February Reading Wrap-up and Goal Check-in
1. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (368 pages) (3 ⭐️)
This adult mystery/thriller follows an apartment sitter at a swanky New York apartment building whose new neighbor goes missing. This novel was a roller coaster. It started off slow with a flat protagonist, became a lot more intriguing and suspenseful as the mystery aspect finally started, and then finished with one of the most preposterous reveals. I had very a very mixed experience reading this novel.
Read if: You like mystery and won't mind unrealistic twists.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3766670072
2. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune (396 pages) ( 5 ⭐️)
This adult fantasy is about a caseworker who assesses orphanages for magical children. He's sent to an island inhabited by six dangerous children and their caretaker. This is one of my favorite books that I've ever read. It's a fluffy, feel good read about found family. If you're feeling down (as many of us are living during this pandemic) then I recommend checking this one out for a pick-me-up.
Read if: You want a happy, uplifting read or you enjoy found family stories.
Full Review: Coming to the blog this month.
3. I Would Leave Me if I Could by Halsey (133 pages) (4 ⭐️)
This is a poetry collection written by pop singer Halsey of whom I would consider myself a casual fan. I liked how Halsey explored creative metaphors (I'm a sucker for a good metaphor) and invoked vivid, electric imagery. She also included some simpler/straightforward but just as impactful poems. While the collection is thematically cohesive (a strength) it also tends to be a little too repetitive because of this. Trigger warnings for: sexual assault, language, abuse, and drug use.
Read if: You're a millennial who enjoys modern poetry.
4. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (365 pages) (5 ⭐️)
This YA fantasy about a young woman from a conquered kingdom who poses as her people's queen to infiltrate the castle was a reread for me. I decided to reread this book since it had been a year since I last read it and in preparation of reading its recently released companion novel. This novel's world is inspired by Bolivian culture and heritage and radiates the author's love for her heritage. Ibañez does a great job of making the reader feel the protagonist's feelings and the magic, while not elaborate, is unique. I enjoyed this even more upon my reread.
Read if: You're looking for a good Lantinx fantasy.
Full Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/woven-in-moonlight-by-isabel-iba%C3%B1ez-a-review
5. A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir (516 pages) (3.75 ⭐️)
This is the much anticipated conclusion to the Ember in the Ashes quartet. It follows three characters; Elias, Laia, and Helen; who despite living in enemy nations find themselves brought together to fight an evil fey king. While it's the weakest link in the quartet it was still a satisfying conclusion. By far the best part was the final battle that the entire series had been building up to and the wrapping up of threads afterwards. I'm glad that I read this series and I encourage you to check it out if you're interested in the premises.
Read if: You're looking for a darker, more mature YA fantasy series.
Full Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3639051268
6. Written in Starlight by Isabel Ibañez (359 pages) (4.5 ⭐️)
Following the events of Woven In Moonlight, Catalina (the Illustrian's would be queen) is banished to the deadly Yanu Jungle. There she attempts to find the illusive Illari people in the hopes they'll aid her to reclaim the throne. This had everything I wanted including: character development for Catalina, adventure, magic, and an expansion upon already existing world building. The only thing bringing it down just slightly is the romance which I had mixed feelings about.
Read if: You're looking for something fast paced with high stakes.
Full Review: Coming to the blog this month.
7. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller (324 pages) (3.75 ⭐️)
This YA fantasy follows a young ambitious lady, Alessandra, who wants to woo, marry and then kill the king in order to claim his throne for herself. This is a standalone and follows the enemies-to-lovers trope. This has the 'fun' quality I always associate with Levenseller's books. I think it's best to go into this book with the expectation of having a good, quick time rather than dwelling on the...questionable world building. This was a reread for me. I reread it because I wanted something that I knew would be easy to read and enjoyable.
Read if: You're a fan of The Cruel Prince looking for another enemies-to-lovers book featuring morally grey characters.
Book Review: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/a-guide-to-the-books-by-tricia-levenseller
8. A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (387 pages) (4 ⭐️)
This YA mystery sees high school student Pip decides to look into the murder of another girl from her town as part of her senior project. This book is reminiscent of Truly Devious and has an engaging mixed media format. There's a wide cast of characters, many of whom are suspect, and it will keep you guessing until the big reveal at the end.
Read if: You're looking for something to tide you over until the release of Box in the Woods (Truly Devious #4)
Book Review: Coming in April
1. The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (DNF'd at 54 pages/16%)
This adult romance is about a radio producer (Shay) and host (Dominic) who start a program all about being exes. This novel features two major romance tropes: enemies-to-lovers and fake dating. I was so intrigued by the premises of this one and anticipated the release. Unfortunately, I couldn't get on board with the protagonist due to her attitude and didn't like the somber note of the story. What truly rubbed me the wrong way the most, though, was how the author kept seemingly pushing the sentiment that if you're in your late 20s and unmarried/not in a relationship then you must be lonely and miserable. Yes, I understand many people crave companionship, but like isn't meaningless if you're single and I didn't appreciate the ageist tones of the novel.
TOTAL PAGES READ (FEB): 2,902 (avg. book length: 362.75)
TOTAL PAGES READ (YTD): 5,782 (avg. book length: 361.4)
AVERAGE STAR RATING (FEB): 33/40 possible ⭐️ (avg. rating: 4.1 ⭐️)
AVERAGE STAR RATING (YTD): 66.75/80 possible ⭐️ (avg. rating: 4.2 ⭐️)
1. Read at least 60 books
I read 8 books in February. This means that I have read a total of 16 books this year.
2. Have at least one book a month be a reread
I completed 2 rereads in February: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez and The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller. Thus I completed my monthly goal.
3. Read at least 1-2 adult books a month
I completed 2 adult books in February. They were: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager, The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune (a must read and new all time favorite book!), thus completing my monthly goal.
4. Read at least 10 nonfiction and/or poetry books
I read 1 poetry book in February: I Would Leave Me If I Could by Halsey. In conjunction with the nonfiction I read in January this puts me at having 20% of my goal complete.
5. Post a blog every weekend unless ill and/or recovering from surgery
I posted a blog every Saturday in February thus meeting my monthly goal.