In the first half of February, I read twelve books. I’m going to discuss nine of them here and refer you to my ContemporaryAThon wrap up for more thoughts on the other three. Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneby J.K. Rowling
Dear J.K. Rowling, stop trying to ruin my childhood. Sincerely, Jenica
Okay, but seriously, re-reading Harry Potter as an adult is different for a thousand reasons, probably, but one of those is wtf kind of man is Dumbledore that he drops off a one year old in a basket in the middle of the night with a NOTE. A note! I spent this whole book mad af at Dumbledore for being a trash can and mad at the entire world for making Dumbledore out to be some kind of hero when he was complicit in the child abuse Harry suffered at the hands of the Dursleys. AND what did any of Harry’s professors do? In real life, this would never fly and it astonishes me that so many of us were cool with the hero worship of Dumbledore growing up.
I actually wound up bumping my rating of this book down to 4/5 stars because I felt like there were already plot holes in the book. But you know, it’s Harry Potter so how mad can you be? I have read a lot more fanfic this month than I really meant to, but it’s fine.
2. Beyond Innocenceby Kit Rocha
As usual, I really enjoyed this book and this world. Lili’s character growth and arc felt so real and important. She’s someone who doesn’t really feel comfortable in the O’Kane’s world because she thinks that the women are all kind of faking their pleasure in it. This is similar to how Six felt, but with Lili it feels so very different as well. I really, really enjoyed watching her come in to her own and find a place in her new world, learning to make things from her past life strengths in her new one. And watching her and Jared together was entrancing. I really like Jared as a character and a hero. Just… So much good stuff here, really.
Also, check out this glorious new cover. I’m in love with it and it fits the story SO WELL.
3. Bedding the Wrong Brotherby Virna DePaul
Do you ever have one of those times where you just want a pretty trashy romance? Well, that’s what I wanted when I picked this book up. It’s one I got for free during some Kindle promo deal and um, this book is not trashy. It’s actually quite good. I enjoyed it a lot. Basically, it’s about a woman who just really wants to figure out how to be good in bed because she believes her ex-boyfriend (who belongs in the trash) who said that she was bad in bed. So she does what any reasonable person would do and asks her childhood best friend (and the twin to the man she’s been crushing on since day one) to help her figure out her bedroom skills. Only Max manages to get his brother into that hotel room instead and our heroine had her glasses off so she actually thought Rhys was Max… Yeah, it’s really quite good. Very sexy (obviously), but not erotica.
4. Indigoby Beverly Jenkins
I finally read my first Beverly Jenkins and I adored Indigo so much. It was flawed, but overall, so, so good. I no longer really remember the flaws, but I will say that I had an excellent Twitter thread about this book and Jenkins responded to me, which I appreciated. I’m including the tweets here because why do the work twice, you know?
5. Bintiby Nnedi Okorafor
This very short sci-fi novella was fascinating and so, so sad. I’m still not really sure how to explain it, precisely… The world was a little complicated for me so even though it made sense at the time, I’m not sure I got enough of an immersion to be able to explain it to someone else. I will say that I’m planning to listen to Binti Home sometime this week. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads to explain it better than I can:
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.
6. The Bellesby Dhonielle Clayton
I have a full spoiler free review already up on my blog so I’ll link that over to the side. I do want to flag that I’ve seen several reviewers take issue with the fact that a queer character dies and a trans character is misgendered. While I can’t say I noticed the latter, that is just something I wanted to touch on here because I didn’t acknowledge either of those in my review. Personally, I’m really excited for the second book, but did feel like there were significant parts in the middle where I was like, CAN SOMETHING HAPPEN ALREADY? Also, the plot twist was very… foreseeable, but that’s not really something that hinders my enjoyment of a book.
7. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
HOW DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE? I was in awe the entire time I read this book. Gyasi’s writing is just so masterful and beautiful and I loved it more than I can describe to you. This family saga is so well-crafted and remarkable, I just can’t deal. If you’re not aware, Homegoing follows the descendants of two half-sisters, one of whom is married to a white dude and the other is sold into slavery by basically that same white dude. It is so incredibly well done. Each chapter follows a different descendant and it was just honestly perfection. If you haven’t read it yet, give in to the hype. It’s so good.
8. Beneath the Sugar Skyby Seanan McGuire
I can’t really tell you anything about this plot without spoiling the first novella, but I can tell you that I really loved this one. I adored seeing different worlds and several familiar faces. I love the prose and the weirdness of those different worlds. However, it felt that there were some internal inconsistencies that would bother me for a few minutes and bring me out of the world until I could ignore them enough to sink back in. Overall, I love this series and would highly recommend.
9. Bedding the Bad Boy by Virna DePaul
So this book is the companion/sequel to Bedding the Wrong Brother and follows Max and Grace. I really like Grace, but I adore Max. My one thing with this book is that for two characters who really love sex, there’s not nearly as much sex in this book. I also felt like the whole Max is a modern day rake, but deep down he just wants to settle down and he needs someone to really see that was a little over done. But overall, I enjoyed this as much as I did the first in the series.
10. Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen
I loved Nate and Becca’s story so, so much! Please direct your attention to the Contemporary A Thon Wrap Up for additional thoughts.
11. We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union
I cannot say enough good things about this book or Gabrielle Union. Please read this and also watch all of her movies and Becoming Mary Jane, thank you. Also note that I compare everything to Hunger now and I still gave this memoir a five star rating. That’s saying a lot, I think. Union’s book is funny and will make you cry and will make you love her. Also, more thoughts in the Contemporary A Thon Wrap Up.
12. American Panda by Gloria Chao
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I was expecting to. I walk you through my thoughts and feelings in the Contemporary A Thon Wrap Up so check that out for more. I’ll also be posting a full review of this book soon… Soon.
So, there you have it. My February Part One Wrap Up. I really enjoyed the books I’ve read thus far in February and I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing Homegoing and We’re Going to Need More Wine at the end of the year when I let you all know my favorite reads of 2018. Have you read something you’ve loved this month? Let me know!