Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2023

I know we are only two months into the year, but I think I’ve found my stride. I’ve managed to hit double digits for books read in both months so far and I won’t lie, I’m impressed with myself. This time last year, I only read one book and a few mangas in the entirety of Febraury, but this year I’ve read 11 (including graphic novels). Right now, I’m feeling very confident about my 100 book challenge for 2023.

Your Dream For Me by Alison Schaffir

Read: 29/1/23 – 1/2/23

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I was quite excited for this one, I love any books about theatre and the fact that this one was about a wannabe fashion designer was even better. However, it did not live up to expectations. I don’t really have anything else to say about this that I didn’t put in my review, so check it out here if you’re interested in reading my opinions.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Scarlett, unlike her theatrically gifted parents, is not one to spend time near a spotlight. Scarlett dreams of becoming a renowned fashion designer, where she can flex her creative talents away from a crowd. So it’s no surprise when she sneaks into her school’s costume shop to explore the racks. Unexpected, however, is coming face-to-face with Nathaniel Wilder, a talented theatre student who piques a new interest.

With fashion still as her main priority, Scarlett vows to learn how to make a 50s-inspired dress for her best friend, Macie. After all, she needs a strong portfolio of work to help her get into her dream school, the Fashion Institute of Technology. The one problem? She has no idea how to operate a sewing machine. Thanks to Nathaniel’s encouragement, Scarlett decides to shadow the school’s drama teacher to practice her skills, hoping to fuse her passion for fashion with theatre…and be closer to him for the spring play.

Scarlett’s designs are unfolding, but a distressing event involving Macie shakes everyone in Scarlett’s world—causing their friendship to falter and Nathaniel to unexpectedly pull away. With building stressors threatening the rest of the year, including a rival who wants to tarnish Scarlett’s reputation, Scarlett must rely on her determined spirit and newfound sewing skills to keep her fashion dreams—and her most important relationships—from unraveling.

Spectacle Vol. 4 by Megan Rose Gedris

Read: 7/2/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This instalment was ok. Nothing special but it wasn’t terrible. Again I don’t have anything else to say that I didn’t in my review. So read it here if you want!

Synopsis: ​​Anna’s supernatural powers are increasing, but so is her worry that they come from a terrifying source. Everyone in the circus has developed mutations, and they’re dropping like flies. Anna thinks she’s found a cure, but a smooth talking faith healer insists he can save everyone… for a fee. Can she fix things before anyone else dies?

Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours #3) by Cassandra Clare

Read: 2/2/23 – 9/2/23

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Any Cassandra Clare book is an instant hit with me and Chain of Thorns was no different. I flipping loved this book and I think this cast of characters might be my favourite yet. I’m not going to spoil anything here but if you fancy reading a spoiler filled review, you can read mine here. 

Synopsis: Cordelia Carstairs has lost everything that matters to her. In only a few short weeks, she has seen her father murdered, her plans to become parabatai with her best friend, Lucie, destroyed, and her marriage to James Herondale crumble before her eyes. Even worse, she is now bound to an ancient demon, Lilith, stripping her of her power as a Shadowhunter.

After fleeing to Paris with Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia hopes to forget her sorrows in the city’s glittering nightlife. But reality intrudes when shocking news comes from home: Tatiana Blackthorn has escaped the Adamant Citadel, and London is under new threat by the Prince of Hell, Belial.

Cordelia returns to a London riven by chaos and dissent. The long-kept secret that Belial is James and Lucie’s grandfather has been revealed by an unexpected enemy, and the Herondales find themselves under suspicion of dealings with demons. Cordelia longs to protect James but is torn between a love for James she has long believed hopeless, and the possibility of a new life with Matthew. Nor can her friends help—ripped apart by their own secrets, they seem destined to face what is coming alone.

For time is short, and Belial’s plan is about to crash into the Shadowhunters of London like a deadly wave, one that will separate Cordelia, Lucie, and the Merry Thieves from help of any kind. Left alone in a shadowy London, they must face Belial’s deadly army. If Cordelia and her friends are going to save their city—and their families—they will have to muster their courage, swallow their pride, and trust one another again. For if they fail, they may lose everything—even their souls.

Hustle & Heart: Foretold by Heath Amodio

Read: 10/2/23

Rating: 1 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review*

I don’t have the energy to talk about this graphic novel again, so if you want to see my (savage) review, read it here.

Synopsis: A year after the mysterious death of his wife, Professor Derek Flynn finds himself waking up, as if from a blackout, in the middle of a catastrophic and fatal disaster. Derek has no idea how he got there, but what’s even more inexplicable is that this has become a common occurrence. In fact, Derek has been lying to his estranged teenage daughter, Casey, about his puzzling disappearances for months. Desperate to get to the bottom of what’s happening to him, Derek reaches out to psychologist Alice Meyers seeking help to recognize the terrifying visions that haunt his dreams: imminent disasters, both natural and manmade, that Derek now feels he is somehow integral to. But with the FBI catching on to his connection with these disastrous events, a manhunt begins, and Derek finds himself tangled in a perplexing web. 

Stuck between being a fugitive and a messiah, and on the run in his pursuit for the truth, Derek will discover that there are no such things as coincidences. 

A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci

Read: 12/2/23

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Similar situation to the book above. I thought this was going to be a fun, cute romance read for Valentine’s day, but it turned out to be boring and instantly forgettable. You can read my full review of A Vineyard Valentine here.

Synopsis: The annual Valentine’s Day singles soiree is always a big money-maker for Eloisa Giordono’s winery. What could be more romantic than looking for love at a quaint family vineyard on the most romantic night of year? Well, just about anything as far as Eloisa is concerned. She’s a Valentine’s Day Grinch who thinks it’s the lamest, most clichéd holiday ever invented.

Fortunately, she’ll get to hang out with like-minded folks this year by hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Day party on the same night. She’ll just need to alternate between events to keep them both running and she’ll be raking in the profits. But Eloisa is thrown for a loop when a sexy, self-described hopeless romantic shows up at the singles soiree and keeps her captivated. Will he change her mind about the holiday…and about love?

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Read: 1/2/23 – 12/2/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I completed my first re-read of the year and I really enjoyed it. For years now I’ve been saying I will re-read the Lunar Chronicles but never actually get around to it, but I finally have. 

I still love this book and I think it’s held up pretty well in my expectations. If you’re interested in reading my re-read review, you can do so here. It does include spoilers so beware if you haven’t read the books before. 

Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.

She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the centre of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) by Jenny Han

Read: 13/2/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My love for everything to do with this series keeps growing. I enjoyed this so much, I listened to it in one sitting and had real fun with it. Getting Lola Tung to narrate it was genius as it felt like I was watching the show in my head. Talking of the show, I’ve actually got the entire series reviewed and ready to go for my re-watch review series, so there’s that to look forward to if you’re interested! 

Also, check out my full review of the audiobook!

Synopsis: Some summers are just destined to be pretty.

When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favourite people are there: Susannah, her mother’s best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad’s brother, Jeremiah, Belly’s heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?

While You Were Dreaming by Alisha Rai

Read: 12/2/23 – 20/2/23

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this book, but it wasn’t what I got. It was an enjoyable book but the whole ‘thrust into the spotlight’ plot was not what I thought it would be. I don’t want to say too much here as I haven’t posted my review yet, but it will be coming on the 17th so keep an eye out for it.

Synopsis: If Sonia Patil had her way, she’d be attending her local comic con instead of covering a shift for her boss’s daughter. Since Sonia’s mom was deported and her sister, who never claimed deferred status under DACA, had to forgo college to support them, Sonia’s had her hands full with work, school, and pretending everything is okay at home.

Then Sonia, in homemade superhero cosplay, stumbles into saving her crush James’s life. When a video of the daring rescue goes viral, she—or, rather, a mysterious masked savior—is thrust into the spotlight. Now she’s hiding from TikTok detectives while trying to connect with James. And while she’s drawn to his friendly but oblivious nature, she can’t deny her escalating chemistry with another awkwardly charming boy.

Juggling crushes and a secret identity might just take superpowers. Will Sonia be able to hide in plain sight forever?

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3) by Kay O’Neill

Read: 20/2/23

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m very much in love with this series, world and characters. It is so stunning and is 100% my favourite art style of all time. I’m completely blown away by how beautiful it is every time and I wish there were more than three instalments. 

Check out my review of The Tea Dragon Tapestry.

Synopsis: Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Spectacle Vol. 5 by Megan Rose Gedris

Read: 22/2/23

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*I was given a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review*

I reached the end of this series and am happy to say that it does get better. The final instalment had some of the best artwork and the story came to a satisfying conclusion. Check out my full review here

Synopsis: At long last, sideshow performer Anna comes face-to-face with her sister’s killer, and she is not in a forgiving mood. But there’s a far more sinister enemy behind everything; one Anna and her friends might not be able to beat, one they might not even be able to reach. Only Anna is determined and ready for a confrontation, while everyone else is eager to put it all behind them.

Ghosts were one thing. Demons were another. Can Anna find a way into another dimension to fight a god? This conclusion to the epic series is here!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Read: 20/2/23 – 28/2/23

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’m going to post a full of this in a few days so I’ll save my views for then, but know that I wasn’t entirely impressed by this book. Which is sad because I’d heard it was amazing. 

Synopsis: Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, it’s most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: Organising My Goodreads #6

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