Overall, February was a great month for me. I found a few new favorites, reread an old favorite, and met one of my favorite authors. I’m really happy with how this month has gone, reading-wise. I’m beginning to settle into post-grad blogging, which is more of a challenge than I’d expected. And I am brainstorming a few new writing projects, which is awesome, because I haven’t written anything since I finished grad school.
What I Read:
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak – ★★★★☆. I really enjoyed this book about teenagers trying to win a video game competition in the 80s. It’s mostly contemporary with hints of sci-fi, and I thought it was a fun young adult story (with a really unexpected twist). The characters were cute, and it gave me some serious Ready Player One vibes. Which is awesome. (Review)
The Perpetual Now by Michael D. Lemonick – ★★★★☆. This is a nonfiction book about a woman named Lonni Sue who suffers from severe short-term memory loss. It explores the impact it’s had on her, on her family, and how her case is really groundbreaking for science, since she had built a lifetime of memories and skills before her hippocampus was damaged. I found it incredibly interesting, and it was great to read a real account of a phenomenon I’ve mostly seen made light of in film. (Review)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – ★★★★★. I absolutely loved this book, not in small part because of how unique it is. It’s part historical fiction, part ghost story, and told in a way that I’d never really seen before. I am actually planning on listening to the audiobook soon because it has an incredible full cast, and I think I might even love it more the second time around. (Review)
Gilded Cage by Vic James – ★★★★☆. This is a new science fiction/fantasy novel that just really got everything right in my book. I really like the magic system and the characters, and how Vic James used multiple perspectives to tell the story. It had the potential to be too similar to a lot of other popular books, but it managed to stand apart. I’m really looking forward to the sequel! (Review)
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – ★★★★★. I wasn’t sure what to think of this book when I started it, but it slowly became a favorite. I’m still thinking about it, and I’m sure it will be a book I revisit again in the future. And yes, I am planning on watching the adaptation – I actually just rented it on iTunes (it was a 99-cent rental) and am looking forward to sitting down and watching it sometime this week. (Review)
Caraval by Stephanie Garber – ★★☆☆☆. As you can see, I didn’t like this book all that much. I did, for the most part, enjoy it while I was reading it, but the second I stepped back I saw so many problems with it. I didn’t care for the writing at all, and really just wasn’t a fan of the characters and story and the messages it sends to young readers. (Review)
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – ★★★★★. I love Neil Gaiman. And I love Norse mythology. So, obviously, I loved this book. I listened to the audiobook, and really enjoyed it. It was educational, but read like a book of fantastical short stories. I highly recommend it!
The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot – ★★★★☆. It’s been a while since I’ve read Meg Cabot – I read and reread all her books throughout high school and college – and I forgot just how much I love her adult books, and this one was no exception! I’m also 97% sure it’s a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which is amazing. I had a lot of fun reading this one!
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab – ★★★★★. This book was amazing. I thought it was the perfect end to the series (even though there is one story thread left open and it’s going to drive me crazy forever). I really love these characters and this world, and it was definitely bittersweet finishing their story. But I really did love it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – ★★★★★. My first reread of the year! I first read The Night Circus about two and a half years ago, and have been meaning to revisit it ever since. The addition of a rereading feature to Goodreads was a great excuse, and I am so glad I finally got around to reading this one again. I fell in love with it all over again, and it remains a favorite.
What I’m Currently Reading:
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves. I got an ARC of this book, which comes out at the end of March. And while I do think this book has a lot of great elements – being set largely in Austria-Hungary, the incorporation of historical figures, basically the historical parts – I’m having major issues with the main character. In that I kind of don’t like her. She’s definitely got that ‘chosen one’ thing going on, which wouldn’t bother me that much if she wasn’t so shallow and boy-crazy. Within about fifty pages, I’d pegged four potential love interests, two of whom she kisses and then is upset by. I’m not sure my review is going to be all that great, but I’m going to continue reading and see if my opinion improves.
Out of the Fire by Nathanael Green and Evan Ronan. I finally started this book, which Nate was kind enough to send me a copy of. I really want to be in the mood to read it, because I’m sure it’s amazing – like everything Green and Ronan write – which hasn’t really happened yet. But I am enjoying it so far, though I’m reading it very slowly, and I definitely think I’m going to fall in love with this book the same way I did with their Tomahawk & Saber series.
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I am making my way through this one slowly, because it’s amazing and I just want to savor it and appreciate it. I’ve also been approaching this in a more academic way, than just as an enjoyable read, which I like in this case.
What I Watched:
Westworld. I watched two or three episodes before I started the last part of my grad thesis, and then just never went back to it. But this month, I finally finished it, and it was really good. The twists totally blew my mind, which I loved. And I do kind of have a major girl crush on Thandie Newton now, because she is incredible in this. If you haven’t watched it, you should. If only because it will totally mess with your head. In the best way.
The Lobster. This movie was probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. And I kind of loved it. It’s set in a world in which you’re turned into an animal (of your choice) if you fail to find a romantic partner after a certain period of time. It was awkward and bizarre and kind of wonderful. I’m hesitant to recommend it, because I definitely think most people probably aren’t going to like it, but it was definitely unique and kind of inspiring (from an aspiring writer’s perspective). I already want to rewatch it, which is pretty rare for me.
P.S. Can I include Viola Davis’s Oscar speech here? Because it was absolutely incredible. It completely inspired me, and made me love her even more (just when I didn’t think that was possible). I’m still in awe of her ability to speak so eloquently, intelligently, and beautifully during such an emotional moment. (I would 100% sound like a complete idiot if I ever had to give an acceptance speech, especially in front of 100 million people.)
What I Did:
Met Victoria Schwab! I absolutely loved meeting Victoria Schwab and hearing her speak (and getting my Shades of Magic trilogy signed). She is so nice and funny and smart, and I left feeling just as inspired as I had when I met Neil Gaiman. Which is a lot. I think this is definitely one of the experiences I’ll remember for a very long time.
Hanalei Lip Treatment. I rarely – if ever – share any sort of cosmetics on this blog, but I had to share this one, because I’m kind of obsessed, and I’ve never actually seen it in stores. I got a sample size of this lip treatment from Ipsy, and it is by far the best lip balm I have ever tried (and I’ve tried a lot). My lips literally went from cracked and bleeding to soft and smooth after using this once. It’s a bit of a splurge, but I still want to buy like ten tubes. (Since I’m broke, I’ve just been rationing my tiny sample until I can afford to spend $20 on a tube of lip balm.)
Discussion | How Do You Define Diverse Books? I do want to write more discussion posts and focus more on diverse literature, and this post combined both of them. While my thoughts might be a bit scattered, I do think this is an interesting question, particularly since there has been a huge shift towards focusing on diverse books (and rightly so).
Recommended Reading | Black History Month. It’s been a while since I’ve done a recommended reading post, and I think there are some amazing books on this list that are perfect any time of the year.