Let’s not talk about the month I had. We can talk about how bad the reading month went though – it was pretty bad but maybe by design?
Books I read in February:
I started the month very strong with Melissa Febos’ Girlhood (4.5 out of 5) which I really really enjoyed, especially as a continuation of the earlier Abandon Me (which made my favourites list last year). I thought this filled in some gaps wonderfully while also being more academic in a way than her earlier memoir. Really really recommended! Afterwards I went on a romance binge because my month went to hill. I first read The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran (3.5. out of 5 stars) because I saw excerpts on twitter and it looked as angsty as I wanted – and angsty I got. This was slightly ridiculous but emotionally resonant and very readable. Then I read the first book in the same series Your Wicked Heart (3 out of 5 stars) which I enjoyed but not as much and where I thought the plotting was not nearly as well done. I also would have liked some more groveling! To get my groveling fix I went back to Lauren Layne and read Broken (3 out of 5 stars). I enjoyed this a lot for the most part. I found the couple believable and their chemistry wonderful – but some plot and character developments were a bit too convenient. I also prefer Layne’s older characters. Afterwards I finished what will probably remain my biggest reading disappointment of the year: On the Edge (The Edge #1) by Ilona Andrews (2 out of 5 stars). These are my comfort authors and comfort I craved but this did not work for me at all. I found the two man characters unpleasant and did not like spending time with them which is the opposite of my usual experience with the authors. So then, I read another Lauren Layne book: For Better or Worse (3 out of 5 stars) which was fine – but I have nothing to say about it beyond this. Then I read a clasic “grovel” book; Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (3 out of 5 stars) which was absolutely banana pants (between a heroine who thinks she can talk to a tiger, a hero who works as a circus manager and who’s a contender for the Russian throne (the novel is contemporary-ish), and a marriage of convenience that makes exactly zero sense it sometimes seemed like the author threw everything and the kitchen sink at her WIP) – but addictive and surprisingly emotionally resonant. I did not enjoy the weird, non-specific Christian tone, but loved the heroine. Finally I finished the short story collection The Americans by Molly Antopol (3.5 out of 5 stars) which was dark, depressing, and realist and which I appreciated more than I enjoyed it. The stories are impeccably structured and wonderfully realized, if sometimes ending a bit abruptly. But they are also relentless in their themes of difficult parents and broken familial relationships. The last story, however, was just brilliant, perfect, no notes. I wish they all had been like this.
Favourite of the Month:
Girlhood was the high point in an otherwise fairly bad reading month. Nevertheless, it would have been a highlight in most readings months. Febos is excellent at what she does and I hope she keeps doing this for years to come.
I read 8 books, seven of which were written by women and one by a husband and wife team. One short story collection, one essay collection, two historical romance, three contemporary(ish) romances, one speculative romance.