February has been a month of exhaustion and of dreams, my friends.
I read a lot less in February. I had wild sweeps between deep and complete exhaustions and bubbling bursts of energy and a deep desire to do something – anything! I almost never harness that energy productively, but alas, here we are. March is already a week deep and I feel myself yearning more and more for spring. The sun rises a little earlier every day and stays out a little later. The worst of the darkness is behind us, and I hope the worst of the snow as well.
If you, like me, have felt absolutely gutted by this winter, I hope things are starting to look up for you as well.
All the things I’ve been reading
I had a couple ARC drops in February, although I read the books last year. In particular, I really enjoyed Amelia Unabridged, which had just the right amount of magic packaged into this contemporary novel about a girl who feels lost in the world and loves books.
However! That’s not a book I really read in February! Nor is Down Comes the Night. I just delayed those two reviews to be a little closer to publication. Other than those two novels, here’s what I read in February.
This month, I leaned again toward adventurous books. This is likely going to be a steady theme – I love adventure stories. I favored medium-paced books that were between 300-499 pages, and I only read mostly fiction this month. My most read genre in February was tied between young adult and contemporary, with fantasy in second, and a three-way tie between middle grade, science fiction, and historical for third. My average rating was 3.91 stars, which was an improvement over January!
My favorite physical copy I read in February was Inkheart by a mile. I did not have a lot of luck with hardcopy books this month, but I’ll go into that a bit more deeply in a moment. My favorite audiobook is a tie between Girls Burn Brighter and The Night Diary. Neither of these are genres I usually enjoy (literary fiction) but they both struck me as sad and beautiful and just really worthwhile books to read, honestly. I recommend both wholeheartedly.
Readathons & Reading Challenges
So, I actually managed to read five books in hardcopy this month. However. In Love & Pajamas feels a bit like cheating because it’s a book of comics. There’s also no posted review for In Love & Pajamas yet as I’ve decided to do a set of mini reviews for comics later this year, as I have a couple others ordered from creators I enjoy. That collection of reviews probably won’t drop until late summer/early fall, but in the meanwhile I’m happy to tell you it was precious and I really enjoyed it. Because of the lack of review, In Love & Pajamas will not show in the below list until after the review drops… but I promise I read it!
As I mentioned in the “Read” section, I did not have a great run with hardcopy books this month. Eleanor & Park was unsatisfying and icky in parts (which didn’t surprise me). Micro was better than the Crichton I read last year.. but still… not great? The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre had all the elements that should have made it a book I loved… but somehow it missed the mark for me and was fairly blah. I unhauled all three of these. I did end up keeping both Inkheart and In Love & Pajamas, but with only a 40% retention rate, February 2021 was the best clean-out ration I’ve had in a while.
I’ve got a mini year-long reading challenge going on this year, and that is the Psych Reading Challenge! This challenge contains 15 prompts over the course of 2021. In January 2021, I had racked up 4 pineapples already! Lets see what I added in February….
? #2. Pretty Little Liars – I Know You Know That I’m Not Telling the Truth
? #5. Ready Player Two – Spot the Pineapple
? #8. Serpent & Dove – You Astound Me (Shassiter)
? #9. The Golden Compass – Henry Spencer’s Life Lessons
? #11. The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre – Psych: The Musical*
? #14. Inkheart – Dual Spires
Total Pineapples: ??????????
Ten down, five to go!
I ended up swapping out Wicked for The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre on challenge #11 since they’re both musical-adjacent. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to pick up a copy of the Wicked audiobook, or cheat my TBR Jar with my (icky) mass market paperback… instead, Melody popped up and met the criteria, so I decided those choices on Wicked are future Amber’s problem.
Magic and Mischief on the Blog
No extensive updates this month! There were a few new authors added to the Problematic Authors list.
- Philip Pullman
- Robin Talley
- Michael Crichton
- Ernest Cline
What Have I been Scribbling?
I started out…. hmm. I’m going to say I started out just okay in February. February and March were supposed to be all about writing act one of Rhapsody in Blue. There are two things that derailed this. Number one, my mental health, which was a freaking rollercoaster all month. Number two… I’m having trouble starting the story.
In my outline, I gave myself a specific first chapter where I could introduce Emma and her friends and the lay of a “normal day”. I started writing it and I hated it. It was boring. Beginnings are always the most difficult for me because I think they need to be one of the most interesting parts of a book… otherwise the reader will put the book down. So I’m really hard on myself when it comes to a starting point. So I scrapped the first thing I wrote, and tried returning to the starting point from Camp NaNoWriMo last year. This one was a little stronger – the first couple pages were okay – but then it devolved again.
I’ve decided to start off by pushing the beginning a couple days into the future (the whole book only spans a week) and so far that’s starting a bit better. However, Emma has a lot of emotions that were falling all over the page and since I’ve now decided to make this historical fiction and set it back in 2010, I’m not sure how this all bundles together. Still a work in progress.
I know this is a bit of a shorter wrap up than usual, my loves. Besides the fact that the end of the month snuck up on me, I’ve been struggling bit with coming up with the words for content here and the wrap up are the most grueling posts I write these days, often taking several hours to complete. I decided to pare it down a little for my own mental health, and we’ll see what happens next month. Thank you for understanding!
Of course, even with whittling away some of the content, these wrap up posts are still extremely long, so I just want you all to know how much I appreciate all of you an if you’re reading this, thank you for reading the entire thing. You’re a superstar in my eyes.
What did everyone do this month? Did you get a lot of reading done? Did you start on a new WIP? Did you go on any grand (or small!) adventures? I want to hear all about your experiences – let me know in the comments!