February 2019 Reading Round-Up

I read a few less books in February, which is a-okay since the month was days shorter. The month did not start out strong in terms of...

I read a few less books in February, which is a-okay since the month was days shorter. The month did not start out strong in terms of my feelings about the books I was reading, but it definitely ended on an incredibly strong note with some amazing books by Black women.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides ★★★☆☆

Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book inspired by mythology, legend, or folklore

Brief synopsis: The novel follows Theo, a psychotherapist who is convinced the artist who murdered her husband six years ago has something to say. This is a huge deal because the artist, Alicia, hasn’t spoken since the night of the crime. Sentenced to an institution, Theo takes over her therapeutic care in a mission to get her to speak again and tell her side of the story.

Overall thoughts: Honestly, this book pissed me off. It was an unreliable narrator in the weirdest way. Alicia's unreliable thoughts come in the form of diary entries. This book received a ton of rave reviews, and while the twist at the end was entirely shocking and unsuspecting, I felt very betrayed and angry. I would probably recommend this book, but I personally didn't love it. Full review here.

Persons Unknown* by Susie Steiner ★★☆☆☆

Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same latter

Brief synopsis: The book continues to follow DS Manon Bradshaw, about a year after Missing Presumed ends. She's now pregnant, has adopted Fly (from the first novel), and is running cold cases. A man is found stabbed to death in a park near Manon's home and after following a few short leads, Fly (a 12 year-old Black boy) is arrested for the crime. Simultaneously, a prostitute is hiding from someone which seems to be connected with the murder in the park.

Overall thoughts: I actually enjoyed the first book in the series pretty well (Missing, Presumed), but this one took a terrible turn. It was systemically racist, the storyline and dialogue were both messy and confusing. Everything about this book was sloppy, and it has deterred me from following any further into Manon's story. Full review here.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas ★★★★★

Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: An "own voices" book

Brief synopsis: The novel follows Bri, a Black teenager from the Garden District who attends a mostly White private school of the arts. An aspiring rapper, her song goes viral after some systemic race-related violence happens at school. But she's hiding thing from her friends and her family, and maybe she's going in a direction she wasn't originally planning. She has to decide to choose between fame and family.

Overall thoughts: I will forever and always read anything Angie Thomas writes, and this was further confirmed by reading On the Come Up. I truly loved and appreciated Starr's story in The Hate U Give, and I enjoyed Bri's just as much. While a little less "in-your-face" than THUG, this story was still important and really showed more insight into the everyday racism POC face. Thomas's writing is pure talent. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer. You don't want to miss this incredible novel. Full review here.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls* by Anissa Gray ★★★★☆

Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A debut novel

Brief synopsis: The novel follows three sisters suffering trials and tribulations. Althea, the oldest, is serving time in county jail waiting for a transfer to federal prison after committing fraud alongside her husband, Proctor. Viola, recently separated from her wife and struggling with a lifelong eating disorder, is trying to survive her personal struggles while figuring out how to support her sisters. Lillian is the youngest, and the one who takes care of everyone - caretaking her ex-husband's Nai Nai and Althea's twin teenager daughters. Through intertwining narratives, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls tells an emotional story of family and self-support.

Overall thoughts: While contemporary fiction is not my go-to genre, I wholly enjoyed this debut novel from Anissa Gray (who lives in Atlanta!). I appreciated the themes of family and the importance of standing up for yourself. Emotions were high in this one, and while there was no intense twist at the end, I enjoyed this for what it was meant to be. Full review here.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay ★★★★☆

Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book recommended by a celebrity you admire

Brief synopsis: This memoir follows Gay, a queer, Black, fat feminist female, through her lifetime struggles with weight after a horrific incident she experienced as a child. This isn't a typical "I weighed 200 pounds and hated myself, so I lost the weigh and now I'm wonderfully perfect and happy" memoir. I've read that one, and finished it really not feeling great about myself. This is a different story about weight and other intersectionalities that lie within identities.

Overall thoughts: Wow. This memoir is raw and emotional and touched me in a way no memoir I've ever read before has. The writing is intense and emotionally charged. Gay is so talented, and I swear I felt I had written most of the chapters myself. This book will make you uncomfortable and is really draining though, and you may need many breaks while reading it. When I say I was sobbing just pages into the book, I am not exaggerating. You should definitely read this one, but be prepared for it when you pick it up. Full review here.

What did you read in February?

* denotes I received a copy free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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  1. I hated "Missing, Presumed," so I can't imagine how the second one went! Ha. I'm surprised how much progress I've already made in the Popsugar challenge. I need to blog about it...

    1. You totally should! I love see what others are using for the prompts. And yeah - I was super disappointed and not into that one.