February 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

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This month felt so much more managable, especially in regards to my Unread Shelf project (see below for the specifics).

I was also grateful for the extra day (I’m looking at you, Leap Day!) because it allowed me to slide in one more book for the month!

February By the Numbers:

  • Total Books Read: 13
  • Audiobooks: 1
  • Five Star Reads: 4
  • Unread Shelf: 8 (4 DNFs)
  • Books Aquired: 26
  • By Women Authors: 11 (2 DNFs)
  • By Authors of Color: 3
  • By Queer Authors: 0
  • Nonfiction Reads: 4 (1 DNF)
  • Debuts: 4
  • Published in 2020: 6 (2 DNF)

Favorite Books of February: The Girl With the Louding Voice, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, Lovely War, The Holdout, In Five Years

Here is a look at the TBR I set:

  • A BOTM Title – 📖 *** The Girl With the Louding Voice by: Abi Daré
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was so invested in the characters and I had to know how everything would wrap up. While the syntax took a minute to grip, it added so much to the story and made it feel so much more authentic.
  • A Nonfiction Title – 📖 *** The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by: Jeff Goodell
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A well-written book about the looming consequences of the global warming crisis. Already a few years past its publication date, this book NEEDS to be read by everyone…because we will ALL be affected soon. We owe our children and grandchildren a better future than what they currently stand to inherit. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed by all of us, but mostly by the naysayers.
  • A NetGalley/Edelweiss Title  – 📱 *** The Mountains Sing by: Nguyen Phan Que Mai
    • DNF @ 18% – The writing is clunky and the sentences too simplistic for my liking. Some of the metaphors feel forced. Just not cohesive enough to gain my attention.
  • A Memoir – 📖 There Will Be No Miracles Here by: Casey Gerald
    • DNF – I read the first couple of chapters and decided it is too densely written for where I’m at right now in my reading life. The premise sounds amazing, so I may return to it in the future; but for now, I’m putting it down.
  • At least 2 physical ARCs
    • 📖 *** Lovely War by: Julie Berry
      • With one of the most unique storylines I’ve ever read, I devoured this WWI historical fiction about tragedy, survival, and love, Greek gods and goddesses attempt to answer the age-old question: why are Love and War eternally drawn to each other?
    • 📖 *** Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by: Layla F. Saad
      • On the cover, Elizabeth Gilbert (NYT bestselling author) says, “Buy this book for yourself, your family, your students. Don’t put it off and don’t look away. It’s time.” and I couldn’t agree more! This revealed to me a lot of blind spots in myself that I wasn’t even aware of. I have a lot of work to do and I’m thankful for books like this to open my eyes!

I also read the following books:

  • 📖 The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by: Anissa Gray
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is a story about a family – three daughters and one brother – and what happens with the oldest (and stand-in mother figure to the other siblings), Althea, is sentenced to prison after her husband and her are convicted of a crime. Althea’s daughters, Baby Vi and Kim, are left swirling in the aftermath of their parents’ crime, and the siblings come together to help take care of them as best as they can. Through the transitionary process, deep secrets begin to emerge and old hurts are brought to life.
  • 📖 Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking the Stress Cycle by: Emily and Amelia Nagoski
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Overall, I liked this book (A LOT in the beginning, but slowly lost interest by the end). It has some great insight, but as a person who has already negotiated a lot of the advice given within the pages, it was redunant information for me personally. If you’re new to discovering why you feel like crap all the time, this book will be extremely helpful for you! Please head to Instagram on Saturday to participate in the book discussion!
  • 📖 Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by: Kate Racculia
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ For a book that started off well, it slowly lost its momentum and eventually kind of fizzled out for me. I really loved Tuesday Mooney – she’s quirky and nerdy in all the best ways – there were a lot of characters to keep straight and the story jumped around quite a bit. It wasn’t that it was hard to keep track of – it just interrupted the flow. I can’t quite put my finger on what went wrong for me, but I couldn’t care less how it wrapped up at the end.
  • 🎧 *** Open Book by: Jessica Simpson
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Even though I totally think Simpson had a ghostwriter, I was still engaged with her story. She’s raw, honest, and vulnerable as she tells of her rise to fame. I was surprised with how relatable I found her to be and really appreciated how she opened up about her journey.
  • 📱 *** Darling Rose Gold by: Stephanie Wrobel
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s best to go in blind on this one, but suffice it to say that the creep factor is high and this is an entertaining and dark psychological thriller (even if it was a little predictable).
  • 📱 *** Big Lies in a Small Town by: Diane Chamberlain
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 This is the first Chamberlain I’ve read, and considering the high praise I always hear about her books, I was a little let down by this story. It felt a little too long; therefore, I feel like I lost interest and just wanted the story to be over. I can’t quite put my finger on what went wrong, but it definitely won’t be a memorable read for me.
  • 📖 *** The Holdout by: Graham Moore
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I loved this inside look into the American justice system – specifically the jury aspect of it. This book provides an interesting view of the flaws of the system and the expectations serving on a jury can have on an individual’s personal life and of those around them.
  • 📱 *** In Five Years by: Rebecca Serle
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is the second book I’ve read by Serle and I can confidently say I’m a fan! Her writing pulls me in and I get fully engaged in her stories. I previously read The Dinner List and really enjoyed it, but I loved this one even more. Again, not to be evasive, but it’s best to head into the story blind, but overall it’s a beautiful story about friendship and loyalty and the nuances of those bonds.

I tried, but wasn’t feeling:

  • 📖 Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott
    • I wanted to care so, so much…but I just didn’t. It sat on my table for most of January, begging me to read it, but the little that I did was just so incredibly boring for me. I think this is exactly why I don’t read classics!
  • 📱 *** The Mountains Sing by: Nguyen Phan Que Mai
    • The writing is clunky and the sentences too simplistic for my writing. Some of the metaphors feel forced. Just not cohesive enough to gain my attention.
  • 📱 *** When We Were Vikings by: Andrew David MacDonald
    • I seem to be in the minority, but I can’t get over the use of the r-word, the f-word, or what seems to be the sexual conquest of Zelda, a character with fetal alcohol syndrome. 
  • 📖 There Will Be No Miracles Here by: Casey Gerald
    • While the premise sounds interesting, it just feels like the wrong timing for me. After several chapters, it was too dense for me to fully engage with and to keep me turning the pages.
  • 📖 *** Wyoming by: J.P. Gritton
    • I could have probably made it through this one at another point in my life, but I just didn’t have the desire to commit anymore energy to this one. I like dark and gritty books, but this one failed to grab me and hold my attention.
(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

Unread Shelf Update:

Last month was a bit of a wake up call for me. (I aquired 52 books in one month! 52!) No one can realistically keep up with the books on their shelves at the rate I was putting them on my shelves, so I’m committing to being more selective of the books I accept. While I still have some work to do, I was pleased with the fact that I cut that number in half.

I acquired 26 books in February (no purchases for me!! 🙌🏼)

I donated/unloaded 28 books (again, I’m feeling proud of myself)

I actually moved in the right direction this month by getting rid of 2 books from my shelves for a new total of 442 books on my shelves!

(I started with 417, so I’m still in the wrong direction, but after January, I feel good about this result. It’s getting easier for me to remove books from my shelves that I know I’m just not interested in reading anymore. I’m going to continue to cull books that just aren’t speaking to me and I hope this number continues to go down!)

This challenge is still proving to be so valuable to me and I’m excited to continue! Head over to Whitney’s blog for more information if you’d like to participate!

8 thoughts on “February 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

  1. You had a great month, Carla. I’m impressed with all the reading you manage to get in. I’m going to be trying In Five Years on audio, and I hope I like it as much as you did. Have a great March!

    Liked by 1 person

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