February 2024 Wrap-Up

February 2024 Wrap-Up

Welcome back! I hope you all had a great February. I've been ready for it to be spring pretty much since winter started, and it was starting to get nicer outside, but there's a massive snowstorm coming down as I'm typing this. So here I am, reviewing books instead of being outside.

I know that some of these books may be listed for sale on the website, but I want to keep my reviews honest. We may not have the same taste in books and I encourage you to check them out regardless!

I read five books in February: three physical books and two audiobooks. Let's go!

Prophet Song - Paul Lynch

⬤⬤⬤⬤〇 | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: One of the things I really like about the reading challenges I host (especially the literary awards one) is that it forces to me check out books I never would have picked up otherwise. I had never heard of Prophet Song until it was shortlisted for (and then won) the Booker Prize. I snagged it on audio and ended up really enjoying myself.

This feels like a quiet, emotional portrait of a family with a medium-slow pace until about 70% of the way through, when things really pick up. I enjoyed the whole experience - the narrator does a wonderful job and it's lovely to have an Irish narrator for an Irish novel - but I really got wrapped up towards the end.

I don't know if this book will stick with me for a long time - it's already starting to leave my memory - but I did really enjoy my experience and would certainly recommend it if the synopsis catches your eye.

content warnings: child death, war, violence

The Tainted Cup - Robert Jackson Bennett

⬤⬤⬤⬤⬤ | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own.

The worst part about this book is that I can't consume the sequel immediately. This book has me in a chokehold. This book is my favorite book so far this year and will probably be in my top five in December. I've been looking for this book in stores to buy a physical copy even though I already read an ARC and I don't ever do that with books I've already read. I LOVE.

There is so much about this book that's going to appeal to such a variety of people. There's a mystery at the heart of the plot that is well-thought-out and twisty, a Sherlock Holmes-level detective with a sense of humor to die for, BIG MONSTERS, politics, a very interesting magic/worldbuilding systems, fantastic writing.

I also cannot give enough praise to authors writing a series who keep their plot arcs confined within a single book. Of course, there are overarching plot points and themes that will weave all the books in the series together and compel you to want to read the next book, but the mystery and inciting incident in this book has been solved. I have answers and I can find peace in waiting for the sequel.

Absolutely cannot recommend this one enough - might become a go-to recommendation for me. A real real great time.

content warnings: body horror, murder, death, violence, ableism

Thirst - Marina Yuszczuk

⬤⬤⬤◔〇 | e-ARC | synopsis here

My Review: Thanks to Dutton and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feedback are my own.

I love reading translated fiction whenever I can, and queer vampire horror seemed like a really fun place to start this year. I really, really liked the first 50% of this book. I found the atmosphere and characters to be compelling, and I wanted to know more about our protagonist. It felt like a vampire placed into a historical fiction novel. I enjoyed the setting in Buenos Aires as a place I hadn't read a lot of in fiction and I was ready to give this book four or so stars.

And then we get to halfway-ish through the novella, where the time and point of view change drastically and the book becomes much more of a literary drama. Unfortunately, I couldn't really bring myself to care about a new set of characters and their problems when I had been so interested in the other ones. I understand how everything ties together, but it just wasn't my favorite.

content warnings: blood, murder, death of parent, confinement, suicide attempt

Tom Lake - Ann Patchett

⬤⬤⬤⬤◕ | audiobook | synopsis here

My Review: My mom recommended this book to me and I can't believe I was skeptical when I grabbed the audiobook from the library. The plot didn't really speak to me, but I new Meryl Streep was the narrator so I figured she could get me through anything. But I listened to and consumed this book gladly. I think it's the perfect book for winter when you need something to remind you of warmer, brighter times.

It's no surprise Meryl Streep knocks it out of the park when it comes to narration. On top of that, the writing was simple but impactful, and I cared about all of our characters both within the protagonist's family and the story she is telling. There are some emotional and difficult topics that are talked about, but it doesn't really bring down the energy of the story. Ann Patchett is clearly a masterful storyteller and I'm learning that I just need to trust that whatever she writes is going to be a banger.

I really can't say anything more about this book other than that it was wonderful and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. Even if the synopsis doesn't sound like something you'd enjoy, give it a go anyways if you like literary fiction.

content warnings: alcoholism, infidelity, pandemic

One Dark Window - Rachel Gillig

⬤ ⬤ ⬤ ⬤◔ | paperback | synopsis here

My Review: We read this book for February's Prose and Paperbacks Book Club pick and I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed myself! This book definitely skewed more YA/new adult in its writing style but I didn't mind too much. I though the magic system was unique and compelling and I especially enjoyed the relationships between Elspeth and Ravyn and Elspeth and the Nightmare. Sometimes I feel like fetch-quest plotlines can get to be tedious and repetitive, but that wasn't the case here.

There were a couple aspects of the book that I thought weren't totally ironed out, mainly that some of our secondary characters (Ione, Elm, and the step-family in particular), felt a little one-dimensional. I'm hoping this will be explored more in the sequel, which I'm sure I'll pick up at some point for the completionist in me.

content warnings: violence, death, death of parent


What was your favorite book you read this month? Let me know!

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