February round up

It’s the beginning of a new month so here are the books I completed in February.
I’m starting to reach the point where although the books do fit into various challenge categories I’ve already used those ones. So I’m going to write a ‘No’ against the books that don’t fit into any of the criteria and an N/A on the ones where I’ve already used the matching criteria.
I’m still trying to cut down on buying new books and actually reading the ones I own although I’ve bought a few more recently and pre-ordered a batch… my sister and I are both going on a book buying ban in March (although pre-orders and arcs don’t count).
Received for review/ARC -2
Library/borrowed – 1
Bookcase; owned before Jan 2020 – 3
Kindle; owned before Jan 2020
Audiobook -3
New (bought in 2020) – 2
Bought just for a challenge category – 2

Pages read: 4995

I’ve also this month started (organised) a Wheel of Time Buddy read and book club with 2 chapters a week, started reading the Dresden Files and listening to the Unspoiled podcast coverage, and am halfway through ‘Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale’.

  1. At Childhood’s End – Sophie Aldred
    Popsugar – Series with more than 20 books
    Flourish & Blotts – Dark cover
    Read Harder – No
    I had so much fun reading this book. It’s the meeting of Ace (a companion of the 7th doctor) with the 13th and the current TARDIS team. As a doctor who story it was a good one, with fun monsters to fight – centaurs – and a podcaster on the hunt for alien life who gets kidnapped. But the strength of this book is in the meeting of Ace and 13, and as it was written by Ace herself there is no doubt that the author understood the character and what she would be like as 50 year old. If Doctor Who isn’t your thing then don’t bother with this one for obvious reasons, if you’re a classic fan you should definitely get it and if you’ve only ever seen the modern stuff I would still recommend it although you won’t get all of the references.
  2. Unleashed – Amy McCulloch
    Popsugar – With a robot/cyborg/AI
    Flourish & Blotts – N/A
    Read Harder – No
    Sequel to one of my favourite buys from YALC a few years ago ‘Jinxed’. It’s a world where you have AI daemons (His Dark Materials kind of daemons), that are linked to social media and are needed to participate in society. This one is much more about the impact of being too reliant on technology. I’ve not seen much movement online about this duology and I think they deserve more love, it’s dystopia lite with women in STEM. As well as the equivalent of real life pokemon battles with your AI daemon
  3. Three things I know are true – Betty Culley
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – Related to art/poetry book
    *Read Harder – An audiobook of poetry
    I really didn’t know what to think coming into this one. It’s a book in verse so there’s a full story being told from beginning to end rather than a collection of poems. This definitely helped for me and if I hadn’t known it was a novel in verse I might not have known. It didn’t feel much like a poem a lot of the way through, but then my poetry knowledge is very basic, it has rhythm and maybe some rhymes. It didn’t have the beat I would normally put to poetry which I probably would have tried to insert if I was reading it not listening to it. I appreciate the challenge and that this is why Read Harder challenge existed. It’s also the first book of the year that I bought just to fit a challenge.
  4. The God Game – Danny Tobey
    Popsugar – No pictures on the cover (my copy is an ARC, I don’t know if it would count for others)
    Flourish & Blotts – Set in a school
    Read Harder – No
    OH MY GOD. I’ve literally just put this book down and my head is exploding in so many ways, the constant twists and turns. And the people and the darkness but also so realistic. I went into this book thinking it would be something like Sword Art Online (win – big & lose – die) but it turned out to be much more like the film Nerve. It uses AI and augmented reality taking it to a scary level but I can see how it would reach that point and how humanity is becoming so divisive trying to put everything in the binary terms of yes/no. I just… this book is so good guys and I need more people to have read it so I can discuss. I’m amazed this one doesn’t seem to have been picked up much by the internet. There are a few problematic things and no character is that likeable as a person but if you’re a fan of Black Mirror I would seek this book out.
  5. Again but better – Christine Riccio
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – Mentions Harry Potter (it’s riddled with references including the fact her diaries are called Hucruxes)
    Read Harder – No
    So I’m fully aware that this isn’t the best written book in the world, but I have so much fun with it. For a start it’s set at uni and not high school, which frankly is enough for me to forgive it any mistakes because I see that so rarely. Coming-of-age at uni, and still being a struggling mess. I mean that was me and I went to one of the smallest uni’s known to man and I still didn’t throw myself into everything I wanted to/or had hoped to. I’m not convinced I did uni properly, I definitely didn’t in my 3rd year when my friends had left and there were so many chances and opportunities that I didn’t take that I now wish I had. (I mean I also wish I hadn’t made myself so ill/stressed that I’d leave with 2 chronic health conditions either but that’s a different argument). The concept of this book is a great one and one of my regular daydreams, what would I do if I got a second chance and could do university again? 
  6. Subject A36 – Teri Polen
    Popsugar – Author with flora/fauna in their name
    Flourish & Blotts – Blue cover
    Read Harder – No
    Besides the slow start I really enjoyed this book. And I know the slow start is there for a reason, but the idea of ‘Subject A36’ doesn’t turn up till at least a third of the way through. I really enjoyed the relationships within this book and I’d be interested to see how it continues to grow in this series.
    It’s a really cinematic book and I really wish I didn’t have afantasia so I could ‘see’ the pictures and not just the words in front of me.
  7. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien (BBC Radio adaption)
    Popsugar – Published in the 20th Century
    Flourish & Blotts – Includes a major villain 
    Read Harder – No
    A perfect intro to fantasy for kids, it was mine and I’m still a huge fan of the genre. It’s easy to forget how much extra the films added because they couldn’t just lump all 13 dwarves together – I don’t think half of them actually said anything besides their own name. But books are always going to be different from the adaptations which will have it’s own strengths. I loved this BBC adaption which is been on my TBR for literally year. Although that’s not quite true, it has been years but I didn’t love the weird thing they do for the elf voices (the speed up the recording so they sounded very otherworldly, and squeeky af). It just didn’t work aas a technique and pulled me out of every scene. But as they are only in 3 (Rivendell, Mirkwood, and the battle of the 5 armies) I can get over it. I’d also forgotten just how short the battle is in the book and that Bilbo is knocked out for a large part of it. This was a great way to ignore work and keep my brain otherwise occupied while going through various reports.
  8. Yes, No, Maybe So – Becky Albertelli & Aisha Saeed
    Popsugar – WoC author (Aisha Saeed not Becky Albertelli)
    Flourish & Blotts – includes diversity (Jewish guy and Muslim girl as MCs)
    Read Harder – No
    At this point I’ll read anything that Becky Albertelli puts out so I was excited to hear of her new booth with Aisha Saeed (who to my shame I’ve not read before but I’m now looking more into). This book is set in contemporary America and all that comes with it – including Trump and hate crimes/laws. It’s about two teens finding strength and courage to go door knocking for local elections, one is a Jewish guy and the other a Muslim girl. It’s set during Ramadan and at a point in both teens life where they are struggling with what their faith means in the world as well as with parent’s divorce and anxiety. It’s a beautifully written book, but also fluffy in places which is what I was looking for when I went into Waterstones on my lunch break after a really shitty morning. It’s about learning who you are, what’s important to you, and how to step up and take a stand for what you care about. Also about two people working out how their relationship works with their different religions, as well as trying to decipher if the other person is interested in them as potentially anything more than as a friend.
  9. Opposite of Always – Justin A Reynolds
    Popsugar – Great first line
    Flourish & Blotts – Hand on the cover
    Read Harder – No
    YA groundhog day but a repeat of 4 months rather than 24 hours. It’s all about the various relationships and options available and how to chose the right one. It doesn’t hide from the impact and consequences of your options and Jack hates himself for picking the different ones but tries to convince himself that it’ll be worth it because maybe this time Kate will survive, maybe this will be the time when things will be different.
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling 
    Popsugar – Character with +/- 20/20 vision
    Flourish & Blotts – Six or more books in a series
    Read Harder – No
    With ‘Unspoiled Harry Potter‘ finishing the reread I decided to go back to the beginning of the show and listen along with the audiobook at the same time, plus it means I’m returning to Stephen Fry talking to me as I go to sleep. It’s a magical entrance to the childhood of an entire generation and I can’t wait to continue and to return to Hogwarts for Chamber of Secrets.
    NB: People reading this should go and listen to the Unspoiled HP, the reveal at the end of this book is one of my favourite podcasts moments of all time, closely followed by the Goblet of Fire reveal.
  11. A Blade so Black – L L McKinney
    Popsugar – Debut book
    Flourish & Blotts – Includes magic
    *Read Harder – Classic story retelling by a POC
    Oh my god this book is amazing and I’ve instantly ordered the second one. This story has a kick ass Alice whose ‘job’ it is to fight the nightmares in Wonderland with the help of her mentor ‘Hatter’ who is exiled from Wonderland for his role in the war and being on the side of the Black Queen. Tweddledum and Tweddledee are Russian twins, it has queer rep as well as general diversity with a black Alice in an area where a young girl (her age) has been killed by the police making her mum extra paranoid and not impressed with Alice’s constant comings and goings and flimsy excuses. It also deals with friendship and bravery, and is chock full of geeky references – including Sailor Moon which makes me happy.
  12. Now we are six – A. A. Milne
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish & Blotts – N/A
    Read Harder – N/A
    This book was pretty much my introduction to poetry as a kid and it’s one that I’ve since bought any six year old I know on their birthday. They are beautiful and lovely and I loved listening to the audiobook. Having someone read me these poems was just like when my Dad read me the poems as a kid. I hadn’t realised how many of these poems I still knew and I’m definitely going to continue to return to them over and over again.
    ‘Now that I’m six, I’m as clever and clever.
    So I think I’ll be six now, for ever and ever’
  13. Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie (Audible production)
    Popsugar – N/A
    Flourish and Blotts – MG book
    Read Harder – No
    ‘All children grow up, except one.’ Who didn’t want to run away to Neverland when they were a kid? Or still doesn’t want to run away now when adult life is too difficult. I really enjoyed this full cast Audible adaptation and would definitely recommend people listen to it.
    NB: Peter Pan was my BuJo theme for this month so I felt it was only right to listen to it at the end of the month. Unfortunately because of ComicCon I won’t get a chance to watch the film before March. But it’s already written into the diary as a sister date next weekend.

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