February Reading Wrap-Up 2020

Monday, March 02, 2020

February wasn't the best reading month but I did read quite a few great books that I'd definitely recommend as well as a translated book and a book over 500 pages. Some of my favourite books of the month have to include: Heartstopper Volume One, Tiny Tattoos and The Poppy War, all of which I'd definitely recommend. I'm happy with the ten books I read but hopefully March is a far better reading month!

To Your Eternity Volume One by Yoshitoki Oima (192 pages - manga) ★★★
After reading four manga last month, I wanted to continue with the free manga on Kindle Unlimited. In To Your Eternity, we follow a boy and his wolf as they try to survive in a desolate landscape and find his family. There's much more to it than that, including a celestial entity, a gigantic bear and family bonds. I like the art style, the more supernatural elements and the boy/wolf bond but apart from that it wasn't for me sadly. It was a very quick and easy read so I'd recommend it if you're in a reading slump or if you have Kindle Unlimited so you can read it for free.

Beautiful World by Lonely Planet (256 pages - non-fiction) ★★★
Another free book on Kindle Unlimited was this beautiful photography book focusing on a variety of beautiful sites around the world. Each site had an accompanying photograph and a fact or two so it was a super quick and easy read that made me want to travel to so many places, especially northern Norway, Iceland, southern France, China and Japan in particular. It did focus mostly on places within America and Africa and I feel as though numerous amazing sites around Europe were missed out but it was visually beautiful, super easy read that would be perfect as a coffee table book.

*The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (404 pages - supernatural thriller) ★★★ (3.5)
Next up is a book with one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen! I was kindly sent an arc copy of this read which will be released in April by Quirk Books. We follow Patricia, a housewife and member of a book club in the small suburban community in Charleston, as she struggles with the demands of being a mother and wanting more from her mundane day to day life when a couple of unusual events occur and a strange neighbour moves into the area.

I loved the vivid but easy writing style and the atmospheric setting. I liked the tone of the book as it has a slight Stranger Things feel to it as it is more than a little eerie at times and has paranormal elements. While I found it a little predictable and slow at times, I did adore the tone and feel of the book as well as the creepy scenes, particularly towards the end of the book. I hadn't read anything by this author before but I love the tone and I think I will like his other books.

Mask Of The Highwaywoman by Niamh Murphy (222 pages - LGBT historical fiction) ★★★
Historical fiction is a genre I usually love but not one that I've reached for recently so when I saw this LGBT historical fiction read for free on Kindle Unlimited I thought I'd give it a go especially as it had good reviews. We follow Evelyn as her stagecoach is taken by highwaymen (and an intriguing highwaywoman) which leaves her robbed and stranded. What follows is family betrayal, murder and insta-love, the latter is something I can't stand in any book. I did like the overall premise and how quick/easy the book was so it would be great for a readathon or if you're in a slump. However it was predictable, frustrating at times and more than a little disappointing. If you can read it for free then try it but if not then maybe give it a miss unfortunately.

*The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo (224 pages - translated fiction) ★★★ (3.5)
As soon as I noticed this book on Netgalley, I had to request it as it's not only published by Pushkin Press (I've loved their translated fiction in the past) but it also has a gorgeous cover and I have been a more than a little intrigued by all things related to Japan recently so it has the perfect ARC to request. I haven't read any Japanese fiction other than manga and now I'm intrigued to read more as I loved so many elements of this read.

We follow the Ichiyanagi family as they prepare to celebrate the wedding of the eldest son but tragedy strikes as both the bride and groom are found murdered. The plot is a classic 'locked door mystery', similar to the style of mysteries by Agatha Christie so naturally I loved the detective/mystery element. I also loved the time period, the setting (as I haven't read enough fiction set in Japan) and I liked the writing style which was more modern than I thought it would be.

There were so many elements of this book that I loved, particularly the eerie elements (the koto...), the mystery and the tone of the book as well as the explanations of Japanese culture and interiors. Sadly, I found it a little too slow at times but overall I think that if you like classic detective/murder mystery books then you'll also like this newly translated read.

A Dead Djin In Cairo by P. Djeli Clark (46 pages - novella) ★★★ 
I noticed this book recommendation on Jean's youtube channel (Jeans Bookish Thoughts) and it sounded unlike anything else I've read. It's a short novella set in Cairo in 1912 following special investigator Fatima as she tries to uncover the mystery of a dead Djin. There's so much more to the story than that but as it is such a short book, I don't want to say much more about the plot. However, I will say that I liked the main character Fatima, the mystery and the supernatural creatures but my favourite aspects of the book by far include the vivid setting of Cairo and the steampunk elements. I now need to read more books set in Egypt and I'll look out for more books from this author in the future.

Heartstopper Volume One by Alice Oseman (288 pages - graphic novel) ★★★ (3.5)
I've wanted to read this sweet YA LGBT graphic novel for a while but I'm trying to save money and buy less books. However when I noticed the kindle version of this graphic novel at only 99p, I had to buy it! Set in a typical English secondary school, we follow Charlie (an openly gap student) as he navigates a rocky relationship and school work when he develops feelings for one of the rugby players, Nick. I loved the simple art style and the incredibly sweet story line as well as how adorable the two main characters were! I'm glad I waited for the price to drop and hopefully the other two volumes will be on sale soon too as I'd love to continue the story.

The Case Of The Somewhat Mythic Sword by Garth Nix (29 pages - novella) ★★★
The final shorter book I finished in February was a novella by the famous fantasy author Garth Nix. The novella follows a cousin of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Magus Holmes, as he is tasked by Sherlock to investigate a case with his partner Alice. I don't want to say more as it is a very quick read but I loved the setting, tone and supernatural elements of the book and I would have loved it to be a full length novel!

Tiny Tattoos by Rebecca Vincent (192 pages - non-fiction) ★★★★
I usually wait before purchasing new books, especially if they've just been released, until the price drops but I couldn't wait with this newly released non-fiction read by a tattoo artist that I'd love to be tattooed by! Rebecca Vincent is a tattoo artist based in London and all of her tattoos are incredible and at some point in the next year or two, I'd love to travel down to London to be tattooed by her. Tiny Tattoos focuses on...tiny tattoos and all of the options you could choose from along with artist interviews and photographs. I have a couple of smaller tattoos but mine aren't tiny and now I'd love to get a few smaller tattoos as gap fillers around my existing large tattoos! I think this book is a great coffee table book and perfect for tattoo inspiration.

The Poppy War by K.F Kuang (545 pages - historical fiction) ★★★★
My final book of February and the longest was The Poppy War which is a historical fiction debut with fantasy elements and is based/inspired by Chinese history. Within The Poppy War we follow a underestimated but talented peasant girl, Rin, as she manages against the odds to gain entry into the most prestigious military school in the empire where she learns strategy, tactics, history and martial arts, all the while being ridiculed for being from a working class, southern background.

The book is pretty huge but I always find that ebooks are better if the book is longer and I tend to pick them up more if it's an ebook. It read quicker than I thought it would considering it is over 500 pages and it was an enjoyable read from start to finish. My favourite aspect of the book, along with the setting and martial arts elements, was the relationship between Rin and her master Jiang - I loved the sassy nature of both characters and their interaction!

Between the 30% to 45% mark, it did start to lag a little but it eventually picked up and I liked gaining the view point of more individuals other than Rin. It began more involved and expanded as the story continued and I loved the more military aspects of the book. Overall, while it wasn't as incredible as I hoped it would be, I still definitely enjoyed so many elements of this read. It is currently free on Kindle Unlimited and I'd highly recommend it.

Have you read any of these books? What did you read in February? 

*Gifted

8 comments

  1. I've not heard of any of these books, let alone read them. I'd say it was a pretty successful reading month for you x

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  2. I actually have not heard of any of these books before! They sound like some lovely reads

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  3. Wow you read so many! I've not heard of any of these x

    Tiffany x www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

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  4. Ooo I'll have to add some of these to my reading list xx

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  5. I haven't read any of these but I managed 15 books in February so I had a pretty good reading month x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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  6. I love how much you read - it's so lovely to see!

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  7. The Poppy War sounds really interesting and definitely up my street.

    https://littlemissmelanie.com/

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  8. I'd love to check out the Lonely Planet book :)

    Jasmine x

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Feel free to leave me a comment, I read all of them!

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