, it continuously would jerk readers out of the main narrative so the historian could ask a follow-up question or two. While epic, the book wasn’t my favorite and I don’t think I’ll be continuing in the series.

Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay (3 stars): I was really looking forward to reading this. Romances that include traveling abroad are always a favorite. It was unfortunate that I didn’t feel as connected the main protagonist as I would have hoped. 

With and Without You by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (4/19/22): The dynamic author duo we all love is back with another YA contemporary romance that touches on elements from the couple’s own real-life romance. 

Flirting With Fate by J.C. Cervantes (4/19/22): Not even the second sentence into the Goodreads synopsis and if it’s likened to Jane the Virgin, I will be reading it! 

Blood to Poison by Mary Watson (4/14/22): I adored Watson’s The Wren Hunt and The Wickerlight so I will pick up anything by her at this point. This follows Savannah, who is cursed to die tragically young unless she can figure out how to save herself.

How was your March? Did you read any amazing books?

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