Another month has come and gone, and I’m ready to discuss everything I managed to read with you. I participated in the ReaD&Dathon during the first two weeks of February, which is a readathon inspired by D&D – which I’ve never played before. You can read more about the readathon and what I planned on reading in my TBR post here.
The Outsider by Stephen King – ★★★★ – really liked it
I am pleasantly surprised by my first Stephen King read in over a decade. Prior to picking this book up, I’d only ever read The Eyes of the Dragon, which is one of his fantasy novels. I saw The Outsider, one of his 2018 releases, at my local library and decided to give it a try. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed the reading experience! I do think this book contains spoilers for the Bill Hodgins/Mr. Mercedes series, which I haven’t read but plan on picking up. I do think the second half of the book was more intriguing and captivating than the first half, but I would still highly recommend this book.
When an eleven-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses undeniably point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence and fingerprints confirm the crime was committed by this well-loved family man. Horrified by the brutal killing, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose own son was once coached by Maitland, orders the suspect to be arrested in a public spectacle. But Maitland has an alibi. And further research confirms he was indeed out of town that day.
Bound (Book of the Ancestor #2.5) by Mark Lawrence – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
I don’t really know how much I can say about this since it’s a) a follow-up to the second book in a series, and b) a 60-page novella. I honestly can’t wait for the release of the third book, because I want to be back in this world with these characters as soon as possible. I do have a ship, and there are two acceptable ways for it to end. If neither of those happen, I’m suing Mark Lawrence.
Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe – ★★★★★ – a new favorite
Inge recommended this to me when I was seriously struggling with body image issues last month. I’m so grateful to her, because I really needed this book. While I do follow Megan’s Instagram, I hadn’t picked up her book yet. I listened to the audiobook which the author narrates herself. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. Even if not everything in it applies to you, I promise you’ll still get so much out of it. I’ve never had an eating disorder like Megan did, so I couldn’t fully relate to that part. But everything she mentions is so important.
We’ve been convinced that happiness is something that only comes once we hit that goal weight, get those washboard abs, shrink ourselves down and change every part of ourselves. We believe that our bodies are the problem, but the truth is that our bodies are not the problem. How we’ve been taught to see them is the problem… it’s time for us all to stop believing the lies, and take our power back.
The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking – ★★★★ – really liked it
I received this book as a gift from Inge, and I’m so grateful for it. It’s a wonderful read on what you could do to increase the level of happiness in your life. I do think that a lot of the solutions are only for people who can afford them – both in time and money – but it’s a wonderful read nonetheless. I really liked the focus it had on going back to sharing between neighbors and friends.
In this captivating book, he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to inner fulfilment. From how we spend our precious time, to how we relate to our neighbours and cook dinner, he gathers evidence, stories and tips from the very happiest corners of the planet. This is the ultimate guide to how we can all find a little more lykke in our lives.
Fence Vol. 1, 2, and 3 by C.S. Pacat – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I picked this up randomly because it was available on Scribd, and my subscription was about to end. I read the first volume of the series, and then read the single issues. The bind-up of volume three isn’t available yet, but all the single issues in the bind-up are. I absolutely adore this series! I can’t wait for the next issues and volumes, and I definitely want to buy physical copies of the series. I need news on the next one now!
Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.
His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik – ★★★★ – really liked it
I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, and I finally did so thanks to the #readdathon. This is a fantastical historical fiction novel set during the Napoleonic Wars, but with DRAGONS! I love dragons, and I loved Temeraire in this novel. I can’t wait to read more of Temeraire and Laurence’s adventures. I do think that the war aspect was a tad confusing at times because you’re just thrown into the Napoleonic wars without any explanation.
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.
Shadow and Bone (Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★.₅ – liked it
One of my monthly reading prompts was to reread a favorite book, which is perfect since I’d been meaning to reread this series for a while to prepare for the release of King of Scars. I first read this in 2013 and gave it 5 stars then. Upon reread, I lowered it to 3.5. I still enjoyed the book, but it’s definitely nowhere near some of my favorite fantasy novels. There’s a little too much focus on the romance, and a little too little focus on the worldbuilding.
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
The Princess Trap (Dirty British Romance #1) by Talia Hibbert – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
In January, I read my first Talia Hibbert book and fell in love with her writing. I had The Princess Trap on my Kindle as well, and couldn’t wait to read it. I absolutely adored this one as well, and know for sure I’ll be buying more of her books this year. If you want to start reading (smutty) adult romance, or you want to read more of the genre, I can’t recommend this author enough.
Prince Ruben of Helgmøre is his family’s greatest scandal, but the defiant royal won’t change for anyone. He always takes what he wants, and his current obsession is Cherry Neita. The feisty beauty has no idea she’s being seduced by royalty—until they’re caught together in a compromising position. Oops. All Cherry wanted was a night or two with the hottest man she’d ever seen. Turns out, that man is actually a prince, and now he needs her to play princess. Well, princess-to-be. The deal seems straightforward enough: one year as Ruben’s fake fiancée, and he’ll make all her problems disappear.
A River in Darkness by Majasi Ishikawa – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
I’ve had this memoir on my Kindle for a few months and finally decided to read it while on vacation. To be honest, this was not really a holiday type of read… It’s a brutally honest look into the author’s life in North Korea from the age of 13 onward, and his eventual escape back to Japan. This was so difficult to read at times, because it’s hard for me to grasp that this is still happening in the world.
The harrowing true story of one man’s life in—and subsequent escape from—North Korea, one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes.
Come Drink With Me by Michelle Kan – ★★★★ – really liked it
I picked this novella up because CW at The Quiet Pond recommended it on Twitter, and made it sound absolutely amazing. All I can say is that I wish I had an entire novel with these characters. It’s such a cute and wonderful story.
A Dragon, a Phoenix, and an Opera House. Bonds that transcend time, loyalties that defy hardship, and the magic of the places we call Home. An Aromantic Chinese Fairytale.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker – ★★★★ – really liked it
This was such an interesting read. It’s a retelling of the Iliad (well, sort of) from the perspective of Briseis, who was captured after her city was conquered and turned into Achilles’ slave. I like that this book gave a voice to a woman, because we never seem to talk about the women who became slaves to the murderers of their families. However, I think the book missed some chances when it only gave Briseis a voice, and added the perspective of Achilles in the second half. It seemed like we were taking away her voice again.
The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman: Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war’s outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate – ★★★★.₅ – loved it
After finishing The Silence of the Girls, I felt like I needed a more lighthearted read. Noteworthy seemed like the perfect fit! It truly was. I ended up falling in love with this book. It’s going to be on the list of contemporaries I will keep recommending forever! It was a perfect girl-disguising-as-boy book, with PoC and LGBT+ characters (both main and side), and didn’t shy away from discussing the way the main character was pretending to be a boy but didn’t identify as trans and how she felt guilty about taking that from a community she didn’t belong to. Anyway, THIS WAS GREAT.
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all male.
I’m so happy with the past 2 reading months! 2019 has been a great reading year for me so far, both in terms of quantity and quality. I’ve read so much, and happened to love almost everything as well. I hope that trend continues throughout the rest of the year! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What did you read in February?