Reading Wrap-Up: January & February

Hi all ✨

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This wrap-up post for January and February is royally late as the end of March is near! I stubbornly want to dedicate an entire post to March alone to see how I managed with my new TBR flowchart, and I need to discuss Jan and Feb first 😱 Quick, before March ends, let’s get started!

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Sisters Entrance by Emtithal Mahmoud: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5, Poetry

Beautifully written and delves deep into large topics, the poems are full of raw emotion and feeling. But for me, something was missing. I couldn’t really grasp what. The poems were beautiful but at times too practical, too explained for my own taste. I felt like there was nothing to read into in most of the poems, although it could be that they were simply much much cleverer than I and that’s why I couldn’t read into them. Also, I have noticed that long-form poetry isn’t really my thing. Sad to rate such a beautiful collection as this only 3 stars, but at times I had to force myself to continue reading it. It could be my fault entirely, but Sister’s Entrance and I, we just weren’t a perfect match.

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy: ⭐️⭐️.5 /5, YA Fantasy

Ufffff, at half point of this book I was enjoying it so much that I could foresee it getting at least 4 stars, but then the last half entirely lost me. The book’s synopsis sounds exactly like Three Dark Crowns, and therefore something I would most certainly fall in love with. There were a couple major problems though, the first one being that although a major event in the book, Eva’s name day, is only a little time away at the beginning of the book, it was still a little time away when I only had 50 pages left of the novel. I feel like I was cheated of an epic sibling rivalry and instead I received a messy tale set before the sibling rivalry. Also, I found some inconsistencies in the worldbuilding and the romance did not work for me.

The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5, Fantasy

William Abbey is a doctor in the 19th century and in Africa, he evidences a horrendously cruel event of white men burning a black boy alive, and he does nothing. Just watches. The mother of the boy curses Abbey – the shadow of him will follow Abbey where ever he goes, and once he catches him, the one Abbey loves the most will die. The shadow will then rise from the corpse of that loved one and continue pursuing Abbey. The characters are amazing and the plot is gripping – it’s just pretty confusing. We jump in location a lot but also in time, alternating between the perspectives of Abbey at various points of his life, but also that of a nurse in the middle of the 1st or 2nd world war (I haven’t got a clue which). I got names, places and times messed up. I enjoyed it very much, Claire North is amazing at making very intellectual characters that have a lot of depth to them and creating immersive premises – but I wouldn’t be able to draw a map of what happened here.

A River of Royal Blood emerged from a previous Fairyloot! I’m in love with the cover 😍
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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5, Historical fiction

I’m not at all into the entire drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll stuff, and I usually dislike all books related to rock/pop music or by musicians. This also applied to Daisy Jones & The Six that is basically a fictional biography of a sensational band in the 70s. I wasn’t into their partying, cheating or music recording – but I’m happy to say that I still enjoyed Daisy Jones & The Six. As usual with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, the writing style is immersive and just flows on the page, but the characters are complex and interesting. Their reactions to events were so realistic that it made me feel like the book is actually nonfiction.

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The Test by Sylvain Neuvel: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5, Scifi

This little novella backs a punch. It is about Idir who is taking the British citizenship test for his family, and he just wants to belong. He is prepared and intelligent, but in the test everything goes wrong. The story is impactful but also seriously triggering to me – as an immigrant myself in UK, the issues and inhumanity of the situation made me deeply disturbed. But, alas I didn’t expect anything less when I ventured into The Test. However, this book also left me confused and baffled, I didn’t know what it’s meaning or message was and the ending left me unsatisfied and sad.

Daughter from the Dark by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko: ⭐️⭐️/5, Magical Realism

A huge blow to February was Daughter from the Dark, one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, which turned out to be so incredibly disappointing. We have an annoying main character who does a whole bunch of problematic stuff, and is just literally the worst™. He doesn’t get any better towards the end and I hate him. The plot goes from this has so much potential and it will most certainly be a wild ride, straight into a 250-page-long deflated, wet balloon. Why even. What was the point. It had so much promise! I’m supposed to write a review for this book, but I’m still searching for words other than why and meh 😅

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5, YA Fantasy

Beyond the Darkened Shore was my top anticipated Fairyloot book in my try a chapter tag 😊 This fantasy is rich with a lot of intriguing mythological aspects, and it is almost like a free retelling of Norse and Celtic mythology coming together into a pleasant mix. The story itself is increadibly twisted and bloody, and it was easy for me to fall deep into this book and I occassionally felt that it was simply unputdownable. Ciara and Leif, our maincharacters, felt pretty interesting to me. They are both driven head-strong by revenge and they are madly invested into their quest. Their tension felt pretty natural to me. My favourite thing about Beyond a Darkened Shore was how it tiptoed around potential tropes but didn’t step into them. For example, I was ready to sigh in disappointment when at the beginning Ciara doesn’t want to tell her father why she did something that she did. She thinks along the lines of ‘I can’t tell him, oh no!’ while for me it was clear that she should just speak out. Just say it! And then she did. It was magical. Beyond doesn’t have any of that mind-numbingly frustrating misunderstanding-tropiness and I rejoiced. However, half-way through the book started to slightly flop, the writing style turned more lackluster and some plot twists were conveniently and easily solved. Nevertheless, Beyond was pretty great! Check the trigger warnings before, it has many.

Beyond the Darkened Shore with peanut-butter-&-raspberries porridge and coffee ❤️
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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5, YA Fantasy

I have finally sampled Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunter universe and I’m ready to be turned into a full on fan! I didn’t have high expectations going into it, and was certainly surprised when I fell in love with Clockwork Angel. The characters are great, Tessa is almost like a scholar-type strong female main-character, Charlotte just constantly kicks ass both in battles and in the shadowhunter world politics. Henry is adorable, and Jem is precious and nothing should ever happen to him. I was also a big fan of the plot and it took me off-guard on an emotional rollercoaster. I’m ready to eat up all shadowhunter books now 😋

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5, Fantasy

I finally finished this beast of 1088 pages after having read it on and off for the past 3 months. And it was absolutely phenomenal! Words of Radiance is a great continuation to the Stormlight Archives series (the Way of Kings is the first one), and in it we get more deeply connected to the characters, invested in the twisted politics of the plot and Sanderson shows how massive and complex the world he has created is. WoR was slightly slower than the Way of Kings but I felt like it could be expected at this stage, and the slow pace seemed essential for the plot to stew. It was fabulous and I’m already aching to get into the next installment!

Words of Radiance in a donut shop 😋
A lazy Words of Radiance kind of Sunday!

In total I read 4 books in January of which 2 were audiobooks, 1 was an ebook and 1 was a hardcover. In February, I read 5 books of which 2 were audiobooks, 2 were ebooks and 1 book was a hardcover.

What have you recently? Have you read any of these? Do you agree or disagree with me? Or are any of these on your TBR? I would love to know!

Thank you so much for reading!

3 thoughts on “Reading Wrap-Up: January & February”

  1. Yowza o.0 1088 pages!! How did he even write that?? And how do you remember everything that happens in the book?
    And ohhhh, I HATE IT when characters stop themselves from doing something that isn’t even that scary. Glad this one didn’t have that! Feels so good.
    Clockwork Angel is the 1st book in the Infernal Devices, right? I LOVE the cover with the guy kneeling. His build and hair and vibe that he gives off is my ultimate dream guy! Lol 😛
    I recently read Providence (sci-fi, four ppl in an AI spaceship, shooting down aliens, character-driven) and A Castle in the Clouds (YA contemporary romance set in a quaint hotel in the Alps, German locale, cute and slow-burn romance, bit of supernatural, bit of mystery). Both were pretty good reads 🙂

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  2. I loved reading about all the books you read in the past two months 🥰 I’m sad to hear that you didn’t enjoy A River of Royal Blood, I hoped that it would be better than Three Dark Crown (this series really disappointed me as it was so slow-paced and wandered off in a direction I didn’t like), but it seems like it suffers from the exact same problem: a super slow pace and the real action starting way too late 😔

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