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  • Nichelle

February 2022 Reads

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

February wasn’t a great reading month for me for two reasons. One, I read two very long and somewhat difficult books and they took a while to get through. Two, I was managing a very exciting, but stressful situation that I will be sharing more information about shortly. It took up a lot of my brain space, so it left very little room for much else.

We’re redoing the rating system here on this ol’ blog. The key difference is I’m going to be dropping the five-star scale. I’ve been listening to John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed slowly over the last several months and one thing he talks about is how the introduction of the five-star scale is a relatively new one. It’s rather limiting and not really that helpful. I regularly recommend books that I’ve given 4, 3, and even 2 stars because just because something isn’t for me doesn’t mean it won’t be for someone else. I used to give books ratings based on some arbitrary combination of how fun of a time I had while reading and how “good” the story and writing were (the conversation about what makes a book “good” is a conversation for another day).

So we’re trying something new! Instead of rating the book overall, I’m going to be rating the book on some of its key attributes both based on genre and the individual book itself, so a romance might get a rating for swoons, tears, and spice level, while a horror might get a rating for spooks, writing, and page-turner. We’ll see how it goes. If it’s terrible we never have to do it again.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewiski

Confusion: 5/5

Weirdness: 4/5

Spookiness: 2/5

I did hate this book. It was over 500 pages long and 450 were a miserable slough, and 50 were a pretty compelling story. The book is a Russian nesting doll of sorts, where Johny Truant is putting together the notes of a blind man (Zampano) who was writing a book on a documentary that doesn’t exist. The documentary was about this house where the inside is a quarter inch bigger than the outside and seems to grow and shrink. The documentary chronicles the family’s time in the house, but there is no evidence of the documentary really existing except Zampano’s writings. There were parts of the book where I was quite gripped by the story of this strange house, but unfortunately, they were buried in pages and pages and hours and hours of material that felt like a complete waste of time.

The book is a labyrinth of academic texts, strange lists, footnotes, appendixes, odd formatting, and more. It’s a fascinatingly complex work, but reading it I had a truly terrible time. I read it based on the recommendation from Kayla and she loved it and the Goodreads rating is pretty high, so clearly some people enjoyed it more than I.

Who would I recommend this to? People who wanted to feel better than everyone else and love an intellectually confusing movie

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Weirdness: 5/5

Swoons: 0/5

Gross: 3/5

This book is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read. It follows this woman, Lucy, who is working on her doctoral dissertation on Sappho’s fragments, but after a break-up, she’s really struggling. Her older sister invites Lucy to stay in her house on Venice beach while she’s abroad. While staying at her sister’s beach house, Lucy meets a mysterious man who swims near her house at night. The story is pretty gross at points with the details that Melissa Broder chooses to highlight, but I loved reading the bizarre tale. Lucy is terrible and unlikeable, but she’s a very compelling character. It’s absurd and delightful in the weirdest ways.

Who would I recommend this to? Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties) fans and people who love a weird Sylvia Plath poem (Daddy, Lazarus, etc.)

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Confusion: 2/5

Swoons: 4/5

Tears: 3/5

Spice: 2/5

I am a reluctant SJM girlie. After reading Throne of Glass and falling in love with the series, I will now likely read everything that Ms. Maas puts into the world. This book is the first in the Crescent City series and it’s really, really hard to get into. I find Maas’s first books in her series are always the weakest, but I actually really enjoyed the 2nd half of the novel! The world is very different than the high fantasy worlds of ACOTAR and TOG. It’s an urban fantasy, so there is technology as well as fantasy and a more complex array of magical creatures.

It was significantly heavier than I was anticipating. This is Maas’s first series that is being sold as adult and I think thematically, you can tell. It follows Bryce a half-fae twenty-something as she deals with grief and depression and then tries to solve a murder. There is a very good romance that arises through the book. I loved Hunt! I will be reading the next one (that recently came out) within the next couple of months!

Who would I recommend this to? Sarah J. Maas Girlies (obvi) or girls who read the Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick series back in their teen years

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Important: 5/5

Writing: 5/5

Tears: 1/5

Even though I've only heard great things about this book, I've been putting off reading this book since it came out. If you aren't familiar with the book, this is Chanel Miller's story of being the victim in the Brock Turner Stanford rape case back in 2016. Her victim impact statement went viral when it was released on Buzzfeed and I remember reading it. I had graduated college a few months prior and was still very much aware of the climate around sexual assault on college campuses.

Chanel's memoir talks about her time in the years after her assault, especially her time in navigating the justice system. While her story is heavy, her memoir is beautifully written and it really feels as if you are listening to a friend talk about a hard story. I'm grateful to have read it.

Who would I recommend this to? Literally everyone.

Twisted Games by Ana Huang

Swoons: 3/5

Believability: 2/5

Spice: 4/5

I read the first book in this series last year and thought it was fine. I enjoyed this one slightly more. It follows a princess and her bodyguard falling in love. It was a fun time and I don’t have any major complaints.

Who would I recommend this to? People who had the hots for Joe in The Princess Diaries and/or love A Christmas Prince

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

Swoons: 1/5

Tears: 4/5

Anger: 3/5

While I’m not a die-hard CoHo fan, her writing is really compelling and I almost always read her books really quickly. I’m a notoriously easy crier in books, but she always gets me sobbing. Her most recent release was firmly in the middle of the books I’ve read from her. It tells the story of a woman whose recently been released from jail and is hoping to reunite with her young daughter. It was less of a romance and more of a drama (although there is a romance arc).

Who would I recommend this to? Coho fans who loved November 9

The Newspaper Nanny by Maren Moore

Swoons: 2/5

Spice: 3/5

Believability: 1/5

Sometimes you want a book that requires no real thought to read. I read this book in bed on a Saturday morning and it was charming and sweet. A single dad, Liam, is looking for a nanny for his two young daughters and he puts an ad in the newspaper. Luckily Lucy reads the newspaper every Sunday in honor of her grandfather. She starts working as a nanny and they quickly fall into bed together. It was a simple, predictable story, but I had a nice time.

Who would I recommend this to? A beginner romance reader who loved the romance arc in Enchanted (the film with Amy Adams)


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