Wrapping Up The Books: February 2021

March 19, 2021 in Wrap-Ups


We’re a few weeks into March now so apologies for the delay in sharing my wrap-up! Still, I’m here now and I’m ready to talk books. February wasn’t a fantastic reading month for me. I was slumpy and unmotivated. Even though the books I read were pretty great. (My lowest rating all month was one 3-star!)

My mental health was a problem area last month (and indeed, this month) so I think that contributed to my slumpiness. But I’m feeling a lot more positive which is great!

So I guess, all that’s left to talk about is the books!


Reading Stats: February 2021


Let’s start with the stats, shall we? I love sharing my stats because it gives me the opportunity to make colourful visuals. (It’s the little things!)

In February, I read 10 books with a total of 2688 pages. This brings my year-to-date totals to 25 books and 5733 pages. Given that I read 26 books total in 2019, I’d say this is a big achievement!

I haven’t been tracking my reading challenges very well lately so I won’t comment on that this month. I’ll do better, I promise!

Here’s my lovely stats infographic for February 2021:

The book that I DNF’ed was The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. And honestly, I don’t even think of it as a proper DNF. I WILL read it this year. I just wasn’t going to be able to read it all before my library loan ran out and there were already holds on it so I couldn’t renew. 

 

February 2021 Wrap-Up

 

Sci-Fi & Fantasy


SFF is starting to feel like my go-to genre. It’s the one that I seem to be reading the most of AND rating the highest this year. I prefer to lump science fiction and fantasy together as one umbrella genre. Simply because the lines are so blurry. Some of the books I read could easily fall under both sci-fi and fantasy. So I just don’t bother trying to narrow it down. It’s SFF and I like it.


The Coven
by Lizzie Fry

I received an e-ARC of this genre-bending novel from the publishers. (You can read my full review here.) Basically this story exists within an alternate modern day where women are persecuted for witchcraft. I was drawn to it for its witchy-ness. But actually what stood out most to me was that this book is sooooo fast paced. There’s action in pretty much every chapter. And I loved the feminist undertones too.

CWs: misogyny, murder, torture


The Maze Runner Trilogy
by James Dashner

I rarely read series books. I’m definitely more of a standalone type of reader. But my husband wanted to watch the movie so I said “okay, I don’t want to read the books so why not?” And by the end of the film, I was ordering the books.

It’s a very popular YA franchise that came out in the early 2010s so you probably know all about it. But just in case you don’t… This series revolves around Thomas. A teenaged boy who is thrust into a community of boys who are tormented by a sinister maze that surrounds their camp. Oh, and it’s full of monsters and there’s no escape.

It’s a really interesting concept and I did genuinely enjoy all three books. (The Scorch Trial was my favourite. It was also the only book to get a 5-star rating from me.) I can’t talk specifically about what I liked or disliked about the series as a whole without spoiling anything. But I will say that if you don’t like zombies, avoid these books. I typically avoid zombie-fic because cannibalism is pretty high on my Oh-no-no list. Since my husband had only seen the first film, I had no idea. It gets pretty gruesome at times which was not fun for me. However, I still loved the series. (And I will one day return to the prequels!)

Before I move on, I wanted to share a few thoughts on the movie adaptations. The first movie is fantastic. There are some changes but nothing too major except the whole telepathy thing. And then it all descends into chaos in the second and third films. They are hardly recognisable in comparison to the books. Some things remain the same but always happen in very different ways. I enjoyed them but I’m not sure I’d recommend them. They made me VERY angry.

CWs: violence, physical and psychological torture, cannibalism, decapitation, SO MUCH DEATH, zombies, blood

 

Graphic Novels


You can always tell when I’m in a slump because I’ll bridge the gap with graphic novels. This month there are four. And even more telling, I read three of them back-to-back.


Bingo Love
by Tee Franklin et al

This is a beautiful story about two young Black women who fall in love in the ’60s and are forced apart by their families. They meet again decades later and are finally able to pursue their love for each other. It’s honestly so sweet but does tackle homophobia – especially within one’s own family.

I read the standard edition which refers to several side stories that are only available in the jackpot edition. So between the two, definitely read the latter. Fortunately, one of my libraries has just moved over to Libby for eBook borrowing and they had it! So I’ll be reading the bonus stories this month – yay!

CWs: homophobia


Soppy
by Philippa Rice

This is an adorable slice-of-life graphic novel that focuses on the relationship between the author and her partner. It has a striking black, white and red colour palette that I LOVED. Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much story as I would have liked but still very sweet and enjoyable.


Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones
by Ngozi Ukazu

Ahhhhhh. This is the second and final (*sobs*) instalment of the Check, Please! series. It follows Eric “Bitty” Bittle through his final two years of college and playing ice hockey. Jack has graduated and gone onto play professionally but the sporting industry is still very homophobic so they’re keeping their relationship a secret which presents its own set of challenges for the couple.

The word that comes to mind with this one is beautiful. It’s a coming-of-age story and a coming-out story. Both of which are done really well. I especially loved seeing the love and respect that all of the characters have for each other. I cried so hard at the end. It’s just so beautiful.

CWs: homophobia


March: Book One
by John Lewis et al

John Lewis, who sadly passed last year, was an iconic civil rights activist and these semi-autobiographical graphic novels document his life and work. I’ve seen this on some Black history and anti-racism type lists but not nearly enough of them. Add this to your TBR list, ASAP because this book is incredible.

The storytelling was just another level. It’s told through a conversation between Lewis and some visitors to his office on the day of the Obama inauguration. And honestly, it’s so incredibly moving.

I wasn’t overly keen on the art style but I thought the refined colour palette (black and white) was super effective.

CWs: racism, violence towards people of colour

 

Non-Fiction

And finally for my non-fiction reads of the month. Because it was Black History Month in the US, I focused on reading some of the anti-racism books on my TBR.


The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
by Frederick Joseph

This is another book that I received from the publishers to read and review. (You can read my full review here.)

The Black Friend is an accessible and informative anti-racism book aimed primarily at educating white teens how to be better allies to people of colour. It’s anecdotal and carries Joseph’s voice very well. There’s definitely a memoir feel to it but it’s largely a ‘how to’ book. Joseph will explore various moments in his life when he experienced racism and dissect them. How are they racist? What should be done instead? How can the reader be an ally to someone in that situation? It’s just really well done and I think it’s a great choice for teens. (And adults!)

CWs: racism


How To Be An Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi

This is one of the most referenced anti-racism books out there and for good reason. It’s filled with history, statistics and lessons that we could all benefit from.

While it was a very important read, I felt that the text itself was largely inaccessible to me. We’re talking huge chunks of text with a deeply academic voice. I just found that some of the content wasn’t really sinking in even after reading it several times over. With that said, it is backed up with a deep knowledge of Black history. And so, even though I struggled at times, I did learn a lot from it.

I loved that Kendi took an intersectional approach while talking about the impact of racist policies. It includes comparisons between Latinx, Indigenous and Asian Americans while also looking at how gender, sexuality and economic status are affected by the same racist behaviours and policies.

The complexities of the content might be a barrier for some. (As it was for me!) But what lies behind it is so important in the fight to become a truly anti-racist society – and an intersectional one, at that.

CW: racism, violence towards people of colour


February Favourites


Last month, I decided to share my two favourite books of the month. (These were The Midnight Library and All Systems Red!) And I thought that it was a great way to track my favourite books of the year so I’m going to keep doing that.

My favourite books of February were…

  • Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
  • March: Book One by John Lewis et al

Thank you so much for stopping by to read my February reading wrap-up! I’d love to know what books you’ve been reading and loving lately so please do drop me a little comment if you can spare the time.

Happy reading!

P.S. Did you know I have a Bookshop.org store*? When you purchase books through my affiliate store, both myself and an independent bookstore (this can be one you choose) will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

18 Comments

  • Claire Lomax March 19, 2021 at 10:41 am

    I always find your reading reviews inspiring. I had a good January for books but I am struggling to get much time for it now that I am back in the office full time.

    I love your infographic, its a great way to record what you have read x

    • Hayley March 19, 2021 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks Claire! πŸ™‚

  • Rosie Ireland March 19, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Wow I love the graphics you’ve created! I read all of the Maze Runner books a couple of summers ago and it was great. It’s a shame that the films go their own way!

    Rosie

    • Hayley March 19, 2021 at 1:03 pm

      Thank you so much, Rosie! πŸ™‚ It was a shame but at the same time, it was nice to see it presented as an entirely different story? I have very mixed feelings about it haha.

  • Jenny in Neverland March 19, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Wow you read so many books! I recently watched all the Maze Runner films. I’m a zombie fan so I loved them but I haven’t read the books. Also, I didn’t know there were prequels too? I might have to check those all out! x

    • Hayley March 19, 2021 at 12:56 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the films! There are at least 2 prequels so far and also a novella about Newt that I really want to read but also don’t because y’know… zombies haha. The books are great and if you enjoyed the films, you’ll definitely enjoy them. πŸ™‚

  • Ruth| Ruthiee loves Glamour March 19, 2021 at 11:59 am

    Oh! These seem like really amazing books and you read a whole lot of books in February! I haven’t read any of them but Soppy by Philippa Rice caught my attention and I will be adding it to my to-be-read list.

    • Hayley March 19, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Thanks Ruth, I hope that you enjoy Soppy! πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie March 19, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    I really appreciated your in-depth thoughts on The Maze Runner trilogy. I’ve been meaning to read them since I saw the first movie when it first came out. I didn’t realize the intensity of gore and zombies and such, since the first one was mildly eerie but not all-out scary. I’ll have to keep that in mind, going in, since I typically steer clear of zombie stories haha (and I most likely won’t watch the remaining movies)!

    • Hayley March 19, 2021 at 1:49 pm

      YES! The first movie gives nothing away in terms of the gore and zombies that lie ahead. It was more of a psychological thriller than an outright survival horror so the books were… somewhat jarring in that respect. I did not appreciate the zombies haha. They are great books though! πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie @ Bookfever March 19, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    I feel like February was a slow month for a lot of people, myself included. I don’t know why. March has been better for me at least. πŸ˜›

    • Hayley April 7, 2021 at 12:50 pm

      I agree, March definitely picked things up a little! πŸ™‚

  • Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books March 19, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    I love seeing your stats! I read The Maze Runner years ago but never continued on with the series.

    • Hayley April 7, 2021 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ I think that’s fair – I always go into series by committing to the first book only and then deciding if I want to continue. If you do ever want to pick it back up again though, I highly recommend it! πŸ™‚

  • Cristina Rosano March 19, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    Right at this moment in my reading slump, I can’t even imagine managing 10 books, but wow! I never read the Maze Runner, don’t think it’s my kind of read but want to get back to graphic novels! Just added March: book one and Soppy to my list, also How to be an antiracist is there too! Thank you for sharing x

    • Hayley April 7, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      Ooh I feel you – graphic novels are great. They’re just so accessible and easier to read when you’re feeling slumpy too. Hope you enjoy those three! πŸ™‚

  • The Exclusive Beauty Diary March 21, 2021 at 11:20 am

    It is very interesting to see that you have statistics for reading books. Maybe I should also start with it.

    • Hayley April 7, 2021 at 1:13 pm

      Thank you, it’s a lot of fun to see your reading habits in a visual way. I highly recommend it! πŸ™‚

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