February is the month of beating hearts. Where love blooms and souls touch. However, when romance is not something that knocks on your door, it is a month of self-reflection. At least, for me it is, and so this month I will be reading some lovely stories that open the eyes in one way or another.
First off my three current reads:
Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin
“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.
As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.
Aftercare Instructions, an electric, format-crushing debut, full of heart and hope, follows Gen on a big-hearted journey from dorm rooms to diners to underground theaters—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.
Aftercare Instructions is a beautifully insightful novel about a girl who deals with having an abortion. This novel is about a topic that strikes anger, fear, and passion into people’s hearts. There is so much energy surrounding this topic and reading this novel especially now feels necessary. I’m almost halfway through reading and I hope to let you all know my full thoughts on it soon!
Use The Force by Joshua P. Warren
Ever since Star Wars first appeared on the silver screen, people have fantasized about being able to use the Force. But anyone–not just Jedis–can tap into its capabilities by using the Law of Attraction to harness the incredible power of the universe. Author Joshua P. Warren guides you through the lessons of legendary Jedi Masters to reveal how Jedi science encompasses the Law of Attraction and how you can draw on the universe’s energy to achieve your dreams. Each thought-provoking exercise shows you how to utilize this power to manifest your deepest desires and attract the life you’ve always wanted. You’ll also learn how to train your mind to hone in on your intention; enhance your connection to the universe; and ensure that your actions, words, and thoughts are in harmony with accomplishing your goals.
This book was one I never thought I would read. However, it has been very thought provoking and the concept of it interests me. Anything having some sort of existential element is interesting and it utilizes a very well-known franchise to demonstrate a long talked about topic, the law of attraction.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.
I just started reading The Bone Season. I am so excited to see where it goes. So far I am enjoying the world and the background of it all, and even if this may not be a topical book, it is one I really hope to enjoy.
Rest of the books I hope to read this month:
Quest of the Kings by Robert Evert
From the author of the Riddle in Stone books comes a thrilling new series for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Kristin Cashore.
Across the realms, the kings’ quests captivate the imaginations of nobles and commoners alike. These dangerous competitions pit the most daring adventurers against each other as they compete for riches and glory for their kingdoms.
Plain and ordinary Natalie, a sixteen-year-old peasant girl, loves listening to stories about famous adventurers, but the thrilling action of the kings’ quests seems far removed from her everyday life of mucking out stables and working every odd job she can find to support her siblings and disabled mother. However, after a violent run-in with Brago, a ruthless adventurer who believes Natalie is a threat to his mission, she is dragged unwillingly into the latest contest.
On the run from Brago, Natalie seeks refuge with a rival adventurer, the legendary Sir Edris, and his squire, Reg. As they toil together to find the object all of the kings desire—an ancient golden harp—Natalie starts to feel safe with the fatherly knight. Yet, despite Edris’s protection, Brago is never far behind. When one of Brago’s cruel plots separates Natalie from her protectors, she must become as strong and cunning as the adventurers of old to save her friends and stay alive.
I need some fantasy in my life and a new kick butt heroine is just what my prescription entails. I’m so excited to dive into this book and see what adventures it contains!
The List by Patricia Forde
Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for tweens in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship.
In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.
On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.
This book makes me so excited! The Giver is my favorite book of all time and I am so happy that a book being branded under similar lines is being published. I haven’t read much middle grade in my time, but for this book, I am definitely willing to make the exception, I can’t wait to read this!
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.
Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.
When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.
But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.
A gender fluid character in fantasy?… and a main one at that! I’m so happy this exists! In my quest to read more diverse books this one is right up my alley and like many other books on this list, I can’t wait to read it!
The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano
“It’s dark magic brings him back.”
Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” But none of that seems to matter after Tori witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard.
Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel.
As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.
From award-winning author Elle Cosimano comes a haunting, atmospheric thriller perfect to hand to readers of the Mara Dyer trilogy and Bone Gap.
I am going to be honest here, I’m completely enamored by this cover and the premise of this story. I’ve only just skimmed through the synopsis, because I want to go into this book somewhat blind. I have a feeling that this book will be one I will get lost in.
Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian
Bright lights, big trouble
Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Judy Gregerson’s Bad Girls Club will relate to this story about a girl traumatized by her brilliant mother’s serious mental illness.
Like a grown-up Eloise from the picture book, the main character, Van, lives in an upscale casino in glitzy Las Vegas, giving readers entree into a crazy world that few ever get to see.
Based on real life events witnessed by the author, a harrowing look at the dangers of self-help cults that promise insight and instead deliver destruction.
With her mother, a brilliant businesswoman with fragile mental health, Van arrives in Las Vegas at the Silver Saddle casino, where Alex, a college student, is assigned to “babysit” her. Van is used to having to land on her feet, because her mother and her surrogate grandmother move from city to city all the time like corporate gypsies, but Alex introduces Van, a talented musician, to a group where her guitar skills may shine. But just as she’s about to play her first gig, her mother is lured in by a con man promising a “vision quest” in Arizona, and Van must go on the road to find and save her mom.
Finally Slipstream, a novel that speaks to me on so many levels. A character dealing with her mother’s mental illness is a story that I feel needs to be told more often. This book touches my heart for so many reasons and I have yet to read a single word.
I’m so looking forward to reading these lovely novels! This month seems like it will be a great one, I hope I can keep up with this somewhat ambitious tbr!
Thanks for reading, what do you hope to read this month? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Any novels I mention here catch your eye?
-Till next time!