February was again a really good reading month for me! I ended up doing a spontaneous little readathon halfway through the month, which was really fun as well. I ended up reading 37 books in total (a lot of them were graphic novels), but just like in January, I won’t bore you with all of my reviews. (If you’re feeling especially curious, feel free to add me on Goodreads!) In this blogpost, I’ll share my favourite reads of the month (4 or 5 star reads).
Lev Tolstoy – Anna Karenina
I’ve wanted to read this for years, but it always seemed really daunting, so I kept putting it off. I’m so glad I finally read it though! It took me about a month, but I really enjoyed it. Of course the writing is pretty dense and not every part of the story is as interesting, but it’s a surprisingly enthralling read nevertheless. The characters seem ridiculous at times looking at them from a contemporary point of view, but they’re also interestingly complex and the story felt like a soap opera that had me laughing at times. All in all, Anna Karenina gives a multi-faceted view of high society in the described time period.
Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau – Bloom
This is such a cute graphic novel! I really enjoyed it, and I loved the characters. My favourite thing about this is the art, which is very emotive. The writing felt a tad forced at times, breaking the flow of the story a little. Another minor criticism is that I thought the story was pretty slow to start, while the ending was kind of rushed. But overall, it’s a highly enjoyable graphic novel about bakery boyfriends!
Anna James – Tilly and the Bookwanderers
What a delightful read! This is truly a treat, with all the bookish references. I suppose the plot was pretty straightforward and not necessarily the most original, but the setting and the characters made up for it, and the characterization of the “fictional” characters was really well done.
Kiersten White – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
This was so disturbing but so great! I haven’t actually read Frankenstein yet, so I’m not sure how it compares and if it does the original justice, but I loved this adaptation. Elizabeth Frankenstein is a fascinating character, ruthless in her focus on survival. It wasn’t as creepy or suspenseful as I expected, but it was well-written and clever.
Caleb Roehrig – Death Prefers Blondes
This book is fabulous from start to finish, and it’s exactly what I hoped for (and more)! There’s a diverse, all-queer cast of characters, all of which have a clearly developed back story, and the plot itself is incredibly well-paced. I was expecting this to be a fun action-packed story (Ocean’s 8 meets RuPaul’s Drag Race is NOT overselling it, I promise!), but there was plenty of emotional depth as well. I could hardly put it down! I’m really rooting for a sequel here!!
Ingrid Chabbert – Waves
I was approved to read and review an eARC of this graphic novel through Netgalley, which has in no way influenced my opinions.
I requested this eARC based on the cover and description of this graphic novel. Over the last year and a half or so, I’ve already fallen in love with graphic novels, and I’ve been wanting to read more of them. This one looked like the art work would be beautiful, and the synopsis had me intrigued right away, as I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever read about before and it seemed like it would be quite impactful.
With at times very poetic writing, and at other times a pretty subdued, subtle use of language, I feel like this book would have already been quite impactful if it would have been text only. The limited use of text brought across the meaning very effectively.
While the writing already made this book into an impactful read, the art enhanced this significantly, resulting in a graphic novel that will stay with me for a long time. It had me crying at times, but ultimately, it’s also very hopeful. Especially the use of colour in the illustrations felt very meaningful, and the poetic writing style added to that even more.
Overall, this was such a beautiful read. It’s about the grief of losing a baby, but it’s also about picking up the pieces of your life and moving forward. It’s very hopeful and shows that good things will always start happening again, even if it might not seem that way.
Trigger warnings: grief, surgery/hospitals, visual representation of scarring, visual representation of blood.
Shelby Eileen – Goddess of the Hunt
Read my review of this poetry collection here!
Kelly Jensen (ed.) – (Don’t) Call Me Crazy
I didn’t really write a review for this nonfiction anthology, but it was an interesting read for me! I would definitely recommend it if you deal with mental illness in any way.
C.S. Pacat – Fence, Vol. 1
Based on the description, I never would have picked this up. Because saying I’m not a sports fan is an understatement. But it was recommended to me left, right and center, so I finally decided to give it a shot. And it’s just… so good? An enemies to lovers slow burn?? And they’re roommates??? I need volume 2 now!
L.C. Rosen – Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts)
This was a reread for me, and I loved it even more the second time around! My thoughts after the first time reading this:
I loved this more than I thought I would! I expected it to be an important read, and it really is – I think it’ll help a lot of LGBTQ+ readers! And aside from it being a bit like a sex ed class without ever getting preachy, it’s also really inclusive and non-judgmental. The story itself was maybe a little slow to really pick up, but I loved the characters. What I loved most was how many different topics Rosen managed to touch without it ever feeling forced. Would definitely recommend!
Ngozi Okazu – Check, Please!, Vol. 1
So many people recommended this to me, and I finally read it! I felt like I was sure to love this, and I was absolutely right. It’s impossible not to love Bitty, he’s the best kind of main character. I would have liked to get to know the other characters a little better though. I’ll probably read the rest of the webcomic online, as it’ll be months until vol. 2 is set to be released. The extras in the back of the book were really cute too!!
Yoon Ha Li – Dragon Pearl
The Rick Riordan Presents imprint has already proven to publish the most amazing and diverse middlegrade books, and again, it delivered. This was as much fun as it sounds.
Sara Holland – Everless
I enjoyed this book so much! The concept of time as a currency was fascinating, and it was a really fast-paced story. I did feel like the ending was a little rushed though, making it a more complicated than necessary to keep track of everything that was unraveled.
Angie Thomas – On the Come Up
It seemed impossible for Angie Thomas’ second book to even come close to The Hate U Give. But this is at least as hard-hitting, important and relevant, and even more so, in a way, because it gets into some of the more subtle ways structural racism works. This works really well, I think, because Thomas made a huge impact with THUG, and in On the Come Up, she delves into the subject matter more and shows how the system sets people up to fail and/or play into stereotypes a lot of the time. That makes it a very frustrating novel to read, because of all the injustice Bri and her family and friends face. I can only recommend it, as I think it’s at least as important as THUG!
On a side note, I was happy to see LGBTQ+ representation in this novel as well! Bri’s aunt has a girlfriend (I didn’t see a specific label used), and one of her best friends is gay. Thomas refered to Simon Vs as well, which I thought was quite funny! The only small downside was that she also pretty much followed Simon and Blue’s storyline for two of the side characters.
This was very much a month of comfort reads for me: lots of graphic novels and several rereads! But I also discovered a few new favourites, like Death Prefers Blondes and Goddess of the Hunt.
What was your favourite read of February?