March & April 2023 Reading Wrap-Up

Welcome, story lovers! I’m really excited to share with you what I’ve been reading these past couple of months. (This is a spoiler-free post.)

If you’d prefer to listen to this discussion, you can check out the full episode on The Bookmarks ‘n Blankets Podcast on your favorite podcast platform or listen below.

So in this post, I’ll review my list of books I read in March and April. Usually, this wrap-up will be for just one month, but since I joined the online book community back in March, which was not that long ago, I thought I’d just combine March and April to give you a fuller list of book titles that I’ve read. 

Here is what you can expect from these types of episodes: I’ll reveal the books that I read for that month, let you know how it went, give a short synopsis, and then offer a brief review of the books, but I won’t go too in-depth because each book will have its own longer book review in future episodes. 

March Reading Wrap-Up

March was a wild month for me because that’s when I discovered Book Nation. I was super excited and dove in head first. I ended up reading six books that month, which is the most I’ve ever read in one month. I didn’t have a set theme for the month, but many of them were cozy fantasies because I had just learned about that genre and wanted to read a few of them.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

This story follows Viv, a female Orc warrior, who decides to quit her violent job and open a cozy coffee shop in a new city called Thane. She meets a misfit of fantastical characters, some of whom become her employees and others her friends. We see what’s involved when opening your own business and educating new patrons about your products. 

Brief Review: This was a really cute, whimsical, charming story. It was high fantasy but more low-to-medium stakes than just low stakes. It’s a slice-of-life story that was rather slow; not a lot of action happened. It was more character-driven than plot-driven. But I was never bored with the story. In fact, I read the entire book in just three days. All of the characters are very likable. It gave me the warm, fuzzy feelings and was an easy read that allowed me to escape to a fun fantasy world for a bit. Definitely recommend it, especially with a cup of coffee (or tea) and a cinnamon roll! 

(You can purchase this book here.)

Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie Holmberg

Merritt just inherited a house called Whimbrel House from his grandmother, who recently passed away. But he didn’t expect it to be enchanted. The house becomes extremely unruly and locks Merrit inside. However, magic is known in this world, and there is an organization called BIKER (Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms) where Hulda works. She’s been trained in taming unruly enchanted structures and buildings. She shows up at Merritt’s house and moves in as the housekeeper to help him. What ensues is an investigation that goes deeper into the house’s secret, Merritt’s family, and Hulda’s past. 

Brief Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy fantasy book; however, I would call it more of a historical fantasy story. It was very charming, had a cute budding romance, and a found family element that gave me all the cozy, warm feels. Even though the magic system was a bit confusing, I really enjoyed the magical elements in this story, especially the enchanted house. The story was very unique and kept me reading. All of the characters are very likable, and we also see some character growth from the two main characters. There’s also a bit of mystery to figure out, which was fun. Highly recommend! 

(You can purchase this book here.)

You by Caroline Kepnes

Joe works in a bookstore in New York City. His world is changed forever when beautiful Beck breezes into his store. He does what many young people do today, he Googles her from her credit card receipt after she leaves. Joe scours her social media profiles, learns all about Beck, and goes down a deep, dark, obsessive rabbit hole, orchestrating ways to “run into” Beck. He goes from stalker to boyfriend, becoming the perfect man for her, and is determined to remove any obstacles that may threaten their relationship – even murder. 

Brief Review: I’ve watched the series and then read the book. Which is better? I’ll leave that up to you! But I actually found them comparable. I really enjoyed both mediums. The book does dive deeper into Joe’s head, which I really enjoyed. Though, I did have Penn Badgely’s voice in my head while reading the book. He’s the actor who played Joe in the series. In fact, I had all the actor’s faces and voices from the TV series in my head while reading this story. It didn’t take away from anything, but if you haven’t seen the series yet, I’d recommend reading the book first. The two have subtle differences, but they’re both SO good. I loved being inside the mind of Joe and seeing how his twisted mind worked. I will be reading the rest of the books in this series. Highly recommend! 

(You can purchase this book here.)

Archibald Finch and the Lost Witches by Michel Guyon

After Archbald’s grandmother dies, his family inherits her estate. He and his family move into the huge mansion, and Archibald begins to explore his new dwellings. However, after learning about his mom buying Christmas presents, Archibald decides to snoop through the mansion for his presents when he discovers a unique, old globe. Without realizing what he’s doing, he activates this magical globe and is transported into another world called Lemurea. This is a realm where witches have been sent to be protected from witch hunters and have been there for about 500 years. We also learn about Marodors, which are these huge, vicious dragon-like creatures that terrorize the witches. This battle between the witches and these creatures has been going on for hundreds of years. Archibald meets a bunch of young witches and quickly forms friendships with them, and eventually, he learns about their world and how to fight these monsters with them. Once Archibald arrives in the fantasy world, the storyline splits and goes between Archibald’s adventure and Hailee’s story in our world, where she’s trying to figure out what happened to her brother, where he went, and how to get him back. So there is jumping around from chapter to chapter.

Brief Review: Unfortunately, I did not care for this book, which really surprised me. The plot sounded very interesting, and the illustrations were gorgeous; however, the writing wasn’t great, and I was bored with the fantasy story. The story splits into two, between the two siblings, and we follow Archibald into the fantasy realm but stay with Hailey in our real world. I actually really enjoyed Hailey’s story a lot more than her brother’s. Her story kept me reading, honestly, because I almost stopped around the 40% mark of the book. I don’t think I’ll read the sequel. Would not recommend it. 

(You can purchase this book here.)

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

In this world, the wood is extremely dangerous. A witch lives in the forest and created eight daughters from trees, called tree sirens. They sing and lure men and women into the wood and, ultimately, to their deaths. They are fed to the heartless tree. Seventeen-year-old Owen lives on the edge of the wood with his father and baby sister. One day, he chases after his sister, who wanders into the wood and meets Seren, a tree siren, but she saves their lives. A beautiful relationship forms between the siren and human, and love begins to grow between them. However, when the stars shift and foretell a curse, war looms between the kind of the land and the witch. Owen enrolls in the king’s army, and Seren must fight for her mother. Now their relationship is put to the test.

Brief Review: Another YA fantasy story, but I know it’s listed under the cozy fantasy label. I think that’s a little misleading. There are some cozy moments, but overall, this is not a cozy, low stakes story. But I really enjoyed this book. The writing is absolutely beautiful prose, very lyrical and almost poetic. It’s also very atmospheric, eerie, and haunting – but in the best ways. I really enjoyed the romance between the two main characters, even though it was a bit of an instalove. It gives nods to two classic fairytales – Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, which I enjoyed. There is some action, but it’s mostly a character-driven plot. I was completely immersed in this story and read through it pretty quickly. This was the first time I got emotional while reading a book and just sobbed at parts – sad tears and happy tears. Highly recommend! 

(You can purchase this book here.)

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Each year, the town of Protectorate sacrifices a chile to the witch in the woods, hoping that she spares them from her terror. However, they do not know that the witch is actually a sweet, old lady that doesn’t understand why this town leaves babies in the middle of the woods. So she rescues them and takes the children to nearby towns, and couples adopt them. On her journey, she feeds the babies starlight. But one year, Xan accidentally feeds the baby moonlight and causes the baby to be too magical for anyone to adopt. So she raises the baby, calls her Luna, and looks after her. But to keep her safe and the townspeople that they visit often, she subdues Luna’s magic until her thirteenth birthday. Then her magic begins to emerge once more, and now there is a man determined to protect the town of Protectorate even more by killing the witch. 

Brief Review: I enjoyed this story. It was a really, really sweet and cute fairytale. This book has multiple POVs, and I think it eventually gets up to six characters that we’re in their heads. It’s not hard to follow along, and it’s not confusing, but there are many storylines to juggle, which got distracting while reading this book. There are also some magical creatures that are very enjoyable. There’s a swamp monster and a tiny dragon. They are both really sweet characters. I also liked how it spins the idea of what a witch is like. Usually, we think of the stereotypical old hag witch that is evil, hates children, and concocts dark magic and potions, but as I mentioned, Xan is a really sweet old lady. She’s thoughtful and kind, and nurturing. But I will say I wish a little more happened in the story. I wasn’t bored, but I kept hoping something more would happen, there was not a lot of action. Being a cozy fantasy, it is more about the characters and their development than about the plot or action of the story. But overall, I really enjoyed this charming, wholesome book. 

(You can purchase this book here.)

April Reading Wrap-Up

Now, we move on to April, which was a really busy month for me. I had decided to start this podcast, so I had been preparing everything and recording, editing, creating, writing…you name it. Plus, I had to keep up with my job and my clients’ work. So I didn’t get to all the books that I wanted to read in April, and one of the books spilled over to May, and I finished it a day or two into the new month. But I read five books in April. 

This was a split month for reading. Half of the books I really enjoyed, and the other half was just meh. 

Spellbreaker and Spellmaker by Charlie Holmberg

So the first two books were actually a duology.

This is a story set in London in the late 1800s, and this is a world where magic is part of life (magical realism – gives us a realistic view with magical elements sprinkled in, often blurring the lines between fantasy and reality). There are two types of magical people – wealthy people who can pay for magical powers and spells and then those who are born with the ability to break spells – so we have spellmakers and spellbreakers. 

We follow two main characters, Elsie and Bacchus. Elsie grew up as an orphan and was born with spell-breaking abilities. When she was 10, she was recruited by this secret organization that used her spell-breaking to push back against the aristocrats and help the common man. This makes her feel like Robin Hood, doing good for the less fortunate. Bacchus is from Barbados but spent half his life in London. He is part of aristocratic society and is very close to getting his mastership; he’s just one spell away. But one night, he catches Elsie breaking an enchantment; however, instead of turning her in, they strike a bargain. She’ll help him fix unruly enchantments on the estate he’s staying at if he doesn’t expose her. As they work together, their fondness grows for each other. However, there is a rise in murders of wizards and theft of the spellbooks that their bodies leave behind. So we go along this journey with the couple as they figure out this mystery. 

Brief Review: If you enjoy historical fantasy or magical realism, then you’ll love this two-book series. I really enjoyed the story, which was unique, but I especially loved the characters. There is a lot of focus on the characters, their relationships, and their development over the two books. There was a decent amount of action and a mystery to solve, which was fun. I was definitely thinking about this story and the characters when I wasn’t reading the books. I was fully immersed in the story and loved the characters. There is a cute, clean romance and a found family element. Highly recommend! 

(You can purchase book one here and book two here.)

Heir of Uncertain Magic by Charlie Holmberg

This is the sequel to Keeper of Enchanted Rooms. I won’t offer a summary in case you haven’t read the first book. 

Brief Review: This was a highly anticipated release for me. I had just finished the first book and couldn’t wait to jump right back into this fantasy world. While I did enjoy being back with the characters, I was quite disappointed with this follow-up. It was quite boring, not a lot happened, and the threat of the story didn’t feel that big. I was engaged the whole time, and I’m glad that I read it, especially because book three is due out next February, but I really wanted a lot more from this book. I wanted to dive deeper into Merit and Hulda’s romance, which doesn’t really happen. I wanted to see more character development around the main characters and more of an interesting plot. I did enjoy myself, but it wasn’t as good as the first book. However, I am excited to read the next installment and hope that things pick back up. 

(You can purchase this book here.)

Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo 

This is the third book in the Shadow & Bone Trilogy; therefore, I won’t offer a summary in case you haven’t read the first two books. 

Brief Review: Now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I can say that I’m not the biggest fan of this world. It’s just not my “cup of tea.” All the books were okay for me. I think out of the three, book two was my favorite one. I’m not going to go into a lot of details since this is a continuation from two other books, but for the last book in a series, I expected it to be a lot more epic and be on a grander scale than it was. I felt like not a lot happened, and the ending was hugely disappointing for me. I know there’s a duology after this series that’s supposed to be a lot better, and it’s set in the same universe, but I have no desire to read it right now. Maybe in the future…

(You can purchase this book here or the trilogy here.)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling farther than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep to whisk him away on a journey to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

Brief Review: I finally read this classic and was so happy that I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had seen the movies many times but finally wanted to read the book. In full disclosure, I read the first half and listened to the second half via a podcast that I found on Spotify. I prefer actually reading over listening. I can get more fully immersed in the story when I read, but I was running short on time and wanted to get it done for the month. It was full of action and adventure – pure high fantasy. There were a ton of characters, and it was a little hard to follow at times, but it was still a lot of fun. 

(You can purchase this book here.)

*Please note that I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program and a member of other affiliate programs. I may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this article.

Get Cozy with the Podcast

To listen to this podcast episode, head over to The Bookmarks ‘n Blankets Podcast on your favorite podcast platform. You’ll also find full book reviews, reading topics, self-care tips, and a whole lot more.

You can also find pictures of book covers, book tag graphics, and other visuals on Instagram

If you’re interested in exclusive member goodies or want to support the show even more, you can join my Patreon community.


Come soak up all the warm, fuzzy feelings! My name is Kelly, and I’m excited to share my thoughts and opinions with you about books, movies, and TV series. I’m also obsessed with all things comfy cozy, self-care, and personal development.

Join me as I snuggle up with my favorite blankets and yummy beverages, and talk about my favorite forms of art.


Like, follow and subscribe.

© 2023. All rights reserved.