February was another busy reading month; I had a week off for half-term so I managed to get a lot of books finished then, and I read 24 books in total, bringing my tally for 2016 to 51. I am hoping the urge to read ALL THE BOOKS diminishes a bit soon so I can read something really long which will take a week or something, without having a breakdown about my reading stats.
Here’s what I read in February:
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I enjoyed this far more than I expected; I’m still slightly unnerved by my sudden passion for YA fantasy, particularly when I’m in the midst of so many series already. I had too many intense feelings about it not to review, so I did.
- Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa – this was diverting enough and covered lots of diverse issues like sexuality and mental illness. I am not usually a huge fan of alternating narrative voices but this was quite clever in that respect and I liked the arty themes, which reminded me of I’ll Give You the Sun. There was a weirdly creepy love triangle which, for once, was actually three-sided.
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick – I read this because Ryan Graudin mentioned it in describing Wolf by Wolf, which I really loved. It was a cool read, which the alternate history idea of the Nazis and the Japanese ruling the post-WW2 world providing lots of narrative interest. I liked the meta-ness of the book within the book too (review here). And now I want to read more of Philip K. Dick’s books.
- The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – (whispers) I didn’t really enjoy this. I blame hype (I do this in more detail here if you’re interested). I don’t think the time travel concept made sense and I just didn’t really connect with the book, which makes me literally the only person in the world who read this and didn’t love it.
- Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate – I reviewed this here. It was alright, although seven narrators is ridiculous and the seven deadly sins thing was not clear at all.
- The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell – this, I really liked. So many novels about the Brontes have been published recently but, luckily, they’ve all been really good. The idea of an heir to the Brontes who doesn’t particularly like their books was pretty entertaining.
- Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton – this was ace; all desert-based whizzing about and topical, with Sultans who are quite happy to bomb all their subjects and plenty of “damn patriarchy” moments. I’ll be reviewing on Fourth and Sycamore in March.
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater – I don’t entirely understand the massive hype around this series after reading this, but the more I think about it, the more I want to read the second one so maybe that’s the magic of the Raven Cycle.
- The Lonely City by Olivia Laing – this was my first non-fiction of February; it’s a study of loneliness, with a dizzying range of references to artists, psychologists and Laing’s own personal experience. It’s a really interesting book and you can read my review here.
- The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – this is another book I’m reviewing for Fourth and Sycamore in March. It completely exceeded my expectations; although it has many features of YA contemporary, it’s also very different and far more mature than most of that genre. I really recommend it.
- Black Rabbit Hall by – possibly the most English- sounding book I’ve read all year. This was a compelling mystery and I’ll review it in more detail for (yes, I’ve read a lot of books for review this month) Fourth and Sycamore in March.
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne – I read this with my daughter, one chapter a night at bedtime. This was a brilliant idea apart from the fact that Winnie the Pooh is completely hilarious and said daughter kept telling me off for laughing too much.
- Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas – great thanks to all the millions of people with book blogs who had already given away the big reveal of this book. That didn’t ruin it for me at all. I had a lot of questions after reading this, which I summarised here.
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – I’ve heard so many good things about this book for such a long time that I had very high expectations, and I’m not sure they were completely met. The focus on Bertha Mason was really interesting and I enjoyed the depiction of the Jamaican setting. It was a bit confusing though, with the switching narrative that gave no warning at all.
- The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley – I didn’t love this to begin with but it ended up really freaking me out, in a way which showed it to be the very clever book I thought it would be. My review is here.
- This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – I really enjoy this series; the outer space setting is fun and I like all the intergalactic politics too. The romance is always my least favourite bit but I like that too. Also, Tarver. That is all.
- The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle – I continue on my search for the right 19th century novel for my year 10 class. This isn’t it. Frankly, I do not enjoy casual racism, even if it is an accurate reflection of historical attitudes.
- Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay – there was loads in this I really enjoyed, like Gay’s thoughts on Chris Brown and Robin Thicke, as well as reproductive rights. I ended up feeling like the word “privilege” was over-used, in a way that excluded me from what was being said, which I thought was a weird way to reach out to your readers.
- The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury – I really enjoyed the start of this,, with the creepy world-building and weird royal family. The emergence of an inevitable love triangle annoyed me quite a lot though.
- A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – I’ve been looking forward to this since I read A Darker Shade of Magic last year and it did not disappoint in any way at all. I love pretty much everything about this book.
- The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill – this was a really vibrant and entertaining read, at the same time quite heartbreaking. I really liked the characters, particularly Nouschka and Nicolas, the twins at the centre of the novel.
- All the Rage by Courtney Summers – the blurb gave quite a misleading impression of this book, which focused on a teenage girl isolated at school and in her town after she was raped. The story inevitably made me very angry.
- Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell – is this cheating? It’s a World Book Day short so it only took about 20 minutes to read. I liked it anyway; it had all the things that are always good about Rainbow Rowell books, plus Star Wars.
- Front Lines by Michael Grant – this was really entertaining; I highly recommend it. Grant’s story of girls enlisting to fight in WW2 is serious and hard-hitting as well as fun, with some awesome characters.
And here are some of the books I’m planning to read in March (defended from potential book-thieves, as you can see, by Darryl Dixon):