February reading summary and bad luck

I didn’t get much reading done in February even though there was a road trip and a vacation involved. This month, I finished three books and got hit by at least two doses of bad luck. People say bad luck comes in threes. So, I’m really hoping we can leave it at two, but I’m hanging on in case there’s one more to come.

Here are the books I read in February:

The month started off great with a weekend writing retreat to Grass Valley with my San Francisco Area romance writer friends. I had a very productive weekend, and then hit the road with my husband for a fun camping road trip to the desert. Along the way, I managed to devour The Cruel Prince and soak up little bits from Scalzi’s Don’t Live For Your Obituary.

The Cruel Prince was my first Holly Black novel. I think it was an excellent introduction to her writing and her version of the fae, which I enjoyed a LOT more than the fae as depicted in SJM’s ACoTaR series. Holly Black’s fae are more traditional tricksters that don’t show up on the page like humans with pointy ears and magic. There’s a creepy otherness to her fae, similar to the ones in An Enchantment of Ravens, that I appreciate. Plus, I really enjoyed her world-building. I didn’t enjoy some of the plot points or how some of the relationships developed (especially the one between the human sisters). Also, I felt like there were some frustrating character inconsistencies. But, overall I enjoyed the story and will definitely be requesting book 2 from the library as soon as it’s available.

That was the only book I managed to finish while on vacation. On the way home, our car got broken into and a ton of stuff got stolen (bad luck #1). So, I’ve been having to deal with that mess, which didn’t leave a lot of time left over for reading (or writing, for that matter).

I did manage to squeeze in some much needed reading breaks to read and finish Beneath the Sugar Sky, book three in the Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway series. I didn’t love this one as much as the first two. Something about the story in this one just didn’t come together for me, and I didn’t connect with it as much as I did the other two. Down Among the Sticks and Bones is still my favorite of the three, with EHaD a close second. I think I may have liked it more if more of the book had taken place in Sumi’s world. As it ended up, we only got a brief glimpse of that world instead of the full immersion we got in Jack and Jill’s world during DAtSaB.

After that, I was psyched to dive into The Belles, which I’d pre-ordered and have been so excited to read for over a year now. But, I ended up with an eye injury that’s making it very hard to spend time staring at any screens, Kindle, computer, or otherwise (bad luck #2). So, I’ve had to put The Belles on hold (temporarily) and switch to anything that was available on audiobook through my library.

Luckily, Cream of the Crop (book 2 in Alice Clayton’s Hudson Valley series) and A Study in Scarlett Women (a Sherlock Holmes re-telling with a female Sherlock) were both available to download. These have both been on my list for a while, and a little romance is always good medicine for when you’re down in the dumps.

I started with Cream of the Crop, which was a fast and fun listen. I love the main character, and the hero. I love all the food descriptions in this series (this one made me crave all the cheese). There’s a lot of hot physical attraction in this book, mostly because the main character has been lusting after the hero (a dairy farmer she’s seen at her local farmer’s market) for a long time. But, even with the HEA, I was not convinced that the characters ever got past the hot sex. When I read this with my writer brain on, I can’t help noticing that I’m not entirely sure what these two characters like about each other besides all the physical attraction. That doesn’t necessarily keep one from enjoying the story, but it is frustrating if you’re looking for more than just a physical connection in your romance. I will say that conveying this aspect of the romance is already set at a high degree of difficulty given that the story is told entirely from her POV (except the epilogue), and he’s not a man of many words (strong, brooding, and silent type). So, if that’s going to bug you, then maybe this isn’t the book for you. But, if you like sassy, bold heroines with a ton of competence and confidence, and you like humor and heat in your romance, you should definitely check this one out (not entirely necessary to read Nuts first).

I have a feeling that there will be a lot more audiobooks in my future for March because my eye is not 100% yet. Outside of audiobooks, I’ve got Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner on my kindle from the library. So, I’m trying to read that when I’m feeling up to it. I’m about 10% in and not quite engaged in the world / characters yet, but I’m going to keep going a bit further before I make a go/no go decision because I like these authors and have enjoyed their previous books.

These are all the books I have either downloaded on audiobook or are in-progress on my kindle right now:

I keep wanting to make a huge TBR list each month. It’s been a struggle to hold off and pick the next book after I’m done with my current book. But, so far, I’m enjoying just seeing where the reading takes me… and hoping that March is a little luckier for me than February.