Home Features TBRs/Wrap-Ups February 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

February 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

February Files 2021 Book Stack

Time to round up all my February reads in one spot … not a terribly great reading month for me, as you’ll see below! Reviews are linked where applicable.

5 Stars:

The Witch’s Heart

The Witch's Heart

Written by Genevieve Gornichec

Published by Ace Books

I absolutely adored this story, it will definitely be one of my favourites of 2021, and was about the only bright spot in this month of reading! Forget what you thought you knew of the Norse gods and Marvel superheroes – Gornichec’s tale of monsters, gods, and myth brings a uniquely fresh, wholly engrossing, new spin on the popular Norse stories, doing an absolutely masterful job organizing individual legends within a compulsively compelling fictional plot. Her characterization is breathtaking, with characters that shine in their fascinating humanity – arrogance, pain, humour, love, motherhood, friendship, failures – while, and most surprisingly, maintaining individual voices (a true feat in a novel that includes so many characters of mythology). While I wish the pacing had been a bit steadier (especially through the courtship/marriage phase with Loki), this is an exceptional feat of work that maintained an air of folk-story retelling spun together with a modern, feminist look at a powerfully compelling heroine. Doing for Angrboda what Madeline Miller did for Circe, fans of the retelling/fantasy/historical fiction genres are going to want to pay attention to this one. My heart and imagination were equally swept away.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

4 Stars:

Outlawed

OutlawedWritten by Anna North

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

(3.5 Stars rounded up) Every time I think about this read I come up with a different rating … is it 3 stars, is it 4 stars? It fully exemplifies why I loathe giving books a star rating and omit from doing so in all my reviews except my round up articles. ‘Cause it really depends on my mood of the day sometimes! Much like The Wife Upstairs (see below), I feel this will be a split vote between liking and “meh-ing”. I thought it was an interesting, unique premise and I’ve never read a dystopian novel not set in the future! I honestly thought they had to be futuristic! I thoroughly enjoyed following along with this all-girl gang of rebels in the wild, wild west … I just wanted more of the gang. More backstory with each woman, learning more of their history and a fuller sense of their character. A lot of time was spent building the central character, leaving the last half rather rushed with a lot of questions left unanswered.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

3 Stars:

All The Ever Afters

Written by Danielle Teller

Published by William Morrow

This was a really surprising retelling – which in the world of Cinderella stories is saying something as this is well trodden ground. I wasn’t expecting such a thoughtful exploration of a woman, with no opportunities or options, painstakingly rising from peasantry to ladyship. If it had continued on its own story path it would’ve been a 4 star read, but the last one hundred pages fell apart for me as Teller tried to force fit the classic Cinderella-story elements into her unique narrative … it didn’t fully work and was a rather bumpy, awkward end.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Tristan Strong Destroys the World

Written by Kwame Mbalia

Published by Rick Riordan Presents

Middle stories are tough and unfortunately the second chapter of the Tristan Strong saga fell quite short of its predecessor … but does leave ample room for a really intriguing conclusion in book three. Unnecessary extra chapters bogged down the pacing while formerly great characters fell quite flat or were simply left out of the narrative altogether. Compounding these issues, it was difficult to really understand and follow along what the central conflict was, making it tough to care and trudge through the 350 pages.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Wife Upstairs

Written by Rachel Hawkins

Published by St. Martin’s Press

I think this story will be polarizing – hit or miss. For me it was mostly miss as I couldn’t dislike the central character more. Jane was horribly repugnant … and I still can’t determine if this was even the point? It’s hard to enjoy any novel when the main character rubs you the wrong way, but the plot itself of this story was unremarkable, predictable (even for a retelling), and not really a thriller … or a mystery … as advertised. On the positive side it was a fast, undemanding read and I flew through it pretty quickly.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

A Rogue of One’s Own

Written by Evie Dunmore

Published by Berkley Books

This wasn’t a terrible romance per se, but was plagued with some problematic elements that I couldn’t get past … specifically the treatment of the bisexual and gay characters in the story. I really appreciate what Evie Dunmore is attempting in her League of Extraordinary Women series – grounding the historical romance within the suffragist fight creates an excellent atmosphere of tension and brings great validity and weight to a sometimes “flighty” genre. A Rogue of One’s Own delivers another intelligent romp with a fiery, bright young heroine fighting for women’s rights against The Women’s Property Act of 1865 and, of course, the “rogue” with a secret heart of gold. I wasn’t crazy however about the chemistry of these two characters and the glacial, uneven pacing (which was my major criticism of book one as well) really failed to launch this romance for me. I took issue with the handling of the bisexual character as it was seemingly used as a minor plot point rather than a genuine character story arc, bordered on bi-erasure, and was used only as the platform to launch the other gay character into the role of “evil, scorned villain.” It was … messy. I liked Lucie and enjoyed the premise of exploring what it would look like if a strong woman fighting for women’s autonomy actually fell in love … but I think the whole work needed more thought and sensitivity readers.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

2 Stars:

A Court of Silver Flames

Written by Sarah J. Maas

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Nope. Just absolutely not. This is likely one of my most hated novels of all time … and I will go down fighting on the battlefield that in no way is this Fantasy! Read my full review if you’d like to know my thoughts on this one.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Any purchases made via retailer links provided in this article may result in this site receiving a share of that sale.

Cherylhttps://www.aotales.com
Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.
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