My reading in March was a mixed bag. I'm not satisfied with it.

I finished reading 12 books—11 ebooks and 1 paperback, and I DNFed 9 books. I used to never DNF books but I started recently as it helps to avoid reading slumps and to read more books, and I'm now DNFing almost everything that I'm not enjoying. It's the only reason I read 12 books this month. I wouldn't have if I stayed with books I didn't like.

boss in the bedsheets by kate canterbary

boss in the bedsheets book cover

March was a long month because it feels like I read this book a long time back. Boss in the Bedsheets sounds like a hot office romance with hate-to-love but the synopsis is misleading. I was skeptical about picking it up as I don't like office romances but this romance doesn't start at the office and mostly occurs out of it.

Zelda just ran away from a toxic relationship and is moving to another city. She is basically starting over and needs to find a job and a place to stay. She meets in Ash in the flight as he is looking over and rejecting her resume. Zelda proceeds to grill Ash about his reasons for rejecting her and proving that she is more than capable to do the job. Meanwhile, Ash is enamoured by her and basically starts simping on her immediately.

Firstly, what a unique and fun meeting. I loved Zelda and Ash right from the start. They're very different people but complement each other so well. Zelda is determined to not be a doormat like she used to be and is filled with energy. Ash is stunned from their first meeting and does everything he can to keep her with him—from grudgingly giving her the job she obviously deserves to insisting she stay in his guest bedroom.

The book is written from both Ash and Zelda's perspectives and it was entertaining as heck. Zelda's perspective was energetic, emotional, and charming. Reading from Ash's perspective was like being in a fever dream where only Zelda mattered. Ash couldn't understand his impulses but instinctively wanted to be with Zelda all day every day.

They made a fun and entertaining pair. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I feel like rereading it now.

the brightest light of sunshine by lisina coney

the brightest light of sunshine book cover

There was a time when I read a ton of romance books where the main character was recovering from a traumatic experience. I was going through a rough time and reading about characters who found happiness after bad times was therapeutic. I haven't actively picked up such books in years, though. I read The Brightest Light of Sunshine on Sil's recommendation and I'm sure I would have loved it back in high school.

The book is about Grace Allen trying to heal from her past and becoming best friends with Cal, an older tattooist, which leads to more than just friendship. The story was strictly friends to best friends to lovers. The relationship wasn't rushed and didn't start due to lust. I really liked that the characters bonded slowly and became friends first. Their relationship progressed further only after they exposed vulnerable facts about themselves and truly got to know each other.

I generally don't like age gap romances but this was good one. This story made sense and the characters clearly fit. They are clearly on different areas in their lives—Cal has an established business and is low-key preparing to take guardianship of his young sister and Grace is finishing her last year at university and contemplating her future—but I never felt that their age difference was weird. They were on similar maturity levels and understood which stage the other person is at and signed up to be a part of it.

If you want a book about healing, finding joy and comfort, and quiet moments of comfort, read this.

sincerely, the puck bunny by maren moore

sincerely, the puck bunny book cover

It has been a while since I read a book with the accidental pregnancy trope so when this popped up on my radar, I nabbed it. It didn't sound very great from the synopsis but I went in with an open mind.

The book is about an athlete who stays in an inn for a weekend and has a wild fling. Briggs tries to contact Maddison afterwards but isn't able to. Several months later, they meet and he finds out that she is pregnant with his child. After that, it is a whirlwind romance. He decides that he doesn't want to miss anything more and spends every free minute with Maddison and the baby. While Maddison doesn't plan on rekindling their romance, Briggs loses the battle and sets about wooing her. But Maddison has a big secret that can ruin everything.

Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed by the book. I couldn't care enough about the main characters and didn't see why they should end up together. Their relationship was almost solely based on lust. Sure, they had some fun times but I didn't find their relationship to be "the one".

The only thing I appreciated was the emphasis on how gossip hurts celebrities—especially athletes who technically only have to play their best and shouldn't have to worry about endangering their personal lives. However, it was used as a complete plot device for the romance and didn't get much attention otherwise.

spring tide by ki stephens

spring tide book cover

I needed a very different book after Sincerely, the Puck Bunny so I went for a college romance book.

Spring Tide is an opposites-attract college romance starring an athlete and a sports medicine major. Harper has been crushing on Nate for a while and in order to be assigned to his sport, tells a white lie about dating Luca. Luca, on hearing this, decides to use the opportunity to get his knee secretly treated by her as he cannot go to a doctor and be benched. As they spend time together, they develop feelings for each other.

The book tries to be lighthearted while also touching on vulnerable topics about the main characters. Instead of handling both well, it hangs in the middle without being remarkable either way. The relationship growth is slow at the beginning but once they admit their feelings, it suddenly goes fast.

Nothing truly stood out but the book wasn't bad. I expected more from it based on the praise I heard about it and it didn't live upto them.

luca by grey huffington

luca book review

I saw quite a bit about this book on Twitter so I picked it up and it was... interesting. (Also, second book with the lead named Luca, LOL)

Luca is a story about Luca, a man who just got out of prison after 8 years, and Ever, a woman who is starting over with her two kids. Ever is best friend's with Luca's sister and goes to get him when he is released. They decide that they want each other from the first time they saw each other.

The best parts about the book are ones where Luca simps for Ever and her kids. I loved how he decided that they were his family right from the start and acted accordingly. It was lovely to see them date, communicate effectively, and move forward. The book was a little wild at times, especially towards the end, which wasn't my thing.

I kept bouncing between loving the book and hating it. Some parts were great and some others almost made me DNF it. My main issue with the romance is the instant attraction and lust which becomes the base of their relationship. I found it hard to ship the couple because of the instant lust.

Overall, a meh book for me. I will definitely forget about it soon because it doesn't stand out in my mind.

heartless by danielle allen

heartless by danielle allen book cover

I forgot about this book and had to skim through the synopsis and a few reviews to remember the story. That's how small of an impact it made on me. I'm pretty sure I started forgetting this book the minute after I finished it.

Since the earlier accidental pregnancy trope pick didn't work for me, I decided to try again. Heartless is about a playboy who accidentally knocks up a mutual friend who doesn't want to have a real relationship with him and it forces him to change. Bradley AKA Easy took days to figure out who sent the "I'm pregnant" text because of his escapades.

Once he is forced to be responsible and spends more time with Jamila, he falls in love with her without realizing it. Soon, he only wants to hang out with her and would forgo all other plans.

Unfortunately, reading the book was a little torturous. My Goodreads review literally reads "at least it was short." I hated Easy and I hated the evil ex-hookup trope. I didn't like how "Jamila wasn't like other women" and I didn't like their romance. Honestly, I don't think I liked anything in the book.

one percent of you by michelle gross

one percent of you by michelle gross

After the string of bad romance book picks (the above list doesn't even include the ones I DNFed!), I needed a reread to make me like romance books again. I read One Percent of You for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. I knew that it would give me all that I want from a romance. In fact, I already reread it once last year. Its charm doesn't reduce during rereads.

I love how flawed Elijah is but turns out to be one of the sweetest men. I love how he has an entire relationship arc with Hadley's 3 year old kid and he actually becomes best friends with her first before becoming anything more than friends with Hadley. I absolutely love how Hadley is determined to do the best by her kids and give them a good life.

The romance is a slow burn as well. Elijah and Hadley start off on bad terms because he fights with Lucy for a bag of chips and then grovels by buying Lucy chips for 5 weeks. Once he becomes friends with Lucy, Hadley starts warming up to him and they become friends and then close friends and then date. I loved every stage of their relationship and the way they bonded in each of them.

Will I ever find another book that makes me fall in love with it like this one?

luvin' an atlanta boss by unique

luvin' an atlanta boss by unique book cover

After One Percent of You rekindled my hope in romance books, I decided to pick another single parent romance book.

Nitoya has been dating a man for a couple of years and became pregnant with his child but is feeling the lack of presence as he lives in another state. He convinces her to move to Atlanta so that he can be more involved with the baby. But after she does, she finds out that he's married and expecting a baby with his wife as well.

She is broken hearted and still unsure about the future when she has a minor car accident and going into pre-term labour. The man whose car hit hers takes her to the hospital and stays by her side, and simply doesn't leave after that. They fall in love, Antron loves her children, and plans to marry her.

My only problem with the book was how absolutely weird the entire vibe was. First of all, Antron apparently collects body parts of the people he's killed. I have nothing against killers in romance books (I've loved The Mindf*ck series!) but it was weird that Antron was introduced that was and throughout the rest of the book he was a normal guy. Why the random bit in the beginning?

I didn't like any of the characters either. They felt very one-dimensional. I couldn't care about the romance no matter how much he simped on her. The book can be read as a standalone but has so many references to a previous story that I was annoyed.

Overall, did not enjoy it.

fall from grace by michelle gross

fall from grace book cover

Since I had another bad romance read, I decided to try a different Michelle Gross book hoping that it would be like One Percent of You. At least, it should be a good read. So I went on KU and looked up the author and got a couple of books.

Fall From Grace is a childhood-friends-to-lovers romance book with main characters who come from very different families. Grace's parents have stable jobs and have a good home so she grew up without worries. When she moved at 6 years old, she meets Noah who is dirty and sleeps in her new treehouse half the time. He grew up in a trailer with an addict mom and a father who doesn't pay attention to him. As they play together and grow up together, they start liking each other.

Unfortunately, this was another miss for me. The pacing wasn't good. A bunch of the book takes place as they grow up, showing their bond. I liked that. When puberty hit, Grace and Noah get physical too quickly (for my liking) and the book went downhill from there. Even after they were separated and reconnected later, I couldn't care enough.

It's supposed to be a romance that takes us through the entire timeline from when they met till they settled down with kids. However, it wasn't interesting. Grace was full of character as a kid but as she grew up, she became one-dimensional. Noah was the perfect kid who tried to outdo his background. I honestly couldn't understand their relationship beyond their shared past.

So yeah. Another disappointment.

forever your rogue by erin langston

forever your rogue book cover

I Tweeted about my bad luck with romance books lately and Pragati responded suggesting Forever Your Rogue and I trust her recommendations so I picked it up immediately. And wow, what a book.

Forever Your Rogue is a historical romance book about a single mother trying to protect her kids and a rake who needs a purpose in life. Cora's husband dies while having an affair and instead of being upset, Cora is relieved. Her marriage was never a good one. But the person assigned as her kids' guardian has other intentions and wants to take her kids from her. In order to overturn the order through court, she ropes in Nate to pretend to be her fiancé in return for paying off his debts. But as they spend time together, they fall in love.

I absolutely adore this book. Although they find each other attractive, Nate and Cora have no plans of being in a relationship. They put up a ruse for their benefits and plan to move on afterwards. But after spending a few weeks at Cora's home with her kids and supporting Cora against her husband's nefarious relatives, Nate is head over heels in love with her.

Their relationship development was slow and so nice and I loved the way Nate simped for her. They're the perfect partners for each other. Their differences complement so well and they're a well-balanced pair. More than anything, Nate quickly bonds with her kids and realizes just how precious their love is.

I highlighted so many sentences in the book and have reread my favourite scenes at least three times after finishing the book. I want to own the paperback and fully annotate it. (Unfortunately, it is Kindle-only right now.) It was my best read in March.

gilded by marissa meyer

gilded by marissa meyer book cover

I read The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer several years back and liked it.

For my last birthday, my best friend offered to take me shopping and pay for anything I bought that day so I took him to the bookstore. I generally buy booked based on what I know about them or the story, I don't usually buy based on pretty covers. But since I wasn't paying that day, I went for the book covers that caught my eye. Gilded and it's sequel Cursed stood out in the shelves because of their sprayed edges so I got them.

Although YA fantasy isn't my thing anymore, I didn't expect it to disappoint me badly. But I took a month to finish this book. It started off fine and it looked interesting—quite different from the general YA fantasy books that I've read before—but the pacing is so slow and the writing isn't very engaging.

75% of the book read as if it's a build-up to something bigger. There were a couple of twists at the end but they weren't worth the long build-up. The main character Serilda wasn't interesting as well. I liked her legacy of telling lies and stories but there wasn't much to her beyond that.

The biggest disappointment was the second main character Gild (i.e. Rumplestiltskin since this is a Rumple retelling). The Rumple I know from the TV show Once Upon a Time was legendary so comparatively the one in this book was so boring. He only did childish pranks and his character had absolutely no depth. The romance was not interesting as well. I couldn't care less about it.

Another indicator to how less I enjoyed it is the amount of annotation. I didn't even add ONE tab to the book. Nothing stood out. Unfortunately, I already have the sequel so I'll force myself to get through it. But I wouldn't recommend this series.

hail mary by kandi steiner

hail mary book cover

I'm not sure how I came across this book, I think I borrowed it randomly when I saw it on the KU catalog. No one told me about it or recommended it so I went in without any expectations.

Hail Mary is a childhood-friends-to-lovers and second-chance romance where the main characters met in an online video game. But things go awry and their relationship breaks. Years later, Mary and Leo live in houses across the street from each other and aren't friends, despite Leo's efforts. When huge plumbing issues mess up her rental house, Leo offers an empty room in his house to her and she reluctantly moves in. Being in closer quarters means bonding and getting to know each other which leads to more.

The most interesting part about this book is the second-chance romance. Mary's high school experience wasn't great but one incident with Leo made it traumatic which she hasn't fully moved on from. After that, Mary has changed so much that Leo doesn't even recognize her. It was interesting to see her wrestle with her history with him and his ignorance while he struggled with overcoming a fault that he's not even aware of.

The relationship development was appropriately slow and there were setbacks but watching them slowly bond and communicate to get over their past was heart-warming. This book is so different from other college romances because of the shared history and also because Mary isn't a college student (she's a tattoist-in-training). And the communication, of course. Not many books have such instances of good communication.

I absolutely loved Mary as well—she's badass and I would love to be her friend. Leo was easy to like too. And their other roommates and friends as supporting characters made the book even better.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the book and really liked it.

blind side by kandi steiner

blind side by kandi steiner

Hail Mary turned out to be the last book in the series of college romances and it featured the previous couples a bit. One of them intrigued me so I decided to read their book Blind Side.

The book is a fake-dating college romance. Clay wants to make his ex jealous enough to want him back and Giana wants to catch the eye of a cute musician. Clay talks her into the deal when he notices her crushing over the musician. They spend time together and their respective people take notice as planned but soon, Clay and Giana prefer being with each other and forget about others.

The main reason I read this book was because Giana loves reading smut and Clay apparently helps her try out her fantasies from the books. There wasn't enough of that but the story itself was really nice. I liked the way they felt at ease with each other right from the start and the way they bonded. Clay and Giana are total opposites but similar in a few key ways which makes them perfect for each other. The sex scenes were pretty hot as well.

I loved Mary in Hail Mary because she was a badass gamer and tattooist who didn't take shit. In this book, I loved Giana because she actively went out of her comfort zone and challenged herself. She's a shy reader and chose public relations as her major as a challenge and she's actually really good at it. She's brave in her choices and shows affection unabashedly.

I didn't like a couple of things in the book, though. Clay supposedly got out of a long-term relationship but he somehow knew how people work and how to make them jealous or interested. All of his moves worked as planned on his ex and Giana's musician. If he was a playboy, it would make sense, but he's not.

Secondly, I hated the third act breakup. I could see it coming and I hated all of it. In some books, it's clear that a plot point is added solely to be the cause of the breakup and not for other reasons. It would be better to keep the tension without a breakup or not have a breakup at all, in my opinion.

Overall, it was a good book. Not great but much better than some of my other reads in March.

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Have you read any of the books that I mentioned above? How were your March reads? Do you have any books planned for April?

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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  • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) says:

    The only book I'm familiar with from your list is Gilded which has been on my TBR for sometime because I'm really hesitant to pick it up. Hope April is a better reading month for you!

    Reply ➔
  • Molly's Book Nook says:

    I need to get better at DNFing books. I have a hard time doing it. Usually i put them "on hold" but that means theyre still there, in the back of my mind, stressing me out lol

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      just quit allll of those on-hold books and put it in a new GR/Storygraph shelf. if you want to get back to them one day, you can. but trust me, you won’t ?

      Reply ➔
  • Stephanie | The Espresso Edition says:

    I'm sure by now you know I'm obsessed with friends-to-lovers, so I immediately added The Brightest Light of Sunshine to my TBR. It sounds right up my alley! I'm also completely with you about Gilded. I've enjoyed Marissa Meyer's writing for years - primarily Renegades and The Lunar Chronicles - and was so excited about a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. But like... what??? It was so slow? Hardly a retelling? And weirdly dark for a YA? AND the ending??? Not a fan. I don't know if I'll even finish the duology. But I'd be curious to hear your thoughts once you do get around to reading Cursed. Let me know if it's any better haha.

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      oh yeah it was hardly a retelling! the thing is, i have no clue about the actual rumplestiltskin story and only knew the Once Upon A Time version so i thought hey maybe it’s me who doesn’t know the story and maybe this is a real retelling. you just confirmed it for me.

      i’m planning on skimming book two and forgetting the duology haha, let’s see. hope i don’t DNF because it’s so bad.

      Reply ➔
  • dbsguidetothegalaxy says:

    Spring Tide does look interesting but yeah it's annoying when you finish a book and expected more out of it.
    Sorry you didn't have a fun reading month ?

    Reply ➔
  • Anoushka says:

    SUMEDHA I LOVE THIS?? i mean look it's terrible how 80% of these were a disappointment BUT YOU CANT EXACTLY BLAME ME WHEN I LOVED READING YOUR THOUGHTS SO MUCH OKAY. (your fault for making this interesting)
    i am SORRY gilded had to be such a letdown RUMPELSTILTSKIN DIDN'T DESERVE IT I SHALL SOB. but it's so. boring?? GOOD LUCK WITH GETTING THROUGH THE SECOND BOOK. also FINGERS CROSSED that all your april reads end up being SO MUCH BETTER just to cancel this month out!!!

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      at least you found the post interesting, haha! i wasn’t sure the point of this post when all i had to say were bad things, lol.

      rumple definitely didn’t deserve it! i will somehow skim through book 2 and forget the duology, my rumple is still the one from Once Upon A Time.

      thank you!!

      Reply ➔
  • Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    I haven't read any of these. That's lots of DNFs. I still don't DNF but when I feel like it, I will start DNFing books too. I hope April turns out better month in reading.

    Reply ➔