book review · Uncategorized · wrap up

February 2017 Wrap Up

Surprisingly I actually read a lot in February considering it’s a month that always seems to go by much faster than the other months. It sometimes feels like February doesn’t even happen. However, I had a pretty good reading month so here are my thoughts on all the books 🙂

Image result for the star touched queen
3/5

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This reminded me soooo much of The Wrath and the Dawn especially in terms of the characters. We have an independent young woman who doesn’t want to get married blah blah blah and a mysterious king with secrets and they both fall in love. But while Renee Ahdieh imbued her main characters with originality and individualism, I didn’t think Chokshi’s characters achieved anything past two dimensionality and superficial love confessions. Because the second half depended on my investment into these two main characters, suffice to say that I was skipping through
it waiting for it to end. I did, however, like the incorporation of Indian mythology and all these creatures of lore.

 

Image result for the blackthorn key
3.5/5

 The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

This was so much fun!! A historical fantasy that takes place during 16th century England following Christopher who is an apothecary apprentice. He and his friend, Tom try to solve the mystery of the murders that have been happening around their town. Omg guys, this was so cute and fun and full of middle-grade goodness. There’s a cute bromance, interesting puzzles and codes, some interesting historical facts, a fun mystery, and a lot of the main character being a little shit and getting into trouble every other page. Highly recommended for middle grade readers.

Reviews for these coming soon!
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong | Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Image result for night sky with exit wounds    Image result for born a crime

Image result for a rose for emily
4/5

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

This is a short story by the classic author William Faulkner. This was a good prelude to me reading As I Lay Dying next month which I’m excited to read since I’ve never read Faulkner before. This story very much follows the Southern Gothic writing tradition, following a black woman living in an old mansion alone except we only get to know her through the people around her. The ending was so creepy but again very much in style with the Southern Gothic themes. Faulkner is not a hard author to read in terms of language, it’s fairly simply, it’s just everything in between that’s difficult to decipher.

 

Nana Vol. 1 by Ai Yuzawa

Image result for nana vol 1
4/5

I haven’t read a shojo manga in so long but I heard that this series focuses on friendship than romance and it was so good. I think part of the reason why I adored this so much is because it’s more of a coming-of-age story of two flawed, university aged girls trying to find who they are as they navigate romance and friendships and all that good coming-of-age stuff. The first volume follows them in their separate storylines, the first Nana is just getting over an affair she had and moving to Tokyo to try and attend art school. The other Nana of the story is part of a punk rock music group. They couldn’t be any more different but they will eventually meet and become best friends. I love the mixture of typical shojo humor and the more emotional scenes of self-discovery.

 

Image result for 5000 km per second
2/5

5000 km per second by Manuele Fior

 

This is a French graphic novel following two people who fall in love over a period of time. Life happens. They break up. And they meet again. This is a novel that was completely lackluster in the story department but so lovely in its artwork. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that it’s a monochrome palette painted with watercolor (my favorite style). It really rendered the setting of Egypt and Italy in a lively way.

 

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Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher

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3.75/5

This is a beautiful Beauty and the Beast retelling that gives a lot of nods to the original French story but of course, gives an original spin to it. Beauty is a gardener who wanders into the Beast’s castle one day and the rest of the story goes from there. Contrary to many BatB retellings, this one actually addresses the subject of bestiality head on (subtly) and a lot of the sexist notions of Belle “fixing” the Beast. And what I really liked was that it puts Beauty on equal footing with the Beast. The Beast himself is actually a really considerate and mild-mannered person/beast without a mean streak or temper problem which is completely different from other renditions of the Beast which was refreshing. There’s an overarcing mystery about the magic mansion that Belle is trapped under that they both try to solve together. However, I was missing a central internal conflict that I’d hoped would propel more character development. Still, this was a retelling worth reading..or listening to because I did listen to this on audiobook. It is narrated by the same person who narrated The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I think her raspy, antique voice really fits this story.

Image result for el deafo
3.5/5

El deafo by Cece Bell

I mentioned this in my graphic novels recommendation post here. I definitely recommend this for younger readers. The artwork is very cartoony but definitely doesn’t detract from the overall theme of being ok with yourself and trying to learn that as a young child who is deaf.

Image result for el deafo

 

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Image result for ship of magic
4/5

I’m going to be doing a full review of this whole trilogy when I’m finished with it so I plan on reading the second one in March and third in April. But so far, this fantasy has impressed me a lot more than other epic fantasies of late although it still makes me wonder why epic fantasy authors are so obsessed with writing about whores. I seriously think the word whore appeared on every other page.

DNFs

Do No Harm by Henry Marsh

Image result for do no harm book
3/5

As much as this book reveals about what it’s like to be a brain surgeon, I feel as though the author was holding back from revealing too much about his cases especially his failed ones. I suppose I understand that because he is still practicing (I think). But the problem is I can watch videos of these procedures and it would be better for me visually. What I wanted was the human side to these cases. But the writing was lackluster and he incorporated pieces of dialogue that were completely unnecessary and he would keep skipping around topics within the same chapter even though the previous topic clearly needed some more explanation. For most of the book, he talks about his cases but I felt like he was just listing them off and not going into too much depth about any one of them so that kind of frustrated me. Maybe it was also the fact that he was kind of an arrogant asshole most of the time. That doesn’t bother me so much as the fact that it feels like he uses the book to excuse himself rather than to grow. Maybe that’s just me.

Image result for imagine me goneImagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

This is a story about a man who has depression and how his family copes with this. In as far as I read, I think it was a fairly good translation of what it means to be a person with depression but the writing and the family members were compelling to make me keep reading.

 

 

And that was my reading in February! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, what you thought of them, anything really, I’d love to know!

 

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8 thoughts on “February 2017 Wrap Up

    1. I did too! And Chokshi’s writing definitely had potential when she was describing the bazaar and stuff and I think I’ll be checking out her other books since this is her debut novel. I’ll give her another try. Thanks Alicia, I hope you do too!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m always amazed by how varied the selection of books you read every month, Carolyn! Of your list this time, I’ve only heard of the first two. I’m sorry to hear that The Star-Touched Queen felt like a TWatD 2.0 though. I recently bought that one as an ebook (I’ve been debating buying a physical copy or electronic one for so long so I’m glad the Kindle Daily Deal chose that book to feature and made the choice for me, lol). And Nana!!! That is one of my all time favorite manga of all time. And just a warning but that series is a rollercoaster of feels. Also, the mangaka has been on a hiatus for a long time now and the series is left on a massive, excruciating cliffhanger. Just thought I’d warn you if you have plans on continuing soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks Summer! 🙂 It’s good to see you back in my comments section. I’m glad you bought it on Kindle too; I think you’d find it lacking too but who knows. Oh gosh, I really want to continue the series. The fact that you say it promises a lot of feels makes me more excited haha. But, oh gosh, if you have any tips on how to keep on top of manga series, you need to let a girl know because I’m literally so bad at it and it bothers me because I genuinely want to continue them. I think it’s because not all the volumes are at my library so I have to put a hold on them and there are so many volumes sometimes that it adds up (I have to pay money to put a hold)..etc. etc..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. …this might sound bad but I usually read manga using online sites. But in my defense, my local library doesn’t have a good selection, and sometimes the manga I want to read hasn’t been officially serialized in English yet (so I read fan translated ones). Plus, they’re too expensive to collect; I only buy my favorite series (and that’s after I’ve read a good portion of it online to determine if it’s that good). But yeah, I guess that wasn’t much help, haha.

        AND WAIT. You have to pay for books put on hold? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a library? That’s ridiculous! o_O

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No worries I do that too haha, but lately I’ve found it really hard to read manga on the computer. It strains my eyes a lot more than when I’m just reading it for some reason so that’s why I try to borrow them. And I know right, so annoying, it’s 25 cents per hold but still.

        Like

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