February was a bit of a crazy month in the beginning, but I have to say, it was an interesting month in terms of reading. I read a mix of really bad books and really good books, which I believe is as much as a success as reading all five-star books. Some of these books I discovered by chances, others were on my TBR for a year that I finally read. And I read a total of seven books, two books more than last month. Let’s hope this continues as the year goes on.
City of Skies by Farah Cook (digital book for review)
This is the first book I have given a one-star rating to in a long, long time. And I feel terrible about it.
The author sent me a digital copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. In my honest opinion, I was not a fan of this book. The world building was shaky, the characters were one-dimensional, and there were so many tropes my head was spinning.
The plot was interesting enough: a teenaged girl joins a group of warriors called the Raiders, whose mission is to search for evidence of Vikings. Then, it went downhill from there for me. However, the author is still new, so I think she has potential to get better the harder she works at it.
I am posting my full, spoiler-free review of City of Skies on Amazon and Goodreads (maybe my blog but I’m not sure) the day of its release, March 3rd.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne (library book)
Now that the hype has died down, I felt it was safe to finally check out Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I had been going back and forth for months about spending the money to buy it in the wake of so many negative reviews. In the end, my library came to my rescue.
In my personal opinion, the whole franchise could have done without Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. From the first page, I felt as if I could hear J.K. Rowling say: “Here’s your fucking eighth book. Now leave me alone.” It was a way con more money out of Harry Potter fans and milk the Boy Who Lived for all his worth.
I’m not saying Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was terrible. There were parts of it that I enjoyed, such as Scorpios Malfoy (who didn’t love him?). Being in play format, it was a quick read and it saved me from a possible reading slump after that review book I previously mentioned. I’m glad I can say I finally read it, but I am also glad I never spent the money on it.
If you want to know all my spoiler thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, go read my review.
The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (library book)
My first Ellen Hopkins book and I was not disappointed. The You I’ve Never Known follows two girls named Ariel and Maya. Ariel is a seventeen-year-old girl coming into her sexuality liking a boy and a girl, which proves to be a problem where her homophobic father is concerned. As for Maya, also seventeen, she flees her abusive
mother by marrying an older man and becoming pregnant with his child. The girls’ lives mirror one another, eventually crossing paths.
The primary focus of The You I’ve Never Known is self-discovery. Ariel is trying to build a life of her own away from her controlling father, thus uncovering a few secrets as a result. I liked her as a protagonist, especially appreciating her honesty with her two love interests and her subtle ways of manipulation when dealing with her father, making him think he was in control while she had him wrapped around her finger.
As for the writing, I enjoyed it; the free verse poetry made a 600-page book fly by. Maya’s sections in prose were few and far in between, but they were still written well. My main qualm with this whole book, though, is it could have been at least 100 pages shorter, because the last half of the book dragged on.
If you are interested in my full spoiler-free thoughts on The You I’ve Never Known, go read my review.
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
I finally, FINALLY read A Torch Against the Night, the sequel to An Ember in the Ashes and one of my favorite books of 2016. But now I’m sad, because I have to wait until 2018 for the third book.
Dare I say it, but in regards to storytelling, Sabaa Tahir gives Sarah J. Maas a run for her money. Her world building is spot-on, adding on to the mythology and danger of the Empire and the lands surrounding it filled with rebellions, war, and political intrigue. Elias and Laia are my two new all-time favorite characters. He’s a strong, brave, and good-natured warrior who pulls at my heartstrings. She’s a quiet but fierce fighter that I see a lot of myself in.
As for Helene, I didn’t think I would like her, though I warmed up to her by the end of A Torch Against the Night. The love square was annoying, but I think the end of the book finally resolved it, and I really hope Helene ends up with the person I think she’s going to be with.
Seriously, though…I need the third book ASAP.
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist (library book)
My pick for a Valentine’s Day read this year, Love and First Sight is centered on Will Porter, a high school boy that was born blind. At the beginning of the novel, he decides to leave the school for the blind to attend a public high school. There, he meets three new friends and Cecily, a girl he eventually falls for. Then, he gets unbelievable news: a new experimental surgery that could give him eyesight. The surgery works, but when Will sets eyes on Cecily, he discovers she is not as beautiful as his friends described. Only does that really matter?
I flew through this book in three days. The writing was witty and the banter reminded me a lot of the dialogue on The Big Bang Theory TV show. Will is a great protagonist: thoughtful, funny, and easygoing, but he has his flaws, too. Cecily is someone I think some people can relate to in that she’s a good person, but sometimes overlooked because of her appearance. There’s one scene in particular, before Will has the surgery, where his parents meet Cecily and there is literally a 30-second pause. It made me think: “Is this poor kid truly so unattractive that two grown-ass adults would stare at her like that?”
What I liked most about Love and First Sight is the social commentary on how sighted people view blind people, or how “normal” people view others with disabilities in general. Will says people have good intentions, but they really have no idea of what the disabled person is going through and, sometimes, such as the case in Will’s mother, they are hurting more than helping. There was also commentary on the traditional beauty standards of society and how everyone’s perception of beauty is different.
If you love young adult contemporary novels and/or are looking for an own voices novel about disability, I highly recommend Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Another book I have a full, spoiler-free review on, The Woman in Cabin 10 is an adult mystery novel about a travel journalist who witnesses a murder onboard a luxury cruise ship. But when she reports the crime to the ship authorities, all passengers and staff are accounted for. So, she sets out to prove she did not imagine what she heard that night, putting herself in danger of being the killer’s next target.
While it was a fun, fast-paced read, The Woman in Cabin 10 is not one of the best mystery novels I’ve read. The main character, Lo, was my favorite aspect of the story and the writing was good, but the plot was far-fetched and I found it hard to believe at times. I would definitely like to see this adapted into a film, though.
For my full thoughts, go read my review.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Like A Torch Against the Night, Passenger was another priority TBR book I read this month. As I expected, I enjoyed it very much, probably more than I did Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds trilogy.
Violin prodigy Etta Spencer is kidnapped by power-hungry time travelers on the night of her debut performance and discovers she is a time-traveler herself. Aided by handsome 18th century pirate Nicholas Carter, she travels from country to country, century to century, to locate a lost item for the Ironwoods, a powerful time-traveling family, in exchange for her mother’s freedom. Only there is more to what is happening than Etta and Nicholas are aware of.
Alexandra Bracken’s writing has improved since her completion of The Darkest Minds trilogy. Though told in third-person perspective of both Etta and Nicholas, I felt more attached to them than I did to Ruby, the protagonist of The Darkest Minds, who told the story in first-person. The different settings were also described accurately and beautifully. Plus, I got hit with the feels—I thought Etta and Nicholas’s insta-love would annoy me, yet somehow the angst of their relationship pulled me under.
As for the characters, I liked both Etta and Nicholas. Etta is strong in her own way and stubborn, driving Nicholas up the wall. He’s moral and loyal, torn between what he thinks he deserves and what he actually wants. They are the reason I’m anxious to get my hands on Wayfarer, the second and final book in the Passenger duology.
What was your favorite book you read in February?