books

A Month of Love & Lots of Reading | What I Read in February 2023

February was quite the month for love with both Valentines Day & my husband & I’s one year anniversary. If you are new to the blog, we got married at the court house in February & had a larger wedding celebrating with family & friends in May. For more wedding content, be sure to catch up on the wedding series. It has been another cozy month of reading ( although we’ve had a few oddly 75 degree days). It did finally manage to flurry once on our anniversary. I read 10 books this month which is crazy! But I have found audiobooks to be the best way to get a lot of reading in throughout my busy day. Let’s get into the wrap up…

Wheel of Time Series ( Books 1-4) by Robert Jordan

I’m grouping these books together because I’d like to rave about this entire fantasy series as a whole. My husband recommended I start this series since my love for fantasy books have grown since last year. And so far, I am loving them! i have been listening to the audiobook along side the hardback & it’s been such a comfort series. Robert Jordan is one of the classic fantasy writers & I feel proud to say I am reading such a series. The characters banter, the plot & all the little details that will connect in some way later makes the reading experience a wild ride. My goal is to finish the entire series by the end of the year. If you’d like to see a breakdown of my ratings for each book so far, be sure to follow me on Goodreads. But overall, I have a strong feeling this will be a 5 star series. Tropes / themes: found family, slow burn romance, multiple romances, strong lead character, good vs. evil & cozy atmosphere. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Do Over by Lynn Painter

I wanted to include a Valentines Day themed read for this month & The Do Over quickly came to mind. This is the first Lynn Painter book I’ve read & it’s a YA romance with a “ground hogs day / repeating the same day trope. I found this to be pretty enjoyable but I think I personally find this type of trope to be rather redundant. And I honestly found the ending to be kind of lame & predicable. I did enjoy some of the nostalgic references & I feel like I would have enjoyed this as a teenager instead of a 31 year old woman. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Chase by Elle Kennedy

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, of the Off campus series – The Deal, so I thought I would feel the same about this spin off book. But I found this to be a complete disappointment. I found the characters annoying & the overall romance to not be very convincing. I found it mediocre at best. But it was a very quick read & still recommend the Off campus series if you enjoy hockey romances. Rating: ⭐️⭐️

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

I love Alice Feeney’s writing & consider her one of the best within the thriller genre. This is a detective mystery where a reporter & detective both become connected to a murder mystery within their small town. We continue to get the POV’s of both Amy & Jack as well as the past & present timelines of the characters. I was on the edge of my seat & wa caught off guard once again by the twist. I still enjoyed Rock Paper Scissors far more than this one but only because the ending twist was slightly disappointing in my opinion. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Let me just say, this read would be perfect for the fall season / Halloween simply for the east coast fall setting & holiday being referenced. This was a horror novel that was quite unique. Not as unique as Bunny by Mona Awad, but up there. This novel is far more than a horror story. It discusses a far range of topics & themes which made it a book I still think about. From mental health, grief, strained mother – daughter relationships, mental disorders ( PICA being a major theme), suicidal contingencies – there was so much to compact in a little over 300 pages. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I decided to re-read Daisy Jones & The Six in preparation for the tv adaptation dropping March 3rd on Prime. Last year, this was one of my 5 star reads & that remains the same a year later. I absolutely loved this fictional story about a band’s rise & fall of fame in the 60’s / 70’s. It felt like I was reading about a real band. This time around, I had fun annotating & resonating with so many of the beautiful quotes throughout this story. I laughed, I got angry & I cried. I’m so excited for the show & really hope it lives up to this masterpiece. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Talk about a sad read. I listened to this on audiobook & quite frankly the narrator saved this experience. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if I just read the book on my own. The themes were so sad & I recommend you check the trigger warnings before reading this missing person / kidnapping thriller. I will say, I read this in one sitting as I was running errands & doing chores & the epilogue broke me into a million pieces. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

let me know in the comments what you read this month 😊📖 I’m always taking recommendations for my endless TBR

-B

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Monthly Reading Wrap Up: July

July was another amazing reading month with a nice array of genres. From a psychological thriller to an over 750 page fantasy read, I successfully knocked a few reads off my forever growing TBR list. Summer is one of my favorite times of year to read because I can get outdoors & still soak up some sun while I escape to these fictional stories. And I hope August will be just as productive.

Be sure to also check out what I read in June if you haven’t already: June Reading Wrap Up

Here’s what I managed to read in the month of July…

Layla by Colleen Hoover

I was craving a psychological thriller ( my comfort genre) although it’s the height of summer. This is characterized as a haunted romance & I was really excited to read this as I loved CH’s other thriller, Verity. Layla isn’t quite on the level of Verity, but I enjoyed it none the less. I especially was hooked for the first third of the book with the present & past POV’s. The writing style kept me on my toes wondering what would unfold next. I did find the character development to be a bit lack luster. But Colleen Hoover’s imagination is incredible. Such a creative author! Overall, I give this one 3.5 stars.

Synopsis: “When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her – until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed and breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences. Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow – another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.”

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Now, this is how you write a friends to lovers trope! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 we must protect Alex at all costs. Poppy & Alex’s friendship is top tier. This Emily Henry read has a special place in my heart for the main character being a blogger / columnist travel writer. I can live vicariously through Poppy & envy all their bucket list travels. I loved the past vs. present POV’s through multiple summers of their friendship. This is one of the first friendships I felt was very realistic. Not only this, but overall it was such a cute, light summer read. I’m so glad I enjoyed this one because unfortunately her other book, Beach Read just missed the mark for me. I give this book 3.5 or almost 4 stars.

Synopsis: Poppy & Alex. Alex & Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best friends. For most of the year they live far apart – she’s in New York City and he’s in their small hometown – but every summer for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she as last truly happy, she knows without a doubt that it was on that ill-fated final trip with Alex. And so she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together – lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Heartbones by Colleen Hoover

I feel like this is an underrated Colleen Hoover read & I absolutely loved it! I give this a solid 4 stars. At first, I thought this was a lighthearted summer fling story, but like so many CH books, it’s so much more than that. I loved Beyah’s character development & redemption of growing through proverty & a rough home life. I enjoyed the opposites attract story of Beyah [ poverty stricken / alcoholic parent ] & Samson [ very wealthy / troubled past ]. But they connect through sadness. Quite honestly, I found the story to be kind of slow in the beginning but once it hit past chapter 12 or so, it really got interesting. The twist was a little bit predictable which is why I didn’t give it 5 stars. Come to think of it, Heartbones feels like a darker version of The Summer I Turned Pretty series [ especially the volleyball scene]. What I loved most about this book & a reason I wish I owned the paperback, are the quotes. This is a perfect read for annotations. “Damaged people recognize other damaged people. It’s like a club you don’t want a membership to.”

Synopsis: Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah Grim’s parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself. With only two short months separating her from the future she’s built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim. Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah’s plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbor Samson throws a wrench in that plan. Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface. She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they’re both drawn to sad things. 

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

751 pages of pure magic. I absolutely loved this book of the series. It is filled with growth, friendship, battles & romance. In general, the thing I love most of this entire series are the characters and their banter. I personally, love Nesta’s character & the way we came to understand the reasons for her personality. I also really loved the bond between women & the strength of overcoming their pasts. The first 4 books mostly focuses on Nesta’s sister, Feyre, so to read about another character’s POV was really interesting. But SJM still managed to tie in subplots from Feyre & the rest of the Inner Circle. The thing that really ties me to loving this series is how developed each character is & their own personal stories. This book had me in tears, especially the last 100 pages. I annotated the shit out of so many quotes. If you have yet read this series, please add it to your TBR.

Synopsis: Nesta Archeron has always been prickly – proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it. The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other. Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts. Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

If this book wasn’t so hyped up all over the internet, I’m not sure if I would have ever picked this up on my own. On some level I feared this book would give off the “forced to read in high school” type of vibe. And the Greek mythology theme was definitely outside my comfort zone. But if you push aside the dryness of the story & war, it was a beautiful story of a lifelong friendship between Patroclus & Achilles. It is a story about growth & how success can drive us either into a selfish direction or the latter. I kind of pose the question, “who was the true hero?” Also, a few characters I just couldn’t stand for their rudeness [ if you know, you know]. I found the writing to be extremely beautiful & highlighted so many quotes as I went along. It was such a heartbreaking tale & a bit of a twist at the end. The last few chapters did make my eyes blurry with tears. Overall, I give this a solid 4 stars for now. I feel like I need to read a few reviews to better understand some of the story. I’m glad I finally decided to read this though & it has encouraged me to read more books out of my comfort zone.

Synopsis: Achilles, the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful – irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath. They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in their name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

The hubs recommended I start this series & I knew how much he raved about it so I finally decided to give it a go. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone – a dystopian sci-fi style read that gave off a mix of Hunger Games, GOT & Lord of the Flies. I was so surprised. I couldn’t put it down! I finished this within a day. And I can’t wait to read the rest of the series next month.

Synopsis: “His wife taken. His people enslaved. Driven by a longing for justice and the memory of lost love, Darrow will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies…even if he has to become one of them to do so.

Overall, i feel like I crushed my monthly goal & read quite a few books. Let’s see if I can read even more in August! A few reads I’m looking forward to read next month include Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover, the rest of the Red Rising series, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Book Lovers by Emily Henry & The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pakksten.

wanna know how i read so much? Check out my previous blog post: Why Replacing Screen Time With Reading Is Good For You

what are you currently reading?

– B