February was a month of highs and lows. On the upside, I finalized all my moving plans and am super excited to start my new life across the country! Unfortunately, my cat Maddie passed away in February. It’s been rough, but it gets a little easier each day. I’ll always love my girl. Here’s an In Memoriam for my sweet baby:
RIP Maddie 💜 You were the bestest kitty in the whole world. Thank you for being in my life. I love you and will forever. 💔
And now on to wrapping up the reading I did in February, which was… not a lot. Seriously, I’m struggling to not make this wrap-up a repeat of my last WWW Wednesday post. Because the books on that post are the only ones I read and I haven’t even finished one of them.
The good news is I really enjoyed what I did read. In fact, I didn’t rate anything below four stars! In total, I finished two novels and one manga. I also read one F/F romance for #FFFeb and one book by a black author for Black History Month. I plan on reading more books by all three authors.
So, let’s discuss these books, shall we?
Shortly after Shuichi Saito's father becomes obsessed with spirals snail shells, whirlpools, and man-made patterns-- he dies mysteriously, his body positioned in the shape of a twisted coil. Soon, the entire town is afflicted with a snail-like disease.
This is the kind of story that has you saying “Jesus Christ” every chapter. This manga goes off the rails, but in the best way. My main complaint is how every guy becomes obsessed with the main character. In a world where spirals are evil, that was the most unrealistic part. Regardless, I’m glad I chose this as my first manga and can’t wait to read more of Junji Ito’s work.
As Lucy Muchelney watches her ex-lover’s sham of a wedding, she wishes herself anywhere else. It isn’t until she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth, looking for someone to translate a groundbreaking French astronomy text, that she knows where to go. Showing up at the Countess’ London home, she hoped to find a challenge, not a woman who takes her breath away. Catherine St Day looks forward to a quiet widowhood once her late husband’s scientific legacy is fulfilled. She expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the young woman who turns up at her door, begging to be allowed to do the work, and she agrees to let Lucy stay. But as Catherine finds herself longing for Lucy, everything she believes about herself and her life is tested. While Lucy spends her days interpreting the complicated French text, she spends her nights falling in love with the alluring Catherine. But sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them. Can Lucy and Catherine find the strength to stay together or are they doomed to be star-crossed lovers?
This is the book that changed my mind about the romance genre. I’d never understood the appeal before, aside from a handful of standouts. But this book made me understand why people love romance novels— it lets you live vicariously through the characters and fall in love with their love. As a lesbian, it didn’t click for me until I read a romance I saw myself in. And now I want to read all the F/F romance novels I can find.
As for the story itself, it’s not perfect. There’s nothing particular I can point to, but it’s not a flawless story. But it deals with important themes and topics and discusses the importance of things like enthusiastic consent.
Most of all, I just love Lucy and Catherine. Both women are damaged by their pasts, but grow stronger together. They see the beauty in each other. Their romance just makes me really happy. I can’t wait for the next book in this series (even though it’ll be with new characters)!
This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze-- the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization's bedrock for a thousand years-- collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman's vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She'll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
This book was a bit confusing at first, but I blame my few remaining brain cells for that. There’s no way anyone can read this book and not automatically know that it’s genius. I’m not even sure how to review it. It’s just so good.
Okay, so it’s not perfect. There’s definitely some relationship development that could’ve been better handled. But it’s not enough to detract from the incredible-ness of the story. I even guessed a twist, but didn’t feel let down. On the contrary, I was excited to discover I was right and find out why I was right. And there were many other amazing twists as well.
The world is so imaginative and unique. The magic system is brilliant. Seriously, how did Jemisin come up with all this? It’s also got great representation. Most, if not all, the characters are black. There is also a trans side character and a polyamorous relationship.
At this point, I can’t form any more coherent thoughts. Just know I love this book so much and can’t wait to continue the series and then read the rest of Jemisin’s catalog.
Since I don’t have much to wrap up, I thought I’d share what I plan on reading in March. I’m a huge mood reader, but these are books I’ve wanted to get to or finish for a while. Expect them and hopefully more on March’s wrap-up!
What if you knew how and when you will die? Csorwe does— she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice. But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin— the wizard's loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power. But Csorwe will soon learn– gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.
I’m enjoying this book so far and tried really hard to finish it by the end of February, but alas.
Tomie Kawakami is a femme fatale with long black hair and a beauty mark just under her left eye. She can seduce nearly any man, and drive them to murder as well, even though the victim is often Tomie herself. While one lover seeks to keep her for himself, another grows terrified of the immortal succubus. But soon they realize that no matter how many times they kill her, the world will never be free of Tomie.
As soon as I finished Uzukmaki, I bought two more of Ito’s horror mangas. I’m planning on reading this one soon and saving the other one for spooky season.
She answered the Emperor's call. She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend. In victory, her world has turned to ash. After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman's shoulders. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her. Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor's Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?
I was lucky enough to be provided an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I’m so stoked!
What did you read in February? Have you read any of these books? What are you reading in March? Let’s discuss in the comments!