February ‘21 Wrap Up

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the blog! Today, I’m here to talk about the all the books I managed to read in February. It’s been a mixed bag of a month, and in total, I read 10 books. There isn’t much more to say really, so without further ado, let’s begin and fair warning, there may be spoilers.

The first book I read this month was a reread, and that was Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton, which is an adult urban fantasy. This is the eighth book in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, which follows necromancer and vampire executioner, Anita Blake, as she navigates the world of the supernatural, and her love life. In this instalment, Anita is riding to the rescue of her ex-lover, werewolf Richard, who is in jail on an accusation of rape. With a rare blue moon on the horizon, and unrest in the area, Anita needs to get Richard out… First of all, it was so good to be back in the world of Anita. Sometimes you just need a comfort read, and that’s where this fell for me. There’s angst with smatterings of romance and scenes that are definitely of an erotic nature. Secondly, I forgot how feisty Anita is – and how her brain works. She isn’t afraid to be sick after hurting someone, she is always learning about the supernatural cultures/sub-cultures, and she’s having an inner turmoil about her relationships with others, and her religion. Sadly, this book was average. The rape accusation is dealt with swiftly, before getting drawn up in were-creature politics – often these are “pissing contests”, and usually means the majority of characters are nude, or nearly nude. Whilst there is a lot of action, the plot meanders around police corruption and faith in religion. It’s very drawn out, which wasn’t a fun aspect. It’s that reason that I rated this 3 stars.

I then picked up the next book in the series, Obsidian Butterfly. This is the ninth book, and this time, Anita is journeying to New Mexico, to assist hitman Edward. Humans are dying, and an ancient evil is approaching… I really enjoyed my time with this book. There’s plenty of angst within the friendships here, and the romance is very light on the ground. Anita is once again feisty and gets her hands dirty on more than one occasion, and the plot is consistent. There is less deviation from the plot this time around, and I really liked the addition of the characters Bernado and Olaf. These characters, with Anita and Edward, have a unique, dysfunctional family quality that I really appreciated. I thought this was a classic “monster of the week” book, with a stunning cover, and for that reason, I rated this 4 stars.

I then read the tenth book in the series, Narcissus in Chains. Anita is back in St Louis, and romance is on the menu. Torn between her lovers, Jean-Claude the vampire, and Richard the werewolf, Anita is soon thrust back into the world of shifter politics when two of her wereleopards are kidnapped from a seedy BDSM… This was another book I really enjoyed. The plot this time around is quite light, but there is a wealth of erotic scenes, which are well written and definitely spicy! I love the wereleopard community in this book. The BDSM subculture and the importance of consent are explored. I appreciated this a lot more as an adult, more than I probably did as a teenager when I first discovered these books. The romance and spicy scenes are the definite draw of this book, as the gorgeous cover suggests, and for that reason, I rated it 4 stars.

It should be no surprise to hear that I then read the eleventh book in the series, Cerulean Sins. Anita is trying to get her life back on track, amid all the supernatural lovers. When a centuries old vampire comes to town, Anita must gather her passions and save those she loves from dangerous fanged politics. Add into the mix, she is called in to investigate a spate of killings by something non-human, she’s going to have her hands full… This was a very average book, especially coming after the events of the previous one. I found the erotic scenes were a bit repetitive, and the criminal case was very much pushed aside. I found the vampire politics quite bland, and I felt like it took me a long time to read this. I felt a bit let down with book, and ended up rating this 2 stars.

Naturally, I followed up with the twelfth book in the series, Incubus Dreams. Anita is caught between a rock and a hard place with her lovers, particularly wereleopard Nathanial. Anita needs to learn how to trust her heart and her give in to her growing lust and love, especially when lives are on the line. A vampire serial killer is on the loose and it’s preying on sex workers… There was a lot to love with this book. We are back to high stakes levels of conflict with the “monster of the week”, and I loved the discussions about religion and love. It highlighted how different relationships really are, and this is so important in today’s culture. It was really well done, and wasn’t too preachy. The levels of angst with the romance was brilliant, and the erotic scenes were what I’ve come to expect, but even better! The cover is awesome too! I really enjoyed my time with this, and rated this 4 stars.

The next book I read was Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis, which is a YA horror. This follows Lola, the daughter of a famous film director. When her father is attacked, Lola is sent to Harrow Lake, the set of her father’s cult horror film, to give him time to recupperate. Harrow Lake hides dark secrets, and Lola is about to be plunged head first into them. As she searches for answers, someone or something is searching for her… This is a book that I’ve been highly anticipating, and it lived up to the hype for me. Lola as a character has a lot of grit, but at the same time, she fits nicely into the trope of “dumb horror character”. The atmosphere was perfect, and I genuinely got goosebumps when I read this. Mr Jitters – that’s all I will say! I loved how many of the classic horror movie tropes were at play here, which definitely works – it has that late 80s, early 90s, film feel. I felt like the film her father had created would be something I’d have watched too! I loved my time with this, and I can’t wait to read more from Ellis! I rated this 5 stars.

I then read another one of my most anticipated reads, and that was A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas, which is an adult fantasy. This is the fourth book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and follows Feyre’s sister, Nesta. After the war, Nesta is drinking herself to death. She’s not taking care of herself, and is sleeping with many male who suits her. And then she is given an ultimatum – go to live in the human world, or move to the House of Wind and train with Illyrian warrior, Cassian… This was everything I’ve come to expect from a Maas book. There is action, drama, friendship, heartbreak, romance – I absolutely loved it. In fact, there were moments where I connected so much to Nesta that I was in tears. I can understand why other’s were a little disappointed, and if I went into complete analysis mode, we would be here forever. It should be no surprise to hear that I rated this 5 stars.

The next book I read was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol 7 by Akira Himekawa. This is the seventh manga in the series, following infamous hero Link, as he attempts to save the world. In this volume, Link must try and save himself after his battle with his dark self. With Midna gone, things seem hopeless, especially as Ganondorf approaches Zelda… This was a fast paced installment that I feel dealt with mental health really well. Link feels hopeless and detached, which is something we can all emphasise with, especially in this current climate. My favourite scenes were with Ganondorf and Zelda – these were angsty and truly was a power struggle. We’re approaching the endgame now, and I can’t wait to see how it’ll look in manga form. I rated this 4.

The penultimate book I read was Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin, which is a graphic novel. This is the fourteenth book chronologically in the DC Comics – The Legend of Batman series. In this legendary installment, Jason Todd is searching for his mother, however, the Joker has other plans… This is a huge story in the world of Batman, as readers were told to call a phone number to choose whether Todd lived or died! I’ve been waiting to actually read this for ages, especially as I had known everything about it. This being said, I felt really let down. I thought there was going to be more to this, especially as there is so much hype around it. I wasn’t a fan of the art style either, but I do appreciate it is an older issue. This being said, this is a must read for DC fans, and I do recommend this. I ended up rating this 3 stars.

The final book I read in February was A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer, which is a YA fantasy. This is the third and final book in the Cursebreakers series, which followed Harper as she is transported to the world of Emberfall to help break the curse on Prince Rhen… In this final book, war is approaching, and everyone is on edge. Rhen and Grey are vying for the throne, whereas Harper and Lia Mara have their own struggles. The opposing kingdoms are conflicted. Loyalties will be tested, love will be threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces… I’m so conflicted. The series has been good, up until this point. I’m so disappointed with this. The characters become so different – it’s like a complete change! Lia Mara’s change is so drastic – she wasn’t a character I greatly enjoyed, but now, it’s like Kemmerer was bored of her… The other characters didn’t seem wholly thought out anymore either. The plot was very underwhelming – too much talk, and not enough action. When the action occurs, it’s very fleeting, and I felt that the ending was inspired by the Disney animated film, Frozen… I’m really sorry to say that I rated this 2 stars.

So that completes my monthly wrap up! Let me know what book/books you have read in the month of February – whether it’s paper/hardback, audio, eBook, graphic novel or manga. They all count! If you have any recommendations, please feel free to let me know!

– ReadWriteZoe.

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