-A.M. Aguilar

Top 5 March 2022

Mystery and Thriller, Historical Fiction, YA Contemporary and a Non-Fiction Novel

April is here! Spring begins for many, and for us in Central America: a warm summer starts; you all have no idea how hot it gets here :0 . I prefer the freezing cold and winter but we have to adapt so, warm it is 😀 . Anyway, April has started which means Spring Break / Vacations from college so I am excited to post more articles here, as well as posts for my Instagram Feed so stay tuned for that (@thebookssmuggler) 😉 .

I hope you all get to rest and relax during the break! Pick up a new book, one that you’ve been interested in for a while, make it fun and release some stress by reading for a while <3 . Take care of your mental health first and foremost, YOU are your first priority. And always stay safe!

I personally plan to read more this week, finish at least two books and finish the k-drama I started on Netflix last night, too HAHA 🙂 . I really wanted vacations so I am excited!

Back to the wrap-up: today we will be discussing my favorite reads of March. I have read a total of 7 books during the past month and most of them are Murder Mysteries (as expected 😉 ). Hopefully these mini-reviews will spark your interest and make your TBR higher for April. It’s always fun to discover new books!

If you want to, you can also check out my Top 5 Jan & Feb Reads !

Now, let’s get started…

Top 5 March Reads

1. As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson

As you may have noticed during my last post, I am currently obsessed with the “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” trilogy and in March, I read the third and final installment to the series. An instant bestseller that read like a true crime podcast or show, I was intrigued from the beginning and book 3 did NOT disappoint!

Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? 0_0 Soon the threats will escalate and Pip will realize that everything in her small town is coming full circle. If she doesn’t find the answers on time, though… *ominous silence*

I don’t want to talk much about this novel because I am not a fan of spoilers; you guys know we keep it #SpoilerFree here. BUT, I really want people to read this trilogy so I won’t spoil book 3 for you. I WILL beg you to check it out though because this was just INCREDIBLE. I promise you this trilogy is a masterpiece of murder mystery and crime solving. The finale was scary, thrilling, exciting, and heartbreaking at the same time. I won’t ever stop recommending them <3

PS: do remember these books are not for everyone, so check out the trigger warnings beforehand if you are interested 🙂 .


2. You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

I gave in to BookTok’s recommendations 😉 . I’d seen enough people talk (and cry) about this one so I decided to give it a try too and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. A YA Contemporary novel that teaches us all a lesson on grief, love, and coping with the loss of a loved one.

We follow the story of seventeen-year-old Julie who has her future all planned out: move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, and spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies and everything changes… 🙁

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail when Sam picks up the phone! In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye: the connection is temporary but hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go.

Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever. A beautifully and realistically written, contemporary novel with fantasy elements and at its core, a theme of love and grief <3 .


3. The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

This was an unexpected, thrilling and mysterious novel that I adored, I swear! IT HAS BECOME A FAVORITE. A diverse cast of characters and each with a solid and captivating storyline that will keep you hooked during this multiple point-of-view novel. I wasn’t able to predict the ending, either. It took me by surprise, in a good way.

The Grimrose Girls follows the story of Ella, Yuki and Rory: after the mysterious death of their best friend, Ari, they are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened. When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined.

As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, the academy itself and discoveries of curses that repeat the brutal and gruesome endings through the girls in schools.

Will they be able to break the cycle? A take on classic fairytales that reimagines heroines as friends attending the same school :D. The perfect combination of dark academia, fantasy and crime solving. Plus, the sequel is out later this year so this is the perfect time to give it a try!


4. The Red Palace by June Hur

This book was fascinating! I was hooked from the start; I swear I didn’t finish this book in one sit bc I’ve been busy with college assignments, but it’s the perfect read to get you out of a reading slump. A fast paced, intricately plotted mystery novel that gives off historical k-drama vibes 😉 . It also includes lots of themes like complicated parental relationships, deep caring and found family, discovering yourself and following your own path and dreams. I promise you it will not disappoint.

It is 1758 in Joseon Korea. Eightheen-year-old Hyeon has worked and studied hard to earn a position as palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval. But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into a dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

Hyeon and Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer, must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed. You will be captivated from the start and find yourself involved in this investigation and crime solving the main characters are diving into! <33 Thrill, excitement, mystery, secrets and politics (plus a sweet, slow-burn romance).


5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

I read this book for my Humanistic Psychology class last term and it didn’t feel like a task at all. This was a very interesting and educating read, Victor Frankl’s memoir that riveted readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for survival. It is a powerful, life changing narrative of events and lessons that I’d hope everyone can someday read.

Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. At the heart of his theory is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. It is a very deep read and one that will leave you thinking for days just as I am right now… WOW! Themes of resilience, bravery, self-discovery and search for life’s meaning.


These are all MASTERPIECES, I promise. Both The Red Palace and The Grimrose Girls are perfect for fans of thriller and murder mysteries. And of course, the ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ trilogy is *chef’s kiss,* definitely recommend to read them all. PS: Always check out the trigger warnings for these.

I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post and that I’ve made your TBR significantly larger too. It isn’t a successful monthly wrap-up unless one of you tells me they’ve found a new book to read! And please, make sure to check out the two books I included in the “Other Books I Read” section because they were amazing too!

Wishing you all the best for the weekend, stay safe and take care, dear book lovers. Spend your time nicely & spread love always. Happy reading! 🙂

Did you spend March reading? Tell me how it went & comment your favorite reads of the month too!


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