Previously I’ve only written book reviews here when they were either non fiction parenting, or children’s fiction, with one or two exceptions to that rule. But I do actually read quite a lot of books, and I’d love to share my thoughts on them and get an idea for what you guys are reading as well. I’m always in need of recommendations! I thought that rather than write a blog post about every fiction book I read – especially as some of them I’m not necessarily going to enjoy – I’d keep a track of my books in a monthly blog post.
I’m also hoping to remember to keep better track on Goodreads, as I used to track everything but that’s fallen to the wayside for the last few years. So without further waffle…
The Books I read in February 2019
The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann (Family Drama)
Twenty four year old Katie Gregory is trying to live her life in New York when her father gets out of prison, throwing her back to the past. Her father was convicted of statutory rape – of her best friend. Memories of her intense friendship, summers at the lake and first loves are entwined with her current life. As she relives these memories, she has to ask herself what really happened that summer at the lake, and what does it mean to her. The Forgotten Hours was raw, emotional and empathetic, whilst being immersive and gripping. All the characters, from main, to side, were masterful. I was desperate to know the truth about her father and Lulu, but had to patiently unravel that truth with Katie. The conflict in Katie was heart breaking, as she had to come to terms with either her hero father as a sexual abuser, or her best friend as a liar who put an innocent man behind bars – couldn’t put it down!
I’d give The Forgotten Hours 5 stars. Check it out on Amazon.
Smoke and Summons (Numina Book 1) by Charlie N Holmberg (Fantasy)
I picked this one up as it was in the Kindle Reading Library. Written by author Charlie N Holmberg (who wrote the Paper Magician series) this fantasy story follows Sandis, a vessel who has been imbued with the spirit of a demon using illegal dark magic and Rone, a street-wise young man with a mysterious past and an incredibly powerful artifact that allows him to – very briefly – become immortal. Sandis just wants to find her family, escape slavery, and maybe stop a demon from being summoned that’ll tear the city apart. I think it sits at the upper end of the young adult spectrum as whilst it does have some coming of age drama, it also deals with some violent themes. The magic in this world is interesting and I was rooting along with our protagonists the entire journey. Book two is out in April and I will definitely be getting it!
I’d give Smoke and Summons 5 stars. Check it out on Amazon.
The Fever King by Victoria Lee (Fantasy / Sci Fi)
This was another read from the Kindle Library (which means you can have up to 10 free books at a time). It’s a coming-of-age LGBT fantasy drama set in a dystopian world where the USA has branched into different countries, the population decimated by a disease that kills almost everyone, but leaves a few people alive with magical powers. That part isn’t well explained, but our protagonist Noam can control technology with his mind. There’s a bit of a refuge crisis going on, a political grappling for power, a few murders and bits of intrigue and of course – a love story playing out between Noam and the mysterious and powerful Dara.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a massive fan of this book. It was readable, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series as I don’t really care what happens to the characters! The world just didn’t grip me at all.
I’d give The Fever King 3 stars. Check it out on Amazon.
M for Mammy by Eleanor O’Reilly (Family Drama)
This is a heart-warming family drama about the Irish Augustt family, told from the perspective of Jenny, a young girl just trying to make sense of the world, her brother, Jacob, who is autistic and non verbal, and her mother who has just had a serious stroke and disappeared to hospital. Three very different types of voices. Her grandmother moves in to help out and her dad struggles with unemployment and drinking. Can they pull it all together as a family?
I thought this was a strong debut novel for Eleanor O’Reilly, authentic and charming with characters that really stood out. The dialogue and accents of the characters were so well done that I could easily hear each distinct Irish brogue as I read. The sad parts are tempered by the funny parts and there’s a feeling of real life here – these are the struggles that families endure.
At times I found it a little hard to follow due to the complexity and shifting perspectives and the story didn’t seem to have much purpose; but it was never going to be easy to tell a story from the point of view of a non verbal autistic and a confused stroke victim that’s for sure! Overall, I enjoyed this read and it’s attempt to sensitively explore an interesting and authentic family dynamic.
I’d give M for Mammy 4 stars. You can pre-order it on Amazon (out 21st March).
Note I received M for Mammy to review from the publishers via Netflix.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Romance)
My final read for February, bringing my total to five books this month was Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. This is apparently a movie as well, but I haven’t watched it and probably won’t as I don’t watch romance, but I do read it! In Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel Chu is dating fellow professor Nicholas Young without realizing he’s from one of the richest families in China (or possibly even the world!). Nicholas decides to bring Rachel back to his family home without telling her he’s not in fact a penniless Professor and as you can imagine – that results in quite a shock!
There’s a lot of gossip and information about various families in the book, which I felt gave it an interesting detail and insight into a world that I’m certainly never going to be part of. Poor Rachel – immediately labelled a worthless gold digger – has to struggle with scheming relatives, snooty women, judgemental men and gets pushed down and then solidly trampled over. They dig up information on her past that even she didn’t know, which changes her entire outlook on life. Most of the characters in the book are not particularly likable, although there are a few redeeming characters that manage to be decent sorts despite being billionaires, the good guys are all hilarious though which makes the book a lot more fun. To be honest I was quite mad at Nicholas throughout for bringing her into this situation and of course, the ultimate question in the book has to be whether their romance can weather such an onslaught.
I’d give Crazy Rich Asians 4 stars. You can check it out on Amazon.
What’s on the horizon for March?
I don’t have a good reading list at the moment so I’d love some suggestions. Because I read on Kindle, I don’t really have a reading pile that builds up like it used to when I was buying books from charity shops and visiting the library! I’ll just be browsing Amazon and NetGalley and seeing what captures my interest.