Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Monthly Reads - February 2023

I hope you all enjoyed all the book reviews last year, since it's just another hobby of mine, it's not going anywhere! I loved doing the Monthly Wrap-up last year to share mini reviews on all the books I've read each month! 

It could be a big range from 2 to 10 books depending on how much I read, but I figure I can share a little synopsis and quick thoughts on each book. I will still be doing more in depth reviews on books that really capture me! 

Where Darkness Blooms was received as a review e-copy

So, in February I read 10 books - a mix of genres from adult dystopian to non-fiction memoirs. I love most genres, and I really want to keep my reads diversified this year - I think I have been doing a great job of that so far! Also, I've been trying to read a mix of old and new books and I've managed to do that this month, with mostly old  I read 6 audio books, 3 physical books, and 1 e-book! 

Here's a quick look at all the books I read in the past month: 

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This an adult romance novel - it's a childhood friends to lovers and second chance romance. It was sweet book and the characters were great. I loved the timeline of back and forth and build up to the reveal of what happened. Personally the only thing that didn't work for me was the location of where the big moment was set, but overall it was a cute romance.

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova ~ ☆☆☆☆ ½ - 4.5 stars. This is an adult magical realism/fantasy novel and I really enjoyed this! This book follows the Montoya family and them all being called to Orquidea's funeral while she is still alive - she bestows them all a gift and some a bit of her magic. This leads to them following her legacy and fighting the curse that follows their family. It is complex because there are so many family members and duel timelines. As the stories converge, we see more magic, more complexity, but also more family and more love. I love the connections and discoveries of the characters as well as the magic and the discoveries of what is coming for their family. There is layers and complexities, but it also is such gorgeous and descriptive writing, you can see everything and feel all the magic while you are reading it!

My Daughter Rehtaeh Parsons by Glen Canning ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a non-fiction memoir and this book took a while to read because it is a heavy, hard read, but important. The author, Glen Canning is Rehteah Parson's father. This was a story that shook Canada - Rehteah was a teenager who was raped, had a photo of the incident shared everywhere, endured a slough of online bullying, struggled with mental health as a result and eventually committed suicide. I knew I was going to cry through this whole book and I sure did - her story is hard to read to know how people treated a teenage girl, but also just a failure of how her case was handled and how long it took to lay charges for distributing her photo. That all didn't happen until after her death. But part of this is seeing changes to online bullying, and personal growth in terms of looking at how society in general treats women. I think reading stories like these, while hard, are important. This is what teenagers have to deal with and we need to be aware. Got a little off topic sometimes, but worthy read.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely ~ ☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult contemporary fiction read - it's about a white boy who watches a family friend who is a police officer assault a black youth he goes to school with. It's a powerful read and I picked it up because my son was reading it in high school last year (and honestly, this is a great read for highschoolers just with how relevant the story is). The aftermath of him deciding whether or not to say what he saw or stay quiet and the impact on both youth and their families and it's a lot and it feels like a very important read that will generate a lot of conversation. 

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is a young adult graphic novel about a teen girl who encounters a selkie, and it's not her first time. This was a cute graphic novel about a teenage girl coming in to her own - navigating family, friends and romance. But, not just any romance - a selkie, who is also on a mission. All about being true to ourselves. Really cute!

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood☆☆ - 2 stars. This is an adult romance and it's a popular romance set in the STEM world. Okay this has to be the "it's not the book, it's me" thing because this has a high rating and people I know like it, but I'm pretty picky with romance and I think this one was a little cringy for me. I probably could have been more care-free when I read it, but there was so much that stuck out as odd in the writing that I just couldn't get past! I liked the premise and the end redeemed it, but I almost stopped a couple of times. I wanted to enjoy this, but all I know about the love interest is that he's big (every other paragraph) and that he's hot and wears henley's. It just felt a little young for the age range the characters were supposed to be - the whole book was about miscommunication and not talking.

At Midnight: 15 Beloved Fairy Tales Reimagined by Dahlia Adler ~ ☆ - 1 star DNF. This is a young adult fantasy/fairytale retelling (although some I read that were contemporary). This sounded right up my alley, but sadly I just couldn't get in to these stories - I heard they were darker, but honestly these were generic contemporary retellings and i just didn't get in them. I did dnf and reading some and skimming others. What's great is that the originals are included so you can read both. Unfortunately just not for me!

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult dystopian novel set on a remote reserve when they lose power and realize quickly that it's not coming back on. This was a great book - I'm always a little unsettled at a dystopian book that feels real and the circumstances of the apocalypse seems possible too. As Winter settles in over the reserve, and they realize power is not coming back, it's about how can they band together as a community instead of falling apart. People start to arrive from the South that changes everything. Good, unsettling, but good!

Where Darkness Blooms by Andrea Hannah☆☆☆ - 3 stars. This is a young adult horror novel - it's about a town surrounded by sunflowers where woman keep going missing or dying unexpectedly. Overall this book took me a little to get in to and left me wanting a tad more from the story - it was a decent read overall. What worked for me was the setting - I thought the author introduced the setting and the creepy vibes started right away. Loved the storms and the sunflowers and the vibes. What I struggled with was having four girls and four POVS - I thought it took me a really long time to distinguish who they were and the amount of characters we needed to follow and keep track of. I had to go back and figure out who was who a few times until I got used to them.

Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse☆☆☆☆ - 4 stars. This is an adult fantasy novella and it was a dark, fantasy story that had me intrigued. I was really in to all the facets of the story; but, like most novellas I just wanted more from the story! This was dark and intriguing and I loved the story and demons and a little who-dunnit-murder. I thought that it was all great and it would have probably been a 5 star review if it was more developed, because there was so much going on and some parts ended up feeling so rushed.

Overall, February was a pretty good reading month - it was a good way to start the year with a great book and lots of good ones! 

Here's a little refresh of my rating system:

5 Stars: Excellent/Fantastic/Amazing Read 
4.5 Stars: Really Great Read
4 Stars: Great Read 
3.5 Stars: Really Good Book
3 Stars: Good Book 
2.5 Stars: Eh, It was Okay Read
2 Stars: Finished it, but Didn't Enjoy It
1.5 Stars: Not Good at All
1 Star: DNF (Did Not Finish)

What was the best book you read this month?! My favourite of all of these was The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina! 

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