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23 In Book Reviews

What To Read & Skip – February 2020

February Book Recommendations

February Book Recommendations: What to Read & What to Skip

Today’s roundup of February book recommendations includes a wide variety of genres and ratings. My two five star books just happened to be the only physical books I read. Guess it’s a good thing I own them now! I can definitely see myself rereading both.

The most difficult book to rate was The Starless Sea. It was released late last year and I’ve mostly heard glowing reviews. However, I struggled getting through the last third and flat out didn’t like the ending. Tell me what you thought!!

My other February book recommendations fall somewhere in the middle. I hope you find something to add to your To Be Read list!

If you’ve read any of the books in my mini book reviews below, let me know in the comments if you agree with my rating!

I’m linking up with Jana Says /Life According to Steph and Modern Mrs Darcy as usual to share what we read this month!

*Disclosure – I earn a small commission for any items purchased through the links above at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my book blog!!

 

Physical Books:

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

A renaissance faire, a bookstore, a slow burn romance! What more could you want?? This book easily jumped to the top of my list of contemporary romances. Emily reluctantly agrees to volunteer at a local renaissance faire and has no idea why one of the organizers, Simon, seems to hate her. The two constantly clash during prep for the event. However when the Faire starts, their new identities indulge in an unexpected flirtation. 5 Stars

 

A Night to Remember by Walter Lord

I first came across this book when researching narrative nonfiction books. Then happened upon it at a book sale not long after. It’s an incredible read that shares a minute by minute account of the night the Titanic sank. It was written decades ago, so the rich history is based on survivors’ accounts. This is a great read for nonfiction lovers and those not used to the genre. It’s short, but impactful.  5 Stars

 

 

eBooks (reading on Netgalley / Kindle Unlimited):

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

When a quiet American bookstore owner switches place with one of her bookseller friends in France, she thinks it will be an experience straight out of her beloved novels. Reality is quite different, though. The Paris bookstore is facing decreasing sales, endless issues with staff, and it’s tons and tons of work. I enjoyed the behind the scenes peek at the difficulties of running a bookstore. Overall, a cute read but not a ton of depth. 3.5 Stars

 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel

I admittedly wasn’t the biggest fan of Station Eleven, but I wanted to give her new release a shot. Thankfully I did!! The Glass Hotel is difficult to describe, but it mainly focuses on a group of individuals who are connected through a complicated financial scheme. A hotel located far from civilization serves as the impetus for their pivotal introductions to each other. It’s an intriguing take on a very real life con game and the various reactions of those involved. 4 Stars

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This is the YA fantasy I needed at this point in my reading life. Just when they all started to run together, I dove into the world of African myth and magic. All of the standard YA fantasy tropes can be found here, but the setting and culture set it apart. There were some circumstances and romances that weren’t entirely believable, but the unique aspects land it at four stars. I’ve heard the sequel isn’t nearly as good though, so I think I’m stopping here. 4 Stars

 

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

An impulse purchase that led to a deeply emotional read! Kristen is a straight talking woman with infertility issues who’s currently planning her best friend’s wedding. That’s how she meets Josh – the best man and all around amazing human. Except, she has a boyfriend and he won’t stop talking about how much he wants kids. They decide to stay friends despite the undeniable attraction.

When tragedy strikes, she’s forced to decide if she can accept his love. This is at times an extremely tough book to read if you’re a mom or want kids. I was a bit put off by Josh in the beginning, but he grew on me. By the end, I was so emotionally invested I was sobbing on the couch. 4.5 Stars

 

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

My second Colleen Hoover of the year! I think I’ve found a new favorite author. She has a way of surprising you by taking books in unexpected directions. Regretting You starts off as a teen love story, but quickly morphs into something much more mature. As the adults try to handle unbelievable circumstances, the teens tackle their own issues. I don’t want to give much away, so it’s better going into this one blind. Bonus – it’s currently available for free with Kindle Unlimited! 4 Stars

 

 

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February Mini Book Reviews

Audio Books (listening on Kindle Unlimited / Audible):

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Wow – My thoughts on this book jumped ALL over the place. Listening to it on audio was certainly a unique experience, especially with the full cast of characters. For a long time I was completely entranced. The old fairy tales, a secret underground world full of books, a dangerous society trying to protect it. It all added up to an intriguing story.

Then it started to go off the rails. As I got closer to the end, more questions were raised than answers and it felt like Morgenstern was dragging out the narrative unnecessarily. By the final chapter, I was pissed. There were so many things left unaddressed! For me, it ended up feeling like a waste of time. Maybe I missed something? Or it’s just the fact that I hate ambiguity. Regardless, this five star read fell to a two star by the end, so ultimately it will sit in the middle. 3.5 Stars

 

 

Reading Tracker Analysis (Data: Jan – Present)

Since I created my Reading Tracker, I thought it’d be fun to showcase a few of the graphs each month. I’m an accountant, so books + Excel is my dream combo 🙂

Up first is a graph that shows the average star rating by genre. So far, the only genre holding a 5 star average is Science Fiction (thanks to The Martian)! We’ll see if that continues after I’m done with Recursion.

 

Up next is a pie chart showing the most popular book formats. I’ve never tracked this before 2020, but I didn’t expect to read so many eBooks! We’ll see how it looks later this year.

 

If you’d like to analyze your reading or you’re tired of tracking books with Goodreads, check out my Reading Tracker!

 

 

 

For more mini book reviews, check out What I Read in January 2020!

 

February Book Recommendations

 

 

23 Comments

  • Reply
    Christine
    February 10, 2020 at 10:43 am

    I am dying to read the Starless Sea, and I have also heard very mixed reviews about the novel. I feel like everyone thought it petered out by the end. With a time crunch to read, I am just not sure if I will get to it.

    I wish Children of Blood and Bone was a stand-alone. If the story had ended there, I think I would have enjoyed it much more. I appreciate the diversity and thrilling read, but I think the hype left me a little disappointed? Without the much-needed representation in YA, the story fell a little flat and felt overdone.

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      February 10, 2020 at 11:40 am

      It’s such a weird situation where I want to recommend it because I loved it so much at the beginning, but also don’t want other readers to invest time in something they may not like??

      I’m hoping the reception for CoBaB will open more doors to fantasy series or standalones set in Africa. It wasn’t the most well-written novel, but I have very high hopes we’ll have more to choose from soon!

  • Reply
    Angela
    February 10, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I haven’t read Colleen Hoover yet, but I have a copy of Regretting You and am really looking forward to it. I had really high hopes for The Starless Sea, after loving The Night Circus, but it was a huge disappointment for me – slow pace, too much extraneous detail, and it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      February 11, 2020 at 8:14 am

      Hm it’s interesting that you still loved The Night Circus but had similar thoughts as me on The Starless Sea. Maybe I should still give Night Circus a try?

      • Reply
        Angela
        February 15, 2020 at 10:58 am

        I would definitely still recommend The Night Circus. It had a pretty different feel. Still beautiful writing, but I think the plot is tighter.

  • Reply
    Anne
    February 11, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Oh those tables from your reading tracker are so fun to see! And I’m glad to hear the Emily St. John Mandel is worth a read. I did love Station Eleven, but I’m going to have to put that aside to be able to be open to a new topic from her, even if I am excited about it. Also, I keep seeing Well Met getting mentioned, and now I definitely need to read it!

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      February 11, 2020 at 8:12 am

      I’m glad to hear you like the graphs! I think it will be a bit of a struggle for those who loved Station Eleven so much. This book is a lot different, but definitely intriguing in its own way.

  • Reply
    Kristin
    February 11, 2020 at 6:37 am

    Adding Regretting You. Many have liked it! Hoover is starting to remind me of Jodi Picoult…picking out topics that she knows may cause a stir?

    • Reply
      Rachel Kamery
      February 11, 2020 at 8:12 am

      Hm that’s an interesting point. She does a great job at taking stories in a direction I don’t expect!

  • Reply
    Anthea
    February 11, 2020 at 6:45 am

    You know a book is good if you want to re-read it!
    Well met and Regretting you sound good.

  • Reply
    Brittany Always
    February 11, 2020 at 9:00 am

    I liked Blood & Bone, but I think the sequel just deals with traditional sophomore-itis. It moved the story along, and it did certain things super well, but it’s very hard to top the initial draw into a new world. The Friend Zone sounds really interesting!

  • Reply
    ShootingStarsMag
    February 11, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Looks like you had a great reading month, and yay for a couple five star reads too!

  • Reply
    SMD
    February 11, 2020 at 9:19 am

    I really do not need another book to read but if that one is free on kindle unlimited…LOL

  • Reply
    Kay R.D.
    February 11, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    i loved children of blood and bone but have read so many disappointing reviews about vengeance and virtue. I plan to read it soon though.

  • Reply
    Dara
    February 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    I thought the Starless Sea was weird. I have The Friend Zone up soon to read here!

  • Reply
    Michael
    February 11, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Children of Blood & Bone seems to be quite popular. I noticed there’s a follow-up book out already. I guess I better get to it!

  • Reply
    Jana @ Jana Says
    February 11, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    A month with multiple 5 star reads is always a good month!

  • Reply
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration
    February 11, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    Children of Blood and Bone is on my TBR. YA fantasy is my favorite kind of YA. 😀 I’ve only read Verity by Colleen Hoover, which I’m told is very different than her typical book so I really need to check out something else by her.

  • Reply
    Jill K
    February 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    A Night to Remember sounds great!

  • Reply
    Becki
    February 12, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    I’ve also ended up reading a lot more e-books. As I’ve gotten older and my vision isn’t the same, the kindle is easy to adjust, and I can curl up in the dark in bed and read 🙂 I haven’t read either of your five stars – I’ll have to look into them.

  • Reply
    Heather
    February 14, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    I loooved The Friend Zone and am dying to get my hands on the sequel asap. Also really enjoyed Regretting You and the first Tomi Adeyemi book.

  • Reply
    Linda Stoll
    February 15, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Rachel, hi!
    I love the idea of letting us know what books to skip … and those graphs you’ve made up are just too fun. Thanks for some new-to-me titles to add on to my ever-growing library list!

  • Reply
    Helen
    February 15, 2020 at 11:26 am

    I felt the same way about The Starless Sea. I LOVED the Night Circus so much, I was really looking forward to The Starless Sea. I even pre-ordered it back in January 2019. I almost felt stupid at the end because I just didn’t get it which then made me very mad. I’m intrigued by most of the others on your list.

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