I had a productive reading month in February having read nine books. Eight of these I have shared my reviews for throughout the month, another one is for a forthcoming release which will be reviewed soon!
Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Hodder & Stoughton) – My first review of February was of one of 2017’s most anticipated YA releases. It is a surprising, magical story of two sisters and their journey of adventure. For many years Scarlett and Tella Dragna have longed to take part in the mysterious Caraval – an elaborate once a year performance in which the audience become the participants. And after years of writing to the famous Caraval Master Legend, the sisters finally get the chance to join the performance. But on their arrival they find themselves in a world where fantasy and reality collide, and where no one is quite sure what is real, and what is just a part of the performance. Caraval is an intriguing start to an exciting new fantasy series.
Flashfall by Jenny Moyer (Henry Holt) – Flashfall is an exciting debut in which Jenny Moyer has created a fascinating, strange new world to discover. It follows the story of Orion, a sixteen year old girl with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. She is a Subpar, who along with caving partner Dram is tasked with mining the tunnels of Outpost Five for cirium, which is crucial in protecting her people from the harmful radioactivity of the nearby flash curtain. But in addition to the dangers faced every day, she soon discovers that things aren’t what they seem, and that there are dangers closer to home than she ever realised. It is a story of love and bravery, and how we may forge our own path in the face of adversity.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (Titan Books) – Wintersong is an enjoyable fantasy debut filled with magic and mystery. Inspired by Labyrinth, it follows the story of Liesl, a girl who has grown up hearing stories of the mysterious Goblin King. She is a talented composer but has always felt overshadowed by her siblings including her beautiful sister, Kathe. But when Kathe is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl sets off on a journey to save her which involves her making a difficult decision which could change her life forever. It is the story of a young woman’s journey into a strange world, her discovery of romance and music and the mysterious man who inspires it all.
Miss Christie Regrets by Guy Fraser-Sampson (Urbane Publications) – The second in the Hampstead Murders series, Miss Christie Regrets is an enjoyable, intriguing murder mystery which blends contemporary fiction with elements of classic detective fiction. The team are tasked with investigating the discovery of two bodies in two iconic locations. One is a manager of a museum, the other is a mysterious corpse found in a rather unusual location. And the superintendent is adamant that these two crimes are connected, despite taking place decades apart. And when Agatha Christie herself becomes key to the mystery, the story becomes even more intriguing. It was a story that kept me guessing up to its conclusion that had plenty of details and clues to piece together along the way.
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Tinder Press) – A gripping and disturbing novel which is a reimagining of a notorious crime taking place in late nineteenth century Massachusetts. You can read my full review coming soon!
The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Del Rey Books) – A beautifully written debut from Katherine Arden inspired by Russian folklore. It is set in a village in the wilderness of northern Russia where Vasya lives with her family. Vasya is the youngest daughter of the family, and there is a wildness to her that I loved. As the surrounding community expect her to marry, she instead wishes to explore the world around her, and the creatures that lurk in the wilderness. One day a mysterious stranger presents Vasya’s father with a gift intended for his daughter, a precious jewelled necklace. Unsure of the stranger’s intentions, her father hides the gift, but when events in the village take a sinister turn, Vasya realises that it may be down to her to keep trouble at bay. This was a wonderful, intriguing story with a classic fairytale feel.
Sealskin by Su Bristow (Orenda Books) – Sealskin is inspired by the legend of the selkies – seals that can transform into people. One version of events talks of a fishermen who becomes fascinated by them, desperate to take a closer look at the beautiful women they had changed into. It is this version which Su Bristow has worked with, telling the story of Donald, a lonely fisherman who makes a devastating mistake which transforms his life forever. From this point I was captivated by the story of Donald and Mairhi, the selkie who was brought to his community in extraordinary circumstances, and how they adapt to life together. Their story has a classic, fairytale feel, whilst dealing with themes that are timeless. I loved Sealskin and found it to be a beautifully written, moving read. It is a story of love and friendship, of fear and acceptance that had me gripped. Su Bristow has expertly crafted a very human tale in which magic and realty collide.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Walker Books) – Inspired by an original idea by Siobhan Dowd, A Monster Calls is a beautifully written story of love and loss, of grief and strength. Each night, a boy called Conor has a dream, the same one that has been visiting him each night since his mother became ill. In it he is visited by a monster, who recounts stories in an attempt to help Conor process the situation he finds himself in. This is a very moving story which deals with loss and grief and the complexity of human emotions. It explores the impact that illness can have on a patient and those around them, and shows how we can find courage in the darkest of times.
Miss Jane by Brad Watson (Picador) – Inspired by the author’s great aunt, Miss Jane tells the story of Jane Chisholm, who was born in rural Mississippi in the early twentieth century. Jane was born with a defect, one which results in her being unable to control bodily functions along with an inability to conceive and carry a child. And in an era where becoming a wife and mother is of high importance, this leads to concerns over Jane’s quality of life, the concern that she will live a solitary existence. But Jane is an inspiring woman who is determined to live life on her terms, despite her limitations. I loved Miss Jane and found it an inspiring read about a woman who overcomes adversity and embraces her unusual, but special life. Despite her limitations, she has a great spirit, and a determination to live life to the full – a fitting tribute to the woman who inspired it.
You can read full reviews of my February reads by clicking the links in the titles above and they can also be found in my February 2017/Book Reviews archives. Also this month, I unboxed the February Fairy Loot subscription box (Emperors and Fugitives) along with taking part in the blog tour for Letters To Eloise by Emily Williams. And finally, I was thrilled to be nominated to take part in the Blogger Recognition Award and the Rapid Fire Book Tag!
As always, I would like to thank everyone who has read and shared my blog posts this month. I really appreciate the support and hope that you enjoy the blog!