February was another great month of reading for me, not just because I read 12 books but because I ended up loving most of what I read. I gave nine out of the 12 books four or five stars.
Losing myself in my books, especially more light-hearted reads and romances, is what has helped me the most during my period of grief soon after losing Dutch. I spent a lot of time alone this month and being able to turn to my books and lose myself in a story was so very helpful.
Here are my reviews for the four and five star reads:
Killing Time by Cindy Gerard (★★★★★) – Killing Time begins a new romantic suspense series by Gerard and I can tell I’m in for another sensational series from her. This one begins with the hero being drugged and kidnapped by the heroine, and from there, it’s a nonstop thrill ride from beginning to end. It had Gerard’s signature wit, excitement, and romance, and while at the beginning I was unsure if Mike and Eva were meant for each other, by the end, I was sold on their romance. Truly perfect!
The Trouble With Love by Lauren Layne (★★★★☆)- I think I read 60% of this book on the night before we put Dutch down because I couldn’t sleep and I needed something incredibly light-hearted to get me through the night. Enter a romance novel, especially a Lauren Layne romance novel. It was exactly what I needed and kept my mind off my grief for just a little while. It followed the trope of “former lovers turned enemies,” which might be one of my favorite romance tropes. Funny, smart, sassy, and sexy. It was perfect and exactly what I needed during this time in my life.
Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt (★★★★☆) – Lemme tell you – I am here for all the memoirs being published lately from former Obama staffers. Here. For. It. I read Alyssa Mastromonaco’s book and this book couldn’t have been more different. First of all, Mastromonaco had a direct line to Obama while David Litt spent much of his time in the White House without ever seeing him. This book made me actually laugh out loud at moments and then cry when he talked about the Sandy Hook shooting and how it affected all of them in the White House. It made me fall even more in love with Obama and get even sicker to my stomach about this current administration. And it made me realize that it doesn’t matter how many times you screw up (even if the screw up involves offending an entire nation!), you just get back up, try again, and hope for the best.
The Bastard’s Bargain by Katee Robert (★★★★★) – This book wraps up Katee Robert’s The O’Malleys series and it gives it the perfect ending! I was so excited to read this one that I actually preordered it because I didn’t want to want for my library to get it in stock. This novel finally redeems Dmitri, who has been a constant presence in all the books as he was originally set to marry one of the older O’Malley sisters. It also redeems Keira, who has been in a downward spiral since a tragedy happened a few books back (I won’t say what, so I don’t spoil the series for anyone who wants to read it from the beginning). For some reason, these two crazy kids make it work. Keira doesn’t take Dmitri’s shit and Dmitri needs Keira’s lightness and fun in his life. It’s a sweet yet honest novel, and I was sad to finish it because I didn’t want to leave The O’Malleys.
Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell (★★★★★) – So, this is actually the first queer romance I’ve ever read and guys, I have been missing out. At least missing out on Santino Hassell because this book was phenomenal. It follows the “best friends fall in love” romance trope, which is honestly one of my favorite tropes and it was everything I could have wanted. It was a bit darker and grittier than the typical romance novels I read, but that just added an extra element to the world that Hassell built. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. Woo!
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (★★★★★) – I listened to this fun, heartwarming YA novel on audio and I really loved the narrator and her soft Southern accent. In this novel, Ramona, who came out as gay a few years ago and recently had a summer fling with a girl finds herself falling in love with a guy for the first time, which brings about all sorts of questions and mixed emotions. I know there has been criticism surrounding this book, but I thought Julie Murphy really did a great job exploring sexuality and its fluidity. And seriously, the book was just plain fun and I found myself really looking forward to longer drives where I could listen to the audiobook.
Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson (★★★★★) – I’ve longed loved Mara Wilson, both from her childhood acting and from the stuff I’ve seen from her as an adult, so it was time to finally read her book. This read less like a typical memoir and more like a series of vignettes, as each chapter had a specific theme, such as her journey to being diagnosed with OCD and losing her mother at a young age to cancer. It was beautifully written and poignant and I loved reading about her time on the set of Matilda and the impact Robin Williams had on her life. Completely worth a read!
Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini (★★★★☆) – I straight-up adore Leah Remini and King of Queens was one of the first sitcoms I watched religiously, so I have wanted to read her memoir for a while now. I really didn’t even know about her Scientology background until this book came out (I guess I used to live under a rock?) I also knew nothing at all about Scientology itself before reading this book and it was truly eye-opening for me. I was incredulous at the things they put Leah through and sickened to learn about how much money she gave to Scientology over the years (millions of dollars). If you’re going to read this book, then you must listen to the audiobook because Leah reads it so well and her sarcastic New York accent is everything to me.
Other February reads: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (★★★★★), Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (★★★☆☆), Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (★★★☆☆), and Riding Temptation by Jaci Burton (★★★☆☆).
FEBRUARY BOOK STATS
Number of books read: 12
Number of pages: 3,894
Genre breakdown: romance (6), nonfiction (3), fiction (1), YA (2)
Number of diverse reads: 5 (42%)
Where I sourced my books: library/Overdrive (9), Amazon (2), Thriftbooks (1)
Money spent on reading this month: $9.52