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Reading wrap-up: February

As the new year crept closer, I thought more and more about doing monthly wrap-ups but forwent the idea at the end of January for a few reasons. Firstly, I struggled with motivation to read, and by the end of the month, I had only read three books and started a fourth. Whilst this would have meant that it was a relatively easy post to put together, I was a bit embarrassed and frustrated. Also, there would have been a lot of repeated information as I had already used two of those books for content.

I read:

February however, is an entirely different story. I rediscovered my love for reading and for picking up book after book after book; I feel excited, exhilarated and enthusiastic again. Netflix has seen a sharp decline in viewing time, and I want to share the reasons with you.

Girl in Snow

The first book of February played, I think, a large part in reinvigorating my reading. By virtue of it being the first book of the Under Cover series myself and Amy are collaborating on, I went into Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka completely blind. This was really liberating as, I soon, realised I had been overthinking my choices, fixating on one point mentioned in the blurb or hinted to by the cover, and persuading myself that it wasn’t what I fancied. Receiving a wrapped book with strict instructions not to unwrap it until I finished it removed those problems, and I loved the book and the experience.
Author: Danya KukafkaGirl in Snow 2
Published: Picador 2018
Genre (According to Goodreads): Mystery Thriller

 

Blurb: When beloved high school student Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched – not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the police officer assigned to investigate. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters – Cameron, Jade, and Russ – must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

The Time in Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope

A large part of my job at the library is shelving. Going around the shelves, there are always some books that pique your interest; it might be a title, a pretty font or, a bright yellow cover. I have a great interest in mental health and – for want of a better phrase – really enjoy reading about people’s individual experiences of mental illness. This is a deeply affecting account of, to plagiarise the title, hunger and hope. It shows how quickly and anorexia can take hold; it is brutal, without prejudice, and the experience of it is deeply personal and individual. Forgoing glamour or a woe-is-me approach to this period in life, Nancy simply invites us to, as much as we can, experience what she did. I struggle to properly explain my feelings about this book, but I wholly recommend it.

Author: Nancy Tucker
Published: Icon Books 2015 The time in between
Genre (According to Goodreads): Memoir

Blurb: When Nancy Tucker was eight years old, her class had to write about what they wanted in life. She thought, and thought, and then, though she didn’t know why, she wrote: ‘I want to be thin.’
Over the next twelve years, she developed anorexia nervosa, was hospitalised, and finally swung the other way towards bulimia nervosa. She left school, rejoined school; went in and out of therapy; ebbed in and out of life. From the bleak reality of a body breaking down to the electric mental highs of starvation, hers has been a life held in thrall by food.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

My Family and Other Animals

(There is no photo of this book as it was too fragile)

ITV has been showing re-runs of the series ‘The Durrells’, it was a program I stumbled across while sat in the lounge, eating dinner with the family on a Saturday night (wild, I know) and it drew me in. It’s funny, relatable, interesting, but mostly it’s cosy, warm and comforting. I’d heard of the Durrell family before, seen the film with the same name as the book and felt that same amount of warmth and comfort. Having discovered the program and made it a part of Saturday evening that I really look forward to every week, I remembered that we owned a copy of the book. The copy in question is a very well warn penguin edition with pages that are almost the same colour as the orange spine. It’s a mass-market, small book and the back cover is missing. The last four pages fell off in my hand as I was reading but, for once, this didn’t matter. I was utterly engrossed. It blanketed me with just the same feeling as both visual adaptations and whisked me away to Corfu. It was a romp.

Author: Gerald Durrell
Published: Penguin 1956
Genre (According to Goodreads): Memoir

Blurb: Fleeing the gloomy British climate, the Durrell clan move to Corfu carrying the bare essentials of life: acne cures for Margo; revolvers for Leslie; books for Larry and a jam jar full of caterpillars for Gerry. Recounted with warmth and humour, it is a heart-warming portrait of an eccentric family surrounded by a wonderful cast of friends and fauna.

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

The Bees

This was the first of the two fiction novels I picked up in Foyles back in December, as I mentioned in that book haul, it had been a long-time on my want-to-read list. It was first brought to my attention in the Summer and from then on I noticed it being mentioned more and more; I was very excited to pick it up. The cover is beautiful, and with the hype as it had been, I had very high expectations. I think that that’s what let it down. It was a good book, and I did start and finish it within one day; there has to be something that kept me going. However, I did find the writing style a little bit confusing at times and trying to keep up with not only all the characters but also all the different stations meant that I sometimes found myself pulled from the action. That being said, I would recommend this. Laline Paull has discovered an absorbing and original plot and executed it so well. The main characters may be bees but they are relatable, and you want them to succeed.

Author: Laline Paull
Published: Fourth Estate, 2015
Genre (According to Goodreads): Fiction The Bees

Blurb: Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. Living to accept, obey and serve, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for her beloved holy mother, the Queen. But Flora is not like other bees. Despite her ugliness she has talents that are not typical of her kin. While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and is allowed to feed the newborns, before becoming a forager, collecting pollen on the wing. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

My Not So Perfect Life

I was craving a light, fun read. A romantic-comedy in book form that wouldn’t necessarily require too much brain power. I am not new to Sophie Kinsella, I really enjoy her ‘Shopaholic’ series and have read Undomestic Goddess more than once (in fact, you’ll find it at the end of this list). So, when I spotted My not so perfect life while shelving, I snapped it up. There’s a reason why my Sophie Kinsella collection is sat on the shelf most reachable from my bed, they’re the perfect accompaniment to an early night with time for reading before falling asleep. This newest book is no exception and, is probably my favourite of all of hers. It was funny and light – just what I wanted – with characters who were both relatable and likeable. On more than one occasion I had to force myself to stop reading. It was also extremely motivating in my quest to get earlier nights. Although the story could definitely be described as predictable I was still keen to read about it.

Author: Sophie KinsellaMy not so perfect life
Published: Bantam Press, 2017
Genre (According to Goodreads): Women’s Fiction

Blurb: Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?
Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Rating: 5 / 5 Stars

Sourdough

The second and last of my Foyles books, Sourdough is also the second novel of Robin Sloan. I love his debut novel Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore and was hoping that this would have the same sense of whimsy. Sloan is obviously a fan of technology and excited about its advances. Both of his books read a little bit like love-letters, whilst remaining understanding of the ‘old ways’. This combination worked really well in Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore, and while I will never be happy with Kindles I could understand the reasonings. However, it didn’t work as well in this one. There was a lot to keep up with and the ending was … odd. In fact, the whole of the second half was odd. I wish I had a better way of explaining it but I don’t.Sourdough

Author: Robin Sloan
Published: Atlantic Books, 2018
Genre (According to Goodreads): Fiction / Magical Realism

Blurb: Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.
Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive.

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

The Undomestic Goddess

My last book of February this was picked up simply because I wanted something to read. Much like Sophie Kinsella’s other books, its a tad farcical in places and very predictable. But it is also fun and enjoyable. There isn’t really much else to say, it ticked the box and will do so again in the future – sometimes, that’s all you need from a book.

Author: Sophie Kinsella Undomestic Goddess
Published: Transworld Publishers, 2006
Genre (According to Goodreads): Women’s Fiction

Blurb: Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.
Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.
But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

What books did you read in February, did you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Also, what did you think of the post? It took a long time to put together so March may have to be slightly different, would that be okay?

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5 thoughts on “Reading wrap-up: February Leave a comment

    • So sorry it’s taken me so long to respond! Yeah, February was a great reading month … and March seems to be flipping brilliant as well. Unfortunately I think the formatting may have gone a bit awry; there isn’t a book called ‘blurb’ in the list. What was the book about – I’ll find the title for you in case you did want to read it 😊 Hope your reading slump passes soon x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hey! This is such a nice way of presenting what you have read so far 🙂 And 4-5 books in a month, woah. Please do check my blog too. I have so far written Book Summaries(one by an Indian Author) and other stuff. Lots of love from India.

    Liked by 1 person

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