February Reading Wrap-Up

Better late than …. ugh. Listen, there’s a pandemic, y’all. And I fully plan on milking that excuse for as long as I can because GEE WIZ.

I’ve been sitting on this wrap up for two weeks because I could not get EXACTLY ONE flat lay just the way I wanted it. I have those “done is better than perfect” blurbs posted all over my house but, real talk; I am never going to post a half-assed flat lay. Especially where a lesser known work is concerned. I just…. I can’t. Anyway, this morning my friend posted her February wrap up on instagram and I figured there was no harm in going ahead and posting my own.

Though it was a short month with less reading time for me than in January (I’m back at work now post-surgery, woohoo!) I still managed to check off quite a few books! Here’s what I loved this last month as well what failed to hit the mark. (DNF not included because right now I’m not in the mood to rail on an author I otherwise love.)

Image Description: flat lay featuring an ebook copy of Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles as seen on the screen of an Android tablet. To the right of the book, a set of metal skeleton keys and a teacup on a gray-ripped saucer rest on a lace tablecloth. Lavendar leaves dust the area around. There is a string of pearls to the top left and a magnifying glass with a wooden handle.

Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures #1) by K.J. Charles

🍡🍡🍡🍡 (four stars as rated in cups of tea because, “thank God we’re British.”)

The following review is copied from my previous post about this book.

Uhhh… is it hot in here or is it this book!? HOLY COW, y’all! This book is steamy!! We’re talking, some of the best sex I’ve read in awhile. I mean, hot damn! Look, I am a sucker for a cozy mystery and this one was an absolute delight. Well done, K.J. Charles. Well done.

✨ Rep in this book: gay protagonist, queer characters

✨ Content Warnings for this book: homophobia, harassment, assault, government conspiracy, kidnapping, violence, guns, discussions of war, graphic sex

Image Description: A flat-lay featuring the book A Complicated Love Story Set in Space held open by Sarah’s left hand to the title page. To the top left of the book, a cup of tea rests on a saucer with a grey-rimmed lip; they are all sitting on a wooden cutting board. A bouquet of dried lavender and a candle on a wooden coaster peek into the frame beside it. There are specks of dried lavender all around.

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson

🍫🍫🍫🍫🍫 (five stars as rated in Nutreesh, Earth’s favorite nutritional meal substitution bar and a proud subsidiary of Gleeson Foods)

The following review is copied from my previous post featuring this book.

Listen, it’s hard for me to find sci-fi that doesn’t make me want to hurl. This is probably my fault for reading unobjectively bad sci-fi. BUT ANYWAY, holy smokes, y’all! This book was a ride! It really is like reading a season of bad outstanding teen TV. Also, queer rep in all three main characters had me doing little happy claps every couple of pages. Read this book next time you’re in a rut! You won’t regret it.

✨ Rep in this book: gay protagonist, queer characters

✨ Content warnings for this book: rape, sexual assault, gun violence, kidnapping, memory manipulation, gas-lighting, brainwashing, death of a partner, violence

Image Description: a flat lay featuring the book When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole. The cover of the book shows the front facade of a brownstone building painted blue. The lights are on in one of the windows. The book lays on sheet of blue crushed velvet with a vine surrounding it to the top, bottom and left. To the right, a vintage pair of binoculars are half in/half out of the frame.

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻 (five stars as rated in Sydney’s mamma’s sunflowers)

The following is copied from a longer review in my previous post about this book.

This book blew me away. Gentrification is a nasty business and this book succeeds in giving it an even more sinister spin with a very Get Out feel. Every twist and turn was genuinely enjoyable to me and the ending had me completely gripped! I love a good thriller, particularly one that is believable. I think what was most chilling about this book is that it isn’t really that far-fetched. After all, what’s more terrifying and depraved than the 400+ year legacy of white supremacy?

✨ Rep in this book: Black protagonist, Black author, own voices

✨ Content warnings for this book: medical stuff, forced institutionalization, wrongful accusation, racism, death of a parent, murder, domestic violence, abuse, dysfunctional relationship, white supremacy, abuse of power by police and government officials

Image Description: A flat lay featuring the book, What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo. The cover of the book depicts a young white woman with blond hair and whose mouth is artistically cut away to reveal a set of monstrous, sharp teeth. The book is laying on lace and red silk beside a chess board with a few of the pieces askew. There is a lit candle with smoke curling into the air.

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

πŸ›πŸ›πŸ›πŸ›πŸ› (five stars as rated in Eleanor’s mother’s bathtub)

The following is copied from a longer review in my previous post about this book.

What’s this, a Gothic horror novel with a twist on popular folk monsters?? Be still my beating heart because this is the book of my DREAMS! Y’all, this book really goes places. The premise is completely brilliant and the execution of it was just….*chefs kiss.* When I finally put things together at the end… when I realized WHAT (or should I say whom?) Eleanor is supposed to be I felt so dang foolish for having overlooked it. But the pieces are laid out so brilliantly that the answer just isn’t terribly obvious! Bah. I loved it.

✨ Rep in this book: bisexual characters, non-binary author

✨ Content warnings for this book: physical abuse, absent parent, death of an animal, arson, blood gore, graphic depictions, bullying, murder, death of a child, homophobia, manipulation, toxic relationship, mind control, violence, mob mentality

Image Description: a flat lay featuring an e-book copy of Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters as seen on the screen of an android tablet with a black case. Daisies and pink carnations lay to the bottom left and top right of the tablet on a white and pink marbled surface.

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺 (five stars as rated in flowers because for whatever reason this book just makes me feel like flowers)

I was given a free review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The following review is copied from my previous post about this book.

Wow. Just… wow. What a spectacular debut. So much about this book blew me away and left me really questioning what I knew – or thought I knew – about gender dysphoria. Truth be told, I am still somewhat reeling from the experience.

✨ Rep in this book: transgender protagonist, mixed-race supporting character, transgender author, own voices

✨ Content warnings for this book: homophobia, trans-phobia, dead-naming, outing, attempted suicide, physical assault, sexual violence, infidelity, divorce, abortion, medical stuff, toxic relationships

Image Description: a flat lay featuring the book Love is a Revolution by RenΓ©e Watson. The cover of the book is lime green and a Black, plus-sized teen girl with long braids and big hoop earrings is front and center. She wears a casual yellow v-neck shirt and blue jeans. At the four corners of the book are images of her and a boy in various phases of their relationship: flirting, holding hands, chatting together on a bench and then sadly parting ways. To the right of the book is a chocolate cone of ice cream and near the top of the frame rest a pair of folded aviator sunglasses.

Love is a Revolution by RenΓ©e Watson

🍨🍨🍨 (three stars as rated in ice cream cones on a hot, summer day in Harlem)

The following review is copied from my previous post about this book.

I was really excited to get my hands on this book so close to the publication date. This is exactly the kind of book I wish I had read as a teen. So many important themes are explored; body positivity, Black joy, community involvement, self acceptance, and more. I appreciate everything that this book is and strives to be, particularly for young Black readers. I will say that the text reads a bit more like middle grade than young adult which is not what I was expecting. I enjoyed it well enough, regardless and, though, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to many adults, it was a very solid middle-grade-style read.

✨ Rep in this book: Black protagonist, fat rep, Black author, own voices

✨ Content warnings for this book: child neglect, abusive parent, infanticide, toxic relationship with a parent, blood, graphic injuries, death threats, attempted murder, sacrifice, forced marriage, death of a parent, death of a child, torture, battle, war themes, sex.

Image Description: a flat lay featuring an e-book copy of the book Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid as seen on the screen of a white iPad. The book’s cover image depicts a birds-eye-view of four surfers paddling on clear blue water. To the let of the tablet is a smattering of sand. A palm frond pokes into the frame at the top left and at the top right is a white mug of coffee on a cork coaster.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ (two stars as rated in the fire that its all leading up to)

I was given a free review copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The following review is copied from my previous post about this book.

When it comes down to it this book was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters but my problem was that so much time is spent continually introducing other characters that I lost track (and interest) in what even the protagonists were up to after a while. At the end of the day I’m impressed when anybody can write a book, and one that I actually want to actually finish, at that. So huzzah to TJR for all she’s accomplished thus far in her career and even if I had DNF’d this book, you better believe I’ll buy everything she ever writes because her words are just a joy to consume. Even when I don’t really know what’s going on.

✨ Rep in this book: n/a

✨ Content warnings for this book: neglect by a parent, absent parent, alcoholism, drowning, arson, drug use, infidelity, divorce, physical violence

Image description: a flat lay featuring an e-book version of Spark to Shadow by Atima Kim as seen on the screen of an Android tablet with a black case. To the top, bottom and left of the tablet is gold, shiny fabric dotted with white sparkles. To the right is a scattering of little onyx pebbles. The shadows of palm leaves peek into the frame also.

Spark to Shadow by Atima Kim

πŸ‰πŸ‰πŸ‰πŸ‰πŸ‰ (five stars as rated in DRAGONS of course!)

The following review is copied from my previous post about this book.

Y’all know I am such a sucker for a good fantasy romance and this one was really outstanding. I BR’d (buddy read) Spark to Shadow with my friend, Amanda, and while it was a genuine pleasure for me personally to read I know that Amanda’s experience with the novel was light-years more meaningful than my own. Please take the time to read her full review and, of course, give her a follow!

✨ Rep in this book: Eastern Asian cast of characters, own voices

✨ Content warnings for this book: violence, themes of war and battle, discussion of abuse

Image Description: A photo of Sarah holding a book with a purple cover in front of her face. She is wearing a white, knit sweater and standing before a blue, pink and purple background. She appears to be blowing away, book and all.

Stats:

  • Women authors: 6
  • NB authors: 1
  • Trans authors: 1
  • WOC authors: 3
  • Own voices: 4
  • Queer rep: 3

Thanks for reading, friends, and a lovely March to you all!

Sarah

Published by Sarah

My name is Sarah and I can't imagine my life without books. Actually, I can and it's terrible. I'm also into climbing, video games and bothering the nearest cat.

8 thoughts on “February Reading Wrap-Up

    1. Yes!! I actually just finished Band Sinister last night and it was wonderful! I’ve also read the Magpie Lord but didn’t love that one as much. KJ Charles is def working her way into fav author territory. And Spark to Shadow really is fun!

      Liked by 1 person

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