Books I Read in February 2023

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are in month two of the year, January flew right by, but I started full time teaching again instead of interventions so here we are with me teaching again and that meant that I was a little more stressed than normal, but I read 13 books in January. I am hoping to read like 10 in February.

            I am already halfway through my first book of the month and it is a slog, I already know I am unhauling it and we can have that conversation when I actually write the little blurb down below. I am getting this post started though so when I finish it, I can just roll through it. 

            There are probably going to be spoilers so if you want to read the book, cool, avoid that blurb. Also, these are my opinions, no one else’s, if you loved a book I didn’t. That’s awesome, I am super happy for you I promise. 

Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff (3/5)

            Of course he was married, like I called so many of the twists because there is such a plot formula for fiction like this. I love historical fiction, I really do, but this one just wasn’t it for me. I liked the World War 2 bits a lot more than her mother’s story and it took me so long to get through it. I was bored, the writing was well done, but the story just didn’t grip me, it was…predictable and boring. I did almost DNF it, but I liked it enough to finish it, will I be keeping it in my collection? No, someone else will get more joy out of this than I ever will and that’s totally okay with me. It would have made so much more of an impact on me if it was told from solely Anna’s perspective with letters or a journal from her mother, not switching back and forth to her mother. It just wasn’t for me and that’s totally fine. The second half did pick up but there was just so many tropes all shoved into one book that it was a little much for me as a whole. 

The Transference Engine by Julia Verne St. John (3/5)

            I wanted to like it, I really did, the premise is so cool! I love steampunk, who doesn’t when it comes to fantasy lovers. This one lost the plot so early; I was confused as to what the plot actually was. It was scattered, so very scattered and while it was a cool concept it was not executed well, that made it hard to read. I expected Ada to have a much bigger role, but she just felt like a side character even though she’s for sure on the back of the book. I expected more and I feel like there was no resolution, it wrapped up so quickly that I wasn’t sure how the author was going to wrap it up and there was like 30 pages left. Drew got done dirty, that’s all I am going to say, dirty and I didn’t root for anyone in this book. It wasn’t for me and that’s totally okay. 

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett Sinclair (5/5)

            The rating might be because I have unhauled the last two books I have read which is never fun, but it is what it is. I love a Hades and Persephone retelling and the modern ones are so fun. I have a few and that might be a me problem because I like them. I for sure read this in two days, I would have read it in one but I worked today so yesterday I didn’t feel like blowing through almost 400 pages. It was so good, Hades is a lot, Persephone is also a lot but they are perfect for each other, a huge mess, but perfect. The mint plant! I laughed so hard I almost cried. I loved watching Persephone own herself, own who and what she was with Hades help of course. Like it got real spicy real fast and then just all the spice, like a full spice drawer. It was so good though, it did have a trope I am not a fan of, but here we are, a happy for now and I already own the second one, the third one is on the list to buy and the fourth one comes out later this year. I am on the fence about reading the Hades Saga, but I might, I don’t know yet. 

White Girl Problems by Babe Walker (2.8/5)

            Okay, so here’s the deal, I have had the third one for nearly a decade so I figured I would buy and read the first one. I regret all of it. I regret buying this book. I read it, some of it was funny, some of it was confusing and made me question reality and everything else. Seriously, this book has not aged well, it came out when I was in college when this was a much more popular trope in novels, the reality-esque. It reads very much like a famous family who has had several TV shows over the years and I didn’t enjoy it. I really do hope it’s all satire and humor because otherwise this book is not okay. I need it to be satirical fiction. I am unhauling the third one because I have no interest in reading it at all. 

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn (4.4/5)

            It was so cute! I really liked this book overall; it is my Book of the Month so a post will be up eventually with my actual full thoughts. I loved Georgie and Levi’s dynamic and just the treatment of family and growth and how it feels when everyone around you is seeming to have all the good things happen to them and you feel like you are standing still and stuck. I feel that on the daily so it hit me, but it was so good. 

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd (4/5)

            Hold onto your horses Batman. Wow, this one was intense from the first few pages. It was also a lot. I didn’t mind the shifting perspectives much but the quick flip in those and the timeline was a little jarring. I really did enjoy it though, I loved Birdie and Ruby, I mean really, who doesn’t love an outspoken Victorian woman and a dead boxer ghost who is only in his underwear and a top hat? The story was interesting, I will for sure say that, I just wish that it would have wrapped everything up a little nicer at the end. I was super confused by the last page which was jarring to say the least. I want to know what happens with Birdie and Valentine, a character named Valentine Rose, I am not kidding and he’s a cop…It was good though, so many things that I didn’t call, and some that I did. 

These Vicious Masks by Turan Shanker & Kelly Zekas (3.3/5)

            I wanted to like it so much, I really did and it was almost unhauled a few years ago but I figured my tastes have changed I will give it a chance. I shouldn’t have, it was like the Avengers but make it Victorian and annoying, I do mean that. It was annoying, like it was such a fun and interesting concept but the execution was lacking for me. I didn’t really feel any of the relationships that were beginning to develop throughout, the plot felt like there was so much unnecessary nonsense, and the ending made me for sure not want to pick up the next one. Like seriously, all of the searching and everything else and that was how it ended? Yea, not going to get the others in this set and this one is going to say goodbye at the end of the year. 

The Wild Dark Flowers by Elizabeth Cooke (2.8/5)

            Have you ever read a book that was about 75 story lines with some overlap but not enough to feel like you were actually understanding and comprehending the whole story? That was this book, I read the first one in 2016 so I remembered very little from the first one and even then, this didn’t feel like I needed the first one to actually understand it. It was busy, it was so busy and the characters were unlikable. I just didn’t enjoy it and that means that like the first one I will be unhauling this one as well. I know that I shouldn’t have skimmed, but I did because the chapters were super long and they switched perspectives so frequently it was difficult to actually keep up and remember all the characters that were being referred to. 

Loathe to Love You by Ali Hazelwood (5/5)

            It’s novellas and I have wanted to read them since last year. I needed a palette cleanser to feel better about reading after having to unhaul so many in a row and just feeling like I wasn’t getting any joy out of what I was reading. I laughed so hard in so many places throughout the novella’s and I liked that they were interconnected, that was so much fun. All of the characters are a lot, though all of the mains in her books seem to be a lot. I would read whole novels with each set of characters because I loved them, I wish that there was more story for each of the pairs, I needed more story with them. I just did. I couldn’t put it down and read it in an afternoon and that should shock no one because I have not taken more than a day to read any books that I have by her. 

As You Wish by Cary Elwes (4/5)

            I love the Princess Bride, it is one of my favorite movies, I have read the book as well. I actually didn’t see it until I was in college because I had a professor who thought that I would be the kind of person to have a signed copy of the script, I am still trying to figure out what the heck he meant by that and it’s been like 11 years since that moment. I love reading books about things that I love and seeing that movie from behind the scenes was so fascinating. I really enjoyed the little snippets and insights from other cast members that were placed throughout the book. It was a quick read and I did skim parts of it because last night and tonight were parent/teacher conferences so I was exhausted after being at school for almost 12 hours yesterday and today. It was really good though and I really did enjoy it. 

The City We Became by. N.K. Jemisin (3.5/5)

            I liked it, the premise was super cool and such an interesting read. There were things that rubbed me the wrong way but I don’t want to get into those things here. I don’t and that is a personal choice. The characters for the most part were super interesting. It was really fast paced though and I didn’t feel like I had any time to actually catch my breath and catch up with the story as it quickly progressed. I did enjoy it but I don’t think I will be picking up the second in the series, maybe, but I don’t know. I love urban fantasy but sometimes it just isn’t for me and this book wasn’t 100% for me and that’s totally okay. 

Book Lovers by Emily Henry (4/5)

            It was super cute. I love a good super cute book. I like that it was also a reverse Hallmark kind of thing. I loved Nora and Charlie though I was not a huge fan of her sister. There was so much in this book that I loved, some things that I didn’t but that’s every book. It was a cute story where the main character thinks she cursed in love and then meets someone who is a work oriented as she is and they don’t have to give their lives up for the other one. I really like that dynamic, because there are so many stories where one person gives everything up to be with the other and I can’t imagine being happy giving everything up for someone else. 

            I actually wanted to get to Book Lovers, that was actually the goal this month which was crazy because I actually made it! I enjoyed some books I read but almost half of them are a goodbye for me this month, five books are being unhauled and one I didn’t own. That is the whole point of a TBR though for me, it is to weed out the books that I don’t want to have in my permanent collection anymore. 

            I read 13 books though and that is on the whole an unsustainable pace especially with the ammount of books that I disliked this month. I wanted to like more, I really did and I tried but some of them just weren’t for me and they will go to a home that will enjoy them more than I ever could.

            If you want to check out what I read in January though, you totally can and I am hoping to read almost as many if not as many in March because I am a glutton for punishment and I am trying to get through my TBR a little faster this year. 

            Until next time I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy!

            -MJ

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 2/12 (Someday, Someday, Maybe, White Girl Problems, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 2/12 (Howl’s Moving Castle, The Transference Engine, )

Historical: 3/12 (The Gown, Secrets of Nanreath Hall, The Wild Dark Flowers, )

Thriller: /2

Free Choice: 4/15 (A Poisoned Season, Dark Horizons, Things in Jars, The City We Became, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (You Will Get Through This Night, As You Wish)

General Non-Fiction: 1/2 (Mindset, )

Book of The Month: 2/12 (Lunar Love, Georgie, All Along, )

Extras: 6/? (Cocky Roommate, Portrait of a Scotsman, A Touch of Darkness, These Vicious Masks, Loathe to Love You, Book Lovers, )

Battle of the Books (it’s for school!): 4/?  (The Lightening Thief, Sea of MonstersThe Titan’s Curse, Battle of the Labyrinth, )

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