February Reading Wrap-up 2019

Sunday, March 03, 2019
February went by so quickly which isn't surprising considering it's the shortest month of the year but even so, I still managed to read 12 books; four of them were over 500 pages which I'm very happy with. I did spend about over four hours on trains in February so that helped me read quite a lot!

I carried on my January winning streak with so many amazing books this month! I didn't have any disappointing books this month, I enjoyed everything and I'd actually recommend every book I read in February! My top books from the month of February include: Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling, The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman and Medical London by Richard Barnett.

Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling (501 pages) ★★★★ (4.5)
The first book I finished in the month of February was the second book in the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling. I read and utterly adored the first book, Luck In The Shadows and as this is the second book, I can't say too much about it. However, I will say that it's longer than the first but as with the previous book, I sped through it. The writing style is very quick, easy and engaging so much so that I never wanted to put it down. There's much more dark magic, peril and building relationships within this book, more so than the first. Additionally, there's the start of Seregil and Alecs relationship within this second book which I loved. If you want an entertaining, quick and magic filled fantasy read with numerous LGBT characters (including the main characters Seregil and Alec), genuine friendships, dark mysteries and magical adventures then look no further than the Nightrunner series.

Glimpses by Lynn Flewelling (131 pages) ★★★ 
I was on a roll with the Lynn Flewelling books I had in February so I carried on the series with book 2.5 before going onto the next full and third novel. This book is a collection of short stories regarding various extra scenes from the previous books and more background on other characters. It was an extremely quick read, I liked it on the whole and it's a good addition to the series - it seems to be a very short book written only to please the fans of the series. In my opinion, it was expensive for the number of pages but I still enjoyed read it and I would recommend checking it out...but only if you love the series.

Traitor's Moon by Lynn Flewelling (540 pages) ★★★★ 
Are you sick of me gushing about the Nightrunner series yet? I read the first book in January then I couldn't stop so not only did I read book two and 2.5 in February but I also read the third full novel, Traitor's Moon. This third book moves on from the second book by a year or so when Seregil and Alec are asked by the queen to form an alliance between them and the aurenfaie, Seregil's people. We learn much more about Seregil's family and his past which was missing but hinted at in the other books.

There was so much politics within this third book which wasn't fully explored in the previous books so it was a bit info-dumpy at times. The plethora of clans, characters and politics made for a little bit of a confusing read at times but I did love learning about new lands, animals (dragons!) and Seregil's family/past. I also enjoyed the crime solving style elements of the story, the politics of the world (even though it was a little difficult to remember the vast number of clans and important individuals mentioned) and who were enemies or allies.

I think that out of the three (well, three and a half) books I've read from the series, my favourite is probably the second book closely followed by the first. I did enjoy this book so much, especially the new landscape, dragons and the mystery elements as well as finding out about Seregil's past. It is my least favourite novel of the three I've read but I still adored it overall.

*The Case Of Miss Elliot: The Teahouse Detective by Baroness Orczy (256 pages) ★★★
Within the month of December, I read the first book in The Teahouse Detective series and I was very kindly sent the second book, The Case Of Miss Elliot. As with the first book, I adored the cover, the writing style is very quick and easy and I did enjoy the mysteries throughout the book as they were entertaining, quick and fun to figure out. This second book has the same format as the first in which it's a collection of short mysteries told by 'the man in the corner', who I'm not the biggest fan of as I find his character to be a little annoying. However, I loved the classic mysteries, easy writing style and out of the two, the second book is definitely my favourite! If you love classic mysteries then check out this series!
*Sherlock Holmes - The Instrument Of Death by David Stuart Davies (240 pages) - released 5th March ★★★ (3.5)

Another mystery book I was very kindly sent was one of the Sherlock Holmes books by Stuart Davies. There are numerous books within the series but thankfully for me, you don't need to read the others in the series to read and understand this book.

In The Instrument Of Death, we follow Sherlock and Watson when they become involved with a series of dark, atmospheric and gruesome murders throughout London committed by the sinister Dr Caligari. This is the first book I've read from Davies and I found his writing to be a breathe of fresh air in terms of how it was very easy and quick to read it was, which was what I wanted after the much longer fantasy reads I have been loving recently.

I did enjoy this read, especially as I've been a fan of the Sherlock series in it's numerous forms (films, TV shows and the original stories) for a years. It was an entertaining, quick and enjoyable read. However, there wasn't much of a mystery, it was very simple and there was little, if any, solving to do. The action increased with the number of pages, it was a darkly interesting read and I'd recommend it if you're a Sherlock fan but the story and mystery was just very basic and simplistic, so much so that I couldn't fully love this read unfortunately.

*The Island by Ragnar Jonasson (350 pages) - released: 4th April 2019 ★★★ (3.5)
Last year I read the first book in the Hidden Iceland series which features detective Hulda Hermannsdottir and I really enjoyed it for how quick, interesting and entertaining it was (I love nordic thrillers and mysteries so I knew I'd like it). I was kindly sent the second book in the series, which after the events of the last book, I didn't know that there would be a second book but we go back in the past with this one!

The Island isn't released until April but I received it just before Christmas and I couldn't wait any longer to read it as I was in the mood for a quick Icelandic thriller/mystery. I can't say too much about this novel as it is the second in the series but you don't necessarily need to read the first before this one (however, if you like nordic thriller/crime/mysteries then check it out).

We follow numerous stories, view points and timelines which initially left me feeling a little confused and made the story seem very disjointed but thankfully it did all come together in the end with a slightly convenient conclusion...I would definitely recommend this book for fans of bleak, nordic crime dramas as it has a melancholy, dark tone with the brooding, somewhat menacing backdrop of Iceland. Overall, it was a very quick, compelling and interesting read (that touches on some difficult topics) which I think I do prefer over the first book.

Book Of Life by Deborah Harkness (592 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
The first e-book I read in February was the third book in the 'all souls' series, the first and second of which I read last year and loved so I bought the third book (the first two were sent to me for review via Netgalley). We follow on directly from the events of the second book in terms of the setting and main events but I don't want to say more than that as it would definitely spoil the previous books.

However, I will say that all three books have a very engaging, escapist quality to them, they're so easy and quick to read and they are all entertaining with a myriad of supernatural creatures, magic, mystery and more. Although the series isn't without it's flaws as it isn't the most incredibly written series of books, it can be a little drawn out at times (they are all very long books - I don't think they need to be as long as they all are) and how possessive the character of Matthew is (and how subservient some of the women can be at times) does tend to frustrate me on occasion. Additionally I felt that this third book was a bit repetitive and played out as a supernatural family drama which I liked on the whole but I didn't enjoy this read as much as the previous two books. I would recommend it, if it sounds like something you'd be interested in (and if you want a supernatural read to fly through at record speed) but I think the first is definitely my favourite of the three!

Any Old Diamonds by K.J Charles (320) ★★★
The second e-book was one I purchased on a whim as I liked another book by this author that I read last year and the premise of this latest book sounded interesting as it involves jewel thieves, family drama, upper class society and secrets, all of which I love reading about. The writing was so quick, easy and fast paced (I read it in one day), I loved the elements of a dark family drama unfolding and I liked the somewhat romance between the main characters, Alexander and Jerry, although I'm not a fan of that name...I didn't know how explicit this book would be so it's definitely a 18+ read; however I would recommend it as an entertaining read with LGBT characters.
Smoke In The Sun by Renee Ahdieh (432 pages) ★★★
While on the train down to London (first class, gifted, still a bit smug about it) I started Smoke In The Sun which is the second and final book in the Flame In The Mist series. I read the first book last year and loved it (via Netgalley) so when the second book was on sale as an e-book for 99p, I had to buy it. The first book was very Mulan-esque with fighting, magic and feminist themes so I hoped the same tone would continue into this second book.

We follow on directly from the events of the first book and obviously I can't say too much about it as I don't want to spoilt the first but I will say that I should have read the first again as I barely remembered who the characters were, apart from the main four or so characters...However, I did enjoy this story, it was a very quick read and it definitely made two train journeys more entertaining and enjoyable. My only negative was the last 20% or so seemed very rushed and neatly wrapped up but it had the ending I wanted. Overall, I prefer the first book but I'd still recommend both if you like asian inspired fantasy books that are easily consumable.

*Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker (192 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
I've been following Sara's instagram for a while so when I saw her first book on Netgalley, I had to request it and I wasn't disappointed as it's not only filled with interesting reflective points on photography, instagram and social media in general but it also contains so many of her gorgeous photographs.

It was a quick read with some fairly basic points at times but it was useful in outlining some techniques and ideas to improve photography and to increase instagram clicks. I also liked the very easy, almost calming writing style along with the various 'activities' pages throughout the book which helped me to look at the photos I was posting in a new light. I think it's a great book to go back to if you're feeling disheartened about your photos or instagram account (which is definitely the case for a blogger) and I will be referring back to this book but I think if you're looking for an in-depth, technical guide to improving your instagram or photographs then this isn't the book for you (if that's what you want then maybe her online courses would help). However I would recommend it if you're looking for general inspiration and tips within a beautifully put together book.

Medical London by Richard Barnett (over 500 pages) ★★★★ 
The penultimate book I read in February was a little unusual as it isn't just one book but a collection of short illustrated books, pamphlets, maps, essays and other materials all combined within one collection, Medical London. Richard Barnett is a favourite author of mine, I've read a few of his other medical history books and adored them so I had to read this unusual collection of non-fiction medical history books and extras. As it's a collection of various books and pamphlets, there's no set page number but on GoodReads, it's over 500 pages.

I bought this set with christmas gift cards and I couldn't be happier with it! One of my favourite non-fiction topics to read is history, in particular, medical history which I find to be equally grotesquely interesting, disturbing and fascinating, all in one. I loved the plethora of maps and walks included within this collection and while reading it I was recalling the places I've visited in London and was able to view it in a more knowledgeable light. Additionally, I've folded over numerous corners of walks and places in London that I now want to visit after reading this collection.

I love the tone and writing style of Richard Barnett's books as the style is just so easily readable, quick and engaging without being dry, dense or intimidating as some non-fiction reads can be. I did visit London in February for a couple of days but sadly I didn't have time to visit most of the sights  I wanted to after reading this collection. If you're interested in medical history, the history of London or if you're visiting London soon, then I'd definitely recommend this collection.

*Enchantee by Gita Trelease (480 pages) ★★★ (3.75)
Lastly for the month is a book I've already reviewed fully as part of a blog tour post, Enchantee by Gita Trelease. If you want my detailed thoughts on the book then check out my blog tour post but here's a mini review! In Enchantee we follow Camille as she struggles with her violent brother and sickly sister while trying to scrape a living on the poverty stricken area in which they live. Before her parents died, her mother taught Camille how to use magic which she is reluctant to use. Camille travels to Versailles where she transforms herself using magic and hopefully wins enough for herself and her family.

There are two elements of this book that I utterly adored and those include the vivid setting and the magic. I adored the revolutionary France time period and the setting of Paris and Versailles! Despite being almost 500 pages, it was a surprisingly quick YA read with an easy writing style that made me fly through most of this book. I found the ending quite convenient and between 50% to 75% of the book was quite repetitive sadly but overall this YA book was throughly entertaining!

As always, if you want to see what I'm reading, my ratings and my thoughts then follow me on GoodReads!

What did you read in the month of February? Do you tend to read more while travelling? 

17 comments

  1. wow ! You are such a quick reader . Well done . my reading list is for upcoming months and its not a big one haha! Enchantee sounds like my cup of tea so its on my wish list. I think I am going to register in GoodRead and follow you :)


    Funny enough my latest blog post is about books :

    http://www.mariesconnections.com/



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  2. Lovely post Heather, and I’m so pleased you’ve had another great reading month! I love finding new books to read, and it’s refreshing to see some titles I’ve never heard of before. Hope March is a good one for you too, happy reading! :-) xx

    Helen | Helen’s Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

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  3. Oooh some amazing books here, I've got so many on my to be read list!

    Love, Amie ❤

    The Curvaceous Vegan

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  4. I managed one whole book is Feb which is ridiculous really x

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  5. I'm jealous of your reading! I miss reading so much!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  6. Really great variety here! I definitely read more when I'm travelling too. I like the sound of Any Old Diamonds x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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  7. Some of them sound like great reads, I’ve added a few to my reading list.

    http://littlemissmelanie.com

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  8. These sound like some great books, I love Sherlock Holmes. 💜

    With love, Alisha Valerie x | www.alishavalerie.com

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  9. I read two books in February - both were amazing.

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  10. Love the sound of some of these books! I'm loving reading so much at the moment xx

    Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

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  11. I think Traitors Moon sounds ace x

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  12. Traitors Moon sounds brilliant x

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  13. I really need to checkout the Nightrunner series.

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  14. Amazing selection to round up your February!! I might take up your star rating system since I couldn't figure out how to set mine out! Haha!!

    Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

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  15. Looked like you had a really great reading month!

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