Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIt’s the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in March 2021 and why did you love it? It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. We just want to share some great reading material.

Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks.

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18 comments

  1. Brian Underwood /

    Wrath by John Gwynne. Very satisfying conclusion to The Faithful and the Fallen series. I really enjoyed this series.

  2. Noneofyourbusiness /

    I found the Spelljammer supplement “Greyspace” an interesting read, detailing the solar system of Dungeons & Dragons’ most ‘basic’ setting, Greyhawk. Interestingly enough, most denizens of Oerth know that there’s life on other planets and in other star systems, unlike most of the people on Dragonlance’s Krynn.

  3. The only non-contemporary MM romance book I read was One Night in Boukos by A.J. Demas which was a reread. Secondary world roughly based on Mediterranean culture (ancient Greece and Persia). Ambassador doesn’t come home from a dinner party on a festival night. Aide and military attache try to track him down. Several locals decide to help as the night wears on…

    On the romance side, more by K.M. Neuhold, N.R. Walker, Annabeth Albert, Romeo Alexander, Riley Hart, and Raleigh Ruebens. None of these really stood out.

    I did reread 2 books by Romeo Alexander: Two Best Men, Only One Bed! which is snarky and fun and My Kind of Christmas which is a very sweet story of two best friends at the big holiday retreat of the one’s family.

    Meanwhile, really looking forward to April as I have new romance books by Riley Hart, Romeo Alexander, and Annabeth Albert, a new Alison Bechdel (The Secret to Superhuman Strength), Becky Chambers’s The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, and Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells. Three of those are gonna be released on the same day.

  4. Frederick Rossero /

    Probably Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected by Nnedi Okorafor. A wonderfully written memoir that was touching and deep.

  5. John Smith /

    “The List” by J.A. Konrath. It’s an exciting techno-thriller about people who are DNA recreations of famous historical figures.

  6. I read an ARC of “The Light of the Midnight Stars” by Rena Rossner. This is her follow up to “The Sisters of the Winter Wood,” but it shifts in a different direction. The story is a beautiful blend of Jewish folklore, history and fairy tales. I highly recommend it.

  7. The Distinguished Professor /

    “Portuguese Irregular Verbs”, the first of Alexander McCall Smith’s books featuring Professor Dr Von Igelfeld, is as quirky as you’d expect from a book with a hedgehog and a golfball on the cover.

  8. Paul Connelly /

    Most of my reading in March was Graham Greene and Ross Macdonald, and I can’t pick any one best book out of the four good fantasy/SF novels that I read.

    City of the Beasts (Isabel Allende) was a likable middle-grade adventure about an American boy joining an expedition to look for a Yeti-like creature deep in the Amazon. Karin Tidbeck’s The Memory Theater was a fable about a human child enslaved by evil immortals who live outside of time, and his escape with a giantess when time is accidentally introduced into their realm. We Lie With Death is the second book in Devin Madson’s Reborn Empire series, almost as action-packed as the first, although physical movement takes the place of plot movement for stretches. The Sheep Look Up (from 1972) is John Brunner’s third in a series of unrelated (but similar in technique) dystopian novels that focus on humanity’s tendencies toward destruction of ourselves and our environment–his timeframes for the near future events were off, but we’re getting much closer to the grim future he describes than we are to the near futures of optimistic space exploration stories from that era.

  9. Katharine Ott /

    In the SFF realm I enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere” for the delightfully dark world he creates, and also Patricia Briggs’ “Alpha & Omega,” the kickoff to her urban fantasy series, fun werewolf stuff. Also notable were “Hawk Quest” by Robert Lyndon, an exciting Crusader adventure story, and Deanna Raybourn’s first Veronica Speedwell book, “A Curious Beginning,” with a refreshingly feisty protagonist. On to April reading!

  10. Lady Morar /

    When the World Stopped to Listen: Van Cliburn’s Cold War Triumph, and Its Aftermath, by Stuart Isacoff. An inspiring story of American pianist Van Cliburn’s unexpected success at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow.

  11. Susan E Whitehead /

    A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine. I enjoyed this second book in her series more than the first although that might be because I am now familiar with the fascinating Teixacalaanli culture. Four major points of view: Mahit, the Lsel Station Ambassador who carries the memories, and strong personality, of the former ambassador in her head, Three Seagrass, agent of the Ministry of Information, a “spook”, Nine Hibiscus, the commander of the Teixacalaanli fleet battling a technologically more advanced very alien alien, and Eight Antidote, the 11-year-old heir to the Teixacalaan Empire whose portrayal is masterful. This book will undoubtedly get another Hugo Award nomination.

  12. The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman

    Here are my thoughts:
    As with any book surrounding the witch terrors/trials in European and American history, this book is equally horrifying. I sit there thinking, as I’m reading, I can’t believe what people did to these women. Then I think, yes, I can believe it. I’m always quick to blame religious fervor, and yes, that did play a significant part, especially in America. The same goes for my feeling it was more focused on women. However, Mailman did clarify in her author’s note that “Secular courts were just as eager, and sometimes more so, to capture and punish witches” and that “in the 1300s men were named as witches as frequently as women were.” Interesting. Of course, we know that superstition, fear, and, in the case of this book, severe hunger played large parts in this hysteria, the latter especially holding true for the European witch craze…and that damn book, Malleus Maleficarum. The man who wrote that book was the true evil, in my humble opinion.

    Also, of note, Mailman’s own ancestor, Mary Bliss Parsons was accused of witchcraft twice in 1600s Massachusetts. Jealousy and slander are what brought her to the attention of the court for witchcraft, but in the end, she had too many people come to her defense. Definitely an impressive and interesting heritage.

    The Witch’s Trinity illustrated that you better not grow old in a village wracked with famine in the year 1507…because you will be the first to receive an accusation of witchcraft. The elderly, especially women, past childbearing years and unable to do any hard work, are looked on as a burden. This is the situation Gude found herself in. Aged, she can’t do much, she’s an extra mouth to feed when there’s barely enough for her son’s family of four, and her mind is not what it was. She starts having fantastical and horrifying experiences with witches and the devil himself (the devil’s book), but it’s never quite clear if it’s really happening or not. She’s not even sure herself.

    The book was riveting. Just under 300 pages so a quick read and I couldn’t put it down. I felt pure outrage the entire time I was reading…toward humanity, the church. It made me think of how the less of us are treated in today’s society. Sure, no one is being burned at the stake, but the persecutions are still going on, purely because someone is different, or deemed of less use to society.

  13. Michael Voss /

    Two of my March reads stand out well above the others, both by indie authors: Dyrk Ashton’s final book of his Paternus Trilogy, WAR OF GODS, which sees just about every mythological figure and creature you can think of embroiled in a war amongst themselves.

    And M. L. Spencer’s DRAGON MAGE, the story of a neurodivergent teen growing into his role as Champion of The World Below, split off centuries ago from the world where he was born. Finished it just in time to find Apr 2 was World Autism Awareness Day, so very good timing. Both highly recommended.

  14. Jillian /

    My favorite book of the month was The Dictionary of Lost Words. It’s not scifi or fantasy but it was an arc I read that I was pleasantly suprised by

  15. Kevin S. /

    The Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)- Michael J. Sullivan

  16. Sethia /

    I am really enjoyed Gideon the Ninth.

  17. Michelle Miller,if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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