Not to be confused with Alt-Right, okay? All right as in okay. Not delicious but satisfying. Because I’m not alt-right but I am a foodie who uses food metaphors to express how I feel. And now that I think about it: Books, food and cats are pretty much on my mind 24/7. Wait a minute! My mind is a glorious place to laze about and inhabit! And to think, I’ve been boo-hooing my crazy for years. My crazy is AWESOME!
The Books I Loved, Liked and Loathed in February
Awesome might be a slight exaggeration. But it is not an exaggeration to say the books last month weren’t exactly awesome. They weren’t awful or bad or even a disappointment. Not by a long shot. I enjoyed almost all of them. They just weren’t slap ya mama good. More like bop ya mama on the nose good.
Errr … to be clear, no one should be slapping their mama. And depending on your Mama, you may wish to refrain from bopping her on the nose too.
The above is mostly intended for my Mama who is probably wondering why good books make me want to slap her. I don’t actually want to slap you, Mom.
The Books I Liked
These are the books I liked, from most liked (4 stars) to liked (3 stars).
Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs
Book Description: Answering a distress call, Charles and Anna manage to stop a werewolf abduction but now face a new threat closer to home than they realize.
Book Review: It felt like a long time since I’ve been in Charles and Anna’s world but it like was seeing old friends again. Their previous stories felt a bit larger in scale, making them feel a bit more urgent than Burn Bright. Still, it didn’t upset me because I enjoy these characters so much. Kara, Asil, Leah (whom I still dislike but understand better) and Bran also make an appearance, which was nice.
To Read or Not to Read: Yes, fans of the Alpha and Omega series should most definitely read it. And if a book about werewolves, fae, vampires and witches sounds good to you, then you will enjoy the series but start with Cry Wolf.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Burn Bright is now available.
Dark in Death (In Death #46) by J.D. Robb
Book Description: Murder imitates fiction in an oddly personal, yet random way in Lieutenant Eve Dallas’ latest case.
Book Review: The previous book left me seriously concerned about the future of the In Death series, which is one of my favorite series. This book didn’t completely erase my concerns but I’m no longer in panic mode. It still didn’t hold my attention the way the previous books did but it at least felt like an In Death book. I also felt like Nora was giving readers a not-so-subtle message to chill out, which is fair. But I’d also say your readers are going to panic when the quality level lowers too.
To Read or Not to Read: Most of the In Death books can be read as a stand-alone, although I always recommend starting from the beginning, which can be scary when a series is 46 books long. Creation in Death is book #25 and the first book I read in the series. So no, you don’t need to start at the beginning!
The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
Book Description: A flight attendant wakes up next to a dead man and begins a high stakes game of cat and mouse with the FBI and hired killers.
Book Review: Bohjalian’s previous book, The Sleepwalker, didn’t impress me (I found it a bit slow) but the premise of his latest book really intrigued me so I figured why not. And I liked this a lot more. A lot more. Cassie is epically screwed up and self-destructive but knows it. She repeatedly does things that are incredibly stupid, yet logical given who she is, although as a rational person on the outside, you’ll be mumbling, “gurl, be smarter!” to yourself repeatedly. I also was deeply amused (just because I’m weird, not because Bohjalian likely intended to the reader to be amused) by the involvement of Russian spies and the FBI in the story. It’s possible I laughed for five minutes after Cassie’s lawyer reminded her that lying to the FBI is a federal offense.
To Read or Not to Read: Sure, if you like a good thriller with spies and a somewhat endearing and unlikeable protagonist.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. The Flight Attendant is now available.
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Book Description: Ada was born with separate selves who consume her after a traumatic event and take Ada into dark, dangerous places.
Book Review: Magical realism is a tough genre for me. Sometimes I find it incredibly beautiful and haunting. Other times, my right brain takes over, so even though it had no issues with the werewolves in Burn Bright, it struggled with the different beings/hosts who formed to hide Ada’s pain by causing pain that they controlled and narrated the story. I also felt deeply removed from Ada’s suffering because it felt weirdly clinical in how the story unfolded. An episode of Bones made me feel more emotional than reading about the suffering Ada endured. However, this remains a well-written book with some exceptionally exquisite passages that unfortunately did not resonate as strongly with me as it may with others.
To Read or Not to Read: Dealer’s choice. Note: Be aware there are lots triggers from physical and sexual abuse/rape, cutting and suicide.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Freshwater is now available.
Shizzle, Inc by Ana Spoke
Book Description: Isa somehow manages to land a job with a zany billionaire whom she hopes can help make her famous.
Book Review: If the idea of a young woman going to a job interview and being shocked when asked why she wants this job (even one that is a reality TV gimmick), makes you grind your teeth — this book is not for you. If you’re smirking or laughing, then you may enjoy it because Isa is an idiot. An absolute idiot but fun. And you might even find yourself rooting for her against your better judgment, even though she is really, really dumb. I mean crazy, almost unbelievably dumb.
To Read or Not to Read: I can not overstate how ridiculously idiotic Isa is but I also laughed a lot while reading this. Also, I had to start it a few times because my mood couldn’t deal with the insane level of stupidity. But in the right mood, it can be a fun, light read. You will also likely feel super smart afterwards. I mean Mensa smart.
Note: I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Shizzle, Inc. is now available.
The Book I Wished I Liked More
These isn’t a loathe book but it really ain’t a like book either.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Book Description: Ellingham Academy is home to one of the greatest unsolved mysteries and new student Stevie Bell’s plans to solve it go awry after a new murder.
Book Review: When you’re writing a series, whether it’s two or seven books long, there is one golden rule: each book must tell a compelling, complete(ish) story. It should not be 416 pages of set-up where you feel disgruntled at the end because very little happened and nothing got resolved in a meaningful way. This is also YA and read like YA. I don’t know if that makes sense but some YA reads so well as an adult that I forget it is even YA. This wasn’t one of those books and I am clearly not the intended audience.
To Read or Not to Read: No. Readers need to feel invested in the characters and story to go on a three book journey and I don’t.
TL;DR — My Recommendations to You
So overall not a bad reading month but not a great reading month where I shout from Twitter about all the amazing, awe-inspiring and outrageous books I read. Still, I do wholeheartedly recommend most of the books I read last month.
Burn Bright is a great series for those who love fantasy/supernatural books. Mystery lovers who enjoy a strong, take no bullshit female detective should check out the In Death series. Yes, it’s a big series but you don’t have to binge it! Savor it. The Flight Attendant is also a solid mystery/thriller and Freshwater is an interesting read for fans of magical realism. The only book I don’t wholeheartedly recommend is Truly Devious. It’s not bad but I suspect it’s a book best read by its true audience, teens.
To More Great Books
Even though I swear every month that I’ve caught up on my NetGalley books, somehow books magically appear in my queue. As if someone — and I don’t know who — requested books that I must read next month. Such torture! As always, I’m joining the Show Us Your Books Link-Up hosted by Jana and Steph. Be sure to check it out and see what everyone is reading. After all, you don’t want books on your TBR to get lonely. 😉
What great books did you read last month?