Feb’21 Wrap Up

I listened to so many audiobooks.

I didn’t quite realize in all, how many books I inhaled in February. I would just finish one and have the next one already downloaded and ready to read. I’d honestly be so bored at work if it weren’t for audiobooks.

But I’ve noticed something – the prospect of having to physically read a book or eBook has become almost tedious. I’ve been busy at work, and because of that, I’m left with very little energy in the evenings to read. Audiobooks make everything so easy, but I can’t listen to everything I want to read on audio. Either it’s not available, not out yet, or it’s an eARC.

It’s annoying.

Anyways, I digress.

It was a pretty solid reading month – a bunch of hits and some new favorites. As well as a couple of books I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on. So, let’s jump in and take a look.

40942588These Divided Shores (Stream Raiders #2) – Sara Raasch

Audiobook Finished: February 2, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] Now, there was a moment that I thought Sara was going to thoroughly obliterate my heart. I swear it stopped and I was damn near about to rage through work because how dare, but I forgot that she’s a genius and that specific character is tough as shit. But seriously, I ripped my AirPod out of my ear and started ranting? lamenting? to my coworker, (who knows nothing about the book, or the plot), about how my heart was breaking, and she just stared at me, and told me to get back to listening to the book.’

53902073. sy475 The Song of the Marked (Shadows and Crowns #1) – S.M. Gaither

Audiobook Finished: February 4, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] And then there’s Elander, and honestly? New Book Boyfriend Alert. I love this man. He’s got his secrets, his magic, his dark, mysterious, bad boy persona, but really, he’s something else – soft.

Omfg, how he is with Casia? I die. My heart melts.

Like I said before, Cas deals with anxiety – and it’s featured pretty prominently in the book. As the reader, we see her navigate her way through the anxiety attacks, and the methods she uses to ground herself – to bring herself back. And my favorite part in this whole book has to be this tender moment between the two of them, where he’s just there for her. No pressure, just there.

I don’t want to give too much away, or inadvertently spoil anything, but his understanding of her anxiety attacks and his willingness to be there for her…”

56030239. sy475 An Heir Comes to Rise (An Heir Comes to Rise #1) – C.C. Peñaranda

eARC Finished: February 8, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / GR

“[…] This book had me hooked. I loved Faythe and Jakon – their relationship was so pure and wonderful. Their friendship was amazing, and I really loved how the author didn’t force them to be something more, just because of the feelings they have for each other. I love a good strong friendship between a guy and a girl.

For as much as Jakon doted after her, and sought to protect her, she did the same for him. Like, I would die to protect their friendship. Then enters Marlowe and I didn’t think it could get any better. The three of them, their friendship – it’s just too pure. I won’t go into more details, because spoilers. But the dynamic could have totally changed, but I’m so incredibly glad that it didn’t. The three of them against the world? The world better watch out. The loyalty. The love.”

43263361Crown of Bones (Amassia #1) – A.K. Wilder

Audiobook Finished: February 8, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / GR

“[…] But let me go back to the one thing I did really love, and it’s honestly what boosted my rating for this book. The Great Dying and the binary Suns. When this was finally introduced/explained at like, the 70% mark, I suddenly wished that this prophecy of The Great Dying had been the prologue or at least mentioned earlier in the book. Even if it were just for the reader to know, and not the MCs. This is arguably the best element of the book and the strongest and I wish it featured more heavily. I’m assuming book 2 will focus on the The Great Dying and what it all means, but I do think it should have been introduced earlier.”

50997534Beautiful Wild – Anna Godberson

Audiobook Finished: February 9, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] I really didn’t care for this book. I found so many things utterly absurd. I thought it was paced too fast, too many time jumps, but no real indicator of how much time actually passed. Vida’s character development was unbelievable – like, I didn’t believe it at all. Characters kept appearing in scenes of consequence, only to disappear and then reappear scenes later.”

45891343The Upside of Falling – Alex Light

Audiobook Finished: February 10, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / GR

“[…] While I can’t relate to everything Becca goes through, I did find her to be really relatable. More than once I felt called out – lol I read to escape just like Becca. Some of the commentary surrounding this fact hit a little close to home. I loved her though – her personality shines through as she becomes more comfortable. I really liked her journey in this book – and not just the one she goes on with Brett. But with her father as well. I won’t go into details because spoilers, but when she confronts him finally, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Watching her go from someone who thinks love is a waste of time and just not worth it because it’ll end in heartbreak, to someone who is looking forward to the future, sharing it with someone and figuring out what they want – it was wonderful, sweet and endearing. And the way she is with Brett…ugh, I want myself a Brett.”

45861077By the Book – Amanda Sellet

Audiobook Finished: February 11, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] It took a bit for me to warm up to Mary. As I character, I liked her and could relate somewhat. I’ve been the new kid, coming into a school where everything is different than what I knew, and where everyone has known each other since diapers. It’s hard to fit in, but once you find your people, things start looking up. But I really couldn’t stand the way she talked – so formal and stiff. And coming from someone who would rather stay home and read – Mary needed to get out and live life a little.’

53138069Amelia Unabridged – Ashley Schumacher

eARC Finished: February 11, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR  

“[…] Okay, I know we’re all mad at JKR and HP, but do you remember that very first time that world opened up to you? Or when you walked through the wardrobe with the Pevensie kids? Or crossing the bridge into Terabithia?

Do you remember how a new world just opened up in front of you and the possibilities were endless? How you’d create these fantastical worlds and stories for yourself to occupy your mind – where you were the main character going on these adventures…

You’d receive the letter; you’d save Narnia or you’d just create this utterly fantastical place and pretend you were there when running through trees – that pure love and adoration for having those world and experiences to escape to.

That’s what this book made me feel.”

54443029. sy475 Caught (Sea Temptress Series #1) – Kimberley Cale

eARC Finished: February 14, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️.5 / GR

“[…] This book ended up really not doing much for me. I’d requested on a whim and the key words “pirate” and “mermaid”. I figured it would be a quick, enjoyable read. In the end, I just didn’t really care. One part of me liked that it was short, which meant I breezed through it in one sitting. The other part of me wished it were longer so more character and world development could have occurred.

I don’t think the book is bad, and it definitely has potential, but I didn’t get to spend enough time on the world or with the characters to develop any sort of attachment.”

53402140Hot British Boyfriend – Kristy Boyce

Audiobook Finished: February 15, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] Let’s start with the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to a character. I’ve never had such bad secondhand embarrassment. I was listening to this at work and had to get up out of my chair and walk off the terror that was coursing through me.

To put it mildly, I’d want a pit to open up underneath me and swallow me whole, if I’d been in Ellie’s shoes. I think it took me like 20 minutes to chill tf to be able to continue reading. I can’t think of a single time I experienced secondhand embarrassment to that extreme. Even just thinking about it now makes me want to crawl into a hole and never return.

And fuck Andy and Crystal. They can swan dive into a hole and never return. What shit people.”

41433282It Sounded Better in My Head – Nina Kenwood

Audiobook Finished: February 15, 2021 / Review / ⭐️ / GR

“[…] Natalie’s personality boils down to – I had cystic acne in high school, and I refuse to move past it.

Maybe I’m being harsh, but she judges everything and everyone in her life, by the fact that she had a shit high school career with terrible skin. She thinks the only guy who could ever like her, is one of her best friends (and don’t even get me started on the fucking internal monologue about how she feels about him – that shit was terrible). She judges people based on how they look but hates the fact that she was judged on how she looked.”

45023611The Roommate – Rosie Danan

Paperback Finished: February 16, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] I enjoyed this – though not as much as I expected. I think that

my expectations were too high based on the hype surrounding this book. I bought this a few months ago when my whole Twitter timeline was a flurry of photos and reviews for this book. I kept seeing and hearing about how good it was, so I bought it immediately, on impulse. Didn’t think about it too hard, or too long.

I’m kind of, of two minds. I did enjoy it – it’s a good read, relatively quick and the characters are great together. The other part of me – I’m just underwhelmed. I don’t know what my expectations were, but they don’t feel met.

I will say that weirdly enough, I expected more smut, more sex, more spice. But that also seems absurd, because there’s plenty in the book. I don’t know. I’m just kind of “meh”.”

53138095A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4) – Sarah J. Maas

Audiobook/Hardcover Finished: February 18, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] This book, Nesta’s journey…

I don’t have words for how good it was.

The repetition, the burning of emotions (good and bad), the reconciling and everything in between. The realizations as those around her catch glimpses of what her trauma actually was. Nesta’s steps in dealing with it, rising above, coming to terms.

Beyond just Nesta dealing with the events of the last war, and everything superseding it – a lot of the characters go through some big changes, some big realizations. But those moments where they get a look at what Nesta is dealing with, the moment with Rhys, the moments with Feyre and Elain, and the moments with Cassian…my heart wanted to break. Knowing that Nesta was so lost in herself, berating and scolding and keeping everyone at arm’s length because of what she thought and felt…you don’t get that insight in the other books. She just comes across as a cold bitch and you don’t like her.”

55101767Clover – Nicole Kilpatrick

eARC Finished: February 20, 2021 DNF @ 56% / Review / ⭐️.5 / GR

“[…] Due to the lack of emotional weights for anything in this book, I just didn’t care. I was reading chapters and scenes, moving on the next one and promptly forgetting what had just happened. Everything happened so easily. Besides Clover losing her luck, and a bought of the munchies, there are basically no hardships. And the few that there are, are magically solved.

Since I didn’t end up finishing the novel, I can’t speak for the ending, so maybe it gets better. But I kept re-reading the same lines, paragraphs and pages over and over, and in the end, I had to make the tough call.”

53697329. sy475 A Trial of Sorcerers (A Trial of Sorcerers #1) – Elise Kova

eARC Finished: February 21, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] We’re tossed back into the world of the Solaris Empire and it’s only been a short while since the events of Crystal Caged and Eira is infatuated with anything dealing with Meru, the elfin and basically anything she can learn about the once named Crescent Continent.

I loved Eira. She’s so different from both Vhalla and Vi, but just as inquisitive. Her situation isn’t great, she’s coddled, and everyone thinks they know what’s best for her. Props to Elise for making me seriously angry at beloved characters for the way they treat Eria. I never thought I could want to strangle the current Minister of Sorcery, but I wanted to…on more than one occasion.”

51270293Light Singer (Kingdom of Runes #4) – Audrey Grey

Audiobook Finished: February 22, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] Y’all, Audrey Grey has me feeling all the emotions. This was easily my favorite book in the series. Haven is really coming into her own, even with the expansion of her powers. Stolas is still as moody and broody and yummy as ever.

And everything that happens in this book?!

It has like, everything I love in a fantasy. High stakes. A tournament. A battle. “Pretend to be my _[blank]_ so we can survive this thing”. Spicey moments. And a few other things, but to mention them would be spoilers. But trust me, everything builds up to this book and you’re not left disappointed. Slightly angry and mentally going “wtf why isn’t the next book out yet” but definitely not disappointed.”

56768535. sy475 A Twist of the Blade (Shadows and Crowns #2) – S.M. Gaither

eBook Finished: February 22, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] Cas goes on one hell of a journey. Things happen a little too quickly and a little too efficiently at times, but you get so wrapped up in the story, it doesn’t really matter. I would like to have seen more time pass, but I also get that time is of the essence as Varen is being a little dictator bitch and needs to be disposed of. Honestly, he’s such a turd.

Cas has to come to terms with who she was born to be, but also has to choose whether or not she abides by those obligations. She can’t have one foot in and one foot out. And then there’s the whole issue with Elander, and that doesn’t bode well.

Ugh, I can’t even really talk on it, because spoilers, but I got so giddy when the reason they are drawn together is revealed. It was different than my suspicion, but I’m not mad. This adds a whole new element and it’s potentially going to be explored in the next book.”

57032638. sy475 Thief (The Scarred Mage of Roseward #1) – Sylvia Merceedes

Audiobook Finished: February 23, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] Easily the best part of the book, is the wyvern that lives with Soran. I want a pet wyvern. I mean, it’ll probably end up a la Hagrid and Norbert, but after having read this book, I want one. They’re just like a mixture of a cat and a needy puppy. The personality on the little beast is amazing and I love him so much.

Overall, this book pleasantly surprised me. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be – it took a while for things to start happening, but overall, it’s a pretty solid BATB retelling. It’s definitely unique – which is important when you’re going to write a retelling. It’s familiar enough that you know, but unique enough that you feel like you never read it before – like you don’t know what to expect.”

46189814Down Comes the Night – Allison Shaft

eARC Finished: February 24, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] I inhaled this book in about 6ish hours. Once I was hooked, I was invested. I didn’t want to stop reading. I was exhausted heading into this book, but it didn’t matter. I needed to know what was going to happen next. I need more Hal and Wren.

Their dynamic is amazing, and I just loved them so much. I love that Hal is clearly adorable. He might have been ruthless and dangerous and Not A Good Person but seeing him for who is truly is…impeccable.

His arc is just so satisfying.

And speaking of satisfying arcs, um, hello Wren.

Wren is amazing. She’s brilliant, witty and so incredibly strong.”

52802314. sy475 Birthspell (Lebrus Stone #1) – Miriam Khan

eARC Finished: February 24, 2021 DNF @ 13% / Review / ⭐️.5 / GR

“[…] Possibly because I’m choosing to not finish this book, but all the character motivations – well, lack of motivations – make me not care. I got almost 15% in and I have no reason why I should care about anything happening, or anyone. Crystal isn’t likeable enough to just blindly back her. The love interests are your typical incredibly attractive bad boys, and one is significantly more charming and the other is more protective and keeps her at arm’s length.

I mean, it’s all just so blatantly obvious and relies too much on tropes to feel original. I only read 13% and I can tell you exactly what book it reminds me of.

It’s like, if you were to gender bend Beautiful Creatures – or tell it from the girls POV instead of the guys. But it also doesn’t have the level of craft that book had.”

57032650. sy475 Prisoner (The Scarred Mage of Roseward #2) – Sylvia Mercedes

Audiobook Finished: February 25, 2021 / Review TK / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] Whereas book 1 was good, this one was by far better. The emotional weights were heavier and better. The stakes were higher. I don’t know what it is, or why it is, but I’m an absolute sucker for when the guy risks everything to save the girl, but the girl is a badass in her own right and doesn’t necessarily need saving. I also love that Nelle is legit such a badass in this book, she takes no shit, but we’re also starting to get to see a more vulnerable side to her. I love it.”

53328768. sy475 The Power of Hades (The Hades Trials #1) – Eliza Raine & Rose Wilson

Audiobook Finished: February 25, 2021 / Review TK/ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] I was recommended this book by a fellow blogger.  I was dealing with some emotional stuff and just wanted something bingeable, a little smutty and just something I knew I would enjoy. I was honestly a little skeptical going in, and I definitely did not expect this book to be as good as it was. I loved this take on the Greek Gods. I loved how vivid the world was. I had zero problems picturing the world, the characters. I loved the sexual tension between Persephone and Hades, and Skop is the best.”

53510660. sy475 The Passion of Hades (The Hades Trials #2) – Eliza Raine & Rose Wilson

Audiobook Finished: February 26, 2021 / Review TK / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / GR

“[…] Book 1 was good, this one was better. I love that the trials are actually dangerous, and that they come across as dangerous. I hate when books include “life or death” trials and then they’re anything but. Persephone having to compete and not die – it was refreshing. The stakes are so high, and as her feelings grow and power slowly builds, who knows what’s going to happen. This book is wholly bingeable and Hades is fucking yummy as hell.”

53205978. sy475 The Stolen Kingdom – Jillian Boehme

eARC Finished: February 28, 2021 / Review / ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / GR

“[…] I could see what the author was going for, but I just never really felt the weight of what was happening. And because of the quick pace, character reactions just seem too easy, too surface. They all basically take everything in stride. There’s very little fighting back.

That’s not to say that I didn’t like Maralyth, I just didn’t fully understand her motivations. She’s not without care – we see that through the way she treats the workers, her family and those in her community, but when she gets pulled into this plot to overthrow the current regime, she just goes with it.

This was the part that I didn’t really buy – especially after her wariness and urgency for people to not voice treasonous opinions.”

What books did you read in February? Which surprised you? Which was your favorite?

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