February 2021 monthly wrap-up

Alright, friends: I’m finally getting back on my game with blogging and Bookstagram. I posted on more than half of the days in February, which is about the ratio I’m trying to go for. February was a great reading month for me, in both quantity and quality. To prevent making this post overly long, let’s dive right in:

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Audiobook mini-review: Anxious People

Author: Fredrik Backman
Publication date: September 8, 2020
Genre: contemporary literary fiction
My rating: 5/5 stars

When I picked up this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it–a lot of popular titles kind of miss the mark for me, so perhaps my wariness was justified. But let me tell you: this one COMPLETELY lives up to the hype. This narrative is warm, wise, and witty, alternating emotional sucker-punches with laugh-out-loud commentary on the ridiculousness modern life, and it is one of my favorite reads of this year so far.

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Audiobook mini-review: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig
Publication date: August 13, 2020
Genre: magical realism, contemporary, fantasy
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Do you ever read a book that deals with a topic that is really close to your heart, and all you can think when you read it is some sound of internal shrieking because somebody gets it? Because…yeah, that pretty accurately sums up my feelings on The Midnight Library, a story about depression, second chances, and the impact of even the smallest choices. As is typical for me, this audiobook review is going to be very short, sweet, and concise, because let’s face it–audio reviews can be hard to write. Let’s go.

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Concrete Rose – review

Author: Angie Thomas
Publication date: January 12, 2021
Genre: YA contemporary/recent historical
My rating: 5/5 stars

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Going into this book, I knew I would love it. Angie Thomas is a phenomenal writer and both of her first two books blew me away. But y’all, I did not expect it to be this phenomenal. Writing a prequel can be a risky move, so I was a little skeptical about how this one would work out–but this one was flawlessly executed, fusing both pain and joy in the experiences of a Black teenage boy who finds himself unexpectedly a father. I know it’s only February, but I think it’s safe to say this book will wind up in my top ten reads of this year. Just…wow.

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Fable – review

Author: Adrienne Young
Series: Fable (#1)
Publication date: September 1, 2020
Genre: YA fantasy
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Folks, this book is more than just a pretty cover. After all the hype surrounding it when it came out, I wasn’t sure whether I would end up actually enjoying it as much as people suggested. But I am so glad I ended up reading it anyway last month, because y’all: this one is actually really good. Pirates, diving for gemstones, trade rivalries, and boats–it is a quintessential female-fronted maritime adventure, and I need more books like this one, stat.

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Audiobook mini-review: The Guest List

Author: Lucy Foley
Publication date: June 2, 2020
Genre: mystery/thriller
My rating: 4/5 stars

Lately, I’ve been trying to diversify the genres that I read. This has included joining in a monthly horror read hosted by Melanie at TBR and Beyond, as well as picking up the occasional thriller and some historical fiction, to complement my usual contemporary/literary/YA/fantasy/nonfiction/poetry. (I’ve also been dabbling in some MG and even trying a romance once in a while–yes, I know, shocking! My opinions on those romances, though, are…less shocking, if you know me. But that’s a story for another day.)

All that is to say, this book, being a thriller, was a little outside my wheelhouse. I gave this specific one a shot because my friend M at Storme Reads a Lot was pretty psyched when it won the Goodreads Choice Award for the Thriller category last year, and…I guess I generally like to defer to those with more expertise when trying a genre that they know much better than I do? Their enthusiasm sold me on it.

Cool, enough rambling. Let’s make this actual review short, sweet, and to the point:

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I’ll Fly Away – review + quotes

Author: Rudy Francisco
Publication date: December 8, 2020
Genre: poetry
My rating: 5/5 stars

Are you a fan of Amanda Garmon, looking for a poetry collection to fill that lyrical hole in your heart that you didn’t know was there before? Look no further; Rudy Francisco is your guy.

Let’s be real: spoken word is having a MOMENT right now thanks to Garmon’s wonderful performance at the inauguration ceremony last month. I think, therefore, that this is a great time to promote other spoken word poets as well, especially when they’re so stylistically similar. Plus, it’s the start of Black History Month, so it seems only fitting to start off with a review of a book by a phenomenal Black author.

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Catfishing on CatNet – blog tour (review + giveaway!!)

Author: Naomi Kritzer
Publication date: November 19, 2019
Genre: young adult, sci-fi, thriller
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Excellent queer rep. The coolest, quirkiest, most awkwardly badass AI. A ragtag team of internet friends, a road trip, a reprogrammed sex-education robot (not the AI), a literal cat…this book has a bit of everything, and it works so well. In under 300 pages, this tiny page-turner covers an impressive span of topics, with a delicate balance of fun and dread that will ring true for all of us who grew up alongside the internet.

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I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are – ARC review + some funny stuff

Author: Rachel Bloom
Publication date: November 17, 2020
Genre: memoir, humor
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

It’s funny. It’s weird. It’s occasionally oddly insightful and poignant. Guys, gals, and nonbinary pals, this book is everything I hoped for and then some, a candid testament to the value of honesty and the absolute falseness of the idea that everyone else is normal while you’re just an oddball. From the inimitable Rachel Bloom, creator/star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and creator of amazing songs/music videos including “Fuck Me Ray Bradbury” and “I Steal Pets,” comes a memoir that I can truly say is unlike any memoir I’ve read to date. It contains some echoes of other fun female-comedian-memoirs like Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please…and then amps up the weirdness to a new, wholly delightful level.

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A Golden Fury – blog tour (review + GIVEAWAY!!!)

Author: Samantha Cohoe
Publication date: October 13, 2020
Genre: young adult historical fantasy
My rating: 4/5 stars

Psychologically unsettling, darkly magical, and patriarchy-smashing, A Golden Fury was a great debut novel. It’s a highly enjoyable, fast-paced read, with an intoxicating blend of darkness, madness, alchemy, history, betrayal, and loyalty–definitely a good way to get in the mood for fall.

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