February was another good reading month for me – not so great on other fronts – but I did lots of reading. I’ll take what I can get!
I finished 8 books and got most of the way through a ninth! This takes my total up to 16 books finished in 2021 so far.
What I Read (Books & Audiobooks)
- True Fire by Gary Meehan: 3* – I wanted to love this one. I really liked the idea and the world building, but it just felt somehow unpolished. There were multiple typos, not just of misspellings, but where sentences had clearly been rearranged or edited and words that should have been taken out were left in, that kind of thing. It jarred me out of the story as I had to reread them to work out what they were supposed to say. There were a few laugh out loud moments and one-liners, and I did enjoy it enough to finish, but ultimately I didn’t care enough about the characters or the story to be compelled to buy the second book. If it landed on my lap, I’d give it a go though.
- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (Audiobook, Narrated by Sneha Mathan & Vikas Adam): 4.5*– I really, really needed to read this book. In our current world of chaos, confusion, fear, and sadness, this adorable, funny, heart-warming romance was exactly what was required. Was it predictable? Yes. Did it matter? Not even a little. The characters were human, they were all flawed and a bit rubbish at doing the right thing, but they were varied, and funny, and interesting. If you want a feel good YA romance to take you away from the world for a few hours, put this on your TBR.
- Always Human by Ari North (Graphic novel, written and illustrated by the author): 4* – It has been a while since I picked up a graphic novel, and I really enjoyed this one. A sweet look at how love wins out over disability and difference in a world of advanced genetic engineering, and technology. Beautiful artwork and a simple story full of heart.
- The Broken King by Philip Womack: 3*– A middle grade adventure based around a story very similar to that of the movie Labyrinth – our two main characters have each wished away their siblings in a moment of frustration, using words from an old storybook about the Broken King, only to be horrified by the fact that it actually worked. They are brought together by mysterious and beautiful messengers and are set a riddle to solve in order to find where their siblings are being help and what they might need to save them. Including a mysterious boy called Pike, who seems to be as big a mystery to himself as he is to everyone else. My main problem with this, was that I found it all a little prescriptive – the messengers said ‘you need to do this to learn this’ and then they ‘did this’ and then they said ‘we learned this by doing this’ – and it was just a bit… eh. There were atmospheric moments, and exciting bits, and I didn’t hate it… I just didn’t care about anything or anyone by the end. This is the first book of a trilogy, which I won in a competition quite some times since, and although I probably won’t be picking up books two and three, Tori loved the first one and is already devouring the second! Clearly it is one of those where it is just fine for the intended audience, but less so for grown ups. (This was my book for the prompt ‘Book With A Royal In The Title’ in my reading challenge.)
- Stick Boy by Paul Coomey: 4* – This was a lot of fun – I enjoy the style very much with a blend of cartoon-style illustration and standard text. The bright full colour illustrations really bring the world to life and it is a very funny story with a fab cast of characters. Excellent read for kids aged 7 + (including big ones!) (This was my book for the prompt ‘Recommended by someone else’ – Arthur insisted I read it. How could I refuse?)
- The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride: 4* – This was a bit of an impulse buy at the start of the month, I just had a sudden urge to read a crime thriller and loved the title and cover of this one! Luckily it paid off and was an excellent read – gripping and kept me enthralled right to the end. It was sort of a backwards case in many ways because they knew from the very beginning who had committed the crime… they just didn’t know who the victims were – or even when they were murdered. It was an interesting twist and I really enjoyed it.
- Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo: 5* – This trilogy has been on my TBR (and actual shelf!) for aaaaaaages, and I have read the Six Of Crows duology which technically comes after it already, but I have only just got round to picking it up. And yes, the teaser trailers for the TV show coming in April might have had something to do with it. I really enjoyed book 1 and immediately started on book 2 after I finished it…
- Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo: 5* – Aaaaand raced straight through the equally excellent book 2 before picking up the third one! (For those who are wondering, I’m team Nikolai. Because Mal and Alina need their heads knocking together and the Darkling is a creep.)
Something has begun…
- Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo: I was hoping to finish this before the end of the month so I could have the full trilogy on my finished list, but I’m not quite there. Ah well, almost.