How are you? I hope you have been reading some excellent books recently! I also hope you have all been taking care and staying safe; 2022 really be blindsiding all of us.
I’ve been okay! Slowly writing some thesis chapters and working towards a major deadline in June – if I pretend it doesn’t exist, then I should be fine.
But I’m here today to quickly talk about the books I read in February – and yes, this was supposed to go up last week but we won’t talk about that. February was a pretty solid reading month. I read some fantastic books, some average books and overall, just had a fun time reading books. In total, I read 12 books where 9 of those books were fiction and 3 were non-fiction. In terms of genres I read, I mostly read fantasy (5), 1 dystopian, 3 historical-eqsue fiction and 2 poetry collections. I also read 4 books that centred LGBTQIA+ characters which was just *chefs kiss*
Similar to January reading wrap up, I’ll organise this wrap up in terms of the star ratings that I gave them! Mostly because that’s how I organised my graphics haha. Should we start with five stars or work our way up to the best of the month????
I’m guessing y’all have voted for the latter? Well, that’s the way I’m going to structure this post! shall we begin? Again, all opinions are my own and are a result of my own sujective feelings and experiences reading these books, so please be kind. I am also not going to be providing summaries of the books, just my thoughts!
𝚝𝚑𝚛𝚎𝚎 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚊 𝚑𝚊𝚕𝚏 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚛𝚜
I feel like it’s a weird sort of flex that my lowest rated book of the month was 3.5 stars because that’s still a pretty great rating! When I said that I had a pretty solid reading month in February, I actually meant it.
𝑭𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒉 𝑾𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 was a slight disappointment. It is entirely possible that I had extremely high expectations going into this book. From the way this book is talked about and hyped, I honestly thought it was going to be a new favourite, but unfortunately, it was just a little bit above average.
Part One was fantastic! I was on the edge of my seat, absolutely stressing about what could happen, loving the gothic-esque atmosphere and the slow unfurling of the story. And the twists! But then part two happened.
Although I understand and appreciate the necessity of having Maud’s perspective, to see how she grew up and her how her character played into the twists and turns of the story; I grew quickly bored. We saw everything from part one, relayed from Maud’s perspective and honestly, I became restless. I just wanted the story to move past that point at which part one ends and part two slowly works up to. It took nearly 200 pages! And then the last half of the book fizzled out for me.
Also – I love unlikeable characters. Most of my favourite books have unlikeable characters as the main characters. But Maud? Actually as abusive woman – she physically abused her maids. Are we supposed to just…walk past that and feel sorry for her?
Just a book that wasn’t for me. It got 3.5 stars because Part One was absolutely incredible.
Exactly half of the books I read were four stars. I thoroughly enjoyed everything that I read last month!
𝑴𝒚 𝑷𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑶𝒐𝒅𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒐𝒐 was a great poetry collection by the legendary Aboriginal Australian activist, Oodgeroo. This was the 50th anniversay edition and I highly recommend it. 𝑨𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒂 𝑫𝒂𝒚 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒕𝒂𝒏 𝑮𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒕 is also another solid non-fiction novel by another author who is prolific with a reputation who preceeds him. Stan Grant is a huge Aboriginal Australian personality and journalist and if you haven’t heard him speak, I highly recommend you YouTube it. 𝑨𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒂 𝑫𝒂𝒚 was good, it did what it set out to do and I think that this book is one that also is required for White Australians, especially, to read.
𝑼𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝑾𝒐𝒎e𝒏 𝑾𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒉 𝑮𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒚 is a novella about queer Librarian spies in a dystopian-esque Western setting, can I get a hell yeah? I mean, what more could we want!? We follow a young woman named Esther Augustus, who ran away from home after seeing her beloved executed for owning ‘inappropriate materials’ (which is against the State) and not only that, but was about to be married to a man she despised arranged by her father.
Esther’s plan lies with the Librarians, deliverers of the state’s approved materials. But is that all they are?? Short answer: no. These librarians are absolute badasses and I was obsessed. Highly recommend if you want a quick and fast-paced read over the weekend!
Young adult fiction has been…weird for me recently in that, I don’t typically enjoy them as much anymore. But this book!? 𝑷𝒓𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑷𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒃𝒚 𝑻𝒊𝒓𝒛𝒂𝒉 𝑷𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒆 was adorable and fun! It’s a Jane Austen retelling-ish of Pride and Prejudice where Lizzie is 16/17 years old and wanting to be a solicitor like her dear old dad. But…she’s a woman and no court would allow her.
We have a murder mystery, we have a tiny bit of a slow burn romance between Lizzie and Darcy, we have twists and turns. When I say that this book was fun, I mean it!
There are a few things that I didn’t necessarily agree with that went against the norms of the historical period or felt out of character, but it was enjoyable and will be continuing the series.
𝑬𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝑯𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕 𝒂 𝑫𝒐𝒐𝒓𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒆𝒂𝒏𝒂𝒏 𝑴𝒄𝑮𝒖𝒊𝒓𝒆 was so so wonderful! This novella is one that defies categorisation. I’m just going to say it’s speculative fantasy/magic, a portal-type fantasy which utterly compels the reader to dive into Eleanor Wests Home for Wayward Children. For those children and teenagers who found themselves walking into a doorway and ending up back into the real world. At Eleanor West’s home, they learn to move on but to also hope for the doorway to find its way back to them. These portals either are perfect for these children or…not.
Although this was the first novella in the series and technically following Nancy’s story – we were introduced to most, if not, all of the characters, including Eleanor West herself. I loved it. It was the perfect mix of weird and wonderful. I was not able to predict what happened in this novella and I was surprised and shocked most of the book, to be honest!
And lastly for the 4 star books is my re-read of 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑬𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑩𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒉 𝑱. 𝑴𝒂𝒂𝒔 in preparation for the sequel. I think my re-read solidified certain things that in my first read, I was more forigiving of. The world building is not great at all and it was so glaringly obvious for me on my re-read. It was too confusing, too fragmented – it felt like the author was figuring how this world worked whilst she was writing it. The hierarchies of the diferent people, the history of the world – all of this was lacking. Which surprised me. The side characters were so much more interesting than Bryce – whoops. But it’s the truth! Bryce felt like Fehyre and Aelin. Hunt felt like Rhys. All the characters could have been interchanged with other Maas characters and nothing would change.
But in saying that, the last 150 pages were immaculate. The climax of the book was a sight to behold! I cried twice. It was fantastic.
I guess that’s a great segue into the next book, 𝑯𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑺𝒌𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑺𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒉 𝑱. 𝑴𝒂𝒂𝒔. I rated this 4.5 stars because it felt much better as a novel than it’s previous book. I feel as though Maas really suffers from first books in series being the worst of the series, overall (I mean, A Court of Thorns and Roses is absolute trash but the rest of the series is fantastic).
I really loved HOSAB. But I have surprisingly complex feelings about the story. I felt that the pacing of this novel really was a let down? The last half of the book felt strange and unsatisfactory. I still need to think about my feelings, to be honest in order to articulate why I feel the way I do. However, I gave it 4.5 stars because it was so awesome and such a great reading experience.
This next book was one that I was quietly anticipating was 𝑮𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒃𝒚 𝑽. 𝑬. 𝑺𝒄𝒉𝒘𝒂𝒃. This book. I loved it so much. The only reason why I didn’t give it 5 stars is because I wanted just a little bit more – 50 more pages! I think I have described this as a quiet fantasy, gently gothic, that also effectively builds a fantasy world with ghouls and Death and a mansion and a family single-handedly keeping the world safe. I love the atmosphere and the writing. Please read it!
These books were brilliant, legendary, fantastic, and wonderful. I feel like I have to say that I read 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑮𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝑯𝒖𝒏𝒕 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑱𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒏, book two in the Wheel of Times series, and I actually will say absolutely nothing about what I thought about it because I’m planning on making a dedicated series about my reading of these books. So. Just know that I loved it.
My favourite poetry collection of the month was 𝑵𝒈𝒂𝒏𝒂𝒋𝒖𝒏𝒈𝒖 𝒀𝒂𝒈𝒖 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒎𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝑷𝒂𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒌 𝑮𝒓𝒆𝒆𝒏. This poetry collection was incredible. I cried so many times – it is super easy to make me cry but goddamn. In this collection dedicated to her mum, Charmaine structures her poetry around letters she kept from her mum when she was at boarding school in Western Australia. She responds to these little letters from her present day, looking back and reflecting on herself, her mum, her identity etc. Charmaine Papertalk Green is an Aboriginal woman, from Yamaji country, and her work is focused on exploring colonialisation and intergenerational trauma, the legacy of Christianity and Christian colonisation as well as family.
𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑭𝒂𝒃𝒖𝒍𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑨𝒍𝒆𝒙𝒊𝒔 𝑯𝒂𝒍𝒍 is my last 5 star book of the month and do I love this book. It was ridiculously dramatic and silly, trope-y and camp, over the top and absolutely fabulous. I laughed out loud a few times and also teared up. Valentine just hit me in the chest – I related to him so much, I understood and felt for him. Honestly, just loved every minute of this wild adventure.
I know a lot of people don’t like Arabella and yes, she does think she is a heroine in her own gothic novel and is equally as dramatic and silly, but I completely understand her. She is a woman with no money being told she has to marry this random man she hasn’t seen since they were children. It was suffocating! Though she is incredibly manipulative but…she thought her life was at stake.
And that’s it for my reading wrap up! Thank you so much for reading!!!! If you can, please let me know the best books you read in the month of february and what you’re looking forward to reading in march!
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,