In January, I read 17 books. In February, I most definitely did not. I usually read at night, and there were a few nights over the past month where I just had zero energy and went to bed sans kindle.
I got through 12 last month, which puts me well on track for my book challenges.
No galleys or review books this month, all bought and paid for with my own moolah, bar one Christmas gift.
Up first - said Christmas gift:
Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes
This is the kind of book that I can leave on the kitchen table and dip in and out of. It's a beautiful book - it's a small thick hardback with an almost linen-like texture. It's just a pretty book. The pages are packed with words, not filled with filler pictures. Sali gives frank advice and chats about beauty and skincare as if you were meeting a friend for a chat about it. "Women have come home, time and time again, having spent the cost of a decent babysitter on an unwearable foundation that suits no one but an earthenware tagine." I don't know much about Sali, I wasn't aware of her before the book, but she came across as warm, honest and funny. I liked this a lot and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in makeup or skincare. I wish this had been around in the Panstick days.
Book Club Picks
This month, Rick O'Shea chose two Sci-Fi books as his February book club choices.
Wool by Hugh Howey
The first in a trilogy, Wool is a post-apocalyptic novel set in a distant future. Something terrible has happened to the world, nothing is out there but grey skies and the bodies of those who were sent out to "clean" - people now live in a big underground Silo, and see the outside world through cameras and a big screen. Speaking about the outside or expressing a desire to explore the old world is forbidden, and those who break the rules are given what they want - they're sent outside. They are instructed to clean the lenses, nobody knows why they always go through with it and nobody has ever refused to clean. Until now.
I can't even explain how excited I am about this trilogy - I devoured this book, downloaded the graphic novel, devoured that, bought the two sequels, devoured the second one, now can't wait to read the third but am afraid to because it will be over. Does that make sense? Just read it. It is brilliant. It's not standard Sci-Fi fare, it's very much character driven and Howey is a magnificent writer. I gasped out loud more than once while reading.
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Written after the Second World War, this is another post-apocalyptic novel about a catastrophic event that wipes the majority of humanity out. Those who are not affected are left to maintain some kind of order and to survive. Their greatest adversaries (apart from each other) are the Triffids - enormous plants with the ability to walk and communicate with each other. As Mrs. Weasley said - "Never trust anything that thinks for itself when you can't see where it keeps its brain". Too right.
I was glad this was chosen for book club - I don't think I would have gone near it otherwise. It was a great book, really enjoyable and full of good strong characters.
Love, Tanya by Tanya Burr
I'm not very familiar with Tanya, I've watched a few of her videos and read a bit of her blog but I wouldn't be a superfan. I pre-ordered this book on amazon (WHY?!), I thought it looked pretty and was interested to read a book by a blogger. It was pretty, it was a lovely coffee table book - if you own a coffee table aged fifteen. At 31, I took absolutely nothing from it and I felt ancient reading her tips and tricks. It was a very lovely, sweet book but definitely not for me. Perfect for a younger sibling.
Nothing But the Truth - My Story by Vicky Pattison (Ghostwriter: Jordan Paramor)
Ahh, trust Vicky to bring the gossip! I love Geordie Shore, and this was brilliant. It had loads of behind-the-scenes gossip, Vicky came across as honest and down-to-earth, and was frank about the not-so-nice aspects of her personality - and the not-so-nice aspects of the show. Some of the manipulation surrounding her and Ricci's relationship (and in particular, their engagement) was just jaw dropping and left me wondering why anybody would want to star in a reality TV show. If you're not a fan of Vicky, this definitely won't change that, but it was entertaining and a good read. Much, much better than Holly's book.
Popular: A Memoir. Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen
At the time of writing, Maya was fifteen years old. Her father gave her an old copy of "Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide" that he found at a charity shop (they say thrift store, I say charity shop, potato/pot......ato). Maya's mother jokingly suggested that Maya should follow Betty's rules for acquiring the most elusive of things - popularity. Considering herself to be a social outcast, Maya applied every scrap of advice in the book and wrote about the effects. Bearing in mind that Betty wrote the book in 1951, Maya ends up doing some pretty strange things - we're talking hats, pearls and girdles - but she learns some really valuable lessons about teenagers and about why people behave the way they do. I ADORED this book. It made me laugh, it made me bawl, it made me happy that there are young people out there like Maya who aren't afraid to step outside their comfort zone for the greater good. This should be compulsory reading for 15 year olds.
First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
A sort-of sequel to one of my favourite Sarah Addison Allen books, Garden Spells, this also works as a standalone novel. It revisits the magical Waverley sisters, who have special gifts. Set ten years after the first book, fans will relish finding out what happened to their favourite characters. The Waverley sisters are happy - until one of them has a crisis of identity and begins to doubt herself. Throw a mysterious old man into the mix and there could be trouble for one of the girls - who is he, and why is he there? This won't go to the top of my must-read list like Garden Spells, but it was great to revisit the characters.
The Man Who Can't Be Moved by Tilly Tennant
You're already singing it, aren't you? As was I for the duration of the book. Inspired by the song of the same name, and pretty much with the same storyline, this is a book about a man who tries to win back his ex-girlfriend by camping out on the corner of the street where they first met. Journalist Ellie is sent to cover the story, and gets a little too involved trying to get the pair back together while also acting as a go-between for her estranged parents and a help to her terminally ill Aunt.
This was a pleasant read, I enjoyed Tilly's other book Hopelessly Devoted to Holden Finn so that's why I picked this up. It was an ideal Sunday afternoon read - not too taxing, bit predictable, but with just enough in there to keep me reading. An ideal holiday or hospital book.
Well, this was scary. Clarissa is being harrassed by her work colleage, Rafe. He appears to know her every movement and is obsessed with her. She is frightened by him, and he is unwavering in his attempt to get her to return his affections. When she gets called for Jury duty on what looks like it's going to be a pretty long case, she is overjoyed - weeks away from Rafe. But Rafe won't stand for that, and he won't take no for an answer. As Clarissa begins to draw disturbing parallels between her situation and the case in Court, she realises that Rafe may be more dangerous than she ever thought.
I drew similarities between this and Fifty Shades of Grey in this post - because it really reminded me of the franchise. Rafe was incredibly scary, he was completely obsessed with Clarissa, a real Christian Grey. I actually couldn't read this at night, I had to read it during the day. Excellent writing.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
I downloaded this after reading Cat's review. Mia is missing - but we don't get to hear her point of view. Instead, this story goes back and forth, from before Mia has been abducted to after she has been found, and is told from the viewpoint of her mother, her abductor, and the Detective investigating the case. I thought it was a little too long in parts, it could have been shorter, but it was a pretty good read. Anything that keeps me thinking "I'll just go one more chapter" after 12am is worth a shot!
Finally, I went back to the whole Wool universe with these:
Hugh Howey's Wool: The Graphic Novel by Palmiotti/Gray/Broxton
A graphic novel adaptation of Wool for kindle, this was the first time I'd read anything like this in a digital format. To be honest, I'm not a fan - I prefer to have a physical comic or graphic novel in my hands, because the scenes flow better on paper. Regardless, this was a fine adaptation and works really well as a companion to the novel. There's far too much left out for it to work as a standalone thing, I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't read the book.
Shift (The Wool Saga #2) by Hugh Howey
This isn't a continuation of Wool. It's a prequel. It comprises three parts - first shift, second shift, and third shift. We get to see why and how the Silo was built, what happened to cause uprisings and downfalls, and get inside the head of someone who was integral in the initial building of the Silo. But did he know what he was building? This takes us right up to the end of Wool, and I am excited to read Dust knowing the back story. Brilliant, just bloody brilliant.
And there we have it - I accumulated a few more books in February - unplanned, but that Amazon 3 for £10 combined with the one-click is too easy to get lost in. Then you get to £20 and think "oh another one will get me free shipping" and this happens:
On to March!
What are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?