08 March 2021

Show Us Your Books - February 2021


Another month gone! While everyone remembers exactly what they were doing a year ago, when the world froze in place, I think it's feeling like there's a bit of improvement lately. While the vaccine roll-out hasn't been the most smooth process, it is happening slowly but surely. Hopefully people being stupid on spring break doesn't set us back again (but it probably will, cuz too many people are dumbasses).

Anyway, I'm one of those weird birds who has fared pretty well through it all. I kind of prefer staying home and reading a lot more often than was usually socially acceptable. My reading numbers were pretty healthy through the summer and fall, but as I mentioned last month, I've now got a job. For 40 hours/week (a bit excessive, no?). It definitely feels like it's making a dent in my reading time ;)

But surprise, surprise. In February 2021, I finished reading nine books, which is the same as the number of books I finished in February 2020! I doubt I'll be able to keep up last year's pace as we move along. To keep track, I'm joining in again with Jana Says and Life According to Steph to Show Us Your Books!

Here's a brief summary of the nine books I read last month. The title links go to Goodreads, and the links to the more in-depth review are either on my site, SweetlyBSquared, or the other site I review on frequently, Books I Think You Should Read. And always, if I've received the book for free from the author, publisher, or whatever, this does not change my review. 

Finished Reading:

Native Tongue (Native Tongue #1) by Suzette Haden Elgin -  This was a pick for my book club last month. I'm usually a fan of dystopian stories, or speculative fiction, so I wasn't suprised to really appreciate the story in this one. The writing was kind of dry for me, but the story, oh boy! Wanting to learn more about this life, where women are nothing, but somehow in charge of all foreign (and alien) communications, is what left me wanting to read the other two books in the trilogy. Those in charge of language are held apart from the rest of the world, and the majority of the real work falls to those women in the houses where the lingoes live. It was fascinating hanging out with the women when they were away from the men, and how different their lives were when they stopped being watched. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Lost Swimmer by Ann Turner - Rebecca Wilding thought her life was going along as expected, if a little boring. Her marriage may be a little stale, and she hopes her husband isn't screwing around. She assumes her career is on track, but suddenly there are accusations that completely take her by surprise! This literary fiction isn't fast moving adventure, but a finely woven tale of the way life goes sometimes. I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars in my full review at BooksIThinkYouShouldRead. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Water Memory (Aubrey Sentro #1) by Daniel Pyne - This was a secret agent story with a big twist. Aubrey has taken a few too many hits to the head in her line of work - recovering hostages or other captives sneakily or by force when the government won't negotiate with the terrorists holding them. Work notices she's kind of losing her grip and getting a bit confused sometimes, so they order her to take some time off. She opts for a cruise, but not in the lap of luxury. She books a room on a cargo ship. It seems like her pace - relaxing and reading since she doesn't really want to be entertained. But the ship is attacked by pirates, and her natural skill set is to save the rest of the passengers and defeat the bad guys. Check out my full review where I gave this adventure 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner - This was a great historical fiction set against the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. While living in a New York tenement, Sophie agrees to cross the country and marry a businessman in California with a five-year-old daughter after the death of his previous wife. The chemistry sadly does not grow between them, but she's happy with her new life - he travels a lot for business and she's grown very fond of the young girl. The night before the earthquake, a woman shows up on Sophie's doorstep claiming an absurd story. The destruction of the city in the earthquake and subsequent fires may be just the distraction they need to set their lives right. Just when you think you have it all figured out, be sure and read through the epilogue - I loved it! Read my full review of 4 out of 5 stars here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Love Proof by Madeleine Henry - Can science be fanciful? The beginning of this book was so..whimsical. Can science prove love? And if time isn't linear, does that ensure that love always perseveres? Sophie is a physics prodigy, and Jake thinks the only way for her to fulfill her potential is to focus exclusively on physics and make her mark. I liked the beginning of Sophie and Jake's story the best, but lost a little interest in Sophie's childhood and other times without Jake. Their love was my favorite parts of the book, whether or not it could be proven. Read my full 3 out of 5 star review here. ⭐⭐⭐

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers - I didn't expect a bi-racial lesbian character to resonate so much with me (a middle-aged privileged white woman), but it sure did. The telling of her story was so engaging, and her basic struggles were universal. What happens when you do exactly what you're expected to for the first 20-some years of your life? At some point I assume everyone gets tired of being told who they are and what they should do. 28-year-old Grace Porter accidentally breaks the mold completely when she gets drunken-married to a woman she barely remembers while vacationing in Las Vegas. Now she gets to decide what she wants for the rest of her life. I really enjoyed this unique story and gave it 4 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Malorie (Bird Box #2) by Josh Malerman - I waited quite a while to get this one from the library. A lot of people remember the Netflix movie based on the first Bird Box book - this book was a continuation of the story that I could not put down! While I was pleased that the first book seemed to have such a nice, neat ending, the second book starts with a new upheaval, progresses through more interesting challenges, and ties up nicely again. The Michigan-based plot is intricate and exciting, and I also love the writing style. This book is the whole package (but please read/watch the first one first), and I gave it 5 out of 5 stars in my full review. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane - This was another library book I requested after its popularity on lots of book blogs in the last year or so. While it didn't fully hit the mark for me, I did enjoy reading it. I enjoyed the long-running story of two kids who grew up next door to each other, until tragedy struck and changed both their lives, while also definitively separating their families. The two kids knew things weren't the same, but they also missed the friendship they'd counted on forever. They reconnect when they're old enough to make their own choices, but is history set to repeat itself? So much dysfunction in families is cyclical - can they grow out of it and be healthy adults with each other in spite of their past? My full 3 out of 5 star review is here. ⭐⭐⭐

An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell #6) by Deanna Raybourn - I usually make it my policy not to agree to review a later book in a series, but I'm glad I picked up this one. Veronica and Stoker are the perfect couple, and if I had more time on my hands I'd go back and read the whole series. I loved this strong female character, a lepidopterist (that's a butterfly hunter) in 1889 carrying on a scandalous relationship with a divorced man. They were so charming, and Veronica's asides to the reader were adorable. While I originally thought this was a YA book, I soon read the description of one of their intimate encounters and noticed the listings do say for ages 18+. Read my full review where I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Currently Reading:

I just finished two more books and their reviews over the weekend, and got to start The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville yesterday. I'm loving it! Magical realism is really one of my favorite genres, but not a lot of books really fit in this quirky category. 

Reading Next:

I'm looking forward to reading They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall for my Yelp book club later this month, and I chose to pick up Renee Nault's graphic novel art and adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale while my other book club is reading the novel. 

Do we like the same books? Would you recommend something different based on what I liked or didn't last month? What was your favorite read?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts - can't wait to visit all the other Show Us Your Books blogs this month and see what everyone's been up to. :)


SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Honey Girl is on my list.

I had no idea there was another Bird Box book. I read the first one in 2015.

Mackenzie said...

The Nature of Fragile Things sounds intriguing! Adding to my TBR :)

Joanne said...

The Nature of Fragile Things sounds like it's right up my alley!

Jana @ Jana Says said...

I do not like Josh Malerman's books so the Bird Box sequel is a pass for me (I won't even watch the movie because I dislike the book so much), but I loved Ask Again Yes.

40 hours a week at work is definitely excessive.

NY Foodie Family said...

I liked Ask Again Yes. I just added The Nature of Fragile Things to my to read list. I watched Bird Box but don't think I want to read the book!

Anthea said...

Wow - 9 books in a month!
I keep hearing good things about Ask Again Yes - last year there were so many reviews and I think it has been on my TBR list for ages!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Yay for a great reading month. I loved Bird Box, and I have Malorie.


Audrey Louise said...

Native Tongue sounds so interesting and unique. I don't think I've ever heard of a story like that.
The Nature of Fragile Things sounds like something I'd read. I'll have to check that one out. Honey Girl sounds really interesting, too!

Julie said...

Can't wait to get my hands on Honey Girl!