February was a month of extremes. I either held onto a book for dear life or dropped it like a bad habit. There was no middle ground. Thankfully, the majority of what I read was outstanding with 6 of the 11 novels I read being 4 stars or higher. DNFs are painful, but that disappointment aside, it was a great month.
This was definitely a case of my bored mind making bad decisions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with The End of October, but did I really need to read a thriller about a pandemic that leads to the internment of 3 million Muslims in Mecca, impending nuclear war with the power-hungry Putin, and the complete decimation of most of the world? Given where we are now, it’s a bit too close to home. If you’re a calm reader curious to go behind-the-scenes in science, world politics, and the military this one’s for you.
The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan: 5 star love for this novel. Review to follow
When you decide to read a book titled Stone Cold Fox you get exactly what you deserve. This is the story of Bea, the woman described by the title, and her rapacious efforts to marry rich so she can finally feel safe. Forget love, Bea wants the kind of family wealth that lasts for generations. This trope should be nausea-inducing, but author Croft writes Bea so well and so thoroughly dislikable that it’s fun. The ending teeters a bit, but if you’re in the mood for snarky, fast-paced reading this hits the spot. Maybe just put duct tape over the cover while reading.
Sometimes dumping a book is easy. Not every book is for every person. At other times, it’s more painful because it’s an author you’ve previously loved and the writing is still beautiful, but something else is missing. Given that I’ve previously enjoyed these three writers I’ll keep this brief.
I read Tiffany McDaniel’s debut, Betty, and thought it was spectacular. Dark, but also luminescent with the love between parent and child. On the Savage Side ground me down before I made it 25% through the book. This is trauma porn—an unremitting story in which drug abuse and child rape are only two of the more horrific elements.
Salman Rushdie is one of the greatest storytellers I’ve ever read, but this tale wandered too far off course. It felt like an 800 page novel at just 150 pages.
The Jaipur Trilogy has been a reading adventure about life for a woman alone in India in the 1950s. This is the final novel and it lacked the energy of the first two. I stalled when it couldn’t hold my attention anymore.
All the Beauty in the World by Patrick Bringley: Review to follow
That’s my February reading. How was your month?
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*I received a free copy of some of these book from Knopf, Random House, and MIRA in exchange for an honest review.*