March 2020 Book Wrap Up!

So… March took a sharp left turn, didn’t it?

Without dwelling on that too much, I anticipate a lot more time for reading in the near future! Needless to say, the new challenge will be to remember to move every hour and not just slowly meld with my reading chair. 

Of Curses and Kisses

4 Stars

I liked this book so much I posted its review as it’s own blog post! Check it out here and leave me a comment if you’ve read it too. I can’t wait to hear what you think!


I’ll be honest, the moment I heard Sandhya Menon was writing a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast I bopped right on over to the website of my local bookstore to preorder it. I’d blame that on social distancing, but actually I’m just an introvert. I have them bookmarked on my browser front-and-center for exactly this type of emergency!

Menon is a known author to me after reading “From Twinkle, with Love” (thanks Owlcrate!), and “When Dimple Met Rishi” is high on my TBR list. And now, a Beauty and the Beast retelling with an Indian Princess and a cursed English Lord as teenagers attending an elite prep school? I cannot express how here am I for this book! […]

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong

3 Stars

First, I should say that I haven’t seen much of Ali Wong’s work up to this point. She has not only one, but two, Netflix specials that I hear rave reviews on, and it’s a tragedy that I haven’t watched them yet! However, my reading buddy strongly recommended her audiobook, so I checked it out!

Friends- it was absolutely hilarious. I cannot recommend this book enough, and on that note- if you plan to read this book then I strongly encourage that you listen to it! Her delivery is on point, sometimes endearing, other times disturbingly funny, and always 100% Ali Wong.

You may be wondering why I recommend it so strongly while giving it an average 3 star rating, and I must clarify that it’s simply due to my own sense of humor. While I adored this book, I must also warn you- this book is crazy raunchy. Like, sexy and gross, and you never know which way a story she shares is going to go. I basically spent the entire time listening to this book laugh-cringing, my abs scrunched up for both.

If nothing else, this book will leave you short of breath and gasping with laughter- and that, my friends, is a job well done.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

4 Stars

I admit that I went into reading Me Before You knowing a little something about the content of the story, so there wasn’t much shock value in it for me- and I think I preferred it that way. This book fell into my lap when it was chosen as the March book for my local book club, and I was really happy to have an excuse to read it. While I couldn’t fathom being in a position where I would want to make the decision Will does, I feel like I have a better idea of that now.

Without going more into that, I was very taken with the theme of the story, which is captured in the title. A question that came up in my book club was “What do you think the title, Me Before You means?” And the answer that overwhelmingly came back was, “Will is determined to put himself first, before his friends and his family.” IE, Will before Everyone Else.

I understand where that thought came from (it is a fairly ambivalent title) but I think that interpretation comes from a place of sadness, because it also misses the point of the story.

Louisa (Lou to her friends) is a 20-something young woman who is stuck. She has lived in the same place with the same people in the same job with the same boyfriend for so long she can literally count the number of steps it takes to get from her home to her work. Her family is disorderly and loves her, and depends upon her way too much. She’s not particularly unhappy, but she seems to be stuck in a state of (dare I say it?) arrested development.

Will is a former adventurer who lost the use of most of his body after a tragic accident… and it’s somehow more tragic that the accident didn’t even happen while on one of his adventures- he was just crossing the street. Will hates that no one can see beyond his wheelchair, that when his family looks at him all they see is the broken version of the man he used to be. He can’t even recognize himself anymore and, to put it tamely, he is very unhappy.

The two meet when Lou’s life is turned upside-down and she has to find a new job… as Will’s caretaker. Will already has a medical professional on staff for all his major needs, but his family feels he needs someone around to help with day-to-day tasks. Enter Lou.

At first, they nearly loathe each other, but soon start to recognize something in the other that they want to get to know, and they learn to support and nurture each other…. and slowly, they fall in love.

It’s such a touching story, how they each love each other in what could be an impossible situation, and manage to find secret moments of happiness together. 

Now I need to watch the movie…

“Me Before You” to me means the opposite of Will putting himself before anyone else. It’s about Lou as she describes how her life changed when Will came into it, and how he reminds her to love and believe in herself, and to live her life to its fullest- something he feels he can no longer do.

While the topic of this book is controversial and I cannot pretend to know what choice anyone should or would choose, I did appreciate the perspective that if you love someone then you must respect their right to choose what they want, even if you disagree with it.

That is a tough sentiment to work your mind around, even hypothetically, but maybe that’s exactly why everyone should spare a moment to dwell on it.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, Katherine Kellgren

5 Stars

“It was a sad day when he yearned for a nice, tidy beheading” – G

I’m not sure I am capable of describing how much I loved this book. But I will try!

First off, let me start by saying that I listened to the audio book, and boy was it worth it! The narrator was Katherine Kellgren and she was out-(clap)-stand-(clap)-ing! She had a distinct, recognizable, and believable voice for each character to the point where I had no confusion as to who was talking, even when characters popped into scenes unexpectedly.

I admit, I read My Lady Jane after I read My Plain Jane, so technically I read the books out of order from their publication date. Having read My Plain Jane and enjoyed it (for the most part, but full disclosure I never read Jane Eyre so that was probably part of the problem), I had a feel for the humor and general quirkiness this trio of authors would bring to the table, but they really captured lightning in a bottle in My Lady Jane! It was delightful, smart, and incorporated real aspects of Tudor history while at the same time completely throwing the book out the window.

Basically, I had a blast listening to this book, as at any moment woven in references to Monty Python and Shakespeare and The Princess Bride would pop up from their own places in the story and dialogue and delight me.

This charming book in combination with a stellar narrator made it a sure 5 stars for me!

Published by francinewonders

Hi! My name is Francine and I spend a lot of time wandering about while wondering about stuff. I like to talk about cats, books, travel, and all things w@nderful. Follow me on Instagram: @francinewonders

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