My Month in Books: February 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

February is the shortest month of the year and I had several days where I didn’t read a word. So I expected numbers wise for it not to be a successful month. However, as it turned out, I read more than I did in January. I didn’t love many of the books I read in February, but that’s all part of the reading process. So if you’re curious to know which books I read in February and what I thought of them, keep reading.

Check out my January 2020 reading wrap-up.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The first book I completed in February. It’s not a very popular TV series but I’ve actually never seen it or knew what it was about. The most I knew about it was that it featured Zoe Kravitz and Reese Witherspoon. Anyways, I went into it knowing it was a mystery and that’s all. It follows a bunch of moms and the “politics” at their children’s school.

It didn’t sound like it would be my jam, but gosh did I love it. This book was so much fun, the characters were so engaging and the storyline, flashing between the past and present, were so interesting and it was definitely a page turner. It started my month of reading off right and I hope to read another from this author.

Rating: 5/5 stars

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

This is the second book in the Three Dark Crowns series. I liked the first book, albeit I found it a little slow at times. The second installment of the series was a lot more action packed and I liked it a lot more. A lot more happened and the arc of one character in particular was very interesting.

One of my complaints with the first one was how much page time the “side” characters got. I still have that criticism. Particularly, Jules, one of the queen’s friends. It’s clear the author has a favorite “queen” and story and I’d be surprised if she doesn’t win everything in the end.

Rating: 4/5 stars

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Continuing on the series trend, I picked up the second of the Darker Shades of Magic series. This one, and this series, I’m very conflicted on. When I looked back on my rating for the first one I saw I gave it 4 stars. But I could not remember a thing about it. So in the beginning of this one, I was trying to re-familiarize myself with the world.

Even while reading this I found myself liking it but I just wasn’t retaining a lot of it. I’m not sure if I just picked it up at the wrong time or there’s something about the story that I don’t fully connect with. One factor is that this book largely focuses on a character that I do remember not caring for in the first book. Still, I plan on finishing this series.

Rating: 3/5 stars

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

The next book I read in February was this retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses. I have been getting more into fantasy lately and I love fairytales, whimsical settings and reading about sisters. This is another one that surprised me. It has a lot of tropes in YA that I dislike and a romance I wasn’t convinced of, but I really enjoyed it.

It had a lot of scary elements, magical moments and it was a very fun, easy read. My ratings are based large part on enjoyment and this was a good one.

Rating: 4/5

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

A controversial one. I tried reading this book before but gave up because I was bored. But at work we were watching this movie and I thought to give it another choice. While I did finish it this time, my opinions were ultimately the same. I found this to be so boring. Look, I’ve said it before – I’m not a fan of romance. Still, this is such a beloved classic that people praise for the snappy dialogue and interesting characters. But one thing I want to question people is… what about the plot?

Besides the fact that I found most of the characters flat, I also struggled with the plot or lack thereof. I kept wondering when something important was going to happen and it hardly felt like anything did. Online people bash anyone who dislikes this book, but I don’t feel like praising something just because it’s labeled a classic. Ultimately, I didn’t enjoy this one at all.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This next book follows a black nurse and a white supremacist after the unfortunate death of a newborn baby. The premise of this book was intriguing to me. Overall, I thought this one was OK. Not to say it was a bad book at all, I just found myself only caring about the trial and more exciting moments. The urge to skim some parts were very strong. Additionally, I thought some of the resolutions at the end were a little contrived. All in all, good book, but not a favorite.

Rating: 3/5 stars

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Historical fiction loves the WWII time period. I was hesitant to read this because I thought I’d get burnt out of reading about the Nazis. But I am glad I read this one. After not enjoying a historical fiction last month, this one was a pleasant surprise. It was a combination of the writing and characters that contributed to my enjoyment.

Although I enjoy historical fiction, I do find many are often too long and with scenes I feel could’ve been cut. That wasn’t the case with this one. I was engaged throughout the majority of this book.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I’ve been trying to give YA more a chance lately. One, because it’s so much more readily accessible and they’re usually fun and easy reads. This one definitely was a fun and easy read, but I just didn’t enjoy it very much. It had a lot of the elements of YA I dislike and why I’ve grown out of it. There wasn’t just a love triangle, but a love square. At one time I thought it was going to be a live pentagon!

The characters felt shallow, the worldbuilding wasn’t too strong in my opinion and the romance was dull. I feel bad for being harsh because the author seems like a cool person and I think it has potential, but it fell short for me. That being said, perhaps I’ll pick up the second in the series. Not sure yet.

Rating: 2/5 stars

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I really wanted to read a book set in the 1920s and realized I haven’t read this classic. With this book, I’ll fully admit I need to give this a second read, perhaps in a different format. I did like it, the atmosphere/setting was really well described and so were the characters. However… what happened? Someone died. Yeah. Money. Party. And…..

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

My sister watched this movie several times when we were younger. I knew it was about a girl murdered by a pedophile, but that’s all. I enjoyed the first half of this book a lot more than the latter half. The first half was heart-wrenching, thought provoking and even funny at times.

It fell apart more towards the end when some of the things got a little silly. I can’t really explain without getting into spoilers, but just know it involves a moment with a friend and love interest.

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Last but not least was this monster of a book. Large books definitely intimidate me and sometimes frustrate me. I know it makes no sense, but I’d rather read two books than one large book. I consumed this one as an audiobook and it was a whopping 24 hours! Toppled with the fact that it’s a high fantasy, I was a little intimidated. But wow was that a great ride!

I decided to read a Sanderson book after listening to his lectures online. If you don’t know, he teaches a writing class and many of the lectures are on Youtube. It’s been very helpful for me as a writer and I’m happy to say he practices what he preaches. His strength was definitely the worldbuilding. It was also great to see a fantasy that didn’t treat a female main character as just a prop for a male character.

This story was complex, intriguing and engaging. I can’t wait to read another one of his books. Would I still have preferred a shorter book? Perhaps. But I don’t regret the 24 hours spent listening to it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Recap

Books Read: 11

Favorite Book: Big Little Lies

Least Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice

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