Hi guys! My wrap ups are getting longer and longer, so I’ve decided that from now on I’ll be splitting them into two parts. But for now, please bare with me and I promise I’ll try my best to keep it short and sweet. I read 15 books in February, which I’m very happy with. I enjoyed most of them and even discovered a couple of new favorite authors: Taylor Jenkins Reid and Brandy Colbert, which is always fun!
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
After graduation Emma moves to California with her high-school sweetheart Jesse, they live a life full of travel and adventure, until Jesse’s helicopter goes missing and he’s presumed dead. Years later Emma’s engaged to her old friend Sam, deeply in love and grateful for her second chance at love. Then Jesse’s found – alive. Suddenly Emma has a husband and a fiancé. At the start I had no idea who I wanted Emma to end up with, Sam and Jesse are both wonderful men, but by the time Emma made her choice – I knew it was right one. I knew that because I knew Emma and that’s what I love about Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing. She let’s you get so close to her characters you feel like you really know them. Even the side characters are three-dimensional people with their own lives and problems. That’s good writing.
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
After spending a year at boarding school on the East Coast against her will, Suzette is excited to spend the summer back home in L.A. But coming home’s not always easy. Her brother Lionel was recently diagnosed with Bipolar 2, she’s crushing on a new girl in the friend group and she’s feeling thins for her childhood friend Emil – that she never felt for him before. This is a contemporary that strikes that perfect balance of being cute and fun, while also dealing with heavier topics. I love the way it called out all the sexist, racist and homophobic comments and attitudes,it always felt like a natural part of the plot and these characters personalities.
Tea Dragon Society by by Katie O’Neill 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This little graphic novel is about a half-goblin girl called Greta. She rescues a scared animal one day and when she returns it to it’s owner she learns that it’s a tea-dragon. This is the cutest thing I’ve ever read, guys. The art is beautiful, I love the pretty pastels and the story itself is so heartwarming. It’s available as a physical copy, but you can also read the whole thing for free online. (And I really recommend you do.)
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson🌟🌟🌟🌟
This book opens with a car crash and every second of it is described in great, graphic detail. So are the injuries the protagonist sustains, as well as the treatments he undergoes for his extensive burns. It’s absolutely horrible to read about, I nearly gave up. Then Marianne showed up. She’s this mysterious, strange woman who insists she knows the protagonist from a past life. When she visits him in the hospital she tells him stories, some about their past life, some about other tragic love stories. There’s one about a young Icelandic man who falls in love with a Viking which nearly made me cry. This is a book of contrast, it’s very ugly and very beautiful. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, but it gave me an unexpected reading experience full of conflicting feelings – which I appreciate, cause it doesn’t happen very often.
One by Sarah Crossan 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins. All their lives they’ve been homeschooled, but their parents can’t afford it anymore. They have to go to a regular school now – where they’ll face stares and whispers, but might also find true friendship. Grace and Tippi are fantastic characters, they’re both kind, brave and funny, But they’re different too. Tippi’s the sharper one, the one who’s not afraid of anything, who wants to try everything once. Grace is softer, gentler, a careful observer, who thinks before she acts. Their story is so beautiful and heartbreaking, full of sadness, but a lot of light too. It’s written in verse, which did suit the story, but didn’t really add anything to it in my opinion.
Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Wintersong had a lot of mixed reviews when it came out and I was one of the people who was completely enchanted by it. I loved the mysterious setting of the underground and the layered, complex character. The characters are still as interesting in this one, they’re flawed people who all have their own inner battles to fight and all the settings are lushly described and most have that eerie otherworldly quality I loved in Wintersong. But the plot wasn’t quite as strong or engaging in this one.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee 🌟🌟🌟🌟
As usual, I’m the last person on the bandwagon, but I’m so happy to have finally read this. It’s exactly what they hype promised it’d be: a fun and funny adventure novel with a swoony m/m romance. Percy and Monty’s relationship is one of the sweetest friends-to-lovers/slow burns I’ve ever read. I loved all the characters, but Felicity was my favorite (she’s a what a badass feminst nerd, so duh) and I’m so excited she’s getting her own book.
Temeraire by Naomi Novik 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Set during the time period of the Napoleonic Wars this novel re-imagines history by adding aerial combat on the back of dragons to the mix. Captain Will Laurence is captain of the HMS Reliant, when they capture a French ship and seizes it’s cargo – a dragon egg’s discovered. Laurence develops an unexpected bond with the dragon and his life changes forever. I’m not one for military fantasy, so my eyes glazed over a bit when I listened to the parts where battles are described in great detail. But my love for the characters made up for it. Laurence is the classic fantasy hero: brave, honorable and charming. But it’s Temeraire who’s the real star – he’s curious, kind, intelligent and loyal. Watching their love and respect for each-other grow was my favorite part.
The Light We Lost by by Jill Santopolo 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Lucy and Gabe meet each-other on September 11th, 2001. They feel an instant connection and share a kiss. When they meet again years later it feels like destiny, their love story is passionate and bright – they feel more alive when they’re together. But then Gabe’s dream of becoming a photojournalist takes him to the Middle East and Lucy stays in New York to pursue her own dreams. I love both Gabe and Lucy – they’re not perfect, they can be selfish, they make mistakes, they hurt each-other and sometimes other, but they felt so real to me, so human. The writing style is very much tell, not show, but there’s a reason for that and it didn’t ruin my overall love for the story.
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Addie Moore’s husband died years ago, so did Louis Waters’ wife. Addie and Louis have been neighbors for decades, nothing more. Then Addie knocks on Louis’s door one evening and invites him to come to her house to sleep with her sometimes. He agrees and it’s the start of a beautiful, bittersweet love-story. This book is written in a very simple, but evocative style. The words are few, but their meaning is deep.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Simon’s gay, but he hasn’t told anyone yet. No one but Blue, they boy he talks to online. They go to the same school, but are keeping their identities secret from each-other. One day Simon forgets to log off gmail after reading a message from Blue on a school computer and another student discovers his secret. I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, but it was a really cute and entertaining read. It was fun trying to guess Blue’s identity and I was so happy when he turned out to be the one I wanted him to be – the romance was adorable.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 🌟🌟🌟 TW: Rape, Domestic Violence.
Claire and her husband Frank are on their second honeymoon, visiting the Scottish Highlands, when Claire walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles and travels back in time to 1743. There she meet Jamie, a young Scottish warrior. There are some scenes that disgusted me, not only because of what happens – but because of how they’re viewed by the characters. But for some reason, despite the problematic aspects and the complete outrageousness of the plot – I couldn’t stop reading this book. I can’t just gloss over the fact that this book does literally romanticize domestic abuse, which is not okay. And I also can’t deny that overall I thought this was a fun and entertaining escapist read.
City of the Beasts by by Isabel Allende 🌟🌟🌟
While Alex’s mom’s in hopsital, Alex is going to stay with his grandmother, Kate. She’s a reporter s about to embark on an expedition into the Amazon rainforest. Instead of canceling her plans, she takes Alex with her. My favorite thing about this book’s the setting, it’s probably the most beautiful and fascinating real-world setting I’ve seen in a book and Allende describes it all in such delicious detail I truly felt like I was right there gliding down the river while caimans watch from the banks. The plot was a very slow burn though, too slow for me and especially for a YA novel.
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey 🌟🌟🌟
This little novella is an alternate history, which imagines 1890s America as it might have been, had the government plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana been executed. We follow a crew of hoppers (essentially cowboys on hippos) on a mission to clear the Mississippi river of it’s dangerous feral Hippos infestation, but they all have their own reasons for being there and their secrets are more dangerous than the hippos. This is not the kind of thing I usually read. I mean, this isn’t the kind of thing anyone usually reads, cause it’s pretty unique. But it’s kind of western, kind of heist – both things I don’t like. But I do like hippos, so here we are. I really liked most of the characters and the diversity of the cast. The first half was pretty slow and a little boring, but the second half was very entertaining and full of twists I didn’t see coming.
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard 🌟🌟
Safi is a truth witch, she can tell when someone is lying. Her gift is as rare as it is valuable, that’s why she keeps it secret. After an encounter with a blood witch, who can smell a person’s magic in their blood, Safi and her best friend Iseult have to flee – but a truth witch’s power is something many would kill for and getting away won’t be as easy as they think. I really wanted to love this book, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I thought the world and magic-system had a lot of potential, but I didn’t find the plot or characters very engaging. The writing style was very descriptive, which I like, but it didn’t flow very well. I kept having to reread sentences and paragraphs to fully understand what was going on.
I also want to highlight some blogposts I read and really enjoyed this month:
Marta @ The Cursed Books’ post about Bookish Resources or How to Get Free Books Legally
Larissa @ Book Bosomed Blonde’s post about Fictional Characters She Wants to be Friends With
Arub @ Arub Unwritten’s discussion post about the different between a good book and a good reading experience: Was it good or did you like it?