Updated: May 31, 2021
Another month and another set of books to recap! I’m not going to lie, I read way more books this month than I usually do. I think it helped that quite a few were only about 230 pages or so.
Let’s get to it!
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - finished 2/2/21 3/5 stars
I absolutely LOVED Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and was super excited about Gods of Jade and Shadow. I bought it as an add-on with Book of the Month and finally decided to pick it up and I was disappointed. Casiopea Tun serves as her family’s servant in rural Mexico during the 1920’s. But when she opens the chest at the foot of her grandfather’s bed, she meets a Mayan God who takes her away from everything she knows. The story was so strong until the end. The Mayan culture, historical setting and Latinx characters were so good. But the ending fell so flat and honestly ruined the book for me. It was a bit disappointing considering how strong the ending for Mexican Gothic was. I did see she has another book coming out this year that I’ll probably pick up.
Dearest Josephine by Caroline George - finished 2/7/21 3/5 stars
This book was all over my Instagram ads for about two weeks before its release. I bought it the weekend it came out both because of the ad and was another rec from Amy, of Authentically Amy Reads (https://www.authenticallyamyreads.com). Josie De Clare finds out her recently deceased father bought property in Northern England and she goes there to find herself. While there she discovers one of the previous owners, Elias Roch wrote to Josephine and discovers what time and challenge do to love. It was advertised as a love story that spanned hundreds of years. I found that the story fell flat and was good in idea but not execution. It felt like there was barely any connection between the two stories. I did really enjoy the writing style. The author chose to use emails, texts, letters and Elias’s novel to tell the story. It was just ok but I am looking forward to see what Caroline George writes next.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - finished 2/15/21 (audiobook) 3.5/5 stars
I committed the mortal sin of seeing the movie before reading the book. I saw the movie with Nick Robinson and Amandla Stenberg in 2017 with my sister. I enjoyed the movie but never really thought about the book until I was browsing libby. I decided to give it a go and it was just ok. I had two bones to pick with the movie after reading the book. Maddy’s mom in the book is Japanese not Black, although I did really enjoy Anika Noni Rose in the movie. It would have been cool to see a Japanese Black teenager as the role of a movie but I get why they made her Black. My largest gripe with both the book and the movie is the brushing of
The Selection by Kiera Cass - finished 2/16/21 (audiobook) 3.5/5 stars
This was a book I saw all over booktok and bookstagram. I’ve seen quite a few people recommend this series, so I decided to check it out. America Singer, a caste five singer (original I know) who becomes a part of the Selection, the competition for the crown prince’s hand in marriage. America is very much an “I’m not like other girls” girl, which is such an outdated trope. It was interesting to see a mix of romance and dystopian North America. I wasn’t in love with the story but I’m glad I gave it a chance.
The Elite by Kiera Cass - finished 2/17/21 4/5 stars
I have this thing where even if I didn’t love the first story in a series, I keep reading the books, ie. The Mortal Instruments series. After finishing The Selection, I continued the series with The Elite. America has made it to the final six contestants of the selection, or the elite. Now she has to decide if her feelings for Prince Maxon are real and the consistent rebel attacks at the capital. This book was better than The Selection. There were less characters to remember the names of and the overall development was better.
The One by Kiera Cass - finished 2/17/21 4/5 stars
I decided to stop with The One from The Selection series and not read the two additional books that follow the daughter of America. I felt that The One was a solid enough ending for me. Maxon narrows down the final six to the final four, which obviously includes America. The attacks from the rebel groups increase and so does America’s fear of commitment to the crown and Maxon. For what it was it was okay. There could have been more world building or more explanation as to why the rebel groups felt the way they did. America did not seems as annoying in this book and I actually enjoyed her character.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - finished 2/19/21 3.5/5 stars
This book was both a booktok/bookstagram rec and a must read for me. Netflix is coming out with a series, named Shadow and Bone, about Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. The series will include the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. I’ve been putting off starting this series cause I was in a bit of a fantasy rut, I needed a break from the genre. After procrastinating long enough I finally finished this book and I was underwhelmed. Alina Starkov is an orphan cartographer with the First Army of Ravka. During an attack in the Shadow Fold, Alina learns she’s a Grisha, witch, and is whisked away to be trained by the Darkling (who is being portrayed by Ben Barnes in the Netflix series aka Prince Caspian). I am so over the “chosen one”/ “didn’t know they had powers” trope in ya fantasy books. At this point it seems like they all have that plot point. I did find the world building to be good though, I didn’t really have any questions understanding why the world was the way it was or the types of Grisha. However, I did not empathize with Alina. I didn’t even really like her character much, I preferred the Darkling. I’m going to try and finish at least the trilogy before the show comes out in April, but I don’t know how much my opinion will change about Alina.
Fat Chance Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado - finished 2/21/21 4/5 stars
I saw an ad for this book and didn’t think much of it until I went to Barnes and Noble. Charlie Vega knows she’s fat. She accepts it and understands that it’s a part of who she is. She feels second best to her best friend Amelia, to guys and especially to her mom. But then she meets a guy, Brian, who doesn’t make her feel second best. It was a cute read. The characters were diverse, Charlie is half Puerto Rican half white, Amelia is Black, and Brian is half Korean. The writing felt a bit forced though, the way the characters spoke is not how teens speak now so it felt a little outdated. I really enjoyed it.
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwait - finished 2/22/21 3/5 stars
This book has been on my to buy list for awhile and when I saw there was an ebook deal, I swooped. Korede is a nurse and the older sister to Ayoola, the serial killer. The story focuses on two men, Femi, the man Ayoola kills at the beginning and Tade, the man Korede loves and is trying to save. I really wanted to like this one. I thought the concept and the writing were so good but because it was so short the characters did not really develop. The title really gave the whole character arcs away.
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova - finished 2/24/21 4/5 stars
For about two weeks I saw at least three posts a day on my Instagram discovery page recommending this book. It’s a Persephone and Hades retelling but with elves. Luella (Persephone) is a human healer in the town of Capton. The town is on edge waiting for the Human Queen to be chosen to join the Elf King, Eldas (Hades) in Midscape to keep balance in both their worlds. I thought it was pretty good. I’m not a huge Greek mythology person but I liked the application to fantasy. I also liked the author’s writing style and bought a couple more ebooks from her. I also preordered the sequel.
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers – finished 2/28/21 3/5 stars
This book was my February Book of the Month choice. I have had this service for a while, but I have been so bad about actually reading my choices each month. So this month I decided I have to actually read my choices or start skipping months, which you can do. Honey Girl is a contemporary fiction novel about Grace Porter, a Black lesbian astronomer who has spent years trying to be perfect, only to reach a massive burn out. The story was advertised as a romance, but I would argue its more fiction. While the plot does focus on a drunk Vegas marriage it also embodies the struggles a lot of millennials have faced in the job market, being overqualified and overlooked. That being said, while I enjoyed the story I was not swept away or moved by it. It was just okay to me. I really appreciated how diverse all the characters were and it wasn’t a big deal, but I just don’t particularly like contemporary fiction.
Thank you for indulging my book roundup. Until next time!