February Reading Wrap-Up (stats and mini-reviews)
Monthly Stats (YTD)
Books Read (completed): 8 (15 total)
Total Pages Read: 3,086 (5,761)
Average Rating: 4.44 (4.28)
Average # of Pages per Book: 385.75 (384.46)
1. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (501 pages) (5 stars)
In this YA historical fiction taking place in 18th century Europe, Henry 'Monty' Montague is a wealthy young man in love with his best friend Percy. The two, along with Monty's little sister Felicity, are taking a Grand Tour of the Continent, but their fun turns to a life on the run when Monty steals a mysterious box from a duke. This was such a fun read. I truly felt like I was transported back in time and the three main characters had amazing chemistry with one another!
Pros: Compelling characters, good pacing, fun story with heart
Cons: Monty can come across as arrogant
Find my full review here: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/home/the-gentleman-s-guide-to-vice-and-virtue-by-mackenzi-lee-a-review
Find my quick thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3179761287
2. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (416 pages) (5 stars) This YA mystery novel follows true crime aficionado Stevie Bell who is accepted into the prestigious Ellingham academy where in 1936 the founder, Albert Ellingham's wife and daughter were kidnapped. Meanwhile, in present day, a student is murdered. I couldn't put this book down!
Pros: Well rounded main character, eerie, isolated setting perfect for a murder mystery, dual timeline well executed
Cons: Abrupt end, no chemistry between Stevie and love interest
Full review for trilogy coming soon!
Find my quick thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3146292994?book_show_action=false
3. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson (369 pages) (5 stars)
This is the follow-up to Truly Devious and takes place immediately following the events of the first novel. Everything I loved from the first novel, from the atmosphere to the cast of characters, is present in this one. One of the few sequel novels I didn’t find myself disappointed in.
Pros: Everything I adored about the first (see above)
Full review for trilogy coming soon!
Find my quick thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3176686321?book_show_action=false
4. Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle (144 pages) (5 stars)
This is a small book of comics featuring 'beings' or aliens who experience everyday situations and speak with language that, while grammatically correct, is not the way that the average person speaks. You can find more comics on his Instagram @strangeplanet. They're sure to make you chuckle.
Pros: Lighthearted, fun, quick read
Cons: Very short
5. A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy (351 pages) (4 stars)
This YA fantasy follows Eva, a princess who lives in a queendom where the next queen is decided by a fight between sisters in which only one can survive. In the months leading up to her seventeenth nameday, Eva must learn to control her magick if she hopes to survive. Perfect for anyone looking for an own voices fantasy that keeps you on your toes!
Pros: Intricate world building, empathetic main character, fast paced
Cons: Underdeveloped relationship between sisters
Find my full review here:
Find my quick thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3150991350?book_show_action=false
6. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (365 pages) (4 stars)
This YA Bolivian inspired standalone fantasy follows Ximena who masquerades as the Condesa (queen) of her people (the Illustrians) who were ousted from the throne by the Llacsans. Ximena, pretending to be the Condesa, agrees to marry the llacsan usurper Atoc in order to gain access to the castle and find Atoc's weapon of mass destruction. You can tell the author put a lot of her own story into this novel, and it makes it all the more compelling.
Pros: Own-voices novel infused with a lot of culture, strong female protagonist
Cons: Plot felt rushed
Find my quick thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3168854614?book_show_action=false
Find my full review here: https://www.haleysbookhaven.com/post/woven-in-moonlight-by-isabel-iba%C3%B1ez-a-review
7. The Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (310 pages) (3.5 stars)
This middle grade sci-fi/fantasy novel inspired by Korean mythology follows twelve year old fox spirit Min who lives on the poor, dusty planet of Jinju. Her brother is a member of the Space Force but seemingly deserted. Min, unable to accept this, goes in search of her missing brother. This was a very fast paced book with a lot crammed into it. While ideal for a young readers looking for a fun adventure book, I found it to be wanting.
Pros: Adventure, good blend of fantasy and sci-fi (though definitely leans more sci-fi)
Cons: Unlikable main character who everything came too easy to, bloated world building
Find my quick thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3157857302?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
1. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (175 pages, Quartet Omnibus edition)) (4 stars)
This is a companion novel to The Giver and the second in the quartet. It follows weaver Kira who, after she is left orphaned by her mother’s death, is chosen to as the weaver for the singer’s robe (which is part of a yearly tradition in her village). The novel also features a wood carver named Thomas, a young singer named Jo, and Kira’s young friend Matt and his dog Branch.
Pros: World has similar themes as that from The Giver but still felt unique, emphasis on art as an important craft, Matt is an endearing character.
Cons: Kira is a bland, naïve, passive main character
Find my quick thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3146294529?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (on page 345 of 543)
This classic novel follows the lives of the March sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. I am slowly making my way through this novel and anticipate finishing it in March.
DNFs (Did Not Finish):
1. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lee Herman (Read 110 of 355 pages)
This YA paranormal fantasy novel follows three teens living in a small New York town with a woods that houses a monster which kills the town's residents. I stopped about 30% of the way through this novel as I just wasn't feeling invested in the writing or the characters and I'd rather spend my time reading things that I find myself connecting to.